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Tumblr to introduce ads across all blogs

 Tumblr this week quietly announced plans to roll out a new advertising program across its site which will see it implementing ads across users' blogs. The company did not provide specific details on how the program will operate, but it appears to be an expansion of its earlier Creatrs program, which connects brands with Tumblr users directly, instead of having advertisers work with… Read More
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Facebook crushes Q2 earnings, hits 1.71B users and record share price

 Coming off an all-time high stock price of $123.34, Facebook in Q2 2016 smashed earnings again. The social network continued steady growth just slightly slower at 3.63% compared to last quarter's 3.77%, adding 60 million monthly users this quarter to reach 1.71 billion. It scored $6.44 billion in revenue and $0.97 EPS, blowing past estimates of $6.02 billion and $0.82 EPS. This is… Read More
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A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Compelling Article Introduction

Wouldn't it be great if every single person who clicked on one of your articles read it from start to finish, unable to pull their eyes away from the screen?

I think we both know the answer to that question.

To achieve this goal, however, you must master the art of writing intriguing introductions.

Wait a second, you're thinking. Writing introductions? Isn't that kind of a small detail of a 2,000-word article?

Your article intro is not a small detail.

The introduction to your article is often the difference between engaging readers and having a bounce rate high enough to make a click-baiter cringe.

Think about it. If you don't grab your readers right away, you'll lose them.

You went through all that work of writing a killer article, right? You worked hard at it. You spent a lot of time on it. You did a ton of research.

But if your introduction sucks, your efforts will be all for nothing.

You lost before you even got started!

If you want to write great content, improve the success of your marketing campaigns, and increase the loyalty of your fans, you must master writing introductions.

Let me show you how.

1. Master the opening line

To have a strong introduction, you need to open with a strong first sentence.

The millisecond your reader hits the page, they have an extremely high likelihood of leaving the page.

Data says so.

The first sentence has one single purpose: to entice the reader to read the next sentence. In doing so, it sets the tone for the rest of the article, hooking the reader in, one step at a time.

If you fail at this, you readers won't scroll.

This is a histogram showing how far people scroll through Slate article pages. Each bar represents the share of people who stopped scrolling at a particular spot in the article. (An article is assumed to be around 2000 pixels long; if the top of your browser window gets to the 2000-pixel mark, you're counted as scrolling 100% through the article. The X axis goes to 120% because on most pages, there's usually stuff below the 2000-pixel mark, like the comments section.) This graph only includes people who spent any time engaging with the page at all (users who “bounced” from the page immediately after landing on it are not represented.) The graph shows that many Slate readers do not scroll at all. That's the spike at the 0% mark, representing about 5% of readers. Most visitors scroll about halfway through a typical Slate story. The spike near the end is an anomaly caused by pages containing photos and videos-on those pages, people scroll through the whole page.

And if they don't scroll, they won't engage.

Check out this article by Dilbert author Scott Adams to see how the first sentence is done.

He writes this:

I went from being a bad writer to a good writer after taking a one-day course in “business writing.”

That's a great opening line.

Why? Because it makes me want to know more!

How did he become a good writer? What did he learn? Could I benefit from it too?

Adams nailed it. He drew us in by making us ask questions.

If you don't know how to craft an intriguing first sentence, the remaining 980 words of your article will be a complete waste.

Luckily for you, with a few simple tricks, writing a phenomenal first sentence can be quite easy.

The first thing to keep in mind is that you want to keep the first sentence short. This makes it easy for the reader to digest the first bits of information and prevents them from losing interest quickly.

But there is more to it than that.

You have to make sure that the first sentence grabs the reader's attention and holds it for the rest of the article.

Here are a couple of tried-and-true tactics that make for super compelling first lines.

Ask the reader a question

This is an easy way to get the reader's attention and get them engaged without a whole lot of effort on your part.

For example, if you are writing an article on quitting your job and starting your own company, you could open with the question: “Did you know that almost 70% of Americans report being actively disengaged from their careers?”

Why does this work?

It has to do with the brain's “limbic reward system.”

When this system is activated, dopamine is released. And dopamine gives us a sense of reward and pleasure.

When we are intrigued by a question, i.e., experience a sense of curiosity, the limbic reward system lights up. And that's why we want to keep reading-it's rewarding to satisfy curiosity.

Writer Olga Khazan asks a question that's on everyone's mind, causing the reader to be instantly interested.

We want to know the answer to that question, so we keep reading.

That's why a question is a great opening line. You can even use the question as the article title.

Tell a story

The brain also lights up when it encounters a story.

According to the theory of neural coupling, certain portions of the brain are activated when a reader thinks about the same mental and physical activity that a character in a story is doing.

James Clear usually starts his blog articles with a story, often a true story.

The story makes his readers interested in the article and keeps them reading to the very end.

Use a shocking quote

Another great way to start your article is to use an attention-grabbing quote.

Let's say you are writing an article on world travel. A great way to introduce the article would be with the quote from Helen Keller:

“Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.”

Tell the reader to imagine

Sparking the imagination is an instant way to draw the reader into the experience of the article.

Notice how this article from Wired For Story begins:

The reader tries to obey the imperative by imagining. This effort compels the reader to read further, drawing them into the article.

Writers for The Atlantic are experts at their craft. This writer does the same thing-asking the reader to imagine.

Share an interesting fact

In a day and age when the Internet is so rife with crappy information and fraudulent “gurus,” people are skeptical. They have every reason to be.

Opening your article with a relevant fact or statistic is a great way to establish trust and authority from the first sentence and let readers know you've done your research.

2. Have something unique to say

Okay, so you've crafted an excellent first sentence, and you have your reader's interest.

Now what?

Now, you have to hold that interest by having something interesting and uncommon to say.

Very few people take the time and energy to regularly produce new, thought-provoking content. If you do, you'll set yourself apart from the herd in a big way.

Forget re-purposing of old articles or rewriting stuff from other people's websites. If you want to have the reader's respect and attention, you have to say something they've never heard before.

Unfortunately, a lot of the stuff you read today has been regurgitated 28 times before.

Let's imagine you run a travel blog. Based on my advice, you write a number of 3,000-word comprehensive “How-To Guides.”

Whenever a reader opens your guide on financing their first around the world trip, they'll expect to read all about airline rewards programs, frugality, and credit card points.

And that information is great, but it is also very generic.

A better introduction would be something like this:

How would you like to save up enough money in the next 6 months to spend all of 2017 traveling the world?

That would be pretty epic, right?

Well, this is entirely possible, and in today's article, I am going to show you how you can do this.

It's not by skipping your morning latte or spending thousands of dollars with your credit cards on a few hundred miles either.

I am going to show you how you can create a life of mobility and freedom by leveraging the skills you already have, tactically selecting your destinations, and using a little known tax secret that will save you thousands of dollars!

Sound good? Let's get to it.

It's hard to be different. I realize that.

Sometimes, in order to create unique stuff, we simply have to work harder, think longer, and research more than our competition.

Here are some ways you can develop that unique voice in your article introduction:

Share a personal story or fact. You're the only you there is. You can share a story or experience no one else can. One way to tell such a story is to write, “If you know me…” Get your emotions in it. People have an emotional reaction to emotions. When we convey our emotions in our writing, people tend to respond. Besides, emotion is also a unique and personal thing. How do you communicate this in an introduction? Easy: “Want to know how I feel about it? I feel….” Share your goals or vision. If you have a guiding goal or vision for life, you can communicate this in your introduction. “That's one of the reasons I wrote this post. My goal in life is to…” Make a promise. A promise is a personal and attention-grabbing thing. Give your readers a promise, and it will secure their loyalty and their interest. “I promise that I'll do my dead-level best to….”

Unique isn't easy. But it's worth it.

3. Keep it simple

We live in a world where most people have an attention span of only a few seconds.

Apparently, our attention span is getting shorter!

After a few seconds, we get bored and move on to the next shiny object.

If you want your readers to make time in their days to read what you have to say, make sure you present things as simply as possible.

Longer articles, of course, deserve longer introductions. But it's important to respect people's time and attention. You can't change what is (people's short attention spans) by writing a long introduction based on what should be (longer attention spans).

Avoid rambling about how great your information is, and just share it already!

4. Speak directly to the reader

Whenever you are writing educational material for other people, you want to use the word “you” as much (and as naturally) as possible.

In this article, I've used some variation of the word you more than 100 times. Why? Because I'm talking to you! I want you to know this information. I want you to benefit from it.

By emphasizing the word “you” in your article, you show the reader you are directly addressing them and their situation and not just writing a generic article to the general populace.

But there's another side to this. I should refer to myself as well. My goal is to convey a personal feel to this article. After all, it's me talking to you, right? So it's only natural that I would refer to myself too.

5. Explain what the article is about

The point of an introduction is exactly that: to introduce the content that will be presented in an article.

I cannot tell you the number of times online articles left me confused even I after I'd read a few of their paragraphs.

I couldn't tell whether the authors were teaching me how to run successful Facebook ads, or telling me a weird story about their childhood.

Take a few sentences, and clearly explain what the article is going to cover without giving away too many details.

This will build suspense around the subject matter while still letting your audience know what they may be in for.

A great example of this comes from the Buffer blog. Notice how the introduction poses a question and then proposes to answer that question.

Your curiosity stays high, but the introduction sets the stage.

6. Explain the importance of the article

Once you've explained what the article is, now it's time to explain why people should care.

Everyone on the Internet approaches every new piece of information with a simple question: “What's in it for me?”

If you want to write introductions that hook the reader and help your content go viral, you have to master the art of explaining what the reader stands to gain from the information you are sharing-the benefits.

How will it benefit your readers' lives? How will it solve a problem they are facing? How will it cure a pain they are feeling?

If you understand how to quickly and efficiently answer these questions, you'll keep your readers glued to your article till the last word.


Few things can make or break your article as easily as an introduction.

If you can master the art of the first few paragraphs, you'll be able to increase reader engagement, improve sales, and earn a reputation as a phenomenal writer.

It's not an easy skill to master, but like many things in Internet marketing, it's fairly straightforward.

If you put in the work, you'll get results.

What tactics do you use to create a compelling article introduction?

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Filed under: Digital Marketing Strategy, Marketing Strategy, Online Strategy, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, SEO Strategy, SEO Tips
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Don't feed the trolls - tackle their abuse of platform power instead

 In the ever accelerating social media feedback loops of the modern Internet age, 'don't feed the trolls' is a phrase that appears to have fallen out of fashion, favor and collective memory. Read More
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100% Fun

 If 2016 taught us anything it's that the internet isn't fun anymore. It's not that a soulless network of computers interconnected via TCP/IP was ever supposed to be fun. It's that eventually fun overlaid itself on that network and created a world where nearly everyone could interact without fear. Kids grew up in a world where it was easier to talk to someone in… Read More
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Monotype will acquire marketing startup Olapic for $130M

 Monotype, a publicly-traded company focused on font design and technology, announced today that it's acquiring Olapic, a startup that helps brands promote themselves with user-generated photos. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of this year - at that point, Olapic will operate as a division of Monotype. The purchase price is $130 million, plus $19 million in… Read More
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Facebook clones Snapchat again with 24-hour “Quick Updates”

 Poke failed. Slingshot failed. But Facebook is still trying to mimic Snapchat with a new Stories-style feature it's testing called “Quick Updates”. These 24-hour ephemeral updates are buried in a special part of the app, and won't show up in News Feed or on your profile. We received these screenshots from our reader Tiffany Zhong of Binary Capital who is one of the users… Read More
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Tinder Social, helping friend groups plan their night out, launches globally

 Get ready for a new era - Tinder is about to launch Tinder Social globally. What is Tinder Social, you might ask? Well, Tinder Social is exactly the social planning app that has failed in the past, but backed by the world's biggest young adult dating app. Tinder, the dating app to rule them all, has long teased other verticals for meeting and creating connections with the people… Read More
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Why and how chatbots will dominate social media

 Since the early 2000s, brands have experimented with social media platforms to communicate with customers and prospects - first through weblogs, then eventually through social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Although the capabilities and sophistication have continued to evolve, social media has remained a platform to facilitate human-to-human communication. Then the robots moved in. Read More
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Here's How AdWords Basics Took an Account from Cost Center to Profit Center

Posted by PaidInsights

Your AdWords account doesn't need to be complex to be profitable, but there are a few (often forgotten) settings and tweaks that can make a huge difference in ROI. Many times these “small” things can be the difference between losing and making money on your ad spend.

I took over an account that wasn't in horrible shape, but it needed a little help to stop the bleeding.

I'll walk you through my initial steps to make this account profitable:

Tracking conversions

Making sure conversions are being tracked properly should always be step No. 1. If your goal is to get leads or sales, you need to know if your ad spend is producing leads or sales at a price you can afford. You can't improve what you can't track.

(I was interviewed by CallRail about how keyword-level call tracking helped me to reduce cost per acquisition by 66%, but that's only part of the story. I consider CallRail's integration with AdWords step 0.5 because it allowed me to track phone calls to the business as a lead.)

Form leads for the win

When I took over the account, form leads were being tracked manually through a spreadsheet. There was no integration into AdWords. Not only was this a huge waste of time, but it was inaccurate and prone to errors.

I needed to tie form leads back to AdWords clicks.

But first, in order to track those leads, I needed to create a thank you page.

For the website we were advertising for, there was no thank you page, email confirmation, nor visual indication that a lead was received. The page just refreshed. This led to many double and triple form submissions (which were counted as separate leads), and follow-up calls just to check that the messages were being received (and being counted as leads).

From a user experience perspective, you have to let people know you received their messages, what to expect next, how long they'll have to wait, and simply say, “Thanks for contacting us.”

The thank you page I created let prospects know they could expect a response within 24 hours. It also provided answers to some frequently asked questions, and contained a tracking code that enabled form leads to be tracked within the AdWords account.

Now that I was tracking both call and form leads coming from PPC, I needed to address a few other oversights and basic settings that were making the account a cost center as opposed to a highly profitable lead generator.

Negative keywords

In this particular account, they had attempted to sculpt ad groups with negative keywords so there was no overlap as to which searches showed which ads. Not a bad idea, but it was done so exhaustively it was nearly impossible to manage. And branded terms were still showing up in general searches.

The main negative (pun intended) was that there was no account-wide negative keyword lists.

This advertiser focused on all types of home repair and installation jobs. They were getting huge amounts of searches (and clicks) for searches related to car and vehicles repairs, services they do not provide.

Adding negatives for the keywords car, truck, auto, and vehicle was a good start. Looking through the search query reports, I found there were many searches that were clearly related to vehicles, but used terms like rear, driver, and side. Also, many searches were using car make and/or model numbers, so I found added a list of popular car makes and models as a separate negative keyword list.

Because most of the keywords were phrase matched, they were triggering for expensive “emergency repair” terms, but this business did not offer 24-hour service. Some of those keywords were over $40 CPC, so excluding the term “emergency” was another quick win.

There were also no generic negatives for things like pictures, videos, training, and jobs, so those were carefully added as negatives, too. (When you do this yourself, ensure you do not exclude searches you do want from showing.)

Finally, there were searches around “how-to” and “do it yourself,” but I was less sure about how those would convert. I didn't exclude them initially as I wanted to get some conversion data before adding them as negatives.

Right away, the click-through rate nearly doubled; the bounce rate dropped by about 10%.

Doing negative keyword research can greatly minimize wasted ad spend in the beginning stages of a PPC account. You will still come across many weird and irrelevant searches over time as you continue to monitor the search query reports, but any good PPC manager should put in the time to set this up right before Day 1.

Ad extensions

Ad extensions were non-existent for this account. As nearly every study or article about ad extensions explains, they increase click-through rate and are a positive factor in quality score. This in turn lowers the amount you have to pay per click for the same ad position.

I added sitelinks, callouts, reviews and call extensions to all campaigns. In every case, they increased CTR and conversion rate, which lowered cost per lead.

Because this was a multi-location service area business, I only added location extensions to locations that had enough reviews to show local review star ratings within the ad. This is a more recent change Google made to allow star ratings attached to Google My Business to show within ads.

I had also noticed while conducting research that dynamic sitelinks were showing, but for the wrong locations, so I used Google's form to opt out from displaying these. AdWords has been updated so that you no longer have to submit a form to Google in order to opt out of dynamic extensions. You can find the updated instructions on how to remove automated extensions here.

More recently I added structured snippets, AdWords' newest extension, which have also been performing very well.


Because I made many of these changes while simultaneously setting up proper conversion tracking, I couldn't see exactly how cost per leads and conversion rates were impacted.

The good news is that Google Analytics was linked to the account, so I could compare bounce rates and a few other engagement metrics before and after the changes. The analytics are not perfect, since many people call directly from the landing page, which looks like a bounce. But I was still able to get a decent estimate of how performance compared before and after integrating conversion tracking.

I did some basic statistical analysis to help estimate the conversion rates prior to tracking based on bounce rate:

After a few simple tweaks, lead volume (and quality) went up, cost per lead went down, and the account started to consistently provide a positive ROI.

As more conversion data came in, I was able to further optimize the account by segments like day of week, location, and user device. Substantial results were realized within the first few weeks.

Do you have any similar stories of taking over accounts in bad shape? Surprised by anything? Let me know in the comments!

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These 3 Numbers in Google Analytics Will Help You Make Better Content

Google Analytics (GA) is a digital marketer's best friend. I use it all the time to check metrics, spot trends, and see what type of content my audience appreciates the most.

Of course, there are other tools you could use to analyze your metrics, but they're not as valuable as GA for two reasons.

First, Google Analytics is free. The price can't be beat.

Second, Google Analytics is a tool designed by the company that also gave us the most popular search engine in the world. That means it can (and does) provide you with information about the browsing and search history of the people who visit your site.

Beyond that, Google Analytics offers a wealth of information you can use to improve your reach. GA makes it easy to check conversion rates, view your visitors' demographics, discover the way people follow the links within your site, and analyze your e-commerce funnel.

Basically, Google Analytics is awesome.

Obviously, I use several tools to track my data and analyze it. But I strongly recommend Google Analytics.

If you're a digital marketer, you need to know a thing or two about Google Analytics.

That's why I wrote this article.

I want to give you three simple, straightforward, and actionable tips that will allow you to create better content.

Here's the thing about analytics: all those numbers and metrics serve a purpose. They tell a story. They give you instructions.

They tell you how to become a better marketer.

The purpose of analytics is to show you what's going on with your marketing and what needs to change.

Marketing isn't a guessing game. You shouldn't have to wonder: Is this working? You should know. And you should know because of data.

So, do you want to know what's working and what's not working with your content marketing?

The three numbers I'm about to show you do just that. They give you an accurate read of user behavior and tell you what you should do next.

1. Average time on page

It's this simple: if you've got great content, people will read it.

And reading takes time.

Speed readers can buzz through an article like this in about two minutes.

That's insanely fast.

For most-mere mortals-this article will take 10-15 minutes to read.

If you want to find out how fast you read, take a test at

Google Analytics gives you some insight into how your audience is reading. No, it's not going to test their reading speed.

However, it is going to give you information regarding their time and behavior on the page.

This information comes from Average Time on Page in GA. It provides an insight into your audience's interest level, reading speed, and overall engagement with a page.

As the name implies, it tells you how long the average user hangs around on a specific page.

If you're producing content that's 2,000 words in length and you find that people are leaving after just 30 seconds, then either you've got an audience consisting entirely of people who've participated in the Evelyn Woods Reading Dynamics course or they're just not taking the time to read all your content.

Spoiler alert: it's probably the latter.

It's time to look at the Average Time on Page metric.

You can find it on the Behavior Overview report of GA.

Click on Behavior in the left-hand sidebar. Select Overview from the menu that appears below.

You'll see the metric among the stats that appear below the graph:

Unfortunately, though, that number gives you an across-the-board average of all your pages. You need a report that shows you how much time your visitors are spending on individual pages.

You can create a custom report to show you that information.

There's an easier option, though. Just import Avinash Kaushik's Content Efficiency Analysis Report.

It will show how much time your visitors are spending on each page.

You can use this report to determine which type of content is “sticky”-that is, which blog posts tend to keep people hanging around the longest.

Once you know that, you can produce more of that type of content.

Here is the big idea behind the Average Time on Page metric.

Knowing how long users spend on a given page tells you how interested they are in the page.

Remember, it's just an average. A reader who spends 20 minutes on the page will be balanced out by the reader who spends only two seconds on the page.

Taken as an average, however, time on page shows you how interesting and engaging your content is.

If your average time on page is really low, it may suggest that your content isn't all that great.

Find the pages or articles that have the longest average time on page, determine what's different about those pages, and use these principles when you create more content.

2. Referrals

One of the best ways to tell whether your content is resonating with people is to see whether other webmasters are linking to it from their sites.

That's why you need to pay attention to the Referrals metric.

To view referrals:

Click on Acquisition on the left-hand sidebar of Google Analytics. Select All Traffic. Click Channels.

In the table that appears on the main screen, you'll see that the first column is labeled “Default Channel Grouping.” It lists the various channels that include Social, Direct, Organic Search, and Referral.

It's that Referral metric that's important here. Click on that link to view your referrals.

The table that appears shows you exactly where your inbound traffic is coming from. That's great information to have, but it's still not a complete story.

Why? Because it's an aggregate number. In other words, it shows you how much all of your traffic comes from specific sites and doesn't show which specific pages they're linking to.

Fortunately, you can fix that by adding a new column to the table.

As I said, I love Google Analytics.

At the top of the table, you'll see a dropdown menu labeled “Secondary Dimension.” Click on that:

On the menu that appears, click on “Behavior.” Then, select “Destination Page” from the list of options that appear:

Boom. Now you have a referral report that not only shows which sites are linking to your site but also which specific pages they're linking to.

Even better: the default sorting is by the number of sessions in descending order. So you can immediately see which type of content gets the most backlinks.

What do you do with that information?

Easy: create more content like the articles that have the most referrals. If your content is good, people link to it. It's that simple.

Ultra-linkable content is good content. The more links you're earning, the better you're doing.

3. Interests

Marketing is all about reaching people.

This is especially true with content marketing.

If you want to connect effectively with your visitors, you have to communicate with them on their level. That's why it's a great idea to find out what their interests are.

Fortunately, Google Analytics has a report for that.

Click on “Audience” on the left-hand sidebar of GA. Select “Interests” from the dropdown menu that appears below. Click on “Overview.”

Now, you're looking at a few bar graphs that show you the interests of your audience. The graph below is from a tech website.

The first graph shows the “Affinity Category.” That tells you about the general hobbies and interests of people who've been visiting your site. Here's how Google defines Affinity Categories:

Affinity Categories identifies users in terms of lifestyle; for example, Technophiles, Sports Fans, and Cooking Enthusiasts. These categories are defined to be similar to TV audiences.

The “In-Market Segment” graph shows you what your visitors are interested in purchasing. Here's a definition of an in-market audience from Search Engine Watch:

An In-Market Audience is composed of folks who are actively searching and comparing your product/service. Individuals in this audience have indicated that they are actively in-market for a specific category such as “Autos & Vehicles” or “Real Estate” or “Travel” or any of the other audiences currently available from Google.

The “Other” graph gives you broad categories of your visitors' interests. Google explains it this way:

Other Categories provides the most specific, focused view of your users. For example, while Affinity Categories includes the category Foodies, Other Categories includes the category Recipes/Cuisines/East Asian.

How does any of that help you produce better content? It gives you the ability to tailor-fit your blog posts to your readers' interests while simultaneously boosting your brand.

For example, let's say you run a men's fashion e-commerce site. This week, you're at a loss about what type of article you should write for your blog.

So, you fire up Google Analytics and view the interests of your visitors.

And then you have an “Aha!” moment.

You see on the “In-Market Segment” graph that 10% of your visitors are interested in “Employment.” They're looking for a job.

You close GA, log in to your WordPress CMS, and type up an article titled “Here's How to Dress for Success at Your Next Job Interview.”

Boom. The article gets shared more than most others on your site; it gets backlinks from various “life hacker” sites; and you even receive an honorable mention in GQ.

That wouldn't have happened had you not checked the interests of your visitors.

You can dive deeper into each of these interest categories. For example, click “In-Market Segments” in the sidebar menu underneath “Interests.”

This will display a breakdown of the traffic trends associated with the in-market segment.

You can see how each category of visitor is interacting with the site-their sessions, bounce rate, session duration, and goal completion (if you have Goals activated).

What's next?

The impact of your content marketing efforts shouldn't be a mystery.

Check Google Analytics regularly to see which types of articles your visitors appreciate the most. Then, produce that type of content on a regular basis.

You can replicate this model for any and every number in Google Analytics.

Simply ask yourself these questions:

What does this number/metric say about my audience? How should my content change as a result?

Bounce rate, session duration, percentage of new sessions, number of returning visitors, service providers, operating system, screen resolution, browser, language settings, mobile traffic, acquisition date, user retention, pages per session-all of this information has to do with your users, your readers, your audience.

All you have to do is understand what the numbers mean and then make relevant changes to your website.


Now, hold on a second.

I just told you to “make relevant changes to your website,” but I need to offer a final disclaimer. That's what this conclusion is for.

It's tempting to go crazy and start changing your website left and right. “Ooh! A number! Change the strategy! Revamp the content! Switch up the headline!”

Let me caution you against doing that. Why? Because if you start changing everything, you'll defeat the entire purpose of analytics, which is to understand exactly what's working and what's not.

To truly understand what's effective, what's not so effective, and how to make the right kind of changes, you need to do one more thing.

Split testing.

This article isn't the place to explain split testing-I've explained some of those principles elsewhere.

Instead, this is the place to encourage you not to change things willy-nilly but to make strategic changes in a split-testing environment.

The advantage of A/B-testing individual changes is this: Your analytics-all those numbers I talked about up there-will become far more reliable, effective, and actionable.

Google Analytics paired with accurate split testing is a surefire way to make better content.

The better you get at reading and acting upon your analytics, the better content you'll create.

What are some of your go-to numbers in Google Analytics for improving your content marketing strategy?

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Filed under: Digital Marketing Strategy, Marketing Strategy, Online Strategy, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, SEO Strategy, SEO Tips
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Twitter just made it a lot easier to get verified

It will soon be a lot easier to get that coveted blue checkmark next to your name on Twitter.

The company will soon have an official way for users to request a verified account via an online application, marking the first time Twitter has implemented a streamlined way for users to request a verified badge.

SEE ALSO: Twitter's new Engage app makes it easier for celebs to handle their fans

The new application process is beginning to roll out to users in the U.S. now and will be available to the rest of the world in the next few days. 

Importantly, it doesn't sound like the actual requirements for becoming verified are changing - just the process itself. In a statement released Tuesday, Twitter notes that verified accounts are usually "of public interest."  Read more...

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Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube blocked in Turkey during reported coup attempt

 The Turkish military has deployed in Istanbul and Ankara, and the government has apparently blocked social media in response to what is being reported as an attempted coup. Read More
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Twitter dives after mixed Q2: $602M sales, $0.13 EPS, MAUs up 3% 313M

 Twitter today reported Q2 earnings, and the woe that is its poor user growth continues, with its 313 million monthly active users up just 3% on a year ago, and up less than 1% on its previous quarter. The company reported revenues of $602 million with adjusted earnings per share of $0.13. While revenues are up 20% on a year ago, the numbers were a miss on sales and a beat on EPS: analysts… Read More
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Facebook takes down footage from child 'torture' report

Facebook wants to be in the news business, but it's finding that being a media platform is harder than it looks.

On Monday evening, ABC news program Four Corners delivered a report that detailed the shocking abuse of child detainees in the Northern Territory. It included footage of teenagers being tear gassed and one boy being bound in a manner that would not look out of place in Guantanamo Bay.  

The Australian government has already committed to an inquiry into the Northern Territory's juvenile detention system.

SEE ALSO: 'Torture' of kids in detention shows why we need a #BlackLivesMatter conversation in Australia Read more...

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10 times parents did the most awkward things on Snapchat and Facebook

For those who have grown up with social media, the world of statuses, tweets and snaps makes sense. But how about for older generations, who are entering unfamiliar territory when they sign up for Facebook or Snapchat? 

We sat down with some Mashable employees and friends to hear their best stories of parents and grandparents on social media, and the answers did not disappoint.  Read more...

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Prisma for Android is now live for all in the Google Play Store

 The hits just keep on coming for Prisma. Just over a month after launching on iOS and almost immediately capturing the imagination of the Instagramming masses in the process, AI-fueled photo filtering app is Prisma is now live for all Android users. That's a mere five days after the app first launched in beta on Google's mobile operating system, through a limited invite… Read More
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Now anyone can build features for Cola messenger

 Cola, a messaging app that integrates apps into chats, is opening up its developer kit today to enable anyone to build new apps. The updated version available today comes with 12 “bubbles” that are essentially applications that run inside the messaging app. Users can share weather and flight information, gifs, and more without creating accounts with individual tools. The… Read More
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Twitter's Periscope videos will now play inside embedded tweets

Twitter's Periscope videos will now play outside of the main app and website. 

The videos will now play inside tweets that are embedded on other websites, Twitter announced Thursday.

SEE ALSO: Twitter rolls out Periscope button to all users

The update means that Periscope broadcasts will function much more like other videos shared on Twitter when they appear outside of Twitter or Periscope's main app. Previously, embedded tweets containing Periscope videos only showed the URL for the broadcast, not the video itself.

With the change, which you can see in the tweet below, Periscope videos are integrated much more closely with tweets, though the Periscope URL will still appear. Read more...

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You won't believe how much Selena Gomez's social media posts are worth

Not everyone gets the same love on their social media accounts. Probably because most of that love goes towards Selena Gomez. 

Gomez has the most likes on an Instagram image, but now we know she probably makes a great deal of money with each post as well.

SEE ALSO: Selena Gomez stole the most-liked Instagram crown from Justin Bieber

D'Marie Analytics released rankings of social media influencers, and the results have Gomez sitting comfortably on top with a combined follower count across platforms of 180,915,477 people. 

What's just as impressive is what that means for her walletAdWeek reports that the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts from the pop singer are valued up to $550,000 a piece.  Read more...

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Facebook's live videos can now be twice as long

Facebook is making more improvements to its live broadcasts.

The company's livestreaming platform, Facebook Live, will now support fullscreen broadcasts as well as a new "video-only" mode that hides comments and reactions while you watch. Facebook will also allow broadcasts to last up to four hours - double the two-hour limit it previously had. 

SEE ALSO: 10 Facebook Live stars you need to follow now

All of the changes are starting to roll out now, though it may take a few weeks before they are available to everyone on all platforms. 

Fullscreen video will be a welcome improvement to broadcasters and viewers alike, as the update will mean that you no longer have to watch videos on your phone with the white comments box stuck underneath. The update will add support for fullscreen videos in landscape and portrait mode on iOS and portrait on Android (Facebook says landscape support will be coming to Android later this year.) Read more...

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Warby Parker is offering Snapchat-exclusive sunglasses

 Warby Parker is offering its very first Snapchat-exclusive product - limited sunglasses that are only available for purchase to its Snapchat followers. The eyeglass retailer said it just shared a Snapchat story with its followers with a unique URL where, for a limited time, they can buy “head-turning Haskell in Crystal, now with new silver mirrored lenses” for $95. (I… Read More
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German lawmakers want to require black boxes for autonomous cars, report says

Following two confirmed Tesla Autopilot-related crashes in the U.S., including a fatality, German lawmakers are planning legislation that would require carmakers to include a black box for cars.

More commonly associated with aircraft, the proposed black box would record when an autonomous system was engaged, when the car asked the driver to retake driving duties and when a human driver took control or not, according to Reuters.

The intent of this legislation would help both carmakers, regulators and law enforcement officials determine who is responsible in the event of an autonomous car crash. Read more...

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#SendForgivenessViral proposes new approach to online outrage

It's 2016 and the world is full of controversy. From Brexit to Kim vs Taylor - and where there is controversy, outrage follows suit.

Australian journalist and television presenter Waleed Aly used his platform on panel show The Project last night to highlight what he sees as the ineffectiveness of online outrage and proposed a different approach to dealing with views that are either ludicrous and downright offensive.

SEE ALSO: #AskAntony trends as Australia falls into existential crisis

The video has been met with the whole spectrum of responses from Twitter, ranging from disappointment and (ironically) outrage, to support and applause. Some feel that Aly is shifting the blame from the persecutors back onto the persecuted, while others have praised his insight. Read more...

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Facebook reportedly blocked in Armenia during unrest in the capital

Facebook appeared to be blocked for a period in Armenia Sunday, according to locals on Twitter.

Only one day after Twitter was throttled in Turkey during an ill-fated coup attempt, social media again seemed to become a target during unrest in Armenia's capital, Yerevan. Facebook has been approached for comment.

SEE ALSO: The everyday app that help Erdogan beat the coup

The Armenian security service said that armed men had stormed a police headquarters in Yerevan Sunday and were holding hostages, Reuters reported. Negotiations are underway with the group, which is calling for the release of Jirair Sefilian who was arrested in June. Sefilian is an opposition activist and critic of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan.  Read more...

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