Unlocking Data-Driven Creative Personalization

Unlocking Data-Driven Creative Personalization

The in’s and out’s of delivering real-time creative for an audience of one. Creative personalization at scale is an essential way for brands to unlock exponential growth and efficiencies in media. The need for advertisers to stay true to their brand and speak to individuals on a personal level, without sacrificing brand identity is becoming increasingly critical. Consumers ultimately see one output, a creative piece which is the voice of a brand. All the work invested in understanding the audience, mapping the customer journey, identifying channels to activate within, are all designed to help brands connect with those they identify as potential consumers.  Although brands have been building amazing creatives for years, the proliferation of media and data has created a challenge for brands; building data-driven creatives at scale. Without data-driven creative personalization in place, how can brands continue to attract new consumers and most importantly, retain their attention? According to eMarketer and Google insights, less than one percent of all display creatives served in Canada include an element of personalization. Yet, Canadian brands continue to invest over $3 billion dollars into display advertising each year.  Brands that succeed at integrating customer data and signals within their creative can test, track and optimize creative in real-time - guaranteeing that the right offer and message is served to the right customer, and generate significant efficiencies in media activation. This allows brands to resonate better with audiences, deepen the relationship and maintain their competitive edge. By combining all these data points, it enables brands to have real-time, specific, and precise targeted conversations with their audiences. Using Signals to Understand Audiences Most marketers think they know their customers, while audience segmentation is often neglected or not utilized to its full potential. The first step of data-driven creative personalization requires a deep understanding of these audience segments. This requires brands to look beyond first-party data and combine internal data sets, website analytics, and purchase data with external sources, such as weather, competitor activity, and market signals.  Doing so enables brands to get a holistic view of the different audience segments they want to engage, along with the tone of their brand message tailored to the individual’s interests and needs. Brands should go beyond demographics when looking deeper into audience insights, as it will not only be more effective, but significantly more efficient in delivering the message. Combining these segments and signals against market trends and opportunities will result in hundreds, if not thousands, of possible combinations between audience, message, incentive and creative.  Creating a Scalable Creative Template  Personalization is a two-way communication - the customer provides signals and intent data, and the brand offers relevant solutions to address their needs and desires. It requires careful planning and a suitable process to building a creative library—one that has unique messages for different audiences and different tactics and various phases.  It also requires excellent planning to leverage typography, iconography, imagery, font and photography. Coming up with the right template is a creative and data problem grounded in a team that can effectively solve the same puzzle. Once the creative’s associated trigger fires, technology allows for optimization, where future potential customers receive appropriate triggered messages based on their position in the sales funnel. This becomes more important, especially when taking into consideration that consumers nowadays are on a constant journey. Most of us go through thousands, of touch points before converting, sharing our time across multiple screens simultaneously.  A Full Funnel Approach For marketers, the purchase funnel is wildly more complicated than it was just a few years ago. The display channel playing a particularly crucial role in driving new prospects into a funnel and closing the loop by driving sales. Yet so many brands are still focusing on either a prospecting, or remarketing strategy only. Having a holistic, full funnel, year-round approach becomes more important than ever before, and it allows brands to speak to and respond to their target audience when their consumers' preferences are shaped. It also allows for constant flow of new audiences into the funnel by adding them to prospecting audiences, while optimizing existing audiences lower down the funnel to close the sale.    Step 1 | Prospecting at Scale Speaking to consumers on an individual level and achieving personalization at scale all at once can be daunting at first. Figuring out the initial message and creative requires taking a closer look at behaviours, patterns, and habits to understand audiences at a meaningful level - first impressions count for a lot. That’s why it’s essential to talk to people when they’re in shopping mode. Programmatic does a fantastic and vital job of utilizing behaviour and analytical signals (Example Site Visit, and Interest,) to identify audiences with the highest intent and use those signals to make creative more relevant and tailored to the viewer. Smart Bidding then ensures the strongest performing creative is appearing in the right place, at the right time, to the right person. One of our travel clients discovered that utilizing imagery of the destination along with unique attributes generated 100 percent more clicks to site and 55 percent increase in conversions.  Step 2 | Remarketing at scale As there are more platforms, more signals, and more data sources to inform the creative process than ever before, creative assets are playing a crucial role as the consumer moves down the sales funnel and is especially effective when it comes to closing the actual conversion. Remarketing not only allows for advertising of relevant recommendations on products that they selected and expressed interest in, but also can incorporate suggestions on products they didn’t even think about - such as valuable bundles and offers. A perfect example with a client, operating in the Home Security space, that leveraged remarketing creative to provide site visitors with unique incentives and promotions on alternative products, once they left the site to ensure they returned, resulting in a 24% improvement in conversion.  Remarketing can be highly effective but can appear to be creepy or irrelevant if not done correctly or in a meaningful way. Brands need to get more sophisticated than just providing the same product the consumer shopped for in a banner ad. The most relevant remarketing creatives are ones that suggest complementary product skews to go with an actual purchase. Where a brand traditionally excludes audiences if they purchased a product, we've worked with a leading speaker brand have identified the best window for remarketing, was 48 hours post sale. They've leveraged this insight to deliver upsell opportunities on additional speakers, just when customers would have received their initial shipment, and the product interest is at its highest.   Ensuring teams pay attention to the frequency of their retargeting campaigns is also critical. This tactic can get irritating to the viewers, if not observed correctly or managed properly. Although remarketing CPC/CPM tend to be lower than prospecting, it’s not a reason to bombard customers with the same message repeatedly. It may cause creative fatigue over time and feel intrusive to many consumers.    Step 3 | Personalization at scale Personalization at scale helps consumers resonate with the ads and speaks to them on a more individual level. It focuses on user experience; ultimately allowing for better ad engagement. This is where the true value of personalization is unlocked for brands and where marketing effectiveness is maximized. It implies a deep understanding of the customer wherever they interact and regardless of how they engage with a brand.  Brands that know how to leverage personalization effectively - generated significant value from media. Aligning Technology Stack To work at this pace, and scale, requires an agile process, to replace the old ones.    Leaders in personalization and data-driven creative are continually testing and that requires putting a team together that not only has the right skills but also understands how to work together.    A cohesive team is also able to leverage signals better, both from 1st part data and other signals like market, weather, and other competitor elements to deliver better messaging and creativity as well as enhance customer value where it’s possible.  That is why aligning on a technology stack, for example the Google Marketing Platform, enables teams to make changes and optimizations faster, as well as easily measuring the true impact of each creative towards business goals. Its integrated workflows built on a solid floodlight configuration combined with the most robust data privacy protection standards makes GMP an attractive option to choose. A Shift in Mindset for Better Personalization Although, there isn’t an exact formula to where the line stops with personalization. Marketing teams need to do a better job of bridging creative data (Offer, Design, Copy Lines, Images, etc.,) AND media data (Audience, Conversion, Format, Inventory, etc.,) to identify the threshold and determine what drives the incremental sale, while ensuring seamless and meaningful customer experience. Consumers see value in function while marketers are challenged to deliver more for less. Brand leaders who master data driven creative personalization will create value for consumers in high-priority areas and in an environment of increased competition. More importantly, they’ll drive amazing experiences to consumers.   0

8 mins read

The Transformation to Free Product Listings on Google Shopping

The Transformation to Free Product Listings on Google Shopping

An evolutionary change for Shopping Ads on Google is upon us, yet many searchers will never notice the difference. For the first time since Froogle, effective immediately, Google is allowing unpaid product listings on its “shopping properties” (the Google Shopping Tab). You heard that right, free product advertising on Google Shopping! No need to create a new feed, just ensure you are opted-in to “surfaces across Google”. Why make this change? The answer is two-fold. In the short-term, amidst this COVID-19 pandemic, Google wants to help businesses combat the decline in brick and mortar sales. This change offers all brands the opportunity to sell on Google Shopping, without the need for investment in ad spend. The update was scheduled for later in the year and would have most likely been a slower roll out, but in response to the challenges in the retail sector due to the coronavirus pandemic, Google advanced their plans. From a long-term perspective, this is the next phase in competing with Amazon. Products on Google Shopping are no longer limited to brands with big budgets, allowing new and unique products to be displayed, which may better suit consumers' needs, creating an improved user experience and increasing the likelihood of a purchase. In addition, Google added PayPal to its list of eCommerce partners, opening the door to future advancements and the possible expansion of “Buy on Google”, a feature where the user completes their purchase without ever leaving the Google Shopping property. Via increased relevancy, increased conversion rate, and decreased barriers to entry, Google is hedging their bets that over time, this will create a behavioral change away from both their large eCommerce competitors and their new social eCommerce competitors. For the consumer As a result of the lowered barrier to entry for retailers (zero cost), consumers will get more choice in product selections due to the increased number of brands on the page. However, there is another factor which increases consumer choice. With large retailers, typically, only about 30% of their feed inventory is displayed due to the nature of Paid Advertising and the drive for efficiency in spend. For the other 70% of inventory, the performance metrics simply did not make Google Shopping a viable solution. For example, the cost of listing a $4 nail glue in Google Shopping outweighs the potential profit so advertising would need to be paused. However, Unpaid Product Listings open up this 70% of inventory as there is no cost. The consumers truly benefit from this update, getting more variety both in overall brand as well as individual product selection. But what does this mean for you as a retailer? There will be an impact to Performance, Reporting, and Optimization, but it is up to you to ensure it is a positive impact. Performance – The Paid Media real estate on Google Shopping properties will be dramatically reduced. Similar to the removal of the right rail ads in 2016, we can predict that this will lead to instability in product visibility (ad position and impressions) and inflating CPCs, as advertisers battle for the limited ad slots which remain. These limited ad slots will be housed in their own carousel at the top of the page while the new organic listings will populate underneath. However, it is worth remembering that there is now an abundance of free listings to take advantage of, so the potential increase in CPC will likely be offset by the free clicks elsewhere on the page. Additionally, as it stands, the majority of paid traffic still flows via the traditional SERP on Google.com, which remains unaffected by this change. With new products, more choice, and possibly lower price points, CTR could potentially drop. Google’s plan is to increase product relevancy for the consumer by allowing free product listings thus directly competing for that all-important “click”. While CTR is an advertising metric, what you, as a retailer, truly care about is qualified site traffic. This change may allow your brand to serve in both a Paid slot and a Free slot, therefore increasing the likelihood of incremental site traffic, offsetting any decrease in CTR. Also, at the present time, the majority of traffic is via the SERP which remains unaffected. Reporting – Currently, reporting for the Unpaid Product Listings sits within Google’s Merchant Center and exclusively focuses on clicks. For tracking and analysis purposes, you will likely want to enable auto-tagging or build custom click parameters. It is important to note that organic clicks will be aggregated together in one-line item. Google is working on the ability to segment data by category, product, and brand. As Google Shopping becomes more comparable to marketplaces like Amazon, it will be beneficial for retailers to aggregate metrics to share insights and inform strategy. Reporting will remain challenging in the short term. However, we must bear in mind this was an accelerated roll out by Google and that more functionality is to come over the next few weeks and months. Optimization – This update opens the doors to a new and exciting world of Shopping Feed SEO. Like Google Shopping Ads, these new unpaid listings will be powered by a product data feed managed through Google Merchant Center. We previously mentioned that CPCs are likely to increase, CTR may possibly decrease, and the best way to combat these from an overall business perspective is by maximizing visibility in the unpaid slots but this is a challenge without a robust data feed solution. The quality of your product data (paid and organic) is directly correlated to higher visibility on the SERP so your feed set-up matters now more than ever. A “functional” feed is not enough to drive success. But what differs between a functional feed and a best-in-class feed? Merchant quality, product data quality, and user engagement are three of the most important factors, but are also just the tip of the iceberg. From an Organic and Structured Site Data standpoint, there are a few elements that should be considered essential: ● The feed should use only Canonical URLs to avoid pulling information from the wrong version of a page. ● Schema Markup should be utilized and must match the contents of the page. ○ Pricing Schema should be considered, especially for any sale price items Retailers need to consider developing a technology-based frame of thought that outlines a strategy to achieve performance goals, layered into the role and impact of data feed solutions to arrive at that destination. While we expect results of this evolution in Google Shopping to be relatively small in the short term, we believe Google will now look to establish innovative ways to increase traffic, thus increasing the impact, both positive and negative. Unpaid Product Listings are valuable for Google, helpful for the consumer, and can be beneficial for brands as long as marketers monitor performance, optimize toward the data, and increase focus on feed based optimization. Amend these practices immediately to future-proof yourselves and truly reap the benefits. 0

6 mins read

YouTube SEO Guide

YouTube SEO Guide

0 You have probably heard of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) before. But not many people have heard about YouTube SEO and channel and video optimization on the world's second largest search engine. The more a video is optimised, the better it will rank and the more positive its effect on the rest of the channel. In this YouTube SEO guide, you can learn a lot about how to optimise your presence on the video platform. I will take you through all the important steps. Why work with video and YouTube at all? In 2021, video will account for 82% of total internet traffic. At the same time, video consumption on mobile is up 22% YoY. And there is nothing to suggest that growth will stop any time soon. Four times as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it. Source: Search Engine Land We also pay more attention when we are on YouTube. This is especially important to those who are running advertising on YouTube.     Source: Ipsos/Google, Think With Google, Google Video plays an important role in the user journey because it has become a natural part of the way we search for products and services. Accordingly, YouTube has also become an integral part of the user journey before, during and after the purchase.   You can read more about how to work with your YouTube SEO and strategy in the following sections. Your YouTube optimization should start with a strategy It is important to have a clear strategy for your YouTube channel and content. As with all other marketing, having a clear strategy helps you make good decisions. There are two main types of content on YouTube. Hygiene content is by far the most frequently used and it is likely this is the kind of content you want to maximise. But there is also hero content, which can be quite extraordinary. Examples of hero content are Volvo's Epic Split and Nike's video with Colin Kaepernick. What is the purpose of your channel? Would you like to raise awareness about your brand? Or are you using the channel as a customer service extension? Are you going to run YouTube advertising while doing organic YouTube optimization? There are many options. Typically, it takes 24-48 hours for a video to be properly indexed on YouTube once it is uploaded. Therefore, it may be a good idea to wait a bit to start advertising, as YouTube does not initially know what your video is about and its relevant audience. Starting advertising right away can have an effect on your ROI. Once you have made your YouTube strategy, you can start breaking it down into smaller - and more manageable - goals and sub-goals. Give each goal a clear KPI so you can see if you are successful with your YouTube optimization. End with identifying audiences. By doing this you go from having a typically generic strategy to having multiple direct measurement points and actions. It is easier to do YouTube SEO when you know how to be successful. Need help with your strategy and goals? Keep track of your KPIs here.   What can be optimised? There are a lot of things you can optimise with YouTube SEO. This applies to both the channel itself, playlists, and videos. On some things you can have influence directly, while you can only indirectly influence others. You can read more about the most important things to optimise later in the blog post.   This word cloud highlights many of the factors affecting your SEO ranking. Some aspects, like channel age and video age, cannot be changed or optimised. Yet an older video and channel can have an advantage, just as the age of a website also has something to say in regular SEO. The sooner you start with YouTube SEO and optimizing your content, the sooner you can reap the benefits. You can optimise several of the factors that you cannot directly influence. We will tell you more about this in How to grow your channel with YouTube SEO. Keyword research for YouTube is different Finding relevant keywords for your YouTube SEO can be a little difficult. This is because, among other things, there is no direct access to search volume on YouTube keywords, as there is on Google. But fear not. It is still possible to find keywords and learn more about the keyword volumes. To do this, use the following tools: ·       Keywordtool.io ·       Keyword Planner ·       Google Trends ·       YouTube You identify relevant YouTube keywords with Keyword Tool and YouTube. Keyword Planner and Google Trends will help you determine how big your potential search volume is. Keep in mind that Keyword Planner gives you the number of monthly searches on Google - not YouTube. As you can see, there are many steps in a YouTube keyword research. However, it is important that you spend the time to find your relevant keywords as they are crucial to your success. Ahrefs.com also has a YouTube keywords explorer for you to use. Bear in mind that there are many other keyword tools out there. It is important that you constantly think about your keyword relevance. If your keywords are not relevant to the video, your work will be wasted. You cannot cheat your way to relevance. The users and YouTube will decide this swiftly and without hesitation. Do not solely look at volume. At first, go more for niche keywords that are not dominated by major international channels. The content and quality of the video has a lot to say, but it is virtually impossible to compete with the very large channels - especially if you are a new channel. Keep in mind the value of Google and video views. Some Google searches naturally return video results while others do not. By spending some time checking this, you are better equipped to have your YouTube video appear in a Google search result. Rich media, such as videos, takes up an increasing amount of space and provides a good user experience. Therefore you should embed your YouTube video on a related page of the website whenever possible – and relevant. You can get the embed code for a video by right-clicking it. You can do this with all videos, not just your own. The addition of videos helps make your site more valuable to users while increasing watch time - which is even more important. There are several different tools that can help track YouTube placements and find relevant keywords. I focus on the free tools in this blog post. How to grow your channel with YouTube SEO It may sound simple, but there are just a few steps to growing a channel. But, as you have probably guessed, that does not mean it is easy to succeed in creating a successful YouTube channel.   This is a simplified user journey on YouTube. Sometimes it can be a long time from when a user first sees your video until she subscribes. And it can happen in minutes in other instances. It is all about creating relevant content that engages the user and adds value for that user. You may ask: ·       How do I get discovered? ·       How do I maintain my target audience? ·       How do I get subscribers? ·       How do I get my users to see even more content on my channel? The answer to each of these questions is quite simple. You do this by making good and productive videos and subsequently optimizing them. Just as you would do with a website. You can have the best content in the world but if the website is not optimised (both on-page and technical), no one will see it. Great content is the foundation on which all successful YouTube channels are built. With YouTube SEO you can take your users through the entire user journey from discovering your video to watching your video and clicking "subscribe" to seeing even more of your content. There are a lot of ways you can optimise your videos in terms of both visibility and CTR as well as guiding users further along, when they discover you. It will be a great waste of effort to get users to watch your video and not retaining them afterwards. As I wrote earlier, there are many factors that influence your rankings and YouTube watch time and retention. The number of minutes and hours users watch your videos is one of the most important factors. You can increase this by creating great content and optimizing it to have more people discover and watch your videos. It is helpful to provide viewers with sneak peeks that entice them to continue viewing other videos on your channel. Never write something in your title or thumbnail that you cannot live up to in the video. Using cards and end screens, you can keep users in your YouTube universe (see example of a good end screen below). Once your video ends, serve new and relevant content to the user. Many people discover and watch new videos that are presented to them directly, so remember to make playlists - and optimise them. I wrote earlier that it is important to have relevant keywords because relevance promotes retention. Yet there will always be some users who will drop out after about ten seconds – especially if the video is not relevant according to the title and/or keywords. Your goal is for each user to watch as much of the video as possible. It is a clear indicator of quality. If most people quit after a short time and no one watches through to the end, it is likely a sign you have either the wrong keywords or a poor-quality video. You can optimise the channel itself (layout and tabs), playlists and videos. Next, I will take you through the most important optimizations for YouTube SEO. Get control of upload, optimization, and subtitles I am not able to address all the possibilities for optimization in this blog post. Some, such as cards and end screens, I will only mention in passing, as entire blog posts can be written about these optimizations alone. Sizes and dimensions of banners, files, and thumbnails are important to keep in mind. The optimal size for a YouTube thumbnail is 1820 x 720 pixels. It all starts with the channel   In fact, YouTube SEO starts even before you upload your first video. If you do not have a YouTube channel, create one.   Give it a good name. The name is not visible on the page, but it will be used in the channel URL. You can change the name afterwards. The name should be easy to remember and include the brand or company name. If possible, include keywords in the name as well – but do not keyword stuff it.   Next, you need to create a Brand Account - not a personal one. If you already have a channel but have doubts about the setup, you can easily check it out.   Once the channel is big enough, apply for the YouTube Partner Program. You must have 4,000 valid public watch hours and more than 1,000 subscribers before you can apply for the partner program. Upload video Before uploading your video, provide a filename, thumbnail, and subtitle/closed caption (CC) file with a relevant filename that contains your keywords. It is not the most important factor when we look at YouTube SEO, but even if it is a smaller ranking factor, you should include your keywords. It can be the deciding factor in the competition with other videos. Video quality also plays a role. It is important that the quality is good enough - preferably HD or above. Many cameras and cell phones today can film in such high quality that you can use the videos on YouTube. Title Title is the most important part of video optimization. You can use up to 100 characters and include your primary keyword as early as possible. Secondary keywords should also be used here, and they do not have to be an exact match. It is worth noting that if you stay below 70 characters, your title will not be truncated by YouTube. The most important thing for a title is that it makes the user curious and awakens some kind of emotion in her. A good example of an effective title is this one from REMA 1000.   Description Your video description must be unique and can hold up to 5,000 characters. We recommend you use them all. There may be some cases where YouTube determines your text is too long, even if you have not used all 5,000 characters. So always keep a few hundred characters below the maximum. In your description, you must describe what the user sees. Feel free to link to products and other videos so there is a natural next step in the description. Also, consider using questions to drive engagement. Be aware that less than 1% of viewers read the description. Even so, you should write in a natural language - not just an endless stream of keywords. It is a good idea to link to your other social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest etc., and encourage users on those sites to subscribe to your YouTube channel by providing a link. You should use your primary keyword more often than you would in a plain SEO text as keyword density still matters in YouTube. Video tags You can use up to 500 characters in your tags. Just like with the description, you should keep a few characters clear of the maximum, since YouTube does not always let you use the maximum number of characters. Tags should be based on your keyword research, video topic, relevant searches, etc. and are an important part of YouTube SEO. You should keep your tag strategy as tight as possible in terms of subject matter. Otherwise you end up confusing the algorithm. The image under Description earlier in this article also shows an example of tags for a video. It is the words on the right side of the picture. In this example, there are various flæskesteg (pork roast) keywords combined with sprød svær (crispy crackling) keywords. Thumbnails Thumbnails play a huge role in YouTube SEO. 90% of the best-performing videos have custom thumbnails. That is because they can multiply your CTR if used properly. YouTube makes it possible to select between three screenshots when uploading your video. However, you should always make a unique and custom one and it does not have to be from the video. Your thumbnail should: ·       Make a user want to click / watch the video ·       Be unique ·       Clearly tell / show what the video is about ·       Be consistent across channel and brand   These are two good examples of thumbnails. The first clearly shows the video is about flæskesteg (pork roast) in both the image and applied text. Typically, this will be the kind of thumbnail that works best. The second one is from a gamer, Welyn. It is a unique style to him and makes it easy for fans to spot his videos.   Subtitles - Closed Captions (CC) Subtitles help users know and understand your content, and they also help YouTube robots understand your content. While you must specify the language of the video, it is certainly possible to create your video in one language, for instance English, and have subtitles in different languages. You can add your own subtitles rather than relying on auto-generated subtitles which are not available in some languages. Because speech recognition is not working 100% yet, the quality may vary, so you should always check your subtitles. Use subtitles even if your video is in your audience’s native language. Bear in mind there are many who watch videos without audio. Therefore, subtitles are generally a good idea and they can be switched on/off in the video player if they are not hard-coded. Have you considered live streaming? YouTube is much more than pre-recorded videos. For example, you can also create live streams where you give your users new content while interacting with them directly. Live streaming does not require a large setup and you can live stream with a regular webcam or mobile device. Live streaming basics The most important thing is to use adequate technology. You will not be successful if your internet is too slow or there are problems with the software. As a rule of thumb, you must have the following internet speed if you want to achieve the following video qualities: ·       Standard Definition Video - 3 Mbps ·       720p and 1080p High Definition Video - 5-10 Mbps ·       4K Ultra High Definition Video - 25 Mbps   There are various encoder software products you can use for live streams. Several are verified by YouTube, and it may be beneficial to test a few of them before making your first live stream on YouTube.  The easiest way to live stream is to use a webcam - no encoder is needed for this. You can also live stream directly from your mobile from the YouTube app if you have more than 1,000 subscribers. With an encoder however, you have additional options that are not available for webcam or mobile streaming, including the option to use multiple cameras. Keep in mind that if you have not streamed before, it can significantly change the way your users view and interact with your content. You make it easier for them (and yourself) by clearly communicating future live streams (also on your other platforms) as well as letting them know, what the subject of the live stream. Live streaming is a golden opportunity to have a more meaningful interaction with your users. You can find answers to most YouTube live streaming questions on Google's support pages.   Use the integrated YouTube Studio analytics YouTube has its own analytics called YouTube Studio. Here you can see the reach, engagement, audiences, and revenue for the videos separately and for the channel overall. You can also see how users find you and how successful you are at converting them.   So dive into the analytics data to learn how your videos, playlists and channel perform. Get a YouTube SEO audit of your channel today If you already have a channel and would like to get started with YouTube SEO, it might be a good idea to have a channel audit first. That way you get a clear idea of where you are right now. When we perform a YouTube SEO audit, we look at videos, playlists, and the channel – the whole package. We then provide recommendations on how to optimise each part. If you need help with the optimizations themselves, we have many years of hands-on experience with YouTube. Contact us today to help you optimise your YouTube performance. 0

16 mins read

Content strategy during COVID-19

Content strategy during COVID-19

During these challenging times, it’s important to understand what type of content you should be creating. It’s likely you had a content strategy and were working to a content plan, but now is the time to revisit that approach and be cognizant of what will land in the coming weeks and months. To tackle this conundrum head on, we’ve devised five key considerations for your content team and strategy. Consideration #1 Refer back to your current strategy and draw up an adapted approach that considers the wider circumstances. There are a number of ways to go about plotting what content you should be creating: Your customers – what questions is your customer service team receiving? What are people asking of you as a brand on social? Search listening – what is the current keyword demand for COVID-19 relating to your brand? If you’re a beauty brand, what home tutorials can you provide them? If you’re a bank, how can you assure your customers their money will be safe in these times?   Your brand – what do you stand for? What topics do you have the remit to talk about and how can that be applied to everyday customer queries and issues? Social listening – what are customers saying on social, and how can you create content around that to mitigate fears or concerns? Media interest – what is the media talking about? This seems to change on a weekly basis at the moment, but keeping an eye on the news agenda will help you understand what consumers are reading about It’s important to note that people’s interest in digital content has increased significantly since COVID-19. Consumers have more time and in the evenings are turning to the web for news, inspiration and humour. Consideration #2 This is perhaps the biggest consideration: things keep changing. By that, I mean people’s attitudes, behaviours and journeys to purchase are changing all of the time. The content you created or had planned to create three months ago is probably not something customers want right now, but don’t fear; it’s content they’ll want again one day, so it isn’t wasted. The search intent around products will change week to week, potentially day to day. If you look at something like travel insurance, terms relating to that broad topic usually mean people are looking to take it out for an upcoming holiday, but now the intent of that topic and terms related to that product have changed massively; it’s all about “Am I covered?” The intent of people’s searches now takes on a new meaning but mostly people are trying to find answers to complex questions, for which, in some cases, there aren’t any answers at all. However, as a brand you have the right and responsibility to provide customers with content that is useful, offers a solution and addresses a fear or concern. The temptation is to pull back on creating content but, right now, your customers need you more than ever. The relationship you’ve created over years, decades and potentially centuries is always something to think about to ensure you’re still holding a relationship with your customers during these uncertain times. To summarise, the world is changing and the situation is changing rapidly. We need to be able to understand what people want week to week, day to day, hour to hour, and offer them content that satisfies that need. Consideration #3 This seems obvious but a consideration that is crucial right now: your content needs to be found. This splits out into two parts: Website architecture Your website and owned properties need clear navigation to useful content Your site must be quick. People have short attention spans at the best of times and what people are demanding right now is answers fast, so you must improve the speed of your site Your content needs to be able to be indexed by Google so it can be listed and customers can find it The structure of your page is a hugely important. Think about questions like “How to get Vitamin D in my diet?” or “How to work out at home”. These both trigger a featured snippet in Google, so if you’re a fitness or food brand you can provide genuinely helpful responses to this. However, if the structure of your page hasn’t been set up correctly you’ll never be featured in position zero Positive PR It’s likely that your PR activity is paused, cancelled or postponed, and is now only about crisis management, which is understandable. However, people are looking for positive stories. You’ve only got to put the term “positive stories” into Google Trends to see that people want them right now. In addition to this, journalists want positive, non-Coronavirus stories:   The media is crying out for content. Remember, most journalists need to be able to produce a new article every 45 minutes, so it’s likely that they’ll run out of COVID-19 stories eventually. What they want is motivating, surprising, useful and positive content for their audiences. There is a captive audience out there right now, and PR shouldn’t stop because of COVID-19. If you want your content to be seen by a wider audience, then PR is the best way to do this. We’re currently working with brands to plan small reactive campaigns that help customers but are also of interest to journalists. Consideration #4 Google has been quite open about its algorithm and guideline changes over the past couple of years. First we had E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, Trust) then there was YMYL (Your Money Your Life) and most recently we had BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) and actually during COVID-19 all of them take on an even heavier importance. It's now that people are looking for a layer of expertise beyond fluffy content. This presents brands with an opportunity to offer customers expert advice, perhaps in the form of employees who have decades of experience in a sector. For example, do you have a beauty consultant who can offer expertise on skincare at home? Do you have a mortgage advisor who has been at your bank for 30 years? If so, can they give their expert opinion? If you’re creating this content, ensure that readers know who the author is. This builds trust between the brand and the reader, and is widely encouraged by Google. Google’s approach to YMYL is that every page you create should impact a customer’s Money or Life. So, think about that in relation to COVID-19. Give your customers content that delivers tips on how to improve their life right now (and for the future) but also make sure you’re giving them solutions for intricate financial decisions. Lastly, BERT is a deep learning algorithm that understands the nuances and context of words in a sentence, to better match queries with search results. Make sure your content is structurally sound and can be processed by BERT so that it can be visible in Google. Consideration #5 The last consideration for every piece of content, whether it’s on your website, social or in email, is whether it is purposeful or profiteering? If you have an inkling that the content you’re creating doesn’t provide people with purpose or a point (the point could be handy DIY tips or how do your eyebrows at home), then tweak it so it does. Now is not the time to be taking advantage of people’s vulnerability and most customers will see through it. Your content should deliver significance and not be overly commercial. You can absolutely provide customers with products that solve problems and solutions, but don’t piggyback on COVID-19 for the sake of it. Lastly, it’s important to not go ‘dark’ and turn the lights off on your marketing activity. If anything, now is the time to make sure you’re connecting with customers. There is an obvious temptation to avoid the topic or in some cases withdraw any content at all, but it’s been proven that brands that don’t cut budgets during periods of uncertainty are best placed to prosper when the upturn returns. Numerous studies have proven this over many years. 0

7 mins read

How COVID-19 is changing consumption and media

How COVID-19 is changing consumption and media

As the coronavirus outbreak has turned into a global pandemic, individuals, governments and businesses around the world are striving to figure out the best ways to protect themselves, their families, their citizens and their employees.   With everyone legitimately turning their attention to what matters the most - health and the preservation of life – their responses are drastically changing the way we live, and, as a consequence, impacting our entire economy. In particular, we see many companies going all out not only to minimise disruption for their consumers, but also to embrace a bigger role in supporting them as people with many facets of their daily lives.   This article is intended to help business leaders quickly understand some of the key trends at play in consumer behaviour and the media landscape, and how brands are responding. It has been updated as of March 16th and reflects changes that we have observed across the markets within which we operate. For more specific trends and guidelines about your market, reach out to your local iProspect team today, and don’t forget to protect yourself and your relatives by following the World Health Organisation or your local authorities’ guidelines.   Consumer Behaviour In affected areas, we see consumer behaviour changing in multiple ways:   1. Increase in news consumption. According to Cloudfare, people are accessing news and information websites about 30% to 60% more in Italy. Search for news doesn’t only concern traditional news outlets: online communities also become priority destinations. Reddit’s r/coronavirus board went from a thousand members in January 23 to more than 1.2 million in the last few weeks. Evolution of traffic in Italy   As a response to this increased usage of digital, companies like Comcast and T-Mobile in the United States have announced they will suspend internet data caps temporarily to ensure as many people as possible can stay connected.   New #COVID19 announcement: @Sprint customers to get expanded roaming access on the T-Mobile network for next 60 days. [Merger Info: https://t.co/3PrNifc2Eq] #COVID19 info here ➡️ https://t.co/GugVQ8airp — Sprint News (@sprintnews) March 15, 2020   2. Media becomes a way of enriching day-to-day life.  In China, youngsters use virtual gathering apps to kill the boredom. For example, the WanBa (玩吧) app offers several multi-player games for people to play on mobile, such as ‘Draw & Guess’ and ‘Online Roleplay’.     This doesn’t only apply to entertainment, it spans across multiple areas such as education. As more and more countries order school closures, companies are striving to provide students, teachers and parents with solutions. For instance, Youtube offers resources to educators for distance learning and video tips for studying at home.      3. Isolation makes life more digital. In China again, the Gym industry is rethinking their model, moving to online live-streaming and short video platforms to reach people at home.     Commerce As people turn to isolation, shopping goes online.   1.  There is a surge in traffic to e-commerce sites. According to Comscore, retail total visits began a steady upwards climb in February.     Evolution of Visits to top online retailers     Evolution of Search for ‘online groceries’ in the United States     2. The online demand is so intense that pressure greatly increases on the operations side. Amazon is planning to hire 100,000 new workers to manage fulfilment. We see a lot of companies finding creative ways to build entirely new services for their clients. For instance, many restaurants and delivery services are adapting their operations to the new sanitary guidelines to continue servicing their clients.         Postmates let customers choose how and where they want their food delivered.   We also see many examples of companies showing their gratitude to medical personnel by offering them free food and other benefits:        View this post on Instagram   We’re so grateful for the hospital workers + medical personnel who are putting others before themselves during this critical time. In the midst of the current crisis, we’re dedicating our Outpost operations and teams to support those on the front lines by delivering free, fresh sg salads + bowls to hospitals in the cities we serve. Need an Outpost at your health facility? Head to bit.ly/sgimpactoutpost, fill out a quick form, and someone from our Outpost team will reach out to you. A post shared by sweetgreen (@sweetgreen) on Mar 16, 2020 at 1:57pm PDT   3. Footfall is severely decreasing for the travel, restauration, sports, offline entertainment and offline retail categories. Data from OpenTable shows how restaurants’ situation has been dramatically declining over the last days. Footfall will likely keep decreasing as more and more governments order stores closures and take confinement measures. Brands such as Apple have already closed most of their retail stores.     Media Landscape In a similar way to commerce, uncertainty, confinement and working from home change how people consume media:   1.  People consume more media all day and not only during prime time. In the United States, streaming could rise by 60% according to Nielsen, which base their analysis on data from previous confinement situations.       2.  People are turning to TV & Digital for news. Many news publishers have removed their paywalls on all their articles about coronavirus to facilitate information. To prevent misinformation about COVID-19 and opportunistic usages, platforms such as Google have launched initiatives to drive users to trustful sources and block all ads capitalising on the coronavirus.         3.  Radio usage is increasing as more people favour car over public transportation. This will likely fluctuate as more and more markets impose travel restrictions.   4.  As sports competitions get cancelled across the world, TV viewership of sports events is falling, which is likely to hit networks hard, especially as 2020 is the year of major planned events such as the UEFA European Championship or the Tokyo Olympic Games.   5.Subscription VOD and Gaming (including streaming) is increasing. In that context, Netflix have quickly developed a browser extension for Chrome to help people connect while social distancing.   6. Media consumed outdoors and in public is decreasing/losing effect, especially OOH, cinema and sponsorships. While some studios decide to postpone movie releases (e.g., James Bond No Time to Die), others decide to take the online way. In China, the movie Lost in Russia was moved to ByteDance and other online video platforms, attracting 180M viewers in the first three days!   The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on our daily lives are becoming our new normal. In that new territory for us all, and despite the important financial challenges and business disruptions, we see many examples of companies stretching themselves for the common good, such as LVMH dedicating a part of their production chain to make hand sanitiser for French public authorities.   It is clear that many aspects of what we are all experiencing as a society will have lasting effects beyond the pandemic. The massive working from home forced experiment will accelerate remote working. The infrastructure stress-test on supply chain and IT will be rich with learnings for online commerce. More people will be exposed to and experience digital services such as online groceries for the first time, and it is unlikely that they will all abandon these when confinements stop. All of this will push organisations to keep transforming themselves, to the benefit of their consumers and their employees.   “No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.” – Hal Borland   For more coverage about how COVI-19 is impacting the media landscape across the globe, listen to the special episode of The Human Element, the podcast by our friends at Carat:   0

7 mins read

Make Your Google Tag Manager Setup Smarter

Make Your Google Tag Manager Setup Smarter

In this blog post we will discuss what a Google Tag Manager (GTM) is and how it is implemented. In addition, we focus on whether you need one Google Tag Manager for all your websites or one for each page. Finally, we will provide a tip on how to structure a global Google Tag Manager yourself. What is Google Tag Manager? Google Tag Manager is a free tool that helps marketers maintain and implement marketing pixels and tags on the website without having to enter and modify the source code. Google Tag Manager sends information from one data source (such as your website) directly to Google Analytics. By using Google Tag Manager, marketers can forego waiting for developers to implement pixels. How do I implement Google Tag Manager? Once you've created a Google Tag Manager, you'll see this under "Install Google Tag Manager." Google Tag Manager contains two scripts. One script should be at the top of <head> in your source code, the other should be at the top of <body> in the source code. If you would like to learn more about how to get a Tag Manager up and running, go to Google's implementation guide. Head tag A website typically contains a <head> section and a <body> section . The <head> section often includes styles, meta information, scripts, titles, etc. This is where we insert our external scripts, such as Google Tag Manager. The Google Tag Manager script looks like this: <! - Google Tag Manager -> <script> (function (W, D, S, L, I) {w [l] = W [L] || []; w [l] .push ({ 'gtm.start': new Date (). getTime (), event: 'gtm.js'}); var f = d.getElementsByTagName (s) [0], j = d.createElement (s), dl = l! = 'data layer'? '& l =' + l: ''; j.async = true; j.src = 'https://www.googletagmanager.com/gtm.js?id='+i+dl;f.parentNode.insertBefore(j,f); }) (window, document, "script", "dataLayer", "" Your Google Tag Manager ID ""); </script> <! - End Google Tag Manager -> This script places Google Tag Manager on the site. We recommend you place this as high in <head> as possible in the source code, as it ensures Google Tag Manager loads as quickly as possible. See also Google Tag Manager Quick Start Guide. NoScript tag NoScript is an alternative to the people (or robots/crawlers) who have disabled scripts in the browser or have a browser that does not support scripts. Google Tag Manager also has such a script and it should be placed at the top of your <body> tag. The script may look like this: <! - Google Tag Manager (noscript) -> <noscript> <iframe src = "https://www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-" This Google Tag Manager ID "" height = "0" width = "0" style = "display: none; visibility: hidden"> </iframe> </noscript> <! - End Google Tag Manager (noscript) -> This NoScript tag does not really matter if you use Google Tag Manager exclusively to load JavaScript tags, marketing pixels, etc. However, if you are using Google Tag Manager to verify Google Search Console or Google Merchant Center for shopping ads, you will need to implement this directly after <body> in your source code. Otherwise, Google will not be able to verify your ownership. Templates in Google Tag Manager Google Tag Manager has a variety of templates you can use. But the only tag that is really supported if your users do choose to block scripts is the Custom Image Tag. The tag activates an iFrame, which includes the tracking. That is, if you have the <noscript> tag from Google Tag Manager installed and the user disables JavaScript in his browser, your existing Google Analytics templates will still not work. Few choose to block scripts, as many websites do not work at all without them. Google Tag Manager recommended structure There are several ways to set up a Google Tag Manager and it is important to mention that there is not one right way to do this. We see several different implementations across customers: • One Google Tag Manager per website (e.g., by country) • Several Google Tag Managers on subdomains • Global setups As a starting point, we will always recommend the last option, i.e., a global setup that you apply across your website. You can also use a global Google Tag Manager across multiple domains if you have more than one website. However, this does set some requirements for your websites. The pages must be identical in structure, otherwise, for example, you will not be able to apply your Google Analytics behaviour tracking across the websites unless you define it from the server using data layers. Why do we recommend one Google Tag Manager versus several Google Tag Managers? The short answer is time. The more Google Tag Managers you have, the harder it is to keep setups across all pages. It also becomes more difficult to secure your data across websites. Furthermore, each implementation will take longer if you, for example, must set up event tracking on an item across multiple markets. Sure, there are duplication tools where you can copy tags across Tag Managers, but it does not make sense in some implementations. The great thing about having one Global Tag Manager is that you can: • Secure your data • Quickly and easily onboard new markets and websites • Align your data structure across websites • Deploy once across websites How is this done in practice? Back in 2017, Google Tag Manager launched the Google Analytics Settings Variable. It made it easier to maintain one's Google Analytics setup by using a "master template" form on tags to integrate new custom dimensions and the like across all Google Analytics implementations. This set the stage for marketers to devise more intelligent setups in Google Tag Manager. In Google Tag Manager, there are endless possibilities for integrated and custom setups. In addition, there is also a template feature that serves as open source. So it can be difficult to determine your best setup options. Let's assume a scenario where we have five identical websites that we would like to track. We need to implement a complete tracking system with Enhanced Ecommerce, Facebook etc. The actual data layer structure is set up for the purpose of the scenario (based on Google's own Enhanced Ecommerce Developer Guide). In the past, you would probably consider making five individual tag implementations for each market. That may work, but if you run a larger Google Tag Manager setup, you end up with a lot of tags. The goal is to keep it simple and clear. In such a scenario, you can use Lookup Tables, a feature that allows you to identify a specific input and return a value based on it. We can then use the value to pass on data to unique Analytics tracking codes based on which website the customer is visiting. Here you can choose between Lookup Tables or Regex Tables. If we start from iProspect, it will look like this: iProspect uses subfolders in our URL (that is, we differentiate by individual markets, not the domain itself). Here we need a Regex Table to control where we send data and what data we send. The difference between the two is that LookUp Table requires an exact value in the pattern field, whereas Regex should be seen as a regular expression, where the URL contains patterns such as "/ en / dk /" that can be used to return a value based on the domain. That is, we can now use one tag to manage our Google Analytics, Facebook pixels and more across all markets. The great thing about this tool is that you can now easily onboard a new site by adding the new tracking code to the row (as shown in the image above), after which a duplicate setup of the other markets will move on to the new account. Can we help you with your Google Tag Manager? This is just one example how marketers can structure a Google Tag Manager setup more intelligently to quickly and easily launch a new website in a new market. Would you like to hear more about how we approach such a task? Contact us here. 0

7 mins read

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