7 Online Takeaways

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7 Online Takeaways


Jun 13, 2017 by Mark Maier

Online Marketing success can be measured a number of different ways and a recent Forbes article points us in the direction of 7 proven strategies as provided by Jayson DeMers...

"The marketing world changes quickly, whether it’s from the emergence of new technology or a new strategy that everyone’s going crazy about. Last year, I created, distributed, and analyzed data from what I called the “What Works in Online Marketing” survey (2016 edition) to figure out exactly where the industry was—and where it was headed.

This year, I took the survey and redistributed it to a mix of previous and new participants to determine just how much those attitudes have changed. Below, I present some of the most important findings, and what they mean for the world of online marketing, but you can download the entire report—for free—right here.

Introducing the “What Works in Online Marketing” Survey

The survey contained dozens of questions about online marketing tactics like content marketing, SEO, social media marketing, influencer marketing, and link building. It asked participants (online marketers and small business owners) about which strategies they were using, how they were using them, how much they planned to spend, and what kind of results they were seeing.

Overall, 376 people responded, and I was able to draw some broad conclusions about the state of the industry from those participant responses.

The Big Takeaways

So what were those important conclusions?

1. Marketers are happy to spend more.

First up, marketers are planning to increase their budgets—all over the board. A whopping 45 percent of marketers say they are going to increase their “overall” marketing spend, and another 30 percent are going to keep their budgets the same. For almost every individual strategy I listed (including content marketing, SEO, and influencer marketing), most marketers followed the pattern—especially for social media marketing, where 95 percent of marketers are planning to keep or increase their budgets.

2. Social is still big, and you-know-who is dominating.

As the previous metric undoubtedly suggests, social media marketing is still a big deal. When the survey asked about ROI, social media marketing had the top percentage of participants claiming they saw positive ROI from the strategy, at 44 percent. Within the social media realm, Facebook is still the king; 88 percent of participants are currently using Facebook for their brands, and 53 percent list it as their best-performing social platform in terms of ROI. Marketers are also happy with Facebook ads; for the first time, the same number of participants are using Facebook ads and Google ads, at 68 percent each (though Google ads are still seeing a higher overall ROI).

3. Instagram is the fastest-rising star.

The biggest disruptor in the survey was Instagram, a platform which jumped from being near the bottom in terms of popularity to being the second most-used social media platform overall. I’ve written before about Instagram’s conduciveness for engagement—so marketers must finally be realizing it.

4. Marketers are happy, but objective results are inconclusive.

Marketers seem pleased, overall, with the effectiveness of their campaigns, yet for almost every strategy, the majority of participants responded that they were “unsure” about its return on investment (ROI). There are only two potential reasons for this; either marketers don’t understand how to calculate ROI, or they aren’t paying attention to the metric. Neither is good in the long term.

5. The top modes of content are…

I also asked participants what content mediums they most often use to get information about the industry (and other industries). In order, the top results were blog posts, YouTube videos, email newsletters, and long-form content like whitepapers and eBooks. Accordingly, I’m considering these the top mediums for user engagement in the content industry moving forward.

6. Link building is underutilized.

Frankly, I’m perplexed about the state of link building. Inbound links are one of the top two factors in Google’s organic search ranking algorithm, yet 43 percent of marketers aren’t using it at all. It could be due to link building’s perceived difficulty—after all, it’s listed as the third-most difficult strategy to execute—but still, link building is highly underutilized compared to its known effectiveness in SEO.

7. Marketers are eager for what’s next.

Finally, marketers are optimistic and looking forward to the future. Most marketers are increasing their budgets, and many marketers who aren’t currently using specific strategies like social media marketing and influencer marketing are moving to adopt them. In addition, 60 percent of marketers believe social media will only become more effective over the next 5 years, and more than 75 percent of marketers believe that SEO will either never become obsolete, will be unlikely to become obsolete, or else are uncertain about SEO’s future.

Changes From Last Year

So how much have marketers changed from last year? There were definitely some surprises in this year’s data, including a surge in marketers uncertain about ROI and the development of Instagram as a popular social marketing platform, but for the most part, attitudes are largely consistent. Last year was marked with optimism and enthusiasm to invest more heavily in online marketing, and that trend is (thankfully) continuing. Hopefully, we can keep that momentum going hard into 2018.

Remember, the above analysis just scratches the surface of the data gathered. If you’re looking for even more in-depth takeaways, make sure you download the full report!


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