SaaS Marketing Blog

What’s happened in the world of marketing in 2017 so far? A guide for SaaS businesses

11th July 2017


We’re more than half way through the year now and in typical digital marketing fashion the marketing world continues to evolve quickly. Read our summary of some of the new innovations marketers of SaaS businesses need to be aware of:

User intent is the future of SEO

From Search Engine Journal: “In recent years search engines have been optimized around users needs and their search experience. Google has evolved in rewarding content that is valuable and relevant to readers.”

The future of SEO is therefore in creating content that satisfies users in this way. This means keyword research is becoming a detailed look into what users mean by their searches in context, what questions they want answering and what kind of language they use, as opposed to determining isolated queries and the numbers behind them. More on user intent here.

Google Google Ads is shifting to ‘Audiences’

An ‘Audience’ may be a certain demographic, an interest or even similar visitors to your website. Currently Google Ads works by someone searches for a keyword, an advertiser bids on a keyword and your keyword is shown on the search results page. Now you can set ads to only show to people that search for that keyword and are in an audience.

This should make ads more targeted, however will involve more work and sites with a better track record in Google Ads (i.e. account histories) will be favoured.

Google is pushing this hard as the future of Google Ads so getting in early may reduce CPCs in the short term and also put your SaaS business at an advantage if/when it is rolled out properly.

LinkedIn is bringing out innovative features

LinkedIn has generally been a bit behind other networks with its advertising options, however has had a big boost to catch up in recent months. Facebook and LinkedIn are largely copying each other’s features (which isn’t a bad thing). New innovations from LinkedIn ads to be aware of are:

  • Lead Gen Forms: Pre-filled forms with accurate LinkedIn profile info making it very easy to get contact details. No longer do you need to send people to your site to download that white paper for example
  • Retargeting: Remarketing has been around on Google and to some extent Facebook for a number of years. LinkedIn now has this as an option allowing you to remarket to website visitors on its platform
  • LinkedIn Sponsored InMail: Sending targeted messages directly to the inbox of your target demographic and only pay when someone opens it
  • Account targeting: Reach decision makers in target accounts by combining demographic targeting with a LinkedIn target list

GDPR brings the death of email marketing?

The GDPR regulations are to be enforced from May 2018 for EU companies, or companies that store data of EU citizens. The key takeaway for marketers is email marketing will become completely permission based (knowing consent, double opt-ins etc.). From next May you will not be able to license a data list, or source/harvest email addresses from other sources. Therefore SaaS businesses are starting to get GDPR ready and think of a future without outbound email marketing.

Ad blocking is increasing

Apple announced in its developer conference in June that its new version of Safari is going to have features like:

  • Preventing videos from auto-playing
  • Disabled ad tracking (this will have a big effect on remarketing which is what ad tracking effectively is)

Google has announced a potentially default ad blocker in its Chrome browser too.

This is on the back of Apple launching ‘content blockers’ for iOS back in 2015.

There is a general trend to block ads and this will have knock on effects for marketers wanting to remarket or create banner ads.

Whilst we can’t see ads on the internet disappearing, marketers do need to get smarter about ads it displays, who they are displayed to and the content in them.

It may also put more focus on networks like Facebook and LinkedIn for advertising.

Search Ads in the Apple App Store

Introduced at the end of 2016, Search Ads allow you to sponsor apps in the Apple App Store. For SaaS businesses where an app is a key marketing channel this could be very important.

Our view is that with the redesigned App Store due to launch with iOS11 this is only going to increase.

Google Optimize launched for free to support A/B testing

Google Optimize 360 was launched in Spring 2016 to support A/B testing. A free version just called Google Optimize was launched in Autumn in Beta. This Spring Google took them both out of beta. From what we’ve seen Google Optimize looks like a good tool for basic split testing (better than what’s currently available in Google Analytics) so worth exploring. What excuse have you got now for not split testing?

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Xander Marketing works in partnership with SaaS businesses around the world to support growth through new customer acquisition, increasing leads, generating more website traffic and raising industry awareness.  So if you lack the time, resource or know how to undertake marketing then get in touch and book your free 30 minute consultation.

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