One Customer Feedback Email Changed Our Startup’s Trajectory

Building a new company means constantly managing one’s emotions. The high highs of days when everything’s golden inevitably give way to the low lows when you’re certain it’s all doomed. At the end of February, Casey (my cofounder) and I were in that latter boat, nervous about how signups for our 10-month old startup had slowed to a trickle. Here’s…
Advertising Data Marketing Moz

In 2020, Two Thirds of Google Searches Ended Without a Click

In August of 2019, I published research from now-defunct clickstream data provider, Jumpshot, showing that 50.33% of all Google searches ended without a click to any web property in the results. Today, thanks to new data from SimilarWeb, I’ve got a substantive update to that analysis. From January to December, 2020, 64.82% of searches on Google (desktop and mobile combined)…
Data Marketing Startups Tactics

Marketing Personas Are Almost Always a Boondoggle (but they don’t have to be)

Boss: “We need marketing personas for each of our customer targets.”You: “Got it. What problems are these personas meant to solve?”Boss: “You know, um… Strategy. Targeting. And, uh… give ’em fun names like Workin’ Wendy and Stay-at-Home Steve, or something.”You: “Oh god, not again…” A few years back, I worked on a 6-month project to collect survey, interview, and industry…
Marketing Psychology Tactics

The Paradox of Content Marketing to Beginners vs. Experts

Over the last 20 years, I’ve done a lot of educational content campaigns, both for my own companies, and to help others. But it’s only recently that I’ve come to grok the odd paradox of how certain types of content earn reach, amplification, and success with the people they’re meant to engage. Here’s the problem: Broadly helpful “Beginners’ Guide” content…
Data Marketing Product SparkToro

NEW SparkToro Feature: Discover the Press/Media Sources That Reach Your Audience

I’m excited to announce that today, SparkToro is launching a new tab, with new data, for all customers: free and paid. When you perform an audience intelligence search, you’ll see the new “Press” tab on the left sidebar, displaying media sources followed + engaged-with by the searched-for audience. Sometimes, these publications will have overlap with the “websites” or “social” tabs,…
Marketing Predictions

Inferred Links Will Replace the Link Graph

For 25 years, links have been core to how Google ranks web pages. But, today, I think most marketers dramatically overestimate their importance. There’s good evidence that over the long run, links won’t be all that crucial to Google’s rankings, and will be replaced by lexical references that connect topics and keywords to a brand, website, or page—what I’ll call…
Advertising Marketing

Something is Rotten in Online Advertising

What the #$%* is going on with the digital advertising ecosystem? Where to even begin… Should we start with the upcoming loss of third-party cookies? The bizarre Google & Facebook duopoly teamup against anti-trust action? The rise of online ads as a money laundering & terrorist-funding tactic? Or maybe we should talk about brands’ ever-shrinking ability to attribute ad clicks.…
Advertising Agencies Marketing

What Should Digital Marketing Agencies Focus on in the Year Ahead?

A few weeks ago, I received a lovely email with an important question: what should digital marketing agencies focus on in 2021 and beyond? Via Sebastián Cardozo of Noventaynueve Wait… Why me? I don’t run an agency, and haven’t for more than a decade. Well, SparkToro has used a lot of agency help, we’ve got more than two hundred agency…
Marketing Product Psychology

Social Networks “Optimize for Engagement.” What Does That Mean for Marketers?

I’m a firm believer that incentives and systems govern behavior at scale. If you want to understand why companies make the decisions they do, look at how their executives and boards are rewarded. If you’re trying to grok an unfamiliar sport, see how points are scored and wins are tabulated. Follow the incentives, and you’ll understand the system. If you’re…