An Interview With Ardath Albee: Perception, Storytelling & Content Buyers Actually Want

Ardath Albee is the CEO of Marketing Interactions. She regularly works with B2B clients to create digital marketing strategies that are compelling, highly leveraged and, most importantly, designed to engage prospects across the entirety of the buying process — what Ardath refers to as The Continuum Experience.

Her most recent book Digital Relevance: Developing Marketing Content and Strategies that Drive Results was referred to as the “new standard for digital marketers” by New York Times bestselling author Jay Baer, and she is also a sought-after national speaker on topics such as content marketing and personas.

Earlier this year, we were fortunate enough to attend Ardath’s session “How Buyer Personas Power Sustainable Stories that Turn Prospects into Customers” at the B2B Marketing Exchange in Scottsdale, AZ. Afterward, our VP, Customer Insight Lianne Wade connected with her to discuss storytelling, content binges, and why marketers should get out of a campaign mentality.


You offered up a very compelling image stating that a common problem for marketers is that perception does not equal reality. Can you explain this, and how companies can overcome it?

B2B marketers tend to believe they know their audiences, but in reality they haven’t taken the time to do the research and deep dive as far as necessary to really understand them.

Part of this is because we know our solutions too well – so the curse of knowledge. We also tend to evaluate content and marketing programs based on what appeals to us. Yet we’re not our buyers or customers.

Developing personas is the best way I know to get to the level of understanding and knowledge that informs truly relevant content and marketing programs that resonate and compel action. Action being the key outcome.

cat that thinks it's a lion

You stated that campaigns halt momentum; yet, as we know, many marketers today manage communications through campaign-driven efforts. How can they avoid this campaign mentality and build momentum to deliver “The Continuum Experience”, a term you have coined?

The biggest problem with campaigns is that they start and stop. If your buyers take 9 months to buy your complex solution but your campaign lasts 3 months, you’re leaving them hanging just when you’ve expended a lot of effort to engage them.

There are a growing number of stakeholders involved in the decision, lots of knowledge to transfer and consensus to be reached. I’d ask marketers to identify anyone who has ever said, “Please give me 3 content offers and have a salesperson call me to schedule a demo.” I don’t think they can.

Campaigns are a construct created by companies to put a box around a program for reporting purposes. They are not based on what a buyer needs to decide to make a purchase decision.

Notice in the graphic below the “dead air” space that happens when traditional campaigns end and new ones begin. All momentum the marketer has built up with prospects halts. There’s nowhere to go.

But with a continuum approach, marketers can keep the momentum going from problem to solution, fulfilling buyers’ informational needs at each step and stage as their context changes given the ongoing knowledge transfer.

Campaign vs. Continuum

Our agency uses storytelling in marketing, because it is so compelling and memorable. You talk about how to build and sustain stories. Can you elaborate on how B2B marketers can effectively use stories in their communications efforts?

Storytelling is compelling, because it’s natural. It’s the way we explain our world, the choices we make, and our aspirations. The most important thing to remember is that your buyer is the hero of the story. Not your company, not your product.

Focus your storytelling on helping the buyer learn what he or she needs to know to make an informed decision. And don’t assume they’ve already decided they need your solution. We need to start earlier in the pre-sales process to help them decide that they have a problem worth solving with our help.

Simple formula: Buyer sets out to solve a problem. Finds he doesn’t know all he needs or have the right tools to solve the problem. He enlists the help of a mentor (your company) to teach him what he needs to know to solve the problem. With your help, he clears the hurdles in his way and helps his buying committee reach consensus. He chooses to become your customer and lives happily-ever-after.

Apply this thought process to whatever you’re selling with the buyer as the hero, and you’ll have a compelling story across the entirety of the buying process — from start to finish.

Slide by Ardath Albee about Storytelling

You talked about an idea which I found very intriguing: content binge. When a buyer is ready to consume more info, provide them with easy access to information and package it. Can you give some practical ideas on how this would be accomplished?

When buyers become motivated to solve a problem, they tend to want to ingest as much information as they can about how to go about doing that.

Establishing problem-to-solution content hubs on your website or creating a microsite groups all this information together and reduces the effort they must expend to access the information.

The best part is that if you’ve designed your content to match needs at different stages of buying, you can also identify where they are in their buying process and respond to their buying patterns with highly relevant content offers and follow-up.

What is the one thing that you want B2B marketers to know about buyer personas that they may not know, or perhaps have a misperception about?

Buyer personas, built well, are great for understanding individual members of the buying committee. However, a greater value is in understanding the relationships and overlays between the personas as they work together to reach consensus. Or don’t. By understanding the group dynamics, you can create content and share information that will help them work together to solve the problem.

Slide by Ardath Albee

Tim Riesterer from Corporate Visions spoke about defeating the Status Quo Bias by teaching customers something new about their business needs that they may not know today; thereby disrupting them to change their behavior. In your opinion, how can B2B marketers overcome this bias to motivate buyers to act?

This goes back to question one. If you truly understand your buyers, you should be able to identify their “jobs to be done” or unmet needs, as well as why their status quo position won’t get them there.

Armed with this insight, you have a much higher chance of being able to show them something they haven’t seen in the same light before.

Ardath, where will be you be speaking next, and what topic will you cover?

I’ll be at Marketo’s Marketing Nation Summit in San Francisco, April 24th – 26th.

I’ll be talking about how to create an ABM strategy to drive consensus for complex sales.


Wilde Agency Logo 1

Wilde Agency is an award-winning integrated marketing agency that specializes in understanding and utilizing the science of human behavior to drive superior results for our clients.

Previously, we have spoken to Dr. Aaron Reid about what marketers can gain from implicit research technology, and prior to that, we chatted with international bestseller and visual marketing expert Dan Roam about the persuasive power of drawing.


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NOT 1, NOT 2 BUT 3 AWARDS

Chuffed to have won three UK Sponsorship Awards last night!! ‘Best use of PR’ for Barclays Premier League, ‘Best use of Research & Evaluation’ for Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and Natasha Cabral walked away with the hugely prestigious Barrie Gill Award, given to the rising star in the UK sponsorship industry. Fantastic work.

Bing Ads: The Most Must-Use Features

Most PPC specialists find it challenging to break out of their usual “optimisation routine”. It’s human nature to focus on what we know that works and to concentrate the majority of our time on it: Google.

In the meantime, Bing keeps growing (faster than Google according to comScore) and it already accounts for 33% of the search paid advertising market in the US, and 23% in the UK. So, marketers shouldn’t disregard Bing as easily if we really want to achieve comprehensive paid search strategies.

In this blog, I’d like to list some of the latest additions to the platform which have contributed to making it a more robust platform than it already was before. I will also mention some of the features that may not be used as regularly, and that should be a must. All this with the aim of encouraging you to explore Bing Ads a bit further in your search paid strategy.

Trademark Keyword Policies

Bing changed its Trademark Keywords Policy last week by removing the restriction on the use of trademarks as keywords. While Bing Ads’ protection of trademarks in ad copy still remains unchanged, we are now able to expand our Bing Ads campaigns by bidding on competitor’s keywords. According to Bing, the user will benefit from it as “we often see consumers searching for trademarked terms with the expectation of receiving broader results”.

Website URL (Publisher) report

This is a really helpful feature and guess what – it isn’t currently available in AdWords! It allows us to see which syndicated partners our ads are appearing on and how they are performing. After analysing the data you can then make adjustments to improve campaign efficiency by excluding poorly performing partner URLs at a campaign level.

Negative Keyword Conflict report

We all know how important extensive negative keyword lists are to the health of a PPC account, regardless of which engine you are using. The Negative Keyword Conflict report is a great way to keep an eye on any negative keyword conflict that might crop up. It basically tells you the negative keywords you currently have in your account that are preventing your ads showing for keywords that you currently have live. You can then remove these manually in Bing and make sure you’re not blocking your ads from showing to a relevant searcher.

Share of Voice report

Unlike Google, the Share of Voice is not available as a column in the Bing platform. However, we can still access this data through this report. It helps you visualise areas for potential campaign growth and yet it is often unused. You can confirm you’re maximising reach across Bing by using this report in your top-performing areas. Take a look at data for the last six months and make sure your top converting areas are hitting their maximum share of voice. You can do this by adjusting bids and targeting higher ad positions, as well as improving overall ad relevancy.

Expanded Text Ads

bing expanded text ads

Expanded Text Ads were released in August last year on Bing. As in Google AdWords, the aim was to standardise ad formats to work across mobile, tablet and desktop devices. Similarly to Google, title character limits increased from 25 to 60 characters (30 + 30) and for descriptions from 71 to 80. This extra space enables users to create more compelling messages while increasing the ad’s clickable space.

Age and Gender report

Bing allows you to make bid adjustments based on the performance of certain age segments or gender, all the way down to ad group level. Implementing positive or negative bid adjustments for the age/gender segments that work best, or that you know do not work well for your account, will help optimise and capitalise on the traffic you are bringing in.  In order to set these up, download an Age and Gender report and pivot the data in Excel to use calculated fields for conversion rate by age/gender segment.

Shared Budgets

PPCers know the pain of manually updating individual campaign budgets, which most of the time result in underutilised budgets. How wonderful would it be to distribute a single daily budget across all campaigns or a specific set of campaigns automatically? That’s what Shared Budgets were conceived for and announced back in October. We can now savour further streamlined budgeting without the hassle of constantly having to alter and to manually adjust.

Bid Modifiers

Recently, Bing expanded their device targeting capabilities to allow advertisers to completely stop appearing on tablet and mobile devices, should they choose:

  • Desktop 0% to +900%
  • Tablet -100% to +900%
  • Mobile – 100% to + 900%

In addition to expanding device targeting capabilities, Bing also allows for targeting of location, time of day and device, and demographic (gender and age):

Demo-based bids modifiers:

bing ads Demo-based bids modifiers

Comprehensive Campaign Planner

Bing has made specific enhancements to their campaign planner to help assist in research efforts for both setting up new campaigns and expanding existing ones. With the Comprehensive Campaign Planner, you can research what your competitors are doing, what keywords you should (or should not) be using, and of course what search trends you should be looking out for.

Using the new campaign manager, you can:

  • View insights by vertical product or keywords
  • Check performance data
  • Identify search traffic trends

More than just seeing average monthly searches you can see search volume and see distribution by device and location, plus the average cost per click.

bing ads Vertical Insights

If you are beyond the research phase and you are looking to verify how you are faring vs your competitors in the search space, you can pull industry benchmarks by vertical or industry. Also, using the top 10 competitors in your space, you can view ad coverage and where they rank versus how your ads are performing.

bing ads Vertical Insights - Competition

Bing Shopping Campaigns in Editor

Before this update, managing Bing Shopping Campaigns directly from the UI was, let’s be honest, a pain in the neck. Bing Ads released Bing Shopping Campaigns integration into Bing Ads Editor in September 2016. This update allows users to create, update or delete Shopping Campaigns directly in the editor. And just to make thing a bit easier, it also provided a Google import option.

Bing UET Codes

Bing UET tracking is nothing new. We all know that the Bing UET tracking codes allow you to track multiple goals, including:

  • Visit duration
  • Custom events
  • Mobile app downloads
  • Pages per visit
  • Destination URLs

This is more of a reminder of what it can do, including enhanced attribution. Using Bing UET tracking, you can implement one tag and share that tag across ad accounts too. Then you can re-engage past visitors, engage new visitors, and broaden your audience with different remarketing strategies.

While the world of PPC is ever-changing and new features are being released constantly (sometimes on a daily basis!) it is always beneficial to be reminded of what is already currently at your fingertips and how you can better use the tools available to you. I hope this blog helped you get a better idea of the potential of using Bing Ads in your future strategies and I encourage you heartily to give it a go!

Want to explore how Bing Ads could help you drive more conversions? Drop us a line at info@harvestdigital.com and see how we can help you.

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Snapchat innovates, Facebook commodifies

They say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. And over the course of history many businesses have stolen the best bits from their competitors and improved upon them in some way. That’s progress right, Vorpsrung durch Technik and all that.

 

Facebook is seemingly taking that to it’s logical conclusion, copying the best bits from Snapchat, known for it’s popularity amongst teens and millennials (who it unsuccessfully tried to buy in 2013).

 

We take a look below at all the features that have been imitated either by Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp, all of which have a strong focus around video.

 

This was probably the first instance in which most observers, thought “hang on a minute”.

 

Taking inspiration from Snapchat’ Stories (they didn’t even bother changing the name), it allows users to create images or short videos that only remain for 24 hours after being posted. Users are given access to a number of editing tools to make their content more interesting, including paint type features, text and emojis.

 

 

It also made the most of every pixel of a user’s screen in portrait orientation, something brands have been fairly slow to adapt to.

 

Previously Instagram content was slave to the “fast swipe” down, meaning your content could easily be passed over, especially if it was in anything less than square 1:1 format

 

 

Whereas other social media is all about what you have done (and show off about it), Messenger Day centres around making plans and having fun with friends.

 

 

Using frames, filters, stickers and painting features, it allows users to create fun content to entice your friends to engage with you

 

 

Whereas all of the previous Snapchat imitations have been tested on Facebook’s sister platforms, this is the first rollout that will be visible to Facebook’s huge user base; and could be the one that deals Snapchat a huge blow.

 

Much like Instagram and Snapchat Stories, it allows users to upload and edit fun images and content using the aforementioned editing features.

 

 

And, something that has been expected since Facebook bought camera app MSQRD, new enhanced filters, often seen as Snapchat’s killer feature.

 

 

Like Snapchat, Facebook is expected to partner with businesses to create branded filters around product launches and seasonal events. This could be a crucial battle not only for users, but brands too, as Facebook’s ad platform is much more developed and accessible than Snapchat’s.

 

 

 

 

Undoubtedly, Snapchat will continue to innovate and Facebook will soon follow in its footsteps. For some early adopters this is reason enough to stay with Snapchat, but for the majority they want access to features in their most used product, and that is Facebook 99 times out of 100.

 

 

Snapchat may remain a place for brands to talk to their young fan base, and be seen as innovators in advertising formats. However,I believe Facebook will continue to dominate the marketplace, opening up features to the masses and hoovering up advertising spend.

 

If you would like to discuss your advertising needs please call us on 0330 995 0212 or click below

   get-in-touch

 

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Why We Can’t Wait for Apple Clips

Snapchat have got competition ahead this April as Apple are upsetting the status quo in social video with their latest introduction of Clips  – an app to make snappy video creation seamless.

 

The most revolutionary thing about Clips is that they show just how much SnapChat is limiting users. The fact that you are unable to easily find other members in search and the lack of analytics available are two of the biggest weaknesses of the network that could well be its tombstone.

 

What made these social networks and their versions of the “stories” functionality so novel has now been superseded by this latest IOS release.

 

Clips is channel agnostic and allows for sharing of video to any social platform including YouTube and Vimeo.

 

This is one element that we think would be perfect for use by vloggers already active on YouTube who are looking to stand out from the crowd. Another is that video can be up to an hour long. This is a breath of fresh air if you are long tired of 60 second time restrictions.

 

When you create content for a single social network you limit your reach – if Clips works as well as promised it will make utilising all possible video assets far less of a difficult task.

 

In the example below you can see how the finished content looks and how it could be perfect for creating explainer content for a product or accessory.

 

The demo also highlights the use of Apple’s voice to text feature called Live Titles. Tediously transcribing your video to create titles is now a thing of the past. This is yet another highlight which was created in mind with Facebook’s standard muting of video within the timeline.

 

apple clips example

 

Advertising Considerations

 

One of the most interesting elements that has potential for marketing professionals has got to be, what are our options depending on customisation and the use of their version of filters?

 

Will branded filters be an option? (and will they be at a higher premium than SnapChat’s already astronomical costs?)

 

As we haven’t been able to test the tool out we can’t know yet, but we really hope that Clips have found a way to encapsulate the community spirit that SnapChat did so well in the use of filters.

 

We can’t wait to find out – in the meantime we’re on the edge of our seats waiting for its release.

 

If you’re looking for an agency on the cutting edge of video production and digital strategy for your campaigns, contact us today.

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The Ultimate List of Social Marketing And Marketing Resources For 2017

Here at Magnafi we love to stay on top of all the current trends in marketing, advertising and digital by using a combination of some of the best free, paid and freemium tools on the web. This is roundup of some of our favourite tools that we use here and outside of work.

 

We love to test new tech on our campaigns so if you’re a developer feel free to tweet us @magnafication.

 

Social Automation and Scheduling

 

  1. Hoot Suite – Our favourite tool for scheduling our social posts to sync between all our devices has to be Hoot Suit. It doesn’t take a second’s thought to make sure to post regular content to all of our platforms. A little mentioned benefit of the tool is when used for social media outreach you can schedule all your posts periodically so that your current followers aren’t bombarded all at once when you send tweet copy to twenty different influencers.
  2. Social Quant – One of the single most effective social media tools behind our Breathe Life campaign. The tool is in a sense a bot that based upon your keyword research performs a set amount of follows and unfollows per day. How well the tool performs in terms of engagement around your content relies on what you put in. For managing engagement and partnerships that might be generated by the tool you’ll still need to make the time to form connections and follow up with those who want to know more about your project. At the moment, the tool only works on Twitter and to date I’ve not found a comparable tool for Instagram. As well as the tool works, I do think they could improve upon the billing and KPI dashboard from a usability perspective.

 

Organic Outreach, Research and Content Discovery

 

  1. Social Bakers Analytics – Easily the most comprehensive tool we’ve used to find every popular Facebook, Twitter and YouTube account worth knowing about, divided by sector, genre and country. Whilst using this to find the most popular accounts out there will leave you at the mercy of their own advertising placement fees, the tool is best used when finding smaller niche communities to contact.
  2. Is – A human curated tab takeover of the best digital marketing and tech articles, updated every day. The quality of the app is very high thanks to the curation aspect of the platform, so much so that you may even forget to check The Drum and MarketingLand at times because you’ll have already bookmarked so much reading material just from opening a new tab!
  3. Growth Hackers Community – An incredibly well thought out platform of content creation and curation. The highlight of Growth Hackers is the wide and varied range of marketers and senior entrepreneurs that are selected for regular AMAs. It is amazing how you can so seamlessly share your conversations straight to Twitter to show that you are talking to some of the most influential marketers today.
  4. org – The Reddit of marketing professionals. A huge community marked by some spam. It seems engagement per post has been lower in recent months. It is still a very valuable tool as the sheer numbers of members they have in the marketing and advertising sector can’t be beaten by any near competitors.
  5. FollowerWonk – Find the most relevant influencers in your sector by taking a list of common keywords used and organising results by location and popularity. Also provides wider analytics on your own account as well as that of competitors.
  6. Buzzsumo – Discover the most popular content in the past year for your sector, free plan is limited to only one page of results per day. Make sure to take into account that any fake blogging networks that pay for tens of thousands of fake likes will appear as “popular” results. For results like this, the tool isn’t perfect and should be taken with a pinch of salt. One nice little extra that they have recently implemented is drawing in backlink data for top content results directly from Majestic SEO.
  7. Pingroupie – If you’re looking for group boards on Pinterest (and you should!) Pingroupie is your only option for searching effectively through the noise. The biggest reason to include group boards as part of your Pinterest strategy is that it only takes a few shares to triple or even quadruple your monthly views on the platform. This also leads to more engagement across your pins if you happen to curate visually stunning content.
  8. Twitter Lists – For everything the Social Bakers miss, Twitter lists have – for free! The quality of a list varies from user to user. When you get it right though selecting the right list that includes a major influencer will also connect you to ten, twenty, maybe even the top thousand that are most similar. You can find the lists connected to any account by entering /memberships to their profile URL.
  9. Similar Web – A great free tool for website overviews providing everything from traffic referrals to similar sites in your sector and more in depth data around how different social networks are performing for you and your competitors. Audience insights is probably one of the most underated aspects of the tool in letting you know what percentage of your traffic is actually relevant to your site.
  10. io – Is one of my top essential plug ins currently taking up space in my toolbar. When I’m performing outreach, Hunter saves me a huge amount of time looking at third party sites for the contact details of prospects and bloggers I want to work with. With a single click the tool gives me a list of emails for all contacts on any webpage. Invaluable when you need to send hundreds of emails in a given day.
  11. Check My Links – When using a broken link building strategy to support your wider content promotion, a link checker such a Check My Links is essential and a very quick way of sorting through a page that may contain up to around 3,000 links. Combine with Ahrefs for locating high quality resource pages in order of authority.
  12. Hashtagify – The perfect hashtag research tool. Use the site before posting your content to Twitter/Instagram to find like audiences connected to the keywords you already know and love. My favourite part of the site is where you can see the crossover between audiences between two or more hashtags by percentage. The Top Recent Media sidebar also shows you the type of content your post will sit alongside. This can be highly important for reputation management and keeping on top of current trends or controversies.
  13. Google Trends – Have you ever been interested in finding out exactly when a word started trending? Are you also interested to see if that term has yearly ebbs and flows to help plan when you create content? Google Trends is yet another free tool that proves essential in providing real insights on what people are actually searching for, when and where those searches are more prominent and can help predict patterns of purchase intent from consumers.
  14. Profiles Lite from YouGov – Whilst this popular audience insights tool supports a much smaller data set than the professional platform, YouGov Lite is a great starting point for those first venturing into researching their current customer base. Striking visuals really bring the site alive, something you can’t get from viewing audience insights through a tool like Google Analytics.

 

 

Content Creation and Mockups

 

  1. Giphy – Create gifs to use on social media from existing video content in a matter of seconds from your most stunning video content.
  2. Promo Republic – Create beautiful social media posts from a suite of assets that look fresh and interesting. The inspiration section is great for examples of social posts to promote your site and even includes ideas for flyers and assets for newsletters.
  3. Io – Get a mock-up of your brand’s chatbot before launching.
  4. Plagiarism Checker – A tool you might not think to use whilst writing but really should. Plagiarism isn’t just a matter of hurting the feelings of content creators but also that of search engines. With duplicate content penalties-a-plenty it is important for the quality of your site to make sure that whilst you may be writing on an already well documented subject, take an original stance or face the wrath of Google!
  5. Afterlight (for IOS) – Gorgeous social posts that are curated by an art director are little needed when Afterlight brings the artist to the palm of your hand. My favourite reason to use the tool when I’m out on the go is because your audience is always looking for exciting content. The app is easily the most comprehensive free tool I’ve used to make sure my Instagram posts are perfectly colour balanced before posting to keep in key with any existing branding. I rarely use the more in your face elements of the app, but if bold frames and burn effects are your thing then you’ll also find that in this self-contained editing platform.

 

SEO

SEO is one of those areas where I’m not too loyal to any one source of data. As you’ll most often fine that not all websites are crawled equally. I’ve found many domain exceptions in which Majestic outperforms Ahrefs and vice versa. Below are the tools we most often use in both their free and premium formats.

 

  1. Majestic – One of the more affordable backlink and authority checkers out there, the tool is very good for an overview of your own and competitor activities. Use Clique Hunter to find audience and link crossover between up to five comparable domains of your choosing.
  2. Ahrefs – The pricier of the most popular backlink comparison tools provides more insights on yearly activity, anchors used, referring content and even has a discovery tool that works in a similar manner to Buzzsumo included within the package. The single most valuable function of Ahrefs isn’t it’s use as a link scraping tool but it’s superior functionality for keyword discovery, unlink Advanced Web Ranking which relies on data you have to discover yourself, Ahrefs cuts out the middle man by pulling the data in for you before you even have time to think of linking Webmaster Tools!
  3. SemRush – The most useful aspect of SemRush is the amount of technical and on site detail that they provide. From blank meta descriptions to dead links and errors that that the previous two tools never alerted me to, it is the major thing that kept it in my arsenal. Out of the three tools I also prefer SemRush’s newletter format for weekly rankings I’m sent just for being a free member. Breakdowns between competitor and keyword rankings are more concise and perfect for viewing whilst out of the office.
  4. YoastSEO – Yoast is one of the few plugins that is used alongside WordPress on the Magnafi site. It is so often used to optimise our pages and articles that it can be easily forgotten as one of our staple tools. Whilst a few of the metrics they judge upon have been outdated by Ahref’s 2 Million Keyword Study (which you can read here), it provides excellent guidelines to any beginner in SEO who creates regular content.
  5. Advanced Web Ranking – One of the best keyword ranking tools out there. Especially valuable for agencies in that it can be used for white label reports for your competitors. Weekly rankings are supplied as standard, with daily and on demand keyword results available for premium subscribers.
  6. StoryBase – If your looking for some new insights and are tired of relying on the Adword’s keyword planner, Storybase might just be for you. With 5 billion long-tail keywords, 100 million question keywords, and 2 billion related LSI keywords they are hardly short of data! The aspect I most like about the tool is the fact that questions have a clear separation from the rest of the other keyword results. This can make answering a customer query a lot easier to view than in Adwords, as in Adwords you have to specify terms that would be most often included in a question (e.g who, what, why?) to get the same results. This can be a bit fiddly to sort through especially in results which may not use who, what, where, why in their sentence structure.
  7. Moz (specifically their toolbar) – The free Moz toolbar is great for searching for discovering new linking opportunities for your SEO strategy. Finding the different between followed and no-follow domain links is done in a fraction of the time. It also provides you with the site authority and spam score almost as soon as the webpage is loaded – very helpful when avoiding harmful websites.

 

Don’t forget to check out our own tool that we created for any business owner to audit their YouTube account to poise themselves for video marketing success!

We’ve also launched our first email course for beginners in video marketing – over the course of five days learn the most essential elements of starting a successful advertising campaign that harnesses the power of video.

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Infographic: UK Spending on Mother’s Day

In the UK, Mother’s day is exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday and five weeks after Valentine’s Day meaning brands have a very short space of time to roll out new and effective marketing campaigns for Mother’s Day.

 

But the short time period does not appear to have a drastic effect on spending in the UK.

It seems the nature of the celebration between mothers and the maternal bond with their children is just far too strong.

In 2015, it was estimated that Brits spent over half a billion on gifts for Mother’s Day and in 2016 Mother’s Day spending equalled that of Easter.

In general, Londoner’s and men spend more of their Mother’s, and Mother’s Day knocks Father’s Day spending out of the park (Sorry Dad’s).

 

But, it’s not just flowers and chocolate’s that we’re treating our mum’s to these days. We have seen a huge increase in popularity for personalised gifts in the last few years.

Shoppers are in a bid to make their gifts stand out among the rest.

First with cards from Moonpig and boutique gifts from Not on The High Street, and now towards personalised food and drink products like Biscuiteers, Coca-Cola, Nutella and Marmite.

There has been a huge rise of this trend in recent years, and with an expected £1billion being spent on personalised gifts in the UK back in 2015, we can only wonder how this year’s Mother’s Day will contribute to the 2017 personalised gift spend.

 

This infographic is a round up of Mintel’s 2015 study into UK spending on Mother’s Day.

 

Spending on Mother's Day

 

Do you have any of your own spending stats for Mother’s Day? Sound off in the comments below or let us know @HarvestDigital

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Is Drake Killing the Album?

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Is popular music killing the album? The latest project from Toronto rap artist Drake, entitled ‘More Life’, which dropped this week, is not an album or mixtape, but a self-described ‘playlist’. Is Drake’s adoption of the term a trendy technicality, the indication of a side project, or the signal of a wider shift in the music industry?

In the New York Times, Jon Caramanica writes that “the playlist suggests an aesthetic shift from the album, which in its platonic ideal form is narratively structured and contained, a creator’s complete thought expressed in parts. A playlist in the streaming era, by contrast, is a collection of moods, impressions, influences and references; it’s a river that flows in one direction, ending somewhere far from the beginning (if it ends at all).”

The idea that an album ‘ends’ is one that is being challenged. As the commercial focus of music shifts from selling physical vinyl and CDs to digital streaming services, the musical content of an album can become more fluid. After releasing ‘The Life of Pablo’, Kanye West continued to update the work, adding lyrics and tweaking the mix of what he described as a “living breathing changing creative expression”.

There’s also a business imperative to artists working with the idea of a loose collection of ‘moods’, which can be mixed, matched and tailored to a listener’s location, activity and preferences. Spotify is increasingly transparent about the importance of listening data to its advertising-heavy business model. In Quartz, Amy X. Wang describes Spotify’s “financial incentive to pry more deeply into users’ listening habits and sell ads aligned with their specific lifestyles”. It’s not unrealistic to imagine record labels prioritising the idea of an artist providing the ‘ingredients’ of a user-created playlist, over the complete artistic vision of an album’s narrative.

Do you agree? Would the reconciliatory ‘All Night’ from Beyonce’s album ‘Lemonade’ work without the burning anger of ‘Pray You Catch Me’? When was the last time you listened to an album in full? Let us know on Twitter.

Words by Erica Smith and Jed Carter.

This originally appeared in Moving World Wednesday 20170322.

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