Digital Marketing 2017: What You Need to Know

Listen to the article:

Believe it or not, we are approaching the end of 2016. In the digital world, it’s been a whirlwind of a year. With countless social media platform updates, Google algorithm changes and the importance of SEO continuing to grow, it was hard to keep up!

Fortunately, the Blue Compass Digital Marketing team stayed ahead of the game by continually doing our research. That’s why we want to help you be prepared for 2017 with what we learned in 2016.

Tips for SEO Success in 2017

What Google’s AMP Pages Mean for SEO

Just like the Mobilegeddon Update in 2015, AMP has the potential to change the way SEOs approach search rankings. At its core, AMP gives users the ability to quickly access solid content while not sacrificing the ability to advertise to and monetize those users.

AMP will require marketers and SEOs to focus more heavily on three aspects of their content: title, image and opening paragraph. Google treats AMP search results the same as a regular search result, meaning you need to appeal to your audience in a few short characters to get a click. That means optimizing for relevant and keyword heavy headlines, interesting and eye-catching hero images and strong opening paragraphs to grab your audience and earn your click.

- Dan Kurns, Digital Marketing Associate

Techniques to Use Search Engines Skillfully

If you are looking for an article or webpage that you have previously accessed but don’t remember what website you found it on, try to search an obscure or unique phrase that was utilized. The more specific you can be, the easier it is for the search engine to single out the source for which you are looking.

When looking for a page on a specific site, you can type in “site: query parameter.” For example, if you were looking for an SEO article on our website you would use “site: SEO” and it will give you SEO articles from or linking back to the Blue Compass website.

There are also traditional advanced search techniques to narrow results including:

  • Add “-” (the minus symbol) in front of keywords to exclude them from your search results
  • Inserting “” around a phrase for exact matching
  • Using site:domain (ex. site:edu) to narrow results to specific domain types including .edu, .gov, .org or .com

- Katrina Reger, Digital Marketing Strategist

SEO Strategies That are Dated

One dated strategy all marketers, business owners, bloggers, etc. should avoid is paid links. This may seem like common knowledge at this point (for many it is), but people are still doing it. It may have helped businesses get ahead back-in-the-day but you will be heavily penalized by Google if your site attempts this strategy today.

When you see the aggressively advertised SEO forums offering you an amazing package to ‘increase your rank,’ just say “no.” You won’t regret it.

- Sara Johnson, Digital Marketing Associate

Tips for Social Media Marketing Success in 2017

How Small Business Can Use Social Media

Social media is absolutely critical for a small business owner because the advertising costs are low, as low as $5 if that’s all you have. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn are excellent ways to engage with your followers and customers, help increase your website’s engagement and reach new audiences.

For a small business, having the time and manpower to engage actively with your audience can be tough. It’s easy to put social media on the back burner when things get busy around the office, but taking that extra five minutes a day to interact with your audience, even if it’s only liking a comment,can make all the difference when it comes to brand loyalty.

- Tory Kalousek, Digital Marketing Associate

Snapchat is Here to Stay

One of the biggest and most influential social platforms for brands to take advantage of is Snapchat. As Snapchat nears Facebook levels for daily video views, with approximately 7 billion video users each day (according to Bloomberg News), it is crucial for companies to jump on board and leverage their brand accordingly.

At Blue Compass, when we begin putting together a Snapchat strategy for our clients, we first decide the end goal. Do we want to design a geofilter for an upcoming event?? Maybe we want to advertise a particular product. Regardless of what we are trying to achieve, deciding our goals is the first step. When it comes to measuring success, we look at metrics such as total unique views, total story completions, completion rate of video, views of geofilters and screenshots. Based off of these metrics, we can make an educated decision on what campaigns, topics, designs, etc. we should move forward with and which ones eliminate altogether.

- Sara Johnson, Digital Marketing Associate

How Your Business Can Leverage Social Video

Go where people are watching videos, and that’s social media. Facebook sees over 100 million hours of daily video watch time and we’ve found Facebook to be a great, if not the best, place to promote videos. By natively uploading the video and doing a video promotion on Facebook, we garnered over 70,000 video views and had a view-through-rate of 10.28 percent. We increased pageviews 112.61 percent during the video campaign. We engaged with those commenting on our videos to continue the conversation and raise awareness.

- Tory Kalousek, Digital Marketing Associate

A Website and User-Experience is an Integral Role in Digital Marketing

Website Issues Digital Marketer’s See Far Too Often

One usability issue that we see far too often is when an element on a webpage appears to be clickable but is not. This not only distracts users from their task, but it also forces them to take more time to hunt for the information the need. When you increase the time it takes for a user to complete their task, you risk lowering the chance of a conversion.

When designing the user interface, it’s important to follow the user’s mental model. A mental model is what the user expects from your website based on prior experiences. Before they even land on your site, the user has an idea of how the interaction should work, including what is typically clickable. If you go against your user’s mental model, you could frustrate them and send them to your competitor’s site.

Brady Rebhuhn, Digital Marketing Associate

Use Google Analytics to Increase Your Sales

Google Analytics has a lot of data to sift through. If you’re looking for something new to examine, try clicking on the, the Navigation Summary of one of your conversion pages. It shows where users were before they hit that conversion page, as well as what happened afterwards. How do you find it? Sitting on top of the graph of pageviews for an individual page are two tabs. One tab says ‘pageviews’ and is the default view but right next to it is a second tab labeled, ‘Navigation Summary.’ Switching to tab reveals a whole new way to interpret page traffic. Use this hidden tab to find new landing pages for your SEM or display advertising efforts. Look at the top pages users visited before they landed on your conversion page. This gives you two or three new locations where you can drive paid traffic with ads tailored to the copy unique to each of those pages because you know that users convert after reading these pages.

The Navigation Summary can give you a quick idea about where visitors might be getting confused. In a situation where someone doesn’t convert or leaves the purchase funnel, look at the previous page path and the next page path to understand where users go instead of converting.

- Stephanie Grangaard, Digital Marketing Strategist

Importance of A/B Testing with VWO

The digital marketing team regularly uses a tool called VWO to analyze webpage click data for clients and run A/B tests. A/B testing is an excellent way to discover opportunities to optimize pages and increase conversions.

When analyzing results from A/B tests, the first thing to keep in mind is that it requires a large sample size. You cannot make valid decisions based on too little data, so it is important to run your test for an appropriate amount of time so that each version of the page being tested has ample visits and clicks. VWO offers a test duration calculator to help you determine how long to run your test.

After the A/B test has been completed, analyze the results and learn which page variation had the most conversions. Ideally, one variation will win by a large margin, and this will help inform your design decisions moving forward. However, sometimes neither of the pages clearly resulted in more conversions and your A/B test can be inconclusive. If there is only a slight difference in the results, avoid jumping to conclusions and test again. You’ve still gained valuable insights! The inconclusive test has helped you cross items off your list of elements to test.

- Brady Rebhuhn, Digital Marketing Associate

Take Your 2017 Digital Expertise to the Next Level with Blue Compass

No matter if it is SEO, content marketing, social media marketing, SEM or something else, the experts on our digital marketing team can help you reach your digital marketing goals. We take the time to research the current and emerging trends in digital marketing. Interested in learning more about what we can do for you?

Reach Out to Us Today!

Blue Compass logo
Blue Compass

Blue Compass is a leading team of digital experts helping brands succeed online through web design, development and digital marketing.