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Monthly Archives: April 2020

Google trends in COVID-19 times and how to use them in your content strategy

April 30, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Google Trends can be an invaluable tool, as it helps to uncover opportunities for ecommerce brands, publishers, and local businesses.
  • The real benefit to Google Trends is that it can help us understand and predict consumer behaviour post-pandemic. Additionally, we can see how categories are evolving.
  • Some things the search trends have shown is that consumers need help finding resources they often rely on salons for.
  • leisurewear is king and we have seen an abnormal increase in demand for sweatpants over the last month.
  • Consumers also want to know “how to look good on zoom”. That term has increased from 0 to 100 from March 14th onward.
  • As a “topic”, interest in instrument playing tutorials has increased by 72%.
  • Small business loans are seeing more search demand than ever before, with an increase of 2111%.
  • Director of SEO at Stella Rising, John Morabito shares lots of insights and shines a light on how businesses can use these trends in their content creation.

With the coronavirus pandemic now nearing its peak in many parts of the U.S., search trends are rapidly evolving in ways many search marketers have never seen before. Changes are happening almost daily, and traditional search volume as a monthly average metric has become practically useless. Google Trends, however, offers useful, daily analysis of what’s trending in search. At present, Google Trends can be an invaluable tool, as it helps to uncover opportunities for e-commerce brands, publishers, and local businesses.

In this post, we’ll cover ways that search marketers can use Google Trends and other tools to discover opportunities in today’s fast-moving landscape, and review how the team at Stella Rising has been using Google Trends to inform our strategy during the pandemic. 

The obvious Google Trends

Medical suppliers will be aware that, amidst the overall demand for masks, behaviours have shifted from favouring N95 masks to surgical masks. The CDC recently revised their recommendation. In this case, we see that search demand for masks is already starting to decrease.

Surgical Masks (7 Day View) – Down 68% (April 5-11th vs Feb 16th-22)

COVID-19 Google Trends

Full Year View

 The less obvious: Search evolution in unexpected places

The real benefit to Google Trends is that it can help us understand and predict consumer behaviour post-pandemic. Additionally, we can see how categories are evolving. For example, at first glance, one might not think that the beauty segment would find success in a pandemic. However, social distancers are turning to self-care. “Peel masks” are seeing a huge increase in interest with a 58% increase in over the last few weeks. Google Trends - Peel masks search

Searches for skincare are skyrocketing, as are those for foot care. Consumers need help finding resources they often rely on salons for. Note the following trends from Spate:

Search trends - Foot care search graph by Spate

Source: Spate.nyc

Hand moisturizer has similarly seen an even larger increase, jumping up 156% since February (April 5-11th vs Feb 16th-22)

COVID-19 search trends - Moisturizer Leveraging the trend

When it comes to the growth in demand for skincare products, skincare brands have a number of options at their disposal when it comes to their content efforts. Make sure your product pages are being listed in Google shopping’s new free listings, and ensure that you have robust on-page content for each of your skincare product or category pages. Lastly, in a time where making returns is not an easy task, and consumers want to minimize contact with the outside world, content that helps guide users to the right product selections can be extremely valuable.

For example, this article from Bucklers Remedy, a skincare brand ranks top three for “choosing the right hand lotion”. In another example, we see a Vaseline article about how to deal with dry cracked hands ranking for a total of 1,100 keywords.

Example - Vaseline hand moisturizer search trend

For apparel companies

Apparel companies should shift their messaging as consumers browse for clothing on their devices. Right now, leisurewear is king and we have seen an abnormal increase in demand for sweatpants over the last month. 

COVID-19 Google Trends - leisurewear is the king

Consumers also want to know “how to look good on zoom”. That term has increased from 0 to 100 from March 14th onward. 

"how to look good on zoom" search trend in COVID-19 times

Leveraging the trend

Everyone from publishers to apparel and beauty brands can get in on the need for Zoom/video conferencing related content. If you fall into one of those categories, consider producing looks and tutorials for your captive audience.

For instrument makers

For instrument makers like Fender and Les Paul, there has never been more interest than now in learning how to play the guitar. 

instrument related search trends

Leveraging the trend

Fender and Les Paul both offer instructional content, but now is the perfect time for them to ramp-up efforts and even consider partnering with musicians who are out of work and can easily produce tutorial content on their behalf. 

People are also interested in learning about all sorts of topics. As a “topic”, interest in tutorials has increased by 72%.

Leveraging the trend

If you’re a brand with a product that has any sort of instructions or bares any type of explanation in how to use it, I would recommend using this time to produce tutorial content for each of your products or for the things your products help people to do. For example, makeup brands can not only product tutorials on how to use a specific product which can help them to rank for both nonbrand and branded terms, but they can also target things like “zoom makeup looks” which can help them to rank for an even broader set of nonbrand terms.

Sometimes, search trends are influenced by necessity. We’ve seen more interest in “how to cut your hair” than ever before. 

The not so fun part

While there are search trends dealing with keeping consumers busy, there are also new trends around more serious subjects. Some of our clients at Stella Rising are writing about these. One of our clients in the small business formation space is writing about how their customers can get loans and stay in good corporate standing. Small business loans are seeing more search demand than ever before, with an increase of 2111%.

Estate lawyers may want to consider online-only services as “get a will online” has seen a steep rise. 

How to get started

Now that you’ve seen some of the ways that search trends are evolving—and how to check—start by inspecting your website’s most valuable target keywords and see how searches are moving for those items. You may be surprised by what you find. Finding interesting trends can be tough, so think carefully about how behaviour will evolve in the future, not simply how it has changed today. 

Bonus tool tip

Explodingtopics.com is a tool that shows exploding topics using Google Trends data and provides two key metrics: gradient and exponent. Essentially, the exponent is a mathematical expression that defines how much like a “hockey-stick” a curve is. The tool breaks up Google Trend data by category and presents which topics are “exploding” versus which have peaked in interest. This analysis is useful when wishing to stay relevant with content writing.

John Morabito is Director of SEO at Stella Rising. John has over nine years of experience in SEO, PPC, and other digital marketing channels. 

The post Google trends in COVID-19 times and how to use them in your content strategy appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Atlassian co-founder and co-CEO Mike Cannon-Brookes is coming to Disrupt SF 2020

April 30, 2020 No Comments

Atlassian is about as ubiquitous to software engineers as Google is to the rest of us. The Sydney-based company, which launched in 2002, develops tools and services for enterprise collaboration and marched efficiently to a public offering in 2015.

So it goes without saying that we’re thrilled to have Atlassian co-founder and co-CEO Mike Cannon-Brookes join us at Disrupt SF 2020, which runs September 14 to September 16.

As far as entrepreneurship goes, Cannon-Brookes is on a very short list of founders who have led a company from founding to public offering, and all the steps in between.

Atlassian was one of the early players in enterprise collaboration, particularly for engineering and development teams, and has over the years introduced a robust product suite, including Jira, Confluence and HipChat.

Cannon-Brookes has been at the helm for the entire journey, from raising early funding to product development to acquisitions (including Trello) to public offering and beyond. All the while, Cannon-Brookes kept the company’s HQ, and all invoicing, in its home country of Australia, becoming the most successful tech startup to ever launch out of the nation down under.

One of the more interesting features of the company? Unlike Microsoft and IBM and other big enterprise software companies, Atlassian has always operated without a proper sales team, using a fraction of spend on sales and marketing compared to other enterprise software giants.

“We had a hunch early on that salespeople break software companies,” Cannon-Brookes told the Australian Financial Review in 2015. “But convincing people this model would work has probably been the biggest struggle we’ve had. We’ve had a lot of smart people who wouldn’t join the company or give us money or advise us because it made no sense to them.”

The company developed an enormously successful distribution flywheel built on the back of one necessary ingredient: remarkable products. Great products at low prices mean that you can sell to everyone, and if you sell to everyone you have to do it online and with transparent pricing and a great free trial. But if you offer a free trial, you better have a remarkable product, and the flywheel spins on and on.

It has worked.

Atlassian products are used by more than 160,000 large and small organizations across the globe, including Spotify, NASA, Sotheby’s and Visa.

Cannon-Brookes is also a tech investor across sectors like software, fintech, agriculture and energy, with a seat on the board of Zoox.

We’re excited to sit down with Cannon-Brookes and hear more about the company’s trajectory over the last two decades and hear what comes next for the behemoth.

Disrupt SF 2020 runs September 14 to September 16 at the Moscone Center right in the heart of San Francisco. For folks who can’t make it in person, we have several Digital Pass options to be part of the action or to exhibit virtually, which you can check out here.

We’ll be announcing more speakers over the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

(Editor’s Note: We’re watching the developing situation around the novel coronavirus very closely and will adapt as we go. You can find out the latest on our event schedule plans here.)


Enterprise – TechCrunch


Instagram ‘pods’ game the algorithm by coordinating likes and comments on millions of posts

April 30, 2020 No Comments

Researchers at NYU have identified hundreds of groups of Instagram users, some with thousands of members, that systematically exchange likes and comments in order to game the service’s algorithms and boost visibility. In the process, they also trained machine learning agents to identify whether a post has been juiced in this way.

“Pods,” as they’ve been dubbed, straddle the line between real and fake engagement, making them tricky to detect or take action against. And while they used to be a niche threat (and still are compared with fake account and bot activity), the practice is growing in volume and efficacy.

Pods are easily found via searching online, and some are open to the public. The most common venue for them is Telegram, as it’s more or less secure and has no limit to the number of people who can be in a channel. Posts linked in the pod are liked and commented on by others in the group, with the effect of those posts being far more likely to be spread widely by Instagram’s recommendation algorithms, boosting organic engagement.

Reciprocity as a service

The practice of groups mutually liking one another’s posts is called reciprocity abuse, and social networks are well aware of it, having removed setups of this type before. But the practice has never been studied or characterized in detail, the team from NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering explained.

“In the past they’ve probably been focused more on automated threats, like giving credentials to someone to use, or things done by bots,” said lead author of the study Rachel Greenstadt. “We paid attention to this because it’s a growing problem, and it’s harder to take measures against.”

On a small scale it doesn’t sound too threatening, but the study found nearly 2 million posts that had been manipulated by this method, with more than 100,000 users taking part in pods. And that’s just the ones in English, found using publicly available data. The paper describing the research was published in the Proceedings of the World Wide Web Conference and can be read here.

Importantly, the reciprocal liking does more than inflate apparent engagement. Posts submitted to pods got large numbers of artificial likes and comments, yes, but that activity deceived Instagram’s algorithm into promoting them further, leading to much more engagement even on posts not submitted to the pod.

When contacted for comment, Instagram initially said that this activity “violates our policies and we have numerous measures in place to stop it,” and said that the researchers had not collaborated with the company on the research.

In fact the team was in contact with Instagram’s abuse team from early on in the project, and it seems clear from the study that whatever measures are in place have not, at least in this context, had the desired effect. I pointed this out to the representative and will update this post if I hear back with any more information.

“It’s a grey area”

But don’t reach for the pitchforks just yet — the fact is this kind of activity is remarkably hard to detect, because really it’s identical in many ways to a group of friends or like-minded users engaging with each others’ content in exactly the way Instagram would like. And really, even classifying the behavior as abuse isn’t so simple.

“It’s a grey area, and I think people on Instagram think of it as a grey area,” said Greenstadt. “Where does it end? If you write an article and post it on social media and send it to friends, and they like it, and they sometimes do that for you, are you part of a pod? The issue here is not necessarily that people are doing this, but how the algorithm should treat this action, in terms of amplifying or not amplifying that content.”

Obviously if people are doing it systematically with thousands of users and even charging for access (as some groups do), that amounts to abuse. But drawing the line isn’t easy.

More important is that the line can’t be drawn unless you first define the behavior, which the researchers did by carefully inspecting the differences in patterns of likes and comments on pod-boosted and ordinary posts.

“They have different linguistic signatures,” explained co-author Janith Weerasinghe. “What words they use, the timing patterns.”

As you might expect, strangers obligated to comment on posts they don’t actually care about tend to use generic language, saying things like “nice pic” or “wow” rather than more personal remarks. Some groups actually warn against this, Weerasinghe said, but not many.

The list of top words used reads, predictably, like the comment section on any popular post, though perhaps that speaks to a more general lack of expressiveness on Instagram than anything else:

But statistical analysis of thousands of such posts, both pod-powered and normal, showed a distinctly higher prevalence of “generic support” comments, often showing up in a predictable pattern.

This data was used to train a machine learning model, which when set loose on posts it had never seen, was able to identify posts given the pod treatment with as high as 90% accuracy. This could help surface other pods — and make no mistake, this is only a small sample of what’s out there.

“We got a pretty good sample for the time period of the easily accessible, easily findable pods,” said Greenstadt. “The big part of the ecosystem that we’re missing is pods that are smaller but more lucrative, that have to have a certain presence on social media already to join. We’re not influencers, so we couldn’t really measure that.”

The numbers of pods and the posts they manipulate has grown steadily over the last two years. About 7,000 posts were found during March of 2017. A year later that number had jumped to nearly 55,000. March of 2019 saw over 100,000, and the number continued to increase through the end of the study’s data. It’s safe to say that pods are now posting over 4,000 times a day — and each one is getting a large amount of engagement, both artificial and organic. Pods now have 900 users on average, and some had over 10,000.

You may be thinking: “If a handful of academics using publicly available APIs and Google could figure this out, why hasn’t Instagram?”

As mentioned before, it’s possible the teams there have simply not considered this to be a major threat and consequently have not created policies or tools to prevent it. Rules proscribing using a “third party app or service to generate fake likes, follows, or comments” arguably don’t apply to these pods, since in many ways they’re identical to perfectly legitimate networks of users (though Instagram clarified that it considers pods as violating the rule). And certainly the threat from fake accounts and bots is of a larger scale.

And while it’s possible that pods could be used as a venue for state-sponsored disinformation or other political purposes, the team didn’t notice anything happening along those lines (though they were not looking for it specifically). So for now the stakes are still relatively small.

That said, Instagram clearly has access to data that would help to define and detect this kind of behavior, and its policies and algorithms could be changed to accommodate it. No doubt the NYU researchers would love to help.


Social – TechCrunch


Tesla Posts Another Profit as Musk Slams Virus Restrictions

April 30, 2020 No Comments

The CEO has criticized shelter-in-place orders, which have forced the closure of the company’s California assembly plant.
Feed: All Latest


Accounting for Future Performance in Paid Media

April 29, 2020 No Comments

Changing circumstances can force you to confront the future. Planning ahead is essential and can better prepare you for what comes next.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


Ultimate guide to video marketing on YouTube

April 28, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • YouTube’s popularity has made it the second most popular search engine after Google.
  • For marketers trying to market their products and services to new audiences, YouTube needs to become a priority.
  • Venngage’s Ronita Mohan outlines everything you need to know about YouTube product marketing in the ultimate guide below.
  • From deciding your target audience and goals to creating great, targeted content, YouTube SEO, metrics to analyze and more material that will add value to your video marketing efforts.

YouTube marketing has fast taken over the world, not just because of the popularity of online videos but because of the accessibility of the platform.

This has led to YouTube becoming the second most popular search engine after Google. Users are heading directly to YouTube for detailed visual answers to their questions, instead of googling their queries.

For marketers trying to market their products and services to new audiences, YouTube needs to become a priority. 

We outline everything you need to know about YouTube product marketing in the ultimate guide below.

Outlining YouTube marketing goals

No marketing strategy would be complete without setting out specific, measurable goals—the same goes for YouTube.

What do you want from your YouTube channel? Do you want to spread brand awareness? Increase conversions? Educate the community?

Accordingly, you will have to design your content and share it with your audience.

You also need to understand the people who use YouTube. Yes, it is a very popular platform, but you aren’t aiming for every single YouTube user.

The goals you set for the channel will also translate into the kind of audience you are aiming to reach—people who want to be educated about a subject, or who want to purchase items that will improve their lives. Or others who just want answers or troubleshooting assistance.

Once you decide on your target audience and your goals, you can create content that specifically caters to them.

Try creating a calendar for your YouTube content—you should aim to post every day, if possible—so that you have clear deadlines for sending out content.

Your videos don’t have to be very long—five minutes at the most—but the channel should be updated frequently so you can improve engagement rates.

Creating a YouTube business channel

According to the latest visual content marketing statistics, video used by marketers has increased by 7% from previous years—and this rise is expected to continue.

When you make a personal Google account, you will be able to sign into YouTube—however, this is not the same as having a business account on the platform.

For one, if you want to upload videos, you need to create a channel—this channel can be specifically for you to upload business videos.

YouTube does offer an option to create an account solely to manage your business—the Brand Account option allows multiple people to use the same login to manage the account and gives you access to analytics.

You still need to create a channel for the Brand Account if you want to upload videos, leave comments, and make playlists.

Once you create your channel, it is imperative that you add your brand logo as the profile image, in the right dimensions—800 x 800 pixels.

You also need to add a YouTube banner (like the Lego channel example above)—2,560 x 1,440 pixels is the recommended size from Google. Check the cropping across devices and finalize the art.

With the channel art uploaded, you should add your associated brand accounts—your website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, et al.

The links you add will appear on your channel as icons that users can then click through to.

You will also need to add a brief description of your company, and you have the option of creating a welcome video that will introduce visitors to your channel.

These are the basics of setting up your business channel. Then, it’s onto content creation.

YouTube marketing video types

There are a number of video types that you can explore when creating content for your YouTube channel. We look at seven of the most popular varieties below.

1. Behind the scenes

Take users into the life and times of your brand and your company culture with behind-the-scenes videos. Tours of your office space, Q&As with staff members, highlights from office events—these all make for excellent social content. 

 

The Lush behind-the-scenes video is a great example of how engaging this content is—two employees share how a product is made, intercut with visuals of the actual process.

It’s soothing, calming, fun, and it gives the company a more personal outlook.

2. “Best of” videos

 

Most YouTube channels round off the year with ‘best of’ videos—of the year, the decade, the season, best tools, or best strategies. And this is something that you can collate for your brand, or collaborate with someone to create.

“Best of” videos are also great gateway content—someone searching for videos on a particular topic could find yours and be interested enough in your content to watch more. 

3. Explainer videos

These are very popular types of videos—people are constantly looking for solutions to their problems. This is why YouTube has become a favourite search engine in its own right.

Make life easier for users by creating explainer videos that showcase how to use a product, how to troubleshoot an issue, or how to understand a concept or industry.

 

Google Small Business’ video on taking high-quality photos is a simple but effective explainer—it features someone who has had success in the area alongside clear and easy-to-follow steps. 

Note the friendly and comforting tone that makes the video more accessible to users who may be at the beginner stage of business photography. This helps make content more relatable and engaging.

4. Interviews

Interviews with professionals in your field, in your company, or in an area of interest to your audience also make for popular content.

Akin to explainer videos, interviews also place your brand as a thought leader in the field—it tells people that you don’t just create content, you are an expert on it. 

 

This interview from Inc with a leading CEO in the field makes for great content. The light and personal tone, the choice of the interviewee, and the message all place the brand as a thought leader trying to improve the knowledge of their audience.

5. Listicles

Lists make for very popular content online—whether in blogs, infographics, or videos, lists about a topic are eye-catching and easy to consume. 

 

Listicles are the most popular kind of content online. The Ahrefs video here is short, snappy, and to the point. 

But the reason why listicles work is that they are finite—the audience knows there are 3 points and they can also go back to the point that is more relevant to them.

When attention spans are low, it helps to make your content more bite-sized, as exemplified in listicles.

6. Product demos

Make your product readily usable for customers by creating a product demo—that you can then use on your website. A demo will answer a lot of questions about the way a product should be used, while also acting as a sales pitch to buyers who are still on the fence. 

 

Oracle Netsuite’s product demo has a simple set up—two people discussing the product with shots of the product in use. It gives users a visual guide to follow and refer to when they’re using the product themselves.

7. Testimonials

The internet may be a bastion of content, but it also has a propensity for spewing information that is patently untrue. If you want users to engage with you, you need to be real.

And what better way to do that than to feature testimonials with real people—staff and customers—on your YouTube channel?

These make for convincing videos that will make your brand look more human.

 

Omada’s testimonial video shows the importance of giving brands a human face—these are real people who were helped by a company and that makes the brand more attractive to potential customers.

Creating YouTube videos

Now that you know what kind of videos you should be creating, it is time to make your videos. 

The content you create should be brand-conscious—ensure your logo is visible but that it doesn’t overwhelm the screen.

You should always include a call-to-action—asking people to subscribe to the channel, to like your video, visit your website, or to use a promo code.

Adding a strong and relevant CTA will help users stay engaged with your brand beyond viewing a single video.

Also, though many think that YouTube videos need to be highly stylized and have great production values, that isn’t always the case.

Focus less on how your video looks, and more on the content of your video.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What story are you trying to tell? 
  • Who are you telling it to? 
  • What do you want in return?

Answer these questions when you are making your videos—that will help you generate interest in your audience much more than expensive visuals.

Remember that video marketing on channels like YouTube is less about making sales, and more about making connections.

Don’t put content out there and hope for the best. You need to engage with the audience—ask people to comment and then reply to them. Look out for trolls and report them immediately.

Promote your content on social media channels. Add a link to your YouTube channel on your website and newsletter.

YouTube SEO

SEO isn’t just for written content—it has a huge role to play in video marketing, and eventually in how well your channel is received.

There are a number of SEO tools that you can use to make this process easier. But first, you need to know the key aspects of YouTube SEO that you need to work on.

1. Tags

If you want your audience to find your content, your channel and videos need to have the tags that are relevant to them. 

The VidIQ extension is a good tool for checking tags that would be relevant to your content and are more effective in reaching your target audience.

2. Keywords

As with tags, when creating videos, ensure you choose the keywords that not only describe the content but also appeal to your audience.

Use a mind map to brainstorm your keywords and keep track of which ones are most effective for your audience.

3. Headlines

You will have spent time optimizing blog headlines. The same goes for YouTube videos. The headlines you choose should be extremely relevant to your topic. 

Keep the headline to 60 characters—as you would do with a blog headline—so it isn’t cut off on search engines. 

You should keep the primary keywords to the beginning of the headline—another important way to boost organic SEO.

Don’t use obscure keywords as this will make it harder for your videos to be found—and will negatively impact your ranking.

Looking for inspiration?

Here are some headlines that earned brands 1000s of views:

Short, sharp, and focused headlines will improve clicks and engagement.

4. Thumbnails

The type of thumbnail that appears beside your video has an impact on how many people click on it—thus improving your ranking. According to YouTube, 90% of the top viewed videos feature custom thumbnails.

When you upload a video to YouTube, you will be able to choose a frame from your video. While this makes the process easier, it doesn’t actually tell the audience much about the video.

Instead, create a customized frame to use as the thumbnail—this can include visuals from the video, alongside the headline and a tagline.

Customized thumbnails will share more information than a random screenshot from the video, and make your content more attractive.  

5. Video descriptions

Your video headline can only share so much information—to make your video more compelling to the audience, and for YouTube SEO rankings, write a detailed video description.

As with titles, ensure your primary keywords are kept in the front of the description. Include bullet points about the key areas you are discussing—if you can include timestamps for when in the video you will be discussing these points, even better.

Add a bit of levity by including links to the music you’re using in the video. And you should definitely include your CTA in the description.

To break it down, here are the essential elements of a great video description:

  • To-the-point introduction, written in brand tone, explaining exactly what viewers will see in the video
  • Keywords, used at the beginning of your description and sprinkled throughout. Avoid keyword stuffing, as you would do with a blog
  • Include your CTA below the description—a link to subscribe to your channel, visit your website, or use a code
  • Below the CTA, add links to related content
  • Add timestamps to important moments in the video

6. Hashtags 

People don’t realize that hashtags on YouTube are definitely a thing—and they can be massively helpful for your organic SEO.

YouTube allows a maximum of 15 hashtags, which can be used in the titles and descriptions of your videos.

These hashtags are clickable—users can see all content related to those hashtags. This also means you need to be judicious in your use of hashtags.

For one, they need to be relevant to your topic. They also need to be popular—obscure hashtags, like rarely-used keywords, won’t be clicked on.

Use hashtags to make your content more easily discoverable but choose them wisely. 

YouTube metrics

The discussion around which YouTube metrics you should be focusing on has been raging for years. There are a large number of metrics available but they aren’t all made equal.

Here are some of the metrics that you should examine when trying to determine how well your content is performing:

  • Bounce Rates – The rate at which people are leaving your video before completing it
  • Click Rates – The number of times your video is being clicked on
  • Completion Rates – How many times your video has been watched to completion 
  • Comments – The number of comments your video received
  • Conversion Rates – How often users viewed a video and then acted on the CTA
  • Likes and Dislikes – The number of likes or dislikes your video received
  • Recurrence Rates – How often viewers watched the same video multiple times
  • Referrals – Where users are finding your videos from
  • Sharing – How often people are sharing your videos
  • Subscribers – The number of subscribers your channel has
  • Video Views – How many people watched a video in total

Those are a lot of metrics but you don’t have to study each one to decide whether your content is a success.

Go back to the goals that we mentioned in the first point of this blog—what are you trying to achieve with your YouTube marketing strategy? 

  • If you want more conversions from your videos examining the completion rates and conversion rates of your videos will tell you whether your content is engaging enough for people to act on your CTA.
  • If creating a wholesome YouTube channel is your goal, study the referrals to find out where people are finding your content—so you can optimize those channels further.

Though you will want to grow your subscriber base, the number of subscribers you have may not be indicative of how good your content is.

  • If your videos are being viewed despite low subscriber numbers, it may be a sign that your content is good but isn’t catering to repeat customers.
  • In general, bounce rates and completion rates are good indicators of the success of your content.

When people leave your video without completing it, that means it didn’t hold their interest. If most people are leaving around the same point in the video, that gives you an idea of what you need to improve in the content itself.

Videos with low completion rates could be indicative of the fact that your videos are too long. Try creating shorter videos to see the impact on completion rates.

Focus on the metrics that align with the goals of your video marketing strategy instead of looking at every single one of them.

YouTube advertising

YouTube advertising is an option that brands can explore once they have become more comfortable with the platform.

According to PPCHero, 48% of marketers are investing in YouTube advertising, making it the third most popular advertising platform, after Facebook and Instagram. 

There are a number of YouTube ad formats that you can use to reach your target audience.

Some YouTube video ad formats:

  • Bumper ads: Six-second long unskippable ads that play before, during, and after videos. These cannot be skipped.
  • In-stream ads: These 15 second-long ads come in skippable and non-skippable forms and appear before, during, and after videos across YouTube and other Google-affiliated videos.
  • Masthead ads: The masthead ads appear muted at the top of the YouTube search page. These ads can be 30 seconds long.
  • Outstream ads: Optimized for mobile marketing only, Outstream ads appear on mobile websites associated with Google, not on YouTube mobile.
  • Video discovery ads: Much like banner ads, the video discovery ads appear on the YouTube homepage, search results pages, and alongside related videos. 

Depending on your needs, you can create ads that will improve your brand awareness and reach.

Bumper ads have the best chance of being seen because they are unskippable—but they are also only six-seconds long. If you can create strong messaging within that time, you can reach your target audience.

For a start, it makes more sense to create in-stream ads. You have more length to play with—15 seconds—and you can have them placed during a variety of relevant videos.

If you are unfamiliar with the platform, it’s always best to test out a few options so you know how which direction to go.

Conclusion

Video marketing on YouTube can feel like a challenge at first—but by following the above steps, you can start to build a following on the platform and improve your conversions. 

Now that you have these basics in the bag, you can launch a YouTube channel to market your brand and products and let it grow into a successful marketing platform.

Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at the online infographic and design platform, Venngage.

The post Ultimate guide to video marketing on YouTube appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Josh Constine leaves TechCrunch for VC fund SignalFire

April 28, 2020 No Comments

How do you leave the place that made you? You figure out what it made you for. TechCrunch made me a part of the startup ecosystem I love. Now it’s time to put that love into action to help a new generation of entrepreneurs build their dreams and tell their stories.

So it’s “TC to VC” for me. After 8.5 years at TechCrunch and 10 in tech journalism, I’m leaving today to join the venture team at VC fund SignalFire. I’m going to be a principal investor and their head of content.

I’ll be seeking out inspiring new companies, doing deals (when I’m eventually up to speed) and providing pitch workshops based on countless interviews for TechCrunch. Thankfully, I’ll also still get to write. We’re going to find out what founders really want to learn and produce that content to help them form, evolve and grow their companies. I’m doing my signature bounce & smile with excitement.

Where to follow my writing

You’ll still be able to follow my writing as well as my journey into VC on my newsletter Moving Product at constine.substack.com as well as on Twitter: @JoshConstine. No way I could just suddenly shut up about startups! If you’re building something, you can always reach me at joshsc [at] gmail.com

On the newsletter you can read a deeper explanation for why I picked SignalFire . I also just published the first real issue of Moving Product on how quarantine is “loaning” concurrent users to startups that will help the new wave of synchronous apps snowball to sustainability, plus commentary from top product thinkers on Facebook’s new Rooms.

Why I chose SignalFire?

I was drawn to SignalFire because it’s built like the startups I love writing about: to solve a need. Entrepreneurs need tactical advantages in areas like recruiting, where they spend most of their time, and expert advice on specific problems they’re facing.

SignalFire CEO and founder Chris Farmer

That’s why SignalFire spent six years in stealth building its recruitment prediction and market data analysis engine called Beacon. It can spot deal opportunities for SignalFire’s new $ 200 million seed and $ 300 million breakout funds while helping the portfolio hire smarter. Then SignalFire assembled more than 80 top experts, like Instagram’s founders, for its invested advisor network. Traditional funds need partners to exhaust their social capital asking for favors from friends to help their portfolio. SignalFire’s model sees its advisors share in the returns of the fund, so they’re sustainably motivated to assist.

SignalFire’s founder and CEO Chris Farmer was also willing to invest in me, figuratively. I’ve written about thousands of startups but I’ve never funded one. He and his team have offered to mentor me as I learn the art and science of investing. They also accept me for my opinionated, outspoken self. Instead of constricting my voice, the plan is to harness it to highlight new ideas and proven methods for building companies. I wrote this post on my newsletter with a deeper look at why I picked SignalFire and how its modernized approach to venture works.

What makes TechCrunch different

Of the 3,600 articles I’ve written for TechCrunch, this was the hardest.

TechCrunch gave me the platform to make an impact and the freedom to say what I believe. That’s a rare opportunity in journalism, but especially important for covering startups. TechCrunch writes about things that haven’t happened yet. There are often no objective facts by which to judge an early-stage company. Whether you decide to cover them or not, and the tone of your analysis, depends on having conviction about whether the world needs something or not, if the product is built right and if the team has what it takes.

If you rely on others’ signals about what matters, whether in the form of traction or investment, you’ll be late to the story. That means editors have to trust their writers’ intuition. At TechCrunch, that trust never wavered.

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 04: (L-R) Snap Inc. Co-founder & CEO Evan Spiegel and TechCrunch editor-at-large Josh Constine speak onstage during TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco 2019. (Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

Eric Eldon, Alexia Tsotsis and Matthew Panzarino put their absolute faith in our team. That gave me a chance to write the first-ever coverage of startups like Robinhood before its seed round, and SnappyCam before it was acquired by Apple and turned into iPhone burst fire. My editors also never shied away from confrontations with the tech giants, like my investigation into Facebook paying teens for their data that caused it to shut down its Onavo tool, or my exposé on Bing suggesting child abuse imagery in search results that led it to overhaul its systems.

I met my wife Andee at a TechCrunch event. [Image Credit: Max Morse]

I’ll always be indebted to Eric Eldon, who gave a freshly graduated cybersociologist with no experience his first shot at blogging back at Inside Facebook. Editors like Alexia Tsotsis and Matthew Panzarino helped me develop a more critical voice without sterilizing my personality. And all my fellow writers over the years, including Zack Whittaker and Sarah Perez, pushed me to hustle, whether that meant pontificating on new product launches or exposing industry abuse. If my departure from journalism elicits a sigh of relief from the companies in my cross-hairs, I know I did my job. The TechCrunch business and events team have turned Disrupt into the tech industry’s reunion. I appreciate them giving me the chance to learn public speaking, from the most heartfelt moments to the cringiest. And really, I owe them the rest of my life, too, since I met my wife Andee at a Disrupt after-party.

Treating writing like a sport to be won kept me cranking all these years, and I’m grateful for Techmeme offering a scoreboard for extra motivation. I’ll unhumbly admit it’s nice to hang up my jersey while ranked No. 1. My gratitude to Jane Manchun Wong for furnishing so many scoops over the years, and to all my other sources. It’s been fun competing and collaborating with my favorite other reporters, and I know Taylor Lorenz, Casey Newton and Mike Isaac will keep a close eye on tech’s trends and travesties.

But most of all, I want to extend an enormous thank you to…you. To everyone who has read or shared my articles over the years. I woke up each day with a sense of duty to you, and felt proud to say “I fight for the user” like Tron. What makes this industry special is how the community refuses to treat it as zero-sum. We grow the pie together, and everyone knows their competitor today could be their future co-founder. That makes us willing to share and learn together. I believe no recession, correction or bubble-burst will change that. 

BERLIN, GERMANY – DECEMBER 12: Group Photo on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin 2019 at Arena Berlin on December 12, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

So I’ll leave you with a final thought that’s made my life so fulfilling: If you have the privilege or create the opportunity, turn your passion into your profession.

Specialize. Learn. Then make what you want. If you can find some niche you’re endlessly interested in, that’s growing in importance, and at least someone somewhere earns money from, you’ll become essential. Not necessarily today. But that’s the beauty of writing — it teaches you while proving to others what you’ve been taught. No matter what it is, blog about it once a week. In time you’ll become an expert, and be recognized as one. Then you’ll have the power to adapt to the future, however feels most graceful.

Keep up with my writing on my newsletter at constine.substack.com, stay in touch on Twitter, and reach out at joshsc [at] gmail.com


Social – TechCrunch


Why content campaigns need to be surprising to earn top-tier press

April 28, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Every successful content campaign understands its audience and knows their pulse. How do you know whether your content campaign is worthy of being viral?
  • Fractl’s first in-depth study into viral emotions found that the most common emotions invoked when consuming viral content were amusement, interest, and surprise.
  • Domenica D’Ottavio shares the key ingredients of successful content campaigns with some interesting examples.

Successful content begins with understanding your audience. What does your audience like? What do they avoid? What do they want to learn more about? What are they most likely to share and engage with?

Fractl’s first in-depth study into viral emotions found that the most common emotions invoked when consuming viral content were amusement, interest, and surprise. After executing thousands of content campaigns, we keep these three emotions in mind when creating content—particularly the element of surprise.

Easier said than done, though. What makes content surprising? How can you use surprise in your content marketing campaigns to earn links and media coverage at top-tier websites?

In this post, I’m going to share two examples of content market campaigns that embraced the element of surprise and why they were primed to be successful.

Content with shock value is primed for social sharing

You often don’t know, until you start working on a project, whether your content will offer something readers don’t expect.

If something is surprising enough to get Whoopi Goldberg talking about it, you know you were successful. In a survey execution for one home-improvement client, we asked 1,000 Americans about their cooking habits.

What seemed innocuous at first, quickly became a link building success, in large because of the huge disparities in the results.

 

Why the content worked

Not only did we learn that Millennials are the worst cooks, but we also learned they have trouble identifying a butter knife, compared to other generations surveyed.

These two news hooks directly resulted in widespread coverage, because they were surprising enough, but also relatable enough, to spark conversation among readers.

Content campaigns that surprise - Example of Millenials being unable to identify a butter knife

After the first placement went live with Washington Post, this campaign spread like wildfire across the internet, earning top tier placements at dozens of publishers including USA Today, Thrillist, and The Daily Meal totalling 145 press mentions for a simple survey execution.

This content campaign is a perfect example of how just a few data points can carry a campaign. The content idea itself doesn’t need to be surprising — that is, exploring cooking habits — just as long as a single component of the data is shocking.

Surprising content that’s useful, too, can produce big wins

While the previous two campaigns produced results full of shock-value, a project doesn’t have to be controversial to be successful.

A lot of brands and businesses want to produce content that’s not only entertaining but also informative and useful to their audience. When producing surprising content that also can be informative, consider the impact of the information. What ideas can you produce that will contribute positively to people’s lives?

In a content campaign for one career-related client, we wanted to find out how much money you could make in various careers that don’t require a degree.

Millennials are the largest generation in the U.S. workforce. Many of whom entered college during or following the great recession. So, topics related to career and finance are hot for millennials, as many of them graduated with student debt, and may have trouble finding work with the degree they earned.

Survey executions are useful for new studies, but when the data already exists and is available for use, why not use it?  The average person often finds it difficult to interpret meaningful findings from existing data sets, which is why they can be perfect for link building content campaigns.

After digging through the data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (a free-to-the-public data source) we found that contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a degree or to own your own business in America and earn 6-figures.

In addition to being surprising, this data also proved useful to our audience.

Many college graduates in America are not making six-figures. So, this campaign was surprising and eye-opening to them. For those looking to get started in a different field, this study provided a glimpse into what high-paying jobs are out there. For those without degrees, this study provided hope and inspiration to improve their situation.

After earning coverage on CNBC, this campaign appeared across many work and career-related publishers wanting to cater to their audience and deliver these surprising and informative findings. Capping out at 141 press mentions, this campaign was also featured on MSN, Marketwatch, and The Ladders.

An element of surprise grabs and keeps the audiences’ attention

When producing content, not every aspect of your piece has to be surprising. In fact, we find that it’s usually one or two data points that yield the majority of link building results for our clients.

The key to creating successful content campaigns in any niche is to intend to serve your audience first. Come up with ideas that answer their questions, and then put your own surprising spin on it.

When producing any successful content campaign, make sure that there’s an element that’s newsworthy, surprising, and data-driven for optimum success.

Domenica D’Ottavio is a Brand Relationship Manager at Fractl. She can be found on Twitter @atdomenica.

The post Why content campaigns need to be surprising to earn top-tier press appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Could Staring Into a Stranger’s Eyes Cure Zoom Fatigue?

April 28, 2020 No Comments

Human Online still requires a screen, but in place of the agony of work meetings or happy hours, you spend 60 seconds with a single person—no speaking.
Feed: All Latest


Miro lands $50M Series B for digital whiteboard as demand surges

April 26, 2020 No Comments

Miro is a company in the right place at the right time. The makers of a digital whiteboard are seeing usage surge right now as businesses move from the workplace and physical whiteboards. Today, the company announced a hefty $ 50 million Series B.

Iconiq Capital led the round with help from Accel and a slew of individual investors. Today’s investment brings the total raised to around $ 75 million, according to the company. Among the company’s angel investors was basketball star Steph Curry, and Dutch investor Bas Godska, one of the most prolific Western investors in Eastern Europe.

What’s attracting this level of investment is that this is a product made for a moment when workers are forced to stay home. One of the primary complaints about working at home is the inability to sit in the same room with colleagues and brainstorm around a whiteboard. This reproduces that to an extent.

What’s more, Miro isn’t simply light-weight add-in like you might find built into a collaboration tool like Zoom or Microsoft Teams; it’s more of a platform play designed to integrate with many different enterprise tools, much like Slack does for communications.

Miro co-founder and CEO Andrey Khusid said the company planned the platform idea from its earliest days. “The concept from day one was building something for real-time collaboration and the platform thing is very important because we expect that people will build on top of our product,” Khusid told TechCrunch.

Image Credit: Miro

That means that people can build integrations to other common tools and customize the base tool to meet the needs of an individual team or organization. It’s an approach that seems to be working as the company reports it’s profitable with more than 21,000 customers including 80% of the Fortune 100. Customers include Netflix, Salesforce, PwC, Spotify, Expedia and Deloitte.

Khusid says usage has been skyrocketing among both business and educational customers as the pandemic has forced millions of people to work at home. He says that has been a challenge for his engineering team to keep up with the demand, but one that the company has been able to meet to this point.

The startup just passed the 300 employee mark this week, and it will continue to hire with this new influx of money. Khusid expects to have another 150 employees before the end of the year to keep up with increasing demand for the product.

“We understand that we need to come out strong from this situation. The company is growing much faster than we expected, so we need to have a very strong team to maintain the growth at the same pace after the crisis ends.”


Enterprise – TechCrunch


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