Download on Digital Marketing

Download on Digital Marketing: January 2017

What’s new in digital marketing? The answer is always “everything”. In a world that is constantly changing, we’re making it easy to stay on top of the latest updates.

This Month in Digital Marketing…

Google refused to give up on Google+
The search giant announced a handful of changes for the service, including hiding “low-quality” comments, adding zoom functionality, bringing back its events feature, and killing the classic design.

Facebook launched the Journalism Project
The project will create deeper relationships with publishers, including giving early access to new tools and features.

Snapchat launched universal search to simplify navigation
Snapchat just made it much easier to find friends, groups, and brands with a universal search bar that’s always accessible at the top of the app.

Google Voice got its first big update in five years, adds new UI and features
Google Voice – their call and text app for the US – got a modern UI, Direct Reply support, and MMS photo support.

Instagram turned up the heat on Snapchat with video ads in ‘stories’
Instagram rolled out full-screen, auto-playing video ads to the stories feature. Brands are excited.

Snapchat’s cracked down on content
Snapchat doubled down on its efforts as a media platform by cracking down on clickbait and banning explicit images. Facebook did it. Will Twitter follow?

Google introduced search data into its YouTube targeting model
Google announced big changes to its targeting model, allowing advertisers to target YouTube ads based on people’s search histories.

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How to Measure Psychological Safety in Your Team

What do you think makes a team successful? What separates a high-performing team from an average team? Google worked hard to answer these questions through what they called Project Aristotle.

Their results showed that the most successful teams had specific traits. The number one trait was psychological safety. So what’s the deal with psychological safety? The short answer is that it’s when team members feel safe to take risks and be vulnerable with each other.

When Google was picking apart psychological safety, they consulted with a Harvard organizational behavioural scientist. She suggested asking employees how strongly they agreed or disagreed with 7 simple questions:

  1. If you make a mistake on this team, it is often held against you.
  2. Members of this team are able to bring up problems and tough issues.
  3. People on this team sometimes reject others for being different.
  4. It is safe to take a risk on this team.
  5. It is difficult to ask other members of this team for help.
  6. No one on this team would deliberately act in a way that undermines my efforts.
  7. Working with members of this team, my unique skills and talents are valued and utilized.

We took these questions and realized that we could use some additional data points. We wanted to see which of these characteristics were consistent across team members and where there was disparity. For example: are there certain people who would never hold a mistake against you? Are there others who would? So we asked each question twice, priming it differently:


The results let us see the difference between the average for those we’re most comfortable with and those we’re least comfortable with. Prompts that had higher disparity between these two answers pointed to interpersonal issues. Prompts with similar answers were more about our culture.

Why bother measuring psychological safety?

If you’re trying to make your team more successful, you first need a baseline to compare with. A lot of people will think they have a good feel for their team’s psychological safety. But it’s surprising what you’ll learn when you actually measure it. I know I was. Each team member has their own comfort level and communication style, so everyone’s experience is personal. You can’t apply your own feelings to others.

The exercise of analyzing your team’s psychological safety is a pretty eye-opening process. When you’re answering the questions, it makes you think about your feelings and the team’s dynamics. Even though the prompts ask you about how others make you feel, everyone here said they thought a lot about their own actions. So it’s actually a great way to get a head start on making improvements.

What do you do next?

Dive deep into your data. Depending on the results, there may be different ways you want to present it to the rest of the team. Either way, keep the survey and its results so that you can retest and see your progress.

If there are some trouble areas
With psychological safety, it’s really important not to single anyone out. Don’t view this as a problem that needs to be dissected and addressed. Instead, focus your team on new ways of working together. Process, environment, and people all drive feelings of psychological safety. You have to be willing to shake those things up. Have a look at what managers can do to foster psychological safety and get inspired by Google’s re:Work content on teams.

If the results are mostly positive
Highlight your strongest areas and give the team a pat on the back. But don’t get complacent! Our survey showed that we were doing well with psychological safety, but there were areas that were weaker than others. Now we’re picking apart our culture to see what drives these feelings, and ultimately that will help us improve the responses. We’ll know if it’s working because we’ll reuse the survey and compare the results.


Two Big AdWords Features Ya Gotta Try

With all the hoopla around Facebook and their ad revenue lately, AdWords has become a bit of a forgotten PPC strategy. At Stryve, we believe AdWords has never been better. Yes, PPC costs have increased. But nothing beats the power of matching results with search intent. It’s the quickest and cheapest way to conversion, aside from SEO of course. Nothing beats the Zero Moment of Truth.

So what has been Google been up to lately with AdWords? Here are two recent AdWords features that every PPC advertiser should try out.

Expanded Text Ads

In early June, Google announced expanded text ads, doubling its ad text limits. At Stryve, we’ll be testing this new ad format over the next month. At first glance, the expanded text ads will allow us to be more creative and descriptive with our advertising – something we’ve been longing for. There’s more room in the headline and description to talk about your product and service. Digital ads need to give more room for creativity to advertisers. We’re not programmers, we’re creatives first. This is a good start.

Expanded Text Ads - Before & After

Expanded Text Ads – Before & After

Next Generation of Local Search Ads

Google has had ads in their Maps since 2013, but it looks like they are taking things to the next level. Google will begin experimenting with promoted pins. Now when a customer is searching for a location or business type in your map, a promoted pin with your logo will show up. We believe this could be a game-changer in local advertising. Small businesses that typically have had to compete with big radio budgets or national campaigns can now allocate dollars to showing up at the moment of search intent.

You will also be able to display coupons and even local inventory. If you’re a local business, this is a must-have.


Google Promoted Pins


Shameless Plug Time

If you’re interested in implementing any of these new features, get in touch with the team at Stryve. We love AdWords, and we’ve got the results to prove it.


The Gang of Four: Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook

Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon have come to dominate the world. They are not only growing at a crazy rate, they are displacing entire industries. The Gang of Four, as Scott Galloway calls them, have collectively passed a trillion dollar valuation.

This video is mind-blowing, introspective, visionary and funny all at the same time.  Galloway, a fast-talking professor from NYU, explains in 16 minutes how the world has come to be dominated by the four tech giants; Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon. It’s invigorating and terrifying all at the same time.

A few interesting highlights from the video:

  1. 92% of all mobile device profits go to one brand; Apple.
  2. Amazon is responsible for 24% of all of the growth in retail.
  3. The market cap of Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon is equal to the GDP of Canada.
  4. Facebook is spending more in R&D than other tech company in history.


Marketing Trends (1)

2016 Marketing Trends for B2B Companies

Generally speaking, if something is becoming popular in the B2C market, the B2B market will eventually catch on and use it as well. Here are four marketing trends for B2B businesses to keep an eye on in 2016 and beyond.

Trend 1: Virtual Reality (VR)

Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) headsets went on pre-order sale this past week and sold out in a matter of hours. The popularity, demand, and game-changing potential of VR tech is undeniable.

Digital Marketing Trend: Virtual Reality

B2B applications of VR 

While the virtual reality headsets are primarily for the consumer market and so far have demonstrated mostly video game applications, VR tech could be useful to B2B marketers in a big way in the future.

For example, imagine you’re a factory equipment salesperson: instead of telling a customer about how your equipment works they can put a VR headset on and you can show them how your equipment works on a virtual factory floor. VR headsets could dramatically change the way B2B companies interact with their customers and market their products.

Trend 2:  Instant Messaging (IM)

Instant messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Snapchat are the fastest growing technology and behaviour the world has ever seen. It “is arguably one of the greatest opportunities to ever strike business” writes TechCrunch contributor Tom Goodwin. New and exciting changes are being made to IM apps. For example, a Facebook Messenger conversation about a time and place can be turned into an Uber transaction. You don’t even need to leave the Facebook Messenger chat thread to order an Uber.

Messenger Uber

B2B applications of IM 

In the future, B2B conversations could move from the email exchanges to instant messages. New functionality could allow decision makers on the customer side to press one button to accept proposals and make buying decisions within a B2B IM chat the way Facebook is allowing consumers to book Uber rides in the B2C world. Read: no more asking for people “sign the last page of a PDF and send a scanned copy of the PDF back” in order to complete a deal.

Trend 3: Artificial Intelligence (AI) 

Many of the largest technology companies in the world such as IBM, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Amazon are racing to figure out how artificial intelligence technology can make our lives easier. For example, Facebook M is an artificially intelligent “personal assistant” that exists within Facebook Messenger. In the near future, we’ll be able speak into our mobile devices and verbally tell M to manage personal tasks like cancelling a cable subscription or ordering flowers for a special occasion. Think Siri on steroids.

Facebook M

B2B applications of AI

Artificial intelligence can have an endless amount of applications in the B2B world. We all know what it’s like trying to book a meeting or a phone call with a potential client. It can be a lot of back-and-forth emails trying to find availability in their calendar and yours. AI technology in the future will be able to do this back-and-forth messaging for you by finding times in your prospect’s calendars that are available, sending messages to them on your behalf, and booking the meeting for you. It will be like having your own artificially intelligent personal assistant.

Trend 4: Smartphone Apps

Stats indicate that we’re using apps on our phone more than ever before. Why? Because apps on our smartphones make our lives easier. If you want to order a pizza, ordering through the Domino’s app on your smartphone is a lot easier and more efficient than opening up a web browser, going to Domino’s website, and filling out a form to order the pizza.

Mobile Usage

B2B applications of apps

B2B marketers should be thinking about creating apps that make their customer’s experience with their company easier. For example, suppose you work in the marketing department of an industrial parts supply company: wouldn’t it be great if your customer had the option to open an app and reorder the parts they need without having to call a sales person or go to your company website? Take that a step further and imagine if that app could connect to their inventory management or ordering system. It could all be managed through a phone!

If you don’t believe this is the way your customers will be buying your widgets in the future, just look at how using the Uber app has challenged the act of calling a cab company for a taxi ride. Similarly, the old way of ordering your company’s widgets will be replaced by ordering through a smartphone app.



Get Inspired with Panda for Google Chrome

Looking for inspiration for your next design project, or just want to be informed on the latest and greatest? Then get inspired with Panda for Google Chrome. Panda is a Chrome Extension that gives you a newsfeed dashboard environment full of creative and informative content at your fingertips. Once you install Panda from the Chrome Web Store,  it will appear by default when you open a new tab. From there you can customize the dashboard to your liking using different layouts and source material.


Inspiration or News?

Depending on the type of user you are, Panda offers a bunch of different dashboard layouts to cater towards your needs. The Design Geek layout is for creative junkies looking for inspiration from sources like Dribble or Behance. Where as the News Freak layout is geared towards those hungry for information on the latest with sources like TechCrunch and Fast Company.


Personally I like the Cross Eyed layout with Dribble and Behance as my sources. The Dribble feed provides me with great branding and design inspiration on the left, while on the right, Behance shows me the latest in web and app design. I’ll also switch it up with El Classico for articles or blogs on design and technology to see what’s new.crosseyed

Panda is a must-have app for any designer looking for creative inspiration or wanting to stay informed on the latest trends. If you’re finding yourself in a creative block or just appreciate design, definitely check out Panda for Google Chrome. You can download it here.


Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly for Pete’s Sake

This may be the shortest blog post ever by Stryve. If your site is not optimized for mobile, you will be penalized by Google. Google is sending out mass notifications via Webmaster Tools concerning sites that are not mobile-friendly. You can learn more at SearchEngineLand. All signs are pointing to a new mobile ranking algorithm set to launch at Google. If you didn’t think a mobile-friendly site was important to your business, you might want to invest in either a redesign of your entire site, or a mobile version of your current site. It’s not just rankings either. First impressions are key to making sure customers return to your site.  Today, many customers are heavily influenced by the look of your “digital storefront”. If your mobile site looks unprofessional or is just plain difficult to navigate, the likelihood of someone returning or making a purchase is much lower.

It’s 2015 for Pete’s sake. 60% of traffic comes from mobile devices! If someone can’t view your site properly on their smartphone why even bother? Just pack it up and shut ‘er down. Just go right off the grid, live in a tent and communicate by smoke signals.

And try to do it right. Pay a good web design team to either redo your current site or make a mobile version of it. It will be the best money you’ve ever spent.

5 Social Media Marketing Trends for 2014

There’s no shortage of change in the world of social media marketing, and at times it can be difficult to know which trends are here to stay vs. which trends are just fads. Here are the top 5 social media marketing trends that I think most companies should be focusing on in the coming year.

Trend #1: Mobile + Social

Accord­ing to the Adobe 2013 Mobile Con­sumer Sur­vey, accessing social media is the num­ber one mobile activ­ity today. Additionally, article indicated “Facebook’s share of global mobile Internet ad revenues will reach 15.8 percent this year, up from just 5.35 percent in 2012. eMarketer expects the overall mobile ad market to grow 89 percent in 2013 to $16.65 billion.” This indicates Facebook Ads and mobile ads seem to be working for companies and brands without protest from mobile users.

At the very least, your company’s website needs to be mobile friendly and built for responsive design.  However, you can take things one step further by outlining a strategy to create content (perhaps on your blog) and promote it using a Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn sponsored story ad spend. The stats show that consumers are responding well to sponsored content on Facebook and other social media networks, even if they’re on their mobile phones.

Trend #2: Big data + Social

We’re living in the age of “big data” now and our ability to track consumer behaviour statistics has become more advanced.  Big data gives marketers the ability to understand social media usage patterns better than ever before, which can lead to better marketing decisions and improved ROI.  For example, check out Logmycalls: it’s a cool tool that gives you the ability to track every call generated by your social media PPC ads.

Trend #3: Re-targeting

Re-targeting means that ads can be placed on social sites based on a visitor’s interaction with other websites.  For example, let’s say you were in the market for a car and you visited The next time you log in to Facebook, you are more likely to see a Ford car ad. Although this can be annoying at times for consumers, re-targeting could lead to more efficient spend of advertising dollars for marketers.

Trend #4: Content will become “less boring”

Notice how Vine videos are only 6 seconds?

Notice that people love Buzzfeed lists with lots of a pictures and little text?

We humans are visual creatures with short attention spans.  We’ve already seen content on social media getting shorter and more visual throughout 2012-2013. This trend is here to stay.  When you’re developing the social media content plan for your business in 2014, answer these questions:

  1. How can I make my content less text-heavy?
  2. How can I use pictures or video to illustrate a point?

For example, Facebook Canada’s Group Director of Marketing Solutions, Alfredo Tan, said the following Facebook post by President’s Choice was the second most popular post in Canada in 2012. Why? Because it asks a simple question and has a picture that elicits an emotional response.

Trend #5: Establish a presence on Google+

It’s no secret that Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are the most popular social media networks. However, Google+ should not be ignored.  Google+ has over 500 million users and has now surpassed Twitter’s user base, making it the second largest social media network.  Furthermore, an article from indicated, “Google Plus never was, and will never be, only about competing directly with Facebook.”  Rather, Google+ is about getting to know internet users better so that Google searches can become more relevant and targeted. In short, all businesses should have a Google+ profile,  because having one increases the likelihood that your ideal client will find your business in a Google search.

If you’d like to hear about these social media trends and how your business can take advantage of them in 2014, come to the ThinkCo Conference on November 4th where I’ll be presenting on this topic.

Outsourcing Social Media Marketing vs. Keeping it “Insourced”

Is it better to hire a social media manager or hire a social media marketing firm to handle your company’s social media marketing?   Here are four things you should consider before you make your decision to “insource” or “outsource” your social media marketing.

1. Consider Results and Experience

Typically companies will default to hiring recent grads to “do their social media for them”. Granted there are many sharp young marketing grads that will understand the mechanics of social media, in that they’ll know how to create a Facebook page or how to post things to Twitter. However recent grads may not fully understand how to drive Likes on Facebook or Followers on Twitter and turn these Likes/Followers into sales. On the other hand, a well versed social media marketing firm should be able to show you client case studies where they’ve increased the Likes, Followers, engagement and ultimately the sales for their clients via a social media campaign.  Also you’ll be surprised to know, a social media marketing firm’s monthly retainer could be approximately the same monthly cost as hiring a recent graduate.

2. Consider Your Business Objectives

Before social media profiles are launched and updates are posted, your company’s key marketing personnel should have a clear understanding of the business objective(s) that should be achieved with your social media updates.  For example, at Stryve Group, we first understand our client’s sales funnel and marketing objectives, and then we tie a social media strategy to business objectives.  If you decide to insource your social media marketing, your social media marketing manager should understand how to do this.

3. Consider the Ability to Analyze Stats and Make Changes

Regardless of who is managing your company’s social media marketing, there should be a system and process in place to collect key statistics such as number of Followers, Likes, connections and engagement metrics such as comments, shares and impressions.  Ultimately a good social media manager or social media marketing firm should be analyzing performance statistics and making modifications to your company’s social media strategy on a weekly or monthly basis to ensure it’s on track to achieve your company’s social media goals.

4. Consider your Company’s “Brand Voice”

Whether you decide to insource or outsource your social media marketing make sure the person handling your social media understands your company’s “brand voice”.  Think about it this way: if your company’s brand was a person, what would it sound like in an online conversation? For example, one of our clients is a restaurant named  Moose Winooski’s and if their brand was a person they would love sports, all things Canadian, and have a good sense of humour.  Here’s an example of post that drew high engagement on the Moose Winooski’s Facebook page:

If your brand’s voice or personality is communicated well through your company’s social media updates online, people are more likely to take notice of your company’s social media presence.

What do you think? Is it better to keep your social media marketing in-house or outsource it?

Google+ Redesign Adds Fresh Look and New Features

When Google+ was first introduced roughly two years ago, I was eager to see how it would compare to Facebook, the king of social media. What new features would it introduce? Would people use it? Would Facebook become another MySpace and loose its crown? But what I was most interested in was what would it look like? To my disappointment I found my first encounter with Google+ to be rather dull and boring. With it’s bleak grey interface, outdated looking icons, and cumbersome layout, this felt more like Google Minus. I mean this is Google we’re talking about – a company who has been known for their creativity and innovation over the years. Not only have they created a dominant search engine and web browser amongst the online world, but are also a leading competitor in the mobile wars for their Android operating software. Well, two years later I’ve been intrigued once again with the announcement of a redesign.

The Google+ redesign includes new features and adds a fresh look that puts imagery front and center. The size of cover photos has increased once again, taking up the full half of the screen above the fold. Photos and videos will spread across multiple columns as they do on mobile devices and the overall look its clean and slick. Google has launched 41 new features for Google+ which include a completely overhauled Photo product, Hangouts app and an improved stream experience.Google+ StreamJumping right in, the first change you’ll notice is the upgrade to a three-column treatment to the stream. Steering away from the single column approach that Twitter and Facebook uses, the multi-column design lets you scan items faster, rather than scrolling endlessly to interact with something. This is handy for those times when you’re trying to track down a post you saw earlier that day or just tired of endless scrolling. Another feature you’ll notice about the stream is that sections of your content will stand out better with the introduction of interactive “Cards.” Basically if you’re a user of Pinterest you’ll feel right at home. In addition to “Cards,” Google+ will now add hashtags to your posts.  When you click the hashtag, the “card” will flip around where you can see other similar content.  Hashtags that are greyed out are ones automatically assigned by Google, however blue ones are hashtags added by the sharer enhancedA couple of really cool features are the “Auto Enhance” and “Auto Awesome.”  Auto Enhance improves the quality of your photos by analyzing and applying tweaks to elements such as brightness, contrast, and saturation. This is great if you don’t want to be bothered manually editing photos before posting them especially if you have a bunch. Take it for a test drive here.

The Auto Awesome feature creates a new image from something that didn’t exist. So what does that exactly mean? For example, if you upload a series of similar photos taken in a short period of time, Google will make an animated GIF from them. If you upload a set of group shots, Auto Awesome will stitch together a single picture so that everyone is smiling. On top of these photo features, Google+ will also pick out your best photos you’ve uploaded. Say for example you just got home from a vacation and you want to upload some of your photos to share with others. A very tedious and painful task especially when you have to filter through 500 photos and delete duplicates, blurry photos, and underexposed shots. Using algorithms, a feature called “Auto Highlight,” Google+ will do just that by choosing the “best” photos to show awesomeI think the Google+ redesign has definitely made an improvement from its original debut. It’s easier on the eyes, incorporates useful new tools especially in the photo category, and makes the overall experience more convenient. For those of you who are not Google+ users currently, I’m not sure if these new improvements will make you rush to your nearest web browser and create an account, but it’s definitely worth checking out. I will admit I’m not an avid Google+ user, but with an improved look, cool new features, and its increasingly growing popularity, Google+ has once again intrigued my interest. What are your thoughts on new Google+? Are you intrigued?