Good morning, let’s have a round of applause.

Yesterday we announced the finalists in our annual Search Engine Land Awards, and in the list you’ll find an assortment of agencies and brands that really exemplified the best in marketing execution.

Check out the finalists list here and if you spot a familiar brand on the list, give them a nod. We had a ton of applicants and these finalists really showed some stellar work over the past year.

On Monday, we will be announcing the winner, so stay tuned.

Henry Powderly
VP, Content

 
 
 
Retrospective
 

What a long, strange year in digital marketing

As we move into Q4, into the holiday sales season, and into an uncertain future, it seemed a good time to look back. We spoke to Meghan Keaney Anderson, HubSpot’s VP of Marketing, as well as to Taylor Schreiner, Director of Digital Insights at Adobe (where the regularly updated Adobe Digital Experience Index is created), and Craig Rosenberg, co-founder and Chief Analyst at Topo, with a focus on B2B.

Here are three key quotes.

“We certainly saw sales pause across not just HubSpot but all industries. The world took a collective breath. What we were surprised by was that we saw marketing activity really rise. We saw huge records being broken in terms of website traffic, not just to our site but to our customers’ sites. We saw giant leaps in engagement with our free educational materials. We saw email open rates go up, and we also saw big spikes in website chat for our customers.” -Keaney Anderson

Buying cycles have been faster, with fewer decision makers. There are people who are buying and people who are not; it’s binary, there’s no middle ground. Those that are buying are making top-down decisions to transform, and they’re doing it really quickly.” – Craig Rosenberg

“What we’re seeing is a shift to a new normal, and what we’re all wondering is what that new normal will be in terms of online commerce. In March and April, everyone was going online – maybe for the first time – to buy clothes, pajamas, groceries – things they would normally have gone into stores for. We saw online sales rocket up 80% [year on year]. We’ve seen that come steadily down through July, August and September, to where we’re more in the 30% to 45% range depending on the day. The question we’re all asking ourselves is, is this the new stable place – at least for this phase of the COVID era?” – Taylor Schreiner

Read more »

 

5 critical elements for local marketing success

This guide from MarTech Today examines the market for local marketing solutions and the 5 critical elements for local marketing success: Listing Management, Local SEO, Local Landing Pages, Reputation Management, and Paid Search and Social Media. Also included are profiles of 17 leading local marketing solution vendors and capabilities comparisons.

Read more »

 
Data
 

Meet Google Analytics 4

The latest iteration of Google’s web analytics property type, dubbed Google Analytics 4, is now available. It includes expanded predictive insights, deeper integration with Google Ads, cross-device measurement capabilities and more granular data controls. 

The release, announced Wednesday, is an expansion and rebranding of the App + Web property launched last year and marks the first major step in evolving beyond Universal Analytics. Overall, the new version includes:

• New AI-powered insights and predictions.
• Deeper audiences integration with Google Ads.
• Customer lifecycle-framed reporting.
• Codeless Event tracking.
• More granular user data controls. 

Why we care. The new Google Analytics 4 property provides a more complete cross-channel view of the customer lifecycle and puts that information to use with predictive marketing features, providing marketers with more information and efficient ways to act on those insights.

Google Analytics 4 will be the default option when you set up a new property. The previous iteration, Universal Analytics, will continue to remain available, but Google recommends site owners set up both property types and run them in parallel. New feature development will be focused on GA4.

Learn more »

 
Social Short
 

TikTok debuts brand safety solution

TikTok has partnered with OpenSlate to offer a brand safety solution for advertisers on the mobile video platform. The solution, via OpenSlate, will “verify and filter a variety of content and categories that appear next to branded ads and content. This partnership empowers brands to know and track where their ads are running through pre-campaign solutions as well as with post-campaign analytics,” the company said in a blog post.

Why we care. This solution will give brands more flexibility and control over the content and categories of content their ads can appear alongside. It’s also a notable step as TikTok continues to advance its advertising business. 

 

Super Early Bird rates end TOMORROW

Register now to access 45+ tactic-rich SEO and SEM sessions that can help you drive more awareness, traffic, and conversions… and join us at SMX online December 8-9!

Book now for $149 »

 
 
 
Quote of the Day
 

“We saw — my team at Salesforce — that as of 11:00 o’clock this morning Eastern time, there was a 60% year-over-year increase for the same time during Prime Day last year. So this is a big deal for retailers who, let’s face it, have been trying to pull demand earlier and earlier into the fall for, gosh, as long as I can remember.” Rob Garf, VP of Industry Strategy and Insights, Salesforce.