All posts by Robert Allen

I am the blog editor for Smart Insights. I manage the Smart Insights blog and frequently write content for it. I'm fervent in my desire to bring Smart Insights' members the most interesting and cutting edge digital marketing advice. I spend my days reading and writing about the latest trends in digital marketing, so if you have some content talking about a new digital marketing technique or an original take on some recent research you can bet it will get me excited. Do please follow me on Twitter and connect with me on LinkedIn. I love any content that will help Smart Insights members plan, manage and optimise their marketing, so get in touch if you want to contribute. When not writing about digital marketing I enjoy scheming and plotting, as part of a broader interest in taking over the world.

Use these tools to speed up your influencer outreach

These tools are especially useful for content marketers who are regularly producing content and need a structured and scalable way of managing their outreach efforts. They help to identify the types of site and key people within your niche that may link to or share your content in order to help amplify your message. Tools such as Kred, Klout and Followerwonk (Twitter specific tool) focus on assigning scores to online users, surfacing those who are likely to be most influential for your given content, search or topic.

Why are these tools important to digital marketers?

They help digital marketers to identify, analyse and contact relevant PR, blogger and other key influencer contacts, usually with the aim of creating backlinks or sharing content. [si_guide_block id="27934" title="Download Expert Member resource – Influencer outreach guide" description="Engage influencers…

Google will stop accepting new customers for Google Site Search at the start of April, and will turn the product off completely in 2018

You know that search box in the top corner of just about every website you visit? There's a pretty good chance that it's powered by Google site search. This means the site is paying Google to use its excellent search functionality to find relevant results for users. If your site's search uses Google Site Search, then we've got some bad news for you. Google has just announced it will be discontinuing the product, and although it will be fulfilling the contracts it already has it won't be allowing anyone to renew after April 2017. This will mean by 2018 the product will be switched off completely, and anyone using Google Site Search will have their site search function automatically switch to Google's 'Custom Search Engine' (CSE) product. This…

Google home, Amazon Echo and other virtual personal assistants will transform ecommerce marketing

2016 saw the rise of connected home voice assistants, such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, but 2017 is the year they mature. Last week, Google announced that its Google Home product would be able to place orders of essential items for consumers in the US. A user can place orders just by asking Google Home to do it, with the only interface being natural speech. This is the ultimate UX experience. Now it's as easy to get Google to pick up some shopping for you as it is to ask your better half if there is any milk left. Google home will send your order to participating retailers, who can then fulfil it. Google has announced it is partnering with major retailers such as Costco, Whole Foods Market, Walgreens, PetSmart, Bed Bath…

Chart of the Day: Online spend surges whilst spending on newspaper advertising slumps

GroupM predicts that global marketing spend will reach an impressive $1 trillion dollars this year. But that increase in spend isn't evenly distributed across marketing mediums. It varies considerably from country to country, so it's worth breaking down the spend across the major economies. Brazil is the only country with digital ad spend falling. This is due to the country being in the grips of the worst recession it has experienced since the 1930s. Elsewhere the trends are broadly positive, especially for digital. We're seeing large increases across the board, with digital ad spend surging by an impressive 30% in India and a strong 15% in the UK. The USA is by far the largest mature economy with the biggest ad market, and digital spend is still increasing by a healthy 9%. TV ad revenue is also growing, though at a…

Facebook announced the US launch of a new 'Jobs tab' and will let users apply to jobs via Facebook

At $247 dollars per user, LinkedIn makes almost double what Facebook does from each of its members. Facebook is a much larger player because it has many times the number of users, but Facebook still probably looks enviously at LinkedIn's value per user. A large part of why LinkedIn users are so much more valuable is because LinkedIn is built around applying for jobs. Many industries are having to compete fiercely for talent at the moment with unemployment at or near historic lows in the US and UK. This makes the ability to search for and hire talent highly desirable for companies of all sizes, and Facebook's latest move shows they clearly are wanting to capitalize on this.

Job posting and application directly on Facebook.

As of February 15th businesses pages on Facebook in the…

These massive trends will change Ecommerce marketing this year

We are now well into 2017. If you are to develop a winning ecommerce marketing strategy you'll need to start planning now. Ecommerce continues to grow rapidly, but with the huge market acting as a magnet to brands large and small, competition will ramp up faster than the total growth of the market. This means customers will be harder to win, easier to lose and fussier on price and user experience. To avoid falling behind the ever more fierce competition, you will need to both be aware of and benefit from the latest trends in ecommerce. These megatrends are global, have huge implications, and are not going to go away anytime soon. Ecommerce marketers will have to integrate them into their planning to be successful in 2017. And if any of you think you can get away without creating a detailed plan - remember that 77%…

Facebook allows third-party measurement and commits to an audit by the Media Rating Council

Facebook has been under fire since the revelations last year that it had been mistakenly inflating the view counts/durations on its videos. This may have influenced how brands spent marketing budgets, but the metrics were just plain wrong. As we saw in my chart of the day yesterday Facebook had been wrongly overstating views by as much as 80% . In response to this and other revelations of widespread ad fraud in the online advertising industry, P&G's Chief Brand Officer announced a series of demands to online ad providers, which they would have to comply with or else P&G would spend its seven billion dollar ad budget elsewhere. The demands were as follows: Adopting one viewability standard – P&G will be accepting the Media Ratings Council (MRC) - validated viewability standard, and expect all its agencies, media suppliers…

Chart of the Day: Facebook's new corrected video view figures show it was never ahead of YouTube on video

Back in 2014, we saw loads of headlines saying 'Facebook is now beating YouTube in video views'. Then came the string of correcting articles pointing out that Facebook was only winning because it counts 3 seconds of viewing as a view, whilst YouTube counts 30 seconds as a view. So clearly it was like comparing apples and oranges, but Facebook still had more apples than YouTube had oranges. Or so we thought. In late 2016 the news broke that thanks to a bug in its video view tracking code, Facebook had been accidentally overstating the length of video views on its platform by 80%. Now new viewing data from Nielsen has shown that since Facebook fixed the error causing it to wrongly inflate viewing counts, the true viewing figures for Facebook's video views are…

Use these landing page creation and testing tools to optimise the conversion rates of your landing pages

Lead generation is a key goal of digital marketing in many sectors. By testing landing page layout, headlines and copy you can increase lead volume and thus potentially sales using cost-effective techniques. By hosting test pages on the servers of suppliers you should be able to bypass the need for agency or IT department involvement to get test up-and-running rapidly. The tools listed in this post will help you design and test pages which improve the conversion rate to lead. SmartInsights has no relationship with any of these tools, we just want to help readers looking to utilise landing page testing tools by pointing them to quality providers.

Key things to consider before purchasing and using these tools:

Ease of use of setting up tests Integration with CRM systems you use or plan to use …

Key lessons from the Strategy and Innovation World Forum

Robert Jones, our research analyst and I headed off to London last week to go to the Strategy and Innovation World Forum, set up by World Forum Disrupt.  The Innovation Directors were attending in force, and with talks from the global heads of innovation from Santander, BT, UNICEF, Vodaphone and other world leading businesses there were plenty of interesting lessons to be gleaned. With over 32 different speakers over the two days of the forum, it would be a bit of an information overload, if I tried to convey everything that was discussed at the event. But it did offer some great insights into the cutting edge of innovation strategy, so I've tried to distil the top 8 talks into just a few bite-sized takeaways that you can learn from and implement when developing your own innovation strategy.

Setting Strategies for uncertain times - …

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