Top 10 Modern Marketing Blog Posts of 2016

As we approach the end of the year it is always instructive to review the top performing blog posts of the past twelve months. As Modern Marketers we need to know what types of posts resonate with our readers. This understanding of our audience helps us plan for the coming year. When things work, you want to do more of them. When they don’t, you stop.

The following are the top performing posts from 2016, that were published this year:

Demandbase Launches ABM Solution for Oracle Eloqua Marketing Automation

This product announcement was the top performing post for the year. As we focus most of the content on the blog at the top of the funnel, without a heavy dose of product information, it is instructive to analyze why this post out-performed all others. In a word, or an abbreviation, ABM. The announcement that you could finally do account-based marketing within Eloqua was a really big deal for our audience. This post resonated so much with our audience that we added an ABM category to blog, where we regularly publish stories on the topic. It was a big thing for Modern Marketers in 2016 and it was a big thing for us.

Announcing the 10th Anniversary Markie Award Finalists

Markie Award Winners Show How Modern Marketing is Done

Everyone loves the Markies, and the coverage of the 10th Anniversary of these coveted awards earned two of the top spots in our top ten posts. Both the announcements of the finalists and the winners showed that readers are interested in companies that are executing marketing strategies better than others. These are also posts that appeal to both customers and prospects.

5 Strategic Business Lessons From Game Of Thrones

Pop culture references drive traffic, but they really drive traffic when the posts provide real insights into the topic. This was masterfully demonstrated by one of our strategic consultants. Plus it has a picture of a dragon.

5 Reasons I’m Unsubscribing From Your Emails

Gmail, TLS Encryption and Why Email Marketers Need to Know About It

These two posts are how-to posts for email marketers, both written by internal subject matter experts. The mission of our blog is to help Modern Marketers do their jobs better. These posts show that our readers respond to our mission.

5 Simple Marketing Automation Tips to Improve Conversion

Another how-to post that provides some practical advice from a marketing automation professional.

5 Ways Video will Transform Digital Marketing in 2016

2015: The Modern Marketing Year in Review

Our readers like to know what’s coming and where we have been. The first post is from the CMO of one of our partners who stressed the importance of video in the coming year. The second post was part of our look back/look ahead series of content. This was part of an award-winning content campaign with lots of campaign elements driving traffic back to this blog post, among others.

New Gartner Report: Build Your Digital Marketing Hub

And finally, we make sure we share the latest industry analyst reports on our blog to help our prospects learn more about they types of products that they are considering and to help our customers be confident that they have made the right choices in their martech solutions.

Make sure that you don’t miss any of the top posts of 2017 by subscribing to our weekly blog newsletter


The U.S. government wants to see Twitter and Facebook accounts of foreign travelers


The United States government has started asking a select number of foreign travelers about their social media accounts.

The news came on Thursday via Politico and was confirmed to Mashable by a spokesperson for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) after the new procedure reportedly began earlier in the week. 

The process dovetails with what has been expected for months and has been slammed by privacy advocates.

Here’s what we know about the basics of the program. 

Whose information is the agency collecting?

CBP is asking for social media info from anyone traveling to the U.S. through the Visa Waiver Program, which means they’d be able to travel about the country for 90 days of business or pleasure without a visa. Read more…

More about Facebook, Twitter, Department Of Homeland Security, Dhs, and Customs And Border Protection

23 Creative Advertising Ideas That Actually Work

True life: I never had cable TV until 2015. The only time I watched TV shows was on Netflix, Hulu, or basic channels; having cable was a whole new world. When we did get cable, after the installation men explained in detail how to use the remote, I watched commercials for HOURS. Because that’s all that is on cable now, right? Almost all the commercials were funny, inspiring, or advertising a car-those are usually in a class of their own.  

Per a 2014 report from SJ Insights, people are exposed to an average of 5,000 advertisements and brands per day. Of that number, only an average of 153 advertisements are noted, and we only engage with about 12 ads. The competition for attention is fierce and your ads need to stand out from the crowd to get noticed.

Keeping that in mind during this frantic holiday shopping season, I compiled a list of creative advertising ideas with examples to make your brand stand out!

Creative Advertising ideas

1. Capitalize on Ego with a Sponsored Quiz

Someone told me once that the trick to getting people to like you is to simply get them to talk about themselves. They’ll walk away from the conversation knowing very little about you, but feeling great about themselves. That’s exactly what sponsored Buzzfeed Quizzes do! Everyone wants to know what type of Skittle or M&M they are, how they’ll die on Game of Thrones, if they’re a host or guest in Westworld.

Buzzfeed Quiz

2. Sponsor City Maps

This advertising idea seems to be most beneficial to tour bus companies and chain Italian restaurants (I have no idea why). While I was backpacking, I relied on these handy freebies that were largely available at train stations or-again, not sure why-Italian restaurants.

I carried these suckers everywhere. The maps are usually marked with the big tourist attractions and business locations. If you got the map from a bus company, all the bus stops would be marked. I inevitably ended up going back to the restaurant or finding my way to a bus stop when I got lost and using it to find my way other places.

creative advertising for tourists

3. Create Coupon Books

When I was growing up, we sold cookie dough, girl scout cookies, wrapping paper, and coupon books. Now, you can find coupons everywhere-online promo codes, Groupon, the newspaper, print ads on the subway. But coupon books are still alive and well. They seem to benefit tourists the most, with discounts on museums admissions and popular attractions, but what better way to get new customers than to put coupons in a city discovery guide?

4. Use the Environment to Your Advantage

These creative environmental ads are SO COOL. Not only are they better than boring billboards, they make an ordinary space into something funny or interesting for advertising purposes. I personally feel like these creative ads came straight from the brain of a five-year-old.

Advertising Ideas

Advertising on Boats

5. Don’t Be Afraid of Innuendo

As always, sex sells. It makes people look twice and pounds the image into their brain. Aziz Ansari has a comedy bit that talks about Equinox ads-like the one below-and how they rarely feature people working out or a gym. Instead, Equinox showcases models in exceptionally good shape in compromising positions. What does that have to do with their brand or product? Almost nothing. But I can attest that I will never forget seeing the below ad blown up on the side of a building on 53nd and Madison!

Equinox Ad Ideas

6. Reference Pop-Culture

Of course, an advertisement featuring Kim Kardashian should lead into pop-culture references. Depending on your audience, you could make a sly reference to Marilyn (a la Snickers), a popular movie, or blatantly make fun of a famous star’s dance moves. Ah

Creative Hulk Band-Aid Ad

Dog Selfie

7. Be Funny

Good and creative ads have a foundation in common knowledge or shared humor. It’s like creating an inside joke with your prospective customers!

Rowenta Vacuum Advert

Wind Creative Funny Advert

8. Be Pun-ny

Everyone loves a good dad joke, but these puns can be a clever and creative play on words-or use the graphics to tell the joke for you.

Economist Pun Advert


9. Show Cute Animals

If sex sells, so do adorable creatures. Just look at Budweiser! I hate the beer and I went on a tour of the brewery just to see the Clydesdales (unfortunately, the puppies weren’t around). The creative advertisement below with the kitten slays.

Bad Dog Creative Advert

Kitten Advertisement

10. Work Outside the Box

It’s a nice surprise to find billboards that aren’t just a boring rectangle off the highway. Probably the most widely known is from Chik-fil-a, with cows graffitiing “Eat Mor Chikin” on a white billboard. There are plenty of ways to make your ads 3-D like Law & Order did below.

Law and Order Billboard

11. Give Away Swag

The Office told me that “Swag” stands for Stuff We All Get (thanks, Michael!), but just because we all get it doesn’t make it any less cool. I’m a huge supporter of giving out free water bottles-saving the planet from plastic with a nice logo, sold-and here at WordStream we also like to hand out bottle openers, pens, t-shirts, cozies, sweatbands.  

Give away swag to advertise

12. Let Others Advertise for You

This one is easy. In fact, it’s as easy as getting a snapchat filter or printing a giant Instagram frame to allow people to take selfies with your brand. It could be anything that people would want to take a picture of or with, like an art installment.

Snapchat as an advertising platform

13. Create an Instagram grid

Instagram grids are all about seeing the bigger picture. Musicians tend to do this with album covers or brands will do it to announce pop-up shops. The trick is to make each individual picture attractive as well as the conglomerate. Reynolds Kitchens does this so well by show individual dishes that make up a giant banquet table!

Instagram Grid Advertisement

14. Check out Street Art

This might be my favorite type of creative advertising. Often referred to as “guerrilla advertising”, street art can be anything from stickers to chalk art to graffiti. I like that street art makes you stop in your tracks, and could present another opportunity to have others advertise for you through Instagram!

Graffiti as an Advertisement

Street Art Creative Advertising

15. Invest in Creative Business Cards

Though you wouldn’t normally look at business cards as an advertisement for your business, you should! There are tons of creative ideas for business cards depending on what your profession is. I personally like the tiny cheese grater-something useful for picnics and an advertisement!

Cheese Grater Ad

 Lipstick Stamp

Stamp Business Card as an Ad

16. Try a Jingle

As annoying as jingles are when they’re stuck in your head, coming up with a smart, catchy jingle is a great way to get creative with your advertisements.

17. Show Your Artistic Side

There is something awesome about seeing ads that are so creative, you want to take a picture and make it the wallpaper on your phone. This Scrabble ad is just that, while illustrating the weight of “goldfish” vs “shark” in the game.

Scrabble Advertisement

18. Go Retro

A creative way to reminisce about bad nighttime television: remake a commercial selling your product a la 1999.

19. Inspire through Video

Inspirational commercials are a tried-and-true way to have people engage and share. An easy way to do this is to sponsor a charitable organization or a drive.

20. Try Misdirection

The ad below creativity grabs your attention with a girl in a bikini, but is about illiteracy. Attractive graphics can make any kind of boring brand or topic easy to advertise. Selvera does it well through display ads!

Illiteracy Advertisement

21. Go Live on Facebook (or Periscope)

Facebook Live and Periscope are becoming more popular, probably because the platforms are being aggressive about teaching users how to broadcast live and alerting their connections when someone is live. Larry loves periscope! It’s a great way to show company culture and broadcast events.

larry Advertising through periscope

22. Create an Instagram Journey

I saw this for the first time from Mercedes and it’s awesome. Someone had to work tirelessly to create this Instagram customization journey, creating all kinds of accounts that are tagged together-lots of manual labor-but the result feels personalized and interactive.


23. Go Big or Go Home

We’ve all seen (or even participated in) a social media challenge, like the Ice Bucket challenge for ALS awareness, the trendy mannequin challenge or running man challenge. Use the power of the internet for good! The number one rule of social media is to engage with your audience, and a creative way to advertise your brand is to get your coworkers together to do a silly challenge.


Snoop Dogg’s 2016 recap is a thing of beauty


2016, on the whole, can do one. Whether it was the death of Bowie or the birth of Brexit, the slow motion car crash of the presidential election and the subsequent Trumpocalypse or the hacks, attacks and outages that peppered the year, it was a pretty dismal twelve months.

Praise be, then, for Snoop Dogg, who’s been honing his social media skills for some time but really provided the commentary we all needed this year. From the Olympics to Pokémon via Ken Bone, he had something to say about everything the year had to throw at us.  Read more…

More about Year In Review, Social Media, Snoop Dogg, and Humor

The enduring cultural power of 2016’s #IndigenousDads hashtag


Despite its critics, social activism was stronger than ever on Twitter in 2016. 

In Australia, hashtags like #blacklivesmatter, #letthemstay and #loveislove dominated according to Twitter’s own statistics, but the country’s #IndigenousDads movement also had lasting power.

On Aug. 6, people began sharing images of their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fathers and grandfathers after a “racist” cartoon was published in The Australian newspaper, sending the grassroots hashtag trending. 

Drawn by Bill Leak, the cartoon came on the back of an ABC news program that exposed the horrific mistreatment of young people in the largely Indigenous juvenile detention centre, Don Dale, in Darwin. Read more…

More about Indigenous, Aboriginal Australia, Indigenousdads, Twitter, and Don Dale

This humanitarian tells us how to stay real when you’re Instagram famous


Turia Pitt is hilarious. She loves a laugh. And when she speaks, people listen.   

And it’s not just because in 2011, she made headlines for miraculously surviving a Western Australian bushfire, leaving her in a coma with burns to almost 70 percent of her body. It’s not just because she’s now an unparalleled motivational speaker whose resilience has inspired people ever since her accident. 

It’s because she’s so damn real.   

Like most 29-year-olds, the mining engineer, humanitarian and athlete loves social media. But rather than comparing herself to other people or falling prey to Instagram fatigue, the Tahitian-born Aussie manages to strike the perfect balance – motivating people online while not being glued to her phone either.    Read more…

More about Mystory, Interplast, Instagram, Australia, and Turia Pitt

Facebook chose to fight fake news with AI, not just user reports

human-algorithm-news-scan Facebook built two versions of a fix for clickbait this year, and decided to trust algorithmic machine learning detection instead of only user behavior, a Facebook spokesperson tells TechCrunch.
Today Facebook was hit with more allegations its distribution of fake news helped elect Donald Trump. A new Gizmodo report saying Facebook shelved a planned update earlier this year that could have… Read More