By Christopher Hutchens


This week in inbound we take a look at Google's new ad format, how to build a successful content marketing plan and calendar for your team or department, and we'll look why you shouldn't just track pure numbers when it comes to social.

New and Noteworthy

New Ad Format on Google Display Network

On Tuesday, Google introduced a new ad format for local advertisers. For example, users reading a cooking blog might see an ad for a local bakery. The ads can include photos, store location, and business hours. In testing the new ad formats, Google has said that 60 percent of clicks were to get more information about the business or directions. As more and more people are searching with local intent, Google has been quick to implement new ad extensions and formats to help local advertisers. See the full article on Google’s new ad format to find out about the implications of this change.

Identifying Your Best SEO Opportunities

When it comes to your SEO strategy, it’s time to start taking advantage of the spikes of search traffic during the holidays, changing seasons, and sporting events. The holidays are notorious for bringing a spike in search traffic, which most businesses take advantage of through display, video, and text ads. But looking past the holiday season, is your business identifying and taking advantage of other cultural trends or opportunities? Learn how to identify the best SEO opportunities here.


Grow Your Inbound Marketing

Webinar: Take Your Startup from $0 to $2M in One Year with Nothing but Inbound

In one year, Jen Spencer and her team at Allbound took a SaaS startup from $0 to $2M in revenue, all with inbound marketing. Anyone who has worked or began at a startup company knows how difficult this can be, so when Jen shares her story with friends and colleagues at other startups, they're shocked. Listen to Jen’s story on March 30 as she hosts a webinar to explain exactly how Allbound reached $2M through inbound marketing. Click here to read more about the webinar.

How to Build a Content Marketing Plan and Calendar for My Department

A strong content plan is the foundation of any successful inbound marketing program. Without content, your website will struggle to bring in organic traffic, it likely won’t rank for any keywords, and you simply won’t be able to reach the goals you’ve likely set as a business owner. Content is the lifeblood of inbound marketing, and it’s the machine in the background that keeps everything running when you’re asleep. Building a solid content marketing calendar for your department takes time though, and you will need help from team members to help initiate and implement your efforts. It’s also important that your team meets consistently to review successful content pieces and brainstorm for future content. To help you and your department build a successful content marketing plan, check out our latest blog post.

22 Case Study Questions Every Marketer Should Ask

When done right, a case study is one of the most powerful types of inbound marketing content. Powerful visuals and storytelling can help drive home the benefits of a company’s service or product, especially for those in the decision stage of the buyer’s journey. But case studies take time, and you need to make sure you’re careful about gathering all the necessary information you need. To help you gather insightful details for your next case study, ask these 22 questions when conducting interviews. 


Marketing Reports, Updates, Trends

US Digital Ad Spend Hits 83B, Facebook’s Display Ad Dominance Continues to Grow

As digital ad spend in the United States hits $83 billion, platforms like Google, Snapchat and Amazon continue to gain US mobile ad share. But one platform, at least for now, is totally dominating—and that’s Facebook. This year, estimates say that Facebook will grow by 32 percent in 2017. It is display revenue that is still bringing home the cake for Facebook, but the popularity of live video and the introduction of video ads will also help drive new revenue. To learn how Facebook and other platforms will continue driving digital ad spend this year, read the full article.

Marketers: Track Emotions, Not Just Numbers

Brand mentions on social media are important, but not as important as what people are actually saying in them. We don’t buy because a friend simply tweeted about a brand; we buy based on what they said and whether it was deemed a positive or negative experience. The volume of mentions your brand receives is definitely a metric you want to track for social media analysis, but it’s not the only thing. When you expand your analysis beyond volume and start taking into consideration the emotions behind each post, you can gain valuable insight into what your customers want, feel, and think. Find out more about the importance of tracking customer emotions here.


What marketing stories caught your eye this week? Tell us about them in the comments!


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Christopher Hutchens

About the author

Christopher Hutchens is a Marketing Consultant at SmartBug Media. He previously worked as an interactive project manager, helping launch and redevelop websites for B2B and B2C companies. Chris is originally from Chicago and has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Missouri. Read more articles by Christopher Hutchens.