Friday Reload #34: Half of Digital Budgets Dedicated to Retargeting, ECommerce At An All Time High, 2014 SEO Year In Review & Much More

Get caught up on what you might have missed in the week with The Friday Reload. We hand-curate the best posts, news and videos of the week.

For the week of December 26th, 2014

Quick Preface: there’s a ton of great content this week.  It’s literally more packed than Santa’s sleigh.  So we’re going to keep it short and sweet so we can cover all of it.


More Marketers Now Dedicate Over Half Of Digital Budgets To Retargeting

Study shows marketers are investing in more heavily retargeting, saying it performs as well as search, email and other display.

retargeting budget allocations, adroll survey

NBC Universal Offers Social Media Guarantees to Advertisers

Introduces Ad Product That Simplifies Social Media Buys

Mazda used NBC's Social Synch product to expand the reach of its on-air advertising.

Measure more: improving Estimated Total Conversions with store visit insights

New paths to purchase increase consumer expectations, compelling businesses to re-think experiences and measurement.

Google “Store Visits” Part Of Larger Movement Toward Metrics That Matter

Google offline metric adds momentum to an important industry trend.

Store visits

E-Commerce Conversion Rate At Seasonal High, While Traffic Remains Strong

Shoppers appear to be in serious buying mode, having done most of their gift-buying research for the season, according to the Marketing Land Online Retail Shopping Report.


December 2014 E-Commerce Orders Up 16.5% & Revenue Climbs 15.6% Over Last Year [Report]

Custora says current trends indicate another record-breaking holiday season for online retailers.

holiday-retailer25-ss-1920 Growth hasn’t slowed down post Cyber Monday – in fact, it has picked up: In the first two weeks of December, U.S. e-commerce orders grew 16.5% over the equivalent time period in 2013, with revenue up 15.6%.

2014 Year In Review: A Look Back On What Happened With SEO

review-rating-ss-1920 Columnist Erin Everhart provides a round-up of the biggest SEO developments of 2014.


Expedia was the first big brand of the year to get reportedly hit by a penalty for unnatural link building. Rankings plummeted, and Searchmetrics suggested the company lost 25% of its visibility in Google because of the penalty. Matt Cutts put the hammer down on guest blogging, urging any SEO using this tactic as a way to build links to cease fire of suffer the consequences.


In late 2013, Google moved to 100% secure search, thus taking all of our keyword data with it. By February, Not Provided had topped more than 80%.


Webmasters started chatting about an update after seeing fluctuations in Google’s search results. Google never confirmed an update, but (among many others) noted a heavy increase in Google’s index volatility. Google redesigned its SERPs for desktop users, removing underlined hyperlinks, increasing the font size slightly for title tags, and changing how ads are displayed.


The Heartbleed bug was revealed. Google, Rackspace, AWS and a host of security software used by millions of websites were affected, causing serious privacy concerns among anyone who uses the Internet. Vic Gundotra, head of Google+ and Google’s social efforts, announced his departure from Google. Many questioned what this would mean for Google+ and its integration into organic search results. TechCrunch got word from multiple sources that Google+ will no longer be a product, but a platform, thus ending the competition with Facebook and Twitter.


Panda 4.0 rolled out, the next wave in targeting sites with low-quality content. and RetailMeNot were among the big brands affected by the change. eBay is the latest big brand to get hit by a (speculated) manual search engine penalty in addition to the Panda 4.0 update. eBay later suggested that this cost the business $200 million in revenue.


Authorship photos in SERPs listings were removed. Many questioned if this was the end to the entire program itself.


Google added another animal to the algorithm apocalypse, releasing a local search algorithm update dubbed “Pigeon.” This update drastically changed which factors Google looks at when determining local rankings, including stronger ties to traditional web ranking signals. Matt Cutts announced he was going on leave from Google, planning to return in October, and leaving his web spam duties behind. People panicked but were, on the whole, supportive. Groupon ran a study showing that 60% of its direct traffic was actually organic search traffic, proving something many SEOs had long thought about their own “direct” traffic. Following that experiment, Conductor updated their 2013 study of web traffic, claiming that now 64% of all web traffic was from organic search.


Google announced that it would begin using HTTPS as a ranking signal, encouraging everyone to move from HTTP to HTTPS. This was seen as a sign that Google is trying to take this whole Internet privacy thing seriously. We all saw this coming: Two months after the removed authorship photos, Google abandoned its Authorship program, which aimed to provide a stronger tie between content writers and content publishers.


Searchmetrics released their 2014 SEO Ranking Factors. High-quality content, strong page architecture, and user signals saw the biggest increases in affecting ranking, while keyword links and social signals both decreased in value.


Google finally refreshed Penguin, the algorithm filter that targets web spam, over optimization and unnatural links. This was particularly noteworthy because it meant that everyone who was hit by the last Penguin and submitted a reconsideration request could finally get the opportunity to be reinstated into Google’s good graces.


Google ditched its Local Carousel for hotels, restaurants, nightlight and entertainment. The SEO industry rejoiced. Mobile became even more important to SEO as Google rolled out the mobile-friendly search label for mobile search results and a mobile friendly test tool in Google Webmaster Tools. This was the beginning of Google experimenting with a new ranking algorithm for mobile friendly sites.


Bing released its version of Panda, and frankly, did a better job at outlining what it actually considers good content. Stone Temple Consulting released an extensive Twitter engagement study of more than 4 million tweets. One of the big findings was that time of day had little to no impact on “retweetability.”


Apple’s Directly Responsible Individual (DRI) Model

Meetings can be a real drag on people’s time within a company. This quora answer describes how Apple’s DRI model will help make meetings more effective.

The accountability mindset extends down the ranks. At Apple there is never any confusion as to who is responsible for what. Internal Applespeak even has a name for it, the “DRI,” or directly responsible individual. Often the DRI’s name will appear on an agenda for a meeting, so everybody knows who is responsible. “Any effective meeting at Apple will have an action list,” says a former employee. “Next to each action item will be the DRI.” A common phrase heard around Apple when someone is trying to learn the right contact on a project: “Who’s the DRI on that?”

Gloria Lin, worked on iPod+iPhone New Tech

“The DRI concept works phenomenally well. Note it’s just that — a concept. A simple tool to make ownership clear and point people with questions to the right place. It’s not a process or framework for project management. With DRIs on everything from major initiatives to bug reports, a lot of questions of ownership are cleared up. In the minority of cases, it’s about accountability after something went wrong. The MobileMe screwup is one of those few examples where something goes poorly and then someone gets fired. More frequently, having a DRI helps you in the following situations:

  • When solving a complex, cross-functional engineering issue, you want a DRI who is responsible for driving the team’s sleuthing until the issue is solved. Often this is an engineering lead or an engineering program manager. Say it’s mostly a mechanical engineering issue with a little bit of HW involved. Then usually a PD (product design) engineer will be the DRI, and they will work with the HW engineers to resolve the problem. If something keeps failing on the prototype testing lines, then you could have a TPM (test program manager) as DRI, working in conjunction with the Apple engineering teams, testing equipment vendor, and contract manufacturer teams.
  • When it’s unclear who’s got the ball and what should be happening, everyone trusts that the DRI is driving. When you trust your DRI, you don’t have to worry when you don’t see any recent activity about that issue. You assume that they have figured out a dependency and are waiting on that to happen first, or that they are working on something behind-the-scenes that will prove useful. This is not only reassuring to other people working on the same issue, but it also helps cross-functional management gain clarity on who *exactly* is driving what. It’s not just “the marcomm team,” it’s a specific person.
  • When everyone knows that something is important, but no one feels like it’s their responsibility to see it all the way through. In a fast-growing company with tons of activity, important things get left on the table not because people are irresponsible but just because they’re really busy. The benefit here is more ownership than accountability. When you feel like something is your baby, then you really, really care about how it’s doing. You will obsess over metrics and track down issues and rally people and want to do nice things for them when you achieve something great.

Having a DRI is also efficient for the team because you don’t have 15 people all worrying about the same things. Instead, an engineer can feel comfortable knowing that sometimes they simply show up and other people will tell them what to do, freeing them to focus on the challenge at hand. At other times, they will act as DRI and exercise more of their leadership muscles. Obviously, I am a huge fan of the DRI model. It’s one of the most valuable, practical things I learned at Apple, and it’s a tool we use at Flipboard when it seems helpful. Flipboard’s a startup, and we don’t have nearly as many formal processes as Apple does. Here’s how we have DRIs: We have a cross-functional team working on Android (frontend, backend, QA, product manager, marketing, design, BD, account management) with the eng lead as overall Android DRI. Similarly, we have a cross-functional team working on international, with a BD lead as the informal DRI. Neither of those people could do their jobs without the help of many other functional teams. But it helps to have a single DRI to call out an important piece of the big-picture we’re missing, to drive something to completion, and to be responsible for strategic decisions along with our CEO.”

Citation Inconsistency Is No.1 Issue Affecting Local Ranking

Columnist Myles Anderson shares the results of a recent survey of local SEO practitioners and business owners. What are the most common local ranking issues that local businesses have?

The 4-Step Process for Creating Blog Posts That Actually Build Your Business

Step #1: Give Blog Readers More Chances to Join Your Email List

Step #2: Make Google Love Your Blog Posts

Step #3: Tell The World Your Blog Post Exists

Step #4: Recycle, Reuse, Repeat

The Kevin McCallister Guide to “Booby-Trapping” Your Website for Maximum Conversions

Love the Christmas GIFs throughout this one. The Kevin McCallister Guide to

The Evolution of HubSpot’s Email Marketing Strategy


It’s rare for a public company to share their history including comprehensive metrics. HubSpot does just that in this detailed post about how their email marketing strategy has evolved over the years.

A Surprising Source Of Traffic For Breakout Content Marketing

Data shows how social is critical for generating exceptionally successful posts.

From Minimum Viable Course to 100,000 Users (New Source Same Article)

image Conrad Wadowski, co-founder of Fedora, tells the story of Bitfountain, one of the early successes on the Fedora platform. Bitfountain, which offers instructional courses on programming, started off as a side project but now has over 100,000 people on its mailing list and generated revenues over $2 million.

Ask GH: How are you capturing emails today

Curious to know what the best method for capturing email addresses has been for folks – whether it’s a MailChimp embedded form, apps like Hello Bar and SumoMe, etc. And what is the ask? Other than “join our email list.” Are you giving something away?

Ask GH: What is the best idea that you’ve gotten from an article on GrowthHackers, and which article was it

One of the main benefits that people claim to get from GrowthHackers is that it generates lots of new ideas to test. I’d love to learn about the specific ideas that you are getting. If you tested the idea, how well did it work?

Currently Running AdWords? Here’s Why You Should Also Be Using Bing Ads

1. Extend Your Reach

2. Reach An Older, Higher Income Demographic

3. Cheaper CPC’s

  • In a recent case study, we found that in the Automotive Industry CPCs were on average 32.5% lower in Bing Ads when compared to Google AdWords.
  • In a second case study, we found that in the Insurance Industry CPCs were on average 59.2% lower in Bing Ads when compared to Google AdWords.


4. Higher Engagement/Conversion Rates

Now this is absolutely my #1 reason for recommending Bing Ads to clients. Not only are you paying less for each click in Bing Ads, but users that do click tend to be more engaged with sites and convert at much higher rates. In the same case study in the Automotive Industry, we found that users were converting in Bing Ads at 10% – 56% higher rates than Google AdWords.

5. Easily Import Directly From Adwords

6. Bing Analytics

Business Advice From the Richest People in the World [SlideShare]

Business Advice From the Richest People in the World from HubSpot

Get some business advice from some of the greatest minds of our time. This slideshare includes advice from the richest people in the world

What 33 Successful Entrepreneurs Learned From Failure [Slideshare]

If you are an entrepreneur, you will, most likely, find failure along the way. You’re not alone though. Successful entrepreneurs often go through failures, and often emerge wiser. Take a look at 33 lessons about past failures from business people like you.

How I Raised My Conversion Rate By 400% in 6 Days (and Why These Numbers Count)

An impressive PPC result is detailed out in this post.

Image of numbers graphic

11 Data-Backed Strategies To Improve Email Click Through Rates

email click through rate trends Source: David Arrington always shares great insights about email marketing. This time we dive into some actionable strategies to improve email click-through rates. David filled up this article with some real examples from real businesses, but also with expert opinions.

SaaS Weekly Tip: Make all the things repeatable and create your playbook

If you can’t repeat what you’ve done in the past you won’t be able to scale fast enough to get sustainable growth. Checklists, guidelines, screencasts, specifications and requirements are just a few ways to make the tasks people do in your company repeatable and scalable. The next time you do something new (or old) think about what you can do to make it easier and faster the next time it has to be done by you or someone else.

Here are some examples to inspire you:


Material Palette

Material_Design_Color_Palette_Generator_-_Material_Palette Generate and export your Material Design color palette. All you have to do is pick 2 colors and the palette is automatically generated for you — you can then share and export it in different formats.

FullContact for Gmail

FullContact_for_Gmail_-_Learn_More_About_Your_Google_Contacts Your Gmail on Steroids (and bye bye Rapportive)

Lift 2.0

Instant coaching for all your goals Trying to actually accomplish those New Years Resolutions?  Lift will help you. Lift___Succeed_at_everything_

Ask GH: Referral Marketing Tool options

The GH community discuses the best referral marketing tools.

35 Growth Hacking Tools for Marketers Who Don’t Code

If you are one of those marketers who hate coding, this list is just the thing for you. Explore some great services that can help you with traffic acquisition, lead and customer acquisition, market research, email marketing, and more.

5 Tools Proven to Improve Conversion Rates for Your Blog

blog post pop-up


We can’t always fit it all, but we try to at least include it.

How to Design an eCommerce Checkout Flow That Converts

This very well-written piece of content has a lot of tips to help you make your e-commerce site’s checkout flow better, so to increase conversions and sales.


This great article goes into the details of what make a good or bad pricing page. To design a proper pricing page, and grab the attention, you need a sound strategy, and some very good design. The blog post also includes many pricing page examples to give you some inspiration.

Snapchat CEO’s Intelligent Business Email

Evan Spiegel’s emails to one of his board members were leaked as part of the Sony hack. The email thread as well as this note to his team are examples of great business communication that we can all learn from.

Systematizing Sales With Software And Processes

Slack Chats

A place to discover and join private Slack groups

LinkedIn Ads For Lead Generation

Unlock the best strategies for getting the most out of your LinkedIn Ads

Study: Audience Network has higher conversion rates than News Feed, display ads

SPI 140: Productivity and the Early Morning Routine with Hal Elrod

Like podcasts?  Must listen.  I’m personally reading Hal Elrod’s book on morning rituals called the Morning Miracle and excited to implement it in 2015.

SPI 139: How to Work a Room and Socialize for Success – with Susan RoAne

Learn to socialize and watch all aspects of your life increase.  At the very least get much more business deals.

Top 10 Articles on ConversionXL In 2014

ConversionXL produces great content and this Top 10 is full of hits.

11 Actionable Content Marketing Articles You May Have Missed in 2014 by UnBounce

Unbounce also produces remarkable content.  If you’re getting dirty with content marketing this is a great place to start.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

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