It’s official: Instagram is a beast. According to Sprout, it has over 300 million users (nearly a third of that in the U.S alone) who share over 70 million photos and videos every day. Nearly a quarter of Internet users have an Instagram account. Forrester found that Instagram scores the highest when it comes to brand engagement with a per-follower engagement rate of 4.21%.
The command is clear. If you or your brand isn’t on Instagram yet, it’s high time to do so. But is there a strategic way to gain followers and garner engagement?
Dan Zarella, who writes that the future of social media is visual content, put together this wonderful infographic below that might help answer that question. In it, he took a look at a large amount of Instagram data and identified what works and what doesn’t.
A few takeaways:
Information is key. The more you tag, geolocate, and caption, the more people like and comment on your photo. There are occasions where a simple image can speak for itself, or perhaps the image has text in it already, but your followers often want and need context. Use hashtags, tag the people in your photo, and come up with a clever caption. Social media is about information, and the more you can give, the greater the follower satisfaction.
Be clear. The call-to-action principle works on Instagram the way it works on Facebook and Twitter. If you want people to like, give them a reason. If you want them to comment, ask a question. Be direct with your incentives, and you might be surprised at how many of your followers will participate.
People want to see people. Photos with faces and with a lot going on get more engagement, so don’t be afraid to post a (well-crafted/staged/lit/styled) shot of people doing things. Certainly photos of nature and still lifes do well in their niche communities, but an easy way to energize your fan base is to energize your photos.
Stay bright, stay light. There is no secret sauce to a beautiful photo, but time and time again we’ve heard that blue and green hues in Instagram generate more likes. Therefore, when in doubt about a filter, try Nashville or Walden. It follows that brighter photos do better than darker ones (think Rise or Amaro), and dial down that saturation while you’re at it. Of course, each photo you take and post will require different touch-ups, but if you want your Instagram theme to be, well, a well-liked one, tend toward the cooler, brighter colors.
For years marketers have wrestled with two very big challenges: proving ROI and trying to talk to hundreds of thousands of customers in a personal, one-on-one manner.
But, there’s good news: we are one step closer to cracking the code.
Today, we announced a solution with Google that changes the game. Let me break down what this means for you.
Show Me the ROI!
We have integrated Marketo’s Engagement Marketing Platform with Google AdWords. This integration solves a huge ROI problem for marketers. Why? Let’s be honest—a notable percentage of today’s advertising budget goes towards Google AdWords—either for pay-per-click, display, or remarketing ads. But the question plaguing marketers has always been—do you know if that investment is actually working and is worth it?
When a purchase is made online, Google has made it fairly easy for marketers to tie revenue back to the ad. However, the system breaks when the purchase is made offline–like when a buyer works directly with a salesperson who takes the order (a typical use case for B2B purchases). Our integration with Google AdWords solves this problem by automatically associating offline purchases with the ads that initiated them. Armed with this information, marketers can now create more intelligent AdWords campaigns by focusing their bidding on the keywords that generate the most revenue—regardless of whether the purchase was made on or offline.
For example, let’s say that Jennifer, a marketer at a large manufacturing company, bids on the phrase ‘high-definition broadcast equipment’ so that her search ad shows up in those results. When a visitor arrives at her company’s website after clicking her search ad, and signs up for a demo, Jennifer can track that online conversion in AdWords, and Google can then begin to optimize her keyword bidding based on such conversion data. Unfortunately, a large percentage of these conversions never go on to become customers. In fact, many don’t even follow through to see the demo. However, Google is still optimizing bidding based on these conversions.
Our integration with Google AdWords fixes this problem by feeding offline conversion data back into the AdWords platform. In other words, if one of these prospects connects with a sales rep, and ultimately ends up purchasing, Marketo feeds that conversion back to Google AdWords. The AdWords platform can then use this conversion data to optimize Jennifer’s bidding across her various keywords. In this scenario, her bidding will be optimized not for keywords that lead to online form submissions, but rather for those keywords that lead to actual purchases
More Data, Less Questions
Marketo’s Engagement Marketing Platform is now connected to Google Analytics. Why does this matter? Now marketers are able to use richer profile data from Marketo for both known and anonymous prospects and customers in order to build target audience segments in Google Analytics. These segments then become available within Google AdWords for better ad targeting.
Let me give you an example of how this works. Let’s use Jennifer, the marketer from above as an example. Let’s say that Jennifer is targeting her marketing efforts on four specific industries, and to be effective, she needs her ads to contain different messages for each industry. However, since many of the people searching Google for ‘high-definition broadcast equipment’ are anonymous, she has no idea what industry they work in. That’s where our integration comes in. The Marketo Engagement Marketing Platform can, among other things, determine the industry for an anonymous web visitor. Our integration passes this intelligence from Marketo to Google in order for Jennifer to build industry targeted ad groups within AdWords. When people perform searches within Google, or visit sites on Google’s remarketing network, they will automatically be presented with ads that are relevant to their industry, which convert at a higher rate.
The move today with Google comes on the heels of last month’s exciting news about our integration with Facebook, which merges marketing technology with social advertising. Taken together, it’s clear that Marketo is taking steps to bridge the worlds of digital advertising and digital marketing. These announcements mark an important step in giving marketers the ability to deliver a consistent and personalized experience for customers across channels—from web, to email, to social media.
I’d love to hear how you’re using Google AdWords and Google Analytics as part of an engagement marketing strategy. Please share in the comments below.