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Gather ‘Round the Campfire for the MozCon 2022 Day Three Recap!



The MozCon 2022 Final Agenda Is Here!

If Camp MozCon has to come to an end, we wanted to send it off with a bang. After all, we have to get through the next 364 days before we get to do this again!

So, in true MozCon style, we brought in the good coffee, handed out more Roger figurines, and cheered on our best pals as they took the stage.

Now, we aren’t going to say we saved the best for last, but we have to admit that our camp counselors for day three were absolute powerhouses.

Why Real Expertise is the Most Important Ranctor Factor of Them All — Lily Ray

When it comes to E-A-T, there is no better person to look to than Lily. She kicked off the morning by reminding us that showing expertise to Google is paramount. But just because the word “expert” is in there, that doesn’t mean the tactics are overly complicated.

Lily shared multiple examples of businesses that are ranking for very competitive/authoritative keywords, and her analysis of how these sites rose to the top. Throughout this analysis, she reminded us that adding “E-A-T features” isn’t enough, and that our content actually has to be quality as well.

Some of the top websites noted in this session sported features like:

As she often does, Lily mentioned (and showed examples) how E-A-T may work across the Google universe such as YouTube, Google Maps, Google News, and so on. With this in mind, it’s imperative that we continue to build our authority on and off of our sites.

You Need Audience Personas, Not Buyer Personas — Amanda Natividad

Buyer personas can be helpful, but only some of the time, for some of the people on your team. That’s why today Amanda schooled us on the audience personas, why they’re important, and how to create them.

First and foremost, your audience doesn’t end at “people who will buy from you.” Your audience also includes people who may amplify you and people who may pay attention to you. And as it turns out, each of these audiences are looking to you for different types of content.

Each of these audiences has different motivations. They are also different in what they talk about and where they hang out. By understanding the way each of these audiences works, you’ll be able to create more effective marketing strategies.

Rabbit Holes: How Google Pushes Us Down The Funnel — Dr. Pete Meyers

As SEOs, we like to focus on the keywords that land toward the bottom of the funnel. This is because we know these keywords lead to more conversions and revenue. But as Dr. Pete would argue, there is far more to search than what happens between awareness and conversion. Apparently, Google would too, hence their article: “Decisions Decoded.”

In this talk, Dr. Pete focused on the Refine Search portion of the SERP. As he clicked on the refinements and interacted with the SERPs, he found himself further down the funnel. And if Google can make him do it, he figured they could make anyone do it — including our customers!

Dr. Pete argues that the majority of searches happen in the exploration and evaluation phase of decision-making. If we want to play in that game, we must allow users to go through this journey through our sites. This can be done by introducing the idea of the next step, creating more middle-of-the-funnel content, and by optimizing for Google’s search features.

Our site needs to be present at all stages of the funnel, not just at the bottom. If we rely on users to know what they want right away, we are alienating ourselves from potential profit.

Beyond the Button: Tests that Actually Move the Needle — Karen Hopper

We’ve all run a CRO test on button colors. But Karen urged us to go a step further and play with fire.

She taught us to be curious about what works for others, use the first-party data we have available, and monitor how certain users interact with our content. Then, using this data, she showed us how to create a meaningful hypothesis that included what we want to test, how we would test it, and what we expect to happen.

With all of these hypotheses, we then learned how to prioritize tests using expected impact, learning priority, and technical effort.

Now, we are ready to run the test! But in doing so, we need to understand the size of the audience necessary to prove the statistical significance and remember NOT to make any assumptions based on early data.

This talk was a bit of a math-heavy one, but definitely one we needed to remind us how to properly execute SEO testing strategies.

Understanding Key Performance Factors: Using Data to Make Smart Decisions for Organic Search — Joe Hall

SEO is a marathon, not a sprint, right? Right, but here’s the thing — “even marathons have finish lines.”

Clients want to see results and we have to deliver them. In order to do this, we have to shift our focus from what is important to what is impactful.

Every domain has unique characteristics that search engines understand. These unique characteristics are measured by what Joe calls “key ranking factors.” Each site also has its own goals, which can be measured by KPIs.

Key performance factors and key performance indicators, when used together, can help you prioritize impactful changes. Joe showed us how to collect the data for these metrics and find their correlation using the CORREL function. Once we have this data, we’ll be able to identify the recommendations that are most correlated to the KPIs set out by the client.

And yes, correlation doesn’t equal causation, but as Joe aptly puts – it doesn’t rule out causation, either.

Finding Your Way To SEO & Content Success: A Framework — Ross Simmonds

The king of content distribution is back and better than ever. Ross Simmonds taught us how to think like a media company so that we can stop halting at the word “content” and follow through with the “marketing” in content marketing. Doing so can show you up to 10x the pageviews.

The growth content framework Ross shared included four steps:

  1. Research

  2. Create

  3. Distribute

  4. Optimize

When we “think like a media company”, we need to think about distribution, development, finance, partnerships, and outreach.

A smart brand will distribute content in a way that keeps content relevant and hyped up for almost six months. We were reminded to tap into our owned channels, different niche opportunities, reframe the original content into a new format, and then to optimize for future success.

And here is the thing: Ross didn’t just tell us to do these things, he shared some of his secrets on how to make them scaleable too!

Things I Learned from Sales Teams that Every SEO Should Know — Petra Kis-Herczegh

Getting buy-in isn’t usually a linear process, and it’s hardly ever an easy one. Petra shared with us her theory of the “buy-in-ish” cycle, which goes: fake buy-in, half results, lack of proof, repeat.

This makes sense when we think of how most people go about getting buy-in. In most situations, people start by asking for questions that have no answer other than “yes”.

Our new goal is to focus on getting to the next step, not necessarily focusing on a sweeping “yes”. When you seek buy-in, you should engage in healthy conflict and spend time understanding the concerns and objections from stakeholders. By understanding your audience, you will be able to speak their language when proposing solutions.

In the actual proposal, Petra reminds us, it’s massively important to use the language spoken by decision-makers. After all, we aren’t logical decision-makers, we are biased and emotional decision-makers. With that in mind, we must play to the feelings of your stakeholders to make them comfortable with our ideas.

The Untapped Power of Content Syndication — Amanda Milligan

We care about what’s happening nearby. Yet local media remains untapped as a distribution resource, despite the fact that they also have respectable DAs. This is a missed opportunity.

The easiest way to create local content at scale is to tap into local data sets like the Census, Zillow, or Tripadvisor. Using this data, you can create content — or even better — tools!

Amanda shared an example of using AAA’s data to create a gas price calculator that they shared with local publishers. Spoiler alert: the publishers were stoked.

Because Amanda works for Stacker Studios, she has the pleasure of working with tons of publishers, and was nice enough to share with us the five things publishers are looking for:

  1. Employment & jobs trends

  2. Rent & real estate trends

  3. Trends in crime stats and rates

  4. Ways to avoid scams

  5. “News you can use” stories

Advanced On-Page Optimization — Chris Long

Chris turned a bunch of heads when he came out by claiming that we were in an on-page optimization rut. That’s because, eventually, most SEOs start to review old content and simply add a few keywords or internal links.

Chris covered the importance of making the shift from keyword-focused to entity-focused. To do this, you need to identify the most commonly used entities in top ranking content and ensure you’re mentioning them.

Another way to stay creative is to stay fresh. At Go Fish, they found that top sites were updating content as quickly as every eight minutes! To test the effect of this factor, they updated some of their pages’ titles, timestamps, and content (less than 5% of text) and immediately saw positive results.

If the data is outdated, why would Google trust that the content is trustworthy?

Chris covered five full strategies to become more creative with your on-page optimization, including a competitive research method that blew our minds. This session will definitely be one we rewatch.

Keyword Research for Thanks Instead of Ranks — Wil Reynolds

As he admitted in his presentation, the roots of what Wil presents will almost always be the same. He said it back in 2015, and he started off by saying the same thing again this year: “we have the power to influence what people find.”

It all comes down to customers, business, big data, and silos. If you want to be great, you have to overcome the things your competitors stop at. Your customers care about dollars, but when you report dollars, don’t just report on potential dollars. Dollars can be connected to opportunity costs, acquisition costs, and the like.

Keyword research builds empathy and can be used to speak to multiple people in the room, but be careful with your automated analyses and outputs. Wil shared how the Google Pixel 6 solved a very real problem for his family: a camera that can capture multiple skin tones in one image without under/overexposure. However, he then went on to show us how he could use keyword research for photography to address the real issues of potential Pixel 6 users. As it turns out, these issues should actually be taken to most of the decision-makers in a business (think UX, design, and DE&I).

The biggest takeaways from this year’s talk were to dig a little deeper, think about where you can add value, take the extra step and take every finding as a clue, and remember that “the limit to your greatness at work is how quickly you fold at your first no/can’t”.

This talk was filled to the brim with amazing insights, and we’ve barely begun to scratch the surface, so make sure you pick up the video bundle to see the full thing.

So long for now!

Well, campers, we hope you had as much fun as we did this year. It’s hard to put into words how much we missed hanging out with all of you, and we are so happy to have had the chance to do so the last few days.

This isn’t the end, though! We want to see what insights you grab during the replays and what things you put into action, and hopefully gather again next year for even more amazing learnings.

Happy camping!

Read all the MozCon 2022 daily recaps:

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Comparing Credibility of Custom Chatbots & Live Chat



Building Customer Trust: Comparing Credibility of Custom Chatbots & Live Chat

Addressing customer issues quickly is not merely a strategy to distinguish your brand; it’s an imperative for survival in today’s fiercely competitive marketplace.

Customer frustration can lead to customer churn. That’s precisely why organizations employ various support methods to ensure clients receive timely and adequate assistance whenever they require it.

Nevertheless, selecting the most suitable support channel isn’t always straightforward. Support teams often grapple with the choice between live chat and chatbots.

The automation landscape has transformed how businesses engage with customers, elevating chatbots as a widely embraced support solution. As more companies embrace technology to enhance their customer service, the debate over the credibility of chatbots versus live chat support has gained prominence.

However, customizable chatbot continue to offer a broader scope for personalization and creating their own chatbots.

In this article, we will delve into the world of customer support, exploring the advantages and disadvantages of both chatbots and live chat and how they can influence customer trust. By the end, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of which option may be the best fit for your business.

The Rise of Chatbots

Chatbots have become increasingly prevalent in customer support due to their ability to provide instant responses and cost-effective solutions. These automated systems use artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) to engage with customers in real-time, making them a valuable resource for businesses looking to streamline their customer service operations.

Advantages of Chatbots

24/7 Availability

One of the most significant advantages of custom chatbots is their round-the-clock availability. They can respond to customer inquiries at any time, ensuring that customers receive support even outside regular business hours.


Custom Chatbots provide consistent responses to frequently asked questions, eliminating the risk of human error or inconsistency in service quality.


Implementing chatbots can reduce operational costs by automating routine inquiries and allowing human agents to focus on more complex issues.


Chatbots can handle multiple customer interactions simultaneously, making them highly scalable as your business grows.

Disadvantages of Chatbots

Limited Understanding

Chatbots may struggle to understand complex or nuanced inquiries, leading to frustration for customers seeking detailed information or support.

Lack of Empathy

Chatbots lack the emotional intelligence and empathy that human agents can provide, making them less suitable for handling sensitive or emotionally charged issues.

Initial Setup Costs

Developing and implementing chatbot technology can be costly, especially for small businesses.

The Role of Live Chat Support

Live chat support, on the other hand, involves real human agents who engage with customers in real-time through text-based conversations. While it may not offer the same level of automation as custom chatbots, live chat support excels in areas where human interaction and empathy are crucial.

Advantages of Live Chat

Human Touch

Live chat support provides a personal touch that chatbots cannot replicate. Human agents can empathize with customers, building a stronger emotional connection.

Complex Issues

For inquiries that require a nuanced understanding or involve complex problem-solving, human agents are better equipped to provide in-depth assistance.

Trust Building

Customers often trust human agents more readily, especially when dealing with sensitive matters or making important decisions.


Human agents can adapt to various customer personalities and communication styles, ensuring a positive experience for diverse customers.

Disadvantages of Live Chat

Limited Availability

Live chat support operates within specified business hours, which may not align with all customer needs, potentially leading to frustration.

Response Time

The speed of response in live chat support can vary depending on agent availability and workload, leading to potential delays in customer assistance.


Maintaining a live chat support team with trained agents can be expensive, especially for smaller businesses strategically.

Building Customer Trust: The Credibility Factor

When it comes to building customer trust, credibility is paramount. Customers want to feel that they are dealing with a reliable and knowledgeable source. Both customziable chatbots and live chat support can contribute to credibility, but their effectiveness varies in different contexts.

Building Trust with Chatbots

Chatbots can build trust in various ways:


Chatbots provide consistent responses, ensuring that customers receive accurate information every time they interact with them.

Quick Responses

Chatbots offer instant responses, which can convey a sense of efficiency and attentiveness.

Data Security

Chatbots can assure customers of their data security through automated privacy policies and compliance statements.

However, custom chatbots may face credibility challenges when dealing with complex issues or highly emotional situations. In such cases, the lack of human empathy and understanding can hinder trust-building efforts.

Building Trust with Live Chat Support

Live chat support, with its human touch, excels at building trust in several ways:


Human agents can show empathy by actively listening to customers’ concerns and providing emotional support.

Tailored Solutions

Live chat agents can tailor solutions to individual customer needs, demonstrating a commitment to solving their problems.


Human agents can adapt to changing customer requirements, ensuring a personalized and satisfying experience.

However, live chat support’s limitations, such as availability and potential response times, can sometimes hinder trust-building efforts, especially when customers require immediate assistance.

Finding the Right Balance

The choice between custom chatbots and live chat support is not always binary. Many businesses find success by integrating both options strategically:

Initial Interaction

Use chatbots for initial inquiries, providing quick responses, and gathering essential information. This frees up human agents to handle more complex cases.

Escalation to Live Chat

Implement a seamless escalation process from custom chatbots to live chat support when customer inquiries require a higher level of expertise or personal interaction.

Continuous Improvement

Regularly analyze customer interactions and feedback to refine your custom chatbot’s responses and improve the overall support experience.


In the quest to build customer trust, both chatbots and live chat support have their roles to play. Customizable Chatbots offer efficiency, consistency, and round-the-clock availability, while live chat support provides the human touch, empathy, and adaptability. The key is to strike the right balance, leveraging the strengths of each to create a credible and trustworthy customer support experience. By understanding the unique advantages and disadvantages of both options, businesses can make informed decisions to enhance customer trust and satisfaction in the digital era.

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The Rise in Retail Media Networks



A shopping cart holding the Amazon logo to represent the rise in retail media network advertising.

As LL Cool J might say, “Don’t call it a comeback. It’s been here for years.”

Paid advertising is alive and growing faster in different forms than any other marketing method.

Magna, a media research firm, and GroupM, a media agency, wrapped the year with their ad industry predictions – expect big growth for digital advertising in 2024, especially with the pending US presidential political season.

But the bigger, more unexpected news comes from the rise in retail media networks – a relative newcomer in the industry.

Watch CMI’s chief strategy advisor Robert Rose explain how these trends could affect marketers or keep reading for his thoughts:

GroupM expects digital advertising revenue in 2023 to conclude with a 5.8% or $889 billion increase – excluding political advertising. Magna believes ad revenue will tick up 5.5% this year and jump 7.2% in 2024. GroupM and Zenith say 2024 will see a more modest 4.8% growth.

Robert says that the feeling of an ad slump and other predictions of advertising’s demise in the modern economy don’t seem to be coming to pass, as paid advertising not only survived 2023 but will thrive in 2024.

What’s a retail media network?

On to the bigger news – the rise of retail media networks. Retail media networks, the smallest segment in these agencies’ and research firms’ evaluation, will be one of the fastest-growing and truly important digital advertising formats in 2024.

GroupM suggests the $119 billion expected to be spent in the networks this year and should grow by a whopping 8.3% in the coming year.  Magna estimates $124 billion in ad revenue from retail media networks this year.

“Think about this for a moment. Retail media is now almost a quarter of the total spent on search advertising outside of China,” Robert points out.

You’re not alone if you aren’t familiar with retail media networks. A familiar vernacular in the B2C world, especially the consumer-packaged goods industry, retail media networks are an advertising segment you should now pay attention to.

Retail media networks are advertising platforms within the retailer’s network. It’s search advertising on retailers’ online stores. So, for example, if you spend money to advertise against product keywords on Amazon, Walmart, or Instacart, you use a retail media network.

But these ad-buying networks also exist on other digital media properties, from mini-sites to videos to content marketing hubs. They also exist on location through interactive kiosks and in-store screens. New formats are rising every day.

Retail media networks make sense. Retailers take advantage of their knowledge of customers, where and why they shop, and present offers and content relevant to their interests. The retailer uses their content as a media company would, knowing their customers trust them to provide valuable information.

Think about these 2 things in 2024

That brings Robert to two things he wants you to consider for 2024 and beyond. The first is a question: Why should you consider retail media networks for your products or services?   

Advertising works because it connects to the idea of a brand. Retail media networks work deep into the buyer’s journey. They use the consumer’s presence in a store (online or brick-and-mortar) to cross-sell merchandise or become the chosen provider.

For example, Robert might advertise his Content Marketing Strategy book on Amazon’s retail network because he knows his customers seek business books. When they search for “content marketing,” his book would appear first.

However, retail media networks also work well because they create a brand halo effect. Robert might buy an ad for his book in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal because he knows their readers view those media outlets as reputable sources of information. He gains some trust by connecting his book to their media properties.

Smart marketing teams will recognize the power of the halo effect and create brand-level experiences on retail media networks. They will do so not because they seek an immediate customer but because they can connect their brand content experience to a trusted media network like Amazon, Nordstrom, eBay, etc.

The second thing Robert wants you to think about relates to the B2B opportunity. More retail media network opportunities for B2B brands are coming.

You can already buy into content syndication networks such as Netline, Business2Community, and others. But given the astronomical growth, for example, of Amazon’s B2B marketplace ($35 billion in 2023), Robert expects a similar trend of retail media networks to emerge on these types of platforms.   

“If I were Adobe, Microsoft, Salesforce, HubSpot, or any brand with big content platforms, I’d look to monetize them by selling paid sponsorship of content (as advertising or sponsored content) on them,” Robert says.

As you think about creative ways to use your paid advertising spend, consider the retail media networks in 2024.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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AI driving an exponential increase in marketing technology solutions



AI driving an exponential increase in marketing technology solutions

The martech landscape is expanding and AI is the prime driving force. That’s the topline news from the “Martech 2024” report released today. And, while that will get the headline, the report contains much more.

Since the release of the most recent Martech Landscape in May 2023, 2,042 new marketing technology tools have surfaced, bringing the total to 13,080 — an 18.5% increase. Of those, 1,498 (73%) were AI-based. 

Screenshot 2023 12 05 110428 800x553

“But where did it land?” said Frans Riemersma of Martech Tribe during a joint video conference call with Scott Brinker of ChiefMartec and HubSpot. “And the usual suspect, of course, is content. But the truth is you can build an empire with all the genAI that has been surfacing — and by an empire, I mean, of course, a business.”

Content tools accounted for 34% of all the new AI tools, far ahead of video, the second-place category, which had only 4.85%. U.S. companies were responsible for 61% of these tools — not surprising given that most of the generative AI dynamos, like OpenAI, are based here. Next up was the U.K. at 5.7%, but third place was a big surprise: Iceland — with a population of 373,000 — launched 4.6% of all AI martech tools. That’s significantly ahead of fourth place India (3.5%), whose population is 1.4 billion and which has a significant tech industry. 

Dig deeper: 3 ways email marketers should actually use AI

The global development of these tools shows the desire for solutions that natively understand the place they are being used. 

“These regional products in their particular country…they’re fantastic,” said Brinker. “They’re loved, and part of it is because they understand the culture, they’ve got the right thing in the language, the support is in that language.”

Now that we’ve looked at the headline stuff, let’s take a deep dive into the fascinating body of the report.

The report: A deeper dive

Marketing technology “is a study in contradictions,” according to Brinker and Riemersma. 

In the new report they embrace these contradictions, telling readers that, while they support “discipline and fiscal responsibility” in martech management, failure to innovate might mean “missing out on opportunities for competitive advantage.” By all means, edit your stack meticulously to ensure it meets business value use cases — but sure, spend 5-10% of your time playing with “cool” new tools that don’t yet have a use case. That seems like a lot of time.

Similarly, while you mustn’t be “carried away” by new technology hype cycles, you mustn’t ignore them either. You need to make “deliberate choices” in the realm of technological change, but be agile about implementing them. Be excited by martech innovation, in other words, but be sensible about it.

The growing landscape

Consolidation for the martech space is not in sight, Brinker and Riemersma say. Despite many mergers and acquisitions, and a steadily increasing number of bankruptcies and dissolutions, the exponentially increasing launch of new start-ups powers continuing growth.

It should be observed, of course, that this is almost entirely a cloud-based, subscription-based commercial space. To launch a martech start-up doesn’t require manufacturing, storage and distribution capabilities, or necessarily a workforce; it just requires uploading an app to the cloud. That is surely one reason new start-ups appear at such a startling rate. 

Dig deeper: AI ad spending has skyrocketed this year

As the authors admit, “(i)f we measure by revenue and/or install base, the graph of all martech companies is a ‘long tail’ distribution.” What’s more, focus on the 200 or so leading companies in the space and consolidation can certainly be seen.

Long-tail tools are certainly not under-utilized, however. Based on a survey of over 1,000 real-world stacks, the report finds long-tail tools constitute about half of the solutions portfolios — a proportion that has remained fairly consistent since 2017. The authors see long-tail adoption where users perceive feature gaps — or subpar feature performance — in their core solutions.

Composability and aggregation

The other two trends covered in detail in the report are composability and aggregation. In brief, a composable view of a martech stack means seeing it as a collection of features and functions rather than a collection of software products. A composable “architecture” is one where apps, workflows, customer experiences, etc., are developed using features of multiple products to serve a specific use case.

Indeed, some martech vendors are now describing their own offerings as composable, meaning that their proprietary features are designed to be used in tandem with third-party solutions that integrate with them. This is an evolution of the core-suite-plus-app-marketplace framework.

That framework is what Brinker and Riemersma refer to as “vertical aggregation.” “Horizontal aggregation,” they write, is “a newer model” where aggregation of software is seen not around certain business functions (marketing, sales, etc.) but around a layer of the tech stack. An obvious example is the data layer, fed from numerous sources and consumed by a range of applications. They correctly observe that this has been an important trend over the past year.

Build it yourself

Finally, and consistent with Brinker’s long-time advocacy for the citizen developer, the report detects a nascent trend towards teams creating their own software — a trend that will doubtless be accelerated by support from AI.

So far, the apps that are being created internally may be no more than “simple workflows and automations.” But come the day that app development is so democratized that it will be available to a wide range of users, the software will be a “reflection of the way they want their company to operate and the experiences they want to deliver to customers. This will be a powerful dimension for competitive advantage.”

Constantine von Hoffman contributed to this report.

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