State of Search & Social Pro Conference Recap

Last week was a busy one for me.  I had the pleasure of speaking at two conferences, State of Search in Dallas and Social Pro in Las Vegas!  Both conferences were amazing, and I did a little video recap of them, and below are links to pictures and my slide decks from the event.  Both have amazing themes, so make sure and download them – don’t just view them through slide share or you miss all the amazing animation and fun.  Enjoy!

Here are the slide decks to both shows:

MNSearch Event Recap on Visual Content Marketing

Recently, I had the opportunity to present on Visual content marketing over at the MNSearch monthly event as their featured monthly guest speaker, and it was awesome. What a great group of digital marketers they got there (Thanks to all who braved the weather and came out). Props to my friend Lee Odden for coming out to hear me and hang. Also props to Scott Dodge for having me, and finally to Aaron Weiche for being my ride to and from the event – that was huge for me considering how cold this Arizona boy was there!

Enjoy the video recap & presentation along with some photos from the event.

Here are a few pictures from the event!  Thanks to those that took and shared pictures with me!

Matt Siltala Speaking at MN Search

Photo by JenJamarMatt Siltala and Lee Odden
Matt Siltala

Photo by Scott DodgeMatt Siltala Speaking MNSearch

Photo by Lee OddenMatt Siltala Speaking

Photo by Erica LovestrandMNSearch

Photo by cjhambone

Why Visual Content Works

We’ve all heard the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. It has never been more true for content marketing. What the picture represents in digital marketing is a thousand words of successful conversion-focused content.

With the ability to upload photos and create visual images for the web, audiences are turning to visual content to attract their attention.  Most media consumption focuses on the visual. Media use is projected to rise to 15.5 hours per person per day according to research conducted at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC).  Most of that media consumption will include visual content.

According to research done by Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange (OTX), an average of 3.2 hours each day is spent on social networks. Success of visual images is even more profound along social media lines:social media stats

  • With 70,000,000 users, Pinterest has grown faster than any other independent site in history

  • Each pin averages 78 cents, up 25% from 2012

  • Instagram has 300,000,000 *active users with 1.2 billion likes per day and 20 billion shared photos (updated 12/15/14)

  • 60 million photos are uploaded every day to Instagram

  • 1,317,000,000  use Facebook

  • 350 million photos are uploaded to Facebook every day

So why does visual content do so well?

Visual content is a fast way to convey information. According to BBC Business, an estimated 90% of all the data in the world today has been created in the past few years. From music to movies and from status updates to news, people are becoming overwhelmed with the amount of information available. To combat this overload of information, skimming text—or in most cases ignoring it—has become common. A well-designed, eye-catching graphic will stand out in a sea of text and encourage audiences to spend more time on your message: reading text, viewing a video clip, sharing, or commenting.

respond to visual

People respond better to visual information. Nearly 90% of the information submitted to the brain is visual, with images processing 60 thousand times faster than text. It is reported that 40% of people respond to visual information over plain text.  “We were never born to read,” says neuroscience and reading researcher, Maryanne Wolf, in her book, Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain. Wolf explainsthat vision is pre-programmed into the human brain while reading does not come naturally. Reading, says Wolf, involves tapping into existing “visual circuits” of the brain in order to decode letters into words. What this research means for content marketers is that visual content is processed much easier than text. In a world where potential customers are overloaded with information, visual content makes your message easier to process and more likely to stand out.

visual learners

Most of the population are visual learners. According to, 65% of the population are visual learners. In other words, 65% of your target audience will learn and understand more about your product or service through graphs, charts, infographics and visual guides. What’s more, visual learners relish the experience of seeing visually appealing content.

visuals can say more than we can

We understand more than we can say. Another reason visual content is successful in engagement is its ability to efficiently make sense of complex information. Fernande Saint-Martin, pioneer in semiotics, says in his book, Semiotics of Visual Language, that written language that can “deepen or master nonverbal experiences” (xiv).  Today, it can be argued that written language includes the language of visual images.  We have evolved into an information age where our experience with language has become multi-faceted. Fifteen years ago, pictures in books and other texts were considered somewhat juvenile. Today, audiences have come to expect visual content where visual images seem to hold as much authority as written language. Pictures convey emotion and opinion just as text. In many cases, pictures are more compelling than words.

dont forget about text to go with visuals

Visual content shows rather than tells viewers your message. Captivating photos make blog posts more engaging. Visual content is essential to recipes and DIYs to show step-by-step instructions. Infographics break complex trends into digestible information. Keep in mind that while visual content is easy to understand and engage with, it is a time-consuming task to create and maintain a visual edge. An infographic that may take readers 2 minutes to process involves hours of behind-the-scene research and design to present that useful information. However, the effort in creating visual content is worth the work.  Consider the following statistics about visual images in content:

  • Videos on landing pages increase page conversion rates by 90%

  • Posts with visuals receive 94% more page visits and engagement than those without

  • 60% of consumers are more likely to click on a business whose images appear in search results


The Interactive PURRiodic Table of Internet Cats

Earlier this week, we launched our latest ‘CATSterpiece’: The PURRiodic Table of Internet Cats. The PURRiodic Table is an amazing interactive graphic that serves as a reference point for the internet’s amazing cats.  Within these pages of the interweb, you can find everything you could ever want to know about your favorite feline, all wrapped-up in a baseball card style view (see image of Grumpy Cat below).

Follow Matt’s board Internet Famous Cats from the PURRiodic Table on Pinterest.

We have to give a h/t to Friskies® for their  Friskies 50®, which was a catalyst for the The interactive PURRiodic Table allows users to click on an image of any of 50 felines to learn their stories and view their social-media-star stats.  One of our favorite discoveries in putting the PURRiodic Table together was learning that more than half of these cats are rescue cats, which emphasizes the importance of animal adoptions.

The relationship between internet-famous cats and Avalaunch Media started a couple of years ago with the HUGE success of Social MeOWdia Explained.  We love creating amazing visual content (and cats and amazing visual content) go hand in hand.  Of course, if you are interested in creating a top-notch infographic or interactive graphic, just fill out this form!

Feel free to check out the entire interactive graphic by clicking the graphic below:

PURRiodic Table of Internet Cats
Avalaunch Media presents to you, “The PURRiodic Table of Internet Cats”


Social Media WIN (for a change)

In a world of Social Media fails it’s refreshing and worthwhile to point out a win. People are quick to point out when a company does something wrong, why don’t we point out when they do something right instead?! AMIRIGHT?

Here’s the story:

Here at Avalaunch Media we use the retargeting platform Adroll for our PPC Lead Generation. We like it. We really do. In fact, they rock and roll!

I mentioned them in a tweet last week when talking to my #PPCChat amigos:

They responded back later that day with a fun tweet that had some personality. A real person was actually talking to me like a real person!

A play on words! Hah. I saw what they did there… ‘Roll with you! That’s like, their name but ‘Roll as a verb instead of a noun! I snickered and up’d the ante:

Get it? It’s like that song that is actually this, but I usually think of this instead (and Weird Al nearly describes me to a T, minus first in my class at MIT). I thought Adroll might not get the reference, as they are from SF and probably not as gangsta as us in Utah, but they did! They fired one right back and WON:

Simply awesome to see a real company, with real personality, with a real good product, winning on social media. Seen any good examples of Social Media Wins lately? Share away! Rock on Adroll. UPDATE: Adroll responded back… and I’m not surprised!

5 Valentine’s Day Social Media Campaigns We Love

Valentine’s Day is this week and brands are showing the love already. It’s time for romantic stories to make the front page of Reddit and HARO pitches about relationships. As a social media marketer I’m on the hunt for the perfect Valentine’s Day social media campaign, here are a few favorites.

1. Evian #iloveyoulike
I’m a sucker for social media campaigns that tell stories and are visual. This does both.  Evian is running a Social Media campaign for Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. They ask you to complete this sentence, “I love you like…”.

Tweet ‪#‎ILoveYouLike‬ to @evianLoveBot and they’ll respond with a Valentine’s message, like the one below, to share with your sweetheart (until February 16th). Except when we tried it we learned @evianLoveBot got suspended, so just use the hashtag and cross your fingers!

To make it fun there will also be fun prizes.

2. #rejectedcandyhearts on Twitter

This one isn’t backed by a brand but is still an example of stellar storytelling. Anyone can create a picture of a candy heart with their own offbeat wish and share it with the hashtag. What’s great about this one is that it’s become a tradition. Brands put a lot of work into campaigns, why not make one like that can be recycled?

@KngHnryVIII  made a special #rejectedcandyhearts for each of his six wives and this one…


3. DegreeSearch’s Nerdy Valentines

For two years in a row, DegreeSearch created their own nerdy Valentines. They are so well done they could literally be printed off and handed out.  last year we created 3 posts of Nerdy Valentines. I reached out to Joseph LeBaron to get more details. “We decided to break the posts up into series of 5 images. The first one was received so well immediately that we kept it going.”

Notice the number of pins, there was definitely love from Pinterest. This makes sense also because women are more likely to talk about Valentine’s Day and according to data from Pew research, women love social media more than men, and it’s especially noticeable on Pinterest.

Here are the numbers:

Likes – 94
Tweet – 24
Pin It – 41K
G+ – 26
Traffic: 12,291 visitors (a small part of that is a resurgence this year)
Likes – 47
Tweet – 16
Pin it – 1K
G+ – 13
Traffic: 2,271
Likes – 41
Tweets – 5
Pin it – 2K
G+ 11
Traffic: 2,179
They also did a roundup of other people’s valentines which brought more traffic and shares (though significantly less than the originals).

4. Milk-Bone #sayitwithmilkbone Blogger Campaign

Milk-Bone chose 10 bloggers who love animals to make Valentine’s Day crafts using the dog treats and display the project on their blog. In addition the bloggers helped spread the word about contests. There was a Twitter party too. Specially marked boxes of Milk-Bone biscuits have a special red dog bone that says “LOVE” on it and a code. You enter the code on a landing page and if you’re lucky you could win a year’s supply of Milk-Bone biscuits plus some cash.

5. Nutrimill Bosch for the love of whole grain Facebook giveaway

This one could be adapted to love for just about any brand. It’s fairly simple and runs for a week even though there is just one big prize. Each day there’s a new finalist and one of them wins a NutriMill Grain Mill on Valentine’s Day. To enter, they ask a lot. You have to LIKE their page, comment on the posts about the contest, like the post, and SHARE the post. It’s working at driving engagement though, with an average of over 64,000 people reached per day.

 They feature the day’s finalist on an image about the contest, which personalizes the contest and gives them another chance to remind people to enter.

This is our favorite Valentine from @jessmisemer – it’s the perfect compliment for any marketer or PR pro:


Your turn! Any fun Valentine’s Day social media campaigns caught your eye this year? Please share!


Using Facebook Lookalike Audience Targeting To Increase Ad Reach

For months you’ve been running Facebook ads and may be feeling like you’ve exhausted every targeting option Facebook crosshair-symbol-34616813130offers. You have used the various targeting options by uploading custom audience lists, inserting precise interests, selecting broad categories and targeting fans or friends of friends through advanced connection targeting. Even after all of these targeting options you are looking for different ways to boost volume. Is this the case? Well here is a helpful solution.

Facebook has made it easy to take your custom audience (emails, UIDs or phone numbers) and generate custom lists to expand your reach so you can have a new and focused volume of people to target. Working for a PPC lead generation company it has been important to explore all of Facebook’s targeting options. Facebook’s solution for more volume is creating a Facebook Lookalike Audience Targeting list. Facebook takes your existing custom audience list(s) and generates a similar list of new people with similar attributes, interests, characteristics and more.

How to Create a Lookalike Audience:

 1. Creating a Lookalike audience is fast and easy. All you have to do is go into your Facebook “Power Editor” and select the “Audiences” tab.

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 10.33.36 AM

2. To create a Lookalike audience you need to have already uploaded an email list, customer phone numbers, UIDs, or mobile advertiser IDs from your business contacts. These need to be uploaded in a spreadsheet and in .csv or .txt format.

3. Once you have an audience created, select the “Audiences” tab and select the list you want to create the lookalike audience list from. Click the list and go to “Create Similar Audience”.

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 10.38.14 AM

 4. Next you will have the option to create a list optimized for “Similarity” or “Greater Reach”. You will have the option to select what country you want Facebook to generate the list in. Optimizing for “Similarity” will give you a more specific list related to your original custom audience (email list). These people will match your customer profile better. Optimizing for “Greater Reach” will generate a more broad customer profile and this list will be less specific compared to “Similarity”.

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 10.45.16 AM

5. After you select which type of list to optimize for you can expect a time frame of up to 24 hours for the new list to populate. When the list is created successfully it will show up in the “Audiences” tab along with your other lists. Remember you can create several lookalike campaigns and create two lists both “Similar” and “Greater Reach” to expand your marketing campaigns.

Note: Lists may overlap so be sure to exclude one from the other when creating campaigns.

Creating new ads using your lookalike list is easy. Create your ads as usual and when selecting an audience just type in the name of the list you want. Boom, it’s that easy. When selecting a location for your ad just remember what location your list was populated for. For example you don’t want to create a list in the United States but then in your ad target Canada. You can add additional targeting (interests, locations, categories…etc) on top of the lookalike audience list but it may limit the amount of people who see your ad.

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 11.49.08 AM


As I’ve created lookalike audiences I have found it to be a great opportunity to expand volume. I would recommend targeting lookalike audience lists after you’ve tested Facebook’s other targeting options. Lists that are optimized for “Similarity” will be more precise and relevant to your business, I recommend starting with “Similarity” then if needed test the “Greater Reach” option. A reminder is to test these targeting options before going all in on them.

Best of PubCon for PR Pros

This was my first year at PubCon (an internet marketing and social media conference), though several of our team are regular speakers. Matt Siltala is a bit of a PubCon celeb (he’s famous for his beard and seo/social street cred). Here’s the team in Vegas.

Avalaunch Media executive team

I went to most of the PR-related sessions, most of which were exceptional from both a PR and an SEO/social perspective. Here are my best tips from the top sessions for PR pros.

1. Easily buy SEO and do PR without Breaking the Rules.

PR is content: links, likes, pluses, traffic, media, and blogger mentions. Marty Weintraub showed us how he copies the direct link to a Google+ post.  It’s in a dropdown menu:

Google Plus direct link
How to find the direct link to a Google+ post.

Here’s a direct link for a report from our yeti on how to do social media right:

After you have the direct link, tweet about it using the Google+ link. Next promote the tweet for the hashtag #pubcon (Marty notes on this one he links directly to a blog post). He also posts on his personal Facebook page where he has many friends/followers and pays to boost the post so more of them see it. On his brand page he uses the power editor and creates many versions of the ad to show in the newsfeed. He targets his trade/industry people, in this case to places like Search Engine Journal, Pubcon and SMX. He creates another version of his ad for PR – places like Mashable, producers, show hosts, and local ad agencies. In addition, you can buy LinkedIn ads, Bing ads, and even run Google AdWords to the post.

While there may not be a direct correlation between Google+ interactions, there is a correlation. If you share and someone engages, then their connections see your content. Then your content rises when that person and their friends do related Google searches.

2. Press Outreach Secrets

Rob Woods along with moderator Warren Whitlock talked about creating press and Rob introduced me to a few new PR tools that I can’t wait to try.

  • Do a keyword search in Google News to find who is writing on the topic you want to cover. In Google News there is a link next to the author’s name and that takes you to their Google+ page. Some people put their email address on their “About” page or there is an icon to email them directly without knowing their email address (some have this disabled). If that fails you can tag them. Scraperr will scrape the top 500 results from any search term. From there you can pay someone on oDesk or Mechanical Turk to find contact info for the articles written that fit what you’re trying to pitch. Or you can do research to find contact information yourself.


  • Subscribe to Muckrack to build a list of journalists on Twitter related to your topic.
  • Search Followerwonk profiles for journalists from publications or blogs you want to do outreach to. For example you could search “tech reporter” or “sports reporter” or even search the URL field for the publication itself, such as “,, etc. You can export the results to a csv file. You can even download a file of only your followers and see if there are people from blogs or news organizations who follow you that you could reach out to.
  • Search to find the newspapers and TV stations for every city, state and many countries in the world. Or find the 15 most popular news websites here.
  • Check out Pitchbox to do research and keep track of your outreach efforts and results.

 3. Pinterest Marketing – How to Leverage the Fastest Growing Social Network

You know you truly love a subject when you’ve studied it for hours and still want to learn all you can about it. That’s how I am about Pinterest marketing. John Rampton shared a simple Pinterest marketing plan.

  • Spend 30 mins. on to see what is trending and to get ideas for your business niche. Breaking news, seasonal or pins for the holidays do well.
  • Go to the “popular” category on Pinterest and comment on the top 30 or so pins in your niche. I’d add that you could repin or like their pins.
  • Use auto-follow tool ninjapinner to auto follow back people who follow you.
  • Plan out your pins with ideas you had.
  • Use Viral Tag to schedule out your pins.

Vince Blackham shared some great case studies of pins that killed it on Pinterest. Check out his slides here. In the Q&A Vince gave advice to a vacation rental company that applies to other businesses too:  “don’t promote yourself, promote the experiences”. So for this company based in Park City, Utah, I picture boards with the best places to eat, the festivals, the farmer’s markets, the events, places to stay (with their properties), skiing, and outdoor activities in Park City, Utah.

For additional Pinterest marketing tips see my slides from Bend WebCAM: 10 Tips for Marketing on Pinterest.

Not only were these sessions incredibly helpful for those of us in public relations or blogger outreach, it was also a pleasure to reconnect with or meet the presenters. Thank you to all who shared their expertise at PubCon. I was inspired to fine tune my pitching and introduced to new ideas and tools to use.

If you were at PubCon, did I miss any great PR insights? Please let me know in the comments.

Cats Can Teach Us Everything There Is To Know About Social Media


Matt Siltala Speaking at Local UI had an awesome opportunity to speak at the Local U workshop hosted by SMX Advanced in Seattle this year.  My presentation was infested with cute little Cats and Kittens, but it was also full of social media marketing info.  The presentation was geared towards those who are still trying to figure out how, where, and why to fit in “social” to their overall marketing plan.  

The presentation went hot on SlideShare as the featured presentation of the day, so apparently some people enjoyed it!  I wanted to make sure and share the deck here on our blog, along with access to a couple of free ebooks (we released during the show) authored to teach business owners a little more about social media marketing (click on the link for your free copies).  So, I hope this info helps and that you all enjoy the pawesome content!


Growing Your Brand With Pinterest – My SearchFest 2013 Presentation

First of all, SearchFest 2013 was an amazing event.  If you have never been to one, (this was my first) I HIGHLY recommend going.  The venue was fantastic and the content was even better.  I have never been to Portland before, and it what a great town it was!  I even got to try some famous (or infamous) Voodoo Doughnuts!  Props to David Mihm for having me there.  I hope to go back again and again, if they’ll have me!

Anyway, I wanted to share the slide deck from the event here, where I talked about “Growing Your Brand With Pinterest”.  I also wanted to share a few pictures from the event (below) sorry just low quality iPhone ones … didn’t feel like hauling the big DSLR with me this time.  The presentation has already got amazing response on Slideshade so I hope you enjoy it too!  I really did my best to share some actionable information that can help any business do better with Pinterest marketing.

Other presentations I enjoyed (by the way there were a TON of good ones, I just especially enjoyed these):



Search Fest 2013 SearchFest2013_b SearchFest2013_c SearchFest2013_d SearchFest2013_f SearchFest2013_h SearchFest2013 SearchFest2013_gSearchFest2013_e

Always nice to be checking out a presentation and your company gets a “shout out” Great job again to Luke for putting together that reference for everyone.