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Amazon, LinkedIn, & YouTube: New Video Releases on Hero Academy!

Hero Academy is Hanapin’s newest initiative featuring short and basic how-tos on paid advertising in a variety of platforms. Current topics include the basics of Google Ads, Microsoft Ads, Facebook, Quora, Excel, + more. AND NOW, we’ve released 4 BRAND NEW videos! Along with videos that show you the basics of getting started in different […]

Read more at PPCHero.com

Reblogged 5 days ago from feedproxy.google.com

29 Email Deliverability Tips You Must Know in 2019

Marketers spend a lot of time drafting poignant email copy, designing wonderfully branded email templates, and crafting succinct and enticing email subject lines that get open and click-through rates skyrocketing.

But before hitting send, have you considered whether your subscribers will even get the opportunity to read your email?

No matter how legitimate of an email marketer you are, there are a host of things you may not even know about that can prevent your email from ever reaching someone’s inbox. With more stringent laws and increasingly sophisticated spam filters, it’s to your benefit to know everything that can affect your email’s deliverability.

If steering clear of legal trouble isn’t enough to convince you, squeezing more ROI out of your email marketing efforts certainly should. Take a look at the things you should absolutely never do in your email marketing if you want your messages to be successfully delivered, and the things you can proactively do to increase your rate of email deliverability.

The first step in improving email deliverability will be to run a test to see if you are encountering any issues. To learn more about email deliverability test tools, click here

29 Ways to Avoid Sending Spam Email & Improve Your Email Deliverability

What You Should Never Do

1. Don’t buy or rent email lists.

Yes, you can legally rent and purchase lists of people who have agreed to email communications — but it’s never a good idea. Not only is it a dirty email marketing tactic that goes against the Terms of Service for your email service provider, but these people don’t actually know you — and it’s likely they won’t even want your emails. In other words, there’s a good change they’ll mark you as spam. Plus, let’s be honest … high quality email addresses are never for sale.

2. Don’t scrape sites for email addresses.

Scraping websites for email addresses may seem like a fast way to build a contact list, but it’s bad for your business — not to mention illegal in many countries, including the United States, thanks to the CAN-SPAM Act.

3. Don’t email people who have bounced repeatedly.

Hard bounces are the result of an invalid, closed, or non-existent email address, and these emails will never be successfully delivered. Bounce rates are one of the key factors internet service providers (ISPs) use to determine an email sender’s reputation, so having too many hard bounces can cause them to stop allowing your emails in folks’ inboxes.

(Email deliverability is covered extensively in HubSpot’s free email marketing certification course, so check that out to learn more.)

4. Don’t use all caps anywhere in your email or its subject line.

Don’t yell at people. It’s not nice. Using all caps in your subject line might get the recipients’ attention, but probably not in a good way. Using all caps can really rub people the wrong way. It’s annoying and can seem spammy.

In fact, according to a study by the Radicati Group, more than 85% of respondents prefer an all-lowercase subject line to one in all caps.

Instead of using disruptive tactics like all caps to get people’s attention, try personalizing your emails, establishing relevancy, and using catchy and delightful language. (Read this blog post on how to write compelling emails for more tips.)

5. Don’t use exclamation points!!!!!

Another thing that can make your subject line and/or email look unprofessional and spammy? Exclamation points — especially a whole bunch of them in a row. And when 69% of email recipients report email as spam based solely on the subject line, you’ll want to stay away from triggers like this as much as you can.

Plus, when you ask punctuation to do a word’s job, it can really dilute your message. The next time you’re tempted to use an exclamation point in an email (or anywhere, really), use this flowchart, “Should I Use an Exclamation Point?”, as a gut check.

6. Don’t use video, Flash, or JavaScript within your email.

By default, most email clients don’t allow the ability to view rich media like Flash or video embeds. Instead, use an image of your video player (with a play button) that links to the rich media on a website page.

As for JavaScript and other dynamic scripts, even if a spam filter allows your email through, most email clients won’t allow these scripts to function — so avoid using them altogether.

7. Don’t embed forms in your emails.

Forms aren’t supported in email across common email clients due to security risks. Instead, place a call-to-action button or a link to a landing page with a form in the body of your email.

(HubSpot customers: Learn how to add a call-to-action button to your emails in HubSpot here, and how to create a form for your landing pages in HubSpot here.)

8. Don’t include attachments to your emails.

If you want to send your recipients something like a PDF or a Word document, don’t attach the file to the email — otherwise your email could get blocked by spam filters. Instead, upload the attachment to your website and link to the file location in your email using an effective call-to-action button. This’ll minimize the chance of being blocked by spam filters and decrease the load time of your email.

(HubSpot users: HubSpot’s attachment tool in the email editor automatically does this for you. Simply highlight a bit of text or an image and click the attachment icon, and HubSpot will turn that text or image into a link leading to that attachment.)

9. Don’t use spam trigger words.

One of easiest ways to avoid spam filters is by carefully choosing the words you use in your email’s subject line. A good rule of thumb is this: If it sounds like something a used car salesman would say, it’s probably a spam trigger word. Think “free,” “guarantee,” no obligation,” and so on. (For more, look at this list of common spam trigger words.)

Instead of using these trigger words, be creative, interesting, and informative — without giving too much away. Some better ideas for subject lines include:

  • “Hi [name], [question]?”
  • “Did you get what you were looking for?”
  • “You are not alone.”
  • “Feeling blue? Like puppies?”

10. Don’t use a red font when drafting your emails.

Same goes for using invisible text, i.e. a white font on top of a white background. These are common tricks that spammers use, so it’s an instant red flag for spam filters.

In fact, people don’t like when marketers use irregular fonts, font sizes, and font colors at all in emails. In that same study by the Radicati Group, out of the top 10 objectionable email trends, four revolve around fonts. Over 60% of respondents considered it unacceptable for email marketers to use different font sizes, irregular fonts, and different font colors. Nearly 70% of respondents prefer fonts to be one size.

11. Don’t forget to use spell check.

According to that Radicati Group study, 80% of all respondents find spelling and grammatical errors the most unacceptable email offense. But spelling mistakes aren’t just unprofessional — they’re actually a spam trigger, too.

It’s easy for little spelling mistakes to slip by — especially when you’re self-editing. Read this post to learn the most common spelling and grammar mistakes so you never make them again.

12. Don’t jam pack your email copy with keywords.

Keyword-stuffing your emails means shoving as many keywords into your emails as you can. There’s a reason Google give a lower rank to webpages that are stuffed with keywords — and that’s because it’s harmful to user experience. No one wants to read content that’s optimized for a robot.

To make it more likely folks will open your emails and not mark them as spam, write your emails for humans, not robots. Copywriting that makes people want to take action is both simple and compelling. To make your writing sound more personable and relatable, use casual language, colloquial expressions, and even personal anecdotes.

I love the example below from Turnstyle Cycle (from our roundup of 12 great email marketing examples). The copy is beautiful in its simplicity. It’s friendly, yet sincere — especially with the following lines:

  • “We know you are busy and would hate to see you miss out”
  • “Please let us know if we can help accommodate in any way possible”
  • “Feel free to give us a call – we want to help :)”

Plus, they provided me with the exact details I needed to know — a reminder of what I’d signed up for and when, the expiration date, and a phone number to reach them. Check it out:

turnstyle-email-copy-example.png

13. Don’t use an overwhelming number of images, or huge images.

Using one large image as your entire email, or too many images in general, tends to end up in recipients’ spam folders.

You’ll also want to make your image file sizes as small as possible without losing their visual integrity to prevent long email load times. (If you’re a HubSpot user, the email tool automatically compresses images in emails so they load faster. For non-HubSpot users, some good image compression tools include Compressor.io, Compressjpeg.com, and Jpegmini.com.)

Not to mention, Microsoft Outlook doesn’t recognize background images, so you may want to avoid those and use a background color instead.

What You Should Do

14. Keep your email lists current and clean.

Even if your list is entirely built on valid opt-ins, you are at risk of being branded a “spammer” if you don’t practice proper email hygiene. Why? Because internet service providers (ISPs) base complaint rates on active subscribers, not total subscribers.

Also, expired email addresses can turn into SPAM traps, meaning that even if you acquired emails in a legitimate manner, the abandoned addresses that haven’t engaged in years may have morphed into spam traps. Hitting even just one spam trap can cause deliverability problems.

Expired email addresses can also turn into unknown users (bounces). If you hit unknown accounts at a rate higher that 5%, then ISPs are going to see you as someone who has really bad email hygiene. The result? They’ll make it harder for your emails to reach people’s inboxes, and your overall sender reputation will definitely drop — leading to even more trouble reaching people’s inboxes.

By keeping your email lists current and clean, you’ll decrease the likelihood people will flag your emails as spam. You can identify inactive subscribers and expired email addresses with metrics such as opens, clicks, or website activity.

15. See if you can reengage inactive or infrequently active subscribers.

“Graymail” refers to email people technically opted in to receive, but don’t really want, leading them to become less active or inactive altogether. Although it’s not considered spam, sending graymail is problematic because it can hurt the deliverability of your email overall. Tipped off by low engagement rates, ISPs and inbox providers may deliver email from known-graymail senders straight to recipients’ “junk” folders — so the email technically gets sent (and can even appear to have been delivered), but it’s not necessarily seen.

Keep track of your inactive and infrequently active subscribers, and develop re-engagement campaigns for contacts who have stopped engaging with your messages. For example, you could set conditions such as the length of time since their last form submission, website visit, or email click, triggering the email when it’s been a while since a contact last engaged with you.

In your workflow, you might try sending them an exclusive offer or coupon to get them excited about your company again. Or, you might ask them for feedback by sending out a quick survey to see what they would like to see in your emails. (Read this blog post for more ideas for launching an effective email re-engagement campaign.)

16. Do use double opt-in.

Double opt-in means that after someone subscribes to your email list, you send them a follow-up email with a confirmation link ensuring they actually want to receive email communications from you.

Users that have to confirm that they want email communications from your company are the ones that will fully read and engage with the emails they receive from your business. When you use double opt-in, your email lists will be much more qualified and your subscribers much more engaged. (HubSpot customers: Learn how to set up double opt-in in HubSpot here.)

17. Ask your subscribers to add you to their address book.

Spam filters are more aggressive than ever — so much so that sometimes, the emails people value and want to read still end up in their spam boxes.

But most spam filters allow you to whitelist a sender by adding their email address to their email’s address book. When subscribers add you to their address book, spam filters will back off.

18. You must include a clear unsubscribe link and a physical mailing address in your email footer.

Allowing people to unsubscribe is important for list hygiene because anyone receiving your emails should actually want to receive them — otherwise, you’re just spamming them. But did you know that it’s illegal to not have a way for your recipients to easily unsubscribe in many countries, including the United States?

In your marketing emails, you must include a way for folks to unsubscribe from your email list, either by simply sending a reply email or by clicking no more than one level deep to reach a page from which they can unsubscribe. Which method you choose is entirely up to you, as long as the information is clear and easy to locate.

The most common place for these unsubscribe CTAs is in the footer of your email, so users tend to know to look for it there — which makes for a better user experience. Here’s an example from one of HubSpot’s emails:

unsubscribe-1.png

In addition to the unsubscribe link, include a link to update subscriber preferences, which you can also see in the example above. That way, recipients can unsubscribe from just one type of email instead of all of them.

19. Honor your unsubscribes and remove them from your mailing list.

If someone unsubscribes, they must come off your email list. It’s the law. This should go without saying. Check out this list of effective unsubscribe pages to make the unsubscribe process a little more delightful for recipients.

This is where email marketing software that integrates seamlessly with your CRM comes in handy — because any unsubscribes are immediately processed and recorded in both the contact record and within the email software. (But if you’re removing unsubscribed addresses from your list manually, make it a top priority to process that request.)

20. Use a familiar sender name.

Because people are so inundated with SPAM, they hesitate to open email from unfamiliar senders. Make sure recipients can recognize you in your sender by using your brand name.

Better yet, send the email from a real person. Recipients are typically more likely to trust a personalized sender name and email address than a generic one. At HubSpot we found that that emails sent from “Maggie Georgieva, HubSpot” perform better in terms of open and clickthrough rate than emails sent from just “HubSpot.” (HubSpot customers: Learn how to personalize the “From” name and email address here.)

21. Include your recipient’s name in the “To:” field.

This way, spam filters know that you do, indeed, know your recipient. Plus, personalizing your emails around your contacts can also be vital to their engagement with your content.

22. Offer recipients both an HTML and a plain text version of your emails.

Plain text emails are simply emails void of any formatting, while HTML (HyperText Markup Language) emails use formatting that let you design more beautiful emails with attractive visual components. By offering both a plain text and HTML version of a single email, you’re not only indicating your legitimacy to ISPs, but you’re also making your emails more reader-friendly.

Most email marketing tools will let you easily create plain-text versions within their email editor, so take those five extra minutes to create and optimize the plain-text version of your email. (HubSpot customers: Learn how to create a plain-text email in HubSpot here.)

Also, make sure the HTML version is properly coded: If there are broken tags in your HTML, the email provider and users might mark it as spam.

23. Allow people to view your email in a web browser.

Even after every step is taken to assure proper email design, an email client can still display an email poorly. Include a link in every email to view the email as a web page. (HubSpot customers: Learn how to do this easily in HubSpot here.)

View-As-A-Web-Page-Link-1.png

24. Include alt text in your email images.

Many email clients block images by default. This means that when someone opens your email, the images won’t load unless they click a button to show them or change their default settings. Adding alt text to your images helps recipients understand your message even if they can’t see the images.

This is especially bad if you use an image as a call-to-action. Without alt text, a “turned off” image will look like this:

When you add alt text to the image, recipients will still know where to click to complete the action:

This is what an image with alt-text looks like.

You can either edit the alt text in your email tool’s rich text editor (just right-click the image and edit away), or you can manually enter it in the HTML editor of your email tool like this:

<a href=”HTTP://YOURLINKHERE.COM“><img class=”alignCenter shadow” src=”YOUR CTA BUTTON IMAGE SOURCE HERE.JPG” alt-text=”YOUR ALT-TEXT GOES HERE“/></a>

25. Keep your emails short and sweet.

Too much copy is another red flag for spam filters. Not only that, but people generally like concise emails better. Everyone’s busy and their inbox is already full, so why make things worse?

One of the best ways to keep things short and sweet is to write like a human. Writing your email like you were talking to someone in real life makes it feel much more approachable and relevant. (Read this blog post on how to write compelling emails for more tips.)

If you do have to write a lengthier email, then break it up into multiple paragraphs. Giving visual breaks and composing the email with a clear introduction, middle, and conclusion will make it much easier on your reader.

26. Test your emails before sending them.

There are a lot of email clients out there these days that email marketers have to consider when creating emails. On top of that, we have to consider mobile users, too — after all, 53% of people read email on their mobile devices.

It turns out each of these clients displays emails differently. While it may be time-consuming to test out your emails for all email clients, you’ll want to test them for the ones your audience uses the most. According to Litmus’ research of 1.06 billion email opens, the top five email clients are:

  1. Apple iPhone’s Mail app (28% of users)
  2. Gmail (16% of users)
  3. Apple iPad’s Mail app (11% of users)
  4. Google Android’s Mail app (9% of users)
  5. Outlook (9% of users)

If your email marketing tool lets you, go ahead and preview what your email looks like in different email clients and devices that are popular with your audience. (HubSpot customers: Use our Preview in other inboxes feature to send a test email and see how the design of your email looks in each email client.)

You should also send out a test version of your email before you send out the real deal to ensure it’s working properly. (HubSpot customers: Learn how to test your emails here.)

27. Get an email sender accreditation from a third party.

Sender accreditation is a third-party process of verifying email senders and requiring them to follow certain usage guidelines. In return, you’ll be listed in a trusted listing that ISPs reference to allow certain emails to bypass email filters.

28. Monitor the reputation of your sender’s IP address.

Your emails’ deliverability depends largely on your IP address’ reputation. If you’re sending email from an IP address with a poor reputation, your emails are far less likely to be successfully delivered to senders’ inboxes.

DNSstuff.com lets you check on whether or not you are a blacklisted sender — something many unlucky email marketers aren’t even aware of.

29. Always stay up-to-date on changes in email sending laws, ISP behavior, and spam filter technology.

Email marketing is constantly evolving, and staying in the know helps ensure you’re always following best practices — and the law. Responsible and legitimate email marketers make a point of regularly reading up on email sending laws, ISP behavior, and spam filter technology.

If you’re looking for more information, check in with your company’s legal department or a trusted lawyer to ensure you’re staying within the boundaries of the law. Want to learn more about email deliverability? Watch class six in our HubSpot Academy’s Email Marketing Certification course taught by HubSpot’s Post Master, Tom Monaghan.

Email Deliverability Test Tools

If your email platform doesn’t offer enough deliverability analytics, we suggest using other tools that can help you test for delivery issues before your message goes out to your mailing list.

Here are three free tools that you can use:

Mail-Tester.com

Every time someone visits Mail-Tester.com, they’ll see a treehouse with a auto-generated email address listed on it that changes every time you visit the site. You can send your email to the address listed, then click “Check Your Score.” Mail-Tester will then give you a free email deliverability score based on the email that was sent to the unique email address.

The software will analyze the text in the message, your mail server, and IP to determine if there are any deliverability issues. Free users can access the report for seven days. You can also subscribe for unlimited email tests and reports that last for 30 days.

Spamcheck

Spamcheck is a simple and free tool that allows you to paste a plain text message into a text box and analyze it for any language that might trigger spam filtering.

After placing the text and clicking “Check your score,” the software will give you a score out of 10 based on what’s included and not included in the email body. For a bad email, it might look something like this:

Spamcheck ScoreMxToolBox

MxToolBox allows you to test your email deliverability by sending a test email to ping@tools.mxtoolbox.com. This email address will reply to the email with a linked call to action that says “View your full Deliverability Report.” You can then click on the CTA to see a deliverability score and information about what might stopping your email from going into inboxes. If you want to see your result later on, but no longer have the reply email, you can search for the result using your email address on the MxToolBox site

Still want to learn more about email marketing after reading the tips above? Consider taking HubSpot’s free email marketing certification course, which will walk you through even more best practices.

Reblogged 5 days ago from blog.hubspot.com

Ad Tracking: What It Is & How to Do It

Back in the days of Mad Men-esque advertising agencies, tracking how many people engaged with a particular ad campaign was nearly impossible to do well. Advertisers would sink money into mediums like radio and print, and hope sales of the advertised product went up. There was no dependably accurate way to determine how many people engaged with an ad or purchased a product because of it. In fact, the term ROI (return on investment) wasn’t even widely used until the mid-1960s

A lot has changed since then. Advertisers now have access to a wealth of granular ad tracking data for every single campaign they run — so much data, in fact, that most marketers need to spend significant time sifting through dashboards to determine which points actually matter to their bottom line. Ad tracking has made it possible for marketers to more accurately measure, test, and revise ads based on how users interact with their online campaigns. 

If you’re new to running online ads, it’s important to spend some time thinking about the specific metrics that will determine the success of your campaign. Ad tracking today exists across a number of different tools and platforms, and advertisers have the ability to collect data on everything from views and clicks, to impressions and behavior across multiple sessions and websites.

The sheer amount of data available can be overwhelming (not to mention distracting from your goals), so deciding on one or two key performance indicators (KPIs) will help focus your efforts and make reporting more straightforward and effective. 

As William Stentz, Director of Marketing Analytics at Carmichael Lynch, reminds us, “Good key performance indicators are simple, timely, critical to the success of a project, and not financial in nature. But you also need to add in one thing if you want it to be a successful marketing metric — it must represent a key behavior you wanted to see. Look at your campaign and ask yourself: What’s the behavior I want to influence, not just something I can measure?”

We wrote an article here that can help you determine the right metrics to track based on the goals of your ad campaign. 

Once you’ve determined the metrics you want to track for your ad, it’s time to find the best ad tracking method for your purposes. The exact ad tracking methods available to you will vary based on where you run your ads and which tools you’re using, but here are a few basic types to keep in mind. It’s important to note that the following ad tracking methods aren’t mutually exclusive — in fact, when used together they can provide even more powerful insights. 

Tracking URLs

A tracking URL is a normal page URL from your website with a tracking token added to the end of it. Here’s an example landing page URL by itself, and with a tracking token (in bold).  

Regular old landing page URL: 

http://www.yourwebsite.com/your-landing-page/

Landing page URL with a tracking token: 

http://www.yourwebsite.com/your-landing-page/?utm_campaign=test-campaign&utm_source=email

As you can see, the page URL is the same in both cases, but in the second case, there’s some extra stuff added to the end. This extra stuff is your tracking token, also called a UTM parameter. 

So how does this “extra stuff” help you track things, exactly?

When a user clicks on a URL with a UTM parameter added to the end, it essentially sends a signal back to your ad tracking tool that the URL was clicked. The “source=_____” bit of the tracking token can provide information about where the user clicked the link. Similarly, the “campaign=_____” bit can be used to signal to your tracking tool that the link should be bucketed as part of a campaign.

For example, if you were to run the same ad on multiple websites and wanted to know which one generated the most clicks, you could define the two different websites as sources in the UTM parameters of your links. 

You can learn more about tracking parameters and how they work in this article

Best for: If you’re running a PPC campaign, sending an email, or putting an advertisement on another website, tracking URLs are ideal for calculating the number of visits, leads, and conversions you’ve generated from your hard work. 

Tracking Pixels

A tracking pixel is a tiny, often transparent, 1px by 1px image that can be placed in an email, display ad, or simply on a webpage. When it loads, it sends a signal back to your tracking tool that a user has viewed the page.

Tracking pixels are also capable of collecting pretty comprehensive data about a user’s activity and browser configuration — but you should only ever track information that is directly useful to your buyer’s journey and will provide a better, more personalized experience for your target users. 

When used correctly, tracking pixels can help optimize your ads and get them in front of a receptive audience. For example, if you run a banner ad with a tracking pixel, you’ll be able to gather information about how many people just view versus actually click on your ad, which will help you determine whether or not an ad was actually successful (and worth running again).

For context, here’s how big a tracking pixel appears (no, that’s not just a speck of dust on your screen):

Best for: Tracking pixels are incredibly useful for tracking the success of your online campaigns through every step of your conversion path. They can give you insight into how users are interacting with your ads, and help you optimize each stage of your user journey from initial touch through final purchase. 

Cookies

Cookies can help you gain insight into user behavior on your website across multiple sessions of activity. Marketers need to gain explicit consent from users before using cookies to track their activity. When explicit consent is given, cookies can be used to customize a user’s experience. Here’s a deeper dive on cookies if you want to learn more about the technical aspects of how they function. 

From an ad tracking perspective, cookies are the driving force behind most ad retargeting campaigns. Cookies can be used to essentially build a user profile based on someone’s web activity and habits, and advertisers can leverage this profile to serve ads that align with a user’s observed interests. They can also capture information about a user’s browser configuration, location, and preferred language.

Best for: Cookies are ideal when you want to serve a user ads aligned with their web browsing activity, or retarget them with ads for products they’ve demonstrated an interest in. Cookies can also be used to create a personalized experience for users on your website based on their previous interactions with you — for example, you could create an abandoned cart email when users put items in their cart and then leave your website.

Now that we’ve gone over a few core terms related to ad targeting, let’s take a deeper look at how ad targeting functions on a few of the biggest ad tracking platforms, and how you can use it to make your own ad campaigns stronger and more effective. 

DoubleClick Ad Tracking

If you’ve ever noticed an ad for a product you viewed weeks ago following you around on the internet, it’s likely the result of DoubleClick ad tracking. DoubleClick, which was acquired by Google in 2008, is an ad management and ad serving platform that enables marketers to run ad campaigns across multiple channels.

Online publishers use DoubleClick to essentially rent out ad space on their websites, and agencies and advertisers use the product to place ads on websites where their target audiences are spending time. 

In 2012, Google rebranded their DoubleClick products as Google Marketing Platform (formerly DoubleClick), Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords), and Google Ad Manager (formerly DoubleClick for Publishers and DoubleClick Ad Exchange). 

Google offers advertisers a number of different ad tracking options when they create campaigns on the platform — most of which rely on the use of cookies.

According to Google, “Cookies themselves contain no personally identifiable information. Depending on the publisher’s and user’s settings, information associated with cookies used in advertising may be added to the user’s Google Account.”

These generic cookies can collect information on the time and date you viewed particular ads, the specific web pages you were on when you viewed an ad, and your IP address — which can help the cookie infer where you’re located. 

Although the cookies contain no personally identifiable information, Google can combine the information it obtains via cookies with the personally identifiable information associated with your Google Account (which includes your browsing and search activity when you’re logged into Google — which, for most of us, is pretty much always). 

Google leverages two main types of cookies: first-party and third-party.

First-party cookies are dropped (i.e., assigned to a specific user) by the owner of the website you’re visiting. Information collected via first-party cookies can help publishers better understand your activity on their site and how ads are performing.

Third-party cookies are dropped by an advertiser on a website where their ads are being displayed. These cookies send information back to advertisers about how their ad campaigns are performing across all the websites where their DoubleClick ads are being displayed. 

Over 11.1 million websites currently run ads as part of Google’s AdSense network. If you visit a website within the network, the information collected via a DoubleClick ad tracking cookie will be pooled and leveraged by other websites and advertisers using AdSense.

This consolidation of cookie information results in an extremely rich pool of data for Google advertisers, as they can keep track of what ads you’re served across millions of different websites. 

To get started tracking ads with Google, you’ll need to get a Google Marketing Platform account. Depending on the size of your business and your particular needs, you’ll choose either an enterprise account — which can accommodate large ad campaigns across multiple websites and mediums — or a small business account — with ad tracking tools more focused and specialized for early company growth. 

Facebook Ad Tracking

Advertisers on Facebook can leverage a number of different ad tracking strategies to optimize ads for their audience. Facebook’s ad tracking pixel is one of the more common methods. It functions similarly to the basic tracking pixel we outlined above, and can be used to track the path someone takes from viewing an ad, to visiting your website, to purchasing a product. 

When an action takes place on a page where a tracking pixel has been set up, the pixel will “fire” and send that information back to your Facebook Events Manager account. Information collected via the tracking pixel can also be used in the creation of custom audiences for future ad campaigns.

For example, you could use data collected via a tracking pixel to create a custom ad audience targeting users who viewed a particular page on your website that implies purchase intent — like a pricing page. We wrote an article that goes deeper into how the tracking pixel functions if you want to learn more about different uses and how to set it up. 

While the Facebook pixel can offer advertisers valuable insights into how ads are influencing specific actions on their websites, it’s not the only way to track ads on the social network.

Another ad tracking option available to you is adding UTM parameters to links that appear on your ads. As we discussed above, tracking parameters use extra code on a URL to “fire” when a user loads the link. On Facebook, they can be used in Ads Manager to better understand which ads you’re running are driving which types of traffic. 

Reblogged 5 days ago from blog.hubspot.com

Bullish forecast predicts 31 million Americans will ‘shop’ on their smart speakers in 2019

In this case, “shopping” doesn’t include purchasing; however, digital goods and product re-ordering are also poised for growth.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 5 days ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

How to measure success with JavaScript-dependent websites

SEO strategist Robin Rozhon answers questions from SMX Advanced about monitoring rendering success, using external A/B testing tools and more.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 5 days ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

Ad customizers are now available in all Microsoft Advertising accounts

Create ad customizer feeds in the UI or import them from your Google account.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 5 days ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

Search engine results: The ten year evolution

The search landscape has always been one that is evolving. Right now the big discussion is around Google’s control on how much search traffic goes to publishers vs. stays on Google.com.

This might end up being a really big point for Google when it comes down to challenging the long-held point of view that competition is just one click away.

Over the past ten years that I’ve been writing for this publication, I’ve written an article each year where I review how paid and organic search can work together, and how brands appear in search listings. This article over the past few years has started to evolve into how Google has changed the search page. These changes include the inclusion of more paid search results, shopping, and local listings. As you will see from the data there is certainly a trend that is fueled by both Google’s growth objectives as a publicly-traded company, as well as consumer behavior shifts (that are, mobile and local).

The first piece is the overlap of paid and organic listings. What I’m tracking here is the number of times a brand appears in both paid and organic search results as a percentage of total paid results. For example, if there are three paid search ads, and GEICO, Progressive and Liberty Mutual all appear in both the paid and organic listings that would score 100%. I’ve been tracking five verticals since 2010. What’s really interesting is over the past few years the amount of overlap has gone up on average. However, this year the overlap dropped by 44% year over year. This had a lot to do with the drops across financial services, travel, and technology.

Source: Google Search Data

Factors driving this change

I think this trend is driven by two factors:

  1. Increasing competition & costs – CPCs (cost per clicks) were up by five percent between Q4 2018 and Q1 2019
  2.  Rise of other areas of optimization – Local Listings/Maps/Google My Business and Shopping. These additional areas have provided both a distraction and a release valve for additional traffic, and higher ROI.

graph showing the sources driving change YoY

Source: Google Search Data

So what has been happening to the other areas of optimization, especially local and shopping? I have also been tracking these areas over the last three years. The change is exactly what you would have expected. Over the past three years, the percent of search terms that have local listings has increased more than three times, from 11% in 2017 to 38% in 2019. Retail continues to have 100% of listings with the map pack. This validates the importance to both Google, brands, and consumers of having a local presence. Also gives additional credence to optimizing and cleansing your location data, not just on Google, but across the web.

graph showing industry-wise growth of shopping ads YoY

Source: Google Search Data

Shopping ads have come on in a big way

Shopping ads have also continued to have a strong presence and have grown slightly. They are up from 43% in 2017 to 47% in 2019. Shopping ads provide a more visual experience for the consumer, and some very strong conversion rates for brands. Google has also been continuing to evolve their shopping product announcing a redesigned shopping experience in May. This included new ad formats, online to in-store options, and Smart Campaigns (which help encourage SMBs to get into the game). All these changes and enhancements demonstrate a commitment to the product and the value to both consumers and brands.

What should you be doing as a search marketer?

So what is the impact of this data to us as search marketers? I think there are two key takeaways:

  1. Search is more than just keyword listings and optimizing your website. Yes, SEO and paid search are critical, but extending beyond that is also very important. Optimizing your product feed, and local listings are very important to success. You must think about how you are there for your consumers regardless of what they are trying to do, buy, visit, or call.
  2. Having a winning strategy for critical search terms is important. You might not be able to afford top placement for paid search, or technical issues might be preventing you from having the top organic listing. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to have a presence for those terms over the long term. These could be choosing specific times of the day, or including schema markup for event listings. Whatever the case may be, there are now more ways than ever to be found, and having a very thoughtful strategy for your brand is key.

The search engine results page will continue to evolve as consumer behavior and technology evolves. Think about the continued expectations of online to offline buying behavior, real-time inventory, or the impact 5G will have on the marketplace. Remind yourself to take a look around at a macro-level to see the trends vs. always focusing on detailed keyword level optimizations. You will often find some great trends to help put your strategy in context.

P.S. Special thanks to Audrey Goodrick who helped pull together this data. Thank you for your help this summer Audrey.

The post Search engine results: The ten year evolution appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Reblogged 5 days ago from searchenginewatch.com

Brand Video Benchmarks: Length and Engagement Trends

The average length of brand videos in 2018 dropped significantly–that’s the second year in a row–according to recent research from Vidyard. Read the full article at MarketingProfs

Reblogged 6 days ago from www.marketingprofs.com

Five Steps to Building Trust With Thought Leadership

A thought-leadership program drives value and builds trust. But many marketers struggle to identify their unique industry perspective, and then to integrate it into their messaging, positioning, and content. These five steps will help you kick off (or elevate) your thought-leadership program. Read the full article at MarketingProfs

Reblogged 6 days ago from www.marketingprofs.com

How to Make the Most of MozCon (and Stay Motivated Once it’s Over)

Posted by Kirsten_Barkved

Show of hands if the following scenario has ever happened to you:

You make it to a conference. You sit through three to four days of amazing content, network like a boss, fill up on coffee and donuts, and cover page after page of notes — your wrist is dangerously close to being diagnosed with carpal tunnel. The energy in the room is contagious and everyone leaves the conference with the promise of new strategies, connections, and ideas that have the possibility to transform the way you think about business.

Photo credit: Turk Photos

At least, that’s the dream. The reality? Once the conference is over, you’re back to the grind, no longer surrounded by that vibrant “we can do anything” energy that had you so inspired and hyped just days before. The buzz is now a dull hum. Your notebook is full of scribbles that you can no longer decipher, and you have a daunting to-do list to catch up on while you nurse a sugar hangover from eating three-days worth of donuts.

You’ve lost the fire. The conference motivation is gone. You, my friend, have the post-conference scaries.

With MozCon fast approaching, the excitement is building. But so is the anxiety: you know there’s going to be a ton of insightful talks and takeaways to write home about — how do you keep all that goodness going after MozCon?

We’ve all been there! And we want to make sure you’re set up for success. So myself and our Subject Matter Experts whipped up an extensive and effective guide to ensure you can put all the goodness you’ve absorbed at MozCon to work straight away. Read on to see what Britney MullerRob Bucci, Cyrus ShepardDr. Pete, and Miriam Ellis have to offer!

Get your tickets before they’re gone!

Before you head to MozCon, though, make sure you do these things first

We know this isn’t your first rodeo. But on the off chance that it is, or if you need a reminder before you set foot in MozCon, make like the Boy Scouts of America: Be prepared.

Because I’m a keener (remind me to tell you about the time I waited for 24 hours to be first in line for The Fellowship of the Ring movie) with a tendency to overprepare (remind me also to tell you about my first day of school where I packed all my favorite Nancy Drews, my best pencil crayons, a raincoat, and a pair of extra socks), I spend quite a chunk of time ensuring I have everything I need before an event. 

You don’t need to be as prepared as my eight-year-old self, but here’s a brief checklist of things to do before you pack your bags and set sail for MozCon:

  • Study the agenda — You’ve likely already glanced at who’s speaking. Take another skim to get an idea of who is speaking and what topics will fulfill an educational gap. Even if a topic isn’t related to your area of work, it’s still worthwhile to listen — who knows what you’ll uncover. 
  • Set goals for what you’d like to learn — Whatever your game plan looks like, flesh it out to flesh out. Show up ready to learn.
  • Prepare your note-taking tools — There is no such thing as too many pens, not at a conference like MozCon. You’ll be taking a ton of notes, so prepare your note-taking tools, whatever they may be — charge your laptop or tablets, pack a spare notebook and some well-inked pens, or practice your telepathy if you plan on sending takeaways to your team via your mind.
  • Subscribe to the Moz blog — We have oodles of content for you to sink your teeth into and there’s something for everyone, from basic SEO to local search to the nitty-gritty technical. Plus, we’ll be doing conference recaps after each day, so even if you couldn’t make it this year, you’ll get all the juicy details straight to your inbox when you subscribe.
  • Make connections — There is ample opportunity at MozCon to network and meet new people but it never hurts to get a lay of the digital land before you step foot in Seattle. Follow the hashtag #mozcon on Twitter to stay up to date with MozCon goers and ask important questions of our speakers, like this:

You can also join the Facebook group to find out when people are arriving and pop in on conversations to get your name and face out there. If you know of people you want to reconnect that will be attending, now is a good idea to reach out and reconnect. Set up a time to chat over a coffee or maybe make plans to sit together at our Birds of Feather table.

At the conference

It’s Day One of MozCon and you’ve successfully found the coffee. Now what?

Attend every session…

And we mean every. Single. Session. 

The great thing about MozCon is that it’s a single track session, so you don’t have to pick one talk over another. That also means, though, that the temptation can be high for skipping one or two. 

“It may be tempting to sleep in on a morning session, but so much magic happens when you aren’t there. You never know what nuggets of insight you’ll miss.” — Cyrus Shepard

“I often find I have some of my best ideas at conferences, even if they’re not related to anything the speaker is talking about. Capture those ideas, too, and add them to your action plan.” — Dr. Pete

…But don’t be afraid to mingle in-between sessions

“Take breaks if you feel like it and spend some time meeting people out in the lobby. New MozCon friends can help hold each other accountable after the conference. I’ve met some of my closest industry friends in the lobby of conferences during a session — hi, Cyrus!” — Britney Muller

Remember what you learn

There’s a lot of information to digest and chances are that your hurried note-taking isn’t going to make a ton of sense once the MozCon high is over. To make deciphering your notes easier once you’re back at the office, add three key takeaways or any follow up you want to do on the topic after each session.

You can also create a page dedicated to takeaways that you think are worthy. While I’m definitely taking notes during each session, I reserve a separate page for any ideas, theories, or strategies that I think are valuable to explore.

Make sure you’re keeping your goals in mind, too. If you had planned on learning new things at MozCon, keep your ears open for any topics that piqued your interest.

“Write down at least one topic that grabbed your interest but that you felt could be studied further and commit to doing that study at your business and publishing your findings. Don’t forget to ping the original presenter when you do, letting them know their talk inspired your further investigation.” — Miriam Ellis

“At the end of each conference day, I also like to schedule emails to myself (a few weeks out) as reminders to attempt the things I learned about that day.” — Britney Muller

Keep tabs on live tweeters

MozCon has some pretty prolific live tweeters that know just how to distill all the right takeaways into 280 characters (which, IMO, is quite a feat). Some of our past MozCon live-tweeters have included: 

You can also keep up with the conference goers by following the conference hashtag, #mozcon.

“Also, follow Cyrus Shepard on Twitter and do everything he says!” — Britney Muller

Take note of any free templates, tools, or spreadsheets

Much like parents who want nothing but the best from you (and also to sometimes show off your life successes on the family fridge), the speakers want you to excel in life after MozCon. Which is why you’re bound to find a plethora of downloadable templates and spreadsheets during their talk. Take note of any that you’d like to try back at the office. Make sure to also follow the speakers on Twitter for any updates or insider tips on how to make the most of their new resources.

Download the talks

I’m sure you already know, but on the off chance you didn’t know, you’ll be able to download all the speaker’s slide decks once their talks are over. So if there was something you missed, wanted to share with the team at home base, or needed clarification on, you can do so with one click of a button once they’re available.

After the conference

Write about it

I know the last thing you want to do right after three days of learning and writing is to go and do more writing. But Future You will be so happy that Past You did this one thing. 

The second you’re done MozCon-ing, write everything down. Get it all out of your brain and onto paper. Because otherwise, you’ll forget why you underlined a word or phrase three times or the cool new project ideas you had while chatting at dinner. You won’t mean to, obviously. It’s just one of those unfortunate facts of life. Kind of like drifting off to sleep with a really great idea for a band name — you’ll tuck it away in a pocket of your brain, certain you won’t forget about it in the morning. But you will. And the world will never know of They Might Be Little Pigeons

So, write everything down the second you can.

“I’m one of those people who takes notes like, “Cheese fritters + SEO = YES!” and am very excited about it and have no idea what it meant a week later. So: Re-copy your notes or write a summary, ASAP, while it’s still fresh in your mind— even if it’s on the flight home.” — Dr. Pete

Schedule thinking time

The first week back at the office, block out some time in your calendar to percolate over what you learned at MozCon. I can’t stress this one enough: When we get back into the real world, we dive right into our list of to-dos, at home and at work. And the longer we delay the thinking and brainstorming process, the bigger the chance we’ll lose motivation or get bogged down by more projects. 

Carve out some thinking time for yourself in your calendar the second you’re back at your desk to ask yourself some questions:

  • What really stood out for me?
  • What do I want to apply right away?
  • What is going to be effective short term vs. long term?

I like to ideate to-do lists from these questions — maybe that’s a follow-up email with the speaker or a task to read further resources from their talk. Or maybe it’s to set up a meeting with my team to try out a new strategy. The point is: if I take this time now to marinate, the better chance I have of helping out future me — and future me really appreciates that.

“It’s so easy to go from hundreds of ideas to doing nothing concrete, and as soon as you return to your desk, you’re going to be buried in emails and requests. Commit to something actionable before you open up your inbox.” — Dr. Pete

Review your action items

Now that you’ve done your big thinking, it’s time to turn those takeaways and actions items into, well, action. 

Think back to the goals you outlined before you set foot inside MozCon — did you meet any of them? How well did the topics address your questions? And how will you apply your action items? When I’m looking over my notes for any new ideas we can execute on, I like to make a table with two columns: 1) Things that we don’t do but could and 2) Things we’re currently doing but could be doing better.

Got a lot of action items and feel a tad overwhelmed? Just remember: If you apply just one action item a week, even if it’s small, that’s still fifty small changes you’ve made in one year. And they can all add up to one big change.

You’ll want to prioritize them like so:

  • Strategic initiatives to implement right away
  • Processes you can improve
  • Areas for future learning

“A week after the conference, review your “action items” — either by yourself or with your team. Prepare a presentation for the top things you learned and share with any team members that didn’t attend.” — Cyrus Shepard

“Pin yourself down to three specific to-dos for the month after the conference.” — Dr. Pete

Stay inspired

Remember that anything in life worth having (relationships, bangs, product launches, puzzles) requires more than just an idea — it takes time and work. Rather than let all that enthusiasm you had at MozCon fade away, keep the momentum going by reading and learning new things. A good place to start is by subscribing to daily industry reads that can fuel your inspiration. Here is just a sampling to get you started: 

“Having a go-to list of daily industry reads is a really good way to keep the sense of inspiration up.” — Rob Bucci

Use your connections

What good was all that networking if you don’t put it to use — especially if, like me, you’re a Level-12 Introvert?

Make sure all those hard-earned connections don’t go to waste. Chances are, if you saw them at MozCon, you’ll be seeing them at the same tracks and conferences, so it’d be good to set some sort of foundation

All it takes is a LinkedIn message or an email. And they’ll appreciate you following up — bonus points if you make it personal. I’ve made several follow up emails after conferences and almost all blossomed into successful working relationships thanks in large part to emails that began as though we were continuing the conversation we had at MozCon. It doesn’t have to be the same as “Hi, how’s your dog, is she still afraid of traffic cones?,” but a nice “Hi, how is life after MozCon — are you settling back into the 9-5, yet?” goes a long way.

“It’s great to collect business cards, but it’s better to form life-long relationships. If you haven’t connected with those you met at MozCon, now is the time to do so. At a minimum, email everyone you enjoyed meeting with and let them know that you can be a resource for them.” — Cyrus Shepard

Takeaways

MozCon only comes once a year — like International Pancake Day or 7-11’s Free Slurpee Day — so make sure you’re prepared so you can keep that MozCon fire burning all year round.

Grab my MozCon ticket now!

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Reblogged 6 days ago from feedproxy.google.com