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Tag: 2021

March 2021 Updates to Paid Media Platforms

April 9, 2021 No Comments

In this monthly post, we bring you the latest from all of the major platforms.  Google Ads What: Drive Leads with Hotel Property Promotion Ads Details: Property Promotion Ads are now available globally. Previous to this launch, direct participation in property promotion ads was done through an allowlist. They show prominently in search results for […]

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11 Amazing LinkedIn Features You Must Use in 2021

April 2, 2021 No Comments

LinkedIn is the best platform to get leads. Check 11 amazing LinkedIn features that will save you time and will help to achieve your business goals.

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Unlocking the secrets of data storytelling in 2021

March 22, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Data storytelling is the process of combining graphics and narratives to help audiences understand complex data
  • There are eight types of graphs and charts that marketers can use to tell data stories
  • This guide will help you understand why data storytelling is important and what best practices you should follow

We’re seeing the growing importance of storytelling with data in 2021—primarily because of the amount of data being shared with audiences over the past year.

But data needs to make sense to people if it’s to lead to better engagement and increased conversions. That’s where visualization comes in.

According to Venngage’s recent study, data storytelling has become a popular tool in an organization’s arsenal, with 48 percent of marketers creating data visualizations weekly.

Source: Venngage

In this article, we will share why businesses are turning to data storytelling to tell their brand stories and to capture the imagination of their customers.

Why is storytelling with data important?

Data-driven storytelling combines data and graphics to tell a compelling story. It also gives the data more context so audiences can understand it better.

The visual representation of data lies can show readers patterns and connections they may not have deduced on their own.

That’s what makes them such a necessary tool in a small business’ arsenal—data graphics can help businesses track their performance and set goals.

Kinds of data visualizations for storytelling

There are numerous visual tools available to render data—they highlight why data visualization is important.

Some of the kinds of data visualizations for storytelling include:

  • Bar Graphs
  • Bubble Charts
  • Histograms
  • Infographics
  • Line Charts
  • Maps
  • Pie Charts
  • Scatter Plots

Each visualization technique serves a purpose. Bar graphs and charts are ideal for creating comparisons, whereas line charts show linear relationships.

Maps show geographical data, like this example about the languages of the world.

Languages in the world

Source

Pie charts share data according to set categories, while scatter plots show relationships between multiple variables.

To understand which charts and graphs to use to tell your data story, you can refer to the below infographic.

Infographic chart on data storytelling

Source: Venngage

Five advantages of data storytelling

What advantages can businesses expect when storytelling through data?

These are the questions that marketers and designers ask themselves before undertaking such a design-heavy project.

But there are several uses for data graphics that make them worth investing time and effort into.

1. Provides deeper analysis into information

If you look at the types of visualizations described above, you can see how they provide greater insight into information.

A text post or report can do the same work but will require much more labor from the reader—increasing the chances of them leaving your page for shorter content

A graphic, on the other hand, tells the reader the same information in a much shorter time. This improves engagement rates and conversions.

Visuals can also convey patterns easily allowing the reader to analyze information quickly by connecting the dots themselves.

2. Promotes problem-solving

Data stories are succinct materials that boost the problem-solving process and improve productivity.

This is because decision-makers don’t have to read reams of text or sift through information on their own—the graphics do the work for them and speed up problem-solving.

3. Engages internal and external audiences

Content marketing is geared toward engagement—and that’s why strong visuals that catch the eye are so important. 

Visuals are more attractive than blocks of text—and data graphics that are well-made even more so than others.

This is because a data story is compelling in itself—numbers, percentages, relationships, and connections are all reasons for a reader to stop what they’re doing and look at your graphic.

As a result, you increase traffic and views to your content and your website, all while promoting a favorable impression of your brand. 

4. Improves reporting abilities

Reports are part and parcel of business life. A great data story is key to a memorable and powerful analysis, like this simple but elegant finance infographic template.

Data storytelling improves reporting capabilities

Source: Venngage

There is so much data involved in creating reports—if they are articulated through numbers and tables, your audience will be lost, and worse, bored.

That is why great data storytelling is so important in report-making, not just to keep people interested but to tell a good story.

5. Wide reach

Graphics can be repurposed in multiple ways and for a variety of channels. Social media platforms like Twitter, which are chockful of information, require a strong visual to get attention.

That attention can be generated through data storytelling. Bite-sized visuals arrest the viewer as they’re scrolling through their feed—they’re also easy to absorb and more shareable.

Visualized data makes for great content whether for social channels, newsletters, blog posts, or website landing pages.

A great graphic has the potential to go viral, widening the reach of your content and influence.

Data storytelling best practices

Paying heed to the importance of visualizing data means following a few best practices. You can’t create visuals without having a goal. 

You also need to understand the subject matter and the needs of your audience so your data tells the story you want it to and engages your readers.

Here are the six best practices for creating visualizations that will boost customer retention.

Create visual hierarchies

Hierarchies are necessary for people to read and interpret your data. Visual hierarchies are a key component of data storytelling because they help readers create context and patterns.

Since you don’t want to write too much text to explain your graphic, hierarchies are the best way to convey context. Here are the best ways to build visual hierarchies and context:

  • Placement of elements from top to bottom
  • Grouped elements
  • Varying colors
  • Varied visual styles
  • Increasing font sizes

Users will be able to deduce the relationship between data and elements using the above methods.

Build trust into data visuals

The benefits of visualization are completely lost if you can’t elicit trust in the people viewing your information.

When we put statistics together for studies at Venngage, we survey hundreds, if not thousands, of respondents before beginning the design process.

This is necessary to avoid cherry-picking data, which can be misleading, as this graph shows, and accidentally designing bad infographics.

Build trust with data storytelling

Source: Venngage

It is always best to compile data from trusted sources that are unbiased. Verify that data with at least two other sources so you know that the data is representative of the information.

Only then should you move into the design phase. When creating your visuals, avoid distortion as much as possible by following these methods:

  • Choose charts and graphs that suit your data
  • Your visual should include a scale to give context to the data
  • Baselines for data should always start at zero
  • Both axes should appear in the graphic and be equal in size
  • Use all relevant data in the visual; don’t leave important data out

Size plays a major factor in trust-building—use similar-sized visual elements, like icons, that can be scaled on a graph. 

Show changes in data through size and space but both should be equal between all visual elements.

Keep visualizations simple

Pulling together data requires a great deal of time and effort. It can be tempting to design visuals that express as much information as possible.

But that mindset can negate the effectiveness of visually representing data, and overwhelm your audience.

Visualizations should be simple and easy to understand—not only is this a brand design trend in 2021, but it keeps readers more engaged, like this chart we created.

Keep visuals simple

Source: Venngage

While a complex visualization may look sophisticated and interesting, if your audience spends too much time trying to understand it, they’re going to eventually give up and move on.

A badly-designed graphic, like the one below, will also give readers a negative impression of your brand and product, losing you more potential customers.

Bad example

Source

Data graphics should be simple enough to understand at a glance—that’s all the time you have to get users’ attention.

Don’t overuse text

If your data story needs more text to understand it, the visual isn’t well-designed. While there needs to be some text in the graphic, it shouldn’t dominate the image.

You can always write a blog or social media post around your findings, but your readers shouldn’t be lost without the context.

The benefits of data-driven storytelling lie in the fact that your information can be communicated through the visual medium.

If you’re relying on text to do all the talking, your graphic is lacking. Use graphic elements like icons and shapes, and break your data down into bite-sized portions so it’s easy to convey.

Use colors wisely in visualizations

Colors have a lot to do with the importance of data visualization storytelling—they can be used to highlight key information in a graphic and augment the data story you are trying to tell.

But that doesn’t mean you use all the colors in the palette in your graphic. Again, too many colors, like too much information, can overwhelm the audience.

On the flip side, by using too few colors, you can mistakenly create connections between data that aren’t correct.

Use your brand colors in your visualizations, and augment them with two or three colors. Try not to exceed five colors or five hues of a single color. 

If you’re wondering what kinds of colors work together, you can use this list to choose color combinations.

Use muted colors in your graphics, instead of bold ones, as that is what is on-trend at the moment and will make your visuals more relevant to audiences.

Highlight data in visuals

As much as you want users to understand the data as you present it to them in a visual, you aim to capture their attention as quickly as possible.

Even the simplest visuals need some highlights to draw the eye and it’s a great way to maintain the integrity of your data story.

Use a highlight color to make relevant data stand out or increase the font size or icon size to do the same.

By spotlighting the most important information, you will be more successful in attracting attention to your visual and telling your data story. 

Businesses can leverage the importance of data storytelling

We’ve highlighted how data storytelling can make a difference in business growth in 2021.

Graphics share insights and correlations that audiences may have overlooked, while still being compelling tools that engage and convert customers.

Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at the online infographic and design platform, Venngage. Ronita regularly writes about marketing, design, and small businesses.

The post Unlocking the secrets of data storytelling in 2021 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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On-page SEO: a handy checklist to tick off in 2021 and beyond

March 12, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • On-page SEO is the process of optimizing your web pages and content for search engine crawlers
  • It involves a lot of moving parts, so it’s easy to forget some elements or tweak them incorrectly
  • This quick checklist will help you keep all the various on-page SEO elements on track

On-page SEO is basically a set of techniques and best practices for your web pages to make them more search-engine friendly and thus, boost your rankings.

Now, as you know, keywords are at the heart of nearly everything on-page SEO. But on-page optimization involves a lot of elements — not just keywords — so it’s easy to overlook some of them.

To make it easy for you to ensure all your pages are correctly optimized for the best possible rankings, here’s a handy checklist to tick off.

URLs

Review the URLs of all pages on your site to ensure they’re concise rather than long and complex. Shorter URLs tend to have better click-through rates and are more easily understood by search engine crawlers.

Include your page’s primary keyword in the URL, remove filler (aka stop) words like “the”, “for”, and “to”, and keep it under 60 characters.

Images

Your website is likely brimming with images, and that’s a good thing as images contribute significantly to improving both user experience and rankings. They make your content more easy-to-consume, engaging, and memorable, and when optimized correctly, help you drive more traffic to your website.

To optimize your images for on-page SEO, here are a couple of things to ensure:

Image filename and alt text

Google bots can’t “see” images like humans. They need accompanying text to understand what the image is about. So, write a descriptive filename (“blue-running-shoes.jpg” instead of “82596173.jpg”) and alt text (which helps in case the image fails to load for some reason) for every image on your site, including keywords in both.

Alt text also helps make your website more accessible, as screen readers use the alt text to describe images to visually-challenged users. In fact, it’s prudent to test your website’s accessibility to ensure you don’t ever have to cough up big bucks for ADA lawsuit settlements.

Image file size

Page speed is a major ranking signal for both desktop and mobile searches, and bulky images slow down your site’s load speed. So make sure to compress all images to reduce their size — ideally under 70 kb.

Titles and meta descriptions

See to it that you’ve included your main keywords in the front of the title tags of all pages. Ensure the length of your title tags is under 60-65 characters and no longer than 70 characters, otherwise, it may get truncated in the SERPs.

Also, the title should be the only element wrapped in the H1 heading tag. In other words, only one H1 tag per page that’s reserved for the title.

For meta descriptions, just ensure you have written a keyword-rich and inviting meta description that is relevant to your user’s search intent. Keep it under 160 characters for all your pages. If you don’t, Google will pick some relevant text from the page and display it as the meta description in the SERP, which isn’t ideal for SEO.

Page load speed

Speed is a major ranking factor you just can’t afford to overlook. If your pages take anything over two to three seconds to load, your visitors will bounce to a competitor, and achieving first page rankings will remain a dream.

Thus, verify that:

  • Code is optimized with minified CSS and JS
  • There are no unnecessary redirects
  • You have compressed all images
  • You’ve enabled file compression and browser caching
  • Server response time is optimal

Regularly review your site speed using PageSpeed Insights to find out the exact areas that can be improved.

Links – internal and external

Ensure you have a proper linking strategy that you always follow. Both internal and external links play a role in your on-page SEO.

External links

Citing external sources and having outbound links is crucial for building credibility in the eyes of both Google crawlers and human visitors. However, make sure that you’re only linking back to high-quality websites and reliable sources.

Plus, ensure there are no broken (“404 not found”) links, as they hurt SEO and user experience. In case you may have a lot of site pages, it is best advised to create an engaging and easy-to-navigate 404 error page. This will help you retain site visitors and help them find relevant content/actions.

Internal links

Make sure to strategically interlink pages and content on your website. This helps crawlers to better understand and rank your content for the right keywords.

Internal linking also helps to guide visitors to relevant pages and keep them engaged.

Content

All your blog posts and website copy play a pivotal role in on-page optimization. Besides ensuring your target keywords are sprinkled judiciously and naturally throughout your content title, URL, subheadings, and paras. Here are a couple of things to get right.

Structure and readability

Verify the structure of content on all pages. Make sure you’ve used keyword-optimized headings and subheadings – H1, H2, H3, and so on, to build a logical hierarchy, which improves the readability and crawlability of your content.

Comprehensiveness

Studies suggest that longer, in-depth posts perform better than shorter ones when it comes to Google rankings. So, strive to have a word count of 2,000+ words in every piece of content.

Comprehensive, long-form content will also serve your audience better as it likely answers all their questions about the topic so they don’t have to look for more reading resources.

Over to you

With each new update to its core algorithm, Google is fast shifting its focus on rewarding websites with the best user experience.

But nailing your on-page optimization which ties closely with UX will continue to help you achieve top rankings and stay there. And so, keep this checklist handy as you work on your SEO in 2021 and beyond.

Gaurav Belani is a senior SEO and content marketing analyst at Growfusely, a content marketing agency specializing in content and data-driven SEO. He can be found on Twitter @belanigaurav.

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How to do ASO in 2021: App Store Optimization Tips

March 8, 2021 No Comments

Wondering how to do app store optimization in 2021? We’ve put together the top 7 ASO tips & tricks that will help you enhance your organic growth strategy.

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February 2021 Updates to Paid Media Platforms

March 7, 2021 No Comments

In this monthly post, we bring you the latest news and changes from all of the major ad platforms.

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2021 Will be the year brands make winning experiences out of remote interactions

March 3, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • In line last year’s changes, customers’ behaviors and expectations have also evolved dramatically over the past year
  • 31 percent more likely to purchase online in 2021 than they were just a year prior
  • Cutting through the clutter and creating meaningful experiences for valued customers will be a priority for brands
  • Donna Tuths, Chief Transformation and Innovation Officer at Sutherland foresees four key trends playing out in 2021

2020 has forced brands to completely transform the way they operate in the wake of the pandemic, and it is evident that some of the changes we are experiencing will be permanent. Brand relationships that were once defined by visiting stores or face-to-face conversations with salespeople are now being reimagined as remote interactions. Mandatory physical distancing around the world, coupled with the rise of digital connectivity, has resulted in many brands transitioning from brick-and-mortar to online.

In line with this change, customers’ behaviors and expectations have also evolved dramatically over the past year. For instance, consumers were 31 percent more likely to purchase online in 2021 than they were just a year prior.

While online or remote interactions are not an entirely new concept, the challenge brands face is cutting through the clutter and creating meaningful experiences for their valued customers. Here are the four key trends I foresee playing out in 2021 to make that a reality.

Customer care will shift to a business driver

Marketers are taking notice. In the battlefield of experience, remote interactions with customers have become key. With the vast majority of them now taking place in the contact center, companies have come to recognize these interactions are gold. With the omnichannel capabilities available today, marketers have terabytes of data generated every day by their interactions with their customers that could be mined to hyper-personalized interactions, wow their customers, and make every contact count.

Investments in employee experience will have a greater impact on customer experience than ever before

Happy employees equal happy customers. The more brands invest in the employee experience, the more the customer benefits. AI-enabled tools used for recruiting can turn the power of data into creating a perfect match between their target consumers and the people they entrust to interact with them day in and day out. Furthermore, AI-enabled tools can enable those humans to provide the support that is frictionless, with less effort.  

This year will take brands much closer to getting the human-machine balance right

Rather than replacing humans, machines are elevating what humans do, giving them powers that reach beyond space and time. This delivers benefits to consumers and employees alike. While humans are busy interacting with customers, AI-enabled bots trained on sentiment data analysis and more can scour chat, email, and other channels to identify customers that need help and fast.

2021 may be the year AI-enabled marketing explodes

This would literally give the term “marketing automation” a new meaning. With huge amounts of interaction data available to many companies and advances in machine learning, brands could see next-generation, real-time, AI-enabled marketing where signals are detected and hyper-personalized messages and offers are instantly dispatched without nary a marketer or marketing operations person lifting a finger.

2021: A renewed focus on creating winning experiences

For brands to be more intentional about creating winning experiences across their multiple customer touchpoints, they need to improve on the way they leverage data, deploy aiding technologies and empower their employees to drive these interactions.

It is only by striking the right balance between the three that brands can deliver the kinds of experiences that ensure success in driving increased consumer delight and loyalty.

Donna Tuths is Chief Transformation and Innovation Officer and Chief Marketing Officer at Sutherland.

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SEO in 2021: What your organization’s executives and senior leaders must know

February 26, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Did you know that 53 percent of trackable web traffic is organic?
  • A study from BrightEdge revealed that search (organic and paid) still delivers more traffic to websites than any other channels, including social and display
  • These statistics prove that the role of SEO in 2021 is elevated across all industries since an organic flow of traffic is now more critical than ever
  • Merkle Inc.’s VP Head of SEO, Eryck Dzotsi discusses six key focus areas that leaders across organizations must clearly understand about the role of SEO to drive organic search performance

2020 wasn’t a year that we will soon forget. Life and the way we do business changed forever. Ecommerce grew more last year than it has grown in the past five years combined. As a result, many businesses had to adapt their marketing efforts to these changes. The role of SEO in 2021 is elevated across all industries since an organic flow of traffic is now more critical than ever.

As we navigate this year, leaders across organizations must clearly understand the role of SEO and focus on driving organic search performance. Let’s dive into some key areas of focus:

1. Define the integration of SEO within other channels going forward

Did you know that 53 percent of trackable web traffic is organic? A study from BrightEdge revealed that search (organic and paid) still delivers more traffic to websites than any other channels, including social and display. This statistic alone demonstrates why brands need to realize that organic traffic is not going away, and they need to value SEO in 2021 and beyond. They need to integrate SEO with their other media channels. Organic search is the only channel that has a touchpoint across each stage of the customer journey.

While TV and display are generally associated with awareness, paid search is typically aligned with the mid to lower funnel as customers are making a decision about the product or service and converting. The story is different for organic search.

  • When interested in a product or when they have a problem they are trying to solve, users search (often as a result of interacting with an ad)
  • When making a decision and comparing options, users search
  • When customers are ready to convert, they search again, and often, after the purchase, search is again involved in learning how to use the product, service, and more

SEO is about answering users’ questions and helping them find what they were seeking. As a result, SEO is one of the few channels where the engagement is initiated by the user and the ad does not disrupt the customer journey. This makes SEO the channel that ought to be the point guard to a cross-channel line-up, playing assist to the other channels.

2. Organizations must hold SEO to the same accountability and scrutiny as other channels (ROI)

Organizations need to deploy a clear SEO analytics plan going forward. Often, because SEO does not have an associated cost, marketing prioritization is low, and measurement is laxed. ROI can seem abstract, and teams fail to properly track the measurement of success based on levels of effort, this is not ideal. SEO teams must have a systematic measurement plan and resources in place to make the right level of attribution and adjustments happen.

To start, align your goals with the other media channels – look at the impressions and have a clear understanding of your share of voice within your industry, click-throughs, visits, and conversions as part of the full view – what percent are you gaining compared to the market?

This accountability must be demanded from your SEO team going forward.

3. Organizations must optimize to one search experience by harmonizing SEO and SEM

In the first half of 2020, and throughout some of the social unrest periods that marked the year, many advertisers paused their campaigns. In those instances, this was a real-time experiment in organic vs. paid traffic acquisition. The conclusion many have walked away with is that you need both, but the programs which invested heavily in organic search showed the best results in aggregate.

Since non-branded keywords are becoming increasingly expensive, it is not always efficient to deploy a non-brand campaign in paid search. As a result, many campaigns have been reduced to maximizing visibility on branded terms. So, how do you win in search when you cannot buy your way out with paid campaigns? Organic search is the answer. An analysis should be conducted to properly find the balance between paid and organic so that you are optimizing the total search experience. Organizations that win here will have a clear strategy around leveraging where they are winning and where they have gaps.

4. Marketing teams must align SEO and user experience

Many lessons were gained in terms of reducing friction in the customer journey and optimizing the conversation between customers and brands. As a result, many brands set out to either redesign their websites or migrate to a new platform. When redesigning or overhauling a website, it is vital to involve SEO in the project from the beginning, or you will likely end up adding an extra step when a botched overhaul of content starts to affect performance. Start the project with SEOs involved from the beginning to save time, money, and headaches in this process. Additionally, ranking factors are becoming more aligned with items that are controlled by the UX team. SEO connects your media team to your user experience team, and collaboration between the two is necessary to bridge the gap in 2021 and beyond.

“Page experience” is already a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm and represents a set of aspects considered important in a webpage’s overall UX (mobile-friendliness, security, and the others). There are a couple of things happening this year that are specifically highlighting Google’s continued focus on rewarding websites that provide a great experience. First, Google is finalizing the switch to mobile-first indexing, which means all websites and their content will be crawled, evaluated, and indexed from a mobile device standpoint. Then the Core Web Vitals will be included in the larger page experience ranking factor.

5. Technical priorities for web must include SEO, Core Web Vitals, and user experience

If you ask 1,000 SEOs what the big trend for SEO in 2021 will be, 1,000 will tell you that it will be the year of Core Web Vitals. Core Web Vitals are a set of aspects that Google considers important in a webpage’s overall user experience. There are several things happening this year that specifically highlight this – the most impactful being Google’s switch to a mobile indexing environment, which is the end of an era as we know it. This means that Google will largely use the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking. In the past, the index primarily used the desktop version of a page’s content when evaluating the relevance of a page to a user’s query. Many websites have done great work to prepare, but complying with your technical foundation is a non-negotiable going forward.

6. SEO anchors on optimizing content across the entire customer journey

Marketers must create content that caters to the user’s journey – answering the demand and questions they will have across each stage of the funnel. As you plan content, have clear keyword governance to manage your content strategy across the organization, clearly defining each owner. For example, for large financial institutions, which business unit of banking, credit card, and mortgages owns the SEO performance for the keyword “credit score”? It is imperative that copywriters work hand-in-hand with SEO to have a functional content strategy to optimize the journey. You shouldn’t just use SEO to prioritize your content and keywords, but use it to determine the voice and narrative around those keywords.

According to a new Google update on December 3, Google is favoring information and user-focused sites. As a result, there has been a shift in ranking for organizations that are providing value and nurturing their customers. User-focused content across the journey is no longer a nice-to-have for organizations, but a must-have to properly rank.

Organic engagement with customers throughout the customer journey is and will continue to be a key element to marketing success. As the data shows, the channel is healthy. Brands that have invested in an institutionalized approach to SEO have achieved and sustained levels of success that span across other channels. There are many more opportunities for growth, and with ecommerce and customer expectations continue to grow at a rapid pace, the outlook for SEO in 2021 is optimistic.

Eryck Dzotsi is VP Head of SEO at Merkle Inc.

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Three critical PPC trends to watch for in 2021

February 26, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • The PPC world is ever-changing. Today’s trends may not be in the picture tomorrow
  • People will start focusing more on the buyer’s journey and use it to its full potential
  • Automation and AI will be a key trend in 2021

Many things have turned topsy-turvy after witnessing a year full of unprecedented situations and multiple coronavirus-induced lockdowns. Companies are shifting to a remote-first culture, people prefer shopping online than going to a retail store, and in-person conversations have turned to video conversations. A lot has changed in the last year, even on the advertising and marketing turf. Marketers have started using automation and artificial intelligence (AI) to create data-backed ads. They’ve started understanding the buyer’s journey and making the most of it. Here are three PPC trends that can potentially rock the boat in 2021.   

1. Google’s ad data hub will be a gold mine

Earlier in 2020, Google announced that they’d stop allowing third-party pixel tracking because of security concerns. The reliance on third-party pixels to check YouTube metrics led Google to invest in Ads Data Hub.

It is a custom analysis that aligns data with your specific objectives while maintaining privacy and security. It offers marketers a comprehensive analysis to measure the effectiveness of the ads across different screens. 

PPC trends - Google's data hub

Ads data hub will prove to be a gold mine for the marketers as it gives specific insights about the customer behavior and how they’re interacting with your ads. 

2. Understanding the buyer’s journey

A key aspect of a successful PPC campaign is to know how your customers behave to your ad in each step of your customer’s journey. Understanding each stage of the buyer’s journey can help in creating a more effective PPC campaign. 

Here are the five stages of the customer’s buyer’s journey and how can make the most of it by creating PPC campaigns for each stage.  

Stage #1: Awareness

In this stage, customers learn about your business and offerings. People are looking for an answer to their question—there are looking for someone to solve their problem. So, their needs may or may not be well defined. 

How can you help? 

Help them figure out their needs and align your offers according to them. Use branded paid ads to garner their attention. Use keywords they’re using to search in their search queries. When they see your ad, it stirs curiosity in them, and it compels them to know more about your brand. 

Stage #2: Exploration

In this stage, the customer learns more about the answers to their problems. They are sure of their needs and know different ways to cater to them. They also deem you as one of the solution providers and are gauging whether you can solve their problems. They’re checking your company’s USP, reviews, social proof, and previous partnerships. 

How can you help? 

At this stage, you can engage with your customers and build a long-lasting relationship. You can also use Facebook lead ads for addressing your customer’s problems. You can also write a conversational copy having social proof, case study, and previous work. This will inculcate a sense of trust in them, and they’ll love to explore your offerings. 

Stage #3: Comparison

In this stage, the customer compares different offerings and finds the best fit. He now understands the pricing points, their reviews, and ratings. Hence, PPC remarketing ads can prove out to be a great bet here. You can evoke the customer to click on your ad and embed your “cookie.” This keeps your brand in front of your customer. 

Stage #4: Conversion

The customers have realized their needs. They have narrowed down their options and are ready to buy. This is where you can put a strong call to action in your ads to encourage them to purchase from you. A solid CTA will compel your customer to purchase from you. Besides, you can also use remarketing to ensure that the prospects buy only from you. 

Stage #5: Re-engagement

Finally, the prospect has become a customer. So, make efforts in retaining them. But how will you do that? Segment these customers into a new audience list and use remarketing ads to attract their attention for other products and services. 

Understanding each stage of the buyer’s journey will help you create a rock-solid PPC campaign. The more you know your customers, the better you can tailor your campaigns. 

3. Automation will play a crucial role

According to Statista, the market size of automation globally will increase from 71.5% to 83.2% by 2021.

PPC trends - Automation will take charge

Hence, automation is expected to be a game-changing trend in 2021. With AI and machine learning (ML), advertisers can automate labor-intensive tasks of finding the right place to display the ads. Automation will also play a crucial role in testing ads. It’ll be used to optimize ads that include:

  • Finding the best bidding strategy 
  • Creating bids to get maximum conversions 
  • Enhance cost per click by looking for ad auctions 
  • Monitor the ad performance and stop low-performing ads 
  • Prioritize the ads that are generating top results 
  • Generate ads dynamically using user behavior and website content 
  • Generate ad performance reports dynamically 
  • Generate ad data and create ad copies to generate maximum clicks 

As AI learns more about your audience’s behavior and how they interact with the ads, it can accurately create ads to improve your PPC campaign’s performance. 

Wrapping up 

As an advertiser, you must incorporate these PPC trends in your marketing strategy to get the most out of your campaigns. In 2021, AI and automation will take the front seat. People will focus on each stage of the buyer’s journey and use voice search to look for answers to their queries. There will be a surge in VR-enabled video ads. Marketers will also look for alternate PPC campaign platforms such as Quora, LinkedIn, Reddit, and other such platforms to generate better ROI in 2021. Hence, it’s true to say that 2021 has a bunch of whole new things in its bag for you. All the best for taking up your digital marketing strategy a notch up!

Aayush Gupta is Sr. Manager, Brand & Marketing at Uplers.

The post Three critical PPC trends to watch for in 2021 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Cross-channel and cookieless: How measurement will evolve in 2021

February 24, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • The pandemic has caused major shifts in the way that advertisers operate, making it more critical than ever to be able to prove ROI and make every ad dollar count
  • The inability to track reach and frequency is one of the biggest problems with cross-platform ad measurement that marketers face
  • As marketers enter the new year, they will need to have measurement solutions in place that account for cross-channel, cookieless, privacy, and walled gardens
  • Early adopters of cross-channel measurement, truly cookieless solutions, privacy, and consumer-centric policies, and data collaboration will gain insights needed to ensure future success

Marketers have faced an incredible number of challenges over the past year. The demise of third-party cookies, the loss of device identifiers, and evolving privacy regulations have forced the industry to come up with new solutions for identity. With consumer behavior shifting rapidly and market volatility expected to continue this year, proving ROI with accurate measurement will be more important than ever. Half of U.S. marketers say the inability to track reach and frequency is still one of the biggest problems with cross-channel ad measurement. Better measurement solutions are needed.

Advertisers need to take the time now to evaluate their measurement solutions in order to ensure every dollar spent has a purpose. Marketers should look for solutions that overcome measurement challenges and form a single view of the customer journey. Only then can they truly improve the customer experience by delivering personalized messages and offerings based on insights gleaned. In 2021, measurement solutions will evolve and improve to account for cross-platform, cookieless, consumer transparency, and walled gardens.

Cross-platform measurement will enable flexibility and control for TV and other mediums

Recent trends indicate that consumers are purchasing multiple streaming services and cutting the cord at an alarming rate. As consumer behaviors and viewer fragmentation across a range of digital mediums and streaming platforms accelerate, it’s important for advertisers to measure cross-platform reach and frequency in real-time and adjust course quickly if needed. This is nearly impossible to do using traditional TV metrics.

To determine where and how to best reach the consumer, measurement offerings must capture cross-channel metrics and normalize disparate data sets to better understand the actual viewer. For example, one spouse might be responsible for all the streaming subscriptions in a household while another manages cable and internet. To further confuse the issue, their online and offline purchases might be equally mixed.

With more accurate cross-screen metrics and measurement tools, including impact and reach, advertisers can track spend against specific KPIs to determine true ROI within a set audience. As advertisers and distribution players adopt new measurement solutions in 2021 and report these metrics more accurately, the industry will be forced to embrace flexibility in areas that have traditionally lacked agility and required firm budget commitments.

More accurate measurement gives advertisers key insights that require flexibility for optimizations and the need for more real-time control with TV and premium video. Measurement offerings that capture metrics across OTT and linear and link impact to actual outcomes will take center stage in the new year as advertisers are forced to prove ROI and can no longer rely on traditional TV metrics.

The deprecation of third-party cookies acts as a catalyst to better measurement

With less than a year before Google pulls the plug on third-party cookies and the simultaneous restrictions placed on certain mobile identifiers such as IDFAs, the advertising ecosystem is responding with a flurry of identifiers of their own. Despite this, the industry has yet to establish a standard for a universal way to measure reach without cookies, creating confusion in the marketplace and reinforcing the need for secure, privacy-conscious, and interoperable identity solutions that maintain neutrality.

Campaigns using people-based identifiers rooted in authenticated user data perform better across key metrics such as return on ad spend, cost per view, and cost per mille. In fact, certain types of cookieless solutions make it easier to measure results and prove ROI. Campaigns will be people-based and nearly 100 percent addressable—allowing advertisers and publishers to uncover undervalued inventory and see an improvement in their overall performance.

The industry is working diligently to build a better ecosystem – one with trust and transparency – that isn’t reliant on unstable identifiers like third-party cookies. A stronger, trusted ecosystem will ensure advertisers can measure across all consumer touchpoints long after the third-party cookie disappears. This helps to ensure the most relevant, tailored messages reach customers across channels – which ultimately leads to an increase in brand loyalty that will help strengthen businesses and improve outcomes for marketers and publishers alike in the post-cookie world.

Measurement evolves with privacy at its core

As privacy regulation continues to evolve, our industry faces a complex challenge — regaining consumer trust. There’s a conscious effort and trend towards consumer transparency, and that’s not going away. Thus, in addition to adhering to the law, advertisers are updating their policies to ensure transparency about how consumer data is being used. We need to do a better job of explaining that the data individuals share is part of a mutually beneficial value exchange that’s essential to developing products and services that serve consumers better.

As consumers engage across media — they opt-in, log-in, subscribe — and identify themselves in different ways. This data can be used to build and scale the right audiences and enhance measurement to better under which tactics are moving the needle on business outcomes. Advertisers should only use measurement solutions with privacy at the core to ensure the delivery of a seamless customer experience on the individual’s terms.

One example of where measurement is headed is LiveRamp’s integration with Google’s Ads Data Hub. This approach enables first-party data linkage to Google data within the ADH environment in a privacy-first way. An individual’s data cannot be directly viewed, edited, or manipulated in ADH, but actionable insights can be extracted.

Amazon sets the bar when it comes to understanding and measuring the customer buying journey and then executing against that data. Marketers are looking to create that type of measurement engine, without moving data or comprising privacy, that will form data partnerships to fill in the gaps in their line of sight, leveraging data from outside their four walls to measure the customer journey along with all endpoints.

The industry will embrace data collaboration to improve measurement

Walled gardens offer a prime example of how access to data at every point along the customer journey unlocks measurement of the whole customer experience. Following this example, consumer brands will seek to build a strong data foundation to form a unified view of the customer, then to optimize marketing touchpoints as part of the larger improvement to the customer experience. We’re seeing CPG brands analyzing sales lift by comparing data from retail partners to understand the holistic shopping journey of each customer.

As The Winterberry Group found in their January 2021 report ‘Collaborative Data Solutions’, one of the areas with the greatest adoption today is for insight and analysis. Data collaboration will only become more important as marketers strive to measure results and optimize budgets. With the right privacy-conscious structures in place, data science and analytics teams will be able to work across data sets, accelerate analysis, and forge a level of insight that is deeper than ever before.

Conclusion

After the year we had, evolution in measurement is imminent. In what will likely be another financially-difficult year, proving return on advertising investment will be the driving force behind this progression to more accountable metrics delivered with more speed.

Early adopters of cross-platform measurement, truly cookieless solutions, privacy and consumer-centric policies, and data collaboration will provide customers with the best in class experience today and reveal insights needed to ensure future success.

Matthew Emans is VP of Measurement Products for LiveRamp, and the co-founder/CTO of Data Plus Math, acquired by LiveRamp in 2019.

The post Cross-channel and cookieless: How measurement will evolve in 2021 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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