A Brand's Guide To Working With TikTok Creators

A Brand's Guide To Working With TikTok Creators

If you’ve been in the app store lately you might’ve noticed this logo to right holding it’s spot in one of the top ten free apps for quite some time. This app is called TikTok, featuring short 15 to 60 second short videos, which are soundtracked by music clips. Content is comedic, on-trend, and interactive. It sits amongst other popular social apps like Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. It is one of the fastest growing social platforms in history. As of November 2019 TikTok has over 1 billion users on its platform in 150 countries and has been downloaded over 123 million times. If your brand’s target audience includes anyone between the age 13 and 30, you should be on TikTok right now. Users have all sorts of tools at their disposal right in the app: amazing filters, effects and sounds to score your video. Unlike our old friend Vine, TikTok has created a one stop shop for editing. Users don’t need to use third party apps to create interesting content. Users can engage with one another through “response” videos or by means of “duets” — users can duplicate videos and add themselves alongside. Hashtags actually exist as a real, functional organizing principle: not for news, or even really anything trending anywhere else than TikTok, but for various “challenges,” or jokes, or repeating formats, or other forms of activity.   “If your brand’s target audience includes anyone between the age 13 and 30, you should be on TikTok right now.”   Instagram’s “Discover” page includes images that may somewhat relate or interest you but TikTok's similar “For You” page has an even more advanced and engaging algorithm. With a full vertical screen experience, users dive down a rabbit hole of curated content. The app allows users to easily connect, create friendships, and collab with others. Every week there’s new trends, which makes it easy to go viral and increases the potential for popularity. Creators have identified this supportive environment to grow followers and have left Instagram for TikTok. Not only that, but the engagement rate on TikTok is absolutely wild. If I haven’t sold you on why you should be on TikTok at this point, here are a few more statistics that showcase how powerful this app is and is still becoming… TikTok has about 800 million monthly active users with about 60 million of those being in the United States TikTok users spend 52 minutes in the app on average a day A user opens TikTok 8 times per day on average Of their users, 60% are female, 40% are male Of their users 60% are between the ages of 16-24 and 26% are between the ages 25-44  60% of TikTok users are GenZers and next year, 74 million people in the U.S. will be part of “GenZ”, which will make it the largest generation of all How can a brand engage with TikTok Creators like we do Instagram Influencers? Working with TikTok Creators has its similarities to working with influencers on Instagram but because these social media platforms differ in the content you create there are a few differences in strategy that you need to think about as a brand. To make it easier, I’ve laid out the 5 steps to working with TikTok Creators…   Identify your audience Select the right TikTok Creators Develop content concepts and creative brief Outreach to TikTokCreators with collaboration opportunity Make sure the content has trackable conversions STEP 1: IDENTIFY YOUR AUDIENCE    One of the first steps in working with creators on TikTok to promote your brand is identifying whether or not it is appropriate for the age demographic that is currently using TikTok. For example if your product or service is geared towards men and women between the ages of 30 to 50, TikTok might not be the best platform to do your influencer marketing. Remember, roughly 50% of TikTok's global audience is under the age of 34 with 26% between 18 and 24. This isn’t to say that TikTok won’t expand into an older demographic in the future, it very well could, but right now it’s sitting with a younger demographic. If you have identified that your brand is on target with TikTok's age demographic the next step is to decide if your product/service is for men, women or both genders. Just like working with Instagram influencers you will want to choose your TikTok Creator’s gender based on the use of the product/service you are trying to promote. Next you’ll need to decide how your brand can be displayed by a creator on TikTok. With Instagram we are often used to product images with an influencer on a static feed or Instagram stories that include a review of the product. TikTok is not the place for videos of people talking about a product, users on TikTok will quickly be bored by this type of content. If they wanted that type of content they would be on Instagram. Like I mentioned before, TikTok videos are creative short form content that either include a sound or music as a score or are quality comedy that keeps the user interested. Here’s a good example of a brand collaboration on TikTok that showcases the brand and also does it in a way that stays in line with TikTok's type of content. This is pretty much the same strategy you would employ for the rest of your influencer campaigns. One of the best ways to come up with ideas to promote your product on TikTok is to get on the app and scroll through the For You Page for about 20 to 30 mins. Quickly you’ll catch on to the trends and type of content that these users are interested in. If you are able to come up with some ideas of how your product can be used by a TikTok creator in a video, then the next step is to choose your creators! STEP 2: SELECT THE RIGHT TIKTOK CREATORS     While TikTok has made a Creator Marketplace that brands and agencies can request to join, the platform is ever growing with influential creators every week. For example, popular TikTok creator Charli D’Amelio reached 6.2 million followers on TikTok is just 4 months, and has a total of 123.7 million likes across all of her videos. That’s why it’s important for you or your campaign manager to get on TikTok and start exploring through hashtags and challenges to see who the hottest creator is at this very moment. Unlike Instagrams current algorithm that often makes even the best content not get as much engagement as it deserves, TikTok's algorithm essentially allows quality content to go viral. While follower count is no doubt important when choosing a creator to work with on TikTok, it’s equally as important to look at the content they are making and identify how much engagement each of their videos gets. It’s possible for a creator with over 100k followers to only get 3,000 likes on a video. And unlike Instagram, you cannot blame your decrease in likes on the algorithm because if the content is good on TikTok you will go viral. TikTok users spend less time in their following page and more time on the For You Page. Think of it like the discover page on any other social media app. When a user posts a video on TikTok, that video automatically ends up on a few other users For You Pages at random, if the content is interesting to those users that are served it on their FYP they will watch the full video and maybe give it a like. The more users who engage with the content on the FYP will ensure it ends up on other FYPs. You can get served content on your FYP from months before, so the reach is huge if you choose the right creators who have the ability to make good viral videos on TikTok. You want to look at the TikTok creators who have consistent views, likes and comments on the past 10 videos on their feed. That will be the best indicator that they are a good influencer to work with. If you aren’t seeing any creators on TikTok's Marketplace that you would want to work with, there’s an easy way to find some creators organically through the app. Use the hashtag search and type in something that relates to your brand. For example, if your brand is a makeup product try searching #makeuptutorial or #makeup on the app. Look through some of the top videos, check out the users that posted them, look at their profiles and other video’s success. Look through the hashtags, the most popular videos will often show up first. From this you can come up with a good list of creators that would be good to promote your makeup product on TikTok. STEP 3: DEVELOP CONTENT CONCEPTS AND CREATIVE BRIEF     When working with TikTok Creators, you might want to be more specific in your content asks to ensure you get the best results. TikTok videos are popular when they include several or one of the following:   Music or Sound Narrative Dance Lip syncing Transitions Interactivity Challenges Remember, you want to build content that centers around your marketing strategy without overtly calling it out. If your brand isn't super used to building video content, don't sweat the details. If you have an idea in mind, outline it in a creative brief that you will share with the creator once you’ve confirmed a collaboration. It is important to outline your asks before you begin your outreach because if you are looking for a specific type of talent in TikTok video creation, you will need to be sure that the creators you’ve picked to reach out to have it. Remember, you want this to play out organically and not have it feel like one of thousands of video ads your audience has ignored. Here are some good examples of each of the outlined “talents” that you could be looking for in TikTok video creation: Music or Sound: Example #1, Example #2, Example #3, Example #4, Example #5, Example #6, Example #7, Example #8 Narrative: Example #1, Example #2, Example #3, Example #4, Example #5, Example #6 Dance: Example #1, Example #2, Example #3, Example #4 Lip Syncing: Example #1, Example #2, Example #3,  Transitions: Example #1, Example #2, Example #3, Example #4 Interactivity: Example #1, Example #2, Example #3 Challenges: Example #1, Example #2, Example #3   If you aren’t sure what kind of video would work creatively or catch attention you can ask the creator if they have any ideas or thoughts on what would work. Remember, they are the ones who are able to get their videos to scale on the platform, so they know the best techniques to ensure maximum reach. TikTok is an app that allows you to lean on the influencer to come up with the best ideas for a brand collaboration. One thing you’ll want to be sure you provide them with once you confirm a collaboration is a short list of value props, tag lines, hashtags etc. Be sure to give them enough information on the brand or product/service for them to develop an idea for the video.   STEP 4: OUTREACH TO TIKTOK CREATORS     Once you’ve identified a list of TikTok creators you would like to work with and crafted a creative brief and or basic outlines for the collaboration, you will need to look for the Creator's contact information. Since TikTok isn’t as advanced in the influencer space as Instagram is for example, it might be harder to find contact information. A good TikTok campaign needs the right creators to have any impact.   The steps outlined below are the best to follow if you can’t find a TikTok Creator’s contact information in the TikTok Creator Marketplace:   Check their TikTok profile to see if their contact info is listed in their bio Check to see if they’ve linked their Instagram account on their TikTok profile, go to their Instagram account from there and see if their contact info is listed Check to see if they’ve linked their YouTube account on their TikTok profile, go the about section and see if there’s any info that can lead you to a way to contact them TikTok does not allow DMs between two accounts that do not follow each other. (this is to protect the significantly younger demographic that is on TikTok). If you can’t find contact information with the steps above, then you can resort to the below options if you would still like to reach out to that specific Creator:   Create a TikTok account on behalf of the brand and comment on the Creator’s video asking if there’s a good email address to contact them at for collaborations If they have their Instagram account connected but no contact information listed on there either, go to Instagram and send them a DM asking for their contact information If they are a large enough TikTok Creator trying Googling their contact information or see if they have any type of website or other social media accounts out there that could give you that information STEP 5: MAKE SURE YOU CAN TRACK CONVERSIONS   Like in any influencer marketing campaign, in order to make sure you get your return on investment (ROI), you need to include something in the creator’s content that ensures you can track the success of the partnership between the brand and the Creator. To do this you will first need to identify your goal for working with TikTok influencers: Increase social traffic (ie followers on instagram, facebook etc.) Drive revenue Create content Brand awareness Increase Social Traffic There’s a few ways you can increase social traffic on your Instagram or Facebook from a creators post on TikTok. One way is to create a giveaway, and when the creator posts their branded TikTok video they can include in the caption outlining how you can win something by entering this giveaway. In order to enter the giveaway one of the steps can be to follow the brand’s Instagram or Facebook page. To track the growth over time you can use a tool like SquareLovin to see how many followers and or engagement the accounts are getting over the period of the campaign. Drive Revenue   The easiest way to drive revenue through TikTok videos at this present moment is through discount codes. This will be the only way to really see what revenue is being driven from a TikTok creators post. TikTok doesn’t have stories that include swipe up links like Instagram does so your best bet is to ask the creator to include a personalized discount code in the caption of their video, or as overlaying text and drive the viewer to purchase using their discount code.   Create Content   If your goal is to create content that you can repurpose for ADs there’s a few things you’ll need to keep in mind. Since TikTok uses music and sound in it’s videos you’ll want to instruct your creators to either use no music or make sure you have the rights to a specific song. A brand can also make a TikTok account and upload their own sound if they have one already created for the brand, you can find instructions on how to do that here. The only hurdle you’ll have here is to make sure you don’t have copyrighted sound. Other than that, you will probably be able to get some quality content that you can piece together in a mashup for ADs and test how it does on other networks. Brand Awareness   Since challenges are extremely popular on TikTok, one of the best ways to increase brand awareness is to select some TikTok creators to take part in a challenge that encourages their viewers to partake as well. You can reference some of the challenge examples videos listed in Step #3 to get some inspiration for a good challenge that increases awareness of your brand. 0

13 mins read

The Essentials: Q2 2020 - Introduction

The Essentials: Q2 2020 - Introduction

At iProspect, our digital marketing specialists frequently publish their thoughts, insights and advice on our website. We encourage our clients and partners to follow our latest local thinking on our News + Views page, yet we know it can be difficult to set aside time to digest all the content our experts create. For that reason, we created The Essentials, a quarterly roundup featuring some of our best thinking from across the globe, curated to help you catch up on what you should not miss in the world of performance marketing. For this Q2 2020 edition of The Essentials, we selected both COVID-19 related and non COVID-19 related content that we hope will inspire you as a marketer in these challenging times.   Happy reading and stay well.   EXPLORE & ACTIVATE   In this edition, we share key findings about content, commerce and CRM from The Reality of Recovery: A Post COVID-19 World, a report built upon the answers of 700+ clients across the globe. We also share the insights of In Brands We Trust, a report by iProspect and Microsoft analysing the answers of 25,000 consumers from 16 countries around privacy, and deep dive into this topic through a new webinar, How to Put Consumers First in a First Party World. In addition, we explore how to unlock the full potential of Data-Driven Creative Personalisation at scale. Finally, we discuss some of the latest Google Ads Products Announcements and analyse the The Transformation to Free Product Listings on Google Shopping and what it means for brands.     Discover our 5 considerations video series wherein iProspect specialists across the globe share some concrete advice on what you can do to adapt your digital marketing effort amidst the crisis, and don’t miss our special features on content strategy during COVID-19 and on SEO in times of crisis.   Additionally, as usage of social platforms and video platforms has skyrocketed since the pandemic started, we provide you with a complete Guide to Working with TikTok Creators, and an extensive checklist of strategies to optimise your organic presence on YouTube.   0

2 mins read

5 Considerations in Light of COVID-19

5 Considerations in Light of COVID-19

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, our experts have compiled 5 quick tips for each of their areas of expertise.  Watch these short videos for brief updates which will help you pivot your strategies in each channel to better serve your clients as the effects of the pandemic continue to influence consumer behavior. 5 Considerations for #commerce in Light of COVID-19 by Nate Shurilla, Global Director of Commerce and Voice. 5 Considerations for #commerce in Light of COVID-19 by Nate Shurilla, Global Director of Commerce and Voice.   Laura Flores, Chile, presents five ways analytics and CRO can help brands today.   Erika Vonderwall, London, shares  five ways using influencers and video brands can help brands now.     Jack Cantwell, Client Director iProspect Singapore, shares five consideration for CRM in light of COVID-19.   Anna Calciolari, Global Head of Products and Partnerships, shares five ways marketing automation can help brands in these challenging times.   0

1 mins read

Google Ads 2020 Product & Feature Announcements: “Be Helpful”

Google Ads 2020 Product & Feature Announcements: “Be Helpful”

The bad news:  Google Marketing Live, Google’s premier digital marketing summit, isn’t happening this year.   The good news: While we won’t personally experience the incredible coordination and thoughtful details that elevate every Google event, the evolution of Google Ads has not slowed one bit. This week Google announced several new marketing tools and features designed specifically to help small businesses respond to the challenges of the global pandemic. This week's update is the first in a series of product announcements, interviews, and virtual roundtables Google will feature throughout the coming weeks. From annual event to ongoing content Google’s annual marketing event has gone by  multiple names  over the past seven years (I still have an “AdWords Performance Forum” power bank from 2013), but until 2020 it has always been an in-person event. After a livestreamed opening keynote filled with the biggest announcements, the doors were closed and attendees had a wealth of opportunities to learn from and provide feedback to the Googlers designing and building the future of Google Ads. Like every other company, Google has pivoted for 2020. Rather than try to condense and virtually recreate the experience of a live multi-day event, Google will instead share inspirational and educational content on an ongoing cadence throughout the coming weeks and months. Google has some extremely exciting advertising product announcements planned, but rather than drop them all at once these features will be unveiled in a phased approach over the next three months. A new video interview series called “The Update” will launch on Think with Google, featuring industry leaders. New episodes will be released weekly. Feedback sessions are my favorite part of any Google event, so I was very pleased that Google will recreate this specific element of Google Marketing Live virtually, connecting marketers with product managers in a series of virtual roundtable sessions. In Google’s words: “The crisis accelerated the use of technology, and technology will accelerate our path out of the crisis and play a vital role in our economic recovery.” The new features announced today (and those that will be announced in future weeks) leverage Google’s massive data and unparalleled reach to provide tangible tools that businesses of all sizes will find helpful. Today’s product announcements: Helping both consumers and businesses In 2019 Google grouped their product announcements under three themes: “Be There,” “Be Useful,” “Be Responsible.” This year there is one simple, overarching theme: “Be Helpful.”  Two of today’s announcements are brand new tools which tap into Google data to provide insights that businesses (particularly small businesses) can leverage to improve their digital presence.  It’s always a good idea to learn from the competition, and the Grow My Store tool provides a personalized benchmark showing exactly how a brand’s digital experience compares to the top players in their industry.  Another new tool, the Local Opportunity Finder, offers on-demand personalized tips to improve a company’s Business Profile on Google My Business. Both of these tools represent a move by Google toward providing more transparency across their entire suite of products and opening up their data to provide powerful insight.  These tools are initially only available in the U.S. only.   Small businesses outside of the U.S. should plan to test Smart Campaigns, which are now rolling out globally to 150 countries. First launched two years ago, Smart Campaigns are built on the old AdWords Express foundation and drastically lower the barrier to entry for advertisers who want to leverage Google but don’t have the bandwidth to debate the finer nuances of esoteric topics like “Top of page rate” vs “Absolute top of page rate.” As an added bonus, advertisers leveraging Smart Campaigns will also be eligible to utilize Promoted Pins on Google Maps for free through the end of September. Two other new features are aimed at helping consumers connect with businesses, and highlight how effectively Google cross-applies effective solutions across different contexts. Taking a cue from Purchases on Google, Local Service Ads are getting a new “schedule” button that lets customers book directly from the ad. The consumer-facing Local Services mobile site is also getting a new look and feel.  The overarching focus is around helping consumers manage their interaction with these services over time, reminiscent of the helpful reminders I see when looking for hotel rooms in a city I’ve visited before (e.g., “You stayed here three months ago.”). Google is also providing more options for businesses to manage timely local information such as curbside pickup or in-store inventory. This data will be shown in local store organic units which will pull information from a variety of sources, such as Local Inventory Ads feeds and Google My Business listings, giving store owners more ways to update their information.   More announcements coming soon These are only the first few initial announcements from Google, with many more to come throughout the upcoming weeks and months.  Make time today to check out the first episode of “The Update,” and look for ongoing perspectives on upcoming announcements as they happen from iProspect’s team of experts. 0

5 mins read

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

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Future Focus 2021: Brands Accelerated

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Navigating Through Commerce Complexity in The Midst Of Covid-19

Navigating Through Commerce Complexity in The Midst Of Covid-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads and more national governments order shutdowns, people are moving online for their daily purchases. According to research by Microsoft Advertising,[i] search volume for Buy Online Pick Up in Store queries increased by more than 1,200% between January 1st and March 18th, 2020. From logistics and IT infrastructure to advertising and customer support, the pandemic represents a real test for commerce. In 2019, iProspect introduced the Commerce Success Framework (CSF) to help marketers drive their commerce strategy across four key areas: Availability, Findability, Buyability and Repeatability. In these challenging times, wherein it is important for brands to help consumers easily find and order what they need, the CSF can provide marketers with a useful lens to prioritise the key actions necessary to build or maintain a robust commerce presence. This article covers some actions that brands can look into for each dimension of the model, and is intended to encourage marketers to think about what initiatives they can activate for their business. Availability Availability is all about getting the right products to the right people in the right places, and this is particularly critical in this time of crisis. At the moment, supply chains are severely stretched. Manufacturers and factories are shutting down, many shipping companies are over strained, and retail inventory is stretched thin, if not completely sold out. As a consequence, people are desperate to find certain products, and, conversely, they don’t want to hear about other products. It is important for brands to communicate with empathy and honesty by giving as much information about their product availability as they can, as soon as possible. This is even more true for those companies that have items that are in high demand right now. If your supplier is closed, let people know. If you expect shipping delays, let people know. Don’t hide your business disruption in fine print on your website and instead, update all the places where people can find information about your business (e.g., update your Google My Business listings to mark your locations “Temporarily closed”). For the brands selling through third parties like Amazon or Lazada, it is also important to work with these platforms to stop unacceptable behaviours. For instance, set purchase limits on necessary products to avoid people hoarding and trying to resell with a huge mark-up to profit off this situation. This is the last kind of association marketers want for their products. Technology can be of great help to deliver fast and accurate information to consumers. For instance, as people are looking for the most up-to-date information, a direct feed into your product information and your inventory catalogue enables you to deliver information in real time. When people know that what they're seeing online is accurate, they're able to purchase what they need without additional frustration in an already stressful context. However, technology can be a double-edged sword for your operations, if not optimized properly. Marketers need to work hand-in-hand with their IT departments to ensure they have the infrastructure in place to absorb increased server loads and make sure their load times are not surging, as this could frustrate consumers and discourage them from buying what they need. Research from Google has demonstrated that increasing load times can strongly augment the probability of users bouncing away from the website. The pandemic and its consequences are a critical test for online commerce operations. For some brands, it will simply challenge their capacity to communicate fast enough. For others, it may start a full reconsideration of their supplier relationships, maybe through more diversification, or accelerate their transformation to online commerce in order to compensate the falling foot traffic. In the US, foot traffic dropped 75% for shopping malls between week of March 9th and week of March 16th, according to research by NinthDecimal. Findability Once brands have taken the necessary measures to be in the right places and have their inventory ready and available, they need to be discovered, which can be challenging when many other brands are also shifting their focus and budgets to increase their online presence. Again, the golden rule is first and foremost to avoid appearing to be insensitive. Make sure to use negative keywords in your campaigns to avoid any sensitive searches that could be misconstrued to be tone deaf. You also want to make sure that your consumers are protected from harmful options from third party sellers, which is why close monitoring is critical to combat fake products and people trying to take advantage of shoppers when they are vulnerable. Digital shelf analytics tools such as Stackline, Profitero, or Edge allow marketers to monitor third-party sellers on platforms like Amazon, to then be able to take the appropriate actions to discourage or take down profiteers and fraudsters. These actions not only help consumers favour official sales channels, but they also ensure that negative associations with your products will not have a long-lasting impact on your brand. It is important for brands to continue their paid media and to keep promoting their products to be found by consumers. People go on commerce platforms to shop, so relevant product ads in these environments have very little chance to be seen as inappropriate, especially if you put in place the safeguards described previously. By making sure you are easy to find, you will provide helpful support to consumers, so make sure you are keeping up with your organic search and paid search activities. Feeds can also be used for Findability, enabling advertisements to synchronize with your offering evolution in real time. Keep in mind that not everyone necessarily knows all of the benefits of your products. There could be a certain product that is sold out everywhere, and you may have an alternative product that is not as well known. By keeping people informed of your product benefits, you may help them to find a new solution to meet their needs. Buyability Once brands are easily available to consumers and easily discoverable, they need to focus on Buyability, which means providing the right information for people to proceed with purchase. As for the two previous steps, the most important aspect is ensuring that your actions are aligned with the current context. One of the measures you can take is updating product information. For instance, we have seen false rumours going around that drinking isopropyl alcohol could destroy the virus. A company selling this product could revise their product information to debunk the rumours. This requires being aware of the noise surrounding the pandemic, your brand and your industry. Rigorous social listening (e.g., emerging and trending news, mentions, keywords evolution) is a recommended practice in order to be able to quickly counter or encourage what's being said about you. In these times when people cannot look at products in stores or shop in familiar ways, content has a critical role to provide reassurance, offer solutions and be uplifting. Video content is an excellent way to achieve these objectives. Live streaming commerce, which combines a live stream and some checkout options for products featured in the video, is a well-developed practice in Asia-Pacific that has been getting traction across regions and is now proposed by platforms such as Amazon. Social commerce should also be a key consideration to help people purchase what they want and what they need. As people are turning to social platforms, brands can make the most of the platforms’ shopping capabilities to simplify purchases. Native solutions such as Instagram Checkout or third-party solutions such as Jumper.AI can help people easily order the product they need without leaving the platform they’re on, saving stress and time. Another consideration of Buyability is pricing. Pricing has become such a critical facet of e-commerce that many brands have set up dynamic pricing algorithms. These algorithms look at various data signals (e.g., margin, competitors’ prices, demand level) and automatically adjust prices. In times like these when people are purchasing a lot to stock up, you need to tread carefully because your dynamic pricing algorithm could get out of control and you could be seen as profiteering or trying to price gouge. So, make sure that is in check, and maybe even turn it off and revert to static pricing for now. Also, look at possibilities to offer promotional bundles where they could bring value to consumers, such as the initiative of Woolworths, which introduced a $80 Basics Box to support vulnerable families in Australia. Repeatability Repeatability is about building a relationship with the consumer beyond the first sale. In light of COVID-19, it means looking after your customers and exploring ways to help them out as much as possible. The first consideration should be looking at and adjusting the conditions of your loyalty programme. If you have a loyalty programme that's based on how often people do something and there is a time limit, consider freezing those requirements or dramatically lowering them. A good example is the one of airlines. Obviously, people are not flying nearly as much as normal, so adjusting frequent flyer miles programmes makes sense. The last thing you want is to alienate customers who really enjoy your product and services by making them feel punished for something that is out of their control. A good example of a sensible approach is the one of Hilton, which recognised that earning and using points is not possible for many of its customers at the moment and extended its 2020 Hilton Honors Status through March 31, 2022. You should also proactively communicate the actions you take to help the community and minimise disruption. For instance, you could send an email to your customers to show how your brand is ensuring the highest levels of cleanliness in the production chain, or to let them know about new delivery options. However, it doesn’t mean you should mass-email every single person who has bought your products once, which could have the opposite effect and appear as opportunistic. Focus on the engaged and regular customers to show them how you can help them. As people are trying to adjust their daily lives to the new normal, they might want to cancel subscriptions, might want to return orders, might have additional questions about delivery… and customer support will become even more important. Ensure your customer support team receives clear guidelines on how to handle consumer requests with empathy and honesty, both in one-on-one communications (e.g., chat) and in public user reviews. Monitoring tools can alert the support team when negative reviews are posted so that they can quickly address them. Additionally, check-in with the support team more frequently than usual to identify recurrent concerns. It can help you continuously improve the information you provide upfront, as seen in the Availability section (e.g., communicating a bigger shipping window). Support bots can also relieve stress on customer service by providing useful information to users. Brands with chat bots or voice activated digital assistants must ensure they are updated as well in terms of content and tone. Brands that do not have a bot should look into this opportunity. The main platforms have a lot of templates available for building actions and skills very quickly. For instance, an FAQ is one of the easiest things to program and you can build and launch a simple and efficient bot in a few hours. You can then progressively add more information, for instance product feeds, to turn the bot into its own shopping channel over time. Using the Commerce Success Framework as a Lens The examples described above provide a glimpse of what brands can do to build or maintain a strong online commerce presence in these challenging times. As each business is going to be affected differently by the consequences of the pandemic, we believe that the Commerce Success Framework will provide marketers a useful lens to focus on the main areas (Availability, Findability, Buyability, Repeatability) and to prioritise the actions that make the most sense for their customers. Above all, remember to protect yourself and your relatives by following the World Health Organisation or your local authorities’ guidelines. We will get through this together. iProspect constantly monitor the impact on COVID-19 on brands and work with partners to support clients with the most up-to-date actions to ensure business continuity. ---------------- [1] Microsoft Advertising, How COVID-19 is affecting in-store pickup interest, March 20th, 2020 0

11 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

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

Introducing the Dynamo Brands

Introducing the Dynamo Brands

Through most of the 20th Century, there were certain fundamentals that guaranteed brand growth: scale, physical presence, media dominance, and historical equity. In the recent years, digital has altered the rules of the business playing field across every category. Now, scale is not the guarantor of growth if once was. And billion-dollar brands are being built in a matter of months- sometimes without traditional media or a retail presence. Four of the world’s five largest companies weren’t even listed in top 30 brand rankings a decade ago.   The new challenge for businesses is to nurture the fundamentals which have always built brands, whilst embracing new behaviours with the potential to super-charge growth in the digital economy. Brands need the Energy to move fast, connect relentlessly and engage constantly, and need the Direction to move with purpose, inspire loyalty, and create relevance. Dentsu Creative Agencies collaborated with The Effectiveness Partnership to develop a model aiming at identifying and understanding these dynamo brands. The Dynamo Brand Index (DBI) uses answers from over 22,000 consumers in 10 countries and scoring algorithms to track the Energy and Direction of the world’s biggest and most prominent up-and-coming brands. It is a measure of where a brand is moving to, not where it has been.     Dynamo Brands create Energy by focusing on continual improvement and are defined more by their values than by their form. They drive Direction by creating clarity in consumer’s mind about what their brand offers, and build trust in their company, not just their product.   Behind the success of dynamo brands   1. Dynamism has nothing to do with age. There’s almost no correlation between age and dynamism. Established brands like Visa and Samsung sit alongside relative newcomers like WhatsApp. It proves established brands can be just as dynamic as the most agile start-ups if they harness Energy and create engagement.   2. One can buy a little bit of energy but can’t buy dynamism. Although there is some positive correlation between advertising spend and Energy in a few markets, the model suggests that brands cannot deliver High Energy through advertising alone – brand actions are as important as brand communications, and constantly finding new ways to connect is a critical part of building Energy. And when it comes to Dynamo Brands, one can’t buy that status.   3. Direction turns energy into impact. For many Firework Brands aiming at achieving High Energy, achieving reach becomes a primary focus of their strategy. However, low scores for Direction are linked to negative sentiment, which means that high Energy activity pursued without Direction can have a negative impact on the brand. Clarity and relevance are vital drivers of sentiment – and should be considered just as important as chasing reach.   4. A balance between energy and direction is important. The DBI reveals brands that are high on Energy, low on Direction, and vice versa. These are brands with immense opportunity. Either they have a strong vision and purpose, which gives them Direction (e.g., Dell), or they are constantly employing new forms of creativity, which keeps them top-of-mind (e.g., WhatsApp). The opportunity lies in marrying the two.   5. Energy is scarcer than direction. Brands in Western markets have very structured and established approaches to brand building, which means they skew higher for Direction – but may be lacking Energy. It’s possible that very structured ways of brand building may now be holding some brands back. Eastern markets like Thailand, India and Japan see a good balance between Energy and Direction.   PREPARE NOW FOR THE FUTURE   Go to dynamobrandindex.com to explore the Dynamo Brand Index full rankings, insights and market deep dives.   The Dynamo Brand Index expands each year to track a growing number of brands. Get in touch through the website to request your brand to be added in the index.   Dynamo Brands have a mix of Old and New economy traits. The Old Economy was very much about Direction: brands had a good understanding of what they stood for and stayed true to their brand fundamentals. The New Economy is very much about Energy and agility – but without Direction, Energy won’t guarantee success. It’s not an either-or. It’s a fusion.   This article is excerpted from the report Future Focus 2020: The Next Ten Years. Download it now for key insights on the macro trends that shape the new digital economy.     0

4 mins read

Digital Transformation… Still Loading

Digital Transformation… Still Loading

Thanks to Andy Green for his contribution to this post.    Perhaps the hottest topic currently in the industry, digital transformation is on everyone's lips these days. Driven by the digitisation of consumer behaviours, from shopping to entertainment to management of their lives, digital transformation has become an imperative for virtually every business. And with $1.97 trillion forecasted to be spent on some facet of digital transformation in 2022, there are a lot of technology vendors, consultancies, agencies and more pushing hard to take a slice of all this action.   The evidence of new business models is everywhere, changing how people live and the fortunes of the companies that sell their products and services to them. Airbnb has welcomed 500 million guests since its creation in 2008, whereas Thomas Cook just went out of business after 178 years. Uber has been challenging the business of taxis, Dollar Shave Club the business of personal care giants, Amazon the business of… everyone. Although many of these new models have not yet been proven over medium to long periods of time, and that many still survive on investment rather than profit, they are either way out-manoeuvring older ones - surely a reason to transform.   Almost no one can readily identify an organisation that has cracked transformation and is reaping the benefits. There are lots of early starts, decent levels of investment, and some solid progress being made, but there are also a lot of challenges being faced. The early success stories are generally those companies that already have part of the digital transformation within their DNA giving them a head start and removing some of the barriers to success.     What hinders digital transformation According to iProspect research, marketers identify having a robust connected data strategy, building the right technology infrastructure, and defining a clear culture transformation strategy as the three most important components of a successful digital transformation. On the opposite -and surprisingly- aligning with top management lags at the bottom of their priorities.   Interestingly, when comparing the dimensions they see as the most important and the facets they see as overlooked or underestimated, the three instances where the latter outscore the former are all about people: culture, learning and development, and C-suite alignment. This could suggest marketers are torn between what the industry often dictates as the alpha and omega, data and technology, and their own experience in which the human side can be too often put in the backseat.   Although no two companies are exactly the same and have the same business transformation ambitions and roadmaps, there are a number of common blockers we repeatedly see in organisations at various stages of digital transformation.   External uncertainty, internal inertia More than one marketer out of two see increasing levels of competition as a barrier to better relationship with consumers. One out of three see data protection regulation in the same way. One out of four thinks the same about the fragmentation of the media supply chain. Adding up other factors such as uncertain geopolitical future and increased scrutiny from consumers can lead some organisations to indecision and inaction. Only when leadership is aligned behind the why of transformation and sets a true vision for change for all the stakeholders can transformation succeed in uncertain times.   Silos drive chaos The failure to break down the silos within an organisation (incentive based, structural, cultural, etc.) means teams and technologies won't connect, processes won't be seamless and ultimately the consumer experience will be at best disjointed and at worst contradictory. Digital transformation generally requires a rework of the operating model and a reorganisation to integrate new responsibilities into the existing marketing organisation. However, too often digital is added as a separate entity onto an existing infrastructure without working out how the existing process and culture need to change. Organisations should also be careful about putting digital natives, who don’t always have the depth of business knowledge necessary to deliver effective change across the wider business, in charge of digital transformation, which demands strong transformational leadership. With one marketer out of five admitting they see internal collaboration as their most difficult challenge, sharing information effectively across the departments has never seemed more important.   “It’s important to internally market marketing. Lately, I’ve started turning the tables on Chief Financial Officers, asking them ‘Hey, why are you not using more automation?’ Because usually, that's the question they ask of marketers. And their reaction is often ‘Whoa, I don't… what do you mean?’” - Todd Haskell, Chief Marketing Officer at Hearst   No real measurement, no real progress Eighty per cent of marketers believe they need to take more responsibility for product and service innovation in the next years. Therefore, it is important to remember that the lack of a robust measurement framework is almost always a guarantee of failure, particularly for pilots and innovations. The business needs provable successes in order to scale new practices, otherwise there is a risk to be caught in an endless flywheel of pilots that don't progress and to not see the expected change. This is further amplified where marketers resist commercial accountability. Beyond measurement tools, this is where strong culture and process make it easier to pilot new ways of doing business and make that part of the emerging working practices, to eventually influence markets at scale.   The not-so-magic technology bullet According to Dentsu Aegis Network, 79% of marketers see the need to transform their businesses through technology. Although technology can definitely be an enabler of digital transformation (the how), it should never be the strategy itself (the why). Before investing in technology, companies should have real clarity about their business goals, the role of digital in the go-to-market model, and the various implications for the organisation. This is particularly important for leaders deciding to in-house technology, which is often seen as a way to internalise operations such as marketing activation but is only one aspect to consider among many (e.g., hiring the right specialists, negotiating the right partnerships with platforms, ensuring teams are kept abreast of the latest product features, regularly checking data sources are vetted for legal compliance). It is critical for a company to conduct a thorough review encompassing the customer experience, the potential return on investment, the impact on the organisation and change management if it is to avoid joining the ranks of the 40% of marketers who invested in technology to collect customer data but don’t know how to turn it into business value.     A framework for digital transformation success  TCF’s proprietary SCHEMA® benchmark database, with thousands of data points describing how organisations approach manage customers in the digital economy, clearly shows that Leadership, Process, People and Operational efficiency are the four pillars that either drive or kill digital transformation. And that getting these right leads to better connections with customers and prospects, a more effective and efficient business and a future-proofed strategy for more disruption to come. Furthermore, getting any of them wrong means risking being a part of the billions of dollars of wasted digital transformation money. The 10-step model below draws on SCHEMA® best practice and is proven to help maximise the chance of successful digital transformation. This article is excerpted from the report Future Focus 2020: The Next Ten Years. Download it now for key insights on the macro trends that shape the new digital economy.   SOURCES:  International Data Corporation (IDC), Press release, Worldwide Spending on Digital Transformation Will Be Nearly $2 Trillion in 2022 as Organizations Commit to DX, According to a New IDC Spending Guide, November 2018 - link  Airbnb newsroom, Fast Facts, as displayed on news.airbnb.com as of October 2019 – link  Thomascookgroup.com, Compulsory liquidation of Thomas Cook Group plc, September 2019 – link  iProspect, iProspect 2019 Global Client Survey, October 2019  Dentsu Aegis Network, CMO Survey 2019, July 2019 - link  iProspect, iProspect 2019 Global Client Survey, October 2019  iProspect, The Roundtables, Those who Tell the Stories, Rule the World, September 2019 - link  Dentsu Aegis Network, CMO Survey 2019, July 2019 - link  Dentsu Aegis Network, CMO Survey 2019, July 2019 - link  Dentsu Aegis Network, CMO Survey 2019, July 2019 - link  thecustomerframework.com, SCHEMA® Assessor Benchmarker™ - link 0

7 mins read

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