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A Recap of the Inbound Marketing Conference

116 & West

Oh, Inbound. By far one of my favorite times of the year. For those who don’t know, the Inbound Marketing Conference is an annual event by Hubspot that brings together 21,000 of our closest colleagues to discuss innovation, technology, and basically everything else in our marketing world. There are high-profile keynote speakers like Michelle Obama and John Cena, breakout sessions, and after-parties. Attendees wade through the sea of vendor booths and bright lights to gain the most knowledge possible from their experience. As I said, it’s one of my favorite times of the year.

This year, Ben Adams, our Digital Media Buyer, and I attended this spectacular event. Below, we recap some of our key takeaways.

Voice search is coming

Well, it’s actually already here. One in five searches on Android apps are conducted through voice search, and 40% of those people searching make a purchase using voice. By 2020, 75% of homes will have a voice-enabled speaker. What’s different about this search from a general Google search is how you receive results. When searching with voice, you only receive one result, and it’s the result that the program believes is the best answer. If you don’t like that answer, you can ask for another one, but the point is voice search takes away the power of selection from a person and gives it to AI. SEO strategy is transitioning from becoming on page one to becoming the best answer, which means it’s only going to be harder.

Start from the bottom of your acquisition funnel

While marketers and salespeople alike use funnels to illustrate how potential customers are turned into leads, rarely do we look at the bottom of the funnel for inspiration. We are typically looking at the top of the funnel, where we pour in the countless potential customers, hoping that a percentage of these turn into leads and eventually sales.

But as a change of pace, looking at the bottom of the funnel, or leads that you have already acquired, allows you to see what type of person is actually interested in your product. This allows you to build lookalike audiences that Google and Facebook can pinpoint, allowing you to market to these people directly. The technology these platforms use is advanced, so building out lookalike audiences to your already existing leads can be a powerful tool in driving more leads and acquisitions.

Use your first-party data to drive decisions

Utilizing the third-party data that is available through data giants like Google and Facebook is a great way to target your potential customers. But this often leads to a mistake made by marketers—ignoring your first-party data. Your first-party data, or the data that your company owns, then takes a backseat when it comes time for strategic decision making. First-party data shows you where your customers came from, what channels they are most likely to respond to, and how long your acquisition typically takes from first exposure to the desired action. This is very much in the same vein as starting from the bottom of your acquisition funnel. Marketers should certainly be looking at this valuable data when crafting a new campaign. If it’s working, do more of it.

Podcasting drives ROI

Sixty-seven million Americans listened to a podcast last month. Over the past three years, podcasting has grown in popularity as people search for organic, ad-free, or ad-lite experiences. Typically, when someone is listening to a podcast, they are doing something monotonous with their hands and need to entertain their mind. This means if you create an engaging branded podcast, you can captivate your potential customers for an extended period of time each week. If you can invest the time, podcasting can become an extremely beneficial tactic.

Programmatic will be one of the most popular tactics in the years to come

While programmatic advertising has admittedly become a buzzword in digital marketing, there is still quite of bit of mileage when it comes to utilizing this tactic in the foreseeable future. In fact, 78% of all U.S. digital ad spend will be programmatic by the end of this year.  With consumer attitudes toward advertising, particularly display advertising on websites, at an all-time low, it is now more important than ever to have display advertising that is relevant to the user. Programmatic advertising allows companies to reach consumers across their various screens with a highly personalized message. This shows that display advertising can be used as more than just a brand awareness message. It can also be used to drive action.

Avoid common pitfalls when A/B testing

A/B testing is an important practice to implement in any organization of any size. Figuring out what is working and constantly improving those efforts are keys to growth and sustainability. But there are many simple mistakes marketers make when running A/B tests. One of the most important things to consider when running a test is how an audience is segmented. A truly unbiased A/B test needs to be testing audiences that are similar enough to be statistically confident. It also needs to avoid an audience that may swing toward a particular set of answers or results.

While dividing audiences by demographics, be sure to also take into account how well the audience members already know your brand, as this may affect your test. Audiences should be large enough to where your results are usable, but small enough to be manageable. Also, don’t ignore small differences in your results. A one percent increase in email open rates can prove to be statistically relevant, even though it may not seem that way.

Cheers to another successful year at Inbound!

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