8 Ways to Tell Your Most Compelling Brand Story
Ben & Jerry’s. Nike. Peloton. REI. Toms Shoes. Warby Parker. Yeti.

These brand names alone conjure vivid images of who they are and what they stand for—and these brands all have incredibly passionate audiences to boot.

That’s in part because each of these companies has a genuine brand story. A brand story conveys the history, purpose, and values of a business in a narrative that resonates with consumers and makes audiences feel emotionally connected.



How do you create a story like this for your brand? Just follow these eight tips from the experts.

1. Know Yourself

Per Lisa Barone, CMO at creative agency Overit, step one for brands is figuring out who they are.

“What do they believe as an organization, what are their brand tenets that will last the test of time, what’s truly unique about their offering, what does their voice sound like?” Barone asked. “So many times we assume that everyone in the organization knows who we are … until someone does or says something that isn’t in alignment.” 

Brenda Della Casa, branding and digital media expert at digital consultancy BDC Digital Media, agreed.

“I cannot tell you how many times I have worked with clients big and small, famous and not, who had no real understanding of their brand,” she said. “They knew their name and logo, but when it came to what they stood for, what their clients really needed from them, and what kinds of messages they were sending, things got tricky.”

This requires some introspection. Or, as Caroline McNally, co-founder of brand strategy agency Global Brand Works, put it, you need to listen, look and leverage:

Listen to customers, prospects, and employees about their motivators when making decisions about your brand.
Look at what your competition is doing and what marketplace trends are.
Leverage this to figure out who you are and what you stand for.
“In order to create an authentic brand story, a company needs to take a clear stand on a particular problem it intends to solve, define its positioning, create alignment between positioning and operations … and be 100 percent transparent throughout its development,” added Andy Mura, head of marketing at onboarding application Userlane.

That’s arguably what Nike did in its recent campaign with Colin Kaepernick, NFL player turned activist.



It was divisive—but proved the brand clearly knows what it stands...
YouTube Advertisers Get New Control over TV Ad Placements [DATA]
We live in a multi-device world – we know that well. But as marketers, we’ve been conditioned to think of our “multi-device” world as a collection of computers, tablets, and mobile devices. Certainly, these are all important devices in our marketing campaigns – but they’re not the only screens capturing our audience’s attention. That’s why Google has recently enabled advertisers to use an additional device type to target in their YouTube campaigns: smart TV screens!

According to Google, users watch over 180 million hours of YouTube on TV screens every day, across platforms such as set-top boxes, gaming consoles, streaming devices like Chromecasts, and countless smart TVs screens. Particularly as younger viewers cut the cord and are unreached by traditional TV and cable ad spots, streaming services like YouTube are an increasingly effective way to reach these audiences.



Advertisers can control the reach of their video campaigns on smart TV screens as they would for computers, tablets, and mobile devices. Within Google Ads, advertisers can set a device bid adjustment for smart TV screens at either the campaign or ad group level. Bid adjustments can either be positive (up to +900%) or negative (as low as -100%, effectively excluding ads from showing on that device).



How will this impact my campaigns?

Of course, we expect users to interact with the TV in their living room differently than their other devices, but early results are promising. Google reports that YouTube ads shown on TV saw an average 35% increase ad recall and 47% increase in purchase intent.

That’s great impact, for sure, but it’s limited to those who see your ad on TV screens. And, as we all know, ads aren’t free – so how effective is advertising on TV screens? I looked at a few hundred advertisers to find out.

Firstly, it’s worth addressing the elephant in the room (specifically, the living room.) According to Nielsen, the majority (58.7%) of all US homes have at least one internet-enabled device capable of streaming to a TV. That’s closely in line with research from Pew that shows the majority of Americans own a smartphone (77%), tablet (55%), or computer (73%).



Not all connectivity is the same when it comes to the reach of our YouTube ads, though. Only about a third (30.3%) of households specifically have a smart TV. As such, we see that TV...
The Ultimate 7-Step Facebook Ads Account Audit for Agencies
Every PPC agency needs to establish a process for vetting prospects. Taking on the wrong clients can result in unnecessary headaches for you, your team, and even your mismatched clients. Most PPC agencies have become well-versed in Google Ads “audits” when a prospect comes to them and needs to understand why their current account isn’t performing the way they would like. The solution is simple: inspect the account and identify missed opportunities.

Unfortunately, Google Ads often takes center stage when it comes to evaluating a prospect’s potential. Facebook is treated like an afterthought or a bonus upsell. The reality is that Facebook can be the primary driving force for many businesses, especially when they want to scale considerably. It’s absolutely crucial to establish a process for auditing Facebook ad accounts so that your agency can put together proposals that convince future prospects to sign on.



One of the most cliché lines in digital marketing is “Facebook ads won’t work for our target audience.” Having worked professionally in this space for a number of years with a variety of (mostly) B2B clients, I can tell you this statement is untrue 99.9% of the time. The reality is that some agencies and advertisers are falling short on optimizations. That’s an opportunity for you to step in and get their account on the right track.

In this article, I will show you how to perform a Facebook ads account audit for prospects in seven simple steps.

Step #1: Check amount spent over time

When a new prospect reaches out to me, I always want to get an idea of not only their current spend, but also what they have spent over time. The way that Facebook optimizes for results is extremely sensitive to spend over time. For example, if you have a conversions campaign that you launch and spend $1,000 in one day, you are going to see a much higher cost per conversion than if you spread that $1,000 over five days.



Understanding how a client has approached budget pacing is one of the first things I look at to gauge potential. As I have stated before, many folks will spend heavily in a short period of time and point the finger at Facebook for their failure to succeed. Allowing Facebook’s algorithm proper time to optimize for any particular audience is key.

The way budget has been spent will also indicate the previous account manager’s...
9 Examples of Inbound Marketing that Bring Customers to You
Some say the best film scores are the ones you don’t notice.

That’s not to say that scores don’t impact moviegoers—quite the opposite, actually. The best film scores make huge impacts on their audiences.





The key is that they do it subtly. As the visuals unfold on screen, the music enhances the emotions of the scenes—without most viewers being consciously aware of it.

Spoiler alert: I’m making an analogy.

The score is to the movie as your inbound marketing strategy is to your brand.

What is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy by which you drive prospects to your website rather than outwardly advertising your products or services.

The idea is that bringing potential customers to your website will familiarize them with your brand and offerings. Ideally, you’ll make a good impression—thus making it more likely that your prospects will go with your product or service when they’re ready to buy.

Outbound marketing, on the other hand, refers to the marketing strategy behind traditional paid media: TV ads, billboards, those insane Vitamin Water posters that make your morning commute worthwhile. The commonality across these ad types is the direct advertisement of a product or service.



Outbound marketing brings your offering to your prospects. Inbound marketing brings your prospects to you.

Why should I use inbound marketing?

Short answer: because it allows you to build trust with high-quality leads who demonstrate an active interest in your product or service.

This is particularly important if your business has a relatively long sales cycle. If your prospects generally take their time to research different offerings and weigh the pros and cons of each, building brand awareness and trust is big.

Let’s say you’re a B2B marketer selling social media management software. Your customers use your platform to create and schedule tweets, Instagram posts, Facebook posts, and the like.



Social media management platform Sprout Social.

Your software is an investment—nobody buys it on a whim. Although your pricing is fair and competitive, potential customers make sure to check out your competitors and educate themselves as much as possible before making a purchase.

Simply pushing your product isn’t gonna cut it. You need to demonstrate value.

You need to cultivate a brand that your prospects not only...
The Complete Guide to Instagram Analytics
Have you looked at your Instagram numbers lately? Perhaps you keep track of your likes or have an idea of your month-to-month follower growth. But have you really explored the analytics and sifted through that data? If the answer is no, it is time to do just that!

Looking at your Instagram analytics will help you understand how the platform is operating as part of your overall marketing strategy, and it will also allow you to improve and grow your business with this powerful, highly populated social platform.



In this guide, I’ll explain why your Instagram analytics matter, and I’ll walk you through all the analytics options available. I’ll point out which data matters most for your business goals so that you’ll know exactly where to focus your attention, and finally, I’ll share a short list of our favorite Instagram analytics tools.

Ready? Let’s get started.

Why Should I Care about Instagram Analytics?

With 25 million+ Instagram business profiles worldwide and over 200 million Instagrammers visiting at least one of these daily, it is  clear that businesses are finding value in this advertising platform. Yet, if you don’t know who views your profile or sees your ads, how your posts and stories are performing, and what value your account is actually driving, then spending time posting on the platform could be a waste.

If you’re not evaluating your Instagram analytics on a regular basis, then you could be:

Targeting the wrong audience.
Posting too frequently (or not frequently enough).
Driving irrelevant visitors to your website.
Driving calls from an ad type that you only used once!
Ignoring mentions that could be leading to future partnerships.
Posting during non-optimal hours of the day or days of the week.
Missing opportunities for brand engagement in your comments or stories.
This is just a short list of the things you could be doing better if you were diving into the data in Instagram more regularly. The information that you glean from the data is going to help improve the way you use the platform so you get more value for your business, which could make Instagram an even more critical component of your online marketing strategy.

Without further ado, let’s dig into the data!

Instagram Profile Analytics

Your profile analytics are the ones you access directly through the “My Profile” page where your posts live...
Google Quietly Introduces New Detailed Demographic Targets
A hard lesson for search marketers to learn is that their ads and keywords are only as good as the people who see them. Google may reach billions of users between the display network and the 3.5 billion daily searches on the platform, but there’s no way that everyone online is equally likely to be your next customer.

In the past, Google has introduced a number of different solutions such as search remarketing, demographic targeting, and recently In-Market audiences to help advertisers reach the right audience online. Advertisers should be pleasantly surprised to hear that Google recently silently snuck in a few new ways to target their best audiences online.

Google’s newest Detailed Demographics targeting option enables you to target your campaigns to different users based on their Education, Marital Status, Homeowner Status, or Parental Status. Advertisers can use this new data to create bid adjustments for different demographics, exclude demographics from seeing their ads, or even exclusively target a highly coveted demographic in their search campaigns.



A Look Inside Google’s New Detailed Demographics

Google has introduced four new detailed demographic targets:

Parental Status

Google first started giving display advertisers control over targeting parents back in 2014. This new audience not only extends that targeting over to search campaigns—additionally, we now have more visibility into the age of those parents’ children. Knowing this detailed demographic information can be key, as common searches like “math tutor” or “boy’s coat” might have very different implications to the parent of a 16-year-old versus the parent of a 6-year-old.

The new detailed demographic targets for parental status include:

Parents of Infants (0-1 years)
Parents of Toddlers (1-3 years)
Parents of Preschoolers (4-5 years)
Parents of Grade schoolers (6 -12 years)
Parents of Teens (13 – 17 years)
It’s also worth remembering that Google does not allow you to target your ads directly toward minors of any age. However, as any child may lament to you, their parents are often the key decision maker in their lives and control most of their purchasing power. Targeting the parents of your younger consumers may prove to be a viable strategy to drive more sales or conversions.

Marital Status

If 2017 taught me anything, it’s that getting married changes everything (...
Google Smart Shopping: Everything You Need to Know
If you’ve read our blog before or watched our WordStream Weekly videos, you know we’ve talked a ton about shopping functionality in the past six months or so. But whether it’s Instagram dropping shopping in Instagram Stories or Google releasing shoppable image ads, no shopping-related announcement has quite matched the buzz Google generated this summer when it introduced Smart Shopping at Google Marketing Live.

With the season finally turning and the holidays upon us, there is no better time to dig into Smart Shopping as a strategy and see if you can convert some of that good old-fashioned seasonal mania into revenue for your business.  



Today we’ll break down all the nuts and bolts of Google Smart Shopping—including what it is, how it works, how to effectively set up Smart Shopping campaigns, and how to use it to augment your marketing strategy as the shopping season ramps up.

What Is Google Smart Shopping?

Smart Shopping is one of Google’s newest campaign types. It uses machine learning to not only reduce the amount of manhours needed to optimize campaigns, but also do more with those hours. Advertisers need merely enter their campaign objective and their budget and Smart Shopping takes care of the rest with automated bidding and ad placements. As such, Smart Shopping ads are tailor-made for vendors with smaller budgets and less time to strategically maneuver them.

As mentioned, less time managing your campaigns doesn’t mean less bang for your buck. Quite the opposite—according to Google, in early testing, advertisers who used Smart Shopping campaigns drove over 20% more conversion value at a similar cost.





Smart Shopping pulls product creative from the existing product feed in your Merchant Center account—which, if you are running standard Shopping campaigns, is already linked to your Google Ads account. Like responsive search ads, Smart Shopping uses machine learning to serve the most relevant combinations of your visual and textual assets to prospects across Search, Display, YouTube, and Gmail. Per Google, the optimization process that goes into producing ads with the highest conversion value possible takes about 15 days.

Google Smart Shopping Campaign Setup and Budgeting

Smart Shopping combines standard Shopping and display remarketing. If you are using those campaign types in your existing account, you should...
Google Smart Shopping: Everything You Need to Know
If you’ve read our blog before or watched our WordStream Weekly videos, you know we’ve talked a ton about shopping functionality in the past six months or so. But whether it’s Instagram dropping shopping in Instagram Stories or Google releasing shoppable image ads, no shopping-related announcement has quite matched the buzz Google generated this summer when it introduced Smart Shopping at Google Marketing Live.

With the season finally turning and the holidays upon us, there is no better time to dig into Smart Shopping as a strategy and see if you can convert some of that good old-fashioned seasonal mania into revenue for your business.  



Today we’ll break down all the nuts and bolts of Google Smart Shopping—including what it is, how it works, how to effectively set up Smart Shopping campaigns, and how to use it to augment your marketing strategy as the shopping season ramps up.

What Is Google Smart Shopping?

Smart Shopping is one of Google’s newest campaign types. It uses machine learning to not only reduce the amount of manhours needed to optimize campaigns, but also do more with those hours. Advertisers need merely enter their campaign objective and their budget and Smart Shopping takes care of the rest with automated bidding and ad placements. As such, Smart Shopping ads are tailor-made for vendors with smaller budgets and less time to strategically maneuver them.

As mentioned, less time managing your campaigns doesn’t mean less bang for your buck. Quite the opposite—according to Google, in early testing, advertisers who used Smart Shopping campaigns drove over 20% more conversion value at a similar cost.





Smart Shopping pulls product creative from the existing product feed in your Merchant Center account—which, if you are running standard Shopping campaigns, is already linked to your Google Ads account. Like responsive search ads, Smart Shopping uses machine learning to serve the most relevant combinations of your visual and textual assets to prospects across Search, Display, YouTube, and Gmail. Per Google, the optimization process that goes into producing ads with the highest conversion value possible takes about 15 days.

Google Smart Shopping Campaign Setup and Budgeting

Smart Shopping combines standard Shopping and display remarketing. If you are using those campaign types in your existing account, you should...
I Spent $4M on Google Ads – Here Were My 6 Biggest Mistakes
After 10 years, millions of dollars, thousands of conversions and sales, and endless blog posts that show how I nailed it and crushed my competitors (most of the time), it’s time to go in a different direction and reveal the biggest mistakes I made with Google Ads.

Looking back at my work, I’m pretty happy with the overall results. I worked for several startups in different vectors, but always managed to build a successful PPC strategy that got the company excellent results, usually higher than expected. But of course, things weren’t always perfect, and I made my share of budget-burning mistakes along the way. There are a few things I regret doing, and if I could go back in time I would definitely fix them.



Let’s face it, every digital marketer makes mistakes along the way. One of the key elements of what we do is keep testing things and see what works well for us, and improve or eliminate what’s not. What we need to do is learn from our own and our colleagues’ mistakes, so we don’t repeat them.

Keep reading to learn the biggest mistakes you too might be making with Google ads, and how to avoid them.

Let’s get started.

1. I tried using way too many keywords at once

The very first thing you always do when starting a search campaign is proper keyword research. I won't go on and on about why and how to conduct keyword research, because that’s a subject for a post of its own. What I will share with you is the biggest mistake I made with it.

I used too many types of keywords for marketing a single product.

I made this mistake at one of the startups I was working for in the past. Our Facebook campaigns were off the charts, getting us results which were much better than expected, and at a price that was way below the industry benchmarks, but as the head of user acquisition at the company I wanted more, and I couldn’t get it with more display campaigns.

So at the same time I was putting a lot of effort into our search campaigns. I knew from the beginning that eventually Google would get us the results we were expecting, but I also knew it would take time to get there, and looking back at it, I held our search campaigns back by trying to use too many keywords at once.



The (wrong) strategy was trying to figure out which search terms were right for us, and in order to discover it I used everything I could come up with.

So why was it...

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Unique Visits

202,451
376,013
12,558
345,348

Indexed URLs
Checked URLs
Websites Audited
Web Page Created

28,534
123,407
12,923
15,151

URLs to Index
Keywords Tracked
Words Analyzed
Updated

112,515
12.311
68,512
08 Dec 2018