12 Days of Linkmas Post Mortem

After every campaign it is important to get an understanding of what worked and what did not in order to improve for the next campaign. Typically as an agency this comes in the form of a post mortem report. While the Linkmas campaign is now entering into the next phase of evergreen status I just…

After every campaign it is important to get an understanding of what worked and what did not in order to improve for the next campaign. Typically as an agency this comes in the form of a post mortem report. While the Linkmas campaign is now entering into the next phase of evergreen status I just wanted to give some visibility into what the campaign got us.

So let’s jump into it.

Project Name: 12 Days of Linkmas
Department: Marketing
Project Team: Tom Harari, Megan Brown, Robb Dorr, Allison Freeland, Michael King
Project Manager: Michael King
Post Mortem Facilitator: Michael King
Target Completion Date: 12/20/2012
Actual Completion Date: 12/20/2012

Project Overview

Initially with Linkmas I didn’t have too many specific goals. As with most ideas it was literally something that popped into my head as I was walking to the A train on the way to the office during the last of November.

What I wanted to do was capitalize on the upcoming holiday and further prove my point on how strategy is more important than tactics at this stage in the SEO game. Some of the strategies presented were new or at least not widely distributed, but the tactical implementation largely relied on tools many initiated SEOs are already using.

It was also very important to me that we highlight some of the all-stars on both our NYC and PHX teams.

Finally, I continue to tout the idea that we as an industry need to get away from just guest posting and I wanted to present other effective ideas to build links from end to end that can be leveraged.

Obviously, I also wanted to drive traffic, brand awareness, social shares, generate leads, build links and grow the iAcquire twitter as well. We had also recently noticed that the traffic from social media was trending downward so it was also a goal to reverse that trend.

Project Performance

So far the project has been an overall success generating over 700 social shares across all channels, 5.2k page views and 51 links from 16 linking root domains. Here are the current numbers as of last night.

Standout performers:

  • Naturally, Rand Fishkin’s tip generated the most page views, tweets and +1s. We attribute that to his popularity, the quality of his tip and the reach of the people we specifically encouraged to share during the kickoff of this campaign.
  • Ross Hudgens’ tip outperformed all other tippers generating 25 links from 5 linking root domains. Note: I’ve yet to take a deep dive into these links so I don’t know the quality.
  • Rhea Drysdale leads the pack in Facebook engagement with 8 likes, 4 shares and 5 comments. One of which I’m pretty sure I made when I was defending the accidental use of “his” in the thank yous.
  • I generated the most LinkedIn shares and blog comments on the blog post itself. Not sure why I was an outlier on LinkedIn, but comments are largely due to the newness of the tactic.

Social Engagement:

We also had a considerable uptick of followers on Twitter during this campaign, but while follower growth was +3.4% so far for the month (-2.6 from last month) we’ve already generated 962 more visits from Twitter and 56 more mentions than last month. Therefore I’d say the content helped us generate a few more engaged followers.

The number of interactions maintained a higher level of engagement throughout the duration of the campaign with retweets and mentions staying consistently high throughout the month. Replies however maintained.

Key Accomplishments

  • 51 links from 16 Linking Root Domains – Not bad for a pretty easy campaign that didn’t really cost us anything.
  • 5199 PageViews – Obviously, nothing life-altering here but I suspect the content assets produced here will continue to accrue traffic over time.
  • 107% traffic growth from Twitter
  • Reversed the downward trend of social media traffic – As we suspected if we stepped up our content game we would be rewarded with more traffic. Now it’s time to open the floodgates.
  • Coverage on SearchEngineWatch.com – This was awesome because SEW has both a domain authority and a high scrape rate and a post there with “iAcquire” in the title will likely help with reputation management.
  • Connecting with Vsnap – The community manager at Vsnap reached out us as result of my tip thus opening the line of communication if we want to discuss product features. That’s pretty awesome should we want to integrate Vsnap into iRank.

Key Problem Areas

  • No traction on Pinterest – Now I’ll admit I’m not a Pinterest expert in the least, but I assumed that the cards would be a hit for Pinterest which is why we made them individually shareable. Unfortunately, they did not and that is an area of opportunity we can improve upon.
  • No Coverage outside of sites we have relationships with
    It was great that our PR Director was able to land us some coverage on SEW, but we already have a relationship with them as I’ve written for the site before. In the future we need to focus our efforts on building new relationships with sites we don’t already know in efforts to get coverage.
  • No Mailing List follow through – Due to bandwidth limitations, we never prepared the mailing list template and therefore no mailing list emails went out to remind people to come back and check out the latest tips. That was complete bad planning on my part and will be rectified moving forward.
  • Little Traction Beyond Our Own Efforts – A continued issue with launches of iAcquire content aside from things that we have partnered with other brands on is that nothing goes further than social pushes. Moving forward we need to continue to improve the quality of our content, develop our audience in social media, push content at optimal times and put together a multi-channel launch plan that includes both paid and organic channels. As of now we just leverage Outbrain with a minimal spend, but we should also be using StumbleUpon Paid Discovery at the very least.

Risk Management

With any campaign there is always the possibility that someone could be rubbed the wrong way, in this case the risk comes from the fact that so many awesome people contributed tips and not all of them got air time on the blog. The promise from the campaign Linkmas ask included a link back to their sites so that must be fulfilled.

We were already planning to individually thank everyone for the contributions, but we’ve also decided to launch a PDF with all 27 of the tips that were put together so no one gets left out. This serves two purposes, one to mitigate that disappointment and two create an evergreen content asset that will continue to spread.

Overall Project Assessment



Performance against project goals/objectives

1 2 3 4 5 6 X 8 9 10

Performance against planned schedule

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 X 10

Performance against quality goals

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 X 10

Performance against planned budget

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 X

Adherence to scope

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 X

Project planning

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 X 9 10

Resource management

1 2 3 4 5 6 X 8 9 10

Project management

1 2 3 4 5 6 X 8 9 10


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 X


1 2 3 4 5 6 X 8 9 10

Team cooperation

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 X 10

Project deliverable(s)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 X

Key Lessons Learned

As with any campaign it is important to identify the key learnings in order to apply them to future campaigns.

Lessons Learned

  • We need a more extensive launch plan going into 2013

  • I need to plan more in advance

  • I need to allocate the extremely finite resources of the marketing team much better


Finally, I’d to thank you to everyone who participated in the Linkmas campaign. Without you guys it would not have been anywhere near as awesome. Please feel free to reach out to us if you ever need the favor returned! Also look for something interesting in your inbox very shortly. J




Rand Fishkin



Ross Hudgens


Siege Media

Jon Cooper


Point Blank SEO

Ethan Lyon


SEER Interactive

John-Henry Scherck


SEER Interactive

Paddy Moogan



Joe Hall


Internet Marketing Ninjas

Rhea Drysdale


Outspoken Media

Rob Toledo



Adria Saracino



Ben Wills



Dan Shure


Evolving SEO

Jason Acidre


Xight Interactive

Joel Klettke



John Doherty



Julianne Staino



Justin Briggs


Big Fish Games

Napoleon Suarez


TPG Direct

Nick Eubanks


W.L. Snook & Associates

Sean Revell



Simon Penson


Zazzle Media

Stephanie Chang



responses to “12 Days of Linkmas Post Mortem”

  1. Mike, this is awesome. Thanks for the transparency on this!
    Happy Holidays

  2. […] 12 Days of Linkmas Post Mortem, iAcquire Blog […]

  3. […] 12 Days of Linkmas Post Mortem, iAcquire Blog […]

  4. jasonmun says:

    Hi Mike, you are seriously the jack of all trades aren’t you? Thanks for sharing and your transparency on this piece.

  5. JHTScherck says:

    This is what a post mortem should look like. Mike, thanks for asking me to be a part of this and it’s very cool to be able to see the results – there’s data we can all take away from this post and use on future campaigns.

  6. Really great post guys. Keep it up!

  7. […] King did something similar after the 12 days of linkmas campaign they ran. Oh, and by the way, publishing this data creates linkable content, bringing this full […]

  8. Spook SEO says:

    No wonders if it was not recognized in Pinterest. Its a photo sharing site. But facebook is different on it.