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Tag: 2020

How blockchain will dominate the digital advertising industry in 2020

February 26, 2020 No Comments

Every day we read data breach scandals by ad tech vendors. We are getting tracked every day with hidden cookies, and permissions we give unconsciously. According to Juniper research, advertising losses were to reach $ 42 billion in 2019 and were predicted to be driven to reach $ 100 billion by 2023. Blockchain came into action to provide transparency while serving ads and paying for the real human interactions on the ads, not automated traffic.

Blockchain is emerging into the technology market these days and transforming the way we have been doing the online transactions lately. This technology is not only limited to the finance market, but it is also impacting the advertising and marketing industry too.

In this article, you’ll learn how blockchain is going to impact the digital advertising supply chain in the year 2020.

People generally associate blockchain with bitcoin, a well-known cryptocurrency market but it’s not the same. Bitcoin is the name of a cryptocurrency developed through blockchain technology.

So, what exactly is blockchain?

Blockchain is the Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) which contains the record of multiple distributed transactions between different people. It doesn’t require any central control, because the data is not located in any local server, it’s stored in a secured server distributed globally.

The application of blockchain in digital advertising is very significant. From the last few decades advertising firms using user’s personal data to understand their buying habits and designing campaigns by invading their personal space.

It offers a secure environment for the advertisers and the publishers and allows them to connect the right audience and make safe transactions.

A look into what data says

The blockchain market is expected to reach over $ 23.3 billion by 2023 and $ 176 billion industry by 2025.

Digital advertising is expected to climb to  $ 427.26 billion by 2022.

“Blockchain advertising” – According to Google Trends data

blockchain advertising search trend on Google Trends

Why is blockchain technology entering into digital advertising?

The industry space opened up for blockchain recently when data inflation and data discrepancy news surfaced online – advertisers and publishers started looking for a better alternative for transparency.

Advertising platforms like Facebook Ads, Google Ads, and others, were enjoying the monopoly in the digital advertising place since the last decade. These advertising giants were manipulating the data and information to make a huge profit margin.

Some news to read on data inflation

Advertisers sued the social networking platform for overstating video-viewing metrics over an 18-month period from 2015-16, which led the advertisers to pay extra for video ads based on the inflated data. Read more here.

A lot of other news reported about the fake bot traffic advertisers were paying for. It is all because of a lack of control. The publishers and advertisers don’t control the data, hence restricted to see only information ad tech vendors are offering. Data is very vulnerable today, digital advertising tools are using this as their new profit-making plan.

How would publishers know that they’re receiving a fair share of profit?

Kanstruktor over at Steemit explains:

“Decentralized network between advertisers and publishers through caching, and logging of clicks and leads, key statistics, personalized nodes in the blockchain operator MetaHash (fork of Ethereum – ERC20). It is a basic principle of protection against fraud and concealment of data on actual transactions from advertisers, or making unrealistic target bots in the traffic of publishers instead of real users.”

Ad vendors employing illegal techniques to access users’ personal data for their benefits, in exchange for rewards, and similar scenarios is a major threat and blockchain basically came into the picture of digital advertising to give the user control over their data.

Blockchain applications in digital advertising

1. Ad Buying and selling without the mediator

No intermediaries will be benefitted by employing blockchain-powered online advertising platforms. Blockchain is solving the transparencies and trust issues the ad tech industry has.

2. Fraud prevention and transparency in the ad supply chain

It’s very difficult to find the fraudulent clicks and impressions you are paying for. Blockchain technology integrated with the tools helps find and flag sites with click discrepancy and bot infiltration which would flow the ad budget to the right sites with genuine clicks.

3. Targeting the right audience

Driving an ad campaign according to their customer journey is important. With the help of blockchain, ad tech platforms can automate campaigns based on the specified set of rules. If the audience falls into those certain criteria, then only an ad will be visible to them. By doing this advertisers can utilize the budget on better sites to show ads.

Audience engagement will be credible now with very much accurate data that will help design better campaigns. The leads and subscriptions would be genuine and identifiable.

4. Data management

Data and insights play a key role in drafting a great campaign strategy. Blockchain makes it simple to retrieve the right KPIs utilize the data for better decision making.

5. Customize ad delivery

No one likes to see the same ads multiple times and increase ad fatigue. But, advertisers were not able to control the delivery of the ads in most of the top advertising platforms. With blockchain, advertisers will be given control to limit the ad frequency according to their campaign objectives.

6. Social media ads

A lot of fake news used to surface online through social media channels, now it can be controlled as blockchain technology is the distributed system is highly transparent and trackable. It can limit the social media ad frauds.

7. Data safety

Data safety and privacy is a major challenge in the digital advertising industry. The users browsing behavior is no longer the reason you serve your ads to them. Now, audience permission is required to use their personal data. A lot of countries are taking initiatives to stop the illegal practices. Security compliance like GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA, and a lot more came into the picture for data privacy and safety.

8. Ad-verification

Blockchain reduced the role of third-party platforms to verify ads if they comply with the guidelines and save a lot of time for the advertisers.

9. Ad automation

Ad auctioning process and more easy and transparent with the help of blockchain-based advertising platforms. The ads will now be more effective and relevant.

10. Content management

The delivery of the content is more data-driven and accurate with blockchain. Content monetization, content personalization, content discovery, and content creation would be easier in these blockchain technology ad platforms.

Some digital advertising platforms using blockchain

Today the market is flooded by blockchain-powered ad platforms. Tech giants like IBM Corporation, Amazon Web Services, Inc., Accenture Plc, Microsoft Corporation, SAP SE, Oracle Corporation, Infosys Limited are investing in this technology.

Big companies like Kellogg, Kimberly-Clark, Pfizer, Unilever McDonald’s, Nestlé, and Virgin Media have joined a new blockchain pilot seeking to increase transparency in advertising online. Automobile giant Toyota uses blockchain tech to reduce fraud in their digital advertising campaigns.

Kat Howcroft, senior media and budget manager at McDonald’s, said:

“This technology offers us the opportunity to see a truly transparent picture of our investment across the digital supply chain. We are also eager to understand the potential impact that this may have on our ROI and efficiency.”

According to Babs Rangaiah, Global Marketing, IBM iX:

“Blockchain is creating new ways of doing business across industries, particularly where greater trust and transparency are required. As it relates to media, we expect blockchain to be able to provide a single source of truth to any given media buy, eliminating the doubt and uncertainty that is common today.”

Benefits of blockchain in the digital advertising industry

Accountability and transparency are required in the digital advertising ecosystem across the globe. Blockchain brings that trust factor to the table. With the help of blockchain ad tech vendors are now able to show the comprehensive actionable view of the ad distribution and transactions.

For every advertiser, data is the key to define their business success. With blockchain now, the advertisers receive the right high-quality data and reduce the chances of its alteration because of the distributed ledger approach.

The cost of the transaction is reduced significantly by removing various payment gateway platforms. Blockchain-powered ad platforms assure safe transactions while maintaining users’ anonymity.

Conclusion: Blockchain is the future in the digital ads industry

It will be too early to say if this could stop the whole of digital advertising scandals, ad frauds, and bot traffic. But, definitely, blockchain is impacting the digital advertising ecosystem positively and gradually. Ad tech giants like Google are adapting the blockchain-powered tools to enhance their functionality.

Blockchain topped the list of the digital marketing trends 2020. It’s time to show zero tolerance for the ad frauds, data alteration, and data breaches. The companies considering an upgrade to their advertising platform with blockchain will lead the way going forward, and it’s time you added your business to this roster.

The post How blockchain will dominate the digital advertising industry in 2020 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Report: Future of search in 2020 according to SEO specialists

February 8, 2020 No Comments

A survey of SEO specialists published at Best SEO Companies has revealed some interesting analysis on the state of the SEO industry and gives insights about the future of search in 2020 and beyond.

Nearly 500 digital marketing experts offered their responses to the survey, highlighting the tactics which they feel will be important within five years, as well as what factors they expect Google to look upon favorably as the search giant continues to update its algorithm.

Let’s take a look at some of their predictions.

1. Majority of SEOs think the practice is increasing in importance

A significant 75% of respondents believe SEO will be more important in the future.

Future of search in 2020 practice

This isn’t surprising in and of itself, but some more granular detail is quite revealing about how changeable the industry is.

37% plan to stay in SEO for just one-to-three years and a sizeable 23% describe their jobs as precarious in light of Google’s algorithm changes.

Additionally, a massive 80% are concerned that algorithm changes will negatively impact their career. While respondents are broadly optimistic about the need for SEO, they are not universally confident that their own jobs in the sector are entirely permanent.

2. SEOs need to stay current

When it comes to reflecting on their outlook for the future, there is a wide range of strategies SEOs are planning to implement in order to keep abreast of industry changes.

Stat showing SEOs being current for search in 2020

Free online courses and training were cited by 45% of respondents as the best method for SEOs to stay current while operating in this fast-paced and ever-changing industry.

42% plan to diversify their skills and 40.7% point to news/blogs as good ways to keep up-to-date.

38% say attending conferences and seminars will help them stay current and when asked if they will be attending any SEO conferences this year, 54% said they would be.

3. AI optimization is the key tactic for the future

Responses about the significance of specific SEO tactics within the next five years were a little more long-tail.

That said, 31% of respondents cite AI optimization as effective and worthwhile and 29% see this tactic as being important within the next five years.

AI optimization for search in 2020

Mobile remains a big potential growth area for SEOs. 20% see mobile optimization as gaining in importance over the next five years.

Voice search optimization and targeting featured snippets are also predicted to be increasingly important among SEOs in the future.

4. Most think quality content will be the biggest priority for Google

When SEOs are tasked with predicting areas that Google will increasingly take into consideration when ranking sites, content comes out on top.

Stat showing content as a priority for Google

46% of respondents said that the quality of content will be a priority for Google in the future. But, again, other factors were not far behind.

Social share, accessibility, and mobile-friendliness were all cited by more than 40% of those surveyed as being priority areas for the search giant.

5. SEO sentiment and ethics

The survey also highlights some interesting trends about general sentiment SEOs have towards working in the industry and questions of ethics.

69% of respondents reported job satisfaction, with “creative”, “engaging”, and “intelligent” being the top three descriptors cited for how they perceive the work they do.

Stat on SEO sentiment and ethics

The search industry can be frustrating, however. 44% cited short deadlines as a common frustration. Other process-orientated issues such as changing project scopes and, simply, frustrating clients were also cited as some of the more negative aspects working in SEO.

14% of SEOs also admitted to being frustrated by unethical competitors and, when asked directly, a significant 39% of respondents said that they themselves have used unethical – or black hat – SEO tactics.

Takeaways

While the digital marketing industry is broadly optimistic about the importance of SEO in the future, this research certainly highlights that the search community is more than wary of the need to be agile in an industry where key players such as Google can have as much impact on an individual’s job as emerging technologies and client/customer demands do too.

Factors like quality of content, mobile, and AI all appear to be top – or near top – of the list for SEOs when it comes to anticipating key areas of focus over the next few years. But there is actually great diversity in the ideas across the community as to which tactics will be the most important, and where Google will most likely place more weight when generating their rankings in the SERPs.

One key takeaway is that the SEO sector is as changeable as it ever was. It is still evolving. And still subject to disruption from new tech. But with 69% of those surveyed reporting that they are satisfied in their job, it is clearly a challenging and rewarding vertical to work in.

The post Report: Future of search in 2020 according to SEO specialists appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Four key email marketing practices to lead your business into 2020

February 5, 2020 No Comments

Even though marketing has changed quite a bit over the past decade as new channels and strategies have opened up, there is one method that remains just as effective as ever – email marketing.

Email marketing averages a 3800% ROI for both B2C and B2B companies, and 80% of businesses find that it directly correlates to higher business retention, too. However, email marketing has not stayed completely the same over the past few years and companies will need to adjust to stay relevant in 2020.

For example, in 2020, the vast majority of emails will be opened on mobile devices as opposed to desktops or webmail apps.

Source: Litmus

But, there are other changes and trends that marketers need to be aware of to keep their email marketing engaging and fresh as we enter a new decade.

Let’s break down the best practices that businesses should be using as they transition their marketing strategies for the new year.

1. Embrace the concept of smart permission-based advertising 

Email marketing used to be sort of a wide net that was cast to a large audience with the intent of catching whatever it could. These days, technology allows companies to be far more strategic and hyper-target their receivers based on data, such as demographics or behavior.

However, customers do not always love this idea of intense targeting or generalized marketing. 77% of consumers prefer permission-based advertising, specifically through email – as opposed to direct mail, text, or social ads. 

This means that to grow open rates, businesses must understand the importance of consent for targeting through opt-in email marketing. This means providing customers with the option to choose what types of marketing messages they receive from you – as well as the frequency of these emails.

For example, West Elm allows their email subscribers to choose when they want to receive emails, such as when the store is running a promotion or there are new arrivals in stock. Customers can also choose the frequency.

Westelm example on email marketing

 

Source

The majority of people will unsubscribe if they feel like businesses are constantly trying to sell them something. So it is important for companies to find the sweet spot by giving customers options that put them in control of the content they receive.

2. Remember: We live in a post-GDPR world

Modern businesses are extremely reliant on data for just about everything these days. But after all of the data leaks and breaches that occurred over the past years, as well as scandals coming to light of giant companies illegally gathering and selling customer data, consumers are warier than ever of sharing personal information.

Although the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is only in place in Europe currently, it has implications that affect businesses around the globe. For example, if your business services customers within the EU, your data collection processes must be GDPR compliant. Furthermore, these regulations have opened the eyes of many consumers to the importance of data protection.

Email marketing is heavily scrutinized when it comes to data collection so it’s important to incorporate elements into your email marketing that build trust with your audience.

One way to encourage data sharing is through transparency. Let your customers know how data sharing benefits them with personalized offers or better experiences. See how Teva does with their email opt-ins for data sharing.

Teva personalized email marketing offers

 

3. Don’t overdo the email designs 

Flashy designs, animated graphics, and multiple CTAs within an email no longer work the magic they used to. Many people find them simply annoying or even spammy, especially if they are checking the message on their mobile device.

Instead, keep the focus on what your brand has to offer and not solely on how “cool” the email looks. Get to the point quickly. If you are promoting a sale, display some good deals and incorporate CTAs that drive customers directly to those product pages.

Also, be sure to stick to the elements that influence customer behavior – like reviews. Not only do reviews help to improve your SEO, but they can also increase click-through rates.

For example, The Pearl Source used Trustpilot to automatically embed reviews into their marketing content – including email marketing, on their website, and on product pages. This helped consumers see overall ratings and comments before buying.

By displaying their total number of over 6,500 verified reviews, the brand also established social proof and cultivated trust with new consumers off the bat.

In the world of email marketing and marketing as a whole, authenticity trumps flashy designs. This is a reality that has solidified itself over the past decade and will almost certainly continue into the 20s.

4. Automate your hyper-personalized campaigns 

Automation in email marketing offers a lot of great benefits. It can do wonders to impact sales by lowering cart abandonment and boosting customer retention rates. The more relevant your emails are, the more revenue you stand to generate and the best way to ensure this is through personalized automation.

This goes beyond just including the customer’s name in the subject heading. Instead, every element of the messaging needs to be catered to a customer based on key data points, such as:

  • Their product viewing history
  • Past purchases
  • Recent behavior

One great example is this automated email from Tarte Cosmetics, which sends out personally curated product suggestions based on the customer’s purchases and product views.

Tarte example of hyper personalized email marketing

 

In 2020, it will be crucial for companies to use trigger-based automation to perfect the timing of their messages. For instance, say that a customer views a product and adds it to their cart, but ends up abandoning it. If an email is sent 24 hours later alerting them that stock is running low or the price has dropped, it could result in a conversion.

Tarte retouching on incomplete user journeys for conversions

In conclusion  

In 2020, it is quite apparent that consumers want more control over their experiences and interactions with brands. So, it is important that marketers understand how to accommodate consumers’ preferences when it comes to email marketing – while still being able to increase sales.

By opting for permission-based marketing and including more elements that matter to consumers like personalization, reviews, and data sharing options, you can expect to see impressive returns from your email marketing in 2020.

Manish Dudharejia is the President and Founder of E2M Solutions Inc.

The post Four key email marketing practices to lead your business into 2020 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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How to uncover digital growth opportunities for SMBs in 2020

February 5, 2020 No Comments

Now that you reviewed your SMBs’ 2019 performance, it’s time to refocus and think about goals for 2020. Have your goals changed? Are you now focusing more on efficiency, new customer acquisition, or building upper-funnel leads?

Are you trading efficiency for awareness or vice versa? Are there new customer segments that you are pursuing? Do you have new products, services, or functionalities to introduce? The answers to these questions should form the foundation of your digital growth strategy and should define the tests you run to support that strategy.

In this post, we’ll talk about the alignment of goals and tests to get you on the right path for 2020 growth.

Goal/test alignment

If your main goal is building brand awareness and your base of engaged users, testing new audiences should be a key focus, with a secondary step planned for retargeting these users in the future. Facebook/IG has great demographic intelligence to tap into, and LinkedIn allows B2Bs incredible targeting capabilities by title, industry, company size, and other relevant parameters.

If you’re more focused on getting more value out of an already-healthy customer base, bringing them back to your site and working to earn more conversion, turn your attention to remarketing and user experience. 

What does this mean for B2C and ecommerce?

For B2C and ecommerce, this means optimizing remarketing campaigns (testing promotions and other messaging) and running CRO tests to make sure your landing pages are finely tuned and moving the users through the conversion funnel. 

What does this mean for B2B and lead gen?

For B2B and lead gen, moving a strong upper-funnel base of leads through the funnel means making sure your content and messaging is aligned with their place in the purchase journey – so test different copy and themes to see which resonate the best, then target leads that went dark during the sales process with retargeting campaigns on LinkedIn and GDN.

If your goal is to lower CPA and establish more reasonable CPCs in a world of oversaturation on Google and Facebook, I recommend testing new channels with less competition and lower CPCs/CPAs. Those platforms include Instagram, Pinterest, Quora, and Reddit.

Goal-agnostic testing

No matter what your overall campaign goals or business type are, it’s critical to establish a testing strategy and framework for creative assets and automated features. For creative, this includes everything from ad format (video, single-image, carousel) to the aspect ratio, and specific messaging/offers. For automation, consider that Google and Facebook’s powerful machine-learning tools, including automated bidding and campaign budget optimization – can help improve performance. However, they would require oversight to ensure they’re on target. Automated creative tools, including Google’s responsive search ads and Facebook’s dynamic creative, blend machine learning with creative testing and should be tested and monitored to leverage in campaigns for all business types.

Measurement

Once you begin these tests, the rock-solid measurement must inform decisions and optimizations moving forward. If your goal is to drive brand awareness, focus on improvements, on metrics such as impressions, clicks, site visits, and reach. Customer acquisition goals for B2B and lead gen should incorporate metrics including upper-funnel leads, converted leads, opportunities, CPL, and lead-to-opportunity conversion rates. 

Ecommerce businesses focused on driving sales should focus on metrics like ‘add to cart’, purchases, CVR, ROAS, and CPA. Reviewing these metrics at a campaign level, ad group or ad set level, audience, and creative level will help inform decisions and future tests. 

There are many more testing layers to get into, but make sure you have started towards your 2020 goals by aligning the first wave of tests and KPIs accordingly to give yourself a foundation for growth in the coming quarters. 

Lauren Crain is a Client Services Lead in 3Q Digital’s SMB division, 3Q Incubate.

The post How to uncover digital growth opportunities for SMBs in 2020 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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The 8 Best Smartwatches (2020): Apple Watch, Samsung, Wear OS

January 31, 2020 No Comments

Which smartwatch should you buy? From the Apple Watch to the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, here are our favorites.
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Three digital marketing trends you can’t miss in 2020

January 30, 2020 No Comments

The internet has transformed the way we view and experience the world. Nowadays, we use it for virtually everything, from making a phone call to paying off our credit card bill. Smartphones have revolutionized how we shop and do business. With them, we can interact and socialize with people from around the world using Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, and so on. 

From personal experience, I can tell you that I would have never guessed that my smartphone would become a priority for me. I remember thinking that Blackberry pin-to-pin messaging was a disease. Now, I can spend hours upon hours browsing idly through my Instagram feed. Well, the joke’s on me, right? 

The same goes for businesses. Most were limited to operating from a storefront or office, and they could only rely on printed or TV ads, and local networking to get customers. Today, however, the world is any business’ oyster. And digital marketing is the magic wand that makes it possible. But that doesn’t mean that it’s easy. 

Digital marketers are facing new challenges every year. The interaction between businesses and prospects or customers is evolving as new devices, apps, and social media platforms become available. 

The end of the decade brought the time, to sum up, what this ever-changing industry has in store for 2020. 

Here are three marketing trends to keep an eye on this year. 

1. Paid voice search

Voice search advertising has been on most marketers’ radars for a while now. However, the use of smart speakers and voice assistants has gained momentum in the last couple of years. 

So, adopting digital marketing strategies to increase your businesses’ presence in voice searches will soon become a necessity:

And don’t forget about the benefits of paid voice search for local businesses and ecommerce sites:

  • 75% of people who own a smart speaker perform a search for a local business weekly and 53% of them do it every day.
  • More than 20% of voice-based orders are for groceries.
  • Voice-based purchases are expected to increment to $ 40 billion in 2022.

Source for the above-mentioned stats: QuoraCreative

But how can your business take advantage of this new advertising niche?

By establishing a solid strategy for voice engine optimization. To get ahead of the game, you need to understand how your audience asks questions. Check out the details below.

  • Adapt the tone of your written content: Question words are widespread among search queries. That is, How, When, Who, Where, When, and Why. Most people use question-based keywords when implementing voice search. So, adding these words to your written content can put you in the spotlight quickly.
  • Focus on long-tail keywords: When asking smart speakers and voice assistant questions, users tend to speak naturally. That’s why voice searches tend to be more specific. Instead of using “cheap hotel in Vermont,” a person would search for “What is the cheapest four-star hotel in Vermont?” – using long-tail keywords will allow you to rank better for voice searches.
  • Use Schema Markup: This lets you contextualize your content and helps search engines understand exactly what your content is about.

Guy Sheetrit, CEO and Co-founder of Over the Top SEO, predicted the increasing importance of voice searches last year. 

When asked about SEO trends for the near future in an interview for Brandwatch, he mentioned that,

“The combined growth of voice search and the ability of Google to deliver a specific answer to a search query… is going to have a significant impact on how much exposure your website gets.” 

This has been slowly but surely turned into a reality. And the ever-growing popularity of smart speakers will just make it more prevalent as time goes by.

2. Interactive content

We’ve all heard the saying “Content is King”. And yes, informative blog posts, killer copy, or social media posts should continue to be key parts of your content marketing strategy. However, they are slowly being outpaced by interactive content. And it makes sense. 

In a world where we are bombarded by information right, left, and center, audiences have become more and more demanding about the type of content they’re willing to consume. They expect content to be engaging, relevant, and accessible via any device they use. And they expect this 100% of the time.

I asked Shreetit about the impact of interactive content to which he said,

“If you’re not optimizing your digital marketing strategy with interactive content, then you’re already losing customers.”

He asserted,

“For any business to succeed in 2020, it needs to keep up with what users are craving. And interactive content is one of the most innovative ways to consume information.”

We’ve been using interactive content for a while. Think about online quizzes, surveys, and social games.

However, as technology advances, so does the way users want to experience the world. Investing time and money on incorporating interactive formats to your digital marketing strategy can have tremendous payoffs. To do so, include some interactive infographics, white papers, case studies, or ebooks.

But why is interactive content a trend for the start of the new decade? Why should you invest in interactive content now?

  • For starters, it’s proven to positively impact KPIs. Interactive content helps increase brand awareness and its connection with users by way of branded experiences.
  • Because it is immersive. Prospects engaging with a brand through interactive content tend to spend more time on a business’s website. 
  • It also increases page views, boosting engaging metrics, increasing time on site, and decreasing bounce rates.

Not sold on it just yet? Check out these figures:

  • Interactive content generates double the conversions when compared to passive content.
  • Over 90% of B2B prospects prefer interactive content over static content.
  • It is 93% more effective than static content.

In the era 2.0, where the average users’ attention span is eight seconds or less, keeping potential customers engaged may seem like a herculean task. Consumers are exposed to so much branded content that it can be nearly impossible to stand out from your competitors.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be. Planning and implementing an interactive content strategy can help you cross that bridge, effectively closing the gap between traffic to your site and conversions.

3. TikTok advertising

TikTok is not new. However, its increasing popularity is. It was launched into the international market in 2017 and last year it took over musical.ly. A smart move that eased its way into the American teen and tween market.

But what exactly is this social app about?

The concept is rather simple. Users can create short videos and edit them to add filters, effects, and other features. They can then share them on TikTok’s platform or other social media.

And believe me, this single concept has taken the social-media-sphere by storm:

The outreach potential for this app is enormous. If you want to benefit from what TikTok has to offer, I suggest you consider the following tactics.

Create a brand TikTok account

If you create a brand account, you can take advantage of hashtag challenges. These are hugely popular within the platform and will give you a chance to leverage user-generated content. This type of content has become invaluable in today’s marketing world and it’s a nearly foolproof way to reach your audience. Not to mention TikTok’s format has a huge potential for virality. Another way to increase your brand’s presence is by utilizing branded lenses. They are the equivalent of Snapchat or Instagram’s 3D filters. With TikTok, your brand can also create posts with 2D and Augmented Reality (AR). These filters bring a significant level of user engagement by letting your audience actively interact with your products.

Partner with an influencer – someone who already has an established audience 

In this case, you need to make sure their demographic and type of content coincide with your target audience and brand. You also must evaluate their engagement metrics to ensure a successful partnership. 

Use its paid advertising features

TikTok introduced its biddable ads feature earlier this year and it currently only has one ad type – the in-feed video ad. The platform allows you to target these ads by age, gender, and geographic location (to state level). And, the developer has stated that more granular segmentation will be available soon. You can also create customized audiences by manually adding a CRM list, and whitelist or blacklist specific audiences as well.“As soon as I realized the potential TikTok had, I knew it was an app that could add enormous value to any marketing strategy” Shared Guy. “I wouldn’t be surprised if TikTok changes the digital marketing world entirely and end ups displacing Snapchat.”He also said it was a sure-shot way to gain some track within the teenager and college-age demographic. If they’re your target audience, this is your shortcut to boost your exposure. 

To sum it all up…

Keeping up with the ever-evolving digital marketing industry is no easy feat. Things tend to change at the drop of a hat. However, if you stay up-to-date with trends and follow what the experts are buzzing about, you can stay on top of your business’ digital marketing strategy. Adapting it to the shifting online environment to benefit your brand is key to stay ahead of your competitors.

Pius Boachie is the founder of DigitiMatic, an inbound marketing agency.

The post Three digital marketing trends you can’t miss in 2020 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Word of advice on exactly what to expect from SEO in 2020

January 28, 2020 No Comments

Between 2010-2015 the SEO industry went from being seen as a shady backroom box of tricks to a leading and essential marketing channel, driven by data, trends and user behavior statistics.

With ongoing changes Google kept SEO agencies, freelancers and internal teams on their toes by releasing update after update to hone and shape not only what they want search results to look like, but how they want us to act and work within them. This included the once-famed Penguin Update, aimed at webspam and link building practices, supposedly impacted around 0.1% of searches when originally launched, but went on to shape the importance of positive link building, utilization of tools and data and birthed job roles around SEO content strategy while strengthening the importance of content marketing.

Long term with the development of RankBrain and (perceived) closer to real-time algorithm changes, more core updates on a regular basis and the journey through ‘Content is King’ to UX – SEO has become theorized in some sense, with many of us having our own opinions and approaches to the same end result.

As we’ve reached 2020 we have in some parts see new developments from Google slow down, with the company’s focus seemingly on updating reporting suites and core updates that offer little more than ‘an improvement to search results’. We’re no longer beholden to the next big Penguin or Panda updates, but more to the inner workings of Google and sporadic updates to its Search Quality Guidelines – with this in mind, what exactly can we expect from SEO in 2020? Adhering to Google guidelines becomes harder, or easier?

We all know how SEO works and many of us will have specialisms or approaches to SEO we feel get results quicker, but with vague updates and unannounced tweaks to algorithms, is it becoming harder to adhere to Google’s guidelines?

Certainly, the unpredictability is a factor at times – with the recent updates to search guidelines on YMYL and E-A-T being announced, there’s a perception the goalposts are moving ever so slightly, every so often.

This means that if you’re scoring just inside the post on Monday, you might be wide of the mark by a fraction on Tuesday. For websites where the SEO team is at the mercy of web development or other factors outside of their control, this can prove a challenge.

Of course, any SEO agency or specialist worth their weight in gold will be able to outline and approach any issues with a solution in hand.

The flipside to this is, however, is that we all have a clear idea of what a good website looks like and what is going to rank page 1 for chosen keywords. With guideline updates, an industry that shares knowledge like no other and a focus on developing strategies that are future proof, there is no reason for every update to send SEO campaigns spiraling.

In 2020, we predict that the next wave of guidelines will be released, and our prediction is these again will be focusing on trust and authority – not a million miles away from where we’ve been for the last few years.

Actioning and adhering to search quality guidelines

Google Search Quality Guidelines regularly update – these guidelines reflect how Google wants you to work within a website and the process the search engine’s algorithm will take to evaluate the relevance of the website for keyword usage.

These guidelines take into account:

  • E-A-T – The Expert, Authority, Trust of the website in relation to the target subject
  • Page Quality – How the page is laid out, how it works and whether it has the user’s best interests at heart
  • Needs Met – Factors around whether the page ANSWERS the needs of the query

The page quality is assessed to identify where the text is placed, the wording used, content used and the quality of the content.

Google’s most recent updates put E-A-T elements at the heart of the Page Quality section of its guidelines, based on industry and type of product.

The blanket approach, and the actions needed to adhere to (or in fact exceed) Google guidelines are that the page should be “more specific than the query, but would still be helpful for many or most users because” the company is reputable in the area.

Top nine factors content managers should audit for on-page SEO

Element to Optimise Definition
Landing Page URL URL of the landing page (after the website name)
Meta Title This is the blue link that shows in Google
Meta Description The text that shows under the blue link in search results – to draw a user to click
Heading 1 Tag A title that shows at the top of a page
Heading 2 / 3 Tags Additional titles which are placed within the content of a page
Content The physical content on the page needs to meet particular criteria
Keyword Density The percentage of keywords to total text ratio on a page
Images The size, name, and title of an image on the page
Internal Links Links which point to other pages on the website

Dependence on technical SEO reduced but is still important

Technical SEO has been on the rise for a number of years but the buzz behind it has somewhat plateaued in the last 12 months or so – although it is still essential to audit from a technical perspective regularly. Traditionally, technical SEO would include web structure, speed, hosting and so on – with JSON, mark up and structured tagging following on from this.

Across client bases we’ve seen the need for technical SEO regularly drop by just under 50%, with wider-ranging audits, working with web development on new site builds and regular crawls on health being the norm.  Working in this way allows for time to be split effectively across multiple areas of SEO and better use of budget. Education on the technical aspects client-side also means SEO agencies and professionals can focus time elsewhere.

Within semi-regular technical SEO audits, there are some core elements to check, all of which will help identify issues and improve the technical performance of a website, without impacting the day-to-day of search marketing.

Top eight factors you should audit for technical SEO

Element to Optimise Definition
Web structure and URL Structure Essentially the folders in use website is built
HTTPS/SSL Security for customers or users visiting the site
HTML Build Code-behind core elements of a website
CSS / Javascript Code behind the theme and functionality of a site
Schema / JSON Code that allows websites to send additional information to search engines
Server Speed The speed in which servers respond to requests from users
Sitemaps/Robots Used by Google to crawl websites
Accessibility Are all pages able to be found

2020 and beyond

As always, Google is likely to throw a couple of curveballs – However, the SEO industry is coming of age again and it’s no longer an area of expertise that “anybody” can have a go at. There’s a need to understand the market of your clients, their customers, their collateral and the demands of Google to achieve success. Following clear structure, regular audits and systematic approaches will allow all of the above to be achieved.

Keith Hodges, Head of Search at POLARIS, is an SEO expert with over eight years’ experience in the industry. 

The post Word of advice on exactly what to expect from SEO in 2020 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Be a Better Marketer in 2020

January 24, 2020 No Comments

At Hero Conf, we have 4 times the PPC tracks as SMX or Pubcon. We guarantee you’ll get actionable content that you can start implementing right away.

Read more at PPCHero.com
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Images Are Going To Infiltrate Google Search – And Other Hot Takes For 2020 [Video]

January 15, 2020 No Comments

In this video, Hanapin’s Mary Hartman and Dan Rocklin discuss what they’re excited for in 2020, their resolutions, and their hot takes on overrated strategies.

Read more at PPCHero.com
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Five simple content marketing trends for 2020

January 11, 2020 No Comments

How can you improve your content marketing strategy in 2020? Here are five simple and useful content marketing trends to follow in the new year.

We’ve welcomed 2020 and it’s the perfect time to start thinking of the best way to maintain a successful content marketing strategy over the next 12 months.

New channels, tactics, and trends emerge every day but the challenge is to decide on the ones that you want to include to your own strategy.

There are many posts that focus on the latest big trends and how you could revolutionize your tactics for 2020. We’ve decided to go back to basics to review how simple tactics and trends that can improve your content success.

1. Focus on the experience

It’s not enough to increase the frequency of your blogs to improve your content marketing success. In a digital world full of new content, the challenge is to stand out from your competitors.

A good way to achieve success is to focus on the experience. Your content should be relevant and informative but it should also facilitate the user experience.

Content experience is a growing term that refers to the role that sits between content marketing and UX. It’s about reviewing how you can improve your content, your website and even your strategy to ensure that your readers are spending more time on your posts.

There are many ways to improve your content experience:

  • Test the mobile version of your site
  • Aim for short paragraphs that are easy to read on mobile
  • Enhance the “readability” of your content by allowing your text to “breathe” with images and sub-headings
  • Review your loading speed
  • Aim for personalization

Not all changes require too much of your time. What’s important is to acknowledge how your team, your tools, and your processes can gear up towards improved content experiences in 2020, one step at a time.

2. Include visual data

Visual content can improve the reading experience. It can also help you get the main data to stand out. Infographics, for example, help you summarise your key points in a more visual way. They can even help you enhance the “shareability” of your post.

Visual quotes can also help you get your point across in a way that stands out to the reader. You can also include videos in your content to provide an alternative content format for your story.

Another idea that is very helpful in SaaS marketing is to include GIFs when talking about your product. It’s easier for your readers to understand what you’re referring to.

Using visual data in your content marketing can help you simplify complicated ideas and we’re seeing more brands using videos and GIFs to present their data.

Content marketing trends 2020 using story telling

Visual storytelling is growing stronger and it’s useful to experiment with different formats to find out what works best for your readers.

3. Write long-form content

There is a constant struggle on the internet to grab someone’s attention. Not everyone is spending a lot of time on a page, which pushes us to come up with new ideas of bite-sized content. This is actually a good approach in many ways but we also need to remember that long-form content is not dead.

There are many reasons to create long-form content in 2020:

  • Build trust with your readers
  • Go in-depth in the topics that you’re writing about
  • Showcase your writing style and your personality
  • Improve your SEO

Medium got popular as a platform that focuses on writing rather than distractions. You can find the content of great quality and many writers are not afraid to go in-depth in the topics that they’re covering. The Medium looked at their most successful posts to find out that the ideal blog post on their platform is around 1600 words and it takes seven minutes to read it.

 

Medium's stat showing long-form content length content marketing trends 2020

Moreover, creating long-form content is also helping your search ranking. Long-form content is helping you cover in-detail a topic that you want to serve as the authority.

Not all your posts should be too long. But it’s still a good idea to dedicate some time every month to produce a few pieces of more than 1000 words.

4. Read your content out loud

A simple method to improve your content writing in 2020 is to start reading your content out loud. It’s easy to get lost in your thoughts when writing content. What seems to be making sense to you might not necessarily do so for anyone else.

Everything you are writing should sound natural. Start creating content that feels more conversational to “hack” a more successful writing style.

Once you start applying this idea to your content marketing strategy, you start realizing that online writing should not be hard to understand. The idea is to help your readers enjoy your content in a simple and authentic way.

Reading your content out loud is pushing you to review the way you’re getting your message across. It is a practice that helps you improve your writing along with the reading experience. Next time you’re planning to create content for your customers, read it out loud before you publish it. You might be surprised by the difference it can make.

5. Make your SEO smarter

It’s time to make your search engine optimization smarter for 2020. How about being more strategic with SEO to focus on what matters?

You can start by making small changes that can have a long-term impact:

  • Stop focusing on the most popular keywords and start discovering the long-tail keywords that can help you stand out
  • Spend more time on improving your content rather than making sure that you stuff it with your focus keywords
  • Invest in the tools that can make SEO easier
  • Stop aiming for position one ranking in SERPs and explore the different ways to stand out (for example, visual ranking or featured snippets)
  • Write more conversational content to increase the chances of showing up in the featured snippets and the question boxes

What’s important is to start thinking of SEO as another element of your content marketing strategy that addresses your readers’ needs. It’s not just about ranking at the search results. The end goal should always be to deliver a great experience.

What’s next?

Not every content marketing trend should be groundbreaking. Sometimes even the simplest change can lead to great success.

Look at your existing content marketing strategy and what worked in 2019. Start exploring the areas that you want to improve on and find small wins that you can implement.

Look at these five trends as the starting point to simple changes that you can make to improve the understanding of your audience and their needs.

The post Five simple content marketing trends for 2020 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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