The corona crisis has changed the shopping behavior of a large group of Dutch people: almost one in three shoppers ordered online more often during the crisis and half of them also bought more products per order (source: GFK). This upward trend is expected to continue. According to Kantar research , 20-40% of the Dutch indicate they continue to shop in the online stores they discovered during the COVID-19 crisis. It makes sense for companies, now more than ever, to invest in online commerce. The social giants are also busy. In order to facilitate brands in social commerce, they launched one new feature after another. What are the latest developments in social commerce? And what can you best invest in as a brand to boost your online sales?   1. Facebook and Instagram Shops Despite the recent coverage of Facebook in recent months, the giant continues to develop in e-commerce at lightning speed. In view of the increasing restrictions on finding first- and third-party target groups on digital platforms, the recent launch of Shops is a godsend for advertisers aiming to continue toward target advertising.   Facebook Shops act as copies of web stores where products are displayed on both Facebook and Instagram. The products, or a selection thereof, are linked via a catalog or loaded directly from a website via shopping partners. It has been possible for some time to tag products in an image or video. With a single tap, the user can immediately access the product details. Recently it has also become possible to advertise in the Netherlands in this way.    A new development is the Shop tab, in which you can discover the entire collection within the Facebook page or Instagram profile Shop. Shoppers can then pay on the advertiser's website or most recently - and this is where it gets interesting - without leaving the app.   Facebook Pay   Facebook users in the Netherlands can now link payment details (credit card, debit card or PayPal), contact details and delivery address to their Facebook profile by means of Facebook Pay. The user sets this up once. With this you can pay in the Facebook Shop within the Facebook app. If successful, this will be rolled out further to Instagram, Messenger and Whatsapp. This way the target group can make a purchase immediately with minimal obstacles.   Besides a better shopping experience, this is a great opportunity for advertisers to stay relevant to their customers. Privacy regulations make it increasingly difficult to use website data within other platforms and apps, but with the help of Facebook Pay the advertiser retains the option to continue to show relevant advertisements based on purchase data.     As a brand you can already study Facebook Shops. In a cookie-free future, you will have both the data to remain relevant for your customers, and an advanced consumer experience when customers expect this from brands.     2. Snapchat - dynamic ads We already know them from Facebook and Instagram, but last month Snapchat also launched Dynamic ads in the Netherlands. A big advantage of dynamic ads is that all products from your product catalog are loaded into your advertisement. If products change, the advertisement changes immediately so that you always show up-to-date advertisements that fit within every advertisement format. This has many advantages; Snapchatters see more relevant ads, brands see a higher ROI and content creators spend less time on small adjustments. Snapchat is increasingly collaborating with partners who make the dynamic ads applicable for multiple platforms by means of feeds and templates. It is a great advantage that you can offer your assortment automatically on multiple channels to invest in technology solutions that make this possible.   Snapchat - Beta Brand Profiles In July, Snapchat started testing Brand Profiles for 30 major brands in a closed beta. Brands are given additional options such as saving and showing previously posted Snaps, videos, stories, and AR lenses. This way you can discover multiple products within Snapchat and test them virtually. In addition, potential customers can checkout directly in the app through Shopify.   3. Pinterest shopping   Whereas the platform first focused on inspiration and awareness, it is increasingly shifting towards conversion-driven solutions: Shop the look, Collection ads, Dynamic product ads and Shopping tabs. One of the newest features is Shopping Spotlights, which gives influencers a bigger role on the platform. The promoted content appears at the top of the search tab and links directly to the brand’s (product) site. In addition, Pinterest launched Shop with Your Camera on June 1, where a photo of a product leads to suggestions from Pins with products similar to this one. The products that are in stock can be purchased directly in the new shop tab via the advertiser's checkout page. This is expected to be available in the Netherlands shortly. Also read: One year of Pinterest advertising: six key learnings   Pinterest advertising - be the brand they see first 97% of pinners' search traffic is still non-branded. They are looking for inspiration very early in the Pinterest buying process, even before deciding on a brand or product. The target group therefore actively moves towards the content. It is precisely in this orientation phase that you have the opportunity to expand your search strategy and be findable with the right product. Pinterest Business itself states: Be the Brand they see first. Even with the short period Pinterest advertising is available, it is still relatively easy to climb as a brand on Pinterest in both organic and paid search results. The big difference here compared to other social platforms is that the content has a much longer lifespan. An investment you make now to make content easy to find can have positive effects on the algorithm in the long term. Take into account a longer path to purchase.   4. Conversational commerce via social media   Thirty-five percent of online shoppers regularly contact a brand or company, in most cases with questions about the delivery ("Where is my package?"), but there are also many questions about the price and quality of a product. In order to speak to customers in an efficient and effective way, an increasing number of commerce parties, have added so-called messaging apps (also called conversational commerce) as a complement to their in-person customer service. The quality of the services of these messaging apps provide is improving rapidly.   Messaging apps such as Whatsapp and Messenger offer consumers the opportunity to interact with a company in an accessible way. Messaging bots or Quick Replies exist for even faster and more efficient service, and customers are growing accustomed to these enhancements. The contact they then have via these apps is comparable to a physical store assistant. This can increase trust in a brand or product by removing doubts: 57% of conversational shoppers say they chat with a company for additional information about products and 34% for more confidence in the brand.* In addition to improved emotional value, you can also negotiate the price of a product via conversational commerce: 35% of conversational shoppers indicate they negotiate prices or offers via Messaging apps. In fact, two-thirds say they spend more money after chatting with a company.   The Dutch consumer increasingly expects companies to be available through conversational commerce. Conversational commerce is therefore clearly here to stay. As a brand you want to respond quickly to this development, preferably before your competitor has this perfectly in order and your target group already has a smooth user experience with another brand. You can scale up later when it suits the business. * Source: “Conversational Commerce: the next gen of E-com” by BCG (Facebook-commissioned study of 8,864 people across BR, ID, IN, MX, MY, PH, TH, US and VN), Aug 2019.   Pick your battles The precondition for the above developments is that a platform must match a brand. For walkers you don't have to advertise on Snapchat and a recruiter has little to look for on Pinterest. In addition, the foundation of your e-commerce must be in order before you use the many possibilities of social commerce. Shopping tools, catalogs and campaign management tools allow you to quickly scale up to multiple platforms. Changing afterwards or setting up each platform separately costs a lot more time and money in the long term. It is better to start on a small scale and be ahead of the competition. This way you can scale up with a strong product when they start experimenting rather than the other way around.   Finally, and this is perhaps the most important, pick your battles. Be critical about which developments really have potential for your organization, then invest in improving and automating that process. A company must look beyond today's fast conversions, as KLM has done with conversational commerce. This can yield you more in the longer term than, for example, a one-off campaign on TikTok.   Would you like to chat about social commerce for your brand? Please feel free to contact kitty.bakker@iProspect.com. 0

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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

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