Valentine’s Day Campaigns You’ll Love—and What You Can Learn from Them

Valentine’s Day marketing can be difficult for content creators and marketing companies alike. How can you tap your marketing arsenal into a holiday where the message is all about love? The most successful Valentine’s Day marketing campaigns utilize the “human factor,” connecting with their audience and establishing trust. Building a relationship with potential customers is the best way to go about Valentine’s Day marketing.

However, it’s easy to strike a false note when attempting to create efficacious Valentine’s Day marketing ideas. How do marketers seem genuine when creating their marketing campaigns? We’re going to look at several Valentine’s day marketing campaigns that hit the mark and analyze why they worked for their respective companies.

With an average spend of $142.31 per person, and nine out of 10 people buying a gift for their partner, Valentine’s Day is a big retail holiday. While certainly not in the same league as the winter retail season, over $18.9 billion is spent on Valentine’s Day, more money than Easter or the Super Bowl, and in the same league as Mother’s Day. Let’s take a deeper look into how you can capture a share of that spend with a successful Valentine’ Day marketing campaign.

WestJet Proposal Campaign

The #WestJetLove Valentine’s Day commercial was an exceedingly popular campaign in 2015 with over 1.2 million views, detailing two couples’ surprise proposals on Barbados. Canadian airline WestJet flew two couples out to Barbados with the catch that the men had to propose when WestJet asked them. This situation results in a tear-jerking, beautiful video of two couples’ love stories, watching love come to life on screen. With just the right degree of awkwardness, the video strikes a personal tone, brings the love element of Valentine’s Day, and gives you access into the couples’ lives.

As a Valentine’s Day marketing campaign, #WestJetLove succeeds because it focuses on building a relationship with its customers. The ad isn’t describing how wonderful WestJet’s services are, but rather is a funny and sincere love story—a unique take on proposals that succeeds in showing the quirkiness of the company. Both JP and Stephanie’s and Mike and Heather’s love stories are relatable to the audience, but it’s the fun tone of the videos, complete with anticipatory music each time the host shows up—that push this campaign over the top.

The Takeaway

Try using personal techniques in crafting your own Valentine’s Day marketing ideas. How does your company or product appeal to your customers? Your Valentine’s Day advertising doesn’t have to correlate to your business—as long you’re connecting with your clients and driving traffic (and positive reception) to your site.

Cartier- The Proposal

Cartier’s “The Proposal” advertisement from 2015 is in some ways more insidious than WestJet’s—but tells a beautiful story in the process. Cartier lures you in with a touching three-part love story, telling simultaneous tales of Valentine’s romance (and struggle) between couples. The three couples in Paris are all slightly different ages, but the men’s aims are similar—to proclaim their love for the women in their lives.

The first, set in the Rodin Museum, tells a story of a man sending his wife on a scavenger hunt to find him until she finds the jewelry box (from Cartier) and he proposes. The second is set in the airport, as the wife is going away on a trip for six months. Her husband deftly removes her passport and re-proposes to her with a new ring (from Cartier). The last is set as a man and woman are separated by an elevator, and he desperately runs up the stairs, catching her as the doors open each time, making pleas that he cares for her. Eventually, he proposes—while she’s still stuck in the elevator.

The Takeaway

These intertwining stories of love in the City of Lights follow established rules of a Valentine’s Day marketing campaign. While enhanced by fantastic acting and a great storyline, the primary aim and focus of the advertisement are the Cartier rings. These gorgeous, diamond-studded rings make the audience want Cartier, associating love with the Cartier brand. That red box is instantly associated with love. Cartier has set up a world through these three stories, and at least eight million people have watched. Creating a successful Valentine’s day marketing campaign means associating your product with love, romance, and engagement. Cartier has done this—and you can do it too.

Netflix Binge for Love

Netflix’s 500 Hours Binge for Love video from 2016’s Valentine’s Day campaign capitalizes on Netflix’s successes in reaching out to its customers. The idea of “bingeing” a television show—watching a whole series quickly and viewing many episodes back-to-back– has grown familiar with the streaming service’s growing triumphs in the video space. This advertisement takes that concept and connects it to a blossoming love connection.

The man in the ad, after falling for the young woman shown at the beginning of the commercial, immediately watches all the available series of the Netflix original Orange is the New Black. It takes over his life for the span of the advertisement—he wants to impress the young woman. He is “bingeing for love.” The commercial cuts the tension when she hasn’t watched the season three finale with a singing group reprising the modified I Would Watch 500 Hours to them.

This advertisement succeeds on multiple levels. It capitalizes on Netflix’s new cultural cache and the concept of bingeing television shows. It also modifies an existing popular song for its purposes—successfully (unlike many commercial jingles), and it leaves the audience hanging. We don’t know if this couple will succeed, but the man has gone to absurd lengths to like her interests—and many in the audience can relate. We’ve all be in the situation where we’ve pretending to have an interest or like something as a conversational piece—and it works well here.

The Takeaway

What are your company’s strengths? Netflix has unique advantages in the cultural cache that they can incorporate into a Valentine’s Day marketing campaign, but it’s about founding your company or product’s individual assets—and utilizing them. Use popular culture to your advantage—tap into ideas and concepts that appeal to your target audience (your buyer personas)—and you’ll come up with great Valentine’s Day marketing ideas.

If you need some help creating Valentine’s Day marketing campaigns that will hit the mark, talk to the marketing experts at Leverage Marketing. Contact us today, and we’ll assist you in crafting a Valentine’s Day campaign of your dreams. Our team can help you understand the sophisticated new marketing technologies on the market and how they can work for your business.

Technology Trends Driving Digital Marketing in 2017


It’s only the beginning of 2017, but it’s clear that digital marketing technology trends will change the way we do business. With a rapidly advancing tech sector, marketing and technology work hand in hand to create new methods for companies to target consumers and change the digital marketing landscape. With 2016 over, there are emerging digital marketing technology trends we can identify that will drive the market in 2017 and beyond.

While it’s impossible to know for sure which technologies will have the biggest impact, we think these are the ones you should invest your marketing efforts in and look for when planning how to use digital technology in marketing in 2017:


As a technology, livestreaming has been around for more than a decade. But in 2017, we’ve finally reached the point in marketing and technology where it’s easy to implement due to faster Internet on smartphones and advanced marketing techniques. With companies like Facebook, Periscope, and YouTube enabling companies to stream their videos easily—it’s up to your marketing departments to decide how best to do it.

Using livestreaming successfully is difficult, as your audience will often dictate how conversations move and what kind of content they want to see. So, make sure your marketing and technology are adaptable to customer needs. Whether you’re holding Q&As about your brand, livestreaming special announcements or product introductions, or hosting a panel, make sure your client is your first concern. Livestreaming won’t be perfect, but you want to interact with your customers through the platforms that matter to them (whether that’s Facebook, Periscope, YouTube, or even Spotify).


Drones are one the most exciting products of the last several years. Companies and consumers are interested in them for many purposes: war, commercial, or personal. Simply put, drones are everywhere. With models that can capture high-quality 4K video and high-resolution photos, they’re perfect for marketers. Whether used for livestreaming or just taking photos, drones are a brand-new medium that mixes digital marketing and technology.

With their ability to fly high in the air, drones are ideal for taking gorgeous shots of real estate and architecture for those firms. They’re also an innovative new way to capture a wedding or other special event from a new angle. With the ability to explore new viewpoints and vistas, drones can take pictures and video for travel and tourism companies.

Drones are a new frontier for marketing companies—they can traverse new areas and shoot photos at angles humans just can’t. Incorporating drones into your marketing campaign is necessary to stay ahead in the game—just make sure you’re following FAA and local ordinances.

Amazon Alexa and Google Home

With the advent of voice recognition that finally works—digital technology and marketing are changing to meet the demands and new challenges of integrating with systems like Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Both of these virtual assistant programs can coordinate with your app ecosystems, including Spotify, Nest, IFTTT services, Uber, Google Calendar, and hundreds of services. They can control aspects of your life with an ease that was heretofore unimaginable. But what does that mean for marketers? When you can order the latest gadget from Amazon with your voice, how do you market to consumers?

Without needing to search on a smartphone or computer, keywords become less useful. I’m not saying keywords or SEO are going the way of the dodo, but marketers must search for new ways to reach out to customers ordering from smart assistants. Marketing and technology meet in targeting the individual through the smart voice-controlled gadget ecosystem—learning about them and figuring out new ways to market to them. Marketers must understand how to use the technology in the right means to reach their consumers.


When you hear wearable, what do you think? Perhaps an Apple Watch comes to mind, or Google’s failed Glass experiment—but wearables encompass a broad class of connected devices that are quickly becoming a digital marketing technology trend. Wearables can, of course, be smartwatches, but they can be technology embedded into clothing, fitness trackers, virtual reality devices, and much more.

With focus turning to wearable devices as a new way to consume media and grab consumers’ attention, content marketing needs to shift to meet those needs. It’s difficult to read a lengthy online article on a small wearable screen—some wearables don’t even have screens. Content marketing may need to shift its focus to audio, which wearables will have connectivity for, in the form of Bluetooth headphones.

There will also be new forms of interactivity marketers can work with to engage their consumers. With virtual reality devices like the Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, HTC Vive, and Google DayDream, VR is coming into the mainstream. Alternate reality and virtual reality will be new lands for consumers to explore—and places to create content to peruse. There are opportunities for location-based content, weather-based content—countless opportunities we couldn’t imagine ten years ago.


With the new year, it’s clear that new digital marketing technology trends will drive the industry in exciting directions. Whether it’s coming up with new ways to reach consumers with social media and livestreaming, taking advantage of the unique capabilities of drones, or utilizing the extensive connectivity of Amazon Alexa and Google Home, marketers have their work cut out for them this year. Wearables and Virtual Reality headsets represent the new frontier in technology, as content marketing must adapt to the new ways the public consumes content. The possibilities with these technologies are almost endless. Technology and marketing must continuously evolve together as marketing professionals determine how best to utilize digital technology in their marketing arsenal.

Make sure you’re on top of the latest digital marketing technology trends by talking to the marketing masters at Leverage Marketing. Read our Guide to Planning Your Digital Marketing Budget eBook to figure out where to spend your budget to get the best return. We’ll help you understand the sophisticated new marketing technologies and how to take advantage of them.

Why You’re Getting Your Buyer Personas Wrong

  • Buyer personas are target audience profiles based on customer interviews and other data.
  • Well-researched buyer personas can help you develop marketing materials that speak to your target audience, but poorly thought-out buyer personas can waste your time.

Whether you’re in marketing, sales, product development, or customer service, developing buyer personas can help you deliver what your customers want. However, your buyer personas may not give you the insights you need if you’re going about them the wrong way.

Before looking at how you can go wrong when creating a buyer persona, let’s define the term. Inbound marketing pioneer Hubspot sums the buyer persona up nicely as a “semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.” You can use customer interviews and other historical data to create profiles for different segments of your target audience. You can even give them names like C-Suite Cecily and Freelance Freddy if you want (Hubspot is really into this). However, what’s much more important than the names is determining how and why the persona makes certain purchasing decisions. By figuring this out, you’ll get better at developing marketing materials that strike a chord with your audience.

Creating accurate buyer personas is harder than you might think, and there are a lot of mistakes that both novice and seasoned marketers can make. Below are six common mistakes you should be aware of while developing your company’s buyer personas.

Mistake #1: Your buyer personas are works of fiction.

When creating buyer personas, you shouldn’t be polishing your creative writing skills. Don’t just write personas based on what you think you know about your customers or what your sales team has told you. Look at real customer behavior, from time spent on different pages of your website to survey form fills. You should also conduct interviews with a large swath of prospects and customers.

Mistake #2: You’re only focusing on your best customers.

It’s easy to call up a few of your company’s best customers and let the praise wash over you. However, that’s not going to give you insights into your typical buyers. It’s okay to reach out to your biggest fans, but you should also interview the people who make infrequent purchases, started as prospects but didn’t close, and even those people who have had a bad customer experience with your company. Figuring out the stumbling blocks that prevent people from making a purchase will help you develop better personas—and that may help you remove those stumbling blocks.

Mistake #3: You’re getting hung up on irrelevant information.

You probably don’t need to know if your target customers are married or if they regularly eat French toast for breakfast. Here are a few things you probably do need to know:

  • What causes them to invest in your products or services
  • Concerns they may have when purchasing from you
  • What selling propositions (e.g. free shipping, high-quality materials) are most important to them
  • How they expect your products or services to solve a problem for them
  • Who or what influences them during their decision-making process
  • How they prefer to shop for your products (e.g. in-store, on their smartphone)

Mistake #4: You have too many segmented personas.

It’s easy to get carried away when creating buyer personas. You’ve collected all this data, and you start to convince yourself that maybe there really are 20 different buckets into which you could segment your customers. There’s no right or wrong number of buyer personas, but creating a bunch of microscopically specific personas is going to be confusing and unhelpful. Start with one or two core personas and build out from there as necessary.

Mistake #5: You think of a persona as an individual.

Don’t lose fact of the sight that Freelance Freddy isn’t a real person. In fact, Freelance Freddy (or whatever you’ve named your buyer persona) isn’t even supposed to represent a specific person. To paraphrase Hubspot again, your buyer personas come from an amalgamation of data provided by your customers. That means that there will be some variation within each persona (for example, some people who fit the persona might be Content Marketing Managers while others might be Directors of SEO).

Mistake #6: Your personas have gotten lost in the shuffle.

Maybe you and your team decided to create buyer personas as a marketing exercise a year or two ago but filed them away and haven’t looked at them since. If that’s the case, you’re wasting a tool that can be valuable across the sales funnel. Get those personas back out and bring them up to date. And even if you have been using buyer personas consistently, you should make a goal to update them periodically, especially when your business goes through major changes that could affect your personas (e.g. a new product offering, a subscription price increase).

Take the time to get your buyer personas right, and you’ll be able to use them to develop marketing materials that attract qualified visitors, leads, and customers.

Need help developing buyer personas or creating content that speaks to your audience’s needs? Contact Leverage Marketing to learn how we can help you target the right prospects.

SEO Trends and Predictions for 2017

The beginning of 2017 may be a fresh start for you, but for Google, progress in the sphere of optimizing Internet search won’t slow for a second. The preference for mobile Internet consumption, the desire for quicker and denser content, mounting pressure to increase ad revenue, and the unstoppable development of digital assistants and voice search point to a new golden rule for search engine optimization (SEO) trends:

Make it for mobile.

Mobile-First Is Undeniable

chart of hours spent daily on mobile devicesSEO experts have been predicting the latest SEO trends as part of their jobs for years, and there’s one that keeps making an appearance in the latter 2010s: mobile is the future of Internet and search. Major search engines are putting mobile at the forefront as trends in SEO continually point toward the indomitable strength and convenience of mobile consumption.

More Americans are spending more of their free time watching the screens on their smartphones and tablets, according to comScore. If the amount of activity on social networks is any indication, it’s likely that most of those hours are spent scouring Facebook and Twitter feeds for images and videos. Social apps and mobile search are in line to become some of marketing’s biggest targets for paid advertisements and organic efforts. Changes in the way that search will respond to mobile users as well as desktop users point to an almost certain future of mobile takeover.

Mobile-First Indexing

In the latter half of 2016, at the beginning of October, the first iterations of mobile-first indexing became a reality. Mobile-first indexing resets the priority of Google’s indexing bot to read through a site’s mobile version when determining how a site should be indexed. That means Googlebot looks at the relevance, speed, and technical organization of mobile sites over desktop sites when it decides where your page goes on the search engine results page (SERP).

Desktop SERPs Match Mobile

December also saw a UI update for desktop search engine results pages that helped them match the appearance and function of mobile SERPs. Specifically, desktop users see more specialized cards such as featured snippets and maps when they perform searches that trigger those cards. Of course, in such early stages, the desktop experience isn’t quite optimized for desktop searchers:

how long does google take to index serp with mistake

As of 2016, producing cards for desktop searches runs into trouble when wording is ambiguous. In our example, it seems that Google understands our query to be something closer to “How long does it take, Google, to [get to] Index, [WA]?”

Fortunately, development of semantic search promises to inch ever closer to matching the meaning and understanding the context of searches and the searcher’s intent. Consistent improvements in machine learning allow more of your searches in 2017 to reflect the intent of your search rather than the face value of the words you have typed into the engine. While returning relevant search results has long been a goal of Google search, the rise of digital assistants and voice search has lit a new fire in the quest to teach machines to parse language in the same way as humans.

Progressive Web Apps

Google has created a streamlined way for business owners to build progressive web apps, mobile applications that integrate the in-app experience with web capabilities. In many ways, they are web pages that look and act like apps. The intent of progressive web apps is to keep users engaged with apps by:

  • Provided online and offline service
  • Drastically decreasing loading times
  • Eliminating the need for purchase and installation
  • Offering an app experience without the maintenance of an app

Progressive web apps are perhaps the first step toward creating seamless product and service shopping experiences without the need to download apps. Users can keep progressive web apps on the home screens of their mobile devices and load them instantly.

The goal is customer retention. According to Smashing Magazine, users are three times more likely to reopen a mobile application than a website, especially after receiving push notifications. If integrating the app experience with the web experience can make purchasing easier for users, SEO experts will need to focus efforts on driving more customers to those progressive web apps organically.

Video and Images Are Next

The Content Is King mantra is steadfast, but SEOs need to consider more than ever that content has a greater reach than text articles. Major search engines, too, are looking for ways to read and organize all types of content. The term content includes video, animations, and images as well as text. Quality videos and images are proven ways to increase customer engagement and retention, and SEO experts will need to find ways to optimize videos for search in 2017.

Multimedia works in all parts of the marketing funnel and matches the goals of SEO:

  • The intent to purchase of users who enjoy video ads increases by 97%
  • One-third of all online activity is encompassed by watching video
  • 87% of marketers are using video content

These incredible facts from HubSpot make the user preference for video and image content clear. Check out some of the ways marketers are using video content in 2016:

Branded Video Content on Social Networks

titanfall advertisement with video on facebook

Autoplay pushes social videos straight to the brain. When advertisements combine exciting content with beautiful presentation, customers watch – and buy.

Live Streaming

new york times live stream video facebook

Anyone can instantly live stream a video on lots of social networks. Companies can get on-the-spot engagement by sharing stories, information, or just entertaining audiences.

Background Video on Home Pages and Sales Pages

life of pi home page background video

Companies can capture attention instantly with moving backgrounds, then entice users to stay with text overlays or an in-video call to action.

GIFs everywhere

giphy home page with trending gifs

GIFs resonate with young audiences, and marketers are learning how to pull on their heartstrings with simple animations that celebrate their favorite people, movies, shows, and music.

Closer Ties for SEO and PPC

Ad-heavy search results mean that competition for top rankings in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising will likely push advertisers to improve the quality of their paid content. SEO experts must be ready to focus on improving quality scores for ads in 2017 as Google search moves toward a role as a PPC giant as well as an organic search engine giant.

Voice Search and Digital Assistants

The artificial intelligence that governs the functions of voice search and digital assistants is the focus of research for many of the companies developing such technologies, including Google. Digital assistants such as Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant use artificial intelligence to attempt to understand natural language and harness that knowledge to produce useful information and resources for live people.

If they weren’t already, SEOs should look to improve relevance, usability, and permanence of content so that digital assistants and voice searchers can utilize the real language contained within the content to find the highest quality information.

What Should We Focus on in 2017?

In anticipation of an even more quickly changing search landscape, SEOs should focus on:

  • Crafting all SEO strategies and making design decisions based on mobile use
  • Building a video strategy that integrates with other marketing solutions
  • Sharpening PPC and paid search knowledge to keep customer rankings high in the paid sphere
  • Optimizing organic content to be found by digital assistants that understand real language

Don’t be afraid of change, be ahead of it, and remember: Make it for mobile.

Leverage Marketing can take you every step of the way through the SEO process – but we also do so much more. If you’re thinking about changing the way you market your business, let us guide you through it. Start by getting your hands on our 2017 Digital Marketing Budget Guide and find out what it will take to pull your marketing into 2017.

Tips for Planning Your Digital Marketing Budget [INFOGRAPHIC]

You know that if you want your business to grow, you need to dedicate a budget to marketing. Otherwise you could have an awesome product or service but no way to tell consumers about it. But how do you determine the amount of money you should be allocating to your marketing budget? And how do you decide on the size of your digital marketing budget compared to your offline marketing budget?

There’s no easy answer to the question, “What should my digital marketing budget be?” However, this infographic and blog post can help you choose a strategy to plan a marketing budget for your business.

Digital Marketing Budget Tips Infographic

Using a Tactic-Based Approach

One way to map out your digital marketing budget is to break down the costs of individual tactics, line by line, and add them up to get your total cost per month and per year. This approach can be good if your business is new and you don’t have a lot of historical data to work with.

It’s straightforward to calculate your internet marketing budget if you outsource your efforts to freelancers or a marketing agency on a per-project basis. However, it gets a little more complicated when you need to calculate the cost of marketing efforts that you keep in-house. You’ll need to start by estimating the number of man-hours for each project and the cost-per-hour for each employee assigned to the project. When calculating cost-per-hour, you’ll need to account for the cost of benefits, training, and vacation days.

Once you’ve determined the cost-per-hour for an employee, multiply that by the number of hours you expect them to work on the project. Repeat that for all employees who will work on the project to get the total cost of labor. In addition to labor costs, you’ll also need to factor in other resources (such as subscription-based software) to get your total cost for a tactic or marketing campaign.

Determining your Budget as a Percentage of Revenue

Most businesses determine their annual marketing budget allocation as a percentage of their revenue. Different sources will give you different estimates for what percentage of your gross annual revenue you should dedicate to marketing, but as a rule of thumb, businesses that are less than five years old should spend about 12-20% and businesses that are more than five years old should spend about 6-12%.

Businesses that are less than a year old and haven’t established their annual revenue can still use the Percentage of Revenue method, but they’ll need to use their projected revenue when crunching the numbers.

One thing to keep in mind with the Percentage of Revenue method is that it can help you determine your overall offline and online marketing budget, but it won’t help you determine how much you should spend on different strategies. You may find it helpful to research how much other comparable businesses in your industry are spending on different strategies (such as SEO and email).

Basing your Marketing Budget on ROI

If you’ve already established an annual marketing budget but are looking for a way to maximize it, consider adjusting the budget throughout the year based on your return on investment (ROI) for different tactics. For example, if you exceed your ROI goals for a paid search campaign one month, you could increase your ad spend the next month. This budgeting method will allow you to grow your revenue quickly and adjust your web marketing budget accordingly, rather than waiting until the next quarter or year to make changes.

The Tied to ROI budgeting method works best with direct-response strategies, such as pay-per-click (PPC) ads and social media ads. This method is more challenging to use with branding strategies, which may be more difficult to measure.

Looking for more advice on planning your online marketing budget? Download our 2017 Guide to Planning Your Digital Marketing Budget to learn how to audit your marketing efforts and determine costs for different internet marketing strategies.

How to Create a Valuable Holiday Gift Guide


Why Create a Holiday Gift Guide?

It’s hard to believe, but the holidays are almost upon us. We’re around the corner from Thanksgiving, and the winter holidays are just a stone’s throw away in marketing time. What can you do to get your customers ready for the season? How can you make them aware of what products you or your partners have available for purchase?

With average spending reaching over $800 per consumer this holiday season, digital marketplaces are excellent places for consumers to buy gifts for everyone on their list without driving to multiple stores. 44% of US holiday shoppers bought gifts online in 2014, and for 2016, online sales are forecast to be as much as $117 billion. Making a holiday gift guide can help your company grab a chunk of this revenue.

With holiday shopping now starting as early as the day after Halloween, making a holiday gift guide early can be a great way to highlight best-selling and popular products. By creating a visual representation of your product selection, you can facilitate the holiday shopping processing and make buying easier for your customers.

Holiday gift guides are a way to take marketing and make it creative. Instead of just a boring sales email, you get to take the products you want to sell and present them in a visually enticing format that transports the reader where you want them to go.

Here are a few methods to make holiday gift guides that grab your customers’ attention:

Use a Data-Driven Approach


Don’t just choose your favorite products to include in your holiday gift guide, use targeted products that are either currently popular or were popular last holiday season. Generate reports on the top sellers in various categories and try to find items that would make good presents. Furthermore, it’s important to get a good mix of products in your gift guide to appeal to a broad range of consumers. You probably don’t have only one type of customer, and your holiday gift guide should reflect that. Look back to your buyer personas and make sure your gift guide reflects the variety inherent in them.

It’s important to get the raw data to find what people are purchasing–use tools like Google Analytics and Hubspot. Track what people are purchasing and what their purchase path is. Use social media and online polls to ask your customers what items they’d like to see. All this data will help you create an approach to your guide that targets a wide swath of customers and reflects the diversity of your business.

Create an Immersive Experience

When creating your holiday gift guide, it is best to curate an experience that submerges the reader in your content. Try segmenting your gift guide into different gift collections by age or gender (if applicable), or by price point. The consumer is then drawn into a selection of items targeted exactly for the people on their gift list. By creating a seamless experience with colorful, high-resolution images of your products, readers are more likely to buy.

Use Pinterest and Other Social Media to Create Holiday Gift Boards

As much as you may segment your holiday gift guide, there is no way to account for every different group and taste. Creating a variety of simple holiday gift boards on Pinterest to augment your existing gift guide is a simple way to help your customers. You can create a specific board for the customer (or buyer persona) you’re trying to target, such as “dog lover” or “stay at home mom.” This strategy works better for some B2C businesses with audiences and demographics more likely to use Pinterest. Tailor your approach to your customers and you’ll have more success. Find out what platforms they use through Google Analytics and online polls and promote through those.

Marketing using Pinterest and other social media sites is incredibly useful in today’s digital age. You can target users who wouldn’t otherwise interact with your content and start new conversations about your products. Remember to continually engage the users from social media and offer them exciting special offers to pique their interest.

pinterest holiday gift guide

Continue Writing About and Promoting Your Holiday Gift Guide

Once your holiday gift guide is out there, don’t just leave it sitting in cyberspace. Write about it using blog posts to provide additional context to the products you’re recommending to your customers. Tell your customers why they should buy this particular item. Explain why your product will make the perfect gift for their friend or family member. Producing blog posts about the products in your gift guide creates additional engagement around your products and adds a framework for your buyers. Do keyword research so that you can incorporate phrases for a higher organic ranking.

Promote the gift guide and your blogs on social media. Don’t let them stagnate on your website waiting for organic hits. Include links in emails, launch a paid campaign, and perhaps even look for promotional opportunities with other blogs or websites in your industry for link sharing. These methods can further enhance the reach of your guide to additional customers.

Your holiday gift guide can be your customers’ entry point into your product offerings. Make sure it is inviting, accessible, immersive, and understandable. If you use these tips to create your gift guide, you’re more likely to succeed this holiday season.

The team at Leverage Marketing has been through many holiday seasons and knows holiday gift guides inside and out. If you have questions about marketing for the holiday season, we are here to help. We are experts in helping our clients meet their needs all year-round. Sign up for our newsletter today to get tips about SEO, social media, marketing, and lots more.

Prep Your Website for Black Friday: A Marketing Checklist [UPDATED]

This post was originally published on October 8th, 2015. We’ve updated it with several new checklist items for 2016.

With Black Friday coming up on November 25th and Cyber Monday following right on its heels, your holiday marketing is no doubt well underway. In all the chaos, it’s easy to overlook some of the small but impactful online marketing tactics you can use to boost sales on two of the biggest shopping days of the year. With that in mind, we’ve put together a marketing checklist of things to do in the weeks leading up to Black Friday.

Download a PDF of our Black Friday Checklist

Web Design

o Update homepage for Black Friday.

Make sure anyone who lands on your homepage in the days leading up to Black Friday/Cyber Monday knows about the deals you’re going to offer. Add relevant banners and calls-to-action, change your home page header/hero image to highlight your Black Friday offers, and consider adding a countdown clock to build excitement. You may also want to create a banner that you can place at the top of all pages to remind shoppers about your deals.

o Simplify forms and checkout process.

Take some time before the holidays to go through your checkout process and identify steps where shoppers are likely to drop out. Eliminate unnecessary form fields and try to minimize the clicks it takes to complete a transaction.

Compress and resize any images that are weighing down your pages. 

Unnecessarily large images can slow down page load times, and online shoppers aren’t going to wait patiently for your site to load. Take some time before Black Friday to check images on your home page and most popular product pages, and either resize or compress high-resolution images.

o Test site to ensure all pages are mobile-friendly.

By now you likely know how important it is to have a website that looks good on mobile devices. Even if you think your site is fully responsive or adaptive to mobile, it’s worth testing individual pages—especially new ones you’re adding ahead of Black Friday. Enter page URLs into Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test bar to determine if all pages meet Google’s criteria for mobile-friendly design.

o Set up live chat.

There are dozens of live chat systems available online, and you can easily set one up by adding a piece of HTML code to all the pages where you want the chat window to appear. If you don’t have a system in place yet, install one before your big holiday sales days so that potential customers can quickly get help from one of your team members.

Email Marketing

o Craft emails to build anticipation for your sales.

Schedule your emails so that subscribers receive an initial announcement about your holiday sale, followed by several messages designed to build anticipation and keep you top of mind. Consider revealing some of the upcoming Black Friday sales prices on top-selling items, or send out a sales offer that is exclusive to email subscribers.

A/B test subject lines.

Remember: before you can get readers to click on email links leading to great Black Friday deals, you have to convince them that opening your email is worth their time. Businesses flood their subscribers’ inboxes with promotional messages around the holidays (MailChimp delivered 1.2 billion emails last Black Friday), so you need to make sure your messages stand out. Be clear about the deals you’re offering in your subject line, and A/B test different subject line variations to see what gets the most engagement.

o Write copy for transactional emails.

Tailor order confirmations, abandoned cart notices, and other automated email messages to your Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales. Consider adding copy about upcoming holiday sales to encourage visitors to shop with you again before the end of December.

o Write emails to remind shoppers that your sale is about to end.

Create a segmented list of email subscribers who haven’t purchased anything on Black Friday or Cyber Monday and send an email several hours before the end of sale, reminding them that there is limited time to take advantage of your discounts.

o Test email links.

Before running any of your holiday email campaigns, take a few minutes to make sure none of your email links are broken and that all links go to the appropriate landing page.

o Create landing pages that align with email CTAs.

It can be jarring for email subscribers to click on a call-to-action that takes them to a landing page with a completely different offer—and shoppers aren’t as likely to convert if the initial CTA and landing page don’t match. Check the copy in your email message and on the landing page to ensure it’s coherent.


Make sure you’ve enabled ecommerce tracking. 

If you sell products through your site, you should absolutely set up Ecommerce Tracking in Google Analytics (if you haven’t already). Ecommerce Tracking will give you more insights in your customers’ behavior patterns so that you can better tailor future sales to your audience. If you’re not sure how to set up Ecommerce Tracking, check out our step-by-step guide.

o Check page load times.

Go to the Site Speed tab in Google Analytics to check the load times of your web pages. On average, people will give a page three seconds to load before abandoning the site, so if you have pages with slower load times, you’ll need to fix them. If you’re not sure what’s causing the slow load time, have your marketing team perform an audit.

o Create landing pages for sales categories.

Include ‘Black Friday’ or other holiday-related keywords in your title tags, header tags, and content so that the landing page has a better chance of being served to web users who enter relevant search queries.

o Research long-tail keywords.

Long-tail keywords will have a lower search volume than more general Black Friday-related keywords, but they will also have less competition and are more likely to attract shoppers who are looking for your specific products or services.

o Pitch products to influencers who curate gift guides.

Backlinks from high-quality third-party sites are a ranking factor for SEO, so it’s always a good idea to make connections with bloggers and journalists in your industry who may be interested in sharing your content. Lots of sites begin publishing holiday gift guides in November and December, so try pitching some of your best gift products to relevant sites. In addition to the SEO-value of backlinks, having your products featured in gift guides can also help drive traffic to your site.

o Local brick-and-mortars: check your online listings.

If you own a brick-and-mortar as well as an online store, go through all the major online directories to make sure your address, phone number, and other important information are up-to-date. If you have not yet claimed your business on Google, do so now using Google My Business.


o Set up meeting with your PPC team.

Keyword bids will be high around Black Friday because this is one of the busiest shopping times of the year, so you need to get the most out of your budget by choosing the keywords that are most likely to lead to conversions for your business. Unless you are a PPC professional, you should meet with your PPC team to discuss strategies.

o Create PPC campaigns tailored to consumers who are researching before Black Friday.

Most Black Friday/Cyber Monday shoppers will be researching deals in advance so that they can get the products they want before they are out of stock. In the weeks leading up to Black Friday, tailor the copy in your PPC ads to your customers’ research phase.

Prepare ads for several top sellers if you think you may run out of inventory.

Have you been promoting a particular product heavily? Is it possible that this product will be out of stock before the end of Black Friday? If so, write ad copy for several other top sellers so that you will have ads ready to go if you have to pull the ads for an out-of-stock item.

o Retarget web users who have already visited your site.

If you have a retargeting pixel set up on your site, start remarketing to customers who have previously browsed your site. This is a good way to stay top of mind and announce deals to people who may not be on your mailing list but who have shown interest in your products.

Use day parting and bid scheduling to maximize your paid search budget. 

Look at your historical data to see which times of day you’re likely to see the highest levels of traffic and conversions. Allocate more of your paid search budget to the top-converting hours of the day to maximize your ROI.

Social Media Marketing

o Use Facebook and Twitter remarketing.

Retargeting pixels on your website aren’t just for PPC ads—you can also use them to create ads for custom audiences on Facebook and Twitter. Facebook even lets you serve ads to Lookalike Audiences—that is, people who are similar to your existing customers and therefore likely to be interested in your products. If you’ve never done this before, talk to your online marketing team about creating targeted social media ads before Black Friday.

o Create exclusive offers for followers on social media.

Offering exclusive discounts is a great way to reward your followers on social media—and to encourage those followers to recommend your social profiles to their friends and family.

o Put together holiday gift guides and share on social sites.

Use a design template site like Canva or Piktochart to create visually-appealing gift guides in different categories (e.g. ‘Stocking Stuffers’, ‘Gifts for Grillmasters’, etc.), and share those guides on your social channels. If you have a following on Pinterest, keep in mind that you can now create buyable pins that integrate with Magento, Bigcommerce, and IBM Websphere.

Use relevant holiday hashtags. 

Do some research into hashtags that are being used around Black Friday and think about how they pertain to your sale. You can, of course, use tags like #blackfriday and #cybermonday, but keep in mind that everyone else will be doing this as well. To stand out and get customers excited for your sale, consider using additional hashtags related to your store name and location. Let social media users know they can get updates on your sale (or maybe even get entered into a contest) by using your business-specific hashtag.

o Make sure at least one team member can monitor Twitter on Black Friday/Cyber Monday.

If you have an active presence on Twitter, you should assign at least one team member to monitor this social site for mentions. If customers are tweeting at you because they have a question or complaint related to your sales, you’ll want to be able to respond quickly.

Having trouble with any of the action items above? We’d be happy to help you check all the boxes on your holiday marketing to-do list. Contact us to get started.

5 Creative Cyber Monday Marketing Ideas

While brick-and-mortar retailers are planning sales to attract droves of shoppers on Black Friday, any business that sells products or services online should be thinking ahead to Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday, which takes place the week after Thanksgiving, has become the largest online shopping day of the year. Last year shoppers spent an estimated $3 billion on Monday, November 30th, setting a new record for the holiday.

Cyber Monday means lots of potential customers for your business, but there are also plenty of competitors trying to win the same customers over with their holiday deals. To convince customers to shop with you, you’ll need more than just a standard discount—you’ll need to get creative with your digital marketing. Here are five out-of-the-box Cyber Monday marketing ideas to help you get started.

Offer More Than Just Free Shipping

Bonus gift card as part of Cyber Monday marketing

Sure, free shipping is a nice incentive, but it’s an incentive that everyone and their mother offers around the holidays. Most customers have come to expect free shipping on their Cyber Monday purchases, and all those marketing emails promising free deliveries aren’t going to make them bat an eye.

To make your business stand out, try offering something unique—like a bonus gift that customers can only get from your online store. For example, you might tell customers that if they spend $x, they can get a pre-selected gift or choose a gift from several options. Make sure you’re offering a gift that will appeal to a wide swath of your target audience; for instance, if you sell at-home beer-brewing supplies, you might offer a free bottle opener with every purchase of $40 or more.

Create Special Interest Gift Guides


Picking out gifts for friends and family can be challenging, so make it easier on your customers by creating a series of gift guides aimed at different segments of your target audience. Let’s say you run an online store that sells pop culture-inspired apparel and novelty items. You might create guides like “Gifts for the Classic Sci-Fi Fan” or “Gifts for the Netflix Binge-Watcher.” Perform keyword research to come up with copy that will drive organic traffic to these guides (for example, there may not be much search volume around “Gifts for the Netflix Binge-Watcher,” but there will likely be more search volume around relevant phrases like “gifts under $25”).

Once you’ve finalized your copy and images, run the gift guides on your blog and promote them on social media leading up to Cyber Monday. You could also send specific gift guides to email subscribers using lists segmented by demographic.

Ask Customers to Shop for a Cause


In 2012, a coalition of more than 1400 charities launched Giving Tuesday as a follow-up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. On this day, consumers are encouraged to get involved in volunteer projects or donate to charities as a way to give back during the holiday season. As an online retailer, consider kicking off your charitable giving early by tying it in with your Cyber Monday sales. Choose a charity you care about and let shoppers know–through promotional emails, a slider on your website, a notification at the top of a user’s shopping cart, etc.– that you’ll be donating a percentage of your Cyber Monday profits to that charity.

The skin care and beauty company L’Occitane is a good example of a business that did this successfully last year. They ran a promotion from Black Friday through Christmas, telling shoppers that for every gift set purchased, their company would donate $10 to Dress for Success, a nonprofit that provides professional attire and career development resources to women in need. This kind of charitable act makes shoppers feel positive about their purchases and helps build goodwill towards your brand.

Get Humorous

A lot of holiday sales copy sounds the same (e.g. “One Day Only Doorbuster Deals,” “Only 8 Hours Left on Our Sale”), so try standing out by taking a humorous approach to your Cyber Monday email marketing and social media promotions. Rather than just telling customers to visit your site for great deals, you might frame your discounts in the context of a Holiday Shopping Survival Guide or email subscribers a list of the reasons why this is going to be the year they don’t procrastinate on their gift buying.

For inspiration, take a look at Dollar Shave Club’s “The Perfect Gift for Any Guy with a Face” graphic, which they used on social media last year.


The graphic is bold, simple, and looks a lot different than holiday sales promotions that just show product images or the words “50% Off” in a huge font.

At a time when people face an onslaught of promotional messages, humor provides a nice change of pace and can make your brand more memorable.

Surprise Customers with an Extended Sale

Who says that Cyber Monday deals can only be available on Cyber Monday? As the day winds down, send out an email to subscribers letting them know that you’ve extended your sale for x amount of time. This email will serve as a reminder for people who may not have shopped with you yet while also creating a sense of urgency—essentially, you’re giving shoppers a second chance to save but setting a deadline for your deals.


Shoppers will have plenty of choices this holiday season, and you need to give them a reason to choose you. By exceeding customer expectations and offering unique incentives, your business can cut through the noise and get increased visibility this Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Need help planning creative holiday marketing campaigns this year? Get in touch with our team of digital marketing experts– we can take an in-depth look at your brand and your competitors to come up with a strategy that drives sales.

How to Use Facebook in Your Content Marketing Strategy

There’s no doubt that Facebook is a useful tool in any company’s marketing arsenal. With the largest amount of monthly active users at 1.7 billion users, Facebook can provide an incredibly powerful way for your company to reach customers and personalize a message to them. But how can Facebook fit into your content marketing strategy? Your business may be generating content on a weekly or monthly basis to increase SEO rankings or just provide information to your clients, but how is it getting disseminated? Who is reading it? Facebook can be a valuable tool not only in improving your content marketing results but in helping you learn more about your audience.

Audience and Followers

The first step for using Facebook as part of an effective content marketing strategy is realizing that just having lots of likes on your page isn’t good enough. You need a strong audience that interacts with your page on a regular basis. People not only need to see the content but like the blog posts, comment, and share, instead of just scrolling right past. Even if you have fantastic content, if no one reads or posts on it, it might as well not exist. Focus on building a solid audience that is interested in your product or service, and not just buying likes from bots. You’ll find that it gets easier over time, likes will just come organically, and people will share more articles as you reach a critical mass. Just keep trucking!


Share, Share, Share

It’s important to use Facebook to link to off-Facebook content that helps to promote your site. If you have excellent content on your site, but no one reads it, it doesn’t serve any purpose. Facebook can help enhance and expand your audience. Don’t just share a link to a blog post without any description: make sure to use images, an exciting description, and share at a popular time for your followers. Blog posts on your site can help promote your product and increase SEO and traffic, but only when people actually read them. Facebook is a great way to accomplish this.

If you have a significant post, feel free to post it again on Facebook several days or a week later. With Facebook’s new algorithms, it’s likely people won’t see the post twice and you’ll get more hits on your site.

Pictures and videos are vital for increasing engagement. If pictures are worth a thousand words, videos may be worth even more. An exciting image or YouTube link can surge users commenting and sharing on a post. Facebook algorithms (much like Google’s own) change often, and keeping up with them can increase your reach.

Make use of blog posts, videos, and pictures to engage your followers on Facebook, post frequently but don’t inundate your users– and you’ll likely be successful integrating Facebook into your content marketing strategy.

Facebook Insights


Facebook Insights is possibly one of the most valuable parts of using Facebook in your content marketing strategy. Audience Insights give you information on just exactly who your audience is, basics like age, gender, and location, as well as more in-depth information like estimated income, interests, and more. You can then use this information to attempt to target the audience you have on Facebook or to fill in gaps you’re missing. Audience Insights is a mirror into who cares about your product or service and what areas you need to improve in demographically.

Page Insights are equally valuable in other ways. They allow you to see how the content you’ve been posting on your page has been performing, including reach and engagement. This information is useful for determining how well your content is performing on Facebook, but you can also use it in conjunction with Google Analytics to decide how to move forward with your content marketing strategy. You can directly ‘Boost Posts’ from within Page Insights, essentially creating ads and boosting engagement with your audience and their friends.

Facebook Ads

Though not always directly related to content, Facebook Ads can have a large impact on how your Page on Facebook performs. It’s a great way for followers to find your page and start reading your content. Facebook Ads can promote your blog posts that your Audience has shared. Remember that you always want to split test for ads to maximize your ad dollars. Use Facebook Ads wisely to increase your impact and reach.

If making Facebook part of your content marketing strategy sounds great, but you aren’t sure where to begin, contact the Leverage Marketing team today. We’re experts in social media and content marketing and help craft an integrated approach that will maximize your content offerings with Facebook’s social media potential. We can answer any questions you have and get you a path to more followers, enhanced content, and success.

What is the Future of Google Search?

Predictions about Google and its search engine in the future exist mostly in the realm of science fiction. Massive takeovers of major businesses and technology giants seem like the stuff of dreams. But just as universal credit and debit cards sprang to life in Edward Bellamy’s novel Looking Backward way back in 1888, Google continues to make fiction reality as it rolls out advanced semantic search technology, driverless cars, and modular phones.

In digital marketing, you have to be truly one step ahead of the technology that drives your industry. To do so, experts make as many data-based, logical decisions as possible about what tomorrow holds. Not the least critical of digital marketing’s unpredictable but powerful tools is Google Search, our friend and enemy. Even the wildest predictions about what’s under the hood of the machine that processes each of our Internet searches could prove to be an incredible boon to the efforts we make to succeed alongside our clients.

As we nervously await the next wave of change in Google’s search algorithm, we have formulated a few thought-provoking ideas about where the search engine might go and what grand plans it has to continue its conquest of the infinitely expanding Internet space.

Ads-Only Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)

Sure, a SERP completely filled with ads sounds preposterous, but paid search revenue is the main source of income for Google, and ads are what allow the company to continue to make improvements in search and beyond. In 2011, money from paid search accounted for 96% of Google’s income. Licensing and other sources made up the remaining 4%, which can’t even fund Google’s employee base. Their income doesn’t come from organic search, as noble as Google’s intentions may be.

austin local search results for plumbing with 4 ads and mapTo see why we believe Google may start leaning toward an ads-only model, try a search for a popular service in your area. Here, we tried plumbing.

We were served four ads, one of which had an extended description, and three of which displayed links straight past the landing page to different parts of the company’s website.

Below that, there was a handy map and the beginning of a list of business information. The organic information was nearly cut off, and classic organic search results didn’t even make an appearance above the fold.

Currently, 64.6% of people click on Google ads when they’re looking to pay for goods or services.

That number could increase if most searchers are faced with ad-only SERPs. It’s most likely that ads would only be served when Google believes the searcher intends to buy or rent goods and services. Those searching for information rather than a place to sink their money still seem to prefer organic search results.

But even organic results could turn into a money maker for Google. Already, paid search ads are starting to blend in with organic search results. Though Google’s approach to ad labeling in the SERPs is still far more eye-catching than competitors such as Bing, differentiation between paid search results and organic search results has become much subtler over time.

Look at Search Engine Land‘s history of the appearance of ads just in the last 10 years:

google ad label background color history

The elimination of a defining color in the background of paid search results was only the first step. The Ad label also no longer has a distinct color, and the overall appearance of the search result largely resembles an organic search result. Webmasters may end up paying for their information to be displayed in Google one day – but that might violate Google’s Don’t Be Evil policy.

Complete Google Integration

Productivity tools such as Gmail and Google Docs, internationalization tools like Google Translate, and even wacky and unusual ventures such as the Google Earth Flight Simulator and the Google Art Project are likely to be fully integrated into one another one day. Already, Google’s main suite of office software and search engine flow together more seamlessly than we could have imagined. Agencies like ours are moving to all-Google work platforms, which we find increases productivity (and drastically decreases frustration).

As Google gets better at learning where the hiccups in work productivity, online shopping, Internet research, and GPS pathfinding occur, small but important integrations occur within the grand structure of their multiple software offerings. For example, Google Drive is available in your browser and on your desktop, and you can access it when sending emails or when using a long list of supporting apps such as our office chat client, Slack.

google drive and slack integration with google docs

You may one day be able to cycle through a comprehensive list of Google products to come up with a complete solution to your query with integration at a high level. Imagine sharing a Google Doc with your coworker on a chat client, then opening that doc to find a business proposal for a new client with a Google Map of their location and service area. Look closer into that map and you’ll find Google Search results that highlight their competitors, which links to Google Shopping so you can get an idea of the price range of your potential client’s good and services.

You can do all of that now, but you’ll have to take a few extra steps to input information manually. However, Google continues to learn and serve the needs of searchers, and they’re learning ways to get you the information you need before you even know you need it – which could also lead to search dominion of a more massive scale.

A Total Takeover of Search

All searches, not just basic search queries, could one day become the domain of Google. Think airline ticket sales and hotel bookings, restaurant reservations and online orders – all of the services to which Google Search normally leads could be served from a SERP.

knowledge graph with paradise lost information from multiple sourcesThe search engine giant is already creeping in on what was once the territory of informational websites. The Knowledge Graph is an incredibly handy addition to Google Search results; it allows searchers to gather fast facts and synopses for common queries without ever having to go past Google’s SERP. But what if their ability to bypass websites entirely to gather information moves into sales?

We might one day see simple search forms for available flights, electrician appointments, movie ticket sales, and similar search-based goods and services sales shift to the might of Google.

If AdWords-like technology develops, competitive companies might bid for a spot at the top of the SERP where users can input all of the information necessary to obtain their goods or services before they even see the company’s home page. You can get a sneak peek of what it might look like if you type a relevant query into Google Search:

google query for buying airline tickets with destination form

When we tried to buy airline tickets, we were treated to a handy, prominently-displayed form that already knows from which airport we want to take off. Just enter a destination and Google Flights will start showing you a list of available flights and prices similar to Google Shopping results. If the technology continues to evolve, companies will need to supply only a database of information to Google instead of developing their own search software to integrate into their websites.

Not every consumer uses Google, however, and direct-to-site visits are still a major source of website traffic, especially for well-known brands. Google and corporate America would need to create a phenomenal public awareness campaign if such a sweeping change were to happen, but it’s still not outside the realm of possibility.

Global Mapping and Exploration

Google has rapidly expanded both its Google Earth and Google Maps platforms as they have gained popularity. An unbelievable amount of Earth is now rendered in real-time 3D for use with both products. Google Street View currently covers most developed nations as well as large business and tourist destinations in developing nations. As growth continues, we’ll be able to explore more of our planet faster from the comfort of our homes and offices.

google earth street view of shops on mt fujiThat means Google Search queries may sometimes be answerable just by exploring your Google Maps or Google Earth apps. Wondering what kind of architecture you can find in central Italy? Curious about the shops available at the mid-point of Mount Fuji? Just plant yourself on-location using Google Street View and look around to find out. Large-scale discovery may well fill information gaps in which content isn’t available or hasn’t been written – and could inspire the development of new and important content, as well.

Artificially Intelligent Digital Assistants

There’s a race happening behind the scenes as major software developers are upgrading and tweaking their digital assistants to try to eliminate the need to type queries. The goal is to create digital assistants that understand and respond with natural language to humans who input queries using voice commands. If successful, digital assistants will scour sources of information to draw conclusions about real questions posed by real people.

google assistant logo with transparent backgroundGoogle has recently entered the ring, too, with Google Assistant. After finding that 20% of mobile search queries were made using voice features on mobile phones, Google saw an opportunity to improve the search experience in a major way by developing a digital assistant that runs on the Google Search engine. It is capable of two-way conversation using ever-improving natural language processing algorithms.

If Google continues to upgrade its Google Translate capabilities and learn from the follies and mistakes of searchers, it could turn a majority of search, mobile or not, into voice-activated and controlled search.

Though users will likely make the transition to digital assistants slower than the technology will develop, the lively competition between Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon asserts that they may know the value of digital assistantship well before we, the consumers, do.

Our Influence on the Future of Search

The way we use search, just like the way we use language, defines what lies ahead for our search engines. By using search in a way that is intuitive for you as an individual, you sway the actions of search giants such as Google. Your vote in the future of search may be only one vote, but it’s a powerful vote nonetheless, so if you find a particular feature of search that you enjoy, use it as often as you can.

All of us are moving the data that moves decision makers to pour time and energy into improving our life experiences, so ensure that the decisions they make will benefit you by actively using Google Search the way you love to use it most.

TL;DR – Google’s future is forever mysterious, but we have a few educated guesses to make. To increase revenue and create an advertising utopia, Google might make all-ad SERPs the norm. Software integration will likely improve, and may lead to a takeover of on-site product and service searches. Google’s fully explorable 3D earth could mitigate the need for some hard search queries, and digital assistants might lead to a new wave of search overall. No matter what, Google Search is what you make it, so use it every day to your advantage.

The experts at Leverage Marketing are on top of the future of Google Search, social media, email marketing, and everything else digital marketing. Let us help change the way you think about your marketing strategy on and offline. Call us today at 512-572-0460 to learn how we can superpower your Internet presence – then subscribe to our newsletter now so you don’t miss any more of our incredible marketing news and tips.

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