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6 Inspiring Talks to Binge Watch, as Recommended by Expert Marketers

You know how word of mouth is like the Holy Grail of marketing? There’s nothing quite as powerful as someone whose opinion you trust simply saying, “hey, check this out.”

Well, the other day my colleagues and I were talking about talks: conference talks, TED Talks, university lectures, a few candid post-dinner nuggets of wisdom from a tipsy aunt. We were recommending ones we’ve found helpful or inspiring as marketers (whether the topics focused on marketing directly, or were more broadly about professional development and personal growth). Surely other marketers want to know what’s worth watching too, we thought. And nobody wants to sift through an endless YouTube haystack of “find your passion, move to Bali, start a blog, now I’m a millionaire”-style videos to find those shiny needles, right?

Luckily we have a whole list of trusted someones coming to speak at Call to Action Conference August 28-29, and gift bags to hold for ransom if they don’t answer our emails. So we went straight to the source to ask our marketing experts about their favourite talks.

Ranging from strategy to copywriting to user experience to CRO, our speakers for this August know their stuff and have made it to the top of their fields. They’re smart cookies who can suss out what’s worth listening to, and below are some of their sage suggestions. Give ‘em a look and if you have some of your own must-watch recommendations for talks you’ve loved and quote to this day, let us know in the comments!

Want to see the marketing pros featured below talk the talk? Use the code “CTAConfTalks” at checkout for 35% off all ticket prices for Unbounce’s annual conference this August.

Ross Simmonds, Digital Marketing Strategist and Founder of Hustle & Grind

Find him on Twitter:@TheCoolestCool

CTAConf 2018 Talk: Beyond Google: How to Attract Relevant Traffic Through Diverse Channels

Recommends: Conversion Copywriting and the Death of Guesswork by Joanna Wiebe

“The biggest insight I took from Joanna’s talk was the process you take people through when it comes to conversion optimization. Specifically, the importance of not leading with the project but instead leading with the pain. Start by talking about the problem and the agitations, then reveal the solution.

Runner-up: The Surprising Power of Small Habits by James Clear

“This is a great rundown of mental models and techniques that can help people be more productive. It shows marketers, professionals, and any entrepreneur the value of the little things. The story around compounding efforts leading to expertise is a message I think more people need to understand and embrace. No one starts as an expert. No one starts as the best of all time. It’s persistence and a layer of consistency around small things that compound to make up the skills that differentiate the best from the rest.”

Veronica Romney, Founder and President of SoLoMo Inc.


Find her on Twitter:@vromney

CTAConf 2018 Talk: Going Beyond the Basics of Facebook Advertising

Recommends: Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Action by Simon Sinek

“This talk came to my mind instantly. It’s by far my favourite, and I think the most inspiring, TED Talk for those in marketing and entrepreneurs in general. The points Simon makes can benefit a broad audience of businessmen and women who, like me, can get discouraged by comparisons.

In a nutshell, he describes how the values of a company represent the core of that company and why they have chosen to do business. His “Golden Circle” idea is simple, working from the why of the company to how the company will achieve the why, and what that company will produce. Focusing first on the why of business rather than the how is key in marketing, keeping a client base, and gaining new customers. Because people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

Love recommendations from marketing pros? Don’t miss our interviews with CTAConf speakers April Dunford, Rob Bucci, and Cyrus Shepard for solid advice on product positioning, SEO strategy, and local search.

Momoko Price, Conversion Copywriter and Interaction Designer for Kantan Designs

CTAConf 2018 Talk: Data-Driven Copywriting for Brand-Spanking New Products

Recommends: Growth is Good but Retention is 4+Ever by Brian Balfour

“I absolutely love Brian Balfour’s talk on the importance and impact of optimizing customer retention. It does a fantastic job of summarizing the metrics that really matter when it comes to growing a subscription-based business. This is so easy to ignore when you’re a marketer, since most of us are expected to spend 90% of our time on acquiring new customers and getting the word out about the product.

What’s the point of doing all that work if those new customers never stick around? It’s the equivalent of trying to fill a bucket with a giant hole in it, yet we as marketers rarely think about finding and plugging the hole before adding more water. Brian’s talk clearly maps out and visualizes these metrics in an almost diagnostic way, to give guidance on evaluating your own business’ growth and underscore the power and impact good data has.”

Becky Davis, Director of UX and CRO for Tranzact


Find her on Twitter:@barelyremarkabl

CTAConf 2018 Talk: Conversion Rate Optimization: The Art and Science of Guiding the Drunk

Recommends: The Science and Art of Self Assurance: An interview with The Confidence Code co-author Katty Kay

“My vote is for Adam Grant’s interview with Katty Kay, one of the authors of The Confidence Code. Her book spends time examining the confidence gap between men and women, the reasons behind it, and its effects. It’s really interesting, but that’s not the only reason I’ve chosen it as a favourite.

I chose it because hearing from successful people, men and women alike, who struggle with confidence the way I often do, was comforting for me. That they also over-prepare and stress about tiny mistakes was reassuring. But the biggest impact to me was hearing that if I spoke out, if I asked for things, if I took action, then the results would likely be positive. That pushed me to do so even when I was uncomfortable. I can’t tell you how many times that attitude has opened doors for me because I pushed when I wanted to hold back. If I hadn’t, I would have lost those chances. And every time I did, my own confidence grew and any fears I had became less demotivating.”

Lisa Pierson, The Conversion Copywriter

Find her on Twitter:@piersonlisaj

CTAConf 2018 Talk: I Joined Match.com and Didn’t Get the Love I Expected: Where Was the Onboarding Help When I Needed It?

Recommends: I Got There: How I Overcame Racism, Poverty, and Abuse to Achieve the American Dream by JT McCormick

“I saw a presentation by JT McCormick this year that really moved me. It has nothing to do with marketing or copywriting, but was very inspiring.

There isn’t a video of the talk itself, but I’d highly recommend reading his book I Got There: How I Overcame Racism, Poverty, and Abuse to Achieve the American Dream. In it, he speaks about his difficult childhood and the many hardships he endured. These are not the typical hardships people go through—his were unbelievably difficult. Yet, despite being knocked down over and over again, he managed to not only make something of himself professionally but to not let those events define who he is.

In my own life as an entrepreneur and single mom, almost everything starts and ends with me. There’s no safety net or backup plan. Things can get difficult and they can wear on you. But my life is so much more privileged than JT’s was, and watching his presentation helped me realize that we’re all so much stronger than we think we can be. External events don’t define who we are. And day-to-day life is what you decide it is.

Unbounce’s list of must-watch talks by brilliant speakers (the above experts included) takes place August 28-29th on Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre stage. Check out the full agenda and use the code “CTAConfTalks” at checkout to get 35% off the most actionable marketing event and best experiences you’ll have at a conference this year.

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6 Inspiring Talks to Binge Watch, as Recommended by Expert Marketers

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Ranking in Search in 2018: A Q&A With SEO Pros Rob Bucci and Cyrus Shepard

If Benjamin Franklin were alive today, he’d say there are only three things certain in life: death, taxes, and Google changes.

As search behaviour evolves and machines get smarter, Google naturally adjusts what it serves up. And these changes are often quick enough to feel a bit overwhelming (we’re right there with ya)! But in light of information we have about what Google actually values these days, we have more to work with than ever before. If we know how to execute.

Two people who know a lot about Google’s ranking factors are Rob Bucci, CEO of STAT Search Analytics and Cyrus Shepard, Partner at Zyppy and former Head of SEO and Content Development at Moz. Both speakers at this August’s Call to Action Conference, they’re bona fide search experts who spend their time demystifying the ways of our ranking overlords for marketers like you and me.

So we peppered them with a few questions we couldn’t wait until August to find out—like what’s changed, stayed the same, and how to best achieve SEO success in 2018. Get the goods below and learn more about their upcoming talks at CTAConf right here.

Want to get incredible insights from Rob and Cyrus in person? Use the code “CTAConfSEO” at checkout to get 15% off all ticket rates for the conference until July 31.

Rob Bucci on local search and getting snippeted

SEO-obsessed Rob founded STAT Search Analytics, a rank tracking and SERP analytics platform, in 2011. Since then, he’s worked with clients like eBay, Pinterest, Cars.com, and Thomas Cook Airlines to understand their unique search opportunities and win more business.

He’s also a frequent speaker on search, data mining, and all things analytics. In his Call to Action Conference talk, What Google Serves Up For Local Searches, he’ll dive into the nooks and crannies of (you guessed it) local intent, local search, and how to adeptly navigate Google’s interpretations of both to get in front of the right audience. Read below for a peek at what he’ll share on stage.

Hayley Mullen: Your talk at CTAConf is all about interpreting how Google handles local search. So, how are they doing?

Rob Bucci: Knowing that, with location tracking, etc., you can’t always rely on searchers to explicitly state when their intent is local, you need to look at keywords where that intent can be implied. The question then—before you can optimize accordingly—is whether Google is actually any good at interpreting that implicit local intent. And is it comparable to stated local intent?

For example: [sushi near me] would indicate that close proximity is essential; [sushi in Vancouver] seems to cast a city-wide net; and just [sushi] is largely ambiguous—are you hungry for knowledge about sushi or actual sushi? And what happens with a query like [best sushi], which indicates that quality takes priority over proximity?

It’s Google deciding what those queries mean, so it’s important to understand that decision. There’s no point in optimizing for something that Google can’t or isn’t doing. What we’ve found is that Google is doing a decent job of it, and that there are definitely different ground rules when it comes to different kinds of local intent.

HM: Knowing what you do about Google’s interpretation of local intent, what is the biggest mistake marketers can make when it comes to localized ads?

RB: This isn’t a mistake that’s been made, rather, a heads up based on findings from the research I’ll be presenting. But something to keep in mind is that ads are more likely to appear when a location is specified in the search query, like the city name or neighbourhood. So, if you’re looking for less paid competition, it’s a good idea to target keywords that aren’t geo-modified.

HM: Should local search be a priority for everyone? When does it matter more than less, depending on a business’ needs?

RB: For Google, every SERP is a localized one. We know that it’s one of the more influential factors that Google filters its search results through. So, even if local isn’t important for your business, it’s still worth tracking a sample of your keywords in specific locations so you can see what your searchers are actually seeing.

HM: Let’s talk featured snippets. You’ve said they’re rising in importance, appearing in just 9% of searches two years ago compared to 31% by the end of last year. When creating content, what can we do for the best chance at being “snippeted”?

RB: Focus on creating great content and optimizing that content to appear on the first page. At STAT, we’ve found that 99% of snippets are sourced from ranks two through ten, with a majority coming from ranks three through four (when rank one is the snippet).

You’ll also want to research the types of formats appearing in the featured snippets for keywords you’re targeting, for instance paragraph, list, or table, and match them.

HM: Say I only have one day to try and improve my rankings. What should I focus on first to make the biggest impact?

RB: First thing’s first: spend the time making sure that your Google My Business listings are all accurate, consistent, and complete.

Want even more actionable marketing tips? Read our interview with fellow CTAConf 2018 speaker and product positioning genius April Dunford for advice on successfully launching a new product or offering into a noisy market.

Cyrus Shepard on what matters now for ranking in 2018 (and beyond)

Cyrus Shepard has been in the SEO game for nearly ten years, most recently heading up SEO and Content Development at Moz before founding his own digital agency, Zyppy. He’s written on pretty much every facet of search optimization (check out his Moz profile) and spoken at conferences around the world—with Call to Action Conference up next.

In his talk, SEO Success: One Engagement Metric to Rule Them All, Cyrus will cover what Google’s really watching when it comes to rankings and how to use that information to turn clicks into conversions. So we mined his SEO brain for a preview.

Hayley Mullen: It can feel like Google’s constantly updating its ranking factors. What should always be a priority when we’re trying to rank?

Cyrus Shepard: Google updates its algorithms hundreds of times a year, although only a few of those could be considered major core algorithm updates. That said, the critical SEO success factors stay incredibly consistent. These include:

  • Content that answers the user query
  • Content that’s crawlable and accessible to search engines
  • The quality and quantity of links

HM: What’s been the most significant change in Google’s ranking factors, in your opinion? What do you anticipate for the near and distant future?

CS: The most significant change in the past couple of years, in my opinion, has been the rise of featured snippets. For the first time, we’re actually seeing fewer clicks per impressions as Google is more frequently delivering answers directly in search results.

For websites that win featured snippets, they can often expect more traffic and less visibility. For everyone else, they can expect traffic and visibility to slightly decrease.

HM: Oof—what does that mean for marketers overall?

CS: It’s definitely a dilemma that I don’t have an answer for right now. On one hand, the “no click” search is a growing risk. On the other hand, Google continues to send billions of visits to publishers.

The challenge is that Google maintains monopoly power over search results, so we’re forced to play by Google’s rules and, say, optimize for featured snippets. We continue to give away more data to Google with the understanding that they will reward us with more web traffic, but the amount of data we give keeps rising while Google keeps more of the traffic for themselves.

HM: How much of a difference does speed really make, specifically in regards to AMP (accelerated mobile pages)? What are the top three things we can do to satisfy Google’s need for speed?

CS: Speed is hugely important and not only for AMP. Speed is a huge ranking factor because it impacts so many other elements that impact your search visibility. For example, bounce rate is highly correlated with speed—a site that loads a second slower is abandoned at a much higher rate. This will affect multiple aspects of SEO down the line.

In regards to AMP, they actually have advantages beyond speed that some folks aren’t aware of:

  • These pages can qualify for Google News carousels
  • Google marks them with an AMP symbol, which can increase clicks
  • Chrome pre-renders AMP results, making them load instantly

HM: Your talk at CTAConf is all about what Google’s watching in terms of how people interact with your site. Without giving away the most important point, what’s the one thing Google’s always taking into consideration (and one thing that doesn’t matter as much as we may think)?

CS: Google is likely always evaluating user satisfaction. User satisfaction goes by different names, including task completion, pogo-sticking, dwell time, and more. The basic idea is “does this page answer the user query?” or “does this user need to search other webpages for the right answer?” Exactly how Google does this is up for debate.

A metric that likely doesn’t matter as much as people think is bounce rate. That doesn’t mean it’s not a useful metric—but bounce rate alone doesn’t tell us much.

And with that, our search for answers on search just got a little easier. There’s a lot more knowledge to be shared at Call to Action Conference from both Rob and Cyrus—just two of the many reasons you should totally come! “Use the code “CTAConfSEO” at checkout until July 31, 2018 for 15% off all single, group, and customer ticket rates. You’ll not only learn how to tame the search beast, but hone your chops in every facet of digital marketing too.

Originally posted here: 

Ranking in Search in 2018: A Q&A With SEO Pros Rob Bucci and Cyrus Shepard

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Making Market Forces Work for You: A Q&A With Product Positioning Pro April Dunford

There are only a few instances when I wish I could travel back in time. One is when I’m reading the kid’s menu. One is when I stumble upon Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure on TBS. And one is after I’ve launched a new product or campaign.

You and I may share that last one.

Though we typically know the T’s are crossed and I’s are dotted, it’s the pesky unknowns us marketers wrestle with before a new product launch that keep us up at night. Things like: Is the product’s name right? Is the copy clear, but boring? Clever, but convoluted? Is the value as obvious as it should be?

Beyond messaging, most often, it comes down to whether your product’s positioning is right from the start; whether you set the product up in the right conditions and market category in the first place.

We all know the market is more saturated than ever. But what if, instead of fighting it, we used that momentum to our advantage?

April Dunford is the Founder of Rocket Launch Marketing, the former VP of Marketing for a series of high-growth startups and previous executive at big-wig companies like IBM and Nortel. She’s also a speaker, author and in-demand consultant specializing in product positioning. Advising companies on go-to-market strategy and messaging, she ensures they’re going after the right category and communicating their offering in a way that grabs prospects’ attention and makes its value crystal clear.

Basically, April knows her stuff. And she’ll be bringing her smarts to the CTAConf stage in August! But we have the patience of a toddler waiting for an iPad to charge, so we peppered her with some burning questions in anticipation of her talk. She was the top-rated speaker at last year’s conference, so we know this year’s gonna be good. You can enjoy a little time traveling to 2017 via the clip below:


Check out our Q&A with April below and keep your eyes peeled for the exclusive-to-everyone-who-reads-this-post discount code to see her in person.

First thing’s first: What exactly is product positioning and how does it differ from brand positioning?

April: You might say “Positioning” has its own positioning problem! It’s such a misunderstood concept. For some folks it’s mainly a messaging exercise, while others associate it very closely with branding. But positioning is much, much broader than either of those things.

Product positioning describes the specific market you intend to win and why you are uniquely qualified to win it. It’s the underpinning of your go-to-market strategy and impacts everything from marketing to sales, to customer success and the product itself.

What’s the first thing a client asks when you sit down with them?

April: Most CEOs don’t know it’s a product positioning problem they have. They know their customers have a hard time understanding what their product is all about and why they should care. That confusion results in long sales cycles, low close rates and poor marketing campaign performance.

A lot of the work I do is centered around teaching folks how to create context for their products by focusing on making value obvious to customers. Positioning as a concept isn’t new but, until now, we’ve all been pretty terrible at actually doing the work it requires. I teach companies a process for finding and delivering the best position for their products.

What’s the most common mistake you’ve seen businesses make with their go-to-market strategy?

April: Hands down, the most common mistake I see is companies trying to market to a set of customers that is much too broad. The reasoning is that, by going after a massive market, it will be easier to claim a small piece of it.

In reality, the opposite is true. Broad targeting puts your offering in direct competition with established market leaders that can both out-market and out-sell you. Beyond that, it leads to diluted messaging that waters down your best features and differentiators.

The easier—and far more effective thing to do—is target a smaller slice of customers who are highly suited to your product’s key features and the distinct value they can deliver.

Customers who most acutely feel the pain you address will be the most excited about your solution to that pain. They’ll pay you more, close faster and love your product so much they’ll end up marketing it for you. (Editor’s note: AKA the Holy Grail of marketing.)

Once you’ve established yourself with these highly suitable customers, you can build on your strengths and start to expand your targets to larger markets.

Can you tell us about the most challenging product positioning case you’ve worked on?

April: At IBM, I led the launch of a family of products that demanded an entirely new market category built from scratch. We had to convince customers, experts and analysts that certain market forces existed and would inevitably redraw the lines around existing market categories. On top of that, I had to convince them that IBM was the only company capable of drawing those lines.

There was also a catch: The products we had in that family weren’t particularly innovative on their own, at least not at the beginning. So the story itself hinged on convincing people that all of this revolutionary change was going to be sparked by the innovative combination of some pretty ho-hum products.

We managed to pull it off through sheer guts, a sprinkling of good luck and the deep marketing talent of my team at the time. But mainly, guts.

Your upcoming talk at CTAConf is about how to turn “marketing headwinds into tailwinds.” What do you mean by that?

April: In any market category, you’ll encounter extremely powerful forces that can either work for you or against you.

We often position our products in markets with strong competitors who are already perceived as leaders. Like swimming upstream, or fighting headwinds, we have to work extra hard to win in that environment.

Luckily, most products can be positioned in many different markets that offer greater chances of success. We just have to find ones where that inherent force is pushing us forward, like a tailwind, instead of pushing back on us.

In my talk, I’m going to outline exactly how you can use existing market forces to your advantage and grow revenue faster.

Want to hear this talk at CTAConf 2018? Get 10% off all Early Bird tickets ($80 off for General Attendees) by using the code “AprilCTAConf2018” at checkout.

What should marketers consider, before anything else, when launching a new product?

April: The success of a launch depends on how well you understand three things:

  1. The problem your product solves and the competition it faces.
  2. The true value your product delivers for customers.
  3. Which types of customers care the most about that value and, most importantly, why?

If you’ve got these down, you’ll know exactly who you need to reach, the channels you need to use to reach those people and the value proposition you need to communicate.

What should marketers be doing differently now in terms of product positioning vs. five years ago?

April: We should start doing it! Most companies don’t deliberately position their product. They assume a default positioning based on how they first thought about it.

For example, say you’ve built a new email client. But after you got it into the market, you got some feedback, added or removed features and continued to iterate on it. Now you may have a solution that’s best positioned as a “group chat” or “social network” or “team collaboration tool” instead of focusing on email capabilities.

The market frame of reference you choose will completely change the way customers perceive your product and their expectations around pricing, features, support and your competitors.

Because the markets are more crowded, more competitive and shifting faster than they ever have before, we can’t get away with ignoring product positioning if we want our products to be successful.

Get every actionable detail of April’s positioning framework and go-to-market guide in her upcoming talk at Call to Action Conference, this August 27-29. Use the code “AprilCTAConf2018” at checkout for 10% off single, group and customer rates (that’s on top of the Early Bird discount, ending May 31st)! Want more reasons to go? Click here for a bunch of ‘em.

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Making Market Forces Work for You: A Q&A With Product Positioning Pro April Dunford

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Announcing Call to Action Conference 2018: A Revolution for Today’s Marketing Evolution

Webster’s Dictionary defines a ‘conference’ as, “An event at which industry professionals talk at other industry professionals who’ve stockpiled seven complimentary croissants in their bag to eat later. See also: Room temperature orange juice.”   

Whether it’s to learn some new tricks, make some new connections or drum up some new business, conferences are a necessary (and sometimes cool) part of being a marketer—but not all of them are worth your time. While your typical marketing conference has morphed from weak coffee and dry PowerPoints to free t-shirts and celebrity thought leaders, it can be tough to leave feeling like you’ve really gotten something out of the event.

We saw a need to change the conference experience. Because the experience of being a marketer has changed. 

Marketing now is harder than ever— it’s hyper-competitive, oversaturated and comprised of tired tactics that used to work. We need new solutions to old problems and actionable solutions to new problems. Especially when we’re forking out hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars on a conference ticket (money we could’ve sacrificed to the AdWords gods).

Enter Call to Action Conference.

“CTAConf has set the bar for what a marketing event should be: fun, engaging and insightful. No matter the experience level or skill set, every attendee left with a new set of philosophies and tactics to apply in their marketing practice”

Ray Silva, Strategy Lead at Apply Digital and CTAConf 2017 attendee.

Now in its fifth year (only 55 more ’til we get that diamond!), CTAConf 2018 is going to be more exciting, more targeted and more committed to your future success than ever.

Already sold on joining us? Get 10% off Early Bird tickets by using the promo code “CTAConfRevolution” at checkout.

Why this conference is different (we promise)

CTAConf merges carefully curated, usable content with…well, having a great time. It’s single track, allergic to fluff and ensures you’ll walk away with leading-edge tactics, all wrapped up in an amazing experience you’ll truly enjoy.

We’re talking hands-on workshops, a concert atmosphere, all-you-can-eat snacks and gourmet food trucks, organic networking, a genuinely friendly team and fun parties in the beautiful setting of Vancouver, B.C. (Credit to Mother Nature for that one.)

Even the sessions themselves, held in the historic and fully immersive Queen Elizabeth Theatre, will make you feel less like you’re at a “work event” and more like you’re at a Broadway show about email marketing called Don’t Spamalot. 



Most importantly, it’s designed to deliver practical know-how and future-proofing strategies from true experts covering every facet of digital marketing.

A glimpse at who’s talking and what you’ll learn

April Dunford, Wind at Your Back: Making your Market Category Work for You

April has spent her career launching innovative tech products and is a seasoned expert at getting traction in increasingly noisy markets. Prior to founding Rocket Launch Marketing, where she works with companies on market strategy and positioning, she was VP of Marketing at a series of successful high-growth startups and an executive at global companies including IBM, Nortel and Siebel Systems. She was also the top-rated speaker at last year’s CTAConf (she happens to be equal parts genius and hilarious).

In her talk, you’ll learn :

  • How to shift to a favourable market category to give your marketing programs added velocity
  • How to completely change the way customers think about your offering to remove friction in your funnel
  • The three steps for shifting market categories, from isolating your differentiators to finding your downstream customers and picking the best market current to ride
Rob Bucci, What Google Serves Up For Local Searches

Rob is the founder and CEO of STAT Search Analytics, a rank tracking and SERP analytics service for SEO experts. A developer and entrepreneur in the SEO space since 2005, Rob especially loves tackling big-data challenges in data mining and analytics.

He’ll be bringing his SEO expertise to the stage to teach us:

  • How Google interprets different levels of local intent and what searchers are seeing most often
  • How to refine your SEO keyword lists by comparing SERPs
  • How to better tailor your content to build more targeted ad campaigns that achieve better results
Hana Abaza, Product Marketing: Inside and Out

Hana is the Head of Marketing for Shopify Plus, a division of Shopify that powers some of the world’s fastest growing and most iconic brands (Rebecca Minkoff, Nestle, The New York Times and FAO Schwartz, to name a few). Prior to joining Shopify, Hana led marketing and growth in a variety of industries and has a proven track record for scaling teams, revenue and customers.

You’ll leave her talk knowing:

  • The guidelines for how and when to invest in product marketing
  • How to develop a go-to-market framework for your company
  • How to set up product marketing as a cross-functional powerhouse
Ross Simmonds, Beyond Google: How To Attract Relevant Traffic Through Diverse Channels

Ross is the founder of Foundation Marketing and creator and co-founder of content curation tool, Crate, and Hustle & Grind, an online store for entrepreneurs.

Over the last several years, he’s worked to help some of the fastest-growing startups and a variety of Fortune 500 brands succeed in their digital marketing efforts. His talk focuses on typically under-used and ignored channels as missed opportunities for quality traffic.

During his talk, you’ll learn:

  • What brands can do to spread their story beyond SEO & SEM
  • How brands can leverage communities and other networks to drive consistent traffic
  • Research and data on the importance of diverse channels
  • Examples of what happens when you embrace a more diverse content approach
Krista Seiden, Measurement for Growth

Currently a Product Manager and Analytics Evangelist for the Google Analytics team, Krista is a leader in the digital analytics industry and co-chair for the San Francisco chapter of the Digital Analytics Association. She has nearly a decade of experience in digital marketing, analytics, and product management, having led analytics and optimization at Adobe and The Apollo Group prior to joining Google.

Her talk will cover:

  • What growth marketing really is, beyond the buzzwords
  • How effective growth marketing is rooted in analytics, experimentation, and product development
  • How to strategically measure and use data for targeted growth
Cyrus Shepard, SEO Success: The One Engagement Metric to Rule Them All

Former Head of SEO and Content Development at Moz, Cyrus now runs Zyppy, a fast-growing SEO company. When he’s not consulting with companies big and small on how to improve their rankings, traffic and profits, he travels the world as a speaker, making complex SEO equations easy to understand.

This August Cyrus will take the stage to teach us:

  • How much speed and rankings matter and steps to improve the right areas
  • What “fuzzy” engagement metrics like bounce rate, time on site, pages per visit really mean and what you need to focus on
  • How to use SEO data to improve conversions
Oli Gardner, Content Marketing is Broken and Only Your M.O.M. Can Save You

Oli is not only an Unbounce co-founder, he’s an expert and international speaker on conversion optimization, data-driven design and landing pages (he claims to have seen more landing pages than anyone on the planet).

He’s often the highest-rated speaker at events around the world, including previous Call to Action Conferences. This year, he’ll be talking:

  • Data and lessons learned from his biggest ever content marketing experiment, and how those lessons have changed his approach to content
  • A context-to-content-to-conversion strategy for big content that converts, based on designing for your customer’s “aha!” moments
  • Advanced methods for creating “choose your own adventure” navigational experiences to build event-based behavioural profiles of your visitors 
  • Innovative ways to productize and market the technology you already have, with use cases your customers had never considered

What’s happening off stage

Learn by doing with Unbounce workshops

Get your hands proverbially dirty with interactive workshops on A/B testing, landing page optimization, PPC, analytics and mastering Unbounce for more conversions across every type of digital campaign. A full-day event prior to the conference, the workshops are a chance to work directly with seasoned pros on solutions to real marketing problems. Workshops have been so popular in previous years they were standing room only.

Make your first (or hundredth!) landing page, popup or sticky bar with us at the workshops, and learn all the insider tips you can take home to your team.  

Eat to your stomach’s content, on us

Call to Action Conference food trucks
When we say free food, we don’t mean “Enjoy these sweaty muffins! If you want lunch, there’s a Chipotle two blocks away.” We mean constantly replenished drinks, foodie-approved snacks and a lunchtime convoy of the city’s finest food trucks delivering everything from truly tasty salads to life-changing mac ‘n’ cheese. All included.

Meet, connect and party with great people


Call to Action Conference hovers around 1,200 attendees for a refreshingly intimate experience with the buzzing energy of a big-time event. Meet fellow passionate marketers from cities all over the world, mingle with industry leaders and see just how stereotypically Canadian the friendly Unbounce crew is.

“CTAConf was amazing! My favourite part? The caliber of attendees and the energy they brought. Met so many remarkable marketers!”

—Jes Kirkwood, Head of Content Marketing at ProsperWorks and 2017 attendee.

Soak up Vancouver at the best time of year


Business and pleasure do mix! Especially in summer. CTAConf 2018 is happening August 27-29, smack dab in the middle of Vancouver’s sunshine season. Take a seawall stroll between sessions, taste-test your way through a diverse food scene, hone your craft beer palate at one of many world-renowned breweries or tack on an extra day and get outside the city to those calling mountains. We turn into human prunes waiting out months of rain for a Vancouver summer and it’s totally worth it. Come see for yourself.

Enjoy champagne hotels at boxed-wine prices


We’ve secured 40-50% discounts on rooms at the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver, Fairmont Hotel Vancouver and Delta Hotels Vancouver Downtown Suites, exclusive to CTAConf 2018 attendees and just steps away from the conference venue. Rooms are at first come, first serve and book up fast so grab yours ASAP and prepare your senses for the fluffiest of robes.

Join the revolution

Call to Action Conference 2018 is coming up fast and early bird prices are ending soon. Get your single, group or customer ticket before May 31, 2018 and come hold us to our promise. You’ll leave feeling inspired, energized and ready for marketing victory with tactics and strategies you can put into action the very next day. In other words, you’ll really get something out of this.

Don’t forget to sweeten that Early Bird deal. Use the promo code “CTAConfRevolution” at checkout to get 10% off all ticket rates. See you in August!

P.S. If you’re joining us from the United States, you’re in luck. Ticket prices are in Canadian dollars. Your boss basically can’t say no (and if you happen to be the boss, you can take your whole team). You’re welcome, eh.

Original article: 

Announcing Call to Action Conference 2018: A Revolution for Today’s Marketing Evolution

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437 Digital Marketers Went Head-to-Head with a Conversion-Predicting Machine — Who Reigns Supreme?

Being a digital marketer is an exciting gig. Ad platforms, best practices and tools change at warp speed, meaning you’re always learning and you’re never bored.

But it’s a tough gig, too. As competition stiffens and we spread our time and resources across more and more platforms, it’s harder to get our message seen, and we yearn for the results we once (perhaps) took for granted.

In 2004, the internet became the highest grossing channel in advertising expenditure, and it’s been on the rise ever since.

Image via Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends report.

That up-and-to-the-right blue line means that acquisition has become more competitive than ever.

Couple this with a rising average cost per click and cost per conversion, and you’ve got a hefty task at hand: Cut through the search noise, create a compelling digital experience and interpret and apply tens of thousands of data points all while coming in under budget.

President of global digital agency Mirum and 2017 Call to Action Conference speaker Mitch Joel doesn’t see this as a problem though — he sees it as an opportunity:

I’m more of an opportunistic person — I see this and think, ‘Wow, this is going to be a very interesting and dynamic time for people who really want to build better relationships with customers.’

It’s no wonder that marketers are looking at advances in automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence and asking, “How can I capitalize on this opportunity?” 

AI technology is already infiltrating all aspects of society, from the fleet of self-driving cars Google is testing, to the anti-snore wearable Sleep.ai you go to bed with to the Amazon Alexa smart speaker in your living room.

What these machines have in common is that they’re designed to make life better for humans so we can spend less time commuting, tossing and turning or shuffling through our record collections and more time on the things that matter.

To fear or not to fear the machine, that is the question

Pop culture is rife with dystopian visions of a machine-dominated future. But we’re already seeing AI technology being used to complement human ingenuity and serve the greater good.

IBM Watson Health, for example, analyzes vast amounts of data (gathered via peer-reviewed research, doctors, family health history, even your FitBit) and leverages machine learning technology to recommend data-backed patient care plans.

From a marketing perspective, AI technology can be used to help marketers make better decisions about where to focus their efforts, and to create smarter tools that present prospects with the right offer, in the right place, at the right time. To — as Mitch shared with me — “create marketing [using] assumptions and knowledge that I myself may not even be aware of as a customer.”

Mitch says marketing AI goes beyond presenting relevant offers based on past purchases, but rather presenting offers that prospects will definitely act on or — at the very least — that the technology will “leverage and [learn] from to make it better and better each time — that sort of iterative learning that makes it better with each experience.”

Carl Schmidt, Unbounce co-founder and CTO, keeps a close eye on the digital marketing landscape and how AI and machine learning can — and in some cases already is — helping the digital marketer.

Carl says AI is already being used “to automate ad purchasing, create ad copy, score leads, identify customers at risk, select ad creative, run tests and more.”

Tomorrow (or in the near future rather) AI will empower marketers “to offer highly personalized marketing experiences,” says Carl. “Digital touch points (web, mobile, chat, automated voice) will understand the visitor’s context and preferences and construct messaging that is much more relevant; almost like a digital salesperson.”

Beyond that, Carl says AI could be leveraged to “deliver digital personas; online avatars that perfectly exhibit brand values and have a complete understanding of the brand’s products and services.”

Unbounce CTO Carl Schmidt talking about the future of AI and marketing at Unbounce’s Call to Action Conference.

Over the past 12 months, Carl and a team of data scientists and conversion optimization experts at Unbounce have been using machine learning to analyze hundreds of thousands of landing pages built in Unbounce.

The team believed they’d hit a significant milestone when they built a machine learning model that could predict whether landing page conversion rates are above or below industry averages with 80% accuracy.

But Carl and his team were eager to know how impressive that really was. Could human marketing experts do better?

Machine vs. Marketer: The challenge

Ever since chess champion Gary Kasparov’s stunning loss to IBM supercomputer Deep Blue more than 20 years ago, “man vs. machine” matchups have been used to gauge the advancement of AI technology.

In 2011, supercomputer Watson defeated Jeopardy! Champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter in an epic two-day match.

And just a few months ago Google’s AlphaGo defeated world champion Ke Jie in the ancient Chinese game Go. The game, which originated some 25 centuries ago, is known as one of the most challenging games ever created — one that you can spend your whole life mastering.

While we believe the future of marketing isn’t a question of “machines vs. marketers”, but, rather, machines helping marketers, let’s face it: everyone loves a good showdown.

A few weeks ago we welcomed 1200+ digital marketers to the fourth annual Call to Action Conference in Vancouver, Canada, just a couple blocks away from Unbounce headquarters.

As Carl said during his opening remarks, it was a perfect opportunity to test our AI technology against some of the savviest marketers in the world. But it also gave us the opportunity to “gauge customer reaction [and] educate and enlighten” (a.k.a. turn AI skeptics into believers).

“We’ve encountered folks who’ll tell us they’ll ‘never trust a machine,’” Carl says. “Or they ‘will always know better than a machine.’”

Marketers trying their hand at beating “The Machine”.

What they came up with was a mobile web challenge for attendees to test their conversion-predicting abilities against the machine they’ve been working on.

Here’s how it worked:

  • Using their phones, attendees were presented with one of 204 Unbounce-built landing pages.
  • Analyzing only the copy, the AI technology predicted whether the page had an above or below average conversion rate, as benchmarked against thousands of landing pages built in Unbounce.
  • Participants analyzed the pages at the same time and were asked to make their own predictions.

In total 427 digital marketers (including conference speakers and experts like Mari Smith, Joel Klettke and Talia Wolf) attempted to outsmart the machine.

But the human marketers were no match for “The Machine”. Like its predecessors (Deep Blue, Watson, AlphaGo) “The Machine” reigned supreme:

Not even the expert marketers were able to beat “The Machine”.

On paper, 2017 CTAConf speaker Joel Klettke is the perfect opponent. His expertise is conversion copywriting, and he promises his copy will “turn skeptics into advocates and prospects into paying customers.”

Because the algorithm only parses copy, you’d think these two would have a pretty fair fight, but no dice.

Joel, who got 57% correct, explains why he found the challenge so tricky:

“The tough thing is knowing what to look for and getting past your own biases. Some niches, offers and designs just hit me as “yuck.” Even as a copywriter, it takes some serious time to get into the shoes of the people you’re trying to write for; to understand what appeals to them or not.”

Kidding! Please don’t do this.

While we definitely do not (I repeat DO NOT) recommend firing your marketing department and hiring robots, the results provide us with a glimpse into the future of digital marketing, and how AI-powered conversion tools and insights will amplify our marketing efforts to build truly outstanding marketing experiences and better conversion growth.

Despite losing to “The Machine,” Joel seemed genuinely excited about what the challenge might indicate for the future of marketing and AI:

I think it tells me there’s room for some AI help out there. It’s not a wholesale replacement for research, critical thinking, empathy… but it’s a good barometer for how well you’ve put those elements together, at least from an algorithmic standpoint.

I’m excited to see what will happen when the machine gets better at accounting for context, like niches or types of offers. Many of the times that I beat the machine, it was because I understood how heavy a commitment the page was asking for and knew it’d drive conversions way down.

But, ultimately it opened my eyes a bit to how AI is going to gun for all of our jobs. Until then, we stand to gain a lot by playing nice with it.

Looking ahead to AI-powered conversion optimization

Yosem Sweet is Unbounce’s Director of Business Optimization. He’s been working closely with Unbounce’s data scientists to develop applications of AI to conversion rate optimization.

I asked Yosem to explain how this was possible:

AI-powered conversion optimization leverages a computer’s capability to process large amounts of data to find patterns. These patterns are then used to help the conversion optimization process by: reducing the time needed to generate winning hypotheses, reducing the effort needed to make better pages and (hopefully) finding unexpected solutions to conversion problems.

It’s interesting, no doubt, but how it might look is the cool part.

Yosem says there are a lot of different forms AI-powered conversion optimization will take, “everything from copy suggestions and auto-layout of content to strategic recommendations on driving specific traffic sources for a campaign.”

“The sky’s the limit,” says Yosem, “but before we get to the utopian future, we’d like to start by using AI to help marketers understand where they should focus their optimization efforts. Traffic? Copy? Design? Offer? And which pages have a lot of opportunity for improvement?”

Ultimately Yosem wants to “free marketers up to focus on the creative and strategic aspects of their job.”

Again, giving marketers back precious time is the key here — augmenting their toolkit to help them provide over-the-top amazing marketing experiences and, ideally, giving them superpowers.

And if you too think that, as Joel puts it, AI will be gunning for our jobs, Facebook marketing expert, author and CTAConf speaker Mari Smith begs to differ. She insists that there will always be a place for real-life marketers:

Us humans can sometimes be unpredictable and will always crave real, human-to-human connecting. Businesses that go the extra mile, that provide extraordinary customer service and excellent post-sales follow-up and that surprise and delight their best customers…these are the businesses that will stand out and thrive in the long run.

(Cue collective sigh of relief.)

What this means for digital marketers

Here’s the thing: Most marketers either don’t know what a good conversion rate is or can’t tell if a particular page can achieve its target conversion rate. This data just hasn’t been available, so even the most seasoned marketers rely on anecdotal evidence and gut instinct to determine these benchmarks.

AI technology can help bridge this gap.

I asked a handful of marketers what this type of technology might mean for them, and no matter how tiny (or robust) there team was, the reaction was the same: AI-powered conversion optimization would amplify their results and multiply their time.

Johnathan Dane is founder and CEO of Klientboost, a fast-paced PPC agency based in Irvine, California.

When he’s not speaking at CTAConf (he’s done so the last two years) he works with his clients to get them the best results for their PPC spend.

For Johnathan et al, AI-powered conversion automation would mean zooming out from the nitty gritty details and spending more time doing the things he loves.

We’d be able to strengthen our retention rate even more than it is now (one of our core focuses behind the curtains).

It would allow us to shift our resources towards other things that help grow our business, like using time to build partnerships, launch new marketing campaigns, create more of the content that has gotten us known on other platforms.

CTAConf attendee and marketing specialist Kelsey McFarlane of Orchestra Software shared a similar sentiment. The company she works for builds business software for craft brewers and distilleries.

Competition in her industry is minimal, since many of their competitors are not currently using digital marketing. But her team is small, so anything to amplify their efforts is huge.

We’re a really small marketing team — there are only three of us. So for us to gather the data to create the landing pages and then distribute [resources] to do A/B testing — we would be able to cut down on how much time is spent doing something that computers can already do for us. So it could streamline our team and make them pay attention to the more important aspects of what’s going on.

Joel on the other hand says he would spend more time not doing work.

A part of me wants to say I’d put that time into building out my other business ventures, trying to future-proof myself and make sure I’m constantly offering services that are relevant and robots can’t steal. But, honestly? I’d probably just get my projects done earlier, and then try to get outside. Life’s short, money is fleeting, and fresh air is important.

Start integrating AI insights into your marketing today

No matter how smart, no matter how scrappy your team is, if you don’t start leveraging the power of AI in your marketing efforts, you will be at a competitive disadvantage.

In the near future, AI will amplify your marketing efforts and multiply your conversions, but more importantly, it will free up your time to focus on the most creative and impactful parts of your job. .

Johnathan explains it best: “Too many people think that they need more money to grow their business (which is easy), carving time is the hard part, and that’s what AI would help us with.”

As Unbounce’s AI gets smarter and we learn more about the variables (copy, images, form fields, traffic sources, etc.) that influence conversion, we will be sharing our learnings and insights with our customers and readers.

We recently released the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report — an analysis of 74,551,421 visitors to 64,284 lead generation landing pages created in the Unbounce platform this year.

The Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report is filled with industry-specific data, graphs and actionable takeaways.

The report provides marketers across 10 popular industries — including real estate, higher education, legal and more — with data-backed recommendations around copy length, emotion and reading ease. More importantly, it answers the previously unanswerable question, “What is a good conversion rate for my industry?”

Start working AI technology and insights into your landing page optimization process today — download the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report and find out what’s a good conversion rate for your industry.

Start implementing AI insights into your landing pages today

Get the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report and learn what copy converts for your industry
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Excerpt from – 

437 Digital Marketers Went Head-to-Head with a Conversion-Predicting Machine — Who Reigns Supreme?

Facebook Ad Expert Mari Smith Reveals Missed Opportunities (And What’s on the Horizon)

Facebook has over 1.28 billion daily active users.

To have more than a billion prospects in one place, literally at your fingertips, is a marketer’s dream (thanks, Mark Zuckerberg!). But turning those prospects into customers… well that’s another story.

As marketers, we know that a stellar Facebook campaign is made up of a lot more than clever copy, snazzy design and a hefty PPC budget. In a constantly changing environment of new features, products and ad units, it can be tricky to stay ahead of the pack — let alone stand out.

Facebook’s granular targeting makes it more possible than ever to reach the right person, in the right place, at the right time. But only marketers who are committed to making connections with real people and then maintaining those relationships will come out on top.

If there’s one person that knows this best, it’s Mari Smith.

Named Forbes’ #4 “Top Social Media Power Influencer,” Mari is one of the world’s leading social media thought leaders and educators in the world of marketing. Her knowledge of Facebook runs so deep that she was personally hired by the folks at Facebook to teach SMBs throughout the US at the Boost Your Business series of events.

Mari’s speaking at our Call to Action Conference this June, and here’s a quick word from the Facebook Queen herself.

PSST: Blog readers get 15% off tickets to Call to Action Conference until May 25th — just use promo code “blogsentme” at checkout

Despite her packed schedule, Mari recently took the time to sit down with Unbounce Marketing Educator Christie Pike to reveal some of her best kept Facebook advertising secrets. In this interview you’ll get Mari’s actionable tips and insights into:

  • Some of the biggest missed opportunities for marketers advertising on Facebook.
  • Companies that are crushing it in the social advertising space and what you can learn from them.
  • The next big thing on the horizon that Facebook marketers should be preparing for and investing in.
Christie Pike: You’ve been active on Facebook long enough to see its evolution from social media network to a performance tool not unlike AdWords. How has this changed the way that marketers run Facebook campaigns?

Mari Smith: The main thing to consider is the enormous amount of data that Facebook gathers, not only on the platform itself but in partnership with data companies. So every time you use your credit card, every time you make a purchase, surveys that you complete, any information that’s out there is moved into a kind of personal dossier that then gets matched with your Facebook ID. Because of all of this, people get scared and freaked out, Big Brother and all that, but it’s all anonymized and encrypted, so from a user standpoint I always say, “caveat emptor”, just recognize that in today’s day and age of privacy, everything is out there.

From a marketer’s or advertiser’s standpoint, it’s an unprecedented time that we’re in.  It’s a paradigm shift in terms of being able to reach the exact person that you want with Facebook’s granular targeting. Down to zip code, down to propensity to possibly make a certain purchase, from going on a cruise in the next six months, buying a BMW in the next three months, income, the number of kids you have, what you do for a career — all of this is just extraordinary.

So, we really do have to think of Facebook as a platform in which to get our message, our products and our services in front of our target market, but done so in a very relationship-oriented way. I think the businesses that are really standing out are the ones that can make us laugh or cry or go “awwww” and tear at the heartstrings — you know, create something that has viral shareability as opposed to how some business send a message that says “Hey, sign up for our stuff,” “Buy our stuff.”  It’s a cold market, you know.

CP: What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen on the ad platform itself?

MS: I would say that a big change is in terms of ad units, which initially were just a link and some basic visuals, but over the years they have a much, much, much more visual emphasis. I especially love the carousel ads you can swipe. I think Amazon is one of the best at doing retargeted multi-product ads. I remember seeing one of its ads that had about 32 cards on the carousel that you could swipe and I asked myself, “How did they know I like all this stuff!?”

And then what they call slideshow, which is really just images made into a video, but definitely the prevalence of video is key. One of Mark Zuckerberg’s favorite words is “immersive,” and so the introduction of more immersive type of content like canvas ads has huge importance in the current ad space.

I worked directly with a video creation company, and they shared a great case study from Brussels Airlines that pull up a canvas ad advertising flights to Mumbai in India. They got something like 27 times more time on site after doing this beautiful canvas ad, whereas their previous Facebook campaigns led to an average of three seconds on site. The reason behind this was because back in the day, ads were just a link with a tiny wee thumbnail, and then they got bigger and turned into GIFs, slideshows, animations, interactive content and full-screen content.

So, between (1)  the ad products (2) the placement and (3) the targeting, I would say those are the three key areas where there are the biggest changes. Placement being whether it’s Instagram, mobile news only or if it’s right rail (which still has its place), but users are in mobile more than anything else.

CP: Who is doing Facebook advertising particularly well? What do you like about their ad campaigns? Can you provide some examples?

MS: My favorite video ad that I include in almost every single one of my presentations is by a fun company called Chatbooks. It’s a simple app (a subscription service) that takes your Instagram and Facebook photos and prints them in a book format, it’s really clever.

They worked with a really good PR/creative agency and hired a professional actress/comedian. From there, they created this three minute and forty-second ad. The ad was first put out on their Facebook page, which had just over 100,000 fans (now over 200, 000). And when I last checked, that video ad had 69 million views and almost 500,000 shares.

This is what I love to teach — when you can craft your content to be visually appealing (ideally video). When people are engaged with it they’ll share it with others.


When you craft your content to be visually appealing, people are engaged + will share with others.
Click To Tweet


I’ve never found a better example than Chatbooks. In fact, I originally saw it in my News Feed as a shared organic post by a friend of mine, and after I watched the full three minutes and forty seconds, I was ready to sign up and buy the subscription!

Another great example is from our friend Rand Fishkin from Moz,  who I know is speaking at CTA Conference this year.

Rand is doing these really great video ads called Whiteboard Fridays. I see the most recent one from April has over 4,600 views and 15 shares.

Whiteboard Fridays. Image source: Moz.

It’s so good because it’s educational and it’s the kind of video ad that you can stop and watch or at least save and watch later. It’s really cool what he’s doing because he’s not saying, “Hey everybody, sign up for Moz, see what we can do for you!” Instead, he’s like, “Hey here’s some education on SEO,” and it’s the kind of stuff that people will stop and save and consume.

One last shout out to my good friend Ezra Firestone and his company called Smart Marketer. He does really amazing stuff with video ads and lead gen.

CP: Unbounce cofounder Oli Gardner estimates that 98% of AdWords campaign traffic is not being sent to a dedicated landing page. If you had to guess, what percentage of Facebook marketers do you think are sending their traffic to mobile optimized landing pages? Do you see this as a missed opportunity?

MS: I would have said it’s probably a lot lower. My guess is that 65% is going to a dedicated landing page on Facebook — I get the sense that Facebook advertisers, for the most part, are a little more savvy. They realize you can’t spend all this money and have a captive audience and then just send them away to figure it out for themselves.

But to Oli’s point, I do see a missed an opportunity — especially when marketers are not really thoroughly checking and having a small test group. It’s important to invest a small amount — about $60 – $100 dollars — towards some A/B testing to see which ad gets better conversions. Doing the pixel and tracking the standard events, all of these components are key.

The second part is mobile optimized websites/landing pages. If someone’s clicking through and it’s too wide for the phone,  or the pop-up appears and you can’t find the ‘X’ on it it takes less than a second and they’re outta there.

CP: Are you seeing good examples of Facebook campaign landing pages? 

MS: I think my good friends over at AdEspresso – they were recently acquired by Hootsuite, a fellow Vancouver company —  they’re doing some really good stuff. I love their blog. In fact, they quote you there.

I’d have to think really hard to narrow down a specific landing page example, but in terms of components, or landing page elements, less is always more, something simple that’s really congruent with the ad itself.


Drive FB ad traffic to a landing page that’s simple & consistent with your ad. Less = more.
Click To Tweet


The job of an ad and the job of an email is to get people to a landing page, and the job of a landing page is to convert, whether I’m asking for your email or I’m asking for you to make a purchase. And the beautiful thing about Facebook pixels is if someone doesn’t decide right then and there, you’re able to do some retargeting campaigns to refine further.

CP: Are there certain verticals that are more successful with Facebook advertising than others?

MS: I was just speaking at Marketo’s conference last week and they are, as you know, almost exclusively B2B, and so my talk was very geared towards the B2B audience.

I think Facebook has a reputation for being known to perform better for B2C, but I always like to say that businesses are running as “people to people.”

In terms of verticals, it’s probably easier to say what verticals are more difficult to reach, which are the highly regulated ones like insurance or finance —  but otherwise with every conceivable small business and niche or industry there’s a market that can can take advantage of generating leads on Facebook.

CP: When we talk Facebook ads, what are some missed opportunities?

MS: This comes back to the subject that’s close to my heart, which is really that relationship component: customer care, really engaging well when people are actually commenting and engaging on your ad.

I think what happens — especially with marketers that do the dark ads — is these ads can be very effective and you can be really selective in who you’re reaching without populating your wall, but then what often happens is out of sight, out of mind.  I’ve seen many major household brands where people are posting negative comments on the ad. There’s spam, people are asking questions about their products, and nobody is responding or acknowledging. I see that as a massive missed opportunity.

I think that’s one of the best investments that companies can make is having trained, qualified, passionate social customer care moderators. I always like to say that technology is moving at warp speed and it’s hard to keep up — but human beings, we’re not changing that much, and we want to know that we’re important, that we matter.

CP: What’s on the horizon?

MS: Right around the corner is Facebook television and that’s launching next month. Mark Zuckerberg is absolutely adamant that they’re not a media company, but just watch — just watch that space, they’re absolutely moving into that.

In the United States, the TV advertising industry is worth about $70 billion — it’s over $200 billion globally. And so Facebook now has licensed/paid for original content to be aired on video. And remember, they also have that app that they brought out not long ago that you can stream through your Apple TV or Amazon Fire.

So what’s coming next month are full one-hour shows that are highly professionally produced and then also small episodes — three to 30 minutes that will refresh every 24 hours, from what I’ve read.

For advertisers and marketers, we have to be thinking about quality video ads because that’s where Facebook’s next monetization horizon is (monetizing this digital streaming video with mid-roll ads). They swear they’re not going to do pre-roll, so let’s hope they stick to that.


Think quality Facebook video ads — for @MariSmith, that’s next on FB’s monetization horizon.
Click To Tweet


It’s all about being in that frame of mind — somebody’s watching a show they’re really engaged in and all of a sudden, just like television, it interrupts and your ad comes in.  So when it comes to video, it’s about how can you make it quirky, or fun, or entertaining, or emotional — I don’t think those things will ever go away as long as we’re human.

At the F8 conference, within the first 30 seconds Zuckerberg was talking about camera, and camera platform and developing for the camera. I saw some really cool augmented ads by Nike, and they were incredible.

Facebook is also really pushing live and they’re also deploying a lot of resources to combat fake news. They also announced two weeks ago that they’re they’re going to hire 3,000 more employees to make a team of 7,500 employees dedicated to watching for fake news plus anything untoward happening on Facebook live.

Really the key is for businesses and marketers is really education. I can’t stress that strongly enough. That’s why I just I love that you guys are doing this conference — you can’t get enough quality education.

PSST: Catch more from Facebook Queen Mari Smith at the Call to Action Conference this June. Blog readers get 15% off tickets until May 25th — just use promo code “blogsentme” at checkout.

Originally posted here – 

Facebook Ad Expert Mari Smith Reveals Missed Opportunities (And What’s on the Horizon)

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What Facebook Advertisers Are Doing Wrong: Q&A with Mari Smith

Facebook has over 1.28 billion daily active users.

To have more than a billion prospects in one place, literally at your fingertips, is a marketer’s dream (thanks, Mark Zuckerberg!). But turning those prospects into customers… well that’s another story.

As marketers, we know that a stellar Facebook campaign is made up of a lot more than clever copy, snazzy design and a hefty PPC budget. In a constantly changing environment of new features, products and ad units, it can be tricky to stay ahead of the pack — let alone stand out.

Facebook’s granular targeting makes it more possible than ever to reach the right person, in the right place, at the right time. But only marketers who are committed to making connections with real people and then maintaining those relationships will come out on top.

If there’s one person that knows this best, it’s Mari Smith.

Named Forbes’ #4 “Top Social Media Power Influencer,” Mari is one of the world’s leading social media thought leaders and educators in the world of marketing. Her knowledge of Facebook runs so deep that she was personally hired by the folks at Facebook to teach SMBs throughout the US at the Boost Your Business series of events.

Mari’s speaking at our Call to Action Conference this June, and here’s a quick word from the Facebook Queen herself.

PSST: Blog readers get 15% off tickets to Call to Action Conference until May 25th — just use promo code “blogsentme” at checkout

Despite her packed schedule, Mari recently took the time to sit down with Unbounce Marketing Educator Christie Pike to reveal some of her best kept Facebook advertising secrets. In this interview you’ll get Mari’s actionable tips and insights into:

  • Some of the biggest missed opportunities for marketers advertising on Facebook.
  • Companies that are crushing it in the social advertising space and what you can learn from them.
  • The next big thing on the horizon that Facebook marketers should be preparing for and investing in.
Christie Pike: You’ve been active on Facebook long enough to see its evolution from social media network to a performance tool not unlike AdWords. How has this changed the way that marketers run Facebook campaigns?

Mari Smith: The main thing to consider is the enormous amount of data that Facebook gathers, not only on the platform itself but in partnership with data companies. So every time you use your credit card, every time you make a purchase, surveys that you complete, any information that’s out there is moved into a kind of personal dossier that then gets matched with your Facebook ID. Because of all of this, people get scared and freaked out, Big Brother and all that, but it’s all anonymized and encrypted, so from a user standpoint I always say, “caveat emptor”, just recognize that in today’s day and age of privacy, everything is out there.

From a marketer’s or advertiser’s standpoint, it’s an unprecedented time that we’re in.  It’s a paradigm shift in terms of being able to reach the exact person that you want with Facebook’s granular targeting. Down to zip code, down to propensity to possibly make a certain purchase, from going on a cruise in the next six months, buying a BMW in the next three months, income, the number of kids you have, what you do for a career — all of this is just extraordinary.

So, we really do have to think of Facebook as a platform in which to get our message, our products and our services in front of our target market, but done so in a very relationship-oriented way. I think the businesses that are really standing out are the ones that can make us laugh or cry or go “awwww” and tear at the heartstrings — you know, create something that has viral shareability as opposed to how some business send a message that says “Hey, sign up for our stuff,” “Buy our stuff.”  It’s a cold market, you know.

CP: What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen on the ad platform itself?

MS: I would say that a big change is in terms of ad units, which initially were just a link and some basic visuals, but over the years they have a much, much, much more visual emphasis. I especially love the carousel ads you can swipe. I think Amazon is one of the best at doing retargeted multi-product ads. I remember seeing one of its ads that had about 32 cards on the carousel that you could swipe and I asked myself, “How did they know I like all this stuff!?”

And then what they call slideshow, which is really just images made into a video, but definitely the prevalence of video is key. One of Mark Zuckerberg’s favorite words is “immersive,” and so the introduction of more immersive type of content like canvas ads has huge importance in the current ad space.

I worked directly with a video creation company, and they shared a great case study from Brussels Airlines that pull up a canvas ad advertising flights to Mumbai in India. They got something like 27 times more time on site after doing this beautiful canvas ad, whereas their previous Facebook campaigns led to an average of three seconds on site. The reason behind this was because back in the day, ads were just a link with a tiny wee thumbnail, and then they got bigger and turned into GIFs, slideshows, animations, interactive content and full-screen content.

So, between (1)  the ad products (2) the placement and (3) the targeting, I would say those are the three key areas where there are the biggest changes. Placement being whether it’s Instagram, mobile news only or if it’s right rail (which still has its place), but users are in mobile more than anything else.

CP: Who is doing Facebook advertising particularly well? What do you like about their ad campaigns? Can you provide some examples?

MS: My favorite video ad that I include in almost every single one of my presentations is by a fun company called Chatbooks. It’s a simple app (a subscription service) that takes your Instagram and Facebook photos and prints them in a book format, it’s really clever.

They worked with a really good PR/creative agency and hired a professional actress/comedian. From there, they created this three minute and forty-second ad. The ad was first put out on their Facebook page, which had just over 100,000 fans (now over 200, 000). And when I last checked, that video ad had 69 million views and almost 500,000 shares.

This is what I love to teach — when you can craft your content to be visually appealing (ideally video). When people are engaged with it they’ll share it with others.


When you craft your content to be visually appealing, people are engaged + will share with others.
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I’ve never found a better example than Chatbooks. In fact, I originally saw it in my News Feed as a shared organic post by a friend of mine, and after I watched the full three minutes and forty seconds, I was ready to sign up and buy the subscription!

Another great example is from our friend Rand Fishkin from Moz,  who I know is speaking at CTA Conference this year.

Rand is doing these really great video ads called Whiteboard Fridays. I see the most recent one from April has over 4,600 views and 15 shares.

Whiteboard Fridays. Image source: Moz.

It’s so good because it’s educational and it’s the kind of video ad that you can stop and watch or at least save and watch later. It’s really cool what he’s doing because he’s not saying, “Hey everybody, sign up for Moz, see what we can do for you!” Instead, he’s like, “Hey here’s some education on SEO,” and it’s the kind of stuff that people will stop and save and consume.

One last shout out to my good friend Ezra Firestone and his company called Smart Marketer. He does really amazing stuff with video ads and lead gen.

CP: Unbounce cofounder Oli Gardner estimates that 98% of AdWords campaign traffic is not being sent to a dedicated landing page. If you had to guess, what percentage of Facebook marketers do you think are sending their traffic to mobile optimized landing pages? Do you see this as a missed opportunity?

MS: I would have said it’s probably a lot lower. My guess is that 65% is going to a dedicated landing page on Facebook — I get the sense that Facebook advertisers, for the most part, are a little more savvy. They realize you can’t spend all this money and have a captive audience and then just send them away to figure it out for themselves.

But to Oli’s point, I do see a missed an opportunity — especially when marketers are not really thoroughly checking and having a small test group. It’s important to invest a small amount — about $60 – $100 dollars — towards some A/B testing to see which ad gets better conversions. Doing the pixel and tracking the standard events, all of these components are key.

The second part is mobile optimized websites/landing pages. If someone’s clicking through and it’s too wide for the phone,  or the pop-up appears and you can’t find the ‘X’ on it it takes less than a second and they’re outta there.

CP: Are you seeing good examples of Facebook campaign landing pages? 

MS: I think my good friends over at AdEspresso – they were recently acquired by Hootsuite, a fellow Vancouver company —  they’re doing some really good stuff. I love their blog. In fact, they quote you there.

I’d have to think really hard to narrow down a specific landing page example, but in terms of components, or landing page elements, less is always more, something simple that’s really congruent with the ad itself.


Drive FB ad traffic to a landing page that’s simple & consistent with your ad. Less = more.
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The job of an ad and the job of an email is to get people to a landing page, and the job of a landing page is to convert, whether I’m asking for your email or I’m asking for you to make a purchase. And the beautiful thing about Facebook pixels is if someone doesn’t decide right then and there, you’re able to do some retargeting campaigns to refine further.

CP: Are there certain verticals that are more successful with Facebook advertising than others?

MS: I was just speaking at Marketo’s conference last week and they are, as you know, almost exclusively B2B, and so my talk was very geared towards the B2B audience.

I think Facebook has a reputation for being known to perform better for B2C, but I always like to say that businesses are running as “people to people.”

In terms of verticals, it’s probably easier to say what verticals are more difficult to reach, which are the highly regulated ones like insurance or finance —  but otherwise with every conceivable small business and niche or industry there’s a market that can can take advantage of generating leads on Facebook.

CP: When we talk Facebook ads, what are some missed opportunities?

MS: This comes back to the subject that’s close to my heart, which is really that relationship component: customer care, really engaging well when people are actually commenting and engaging on your ad.

I think what happens — especially with marketers that do the dark ads — is these ads can be very effective and you can be really selective in who you’re reaching without populating your wall, but then what often happens is out of sight, out of mind.  I’ve seen many major household brands where people are posting negative comments on the ad. There’s spam, people are asking questions about their products, and nobody is responding or acknowledging. I see that as a massive missed opportunity.

I think that’s one of the best investments that companies can make is having trained, qualified, passionate social customer care moderators. I always like to say that technology is moving at warp speed and it’s hard to keep up — but human beings, we’re not changing that much, and we want to know that we’re important, that we matter.

CP: What’s on the horizon?

MS: Right around the corner is Facebook television and that’s launching next month. Mark Zuckerberg is absolutely adamant that they’re not a media company, but just watch — just watch that space, they’re absolutely moving into that.

In the United States, the TV advertising industry is worth about $70 billion — it’s over $200 billion globally. And so Facebook now has licensed/paid for original content to be aired on video. And remember, they also have that app that they brought out not long ago that you can stream through your Apple TV or Amazon Fire.

So what’s coming next month are full one-hour shows that are highly professionally produced and then also small episodes — three to 30 minutes that will refresh every 24 hours, from what I’ve read.

For advertisers and marketers, we have to be thinking about quality video ads because that’s where Facebook’s next monetization horizon is (monetizing this digital streaming video with mid-roll ads). They swear they’re not going to do pre-roll, so let’s hope they stick to that.


Think quality Facebook video ads — for @MariSmith, that’s next on FB’s monetization horizon.
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It’s all about being in that frame of mind — somebody’s watching a show they’re really engaged in and all of a sudden, just like television, it interrupts and your ad comes in.  So when it comes to video, it’s about how can you make it quirky, or fun, or entertaining, or emotional — I don’t think those things will ever go away as long as we’re human.

At the F8 conference, within the first 30 seconds Zuckerberg was talking about camera, and camera platform and developing for the camera. I saw some really cool augmented ads by Nike, and they were incredible.

Facebook is also really pushing live and they’re also deploying a lot of resources to combat fake news. They also announced two weeks ago that they’re they’re going to hire 3,000 more employees to make a team of 7,500 employees dedicated to watching for fake news plus anything untoward happening on Facebook live.

Really the key is for businesses and marketers is really education. I can’t stress that strongly enough. That’s why I just I love that you guys are doing this conference — you can’t get enough quality education.

PSST: Catch more from Facebook Queen Mari Smith at the Call to Action Conference this June. Blog readers get 15% off tickets until May 25th — just use promo code “blogsentme” at checkout.

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What Facebook Advertisers Are Doing Wrong: Q&A with Mari Smith