Monthly Archives: January 2020

Facebook’s Mandatory Change Coming Soon: Ad Set Budgets Are Going Away

January 20, 2020 No Comments

Here’s what you need to know about Facebook’s mandatory move away from ad set budgets to campaign budgets. The change will take place as early as Feb 2020.

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Everything small businesses need to know to launch a campaign on Amazon

January 19, 2020 No Comments

A financial publisher based in the UK, created an infographic guide aimed at helping small businesses get started with advertising on Amazon.

The infographic, A Small Business Guide to Amazon Advertising, presents a visual summary of advertising options available on the platform and includes some tips that small business can use to get started with launching a campaign.

In this post, we’ll summarize some of the key insights from the guide, including a list of next steps that will help you get ads running on Amazon in no time.

Unless otherwise noted, all statistics and images in this post have been taken, with permission, from the original infographic produced by Businessfinancing.co.uk.

Amazon’s enormous retail reach

Based on gross merchandise value (GMV), Amazon is the second largest ecommerce website in the world (second only to China’s Alibaba) and the largest in the U.S.

It receives over 200 million visits each month and is the first-choice ecommerce destination for many shoppers, with 56% of consumers visiting them before any other website. About 47% of consumers begin their product search on Amazon, versus other search engines such as Google or Bing.

According to a 2018 Poll, nearly 70% of small businesses who sell a product online say that Amazon has had a positive impact on their sales. Advertising on it can help small businesses reach the  online retailer’s vast audience in a variety of ways.

If you’re an existing seller:

  • Sponsored products
  • Sponsored brands
  • Sponsored display ads
  • Stores

If you don’t sell directly on the platform:

  • Display ads
  • Video ads

The infographic breaks down what each ad product looks like and summarize some tips for getting started with your first campaign.

Ad products for existing Amazon sellers

There are roughly one million small businesses currently selling on Amazon. That’s a lot of competition, which is why it’s important for businesses to understand the different ad formats available on the platform and what they’re used for.

Sponsored Product Ads: These ads appear in the search results and product detail pages within Amazon. Advertisers pay on a per-click basis, thus there are no up-front fees required. Sponsored product ads are a good fit for sellers, vendors, and kindle authors who want to promote their merchandise/books.

Amazon ad

Example of a sponsored product placement on Amazon—Source: Businessfinancing.co.uk

Sponsored Brand Ads: Brand ads appear on Amazon product pages or within the landing page of your store and are triggered by relevant searches. As with sponsored ads, there are no monthly fees associated with brand ads. Advertisers pay only when a user clicks on the ad.

Amazon ad

Example of an Amazon sponsored display placement—Source: Businessfinancing.co.uk

Amazon Stores: An Amazon Store is free to create and acts as a hub where all your products are listed in one place. Stores are suitable for sellers, vendors and agencies. Stores are great to aid with product discovery and branding. They can be designed without any coding using predesigned templates provided by Amazon. Stores are available to sellers enrolled in the Amazon Brand Registry, vendors, and agencies and you do not need to advertise on Amazon to create a store.

Example of an Amazon Store—source: Amazon

What if you’re not an amazon seller?

You can still advertise on Amazon and its associated properties if you’re not currently a seller or vendor on the platform. It offers two ad formats—display ads and video ads—which business can leverage to promote their brand, products, and services.

Display Ads: Display ads (not to be confused with “sponsored display ads) can appear on Amazon, websites operated by them, apps and third-party sites. Display ads can be purchased using their self-service demand-side platform (DSP) or via managed-service option which requires a minimum spend of $ 35,000. Display ads are priced on a cost-per-thousand (CPM) basis.

Display ads enable businesses to show ads both on and off Amazon, including within apps. When someone clicks on the ad, they can be directed to the product page, your store page, a custom landing page on Amazon.com or an external website.

Video Ads: As with display ads, video ads can link to a product page, external website or landing page. Amazon video ads appear on its owned websites such as IMDb and devices including Fire TV. Video ad pricing varies based on ad format and placement

Example of display and video ads available for non-sellers—Source: Businessfinancing.co.uk

Seven steps to launching your campaign

The infographic outlines—and helps to visualize—a seven-step approach to getting your ads up and running on Amazon quickly.

  1. Pick a descriptive campaign name
  2. Decide on a monthly ad budget
  3. Set an end date for your campaign
  4. Choose “automatic targeting” so Amazon can generate keyword and product matches automatically based on user searches
  5. Select one product per campaign
  6. Select your keywords
  7. Understand the available bidding strategies, then choose the one that’s right for you

Amazon offers three bid strategies for advertisers as shown above— Source: Businessfinancing.co.uk

Amazon provides step-by-step instructions (as well as $ 50 in free clicks) for sellers who want to get started with advertising on the platform. Their advertising page provides all the relevant details.

Create maximum impact with campaign optimization and monitoring

Once your campaign is launched, you should immediately begin to monitor and optimize its performance. The infographic lists several techniques that small businesses can use to help their ads stand out and perform well including adding negative keywords to ensure your ad isn’t triggered for irrelevant searches (e.g., if you sell dog food, you don’t want your ad to show for someone searching for “cat food.”)

Other tips focus on the type of language to include (and not to include) in your ad copy and the best way to leverage different ad types so that they work together (e.g., by keeping display ads running at all times).

The full infographic is available for free here.

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These Photos Bend Time and Space. Literally

January 19, 2020 No Comments

A special panoramic camera allows artist Jay Mark Johnson to distort reality.
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SEO competition research: The complete guide

January 18, 2020 No Comments

How to learn SEO competition research or in fact anything at all? Well, there’s actually doing it, of course. But doing it without knowing what to aim for and what’s actually working doesn’t do you much good. There’s, of course, reading about it. But as far as I’m concerned, the most effective way to learn to do something is to watch somebody do it well

A large part of SEO efforts is about monitoring what actually works for other people in your particular niche. 

So you need to keep an eye on the people that rank higher than you. Then, using specialized tools you’ll be able to reverse engineer the strategies they used. From then on, you’ll be able to implement those same things in your own campaigns.

What do we talk about when it’s about competition research?

Doing SEO competition research means analyzing your competitors’ SEO efforts in order to augment your own. So how to actually research your competition? Generally, it all boils down to the following steps:

  1. Picking the right competitors — people from your own niche, that consistently rank higher than you.
  2. Figuring out what you’re looking for — from researching their ranking keywords to backlinks, there’s a bunch to discover, and you have to know what it is that you want to find out.
  3. Using a tool to extract the data you’re interested in.
  4. Applying those insights to your own website.

Where in the world are your SEO competitors?

So this might seem like a trivial point. Anybody can name six to eight competitors off the top of their head, right? But, as usual, it’s not quite as easy as it appears.

For any SEO campaign, what you need first (if not foremost) is a list of main keywords you want to rank for. That’s the most basic function of conducting keyword research. Create a so-called “semantic core” for your website and its pages. 

Your overall business competitors might not necessarily be the same as your SEO competition. SEO competition research is a part of competition research in general, sure. But SEO competitors are specifically those websites and pages that receive traffic targeting the same keywords as you

Once you’ve settled on a list of keywords, you can research who in the world is already ranking for them. Those will be your main competitors. Now, you can, of course, use Google and type in all of the different keywords you want. Then you can monitor who’s ranking on Google yourself, no tool involved.

For some this “sans tool” approach works, sure. But for those of us monitoring dozens, if not hundreds of keywords? And those of us who don’t actually relish an opportunity to spend ten hours doing research one keyword at a time? This sounds exceedingly inconvenient.

Of course, the easy way is to use an SEO tool

So there are two overall types of competitors you want to find

  • The “topic” competitors — the pages and websites that are ranking for the keywords you are interested in.
  • The “domain” competitors — those websites that come up in a search for the whole cluster of keywords that are associated with your entire domain.

1. Topic competitors

Those are simply the pages that currently rank in the top 10 for the specific keyword(s) that you want to target with a particular page. Those competitors should be researched before actually creating a piece of content. Try and figure out which keywords in what order work best for this particular topic right now. Look at the headings and subheadings, the keywords they put in bold, and what is a “de rigueur” of this topic, that is – what absolutely must be mentioned for Google to consider that content helpful. A great tool to use when preparing to create a page is TF-IDF

Using TF-IDF tool to create a page after SEO competitor research

It analyzes the competition currently holding the highest rankings and gives you a list of ideas for keywords and topics that you should include. For instance, if you’re writing an article on competition research, TF-IDF might reveal that all of the ranking pages have a point about keyword gaps. That is a signal that Google considers “keyword gaps” an important part of the topic, and you should also put something about it in your piece. Or maybe you’ll need to restructure your entire piece. Let’s say that you see in your analysis that your top competitors for a particular page are all galleries with little text. That’s an indication that Google considers this topic to be in its most “user-friendly” form as a gallery. 

Alternatively, if you see a competitor for your particular topic in a Featured snippet, look up what they’re doing and try to get position zero too. That’s what competitive research is really all about: there are best practices out there for everything. Organic search is a lot of things, but never random. Using the best working practices on the web, you can beat your competition much easier. 

2. Domain competitors

Those are the domains that rank for the overall keywords you’ve collected, for your semantic core. Those are not just your “ad hoc” competitors. Your site is targeting a certain topic, and those are the websites that specifically aim at the same niche. With any competitor analysis tool, you will get a list of domains ranking for the same cluster of keywords you are aiming at. You can compare not just the amount of keywords you have in common, but also how your website performs against other websites covering your topic in general. 

By this point, you’ve put together a manageable list of your main competitors. From then on, you can start analyzing them to find out why they are getting your traffic in organic search.

Analyzing your competitors’ SEO 

Once you’ve got a list of your main SEO competitors, you can start working on looking up what goes into their rankings.

This part of competitor research consists of

  1. Looking up your competitors’ overall SEO health
  2. Seeing your competitors’ ranking keywords
  3. Analyzing your competitors’ backlinks both to their entire domains as well as to any webpage in particular

So let’s start from the beginning — analyze your competitors’ overall SEO health

Before you start going into specifics, you first need to get an overview of your competition’s SEO success. This will serve as a foundation for your future efforts – you’ll know immediately if they outdo you in terms of backlinks, get information on their domains, and so on.

Different tools represent this “overall SEO health” parameter by different metrics, but nearly all of the modern market heavyweights give you an opportunity to look it up. So Rank Tracker indicates this by the term “domain strength”, while Moz chose “domain authority”, and so on. 

Get a list of your top competitors’ domain strengths compared to your own. From social media signals to the number of pages currently indexed by different search engines, there’s a whole lot of information you need to collect about your competitors’ domains.

From here on, you can start drilling down into the details of your competitors’ ranking pages. 

Fill the keyword gaps

A very important thing to take care of are your keyword gap competitors. What is the keyword gap? Those are the keywords that your competitors are already targeting, that you aren’t. 

By identifying the keywords that your competition is using on their pages, you are seeing what particular topics they are currently targeting that you aren’t. 

You should try and find the keywords for which you could start ranking or start ranking better than you already are.

Then you’ll know which keywords you should be adding to the pages you already have, and even formulate a precise content plan that is based on the keywords that your niche competition is already ranking for. For precision, you should perform analysis on a page by page basis. Check any of your pages and compare them to your competitors’ pages ranking for similar keywords. 

This will show, in a very direct way, what exact keywords you should be using on your page. You’ll also get pretty detailed information on the actual keywords, so you will be free to decide which ones are a “must”, and which ones could be just a “maybe”.

Look up your competitors’ backlinks

You are, of course, free to disregard things like PageRankwhich, for the record, still matters.

But we all know how important your backlink profile really is. As far as rankings are concerned, getting more quality backlinks is one of the best things you can do. That goes for your website in general, and for any page in particular. 

Having quality backlinks is so vital, on my blog we even ran a guide on how to find an expired domain with some quality backlinks “built-in”. But of course, that’s for new website owners only.

In this context, it’s understandable why researching your competitors’ backlinks belongs among the most effective link building tactics used by SEO experts. 

How to make it work? Well, in reality, niche websites that already partner with your direct competitors might gladly provide you with a backlink as well!

So how to find what websites link to your competitors’ pages? This is one of the points which you can’t really do manually and will have to resort to a tool’s help.

An especially important metric to monitor here is the amount of “dofollow” links, as those links actually directly impact your rankings. The importance of nofollow links for rankings is moot, but we definitely know that dofollow links are paramount to ranking

But by far the most important feature that is needed for proper competitor research is a list of your competitors’ intersecting links. Those are the linking domains that a few of your SEO competitors have in common, which link to a number of them but not to you yet. 

I prefer using SEO SpyGlass for this since I’m its developer and can vouch for its functionality. In the tool you’ll get to see all of the domains linking to your one or a number of your competitors, but not to you.

Using SEO SpyGlass tool for SEOcompetitor research of back links
If you find a certain source that links to two-to-four of your competitors in your niche, there’s a pretty high chance that you’ll also get an opportunity to partner with them if you do some outreach. 

Link building is just as vital for SEO as anything else, and doing it right can make or break any website’s ranking success. 

Monitor the opportunities presented by your competitor research and seize on them in your own SEO efforts.

Keep an eye on their backlink history

There’s another great angle to analyze your competitor’s pages. Try and look up when exactly your competitors received which backlinks for their content. 

If you see a sudden rise, that could mean, for example, that the page has been updated. Checking out the page itself you might see that your competitor has stumbled upon a viral topic that ranks very highly right on.

You can seize on that opportunity and update your existing content. Or, if you consciously didn’t cover a certain topic thinking that it would not be relevant, and you find that it’s now become viral, you can create some new material.


There are different tools that can be used to boost your SEO success. Getting into the top of Google’s organic search requires quite a lot of analysis, and work. 

Along with keyword and backlink research, link building and website audits, competition research is a fundamental part of a successful SEO campaign.

Aleh is the Founder and CMO at SEO PowerSuite and Awario. He can be found on Twitter at @ab80.

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4 Ways You’re Not Utilising AI Properly In Your PPC Campaigns

January 18, 2020 No Comments

AI can save your business time and perfect your PPC campaigns. But, only if you’re using it properly. Find out if you’re making these common mistakes here.

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Harvestr gathers user feedback in one place

January 18, 2020 No Comments

Meet Harvestr, a software-as-a-service startup that wants to help product managers centralize customer feedback from various places. Product managers can then prioritize outstanding issues and feature requests. Finally, the platform helps you get back to your customers once changes have been implemented.

The company just raised a $ 650,000 funding round led by Bpifrance, with various business angels also participating, such as 360Learning co-founders Nicolas Hernandez and Guillaume Alary, as well as Station F director Roxanne Varza through the Atomico Angel Programme.

Harvestr integrates directly with Zendesk, Intercom, Salesforce, Freshdesk, Slack and Zapier. For instance, if a user opens a ticket on Zendesk and another user interacts with your support team through an Intercom chat widget, everything ends up in Harvestr.

Once you have everything in the system, Harvestr helps you prioritize tasks that seem more urgent or that are going to have a bigger impact.

When you start working on a feature or when you’re about to ship it, you can contact your users who originally reached out to talk to you about it.

Eventually, Harvestr should help you build a strong community of power users around your product. And there are many advantages in pursuing this strategy.

First, you reward your users by keeping them in the loop. It should lead to higher customer satisfaction and lower churn. Your most engaged customers could also become your best ambassadors to spread the word around.

Harvestr costs $ 49 per month for five seats and $ 99 per month for 20 seats. People working for 360Learning, HomeExchange, Dailymotion and other companies are currently using it.

Enterprise – TechCrunch

44% of TikTok’s all-time downloads were in 2019, but app hasn’t figured out monetization

January 18, 2020 No Comments

Despite the U.S. government’s concerns over TikTok, which most recently led to the U.S. Navy banning service members’ use of the app, TikTok had a stellar 2019 in terms of both downloads and revenue. According to new data from Sensor Tower, 44% of TikTok’s total 1.65 billion downloads to date, or 738+ million installs, took place in 2019 alone. And though TikTok is still just experimenting with different means of monetization, the app had its best year in terms of revenue, grossing $ 176.9 million in 2019 — or 71% of its all-time revenue of $ 247.6 million.

Apptopia had previously reported TikTok was generating $ 50 million per quarter.

The number of TikTok downloads in 2019 is up 13% from the 655 million installs the app saw in 2018, with the holiday quarter (Q4 2019) being TikTok’s best ever, with 219 million downloads, up 6% from TikTok’s previous best quarter, Q4 2018. TikTok was also the second-most downloaded (non-game) app worldwide across the Apple App Store and Google Play in 2019, according to Sensor Tower data.

However, App Annie’s recent “State of Mobile” report put it in fourth place, behind Messenger, Facebook and WhatsApp — not just behind WhatsApp, as Sensor Tower does.

Regardless, the increase in TikTok downloads in 2019 is largely tied to the app’s traction in India. Though the app was briefly banned in the country earlier in the year, that market still accounted for 44% (or 323 million) of 2019’s total downloads. That’s a 27% increase from 2018.

TikTok’s home country, China, is TikTok’s biggest revenue driver, with iOS consumer spend of $ 122.9 million, or 69% of the total and more than triple what U.S. users spent in the app ($ 36 million). The U.K. was the third-largest contributor in terms of revenue, with users spending $ 4.2 million in 2019.

These numbers, however, are minuscule in comparison with the billions upon billions earned by Facebook on an annual basis, or even the low-digit billions earned by smaller social apps like Twitter. To be fair, TikTok remains in an experimental phase with regards to revenue. In 2019, it ran a variety of ad formats, including brand takeovers, in-feed native video, hashtag challenges and lens filters. It even dabbled in social commerce.

Meanwhile, only a handful of creators have been able to earn money in live streams through tipping — another area that deserves to see expansion in the months ahead if TikTok aims to take on YouTube as a home for creator talent.

When it comes to monetization, TikTok is challenged because it doesn’t have as much personal information about its users, compared with a network like Facebook and its rich user profile data. That means advertisers can’t target ads based on user interests and demographics in the same way. Because of this, brands will sometimes forgo working with TikTok itself to deal directly with its influencer stars, instead.

What TikTok lacks in revenue, it makes up for in user engagement. According to App Annie, time spent in the app was up 210% year-over-year in 2019, to reach a total 68 billion hours. TikTok clearly has users’ attention, but now it will need to figure out how to capitalize on those eyeballs and actually make money.

Reached for comment, TikTok confirmed it doesn’t share its own stats on installs or revenue, so third-party estimates are the only way to track the app’s growth for now.

Social – TechCrunch

PopSockets, Sonos, and Tile Ask Congress to Rein in Big Tech

January 18, 2020 No Comments

At a congressional hearing Friday, smaller companies including PopSockets, Tile, Sonos, and Basecamp criticized Apple, Facebook, Google, and Amazon for having power over them.
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Tips For Successful PPC Analytics Projects

January 17, 2020 No Comments

Tips from a PPC Analyst on successful project planning, communication, and implementation.

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Boost SEO teamwork through unexpected collaborations

January 16, 2020 No Comments

SEO plays a role in the success of most online businesses, but it’s kept in a silo. SEO focuses on organic traffic online, while other strategies operate independently around it. What happens when you break down the silos and start working SEO into other company functions?

The ‘Rule of 7‘ suggests that people need to see your messages at least seven times before they start to take notice of your brand. By combining your SEO efforts with ongoing marketing, advertising, and other activities, you can start to accelerate the number of times and channels by which people are seeing your messaging.

SEM collaborations

SEO and SEM are really just two sides to the same coin. SEO focuses specifically on monitoring and improving organic traffic to your website while SEM has a broad focus on improving conversions through mostly paid strategies. Many companies consider these two activities different enough to keep them separate, a strategy that makes sense when you look at the individual functions that differ from SEO and SEM.

However, when SEO and SEM are collaborating, you can often get better results for both departments. Both activities rely heavily on targeting keywords to draw in more people. By sharing keyword data and insights, both departments can work on targeting and optimizing for the best keywords and phrases, creating a more unified approach that puts content and ads in front of the same audience consistently.

When a website is well optimized, it can improve the results of SEM campaigns. Good SEO practices help Google and other search engines to consider your site as a legitimate source of information. This is good for your organic search placement, but also for your ad placements since search engines are more likely to promote more credible websites.

SEM is also vital during the early stages of an SEO campaign. By using PPC ads as you work on your SEO for a new website, you can start getting more traffic and legitimacy that may speed up your long-term SEO results and help you reach your goals faster.

CRM collaborations

If you’re using a CRM (customer relationship management) software, you can have a powerful impact on your SEO by utilizing the system to complement ongoing SEO activities. The three most distinct benefits of this collaboration are:

1. Insights about other companies your customers use

CRM systems can help point you toward other services or companies that your customers engage with on a regular basis. With this knowledge, you can approach those companies for guest posts or content collaborations. You’re more likely to get a “yes” if you can show the other company how your customers are related and the value you can offer that’s complementary to what they already offer.

The more relevant, high-quality links you’re getting, the better the results you can expect from your link building strategy.

2. Keyword insights related to holistic customer experiences

SEO analytics are great for showing you where customers can from and which keywords they searched to find you. But what happens if that customer took an unconventional journey?

CRM software is better at tracking the full customer journey, allowing you to gain some insight into the circumstances that brought a person to your website. You’ll be able to see when and where they engaged with you, along with keywords and phrases that may have influenced them along the way.

3. Unified content on all platforms

CRM systems let you see what’s going on all around so you can see how well your messages are mashing up. Whether you’re hosting expert webinar presentations, publishing a series of blogs about a relevant topic, or posting short social media videos, you’ll be able to see how these things are impacting your customers positively or negatively.

Having more data is necessary for successful SEO. You need to know what’s working, where, and why. CRM lets your SEO team draw from more complete data while ensuring that every outgoing message lines up with your ongoing SEO strategy.

SMM collaborations

If you’re not already combining SEO and social media marketing (SMM) activities, it’s time to catch up. Social media isn’t a good place to worry about keywords and typical SEO strategies, but it’s a very complimentary service that can drive a large amount of traffic to your website directly or to the search engine to look for you.

Messaging and brand voice displayed on social media should match that on other platforms and throughout your content marketing. Social media is a unique platform that’s more informal and comfortable for people wanting to interact with your business. While SMM doesn’t directly impact your rankings, it has an enormous indirect benefit and helps get your content in front of more people, resulting in more backlinks, more engagement, and higher traffic numbers overall.

Give your SMM team guidelines about how to effectively promote your SEO optimized content. SEO teams should make it incredibly easy to share content on social media (high-quality images, easy quotes or snippets, and the works). They should include social media features integrated into the website itself, while SMM teams should put in the work to make sure SEO content is getting out in front of their audience when it’s appropriate. In this way, both teams can help each other succeed.

Marketing collaborations

Traditional marketing has very little overlap with SEO. Since traditional marketing is more concerned with marketing that makes sense in the real world, rather than on the internet, it’s a completely different type of marketing. However, there is an important point of overlap that shouldn’t be ignored. Both marketing and SEO work with specific customer data, refining your brand messages and outreach based on who and how you’re reaching the most people.

Marketing is concerned with knowing as much about your customers or potential customers as possible. If you have a marketing focus that’s not exclusively limited to online marketing, it’s still important to combine these two departments to allow them to share their data back and forth.

The goal of collaborating

At the end of the day, you want to present a unified brand image that gives people the right impressions no matter how they access your brand. Your messaging may vary from platform to platform, but your brand voice should always be the same. All your teams should be working together to reach the same broad company goals and milestones.

When you start from the top and work your SEO strategy into every facet of your business, it’s easier to accomplish or even surpass your goals.

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