This may be of some interest.
In case you missed it, Google has just changed up the rules for link building.
It used to be that when people link to you, the link would either be a dofollow link or a nofollow link.
Well, that’s now changed.
They are now introducing 2 more link types that will affect
Now before we get into the 2 new link types, make sure you read the whole post. Because not only will I explain Google’s requirements, but I will break down what this means for SEOs.
The current landscape
The current SEO landscape is simple… especially when it comes to link building.
The more dofollow (regular links) links you can get the better your search rankings.
If you are unsure of the number of links you have or the type, just go here and enter in your domain.
You’ll see a count of total backlinks along with the total amount of nofollow links pointing to your site.
Now, when you are link building, if you are paying for links or leveraging tactics like guest posting, Google wants you to nofollow those links because they don’t think you should be leveraging tactics like guest posting to manipulate rankings.
And as for buying links, you shouldn’t do that as it is a simple way to get penalized or banned from Google.
So don’t send emails like this if you are trying to build links… it’s a big no, no.
How does Google look
Google’s algorithm is smart. Sure, they ideally want you to nofollow links if they are bought or not naturally earned (such as from guest posts), but many SEOs break the rules.
They aren’t going to say it publicly but they do these things. And because Google isn’t dumb, they also know.
Google can easily
identify when a post on these big news sites aren’t earned because many of them
have signs all over them that Google can detect.
For example, here is
an example of a guest
post from me.
Forbes, of course, uses nofollows links, but it wasn’t always that way.
Google can easily detect it is a guest post through verbiage on the page like “former contributor” or “guest contributor”.
And even if they didn’t label me as a guest contributor, Google can use other signals to figure out that this link shouldn’t be given much weight when it comes to SEO just by reading the URL structure of that article on Forbes.
Let’s take a closer
look at the URL
Do you see the big
issue with the URL?
It’s clear that an author can have their own subsection on Forbes through the “site” folder structure. Now that doesn’t mean all “Forbes sites” are bad, but they clearly know which one is from staff writers because they are clearly marked.
Those signals (among others) that Google probably won’t disclose (nor should they) make it easy for Google to determine if a link is natural or earned.
If Google doesn’t want to count a link from a specific author, they can just ignore it on their end.
So, whether it is nofollowed or followed, on their end they can systematically control whether a link should help your rankings or if it shouldn’t.
As John Mueller from Google once said, in the context of bad links…
If we recognize them, we can just ignore them – no need to have you do anything in most cases.
Now keeping that in
mind, here are the changes Google wants webmasters to make.
Google’s new link
If someone pays you
for a link or you are buying a link, Google now wants you to mark it as sponsored.
Not just in the text of the site, but more so through the link attribute:
And if you build links through user-generated content, they want you to mark the links with the attribute:
The same goes for site owners. For example, if you have a forum on your site because the content is user generated, the links that people place should contain a rel=”ugc”.
You can still use the nofollow attribute or if you want you can use a combination of the above. For example, if you have a paid link you can use:
So, what’s the
purpose of this change?
Well, here is how
Google puts it:
All the link attributes — sponsored, UGC and nofollow — are treated as hints about which links to consider or exclude within Search. We’ll use these hints — along with other signals — as a way to better understand how to appropriately analyze and use links within our systems.
Now if you are wondering what that means, Google is pretty much saying that adding these attributes will give them a better idea on if they should crawl the link or not. Or how they should analyze the link when it comes to indexing or SEO.
This change goes into effect March 1, 2020, and don’t worry because you don’t have to make modifications to your old links. The ones that were nofollow can just be left as nofollow.
And even in the future, if you decide to just use nofollow instead of “sponsored”, you’ll be fine.
What does all of this mean for SEOs?
As I mentioned
earlier, I would provide my own insights and opinions on why Google is doing this.
We all know their algorithm is sophisticated and hard to game. But, just like any other algorithm or computer, it isn’t perfect.
By webmasters and SEOs labeling the type of links they are building and the purpose of them, it will make it easier for Google to learn how we use different link types and it will help their algorithms more quickly and easily identify link types and the context they are used in.
For example, if thousands of people use rel=”ugc” for links generated through guest posts, it may help train Google’s algorithm that these links were actually created by random people instead of the webmaster and they should be discounted.
Of course, Google already can identify wikis, forum, and other types of user-generated content, but this helps them tighten things up and make things more accurate.
They can also decide to take a more relaxed stance on certain link types. For example, maybe they will decide to count UGC links when it comes to link building, but they may decide to only give it 1/3rd the weight of a naturally earned link.
In addition to that, this also provides them with more signals on if the URL linked to should be potentially crawled or ignored.
But in the long run, as their algorithm becomes more accurate, it’s safe to say that the real solution to winning is putting the user first.
Their goal isn’t to rank a site at the top that has “perfect SEO”. They want to rank the site that people love the most.
Hence, you’ll want to focus on creating an amazing user experience, building a great product/service, creating mindblowing content, and anything else your competition isn’t doing.
As for link building though, links will always be hard to come by, so they will be part of their algorithm for the foreseeable future. And as the data shows, there is a strong correlation between links and rankings.
So one thing I would recommend is that you build as many links as possible, even if they are user-generated links. As long as they are from relevant sites, the referral traffic can generate you sales or leads. And if Google starts placing some value on these user-generated links, it can help boost your rankings.
Now that doesn’t mean you should go out to forums and spam your link everywhere. It means you should go find all of the user-generated content sites, provide a ton of value, AND ONLY IF IT MAKES SENSE, add a link back to your site when it benefits the reader.
Over the next year or so you’ll see adjustments in how SEOs build links.
First off you’ll start seeing companies like Ahrefs and the SEMrush show you nofollow, dofollow, UGC, and sponsored backlinks. This one change will help SEOs build better links and spend their effort on the links that actually help with rankings.
Secondly, my hunch is UGC links will eventually carry some weight. Probably not a ton, but more than 0 as long as they are from relevant sites, the link is within context and it provides value to the end-user.
And lastly, most webmasters probably won’t use sponsored or UGC attributes anytime soon. It will probably take another year before they really catch on, which means for now you will just have to focus your efforts on dofollow links.
So, what do you
think about the new change?
Thank you for reading.
This may be of some interest.
More likely than not, you see influencer posts on your Instagram feed daily. In many ways, they become part of your life — influencing everything from exercise classes you take, to clothes you buy.
It’s undeniable that influencer marketing is powerful. In fact, over the past five years the tactic has quickly grown into a multi-billion dollar industry.
Plenty of businesses, both large and small, use influencers across their social platforms to reach new audiences, build brand awareness, and increase sales. Examples of successful influencer marketing strategies range from Stride Gum’s partnership with DJ Khaled to Glossier’s partnership with micro-influencers and “regular women”.
And, as influencer marketing grows, it’s no longer just limited to humans — as we’ve seen with Jiff Pom, a Pomeranian with over nine million Instagram followers.
But if any human (or pet) can become an influencer, it begs the question — do influencers even need to exist in real life?
In 2019, computer-generated influencers like Miquela Sousa might argue, “No.”
For instance, let’s take a look at this post by Miquela Sousa (@lilmiquela), an influencer with 1.6 million followers:
By all accounts, the post looks real. Miquela, a 19-year-old Brazilian American model, influencer, and singer, is posting a #sponsored post for Calvin Klein and posing with fellow model Bella Hadid.
But Miquela is a computer-generated character, introduced by Los Angeles company Brud in 2016. Each month, almost 260,000 people listen to her music on Spotify. Miquela works with major brands ranging from Prada to Samsung, and she’s even given interviews at Coachella.
All of which raises the question — why should companies pay real human influencers to promote their products, when they can create their own personal influencer from scratch?
Lil Miquela, a Chinese News Anchor, and Colonel Sanders — Are Virtual Influencers The Future of Marketing?
Before we consider the pros and cons of virtual influencers, let’s explore some examples.
First, as previously mentioned, there’s Lil Miquela. When you scan through her Instagram posts, you quickly realize her captions make her sound like a regular teenager.
In fact, in the following post, she even sounds like she has real emotions, writing, “[One of angel boi’s friends] blew up at me at lunch and stormed out as I ugly cried in front of about 50 strangers … and now he won’t respond to any of my texts”:
While her caption is fake, her followers’ comments are real — many of Lil Miquela’s followers respond with empathy or shared experiences, comments like “This same thing happened to me once, you’ll get through it”.
And then, there are Miquela’s “friends” — Bermuda (@bermudaisbae), with 170K followers and a bio that reads “Robot/Unbothered mogul with daddy’s PIN and a flawless highlight”, and Blawko (@blawko22) a self-described “Young Robot Sex Symbol” with 141K followers.
As Miquela writes on the following post: “Me and my mains! Always getting me through the roughest, there for all the highs, ride or dies … ILU guys!”
While these three are the only robots currently engineered by Brud, there are other “virtual humans” out there.
For instance, Xinhua News, a Chinese media outlet, unveiled an AI news presenter in 2018 who can work 24-hours a day without breaks, reducing news production costs. As the artificial news presenter stated in his introductory video, “I’ll work tirelessly to keep you informed as texts will be typed into my system uninterrupted.”
In another example, Balmain, a fashion label, commissioned photographer Cameron-James Wilson to create a diverse “virtual army” of models for Olivier Rousteing’s 2018 collection:
In a statement on the campaign, Balmain writes: “Anyone and everyone is always welcome to join Balmain Army’s growing ranks — they need only share our bold spirit of adventure as our new virtual icons, Margot, Shudu and Zhi who mirror the beauty, the rock style and the confident power.”
Of course, the campaign was met with mixed reviews — one follower wrote, “This is disgusting! I do not understand why they think these models are attractive”, and another commented, “As if Photoshop wasn’t enough, what’s wrong with this world?! #realpeople #realmodels please”.
And, last but certainly not least, there’s KFC’s Colonel Sanders, mocking the very trend of virtual influencers while taking part in it:
All of which is to say — are virtual influencers untrustworthy, or the future of marketing?
What Virtual Influencers Can Offer — and What’s Missing
There are some undeniable benefits to creating or hiring a virtual influencer.
For one, a virtual influencer isn’t human, meaning he or she won’t need breaks. Xinhua News, mentioned above, clearly saw the benefits of this — by using a virtual news anchor to cover breaking news 24-7, they lowered the cost of hiring real people to cover news throughout the night.
If you’re trying to work around-the-clock publishing and promoting content to raise brand awareness, then, it makes sense you’d consider using a virtual influencer, who can post and promote content without sacrificing human needs like … well, sleep.
Additionally, your virtual influencer isn’t as much of a PR liability as a real influencer is. For instance, Debra Davis, founder of NKLS — a company that researches, advises on, and invests in virtual and augmented reality — told WWD, “With a virtual influencer, so much more thought has to be put into the message. It’s not just someone with a Twitter stream. It’s more carefully constructed and thought through, and therefore can be controlled.”
Real influencers and celebrities make mistakes that could influence the public’s perception of your brand. With a virtual influencer, you don’t risk associating your brand with any negative press.
Additionally, it might cost less to hire a virtual influencer compared to a celebrity or supermodel.
However, if your brand is considering hiring micro-influencers, you’ll more likely find a real micro-influencer for cheaper.
It’s also worth noting that much of what we see on Instagram is edited, filtered, and posed — so, really, is a real person’s highly filtered version of “real life” much different from virtual reality, anyway?
Lastly, a virtual influencer is incredibly rare and unusual, so it draws immediate attention to your brand. If your brand is trying to reach Gen-Z or a younger audience, a virtual influencer might be something that appeals to your intended demographic.
On the flip side, there’s still something uniquely powerful and engaging about real influencers connecting with their audience through social platforms. Virtual influencers like Lil Miquela can pretend they have human emotions, but that can just as easily backfire if her audience doesn’t trust the emotion behind it.
Ultimately, influencer marketing is about engaging in authentic, meaningful connections. How is an audience ever supposed to trust a promoted post when there isn’t a real human advocating for it?
Additionally, influencer marketing is often most successful when it’s seen as real and genuine. For instance, direct-to-consumer beauty brand Glossier has become insanely successful due, in large part, to its authentic marketing strategy.
As Emily Weiss, founder and CEO, said during a live interview with Kara Swisher for the Recode Decode podcast, “At Glossier, something we’ve always stayed very true to, since pre-launch, day one, is that every single person is an influencer.”
You’ll notice Glossier adheres to this strategy on its Instagram page, which exhibits real women using Glossier products:
At the end of the day, there’s something to be said for brands that find real people to promote their products or services to other real people. Sure, there’s risk involved — but that risk is the same component that enables audiences to trust, listen to, and connect with those influencers in the first place.
Thank you for reading.
This may be of some interest.
Earlier this year, Salesforce made waves by announcing a policy that compelled retailers to either stop selling military-style rifles and certain accessories, or stop using its popular e-commerce software.
For a massive brand like this to take such an emphatic stand on a divisive social issue would’ve been unthinkable not so long ago. But in today’s world at large, and consequently in the business and marketing environments, it’s becoming more common. This owes to a variety of factors, ranging from generational changes among consumers to a growing need to differentiate.
But, like so many other trends and strategies we see emerging in digital marketing, I think it mostly comes back to one overarching thing: the trust factor.
In this installment of our Trust Factors series, we’ll explore why and how brands and corporations can take a stand on important issues, building trust and rapport with customers and potential buyers in the process.
The Business Case for Bold Stances
Executives from Salesforce might suggest that it made such a bold and provocative move simply because they felt it was the right thing to do. (CEO Marc Benioff, for instance, has been outspoken about gun control and specifically his opposition to the AR-15 rifle.) But of course, one of the 10 largest software companies in the world isn’t making these kinds of decisions without a considerable business case behind them.
Like many other modern companies, Salesforce is taking the lead in a movement that feels inevitable. As millennials come to account for an increasingly large portion of the customer population, corporate social responsibility weighs more and more heavily on marketing strategies everywhere.
A few data points to think about:
- Research last year by FleishmanHillard found that 61% of survey respondents believe it’s important for companies to express their views, whether or not the person agrees with them.
- Per the same study, 66% say they have stopped using the products and services of a company because the company’s response to an issue does not support their personal view.
- The latest global Earned Brand Report from Edelman found that 64% of people are now “belief-driven buyers,” meaning they will choose, switch, avoid or boycott a brand based on its stand on societal issues.
- MWWPR categorizes 35% of the adult population in the U.S. as “corpsumers,” up by two percentage points from the prior year. The term describes “a brand activist who considers a company’s values, actions and reputation to be just as important as their product or service.”
- Corpsumers say they’re 90% more likely to patronize companies that take a stand on social and public policy matters, and 80% say they’ll even pay more for products from such brands.
What Does It Mean to Take a Stand as a Brand?
Admittedly, the phrase is somewhat ambiguous. So let’s clear something up right now: taking a stand doesn’t necessarily mean your company needs to speak out on touchy political issues.
When Dave Gerhart, Vice President of Marketing for Drift, gave a talk at B2BSMX last month outlining his 10 commandments for modern marketing, taking a stand was among the directives he implored. Gerhart pointed to Salesforce’s gun gambit as one precedent, but also called out a less controversial example: his own company’s crusade against the lead form.
I think this serves as a great case in point. Lead forms aren’t a hot-button societal issue that’s going to rile people up, necessarily, but they’ve been a subject of annoyance on the consumer side for years. Drift’s decision to do away with them completely did entail some risk (to back up their stance, they had to commit to not using this proven, mainstream method for generating actionable leads) but made a big impression within their industry. Now, it’s a rallying cry for their brand.
From my view, these are the trust-building ingredients, which both the Salesforce and Drift examples cover:
- It has to matter to your customers
- It has to be relevant to your industry or niche
- It has to entail some sort of risk or chance-taking on behalf of the brand
Weighing that final item is the main sticking point for companies as they contemplate action on this front.
Mitigating the Risks of Taking a Stand
The potential downside of taking a controversial stand is obvious enough: “What if we piss off a bunch of our customers and our bottom line takes a hit?” Repelling certain customers is inherent to any bold stance, but obviously you’ll want the upside (i.e., affinity and loyalty built with current customers, plus positive attention drawing in new customers) to strongly outdistance the downside (i.e., existing or potential customers defecting because they disagree).
Here are some things to think about on this front.
Know Your Audience and Employees
It’s always vital for marketers to have a deep understanding of the people they serve, and in this case it’s especially key. You’ll want to have a comprehensive grasp of the priorities and attitudes of people in your target audience to ensure that a majority will agree with — or at least tolerate — your positioning. Region, age, and other demographic factors can help you reach corollary conclusions.
For example, our clients at Antea Group are adamant about the dangers of climate change. In certain circumstances this could (sadly) be a provocative and alienating message, but Antea Group serves leaders and companies focusing on sustainability, who widely recognize the reality and urgency of climate change.
Not only that, but Antea Group also employs people who align with this vision, so embracing its importance both externally and internally leads to heightened engagement and award-winning culture.
As another example, retailer Patagonia shook things up in late 2017 when it proclaimed on social media “The President Stole Your Land” after the Trump administration moved to reduce a pair of national monuments. In a way, this is potentially off-putting for the sizable chunk of its customer base that supports Trump, but given that Patagonia serves (and employs) an outdoorsy audience, the sentiment resonated and the company is thriving.
Know Your Industry and Competition
On the surface, Salesforce taking a public stand on gun control seems quite audacious. The Washington Post notes that retailers like Camping World, which figured to be affected by the new policy, are major customers for the platform. What if this drives them elsewhere?
However, peer companies like Amazon and Shopify have their own gun restriction policies in place, so the move from Salesforce isn’t as “out there” as one might think. When you see your industry as a whole moving in a certain direction, it’s beneficial to get out front and position yourself as a leader rather than a follower.
Actions Speak Louder
Empty words are destined to backfire. Taking a stand is meaningless if you can’t back it up. Analysts warn that “goodwashing” is the new form of “greenwashing,” a term that refers to companies talking a big game on eco-friendly initiatives but failing to follow up with meaningful actions.
According to MWWPR’s chief strategy officer Careen Winters (via AdWeek): “Companies that attempt to take a stand on issues but don’t really put their money where their mouth is, or what they are doing is not aligned with their track record and core values, will find themselves in a position where the corpsumers don’t believe them. Fifty-nine percent of corpsumers say they are skeptical about a brand’s motives for taking a stand on policy issues.”
Be Transparent and Authentic
One interesting aspect of the aforementioned FleishmanHillard study: 66% of respondents say they’ve stopped using the products and services of a company because the company’s response to an issue did not support their personal views; however another 43% say that if company explains WHY they have taken a position on an issue, the customer is extremely likely to keep supporting them.
In other words, transparency is essential. If you fully explain the “why” behind a particular brand stance, you can score trust-building benefits with both those who do and do not agree.
Where We Stand at TopRank
At TopRank Marketing, we have a few stances that we openly advocate.
One is gender equality; our CEO Lee Odden noticed many “top marketers” lists and editorial collaborations were crowded with men, so he (and we) have made it a point to highlight many of the women leading the way in our industry, both through our content projects and Lee’s annual Women Who Rock Digital Marketing lists (10 years running!).
Another is our commitment to serving a deeper purpose as a business. Of course we want to help our clients reach their business goals, but we also love working with virtuous brands that are improving the communities around them. We strive to also do so ourselves through frequent volunteering, donations to causes, and charitable team outings. These include packing food for the hungry, renovating yards for the homeless, and our upcoming Walk for Alzheimer’s participation.
The Worst Stand You Can Take is Standing Still
Trust in marketing is growing more vital each day. It’s not enough to offer a great product or excellent customer service. Increasingly, customers want to do business with companies they like, trust, and align with. Those brands that sit on the sidelines regarding important issues are coming under greater scrutiny. Meanwhile, those with the guile to take bold but strategically sound stands are being rewarded.
To learn more about navigating these waters without diminishing trust or eroding your brand’s credibility, take a look at our post on avoiding trust fractures through authenticity, purpose-driven decision-making, and a big-picture mindset. Or check out these other entries in our “Trust Factors” series:
- The B2B Marketing Funnel is Dead: Say Hello to the Trust Funnel
- Trust Factors: The (In)Credible Impact of B2B Influencer Marketing
- Trust Factors: How Best Answer Content Fuels Brand Credibility
- Tip of the Iceberg: A Story of Trust in Marketing as Told by Statistics
- Be Like Honest Abe: How Content Marketers Can Build Trust Through Storytelling
The post Trust Factors: Why Your Brand Should Take a Stand with Its Marketing Strategy appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.
Thank you for reading.
This may be of some interest.
You’ve spent months perfecting the script, storyboarding, finding the right talent, shooting, and editing. The end result? A blockbuster brand or product video.
With all that time invested, you can’t stop at just embedding the video on a homepage or sharing it on social media and hoping someone watches.
While great content is bound to be found, it’s also important to be proactive about gaining the attention of and educating prospects and those unfamiliar with your brand. Running a series of YouTube ads is one way to make sure more of your target audience finds the video content you’ve produced.
And with new formats and tracking capabilities, you can also use this information to report on its ROI.
The thing is, advertising on YouTube is very different from running a PPC or paid social campaign. There are specific creative constraints and a ton of options for this platform, and you need a base knowledge before you even scope out your next video project to make the most of the paid possibilities.
What’s New With YouTube Advertising
In January 2017, Google announced it would make changes to AdWords to allow advertisers to reach more viewers on YouTube — especially across mobile devices, where 50% of YouTube views take place. Among the changes it rolled out, possibly the biggest announcement was that advertisers will soon be able to target viewers based on their Google search history, in addition to their viewing behaviors YouTube was already targeting.
Marketers can now target ads at people who recently searched for a certain product or service to target the video ads they’ll be served on the platform. If the content of a video ad is closely related to a search the viewer has been researching, they might be more likely to watch the entire ad or click through the ad to the website.
Keywords are relatively less expensive to target on YouTube than in traditional Google Search: Views cost an average of $0.06 per click on YouTube, compared to the average Google Search cost per click, which is estimated to be between $1-2. When YouTube targeting includes search history, it may be a more cost-effective way to target your audience with a more engaging form of content — video.
The 3 Types of YouTube Video Ads
There are three key types of video ads in which you can invest on YouTube: TrueView, Preroll, and Bumpers.
1. TrueView Ads
TrueView ads are the standard video ad type on YouTube. Advertisers only pay for TrueView ads when viewers watch or interact with their ad (for example, by clicking on a call-to-action), and videos can be easily customized to share a variety of content.
Advertisers only pay when a user watches the ad for at least 30 seconds or until the end of the video or if the viewer takes an action, such as clicking on a call-to-action. YouTube requires that skippable TrueView ads be between 12 seconds and 6 minutes in length, and that non-skippable TrueView ads be 15-20 seconds in length.
There are two types of TrueView ads with which you can optimize your YouTube channel:
Video Discovery Ads (Previously Named In-Display Ads)
Video discovery YouTube ads show up on the YouTube homepage, search results pages, and as related videos on YouTube video watch pages.
These ads appeared after performing a YouTube search:
This display ad appears as a related video on the right-hand video sidebar:
Once a user clicks on the ad, the destination video page features a spot on the right-hand column where a companion banner display ad will appear.
TrueView in-stream ads play before someone watches the video they’ve selected on YouTube. Viewers sometimes have the option to skip the ad after watching it for five seconds. You can also make them play anywhere in the Google Display Network (GDN) — or sites that purchased Google video ad space.
In-stream ads let marketers customize video ads with different CTAs and overlay text, as highlighted in the skippable in-stream ad example below from Grammarly.
Here’s what another skippable in-stream ad from Wix looks like. In this example, there’s another CTA from Wix on top of the right-hand video menu display:
What TrueView Videos Can Include
TrueView video campaigns can include people, dialogue, and music that was retrieved with permission — or is considered royalty-free. However, it’s best not to run a standard promotional commercial. Because these videos can be skipped, you need to give your audience a reason to keep watching, and product plugs historically don’t get the views you might expect.
Instead, tell a story with the time you have in this video. People love seeing case studies of those who faced a struggle that they can empathize with. It’s a source of entertainment that makes your brand memorable and less tempting to skip.
With TrueView ads, advertisers can gain a ton of information about the performance of their ads for optimization and testing purposes.
Using AdWords, YouTube account managers can collect data on an ad’s completed views, partial views, if the video drives channel subscriptions, clickthrough rates on CTAs, views sourced from a user sharing the content, and views on the brand’s other content that can be attributed to a person initially viewing a video ad.
These actions help advertisers better understand the full value of their video ad spend and where to allocate budget to increase results.
2. Preroll Ads
Here’s an example of a non-skippable video ad before the main content on YouTube:
Source: PC Daily Tips
What Preroll Videos Can Include
Preroll ads give you just as much freedom as TrueView ads in their allotted content. You can include people, dialogue, audio, and more elements that you find best represent your brand in 15 to 20 seconds.
Because preroll ads can’t be skipped, these videos are best created with a call-to-action (CTA) so you can optimize the attention you do have from the viewer. In other words, encourage viewers to click on your ad and receive something in return. Perhaps you’ve released a new product or promoting a major event this season and are looking for signups — use this preroll ad to get those clicks.
Keep in mind YouTube sells Preroll video space on a pay-per-click (PPC) basis. Make the click worth it.
Bumpers are the third and shortest type of YouTube video ad available to you. At just six seconds per bumper, these ad spots play before a viewer’s chosen video.
Bumper video ads obviously can’t tell a good-enough story in just six seconds, but they make terrific complements to larger video campaigns on a new product launch or event. Just be sure to use this six seconds wisely, and include only the components of your brand you want your audience to remember.
How to Set Up & Launch a YouTube Video Advertising Campaign
Once you’ve created a marketing video you want to advertise on YouTube, it’s time to create your video ad campaign. (If you haven’t made a video yet, here’s how to get started with Animoto or Wistia, along with a few great examples.) Then, upload your video to YouTube.
Now, you’re ready to set up your advertising campaign. First, go to your Google AdWords account to set up your campaign.
Tap the drop-down menu on the right-hand side of the red “+ Campaign” button on your Google AdWords homepage and select “video.”
Enter a name for your campaign, and make sure Video has been chosen from the Type drop-down menu.
Video Ad Format
Select “In-stream or video discovery ads” to ensure your video ad will be in TrueView format (in the style of the examples outlined above).
Set your budget per day. You can also select a delivery method — either the standard delivery, which shows ads evenly during the day, or accelerated delivery, which drives views as quickly as possible. The latter would be useful if you want to capitalize on a trend or news item relevant to your brand’s video.
Decide where you want your ad to appear.
- YouTube Search: Your video ad will appear in results for searches and will appear on the YouTube home page, channel pages, and video pages.
- YouTube Videos: This runs TrueView ads that can appear in-display ads or in-stream ads. With this option, you can choose for your video ad to appear before or around videos shown across the Google Display Network.
You should create separate campaigns for YouTube Search and YouTube Video as this will help you to better track performance metrics. These ads are served to people performing very different activities and require a different amount of commitment from the viewer, so it’s best to monitor performance separately.
Define the location of users whom you want the ad to be shown to. You can also exclude certain locations.
Language, Device & Mobile Bidding
AdWords will let you specify the operating system, device, and carrier for more advanced targeting. This is especially useful for mobile app ads, and there’s an option to increase or decrease your bid based on if the video ad is shown to someone on a mobile device.
With the advanced settings section, you can set begin and end dates for your campaign, create a custom schedule for when your video ad should be shown, and limit the daily impressions and views for users. This all helps you to get the most return for your ad spend.
Creating the Video Ad Creative
Name your ad group, and then insert the YouTube link for the video you would like to run the ad for. You will then choose whether you want this to run as an in-stream ad or an in-display ad.
For in-display, you’ll need to include a title and short description, which is entered on two separate lines. Note: Titles are limited to 25 characters, and the description lines are limited to 35 characters each.
In-stream ads provide you with the option to overlap a display URL on top of the video. You should use a vanity URL that directs to another final URL to make it more memorable. You can include advanced URL tracking options. In addition, a companion banner made from images from your video will appear on the right side of the video ad.
You’ll then determine the max price you will pay for each view, which you can adjust to increase the number of projected views your video may receive.
Finally, you can further define the audience you would like the video to be shown — options include gender, age, and parental status. You can also target individuals by their interests, such as beauty mavens, cooking enthusiasts, horror movie fans, etc. Try running multiple campaigns to target different groups of users to discover who is most engaged, rather than including everyone you want to target in one campaign.
You can also target individuals by keywords, topics, or websites where you would like your video ad to appear. Keyword targeting with in-display ads can be a powerful tool for finding individuals who are looking for a visual answer to a question. Be sure to do your research, and try testing out different groups of keywords to see which leads to more views, clicks, or conversions.
Additionally, you can use AdWords video ads to remarket to people who have been in contact with your brand already. This can help you to re-engage those who are already familiar with your brand.
Linking Your Account
You should link your AdWords account to the YouTube channel where the video is hosted if you haven’t already. You can also click “finish” to begin running your video ad campaign.
10 Tips for Optimizing Your AdWords for Video Ads
Launching a video ad campaign is a great step, but there are some things you should set up prior to starting to pay for views to make the most of your budget and to see the highest return for your client.
1. Define your metrics and goals.
When analyzing the results, there are four main categories of metrics you can track for each video. These are located under the “column” drop-down in your campaigns interface.
Under the “views” category, you can better understand what percentage of the ad people viewed and understand how the ad drove earned views or views on your brand’s other videos.
This category can be used to track likes and shares for each video ad.
The view rate should signal if the creative and message are interesting or entertaining enough for people to watch the ad. By increasing your view-through rate (VTR), you will lower your cost per view.
Conversions will help you better understand if your ad is driving leads and returning a high ROI for your brand.
Depending on the goals for the brand, you should determine a few goals based on these metrics and formalize a plan for optimizing creative and trying different targeting criteria to improve results. Your goals should also determine the type of content you will feature in the ad — some metrics are better for branding goals and others will drive leads and conversions.
2. Track low performing placements.
If you’re running in-display ads that will appear across the Google Display Network, you can review where the ad has appeared in by navigating to Video Targeting > Placements > Where ads were shown > Display network from your Google AdWords Campaigns dashboard. Review this list to see if any particular sites are contributing to poor performance for your desired metrics. Exclude these sites from your ad campaign moving forward to increase your average CPV.
3. Use a custom thumbnail image.
Design or use a high-quality still image from the video to entice a viewer to click on your video. Remember, this image needs to be legible by users on different devices, including mobile. If your image contains a person, make sure he or she is looking into the camera. If you are featuring a product, make sure the background isn’t distracting.
4. Drive people to buy with cards.
A YouTube card is teased with a small “i” symbol, which the viewer can click to expand. You can time this appearance so only users engaged with the video and content will see the notification.
With cards, you can feature a product related to or featured in the video to drive product purchases. You can also use cards to drive fundraising donations, traffic to a URL, or traffic to other videos as shown in the example below from Refinery29. Each format will allow you to customize the card with text, images, and other options.
5. Create calls-to-actions.
When promoting a video on YouTube, you can include call-to-action overlays that link to a URL. You could link to a landing page, product page, information page, career page … whatever you’d like. You could also send people to a favorable report or interview featuring the brand.
Adobe highlights one of its live videos using a call-to-action overlay:
6. Create a YouTube end slate.
Create an end screen to drive subscribers to your channel, promote your social networks, or increase interest in your brand. If someone has watched a video until the end, it’s a good sign they enjoy your content and might be interested in subscribing to your channel for future updates. The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon‘s end slate uses this screen to drive subscribers and social media fans while also highlighting other interesting topics its host has featured. Once you build the image, you will be able to annotate the end screen in YouTube’s video editor.
7. Use negative remarketing.
If you are running a campaign for a longer period of time and want to only attract new users to a brand, consider creating a list of people who your ad will not be shown to. When viewing your AdWords Campaign screen, select “Shared library” on the lower left sidebar. Then select “Video remarketing” and “+ Remarketing List”. You can stretch your campaign budget and target only unique users by selecting to not show your video ad to someone who has previously viewed the specific video, who has visited your YouTube channel, or shared, liked, or commented on any of your videos on your channel.
8. Use close captioning to cater to viewer’s needs and wants.
This tip applies to all YouTube videos — but it’s a general best practice that’s not followed by many brands. Include a quality video transcription you’ve generated and approved. Only user-uploaded transcriptions are indexed by Google because YouTube’s automatic captioning can be less than reliable. Depending on your target audience, you may also want to include transcriptions in various other languages. You can also offer users the option to download or visit a site page with the full transcription in your video description.
9. Qualify viewers.
Sometimes, your ad will be seen by people who have no interest in your product. Encourage them to skip the ad if the content isn’t relevant so you don’t have to pay for the view and they don’t waste their time watching irrelevant advertising.
10. Consider making your ad longer.
When it comes to TrueView ads, if the ad is under 30 seconds, you pay only if a viewer watches until the end. If the ad is longer than 30 seconds, you pay if the viewer watches it for at least 30 seconds. In both cases, you pay if the viewer interacts with your ad before it’s over. Consider this when you are coming up with ideas for content for the ad. You may want to put messaging at a certain point so uninterested viewers can skip the ad, or you might provide special offers towards the end of the video.
The Future of Video is Bright
We’ve told you before: Video content is a must-have part of your content strategy. This is even truer now that YouTube lets marketers target users based on their search histories. YouTube advertising is more targeted than ever, and it’s less competitive real estate than the world of Google Search because video content is newer to the content scene and less popular than blog posts.
Stay tuned for more from us about how to make great video ads for YouTube and social media, and where we think YouTube marketing is headed next.
Thank you for reading.
This may be of some interest.
Posted by MarieHaynes
EAT — also known as Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness — is a big deal when it comes to Google’s algorithms. But what exactly does this acronym entail, and why does it matter to your everyday work? In this bite-sized version of her full MozCon 2019 presentation, Marie Haynes describes exactly what E-A-T means and how it could have a make-or-break effect on your site.
Hey, Moz fans. My name is Marie Haynes, from Marie Haynes Consulting, and I’m going to talk to you today about EAT and the Quality Raters’ Guidelines. By now, you’ve probably heard of EAT. It’s a bit of a buzzword in SEO. I’m going to share with you why EAT is a big part of Google’s algorithms, how we can take advantage of this news, and also why it’s really, really important to all of us.
The Quality Raters’ Guidelines
Let’s talk about the Quality Raters’ Guidelines. These guidelines are a document that Google has provided to this whole army of quality raters. There are apparently 16,000 quality raters, and what they do is they use this document, the Quality Raters’ Guidelines, to determine whether websites are high quality or not.
Now the quality raters do not have the power to put a penalty on your website. They actually have no direct bearing on rankings. But instead, what happens is they feed information back to Google’s engineers, and Google’s engineers can take that information and determine whether their algorithms are doing what they want them to do. Ben Gomes, the Vice President of Search at Google, he had a quote recently in an interview with CNBC, and he said that the quality raters, the information that’s in there is fundamentally what Google wants the algorithm to do.
“They fundamentally show us what the algorithm should do.”
– Ben Gomes, VP Search, Google
So we believe that if something is in the Quality Raters’ Guidelines, either Google is already measuring this algorithmically, or they want to be measuring it, and so we should be paying close attention to everything that is in there.
How Google fights disinformation
There was a guide that was produced by Google earlier, in February of 2019, and it was a whole guide on how they fight disinformation, how they fight fake news, how they make it so that high-quality results are appearing in the search results.
There were a couple of things in here that were really interesting.
1. Information from the quality raters allows them to build algorithms
The guide talked about the fact that they take the information from the quality raters and that allows them to build algorithms. So we know that it’s really important that the things that the quality raters are assessing are things that we probably should be paying attention to as well.
2. Ranking systems are designed to ID sites with high expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness
The thing that was the most important to me or the most interesting, at least, is this line that said our ranking systems are designed to identify sites with a high indicia of EAT, of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
So whether or not we want to argue whether EAT is a ranking factor, I think that’s semantics. What the word “ranking factor” means, what we really need to know is that EAT is really important in Google’s algorithms. We believe that if you’re trying to rank for any term that really matters to people, “your money or your life” really means if it’s a page that is helping people make a decision in their lives or helping people part with money, then you need to pay attention to EAT, because Google doesn’t want to rank websites that are for important queries if they’re lacking EAT.
The three parts of E-A-T
So it’s important to know that EAT has three parts, and a lot of people get hung up on just expertise. I see a lot of people come to me and say, “But I’m a doctor, and I don’t rank well.” Well, there are more parts to EAT than just expertise, and so we’re going to talk about that.
But expertise is very important. In the Quality Raters’ Guidelines, which each of you, if you have not read it yet, you really, really should read this document.
It’s a little bit long, but it’s full of so much good information. The raters are given examples of websites, and they’re told, “This is a high-quality website. This is a low-quality website because of this.” One of the things that they say for one of the posts is this particular page is to be considered low quality because the expertise of the author is not clearly communicated.
Add author bios
So the first clue we can gather from this is that for all of our authors we should have an author bio. Perhaps if you are a nationally recognized brand, then you may not need author bios. But for the rest of us, we really should be putting an author bio that says here’s who wrote this post, and here’s why they’re qualified to do so.
Another example in the Quality Raters’ Guidelines talks about was a post about the flu. What the quality raters were told is that there’s no evidence that this author has medical expertise. So this tells us, and there are other examples where there’s no evidence of financial expertise, and legal expertise is another one. Think about it.
If you were diagnosed with a medical condition, would you want to be reading an article that’s written by a content writer who’s done good research? It might be very well written. Or would you rather see an article that is written by somebody who has been practicing in this area for decades and has seen every type of side effect that you can have from medications and things like that?
Hire experts to fact-check your content
Obviously, the doctor is who you want to read. Now I don’t expect us all to go and hire doctors to write all of our content, because there are very few doctors that have time to do that and also the other experts in any other YMYL profession. But what you can do is hire these people to fact check your posts. We’ve had some clients that have seen really nice results from having content writers write the posts in a very well researched and referenced way, and then they’ve hired physicians to say this post was medically fact checked by Dr. So-and-so. So this is really, really important for any type of site that wants to rank for a YMYL query.
One of the things that we started noticing, in February of 2017, we had a number of sites that came to us with traffic drops. That’s mostly what we do. We deal with sites that were hit by Google algorithm updates. What we were noticing is a weird thing was happening.
Prior to that, sites that were hit, they tended to have all sorts of technical issues, and we could say, “Yes, there’s a really strong reason why this site is not ranking well.” These sites were all ones that were technically, for the most part, sound. But what we noticed is that, in every instance, the posts that were now stealing the rankings they used to have were ones that were written by people with real-life expertise.
This is not something that you want to ignore.
We’ll move on to authoritativeness. Authoritativeness is really very, very important, and in my opinion this is the most important part of EAT. Authoritativeness, there’s another reference in the Quality Raters’ Guidelines about a good post, and it says, “The author of this blog post has been known as an expert on parenting issues.”
So it’s one thing to actually be an expert. It’s another thing to be recognized online as an expert, and this should be what we’re all working on is to have other people online recognize us or our clients as experts in their subject matter. That sounds a lot like link building, right? We want to get links from authoritative sites.
The guide to this information actually tells us that PageRank and EAT are closely connected. So this is very, very important. I personally believe — I can’t prove this just yet — but I believe that Google does not want to pass PageRank through sites that do not have EAT, at least for YMYL queries. This could explain why Google feels really comfortable that they can ignore spam links from negative SEO attacks, because those links would come from sites that don’t have EAT.
Get recommendations from experts
So how do we do this? It’s all about getting recommendations from experts. The Quality Raters’ Guidelines say in several places the raters are instructed to determine what do other experts say about this website, about this author, about this brand. It’s very, very important that we can get recommendations from experts. I want to challenge you right now to look at the last few links that you have gotten for your website and look at them and say, “Are these truly recommendations from other people in the industry that I’m working in? Or are they ones that we made?”
In the past, pretty much every link that we could make would have the potential to help boost our rankings. Now, the links that Google wants to count are ones that truly are people recommending your content, your business, your author. So I did a Whiteboard Friday a couple of years ago that talked about the types of links that Google might want to value, and that’s probably a good reference to find how can we find these recommendations from experts.
How can we do link building in a way that boosts our authoritativeness in the eyes of Google?
The last part, which a lot of people ignore, is trustworthiness. People would say, “Well, how could Google ever measure whether a website is trustworthy?” I think it’s definitely possible. Google has a patent. Now we know if there’s a patent, that they’re not necessarily doing this.
Reputation via reviews, blog posts, & other online content
But they do have a patent that talks about how they can gather information about a brand, about an individual, about a website from looking at a corpus of reviews, blog posts, and other things that are online. What this patent talks about is looking at the sentiment of these blog posts. Now some people would argue that maybe sentiment is not a part of Google’s algorithms.
I do think it’s a part of how they determine trustworthiness. So what we’re looking for here is if a business really has a bad reputation, if you have a reputation where people online are saying, “Look, I got scammed by this company.” Or, “I couldn’t get a refund.” Or, “I was treated really poorly in terms of customer service.” If there is a general sentiment about this online, that can affect your ability to rank well, and that’s very important. So all of these things are important in terms of trustworthiness.
Credible, clear contact info on website
You really should have very credible and clear contact information on your website. That’s outlined in the Quality Raters’ Guidelines.
Indexable, easy-to-find info on refund policies
You should have information on your refund policy, assuming that you sell products, and it should be easy for people to find. All of this information I believe should be visible in Google’s index.
We shouldn’t be no indexing these posts. Don’t worry about the fact that they might be kind of thin or irrelevant or perhaps even duplicate content. Google wants to see this, and so we want that to be in their algorithms.
Scientific references & scientific consensus
Other things too, if you have a medical site or any type of site that can be supported with scientific references, it’s very important that you do that.
One of the things that we’ve been seeing with recent updates is a lot of medical sites are dropping when they’re not really in line with scientific consensus. This is a big one. If you run a site that has to do with natural medicine, this is probably a rough time for you, because Google has been demoting sites that talk about a lot of natural medicine treatments, and the reason for this, I think, is because a lot of these are not in line with the general scientific consensus.
Now, I know a lot of people would say, “Well, who is Google to determine whether essential oils are helpful or not, because I believe a lot of these natural treatments really do help people?” The problem though is that there are a lot of websites that are scamming people. So Google may even err on the side of caution in saying, “Look, we think this website could potentially impact the safety of users.”
You may have trouble ranking well. So if you have posts on natural medicine, on any type of thing that’s outside of the generally accepted scientific consensus, then one thing you can do is try to show both sides of the story, try to talk about how actually traditional physicians would treat this condition.
That can be tricky.
The other thing that can speak to trust is your ad experience. I think this is something that’s not actually in the algorithms just yet. I think it’s going to come. Perhaps it is. But the Quality Raters’ Guidelines talk a lot about if you have ads that are distracting, that are disruptive, that block the readers from seeing content, then that can be a sign of low trustworthiness.
“If any of Expertise, Authoritativeness, or Trustworthiness is lacking, use the ‘low’ rating.”
I want to leave you with this last quote, again from the Quality Raters’ Guidelines, and this is significant. The raters are instructed that if any one of expertise, authoritativeness, or trustworthiness is lacking, then they are to rate a website as low quality. Again, that’s not going to penalize that website. But it’s going to tell the Google engineers, “Wait a second. We have these low-quality websites that are ranking for these terms.How can we tweak the algorithm so that that doesn’t happen?”
But the important thing here is that if any one of these three things, the E, the A, or the T are lacking, it can impact your ability to rank well. So hopefully this has been helpful. I really hope that this helps you improve the quality of your websites. I would encourage you to leave a comment or a question below. I’m going to be hanging out in the comments section and answering all of your questions.
I have more information on these subjects at mariehaynes.com/eat and also /trust if you’re interested in these trust issues. So with that, I want to thank you. I really wish you the best of luck with your rankings, and please do leave a question for me below.
Feeling like you need a better understanding of E-A-T and the Quality Raters’ Guidelines? You can get even more info from Marie’s full MozCon 2019 talk in our newly released video bundle. Go even more in-depth on what drives rankings, plus access 26 additional future-focused SEO topics from our top-notch speakers:
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If you’ve been a marketer for, say, more than five minutes, you know SEO is important. In fact, 97% of people learn more about a local company online than anywhere else. And since Google owns 90% of all searches, it’s easy for marketers to spend hours optimizing every day. This makes saving time where possible key to a busy marketer’s workflow.
Thankfully, when it comes to improving SEO and maximizing your time, there’s a Google Chrome extension for that. In fact, there are many of them, and most can be used right in your browser.
To help you navigate the crowded world of Chrome extensions, we’ve come up with 20 of our favorites for SEO. Most are compatible with Firefox and Safari as well, and each of them keeps track of most of the analytics for you. Because less time fussing over SEO means more time for finding the perfect dog GIF to share with your team.
Chrome extensions are helpful when looking for ideas to improve SEO strategy and seeing the analytics of competitors instantly. Some even have the ability to make colorful graphs and charts for us visual folks to make presentations and comparisons a breeze.
The 20 Best SEO Extensions for Google Chrome
MozBar allows its users to check SEO within their browser using just one click. MozBar provides metrics while viewing any webpage, and allows users to export SERPs into a CRV file and access analytics. Upgrading to MozBar Premium offers functions like analyzing keyword difficulty, page optimization, and digger SERP metrics.
- Price: Free
- Chrome extension
Keywords Everywhere is a tool that shows three different information types for keywords on Google: monthly search volume, cost per click, and Google Adwords competition. By having this extension installed, going back and forth from Google Keywords to your open browser page is a thing of the past, as it’s an in-browser extension.
Offering traffic and key metrics for any website, SimilarWeb is a popular extension that allows users to see statistics and strategy for any website while searching the internet with one click. This extension is helpful for those looking for new and effective SEO strategies, as well as those interested in analyzing different trends across the market.
- Price: Free
- Chrome extension
- Price: Free
- Chrome extension
SEO Meta in 1 Click displays all meta tags and main SEO information for a web page with just a single click. This includes the lengths of titles and descriptions, URL, headers in order of appearance, and the number of images without alt text.
- Price: Free
- Chrome extension
Need SEO tracking for social? BuzzSumo’s got you covered. This extension allows you to easily track shares and top-performing content on social media pages. Using BuzzSumo can help aid in future SEO decisions and check the backlinks you provide on your pages.
Hunter makes it easy to find contact information instantly in your browser. This process, named “Domain Search,” is accessible by an icon in Chrome. Hunter finds all the email addresses related to a website.
Check the SEO strength of websites with Mangools, which offers you the top SEO metrics of websites using Moz and Majestic. Access premium features such as the self-described “Google SERP on steroids” function, aiding with keywords, backlinks, and profile analysis.
- Price: Free
- Chrome extension
Trends is part of Google Webmaster Tools, a set of extension tools for building websites and integrating them with Google. Trends presents analytics, using graphs, on the top searches in Google (from Taylor Swift to Kim Kardashian) from across several countries. Trends can help you identify the SEO performance on your website.
SEMrush presents itself as a dashboard, reporting on domain performance, as well as that of individual pages. One of its prime features is its SEO toolkit, which allows its users to analyze backlinks and watch keyword rank. It also provides on-page SEO suggestions, fitting itself into an SEO strategy nicely.
By using Serpstat, you can instantly check the SEO of your website as well as competitors’. After clicking the in-browser icon, you’ll be able to receive a full SEO audit of a domain. Serpstat has three sections: On-page SEO parameters, page analysis, and domain analysis.
With their SEO toolbar in Chrome, Ahrefs examines website properties and produces keywords, links, and ranking profiles that offer SEO improvements on your website. To receive a detailed report on an SEO metric, just click on it.
13. Check My Links
- Price: Free
- Chrome extension
Aptly named, Check My Links does just that with one click, scanning through webpages for broken links. A huge time saver when designing link-heavy web pages, the extension makes sure the links are working properly, notating when links are broken.
- Price: Free
- Chrome extension
The free extension from NinjaOutreach makes browsers capable of advanced data mining. It offers various SEO functions such as webpage URL, title, links, meta descriptions, follower counts on social media, and monetization techniques.
- Price: Free
- Chrome extension
Part of Google Webmaster Tools, PageSpeed Insights is an SEO tool that provides information on desktop and mobile sites. After running an analysis, PageSpeed Insights gives a score on the site and provides suggestions on how to make the web pages run faster.
- Price: Free 14-day trial, $49/mo for a Wookrank Pro plan or $149/mo for a Woorank Premium
- Chrome extension
Woorank is a site analysis tool similar to PageSpeed Insights, allowing users to see suggestions for improvement on their web pages. It provides an in-depth report on online visibility, social media, and usability, allowing you to keep track of ways to improve different metrics.
- Price: Free
- Chrome extension
With NoFollow, marketers can see an outline of web pages that are coded with the nofollow metatag. Because Nofollow links don’t add to SEO metrics, users can identify any external web pages that are backlinking to their websites with indexed links. For pages you don’t want to be indexed — like a landing page — NoFollow checks to see if those pages are coded correctly and highlights any links that aren’t working correctly.
- Price: Free
- Chrome extension
This toolbar gives a set of metrics, available right in Chrome. The metrics are divided into two categories; “Buzz,” which analyzes social media content that best fits your audience, and “Impact,” which analyzes user engagement. The latter includes data on clicks, comments, views, and more.
BuzzStream allows marketers to organize and perform outreach that’s specialized to your business. The extension, BuzzMarker, connects with BuzzStream to assist in building links, promoting content, and pitching influencers.
Search marketing stressing you out? This tool is here to help. Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider enables you to crawl website URLs and add key elements to analyze SEO and fix detected issues, making an excruciatingly long process simplified. Some elements include finding broken links, discovering duplicate pages, and site visualizations.
Using these extensions will lessen your SEO stress. And many provide useful information on how to refine skills like backlink building and keyword accuracy. You’ll be acing this section of Marketing 101 in no time.
Thank you for reading.
This may be of some interest.
Do you want to do more with Instagram Stories? Wondering how to create Instagram Stories that engage viewers? To explore how to create compelling Instagram Stories for business, I interview Alex Beadon on the Social Media Marketing Podcast. Alex is an Instagram Stories expert who specializes in helping people use Instagram for business. Her course […]
The post Instagram Stories for Business: How to Create Engaging Stories appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.
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This may be of some interest.
Apple says it’s about hardware, software and services, and gave us some of each one: two new iPhones, an iPad, a watch, and a glimpse into what you’ll be able to get from their video and game streaming services. Catch up here. Read more…
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This may be of some interest.
B2B content marketers have faced many epic foes over the last few years. There’s the nefarious Content Shock, the demoralizing Facebook Algorithm, and the destructive Google Search Update. We have battled them all and continued to thrive.
But now we face our most fearsome foe: The Dreaded Trust Gap.
Less than half of consumers trust brands. Seventy-one percent of buyers are turned off by overly sales-y content. Buyers increasingly prefer content from industry influencers rather than brands.
It’s a daunting problem that needs a bold solution: The Guardians of Content!
In her Content Marketing World 2019 presentation, our very own Director of Digital Strategy Ashley Zeckman explained how B2B content marketers can initiate and scale up a heroic influencer content program of their own. Here are a few key takeaways.
Three Common B2B Influncer Pitfalls
If you’re just getting started with B2B influencer marketing, there are easy mistakes to make. Most of them come from trying to emulate the B2C model: Transactional, glorified sponsorship rather than content co-creation. Here are Ashley’s three most common pitfalls and how to avoid them:
#1: A Disconnected Approach
Say you have a hole in your editorial calendar, so you ask an influencer for an interview. Then you need some quotes for an infographic, so you ask a few others for a nugget of wisdom. Then you reach out on social media to a couple of folks you admire. Then you ask a different set of influencers for quotes for an eBook…
You get the picture. Instead of a strategic campaign that can build into something bigger, you have a ton of one-offs. It’s inefficient. It’s inconsistent for your audience and for the influencers you’re courting.
Instead, Ashley says, aim for a strategic, connected approach. Plan in advance which topics you’re covering, which influencers you want to include, how you’ll use the content, and your plans for repurposing.
#2: Transactional Relationships
There are two ways that influencer relationships can get too transactional. The first is asking too much too quickly, while offering nothing of value in return. Imagine you got an email from a stranger asking you to help them move. Would you do it?
Now imagine an email from a friend asking for that help, and promising pizza and beer? Relationships matter. Take time to honor your influencers, follow them on social media, promote them and their work. Help them succeed, then start with a small ask, like a sound bite for a blog post.
The second way relationships can be too transactional is more literal. If you only work with paid influencers who promote content you wrote… well, that’s more endorsement than influencer content, and it can be less likely to find an enthusiastic audience.
While you may financially compensate some influencers, Ashley says, the emphasis should always be on content co-creation. You want influencers to feel ownership of the finished product – they’ll be much more likely to promote something they’re excited to have made.
#3: Lack of Measurement
Like any other marketing tactic, influencer marketing should be able to prove its worth. Many marketers fail to build in measurement at the beginning, and end up with nothing but vanity metrics to show.
It’s important to plan for measurement before you start. Lay the groundwork for the KPIs you plan to meet, and the metrics you’ll use to show progress. And don’t forget to set benchmarks!
Here are a few of Ashley’s sample KPIs:
Planning Content and Assembling Your Heroes
Keeping those pitfalls in mind, here’s how Ashley recommends designing and implementing an influencer program.
First, determine your topical focus. The topics you plan to cover should hit the intersection of your business priorities, search demand, and influencer expertise. It shouldn’t be too tied to your products and solutions. Think more about what you want your brand to be known for.
Use the same tools you use for content research to find the key terms where there is audience demand and competitor whitespace as well.
With topics in hand, you can start identifying your influencer mix:
You’re not looking for just the people with the largest audience. Instead, focus on people who are respected in their fields, shared interest in your topics, and the ability to actually move people to engage.
It’s also important, says Ashley, to find influencers who fit your content type. If it’s an audio or video asset, look for folks who have demonstrated a willingness an ability to provide that type of content. Beyond that, influencers should be reputable, practical, with real-life experience to draw from.
When you reach out to these influencers, remember to give before you ask:
The nurturing process helps prove your own credibility to influencers, showing you’re a trustworthy partner, and hopefully sparking interest in co-creating awesome content.
The Adventure Continues (and Continues, and Continues)
The ultimate goal of your influencer outreach and nurturing should be a connected universe of content (much like Marvel’s cinematic universe). Who would assemble a hero team and disband them after one adventure? Continue nurturing relationships with your influencers and encourage them to acknowledge and support each other, too. The goal is to develop a community of folks who are always up for another mission to save the world from boring B2B content.
Ready for a heroic influencer marketing success story? See how Alcatel-Lucent drove 6-figure leads with their campaign. Looking for more insights out of CMWorld 2019? Check out these other posts featuring several of this year’s speakers:
- Create a Stellar Content Experience by Slowing Down with These Tips from Ann Handley #CMWorld
- April Henderson on Data-Driven, Empathetic B2B Content #CMWorld
- Zari Venhaus’s Framework for Gaining Executive Buy-In for Marketing Technology #CMWorld
- Lee Odden Shares His Secret to Content Marketing Fitness #CMWorld
- Carlos Abler Details How Content Marketing Can Contribute to the Greater Good #CMWorld
- 50 Content Marketing Influencers and Experts to Follow 2019 #CMWorld
Thank you for reading.
This may be of some interest.
Forrester’s April Henderson started her Content Marketing World 2019 session with a classic cautionary tale:
Johann Rall was fighting for the British at the turning point of the Revolutionary War. The night before the Battle of Trenton, he was out celebrating at the home of a local Loyalist merchant. That merchant had seen General Washington amassing his forces and knew the attack was coming.
So what did the merchant do? He created relevant content! He wrote Rall a note and slipped it across the table. Rall nodded, put the note in his pocket… and continued his evening of revelry. The British were caught unawares, and the tide of the war began to turn. That lack of content engagement might be how America won the war.
In other words, when content doesn’t connect with your audience, the results can be disastrous.
Capturing the Attention of a New Breed of B2B Consumer
Right now B2B content is missing the mark, and missing it by a wide margin. Based on Forrester’s own research, 65% of B2B buyers say vendors give too much content. Over half say much of the material they get is useless. Seventy percent said the material is focused more on style than substance.
How can marketing professionals with mountains of research and tons of experience be getting it so wrong? According to April, it’s a failure to adapt to changing buying habits:
April says the new B2B consumers “aren’t buying your product; they buy into your approach to solving their problems.” They don’t want to hear about product features, awards your brand has won, or even how your product compares to a competitor.
They want to know that you hear their problems, you understand them, you sympathize, and you have solutions.
Using Data to Drive Empathetic Content
We usually think of data and emotion as two separate types of appeal (logos and pathos, for those who remember high school debate club). But according to April, you can actually make more effective emotional appeals by using data.
After all, you’re showing the consumer you understand them. The best way to understand them is by ethically using the data you’ve got to inform your marketing. With the right data on board, you have a credible, authentic story to tell about how you can help your potential consumer.
To drive the point home, April shared a case study from a company called LogMeIn. This security solutions provider commissioned a survey to see how sophisticated businesses were with their security.
When it came time to present the findings, they didn’t just create a white paper and lock it behind a gate. Instead, they used the report data to create a maturity model, and that model became the basis for a self-assessment calculator.
Consumers could take the assessment for their business and see how they measured up against competitors. Then they were offered the entirety of the original research, ungated, and presented with a contact form for customized recommendations. Those who filled out the form, says April, were already well into developing a relationship with the brand. They were practically sales qualified leads already.
LogMeIn built that affinity by helping customers learn about themselves and their competitors, providing a ton of value that was keyed to customers needs, not the brand’s solutions.
Shouldn’t B2B Content Be Logical, not Emotional?
Even with overwhelming evidence about the power of emotional appeal, it’s easy to think of emotion as somehow less real, less effective for B2B buyers. April disagrees. “B2B decisions are really complex, but we don’t have some separate brain we engage to make those decisions,” she says. B2B buyers don’t somehow switch off their emotions while they’re at work.
Getting started with that emotional component is as easy as thinking about an average day in your ideal buyer’s life. Think about the whole person, not just the buyer part. What do they really want? It might break down like this:
- I want to get off work in time to pick up my daughter from school
- So I want to process these invoices faster
- So I need to automate this process with software
With these points in mind, instead of showing how your software is x times faster than the competitor, show the parent getting out of work on time and picking up their kid at school. That’s a story that your buyer can relate to, whether they’re an IT decision influencer or a C-suite decision maker.
Make Human Connections across Channels
So you’re collecting data and creating empathetic content based on your findings. The next step is to humanize your buyer’s journey and see it holistically. You need to meet your consumers where they are, not try to herd them into your preferred channel.
April cited Forrester research that says the average buyer’s journey crosses at least twelve different channels. How can marketers meet the buyer on all those different media? Content atomization.
You don’t have to create tons of new content for each channel, April says. Instead, start with cornerstone content, a large asset that can be broken down and repurposed in multiple formats. This type of modular content helps promote consistency across channels.
Another way to repurpose content is to add customizable or interactive elements. In another Forrester survey, 50% of B2B buyers said they wanted interactive, web-based assets rather than static PDFs. And 61% said they want to input information to generate a customized output.
Keep Your Messaging Consistent – For Sales, Too
There’s one more challenge to making content more empathetic: In a single face-to-face meeting, a sales rep will either validate or totally negate your branding efforts. It only takes one off-brand conversation to wreck the relationship you’ve been nurturing.
As such, April says, our work doesn’t stop at the sales hand-off. Sales leadership should be included as a stakeholder in the entire content program, from the planning stages onward. That way, marketing can create more relevant content, and sales can learn how to use it more effectively.
One key way content marketers can help sales is by helping develop data-based tools, like LogMeIn’s self-assessment calculator. April identified four key attributes of a great sales enablement tool:
- It facilitates clients sharing the scope and scale of their needs
- It Includes relevant comparison data from peers
- It provides personalized output to leave behind with the customer
- It sets the expectation for a sales followup
To Get Your Content Seen, Show Your Audience You See Them First
Is your B2B content helping people solve problems, or is it just pointing them at your product? If it’s the latter, you’re missing the mark. April demonstrated how data can help you make an emotional connection with potential buyers. Show them you understand their problems – even the ones that go beyond your particular solution. Don’t hesitate to show your solution in the broader context of people’s lives, and don’t shy away from an emotional appeal.
Need more Content Marketing World in your life? The conference is over, but we have plenty of takeaways still to come. Follow @leeodden, @NiteWrites, @azeckman, and @toprank on Twitter for real-time insights.
The post April Henderson on Data-Driven, Empathetic B2B Content #CMWorld appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.
Thank you for reading.