Report: Most Trusted Marketing Automation Tools

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Marketing automation tools are making their ways into the business world, not only for large enterprises but also for small companies some solutions have proven to be promising, and not only since IBM bought Silverpop. However, which tools are the right ones for your business? At least we get some advice now from TrustRadius“Buyer’s Guide to Marketing Automation Software”. They did a report based on 400 in-depth reviews by authenticated end-users of marketing automation products combined with the results of more than 10,000 comparisons performed on the TrustRadius’ website.

The report looked at software solutions that include various demand generation capabilities like email campaign management, landing pages,or even lead scoring. However, the analysis out those providers which just offer one aspect of marketing automation (i.e. only lead scoring). In their focus were those tools that “help to automate and scale repetitive marketing tasks and the analysis of those efforts.”

These were the findings they came up with…

Small Businesses (Up to 50 employees)
Small companies gave quite positive and high ratings with at least a 4 out of 5 (average was 4.3 out of 5 – better than the average in the midsize and enterprise companies). Then TrustRadius ranked the products via two factors: a) average user rating and b) how does the product serve the business segment (determined by the number of comparisons made by organizations of that size).
The leading 3 solutions were HubSpot (4.8, 69% of comparisons by small businesses), Act-On (4.7, 53%), plus Infusionsoft (4.3, 96%). Other solutions like Marketo, Pardot, Eloqua, and Silverpop also got good ratings. Still, they ranked lower as they had a smaller proportion of small business comparisons.

TrustRadius Marketing Automation Small Business 2014

SMB Businesses (From 51 to 500 employees)
The average rating in the midsize company category was 3.9 out of 5. The report shows that a higher demand goes alongside bigger companies and more complex requirements for marketing automation tools. Here, the trusted vendors are Marketo (4.2, 60% midsize category) and Pardot (4.0, 58%). Act-On, Eloqua, and HubSpot also got positive ratings.

TrustRadius Marketing Automation SMB 2014

Enterprise Businesses (500+ employees)
The average rating for enterprise marketing automation products was 3.8 out of 5. Eloqua showed up to be the top marketing automation software for enterprise companies (4.4, 59% enterprise focus). Act-On, HubSpot, Marketo, and Pardot also performed well according to users, but they had a smaller proportion of comparisons from enterprise customers.

TrustRadius Marketing Automation Enterprises 2014

Tell us about your findings. Which tools do you use and what has proven to be successful for you? All insights can help other companies make faster decisions.

Report: Benchmarking digital banner performance; which formats work best

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A recent benchmark report by Pointroll based on the analysis of over 100 billion ad impressions in 2013 states that bigger banner ads perform better in digital advertising campaigns. The bigger ad formats, like the Rising Star, which was introduced by the IAB in 2012 has a 70% click-through rate (CTR) than smaller traditional banner formats.

Furthermore, the interaction rate of the Rising Star banners showed a significantly higher average interaction rate. While the Rising Star formats came in at 1.98%, traditional formats just achieved 1.08%. The video completion rate also performed better with 53.44% finishing to watch the video full length whereas the traditional formats came in almost 10% lower.

Pointroll Rising Star Performance 2014

Although in-stream ads are critically discussed on their performance at all digital events, the report shows that in-stream video ads delivered a 4.5x higher CTR on average than their Flash ads competitors. Moreover, they achieve a 2.7X higher CTR when compared with rich media ads. The later when carrying video content showed a 22% higher average CTR compared with those rich media ads without video.

Pointroll CTR by Ad format 2014

Interestingly enough, the report shows that longer videos performed better than shorter ones. The 30-second video ads got 55% more clicks on average than 15-second video ads. However, the 15-second videos had only a 6% higher completion rate than 30-second spots.

Pointroll 15 to 30 seconds video banner 2014

One of the main problems is that just 60.4% of the delivered and analyzed impressions of the report were “viewable” according to the IAB standards. The viewability rates were different by vertical. The employment and sports media outlets delivered the highest rate (72.6%). The community publishers performed at the end of the publishers (58.4%).

Infographic: How Google Ranks Your Website’s Relevance

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Google Rank WebsitesThis is one of those secrets that is discussed in every single seminar we do: How does Google rank websites? Why does my website not rank higher than my competitors? What could be the best SEO strategy so that Google ranks us under the first three results?

The Google’s algorithm is one of the biggest secrets in the marketing world. The 200+ ranking features make it very challenging to find the right web strategy of your content and website structure. So, what’s the best way to develop a “Google-loves-us” strategy?

Neil Patel has created a nice infographic that illustrates the main components of the Google algorithm. Let’s see what he comes up with…

How Google Determines Where to Rank Your Website
Courtesy of: Quick Sprout

Spot On!
The main challenge to drive more traffic via search lies in understanding the holistic approach of Google’s algorithm. Obviously, it is about the final user that works with the website, reads the content and shares it through their own social communication platforms. Over are those days when people though the “link-in-link-out” game will solve the SEO war, when companies got paid for building link farms, and people got money to bring more links in. In the end, the user decides on what they need, and finally the Google Algorithm reflects that.

What makes consumers share personal data with brands?

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Getting personal data is something most companies strive for. However, consumers are very careful with sharing their information with marketers. Most of them (62%) fear that marketers don’t obey the rules of data privacy. This is the main finding of a recent report from SDL, based The report was based on data from a survey of more than 4,000 consumers in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

Not surprisingly, younger consumers are not that frightened about the way marketers work with their data than older consumers. In the UK, just 48% of the 18-24 year old respondents worry about it versus 63% of the 45-54 year olds. The US is less open with data sharing in the younger generation. 59% of the respondents between 18-29 years worry about data privacy. This compares to 71% of the age group 45-60 years.

SDL Data Personalized Data 2014

There is also a big gap between what data people share and what not. Data about age, gender, and income is more openly shared with marketers. Respondents made clear that they are less open to share the name of their spouse, lists of family and friends, and obviously their Social Security number.

SDL Data Smartphone Shopping 2014It seems that loyalty programs are still a great hook for marketers. In order to being able to join a loyalty program 49% of respondents were willing to share personal information with brands. Furthermore, free products and services in exchange for data still gets 41% sharing personal data.

Still, the fear of being tracked gets people away from sharing their data online, especially when it comes to in-store tracking. Most respondents (76%) with smartphones replied they are not happy with retailers’ tracking their shopping tours as they do not understand what the intention of the tracking effort will be.

Spot On!
SDL Data Trusted Brands 2014Trusted brands are in a comfortable situation: 79% of respondents stated they are more likely to hand over personal data to those brands they have purchased from before. Obviously, this changes in percentage from country to country with the UK being most hesitant about sharing information Almost one third would not share any information with marketers. The report is a good indicator on what kind of structured data is easy to generate, but also shows the challenge of getting sensitive data from consumers.

Native Advertising: Will these brands turn the advertising industry around?

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Last year, I had the pleasure to announce this gentleman for one of the main dmexco stage panels. And I can tell you, it was not fun to complement him to go off stage when their speaking time was up. Terence Kawaja is a funny character and great speaker, and he doesn’t like being stopped talking. Now, the investment banker and founder of LUMA Partners introduced his latest chart of the Lumascapes which will define a new status quo in the advertising industry.

After their numerous Lumascapes on search, display, video, mobile, social commerce, and so on, this time we get to see their perception world of native advertising. Although the definition on native advertising is still evolving and may seem some kind of “rough in barriers” and not very much detailed, it is making it’s way through the brand campaigns of companies. Not even the IAB playbook on native advertising gives us a clear definition on what exactly native advertising is, and how it differs from content marketing, branded content, or even how it can be located against approaches like story advertising.

To the guys of Business Insider, Kawaja said about his latest version…

“Given how consumers ignore banner ads, these new consumer – friendly formats are proving to be the engine for how marketers can engage audiences, especially in social and mobile contexts.”

Let’s hope he his right with his perception. I realized some brands of emerging companies are missing in the chart, maybe as it is an American view, maybe because we are often getting invites to the latest new start-up in this field, maybe as we see the world a bit different. Still, Kawaja and his team have done a good job again. Let’s hope he is joining dmexco 2014 again.

Lumascape Native Advertising

The answer to meaning in B2B marketing

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For years, I have been working in the B2B industry and have looked, maybe a bit envious, at those friends who were working for BMW, MINI, Red Bull, LVHM, going to fancy parties with the guys from GQ, or those who enjoyed other sexy lifestyle moments out there in the B2C universe. When I was telling stories about B2B channel strategies, brand campaigns of mainframe providers, B2B community communication, and even if it was around web TV in the year 2000 and around brands like IBM, HP, Intel or Avaya, nobody seemed to be excited about B2B marketing the way I was. Not many eyes smiling (only with a sense of sympathy maybe). Not many questions were raised or asked. Not much fun.

Being a B2B marketer can be a challenging and somehow self-motivating task. But there are reason why I have never lost the energy in being one. And the funny thing with user-generated content and storytelling is that I do not even have to write why I do what I do (maybe good and bad that is). I just had to listen to those like-minded souls out there on Twitter, expressing their inner feelings and their drive for the fun in a B2B world.

Dough Kessler really took his approach to “The Search for Meaning in B2B Marketing” but I would sign this for my career as well… and just have to curate his great presentation in order to make people understand my career and my B2B marketing story.

THX Dough!

The Search for Meaning in B2B Marketing from Velocity Partners

Content: Secrets of a killer blogpost (Infographic)

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Many marketing, PR or product managers think about starting their own blogs when joining one of our inhouse or open seminars. And for most of them, it has become a challenge just finding the right topic that makes them outstanding with their product or service offering. This is not surprising, bearing in mind that there were already 74.874.233 WordPress websites out there when I wrote this post – and when you think about Blogger, Typepad, Tumblrs and all of those enterprise blogs, it becomes a mission impossible to find a niche that helps building brands.

Now, the guys at WhoIsHostingThis.com have published some helpful infographic which give us some quite good arguments on what matters when you start blogging.

Which Content?
There is no magazine without a smashing title. Ideally, you write about the topics you are an expert in. As people will want credible, meaningful and authentic blog posts, this is the only way to get your readers attention. Then, check out what readers do want, discuss and share on your topic via social media monitoring. This will make your content interesting and will prevent you from writing content that nobody reads.

Original or Curated?

If you have got the time to write original content, go for it. It’s the best for your reputation and shows your own mindset. And most importantly, Google likes original content which is more likely to rank better. Whenever, there are guest bloggers who want to contribute to your website, invite them.
However, the truth is that if you curate your competitor’s content or third party content from time to time (with a back link!), you jump into their fish-bowl. The easiest bit is if you use their infographics, webinars and branded industry blogs to expand their ideas and thoughts.

Consistency? 

Find your style and stick with it. People want to feel “at home” and comfortable. Figure out when most people share your updates, or when it’s better not to send them live. If you can afford it, stick to an editorial calendar as people love publishing source they can rely on finding the relevant set of information that stands out.

Good luck (and if you need help), we are here to advice…

How-to-Write-a-Successful-Blog-Post

How social search helps marketers boost their brands (Infographic)

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How important do you see social search for your brand or your company? Not much. Well, you might reconsider this answer when you have read some of the stats provided by Prestige Marketing in the following infographic.

The compilation of figures and data gives some insights in why brands need to understand the benefits of social search.
- When exposed to relevant branded media, consumers are more likely to click your information: search click-through rates increase 94%.
- Comparable to the Nielsen findings some months ago, 78% of consumers trust personal recommendations over search result rankings.
- In order to make purchase decisions, 48% of digital buyers use search and social media for their buying decisions.

“Social search engines use data from social networks and online relationships, including rating, shares, and likes, to determine the display order of search query results,” claims the infographic.

The following infographic will tell you more about a toppic you might not really be spot on…

trends-in-social-search-infographic

Study 2014: What marketers see as their top priorities

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Obviously, all marketers are ROI-driven – or made to think that way. Not surprising then, the top priority in digital marketing comes to be increasing the conversion rates (47%), followed by increasing/improving brand awareness (46%) and collecting/measuring/using behavior-based data (29%). This is the outcome of the latest study by ExactTarget entitled “2014 State of Marketing”. The report, conducted between October and November 2013, gives insights from over 2,600 global marketers.

ExactTarget-2014-top-priorities-exacttarget

Although I would have expected from our conversations with clients that demand generation comes in as one of the top priorities, only 28% of the marketers said acquiring new subscribers, improving channels (24%) and leveraging actionable data is among their main challenges for 2014.

ExactTarget-2014-success-metrics

The good sign for publishers, consultants, advertising platforms and marketing service providers is that 98% of responding marketers plan to increase or maintain their digital marketing budgets. The rise in digital marketing spends goes primarily to data and analytics (61%), marketing automation (61%), email marketing (58%), social media marketing (57%), and content management (57%).

ExactTarget-2014-budgets

Spot On!
It would actually be interesting to have a study that asks marketers what they define as social media marketing. Why? Interestingly enough, only 34% of those marketers find ROI in social media marketing. As of a lack of definition, we cannot argue whether there is a misunderstanding in the definition or in the company’s approach to social media. Still, only 52% think their social media activities will actually pay out in ROI. But when Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are cited as the most popular social channels for the respondents, I doubt that their social media approach is properly understood. At least there are positive signs when the repondents see that Google+ gets more impact with 18% planning to start in 2014.

The Viral Spiral: An Interactive Infographic by Unruly

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Unruly Viral SpiralIn an interactive infographic called “The Unruly Viral Spiral”, we get to see the value of social video and what it has achieved in the last eight years from 2006-2013. The graphic visualises that the top three branded videos have massively increased in shares. Since Old Spice had their massive success the top three brands have seen an increase of 613% since 2010. Interestingly enough, this year beats all records. 40% of the top 20 videos of all-time came out this year. From these, the leading ten generated 28,8 Mio. shares (an increase by 52% since 2012!).

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