#AdHacks: The five factors of data-driven Content Marketing

Content marketing is now a mainstream activity for all marketers and will continue to be used more and more because of this known factor: the web is a matrix of locations and applications that people use to explore and share ideas, exchange information and purchase goods, products and services. Some of those goods, products and services require long purchase considerations like houses, cars or cloud computing providers. Others are quick wins, like clothing, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs) and accessories. Content acts as a currency to help as a conversation piece in a world moving ever more toward a "Social By Design" aesthetic.

Yet when strategists and marketers plan their content marketing to drive results around brand awareness, visits to their owned channels or inciting social conversation around a topic in which their product/service intersects, they seem to focus on measuring content performance using vanity metrics (likes, shares, comments, impressions) and focus less attention on the differentiating factors in the equation to help with content marketing creation and discovery.

The five factors used in data driven content marketing creation and discovery to help differentiate your offering from competitors and a crowded web of content are the following:

1.) Search and Social Data - Who is your customer? How are you using APIs to gain more information about what they like, share and search for? Have you used keyword research tools to determine what people are searching for prior to ever creating content?

2.) Creative Insights - What form of content does your audience engage with most? Have you tested different types of creative on segmented audiences? If you're a retailer, have you used different objectives and ad formats within social and search? If you create solely text in the form of a blog, how do you know if your audience won't enjoy audio more?

         

 

Or, perhaps they'd prefer video instead?

         

 

3.) Trending Topics - Although Twitter seems to be the most real-time in terms of all the platforms in our fast moving and connected world, more platforms are creating algorithms to document what people are searching for and sharing. Facebook, Google, Bing and Snapchat aren't just great platforms to amplify information, but to harness data to better inform how your content intersects in the zeitgeist of the human condition. How have you used this to plan more contextually and emotionally resonant content?

4.) Social Listening - What are customers saying about your area of expertise or competing products? Better yet, what are customers saying (both good and bad) about your products?

5.) Distribution - Although the goal of content marketing is to create contextually relevant experiences in order to capture customer mind share or persuade an individual toward purchase, good content on its own never rises to the top in an economy of abundance and lack of attention. Content may be king, but distribution is its queen and just like in the game of chess, the queen is the most powerful piece on the board! All platforms should not be treated equally; a lack of distribution planning can basically end any grand content marketing objectives you had in mind.

After considering these five factors, ask yourself this very important, but often overlooked question before creating any content: what is the user experience you are trying to build or intersect with around the human behavior of your audience? Did you take into consideration that there is no longer a single front door to get to your content, but back doors, side doors and various other portals to entry and discovery? Have you taken into consideration that although the majority of content marketing has become heavily synonymous with social network distribution, that customers are also conducting searches and using specialty apps?

My best bit of parting advice is, in order to gain the most from your content marketing initiatives, you should always have both AdWords and Bing Ads search engine marketing campaigns running alongside your paid and organic social content marketing efforts. Social helps generate awareness, while search helps capture customer intent.

This is especially important because the user journeys we create in marketing plans don't work as fluidly in real life due to irrational behaviors and distractions. While we want to think that people will simply move from the content discovery phase to your "call to action" in one motion, a large majority of people need to pause and come back to learning more about your offerings/solutions/services/products/beliefs/messages at a later period and the majority of the time, it's on a different device using a different platform for discovery. Understanding this give us, as marketers, a better big picture perspective; although a user may have discovered your content on Twitter, they may recall your brand name and product at a later time via "search" or vice versa.

Planning marketing actions and reactions on all discovery platforms and networks is par for the course for content marketers in this day and age. It is an exercise rooted in human digital behavior than it is in selling. It is also not a "one-size fits all" or "fill in the template" exercise. Yet, in a world fragmenting more and more at a rapid pace, it is essential to help you attain the key area lifts desired in this still emerging space.

For more on this topic, check out our SlideShare presentation:

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Making search more valuable to our lives

bing ads search more valuableWhen was the last time you went a day without using a search engine in some form? From those who default to them to find information or website links, to those who use personal assistants, such as Cortana — they have added unquestionable value to our daily lives and their value could become even greater. In a recent Microsoft study, one-third of people already say they believe that personal digital assistants will be as indispensable as a close friend in the future.

Because of their importance to the way we live, search engines and search powered services hold masses of information about us. What if that information could continue to be put to use to power a new wave of digital services?

Before they can do this, brands must show why consumers should share their information and the value brands can deliver. For example, by offering more transactional benefits, such as coupons and discounts, they can drive more immediate connections to the value of search. For consumers, seeing this instant, welcome benefit shows why they should proactively share. In fact, consumers already see this and say they would share their digital information in exchange for discounts or loyalty points.

When we looked even deeper at the types of information involved, we observed that people are already aware that back-end behavioral data is collected, with 55% globally saying that digital activities such as searches, site visits and purchases are collected by various companies. Consumers also more willingly shared information on the search terms they use when it enabled new digital services, and two-thirds of people chose to share in exchange for a new benefit.

When making conscious and unconscious tradeoffs, willingness to share such activities goes up even more. For new digital services that require data to provide benefits people want, 79% of people will share their search history, while 65% will share their site visits. Only 19% would share purchase history.

Interestingly, however, while transactional benefits, such as coupons and loyalty points are preferred, search has the potential to drive much wider adoption of services that aid in deeper discovery and achievement. For example, brands who can offer enhanced services such as automatic prioritizations or suggestions to help people improve can also significantly drive up willingness to share search information (83% and 89%, respectively).

More and more, consumers expect brands to use information to make their digital experiences more relevant. Over half (55%) say they expect brands to know and help them discover new products or services that fit their needs, and would welcome services that filtered content from technology companies, especially if it helps with discovery or efficiency.

Using search to power product recommendations is a natural connection that people understand. However, the opportunity is there for brands and content providers to take this a step further. Thinking more broadly about how search data can drive increased relevance by tailoring content across more digital activities has the potential to increase consumers’ openness to sharing and improve the experience we have using search in our everyday lives. 

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Now live: Time saving improvements in Bing Ads Editor

We are excited to announce the availability of Bing Ads Editor version 10.8. This update makes campaign set up and management easier and more efficient through improvements in the copy/paste and import/export functions, providing fast access to reports with date range enhancements, as well as through improvements made to advanced bidding functionality, providing you with more options to optimize your bidding strategy.

If you haven’t already upgraded your existing version of Bing Ads Editor, you can do so (or install v10.8 for the first time) from the Download Center here.

App Extensions (US Only)

We’ve added a new ad extension to further enhance your ads: App extensions. App extensions allow you to enhance your ads with download links to your iOS, Android, or Windows app. You will be able to manage app extensions as shared library entities under the Shared Library tab, and associate these extensions to campaigns or ad groups under the Extensions tab. App Extensions work on smartphones, tablets, and PCs, and help you meet two goals at once — more traffic and more app installs!

bing ads editor

Note: Currently, this feature is available only for US advertisers.

Improved Copy/Paste

You can now select a campaign or ad group and create a copy of just the shell without the keywords or ads. The shell includes your campaign or ad group settings like language, device target, demographics and site exclusions. We have also added the ability to copy just the keyword text of the selected keywords to make it easier to paste in an editor like Excel. If you use the “Paste special” option, you can selectively paste different settings of the selected campaign or ad group.

bing ads editor

bing ads editor

Advanced Bid Changes Enhancements

We have improved the “Advanced Bid Changes” feature to make it easier to bulk update your ad group and keyword bids. You now have the ability to use the recommended bid estimates as the new value for your keyword bids or to use them as constraints to avoid setting your keywords bids to any value lower than the estimates.

bing ads editor

Import/Export Improvements

You now have the ability to export the campaign or ad group that is currently selected from the left hand navigation tree using the ‘Export current campaign/ad group’ option under file menu. You will also be able to export all the rows in the current grid to a file using the ‘Export current view’ option.

bing ads editor

Advanced Reporting Capabilities

We have added more performance metrics that can be viewed as columns, including Revenue and ROAS (Revenue on Ad Spend). 

bing ads editor

In addition, you now have the ability to choose the particular campaigns and ad groups for which you want to download performance metrics.

bing ads editor

Finally, we will save up to five custom date ranges in the View Statistics drop down for easy access later.

Download Editor 10.8

If you haven’t already, you can expect to see a prompt to upgrade to 10.8 when you launch your Bing Ads Editor. You can also download the latest version from the BAE download page right away.

We will continue to listen, so please keep the feedback coming on the Feature Suggestion Forum, Twitter, or email Bing Ads Feedback.

Thank you!

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Update on Bing Ads Sales and Account Team

On the heels of our Yahoo Partnership extension announcement a month ago, we are excited to announce Rob Wilk as the new North America VP of Search Sales and Service. He joins us from Foursquare, where he was Vice President of Sales.

bing ads sales account teams

Prior to Foursquare, Rob directed a team responsible for driving optimal search performance for some of Yahoo’s biggest advertisers across US and Canada, including managing the award-winning search optimization and strategy team. Rob was among the first employees of Overture in New York and a founding member of Razorfish’s highly regarded search practice.

We are excited to have Rob join the strong Bing Ads sales team in place today within Microsoft. The team’s rich history in search, now enhanced by Rob’s leadership, will uniquely position Microsoft to deliver the outstanding sales and service experiences that Bing Ads customers require.

We are focused on hiring the best talent to continue building our search organization and supporting the Yahoo managed customers as they transition to Microsoft over the coming months. We look forward to servicing you!

- Rik and Frank

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