B2B Marketing News: B2B Data Onboarding Insight, Google’s New Ad Formats, Marketing Campaign Performance Study, & LinkedIn’s Employer Branding Guide

022 May 20 MarketingCharts Image

022 May 20 MarketingCharts Image

Google Shares Sneak Peek At New Advertising Features
Google has offered a look inside several of its new forthcoming Google Ads features, including responsive display and mobile ads that animate static imagery and better white space formatting, highlighted in a showcase of examples from firms that have tested the new tools, Google recently announed. Search Engine Journal

Twitter is testing a new ‘Liked by Author’ label for tweets
Twitter has tested the ability for tweet replies on the platform that have been liked by the post’s author to show a red heart liked-by-author badge and similar text designation, with the aim of making it easier to spot top tweet replies in lengthy reply chains, Twitter recently announced. TechCrunch

Videoconferencing hinders creativity — study
When it comes to conceiving creative ideas among teams of two, brainstorming in person has been shown to produce 15 percent more ideas than doing so over remote video meetings using Zoom or similar technology, according to newly-released report data of interest to digital marketers published in the journal Nature. Philstar

Listeners Like What They Bought From Podcast Ads. But They Have Ad Complaints Too.
Podcast listeners are more receptive to advertising presented in the audio format, with 80 percent of podcast listeners having said that marketing messages heard during a podcast didn’t negatively affect the content’s quality, while 70 percent noted that they preferred ads which were read live during a podcast rather than prerecorded — two of several findings of interest to B2B marketers contained in recently-released survey data. InsideRadio

[bctt tweet=”“Once your podcast has an audience, make sure it’s still fun. But, also consider this: What are you doing with the content after the podcast and livestream?” — Christoph Trappe @CTrappe” username=”toprank”]

Google to allow users to control brands and topics they see in ads
With a forthcoming new My Ad Center feature, search giant Google will allow users a choice to see either more or less advertising content from specific brands or about certain topics, along with other ad customization features, while retaining the ability to turn ad personalization features off, Google recently announced. Campaign US

LinkedIn Publishes New Pocket Guide to Effective Employer Branding
When it comes to how organizations are succeeding with employer branding on Microsoft’s LinkedIn professional social platform, prospective customers are some six times more likely to convert when they are exposed to a combination of brand and acquisition messaging — one of numerous findings of interest to B2B marketers contained in newly-released data from LinkedIn (client) offered in guide format, along with a selection of digital outreach strategy success stories. Social Media Today

2022 May 20 Statistics Image

What Do Marketers Think Is Most Important in Influencing Campaign Performance?
Smart audience targeting, ad creative, audience reach, and data quality came out on top as the most important tactics affecting marketing campaign success, according to recently-released Nielsen survey data gathered from global marketing professionals at organizations with budgets of $1 million or more annually. MarketingCharts

Social media tops the charts for brands’ confidence in measuring ROI
64 percent of global brand marketers pointed to social media as the paid media channel that they were the most confident in when it comes to measuring return on investment (ROI), followed by video for online and mobile at 59 percent, and search at 58 percent, according to newly-released report data. eMarketer

New Report Highlights Ecommerce Trends Resulting From Pandemic
Worldwide e-commerce spending is expected to hit $5.4 trillion in 2022, and new survey data explores shifting consumer digital buying trends that also offers insight for B2B organizations, especially as the boundaries between B2C and B2B blur in a digital-first landscape. MediaPost

B2B Marketers Showing Some Concern Over Cookie-Less Solutions’ Impact on Data Onboarding
87 percent of B2B marketers pointed to website analytics as the area that will be most affected by the loss of web browser ad tracking cookies, followed by targeted ads at 76 percent, third-party data integrations at 67 percent, and website personalization initiatives at 64 percent, according to recently-released survey data of interest to B2B marketers. MarketingCharts


2022 May 20 Marketoonist Comic Image

A lighthearted look at “Who else should we target?” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Accountant with Wife and Kids Has “guitar” At End of Instagram Username For Unknown Reason — The Hard Times


  • Joshua Nite — This Week in Marketing: Content Marketing Evolution — LinkedIn (client)
  • Lane R. Ellis — The great reshuffle, ABM strategies, and a PMM reading list — Cronycle

Have you found your own top B2B marketing news for the week? If so, please don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for joining us for the week’s TopRank Marketing B2B marketing news, and we hope that you’ll come back again next Friday for another array of the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us on our LinkedIn page, or at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news.

The post B2B Marketing News: B2B Data Onboarding Insight, Google’s New Ad Formats, Marketing Campaign Performance Study, & LinkedIn’s Employer Branding Guide appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Three critical keyword research trends you must embrace

Three critical keyword research trends you must embrace

30-second summary:

  • Exact-match keywords are useful for researching patterns and trends but not so much for optimization purposes
  • When optimizing for keywords, optimize for intent and solve problems, don’t just match your page to the keyword
  • Brand-driven keywords should be your top priority because you cannot control SERPs but you can rank assets that will drive people back to your site
  • Instead of focusing on keyword strings, research your niche entities and find the ways to associate your business with those through on-site content and PR/link building efforts

If you ask an SEO expert to name one SEO tactic that has changed the most over the years, they are likely to confidently answer “link building.” Some will point out to “technical tasks”, and very few will ever think of “keyword research.”

The truth is, most SEO tasks look completely different these days but few SEO experts have changed the fundamental way they do keyword research and optimize content for those keywords.

Yes, we seem to have finally left keyword density behind (unless Google forces it back) but fundamentally nothing has changed: We run keyword tools, find relevant keyword strings and use them as much as we can throughout a dedicated page.

In the meantime, Google’s understanding and treatments of keywords has changed completely.

1. Exact-match keywords are getting obsolete

Google has a long history of trying to understand search queries beyond matching word strings in them to the documents in the search index.

And they succeeded.

It started years ago with Hummingbird being first quietly introduced then officially announced in August of 2013.

Yet, few SEOs actually understood the update or realized how much of a change to everything they knew it was.

With Hummingbird Google made it clear that they were striving for a deeper understanding of searching journeys and that would ultimately fix all their problems. As they manage to know exactly what a searcher wants and learn to give them that, no fake signals or algorithm manipulations will impact their search quality.

Hummingbird was the first time Google announced they wanted to understand “things” instead of matching “strings of words.” In other words, with Hummingbird exact-match keyword strings started becoming less and less useful.

Then, after Hummingbird came BERT that helped Google to enhance its understanding of how people search. 

Exact match keywords becoming obsolete after the Google BERT updateImage source: Google

There’s a short but pretty enlightening video on the struggles and solutions of Google engineers trying to teach the machine to understand the obvious: What is it people mean when typing a search query?

That video explains the evolution of SEO perfectly:

  • Context is what matters
  • Google is struggling, yet slowly succeeding at understanding “context, tone and intention”
  • Search queries are becoming less predictable as more and more people talk to a search engine they way they think
  • Stop words do actually add meaning, and are often crucial at changing it.

The takeaway here: Keyword research tools are still useful. They help you understand the patterns: How people tend to phrase a query when looking for answers and solutions in your niche.

But those keywords with search volume are not always what people use to research your target topic. According to Google, people search in diverse, often unpredictable ways. According to Google, on a daily basis 15% of searches are ones Google hasn’t seen before.

Every day Google encounters 15% of completely new search queries. That’s how diverse searching behaviors are.

Moving away from keyword matching, Google strives to give complete and actionable answers to the query. And that’s what your SEO strategy should be aiming at doing as well.

Whatever keyword research process you’ve been using is likely still valid: It helps you understand the demand for certain queries, prioritize your content assets and structure your site.

It’s the optimization step that is completely different these days. It is no longer enough to use that word in the page title, description and headings.

So when creating an optimization strategy for every keyword you identify:

  • Try to figure out what would satisfy the search intent behind that query: What is it that searcher really looking for? A list? A video? A product to buy? A guide to follow? Even slight changes in a searchable keyword string (e.g. plural vs singular) can signal a searching intent you need to be aware of.
  • Search Google for that query and look through search snippets: Google is very good at identifying what a searcher needs, so they generate search snippets that can give you lots of clues.

Notice how none of the high-ranking documents has that exact search query included:

Ranking resources for diverse keywords vs exact match keywordsImage source: Screenshot made by the author

2. Branded keywords are your priority

More and more people are using search to navigate to a website, and there are several reasons for that:

  • A few strongest browsers allow people search from the address bar (those include Safari on both desktop and mobile and, obviously, Google Chrome)
  • People are getting used to voice searching, so they just speak brand names to perform a  search.

Ranking for branded keywords to funnel target audience to assets

Image source: Screenshot made by the author

In other words, your customers who likely know about your brand and are possibly ready to make a purchase – those hard-earned customers are forced to search for your brand name or for your branded query.

And what will they see?

It is astounding how many companies have no idea what comes up for their branded search, or how many customers they lose over poorly managed (or more often non-existent) in-SERP reputation management.

There are three crucial things to know about brand-driven search:

  • These are mostly high-intent queries: These searchers are typing your brand name intending to buy from you
  • These are often your existing, returning customers that tend to buy more than first-time customers
  • Both of the above factors make these your brands’ top priority.

And yet, you don’t have control over what people see when searching for your brand. In fact, monitoring and optimizing for those brand-driven queries is not a one-time task. It is there for as long as your brand exists.

  • Treat your brand name as a keyword: Expand it, optimize for it, monitor your site’s rankings
  • Identify deeper level problems behind your customers’ brand-driven searching patterns: What is it you can improve to solve problems behind those queries?

Identifying customer pain points for keyword researchImage source: Screenshot made by the author

Your branded search queries should become part of your sales funnel – everything from About page to product pages and lead magnets should capture those brand-driven opportunities.

In many cases, when you see a large amount of brand-driven keywords, you may need a higher level approach, like setting up a standalone knowledge base.

3. Entities are key

Entities are Google’s way to understand this world.

Entities are all proper names out there: Places, people, brands, etc.

Google has a map of entities – called Knowledge Graph – that makes up Google’s understanding of the world.

Entities help Google understand the context and the search intent.

Using entities and semantic searchImage search: The beginner’s guide to semantic search

Being Google’s entity means coming up in searches where you were implied but never mentioned:

Using Google entities for keyword researchImage source: Screenshot made by the author

Through entity associations, Google knows what any search is about.

Entities should be the core of your keyword research process: What are known entities is your niche and how do you associate your brand with those entities?


Search engine optimization is evolving fast, so it requires an agile strategy for brands to keep up. If you are doing keyword research the old, exact-match, way, your business is about 10 years behind!

Ann Smarty is the Founder of Viral Content Bee, Brand and Community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. She can be found on Twitter @seosmarty.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

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The post Three critical keyword research trends you must embrace appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

5 Timely Ways B2B Brands Can Conquer Metaverse Marketing

Metaverse marketing for B2B brands professional businessman image

Metaverse marketing for B2B brands professional businessman image

The metaverse — a term coined in a 1992 novel — isn’t done cooking yet, but with a world that needs to eat right now and chefs that need to cook, what do B2B brands need to know to get ready?

Just 18 percent of brand marketing and analytics executives said that they understood the metaverse and how it will affect their brand, according to recently-released survey data.

ListenFirst Chart

Despite limited general understanding of just what the metaverse is and may become, the areas that it will encompass are vast, running the gamut from digital currency and assets and natural language processing to device independence and marketplace commerce, as Gartner recently outlined.

2022 February 18 Gartner Chart

Let’s warp right in and explore five ways that B2B brands can succeed with metaverse marketing, and the pitfalls that savvy marketers must watch out for.

1 — Moving Past A Disconnected Hodgepodge

The metaverse is currently a disconnected hodgepodge of holographic hopes and digital dreams that may or may not eventually reach the sustainable velocity to capture the hearts, minds, and wallets of the public and private sectors.

As someone who’s been around online communications for over 38 years now, it’s hard to not see the metaverse as just another “cyberspace / next big thing” and a variation on a theme already played out by virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), however it’s undeniable that the theoretical promises it holds true could indeed be achievable if the digital stars precisely line up.

Otherwise, the metaverse may face a scenario that marketing cartoonist Tom Fishburne recently summed up in his Marketoonist piece, “The Future of the Metaverse.”

2022 April 22 Marketoonist Comic Image

2 — Avoiding The Siloed Platform Trap

A primary danger the metaverse faces is falling into the siloed social media platform trap, with walled gardens of innumerable metaverse-like instances each owned by separate entities and all not being able to — whether on purpose or otherwise — talk to one another, or even willfully trying to prevent people from leaving their particular slice of metaverse pie.

Despite this danger, as we covered in our weekly Friday B2B marketing news, predictions for adoption of the metaverse have shown swift embracing of the technology. 30 percent of global organizations will offer products or services through the metaverse by 2026, while 25 percent of people will utilize at least an hour each day using metaverse technology, and while it won’t be owned by a single vendor, the future metaverse will likely boost engagement even among enterprise users, according to the Gartner report data.

When it comes to what marketers think about the metaverse, one recent survey found that some 55 percent of marketers said that the metaverse will have a positive impact on marketing, with 11 percent seeing it as having a negative effect, while 34 percent remained neutral on the question.

Unsupervised Chart

Other survey data has shown that those in younger demographic groups have already begun to spend more time using existing forms of the metaverse. Gen Z consumers interact socially in the metaverse twice as much as in real life, the study showed.

Additional recent survey data showed that 36 percent of U.S. adults said that they were interested in the metaverse, while 56 percent of millennials and 51 percent of Gen Z consumers expressed interested.

[bctt tweet=”“A primary danger the metaverse faces is falling into the siloed social media platform trap, with walled gardens of innumerable metaverse-like instances each owned by separate entities not willing to talk to one another.” — @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]

3 — Metaverse Content Is Still King

When new technology such as the metaverse comes along it can be helpful to keep some enduring digital marketing truths in mind, particularly the one our own CEO and co-founder Lee Odden shared years ago, “Content is the reason search began in the first place.”

The metaverse — just like a search engine — is empty without content, in the same way that social media platforms and web properties would be empty wastelands without the digital lifeblood of content.

Great content can be smoothly adjusted and messaged to succeed in virtually any medium or format, so brands that are creating winning content are already poised for doing well in the metaverse.

As the currently chaotic metaverse evolves, brands may face the need to format multiple versions of the content they want to share, each tailored to a specific flavor of metaverse — a solution that while certainly not ideal, gives brands the opportunity to test the waters and compare engagement levels within each metaverse incarnation.

Even with the right content at the right time, if the metaverse doesn’t achieve the cohesion it needs to achieve business buy-in and mainstream acceptance, it runs the risk of being relegated to the “Metaverse Hype Cycle,” at Tom Fishburne examined in another recent Marketoonist cartoon.

2022 February 18 Marketoonist Comic Image

Adobe’s 2022 creative trends forecast — from the innovators at its Adobe Stock arm — included the metaverse among its key motion trends for the year ahead, alongside its “otherworldly visions” design trend. We explored this and other top B2B marketing design trends recently in, “Visual Focus: The Digital Designs Propelling B2B Brand Success In 2022.”

[bctt tweet=”“Great content can be smoothly adjusted and messaged to succeed in virtually any medium or format, so brands that are creating winning content are already poised for doing well in the metaverse.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]

4 — Hold Tight & Keep Up For A Wild Metaverse Ride

Brands not quite ready to enter one of the nascent available metaverse test-beds can hold tight and keep watch on how the technology plays out, while keeping potential metaverse-friendly content in mind to begin trying out in the format once the time is right.

Brands can assure readiness for their eventual participation in each variety of the metaverse by registering accounts with the current crop of top players in the technology, to reserve the organization’s name in at least a placeholder state.

Global banking giants JPMorgan Chase and HSBC are two of the major firms that have already begun scoping out territory within the metaverse, as Rachelle Akuffo explored recently in “Companies are betting big on real estate in the metaverse.” Akuffo makes mention of “the various metaverses that are being developed,” which points to the disjointed nature of our current metaverse.

Meta — the parent company of Facebook and Instagram — besides choosing a name that evokes the metaverse, has heavily invested efforts in the metaverse, which has led many to assume that “the metaverse” is an extension of Facebook.

It’s also paved the way for advertisers to be a part of its particular implementation of the metaverse, as Sheila Dang recently outlined for Reuters in “Meta inks partnership for 3D ads in step toward the metaverse.” Virtual metaverse classes were also among the initial areas that will be tested within Meta’s Horizon Worlds VR platform, as outlined in an additional recent Reuters report.

5 — Heed History’s Lessons And Sir Tim’s Take


When Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the Web, as we detailed in “Classic Marketing Insights to Celebrate the Internet’s 50th Birthday,” one of his biggest goals was to make it easier for people to find information on the Internet — an ambition that has undoubtedly seen tremendous success perhaps beyond any other technology in history.

In recent years he’s been involved in Solid, a decentralized open-source data-storage technology developed by Inrupt, a firm he co-founded.

“People ask about virtual reality, and if the metaverse is going to be the whole future, and the answer is that it’s going to be part of the future,” Berners-Lee recently observed in Nate Lanxon’s Bloomberg article, “The World Wide Web’s Creator Wants Metaverse VR.”

[bctt tweet=”“People ask about virtual reality, and if the metaverse is going to be the whole future, and the answer is that it’s going to be part of the future.” — Sir Tim Berners-Lee @timberners_lee” username=”toprank”]

“If we do build 3D worlds let’s build them so that I can put a 3D world on my website and you can put one on your website and using VRML we can have a portal so that people can wander around my world and then go through on the open web to join these 3D worlds together without having to go through any one central place,” Berners-Lee recently suggested in Ann-Marie Corvin’s TechInformed article, “Berners-Lee describes his vision for a joined-up metaverse – and it’s decentralised

“Persuading people to do things a different way is really hard,” Berners-Lee also lamented.

Berners-Lee’s cataclysmic web was significantly helped along by the standards organization known as the World Wide Web Consortium, and a small but growing number of technology experts have expressed hope that similar oversight and guidance can still be applied to the metaverse.

“No single company should ever exert control — it’s simply too important for that to happen,” David Reid, professor of artificial intelligence (AI) and spatial computing at Liverpool Hope University recently shared with Martyn Warwick in a TelecomTV piece, “Self-regulation just won’t cut it in the metaverse – it needs a virtual Interpol.”

Protecting privacy, preventing abuse, ensuring interoperability, and enabling access are the four key issues the metaverse faces, according to Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web Foundation — the non-profit organization he founded in 2009 — as outlined in Kara Dunford’s “The metaverse: a bold, exciting digital future or a digital dystopia like we’ve never seen before?

“It’s important that the metaverse is built as an open plain rather than a walled garden, with no one company at the helm. There will be no one single metaverse — but rather many metaverses,” Dunford noted. “We need common standards and interoperability to bridge between these spaces, so that we don’t end up with separate digital confines but can instead travel seamlessly between virtual spaces with the same avatars and other digital assets,” Dunford added.

An additional movement seeking to play a role in shaping the future of the metaverse is the Web3 concept, which looks to incorporate elements of blockchain technology, as Cathy Hackl, chief metaverse officer at Futures Intelligence Group recently explored in the Forbes article, “An Evolving Strategy For The Emergent Metaverse: A Web3 Manifesto For Brands And Artists.”

“Web3 is a collective evolution in experiences between brands, artists, and audiences,” Hackl noted, adding that it’s also “an evolving framework that defines a brand’s relationship with this new capability.”

She also sees a Web3-shaped metaverse giving brands, “An opportunity to expand their audience, deepen the connection with their existing audience, or even a way to engage with a completely new audience.”

We’ve featured Hackl several times on the TopRank Marketing blog, including “Augmented Reality: How to Leverage AR in Marketing With Cathy Hackl.”

Tune In To The Metaverse’s Universal Marketing Music


What does this all mean for B2B marketers?

While the metaverse is still at least somewhat in its wild west stage, B2B marketers should keep in mind the developments it’s currently going through that we’ve outlined, and keep up with the changes that it will inevitably see in the near future.

Whether you are just testing the metaverse waters for B2B brands, making the decision to go all-in, or taking a wait-and-see approach will be a choice each brand needs to make, and whichever you choose we hope that the information we’ve explored will help in making an informed decision.

In today’s digital-first landscape, creating award-winning B2B marketing requires considerable time and effort, which is why more firms than ever are choosing to work with a top digital marketing agency such as TopRank Marketing. Contact us to learn how we can help, as we’ve done for over 20 years for businesses ranging from LinkedIn, Dell and 3M to Adobe, Oracle, monday.com and others.

The post 5 Timely Ways B2B Brands Can Conquer Metaverse Marketing appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.