Introducing the Columbus Leadership Series!

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Columbus, Ohio skyline

Futurety is proud to announce the Columbus Leadership Series! This four-part blog series will highlight some of central Ohio’s most notable leaders and executives. 

Andrew Hulse, Client Relations Manager, had the idea to create a series for our blog. As he developed the idea further, he decided he wanted to make an effort to highlight leaders that embody the entrepreneurial spirit of Columbus.

Through the Columbus Leadership Series, Hulse had the opportunity to interview Mike Morgan from Updox, Jeffery Wilkins, Rich Baker, and Kent Stucky, all from Compuserve. 

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The Best Commercials of Super Bowl LIV

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Go ahead and admit it. You watch the Super Bowl as much for the commercials as the game and at Futurety, we don’t blame you. This year’s Super Bowl is expected to draw in 193.8 million viewers from across the world, making it the perfect opportunity to get your brand in front of a very large and very diverse audience. 

Believe it or not, the average cost for a 30-second ad spot in the Super Bowl is estimated to be $5.6 million, a record high, and account for roughly 50 minutes of screen time throughout the duration of the program. 

With such a large investment, it’s important brands use their time wisely and grab the attention of every single viewer glued to their TV. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite advertisements from this year’s showdown between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs.  Read More

Facebook is Rolling Out A Preventive Health Tool – What Does That Mean For Your Data?

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Are you an avid Facebook user? You might be seeing ads or posts for Facebook’s new Preventive Health tool. In October 2019, Facebook announced it would begin rolling out an interactive health screening platform. Preventive Health takes the user’s demographic data and provides recommendations for health screenings. We’ll dive into the platform’s features and functions, how Facebook might handle your data, and what this means for HIPAA compliance and data security. Read More

Using Technology to Gather Customer Insights

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User testing is a key component of user experience (UX) research. No matter your level of market research experience, you can gather game-changing customer insights with simple user experience tools.

Not sure where to start? Which platform you select depends on your key research questions, budget, and preferred interface. 

Here are 6 user experience insights tools you can use to gather insights and improve the on-site experience.  Read More

How Futurety Blends Digital Marketing and Data in Columbus

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From the start, Futurety was founded on the basis of taking the “traditional” digital marketing agency into its next-generation here in Columbus.

Most agencies operate on a model of 1 analyst for every 10 content creators. A room of writers and community managers write content, publish it, and have that 1 analyst generate a report with a few ideas at the end of the month.

We’ve turned this model on its head. Our goal is to have 10 analysts for every 1 content creator, so we can spend less time writing content that might work, and more time understanding your audience and market opportunities, finding new ways to generate revenue that other agencies would miss.

This translates into more value for you: Better digital marketing, more validated ideas, and strategy & insights that impact far more than just your marketing.

What makes Futurety different among Columbus digital marketing agencies? Here are a few ways.

Futurety is…

Unashamedly data-first in everything. Data informs every decision and strategy we undertake.

Transparent. You own all your accounts and data, and if we stop working together, you leave with everything we did as yours to keep.

More than just Google Analytics. We use advanced tools and processes, like R, Python, SQL, DataBricks, and much more, combining disparate data to guide your digital marketing strategy.

Focused on achieving success together, with your internal team and other agencies. We’ve worked with every other agency in Columbus and look forward to partnering for even better results.

Focused on building a long-term relationship with you. We have no outside investors or board of directors demanding quarterly growth or else. Retaining all our clients is our #1 goal.

How do we do this? It all comes down to people. We focus on building a digital marketing and analytics team that is both skilled and humble, to give our clients the best service possible while also providing them with a Futurety team that makes their day-to-day as pleasant as possible. Columbus is a big small town, and the more we can all enjoy working together, the more we can accomplish together to build a stronger Columbus.

We’re always looking for exciting digital marketing and data projects to help us learn new skills and industries. Got a cool one that you want to talk about? Let’s get in touch! 

 

Why Google is Blocking All Mixed Content and What it Means for Your Website

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Over the past several years, Google has moved aggressively to display only verified, secure content in search results. The search giant is about to take its next big step forward towards a secure internet.

Google wants websites to transition to hosting only secure content on secure websites.

Currently, secure websites (featuring https://) are able to serve mixed content, including both secure and insecure (featuring http://) content. Starting in December, Google’s Chrome browser will stop displaying mixed content on secure pages. 

If your site has mixed content, this new policy might create a poor user experience, negatively affect your SEO, and even compromise secure information exchanged on your website. What does this mean for your website, and how can you fix it? 

Google placas high priority on serving secure websites in search engine results pages. Having a securely encrypted site is one of the easiest ways to improve SEO. 

HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. This means information that is transferred on this website is completely encrypted. Security and encryption are vitally important for websites that contain sensitive information, such as credit card numbers. 

HTTPS websites commonly house mixed content, which occurs when subresources on a secure site are loaded insecurely over http://. Browsers often block mixed content such as scripts and iframes, but still allow images, audio, and video to load. While this might create a good user experience, it presents security concerns. An attacker could tamper with a mixed image to present misleading information, or could even inject tracking cookies into mixed resources.

Google Chrome is the first browser to block all mixed content by default. Starting with Chrome 79 in December, Google will automatically upgrade mixed content on secure sites, so sites will continue to work if their subresources are already available over HTTPS. Once these changes are implemented, Google will provide an option for website visitors to display blocked mixed content. However, requiring the user to unblock content creates a clunky user experience and may increase bounce rates. 

Do you want to fix mixed content on your site? Google recommends migrating website services to HTTPS.  You should also check with your web hosting provider or content management system to see if they have ready-made tools to de-bug mixed content (like this WordPress plugin). 

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. We can help you navigate how to identify and fix any mixed content on your website. 

Google Says Goodbye to Average Position

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“My company needs to be shown first in a Google result”. 

We’ve all heard that from a client before, right? We’ve all tried to explain it might not be the best metric to measure, right? Well, paid specialists, rejoice! Google is saying goodbye to average position, one of the original search metrics. 

Ad position refers to the ordering of the paid search results, but not the location of the paid search results, meaning you might achieve the number one ad position but that doesn’t necessarily mean your ad is showing up at the top of the search engine results page (SERP).

Why the change, Google? 

Although it is valuable to know how your ads show on the search results page, Google doesn’t believe average position is as useful as it once was. 

In place of average position, Google rolled out four new metrics that can provide a clearer view of your prominence on the page.

  1. Top Impression Rate: Percentage of your total impressions that are coming from the top of the SERP (above organic results)
  2. Absolute Top Impression Rate: Percentage of your total impressions that are coming from the very top of the SERP 
  3. Top Impression Share: Rate at which you’re turning opportunities to appear at the top of the SERP into actual impressions at the top of the SERP
  4. Absolute Top Impression Share: Rate at which you’re turning opportunities to appear at the very top of the SERP into actual impressions at the very top of the SERP

What’s next? 

The bottom line is pay-per-click advertising is an evolving advertising channel and will continue to be for years to come. As Google continues to modify and improve its platform, it’s important that digital marketers understand and adapt to the changes. 

If you’re looking for an expert to help you navigate Google advertising and automated bidding strategies, give us a call. We’re always down to help you make the most of your pay-per-click campaigns. 

Marketing Lessons from the Pumpkin Spice Latte

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Fall is in the air! It’s time for cozy sweaters, football games and, of course, pumpkin spice everything. Although autumn doesn’t officially begin until September 23, Starbucks brought the season earlier than ever by releasing their signature pumpkin spice latte on August 27. 

The pumpkin spice latte (or PSL for short) has become a symbol for holiday creep and mainstream millennial culture. Some have praised its irresistible flavor, and others have embraced the “basic” white girl stereotype. You either love it or you hate it, but most importantly Starbucks got you talking about it. Their strategy has worked – we’ve bought over 350 million PSLs since they debuted in 2003.

So let’s take a moment to appreciate the industry know-how and savvy marketing behind the world’s most popular pumpkin beverage with 4 marketing lessons from the PSL. 

Create Demand. Although the PSL has arrived earlier year after year, the drink’s seasonality and perceived exclusivity drive demand. Starbucks also uses social media to create excitement organically. The hashtag #PSL has been used over 1.2 million times on Instagram alone. Considering this beverage has only been around for 16 years, the hype around release day is no small feat. 

Be a Trendsetter. Pumpkin spice isn’t just for lattes. The autumnal flavor has been adapted to just about every edible product under the sun, including protein powder, kale chips, and dog treats. Forbes estimates sales of pumpkin spice products exceeded $600 million in 2018, with only $110 million generated by Starbucks. Other coffee chains account for $10 million, and on-the-shelf coffee, creamer, and ready-to-drink coffee comprise nearly $96.3 million.This just goes to show that as far as coffee is concerned, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. 

Remember Where You Came From. Believe it or not, Starbucks executives were initially skeptical about how the pumpkin spice flavor would be received. Ultimately, they hoped audiences would connect the flavor with nostalgia for food, family, and fall. That gamble paid off. That connection to life’s meaningful moments has informed the PSL’s branding and content strategy and made marketing feel more personal. 

Stay Versatile. Starbucks’ sales of cold beverages accounted for over 50% of the company’s sales in 2018. This year, they introduced the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew to appeal to new audiences and tap into the cold brew market. But don’t worry about the PSL – for coffee fans, more pumpkin is always better. 

Want to learn how you can use these marketing strategies in your industry? Let’s get in touch! (Preferably over a pumpkin spice latte.)

Photo by Jayda Novak on Unsplash.

“Get Lit” at Targeting Millennials (in the Opinion of One)

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What are two buzz words that you can’t hear enough of? If you answered Millennial and social media, you’re right. I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about these two things, but honestly – they are the today and the future of marketing.

A Millennial (known to some as Generation Y) is someone who was born between the mid-1980’s to the late 1990’s. Some sources say the generation starts as early as 1976 and end as late as the early 2000’s.

Being such a massive generation could lead to some struggles on how to directly market to it. There is, however, a common denominator to the generation – social media.

Here are four things will help you “get lit” in the social media world. You have to be uniqueengage with your “fans,” show your personality, and give back to be successful at targeting Millennials.

Let’s break it down:

1.) Be unique

In my experiences this is the most important quality Millennials look for in an account. They want the brand to stick out from the crowd and have a personality. They want to be entertained. In some cases, the weirder the better. Two Twitter accounts that do this flawlessly are Denny’s and the City of Columbus.

2.) Engage with your “fans”

Millennials want to be noticed, they yearn for attention. But in today’s world, you have a limited window to engage until they move on. You always want to keep your brand at the top of their mind, which isn’t a small task. You should engage with your fans daily and respond to any inquiries or comments almost instantaneously. Again, the City of Columbus does this well. So does Wendy’sChipotleJimmy John’s, and many other restaurants.

3.) Show your personality

Okay, now you’re thinking: “Didn’t you already say be unique?” When you think about the root personality of a brand, what do you think of? If you answered the people, you’re correct. Millennials want to know the people behind the brand. They want to know the brand cares about its employees and people love working there. Let your people do the talking with their jokes, smiles, and social engagement. Show company outings, costume contests, awards and promotions, etc. We think we do a pretty good job of that, give us a follow on Twitter!

4.) Give back

Millennials want to know their money is going to a good cause. This generation, more than any other, cares about helping others and the world. They want to know your brand has a soul and is willing to share its profits with different charities and communities. Millennials are willing to pay a little more just knowing the money is going to a great cause. Don’t be afraid to show you’re helping others and really making your mark in the world.

Have questions, comments, or just want to tell me your favorite brands? Contact Futurety today!

How to Choose the Right Marketing Automation Tool

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We get questions all the time asking about Marketing Automation tools: Which tools fit with my current tech stack? Is there an all-in-one tool out there for us? Or, which tool fits within our budget? From capabilities to support, to the tool’s ease-of-use and cost, there are several important factors to consider when selecting the right marketing automation tool for your business goals and organization. We’ve provided guidance on several areas you should consider when investing in a marketing automation tool.

  1. Capabilities: Marketing automation tools can range from offering an all-in-one solution that could include a CRM, website tracking, landing page and journey building, attribution, and more. Often times, platforms sell their solution in tiered pricing, which will determine which functionalities are included. We’ve implemented full-service tools, like Hubspot, which includes a built-in CRM, but we’ve also connected an existing CRM (like Salesforce) to a Marketing Automation tool and have the technology work hand-in-hand. Start with evaluating your current tool/software subscription capabilities and pricing, and what holes a Marketing Automation tool will fill.
  2. Integration: It’s important for a Marketing Automation tool to play nicely with your organization’s existing tech set-up. This is a question you will want to ask upfront during the tool demo stage. It’s always nice when an app integration is already available, but when it’s not, it’s common for Marketing Automation tools to have an open API which allows for relatively easy connection from the help of a developer/IT team. From your CRM to CMS to Google Analytics, harmony can be found with your chosen Marketing Automation solution.
  3. Cost: Sometimes it’s easy to want the Ferrari, when a new, reliable Honda Civic will also get you from Point A to Point B. Since ROI is likely top of mind, cost is an integral factor to final tool selection. Enterprise-level solutions, like Salesforce Marketing Cloud or Pardot, will usually run $1,250+/month minimum, which is guided by the contact/lead volume. There are plenty of marketing automation tools, like ActiveCampaign, that are built just for small businesses, which start as low as $150/month.
  4. Support: Depending on your organization’s internal staff capabilities, the level of support available alongside a tool, may be a non-negotiable necessary add-on. Some solutions, like Hubspot (Enterprise), offer a dedicated account strategist to align the tool with your specific business goals. Most of the time, email and/or call support are available depending on the price tiers.

When selecting any new software, it’s important to gather the right stakeholders and spend time thoughtfully considering the potential business impact and what matters most in reaching your business and marketing goals. At Futurety, we specialize in marketing automation tool review, research, implementation and optimization. Have any questions? We’d love to chat! Send us a note today.