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TikTok: The next marketing platform for brands

February 11, 2020 No Comments

TikTok, it’s the social media platform that’s taking the world by storm. Gen Z is all over it, and even millennials are joining in on the fun. Can brands be far behind? But what is TikTok, and is it lucrative enough for brands to include in their 2020 marketing plan?

We look at the growing popularity of the channel, what it means for brands, and how companies can maximize their TikTok marketing.

The rise of TikTok

TikTok is a mobile video app much like the now-defunct Vine, created by parent company ByteDance, a startup based in Beijing, China. Launched in 2016, the app currently boasts over 500 million active users and is popular in India, China, and the US.

Users create short, fun looping videos, from 15 seconds to a minute long that’s usually set to music available from the vast TikTok library. The app also offers effects like split screens and filters much like in Snapchat and Instagram. It also provides live streaming.

Alongside the videos that users can create, they can also remix songs and create playlists, in the same vein as Spotify. Like most other social platforms, there is a certain level of interaction between members on the app, such as liking, commenting, hashtagging, and sending hearts.

TikTok recently incorporated paid advertising, which has encouraged brands to join the app and promote themselves.

Why brands should join TikTok

The number of users on TikTok and the app’s potential to grow should be sufficient enough reason for brands with a mobile marketing strategy to join.

But there is reason to seriously consider whether or not it is worth joining the app. For one, the majority of TikTok users are Gen Z, with a few millennials thrown in for good measure.

If your target audience is Gen Z, TikTok may be the next platform to try while Instagram and Snapchat also cater to this demographic, TikTok is centered entirely on them. 

A presence on TikTok could help you boost the reach within this demographic with ease.

On the other hand, if you aren’t exclusively catering to Gen Z – though most marketing trends suggest you should, TikTok may be superfluous to your social media strategy. 

There is no point in stretching yourself thin if the other platforms are doing the job of improving your reach and conversions.

Additionally, take a look at how important video content is to your marketing strategy. Ask yourself, are you creating videos for your channels regularly? If yes, then TikTok could be a good fit.

You also need to ascertain whether your niche will be well represented on TikTok since the app is very entertainment-focused and takes a whimsical approach to content.

Can you mimic that tone in your content and will it be appropriate for your audience? If you answered, “yes” to those questions, then you should be joining TikTok.

How to market a brand on TikTok

Now that you’ve decided that TikTok is the platform for you and will help you reach your target audience of under-30s, how do you market your brand on the app?

Because of how new the app is as compared to the popular platforms of today, it’s difficult to define a TikTok strategy. However, there are a few methods of engagement that you can use on the platform that we will outline below.

1. Behind the scenes

TikTok is a great channel to showcase life behind the scenes, take your followers through an intimate look at the workings of your organization.

A number of entertainment and news brands are making TikTok videos of their brainstorming sessions or inside writers’ rooms.

You can show how a product is conceived and goes through the stages of production until it’s finally ready to be launched for customers.

Note: You may want to consider how you’d want to do this without giving away crucial or business-sensitive information.

But remember, this is not the place to be overly sales-y as we have mentioned earlier, TikTok is about entertainment. If you can make this content fun and quirky, then it can earn you views and followers on TikTok. If you can’t accomplish this, don’t post content on the app.

2. User collaborations

A handful of TikTok users consistently create such entertaining and unique content, that they have already earned millions of followers. These creators are akin to the influencers on Instagram and Snapchat, and it is worth looking into setting up collaborations with these individuals.

Brands are still considered interlopers on TikTok, which is why creative individuals we have mentioned are the real draw.

Instead of trying to appropriate the platform with content that may not be right for the audience, partner up with creators who already know the lay of the land to make promo videos.

3. Duets

Another type of collaborative content that brands can create on TikTok is duets. These are videos where users can add a new video to an existing piece of content. The final product looks like a split-screen video. If executed well, the result can be incredibly entertaining.

Creating a video that can easily be spliced into another is a great way to boost engagement on the app and improve follower numbers.

4. Hashtag challenges

By far the most popular way to engage users on TikTok and to go viral is – to join or issue hashtag challenges. 

These challenges are social media contests usually based on a particular topic or subject, and users are encouraged to send in responses to the challenge as quickly as possible.

TikTok hashtag challenges draw in millions of users and views—if you have a creative enough challenge to share, you can see some serious engagement. 

5. Paid advertising

TikTok advertising is still a new concept but some major brands like Nike and Disney have already managed to create successful ad campaigns on the platform.

However, TikTok advertising may not be for everyone, ad campaigns need businesses to spend at least $ 500, and the cost of a campaign could number in the hundreds of thousands.

One can see why only mega brands have tried it, making it thus far for smaller businesses, native videos, and challenges that may be the way to go.

If your company does have the budget for a TikTok ad campaign, you will need to create a TikTok Ads account.

Once you have been verified, you can set the parameters for your ad, similar to how one would create a Facebook Ad campaign.

6. Reaction videos

Similar to duets, TikTok’s reaction videos are another way to create interactive and engaging content. These videos prompt reactions from people, which they can share via video.

Unlike most other platforms that only give users the option of leaving comments or likes as reactions to posts, TikTok allows users to create a reaction video that can be embedded in the original content.

Creating content that will evoke reactions strong enough for users to leave a reaction video is a good way to boost your follower numbers.

7. Branded stickers

Snapchat has had branded stickers for a while, and TikTok recently released the ability to create your own stickers, alongside importing them from Giphy.

Branded stickers, like the brand emojis on Twitter, can improve your brand awareness on the app. They don’t need to be elaborate, just fun.

However, try to keep the stickers as relevant to the popular TikTok hashtags as possible to increase the possibility of them being used.

Summing up

TikTok is new and exciting but it may not be for everyone. With a large Gen Z following and their quirky video output, TikTok is as niche as a social platform can get.

Brands need to ask themselves whether this is the audience they need to reach and whether they can commit to creating the kind of content that is popular on the app. Because TikTok is gaining popularity every day and it’s targeting the crowd that knows what is on-trend before anyone else knows it. TikTok could be the channel that sends your marketing strategy through the stratosphere. But it may be too much hard work for your team right now so you might want to keep it on your mind for the near future.  

Look at the history of the app and its niche, as well as the content channels available to brands, and make a decision about whether it is right for you or not.

Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at the online infographic and design platform, Venngage.

The post TikTok: The next marketing platform for brands appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


How Ecommerce Brands Can Benefit From A Growing IoT Market

January 26, 2020 No Comments

Given the steady growth of the IoT market, what can ecommerce brands do to take advantage? Let’s take a closer look at the possibilities.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


Soci raises $12M to help big brands manage local marketing

December 10, 2019 No Comments

According to CEO Afif Khoury, we’re in the middle of “the third wave of social” — a shift back to local interactions. And Khoury’s startup Soci (pronounced soh-shee) has raised $ 12 million in Series C funding to help companies navigate that shift.

Soci works with customers like Ace Hardware and Sport Clips to help them manage the online presence of hundreds or thousands of stores. It allows marketers to post content and share assets across all those pages, respond to reviews and comments, manage ad campaigns, and provide guidance around how to stay on-brand.

It sounds like most of these interactions are happening on Facebook. Khoury told me that Soci integrates with “40 different APIs where businesses are having conversations with their customers,” but he added, “Facebook was and continues to be the most prominent conversation center.”

Khoury and CTO Alo Sarv founded Soci back in 2012. Khoury said they spent the first two years building the product, and have subsequently raised around $ 30 million in total funding.

“What we weren’t building was a point solution,” he said. “What we were building was a massive platform … It took us 18 months to two years to really build it in the way we thought was going to be meaningful for the marketplace.”

Soci has also incorporated artificial intelligence to power chatbots that Khoury said “take that engagement happening on social and move it downstream to a call or a sale or something relevant to the local business.”

The new round was led by Vertical Venture Partners, with participation from Grayhawk Capital and Ankona Capital. Khoury said the money will allow Soci to continue developing its AI technology and to build out its sales and marketing team.

“Ours is a very consultative sale,” he said. “It’s a complicated world that you’re living in, and we really want to partner and have a local presence with our customers.”


Enterprise – TechCrunch


6 Facebook Ad Strategies All Ecommerce Brands Need

December 3, 2019 No Comments

Facebook ads are an effective and affordable way marketing method. Here are six essential strategies every ecommerce brand needs in 2020.

Read more at PPCHero.com
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5 Things That Matter To Brands When Working with An Agency

October 22, 2018 No Comments

We wanted a better pulse on what attributes brands consider the most important things when working with an agency, as well as the things they wish their agencies were better at. So we asked! Click through for the results.

Read more at PPCHero.com
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On-site SEO for international brands, do’s and don’ts

October 9, 2018 No Comments

International brands have their work cut out for them. Building a consistent brand experience across multiple continents and to audiences that speak different languages is no easy task, and the process of translating individual pages from one language to another is time consuming and resource intensive.

Unfortunately, much of this work can go to waste if the right steps aren’t taken to help search engines understand how your site has been internationalized.

To help you prevent this, we’ve collected a list of “Do’s and Don’ts” to help guide your internationalization efforts and ensure that your pages get properly indexed by search engines.

Do conduct language specific keyword research

The direct translation of a keyword will not necessarily be what users are searching for in that language. Rather than simply taking the translation at face value, you will have more success if you take a look at your options in the Google Keyword Planner to see if there are other phrasings or synonyms that are a better fit.

Remember to update your location and language settings within the planner, listed just above the “keyword ideas” field:

Don’t index automatic translation

Automatic translation can be better than nothing as far as user experience goes in some circumstances, but users should be warned that the translation may not be reliable, and pages that have been automatically translated should be blocked from search engines in robots.txt. Automatic translations will typically look like spam to algorithms like Panda and could hurt the overall authority of your site.

Do use different URLs for different languages

In order to ensure that Google indexes alternate language versions of each page, you need to ensure that these pages are located at different URLs.

Avoid using browser settings and cookies to change the content listed at the URL to a different language. Doing so creates confusion about what content is located at that URL.

Since Google’s crawlers are typically located in the United States, they will typically only be able to access the US version of the content, meaning that the alternate language content will not get indexed.

Again, Google needs a specific web address to identify a specific piece of content. While different language versions of a page may convey the same information, they do so for different audiences, meaning they serve different purposes, and Google needs to see them as separate entities in order to properly connect each audience to the proper page.

We highly recommend using a pre-built e-commerce platform like Shopify Plus or Polylang for WordPress in order to ensure that your method for generating international URLs is consistent and systematic.

Don’t canonicalize from one language to another

The canonical tag is meant to tell search engines that two or more different URLs represent the same page. This doesn’t always mean the content is identical, since it could represent page alternates where the content has been sorted differently, where the thematic visuals are different, and other minor changes.

Alternate language versions of a page, however, are not the same page. A user searching for the Dutch version of a page would be very disappointed if they landed on the English version of the page. For this reason, you should never canonicalize one language alternate to another, even though the content on each page conveys the same information.

Do use “hreflang” for internationalization

You may be wondering how to tell search engines that two pages represent alternate language versions of the same content if you can’t use canonicalization to do so. This is what “hreflang” is for which explicitly tells the search engines that two or more pages are alternates of one another.

There are three ways to implement “hreflang,” with HTML tags, with HTTP headers, and in your Sitemap.

1. HTML Tags

Implementing “hreflang” with HTML tags is done in the <head> section, with code similar to this:

<head>

<title>Title tag of the page</title>

<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”en”

href=”https://example.com/page1/english-url” />

<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”es”

href=”https://example.com/page1/spanish-url” />

<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”it”

href=”https://example.com/page1/italian-url” />

</head>

Where hreflang=”en” tells search engines that the associated URL https://example.com/page1/english-url is the English alternate version of the page. URLs must be entirely complete, including http or https and the domain name, not just the path. The two letter string “en” is an ISO 639-1 code, which you can find a list of here. You can also set hreflang=”x-default” for a page where the language is unspecified.

Each alternate should list all of the other alternates, including itself, and the set of links should be the same on every page. Any two pages that don’t both use hreflang to reference each other will not be considered alternates. This is because it’s okay for alternates to be located on different domains, and sites you do not have ownership of shouldn’t be able to claim themselves an alternate of one of your pages.

In addition to a language code, you can add an ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country code. For example, for the UK English version of a page, you would use “en-GB” in place of “en.” Google does advise having at least one version of the page without a country code. You can apply multiple country codes and a country-agnostic hreflang to the same URL.

2. HTTP header

As an alternative to HTML implementation, your server can send an HTTP Link Header. The syntax looks like this:

Link: <https://example.com/page1/english-url>; rel=”alternate”; hreflang=”en”,

<https://example.com/page1/spanish-url>; rel=”alternate”; hreflang=”es”,

<https://example.com/page1/italian-url>; rel=”alternate”; hreflang=”it”

The rules regarding how to use them are otherwise the same.

3. Sitemap

Finally, you can use your XML sitemap to set alternatives for each URL. The syntax for that is as follows:

<url>

<loc>https://example.com/page1/english-url</loc>

<xhtml:link

rel=”alternate”

hreflang=”es”

href=”https://example.com/page1/spanish-url”/>

<xhtml:link

rel=”alternate”

hreflang=”it”

href=”https://example.com/page1/italian-url”/>

<xhtml:link

rel=”alternate”

hreflang=”en”

href=”https://example.com/page1/english-url”/>

</url>

Note that the English version of the page is listed both within the <loc> tag and as an alternate.

Keep in mind that this is not complete. For it to be complete you will also need separate <url> sections for the Spanish and Italian pages, each of them listing all of the other alternates as well.

Don’t rely on the “lang” attribute or URL

Google explicitly does not use the lang attribute, the URL, or anything else in the code to determine the language of the page. The language is determined only by the language of the content itself.

Needless to say, this means that your page content should be in the correct language. But it also means:

  • The main content, navigation, and supplementary content should all be in the same language
  • Side by side translations should be avoided. Don’t display translations on the page, just make it easy for users to switch languages.
  • If your site offers any kind of automatic translation, make sure that this content is not indexable
  • Avoid mixing language use if at all possible, and if it is necessary, make sure that the primary language of the page dominates any others in substance

Do allow users to switch languages

For any international business, it’s a good idea to allow the users to switch languages, usually from the main navigation. For example, Amazon allows users to switch languages from the top right corner of the site:

Do not force the user to a specific language version of the page based on their location. Automatic redirection prevents both users and search engines from accessing the version of the site that they need to access. Google’s bots will never be able to crawl alternate language versions of a page if they are always redirected to the US version of the site based on their location.

Turning to Amazon for our example once again, we are not prevented from accessing amazon.co.jp, but we do have the option of switching to English:

Don’t create duplicate content across multiple languages

While you should not canonicalize alternate language versions of one page to another, if you use alternate URLs for pages meant for different locations but the language and content are identical, you should use the canonical tag. For example, if the American and British versions of a page are identical, one should consistently canonicalize to the other. Use hreflang as discussed above to list them as alternates with the same language but for different locations.

Conclusion

Use these guidelines to make sure users from all of your target audiences will be able to find your pages in the search results, no matter where they are located or what language they speak.

Search Engine Watch


Introducing simpler brands and solutions for advertisers and publishers

August 7, 2018 No Comments

We launched AdWords nearly 18 years ago with a simple goal—to make it easier for people to connect online with businesses. A search for eco-friendly stationery, quilting supplies, or for a service like a treehouse builder gave us an opportunity to deliver valuable ads that were useful and relevant in the moment. That idea was the start of our first advertising product, and led to the ads business we have today.

A lot has changed since then. Mobile is now a huge part of our everyday lives. People quickly switch from searching for products, to watching videos, browsing content, playing games and more. As a result, marketers have more opportunities to reach consumers across channels, screens and formats. The opportunity has never been more exciting, but it’s also never been more complex. Over the years, Google ads have evolved from helping marketers connect with people on Google Search, to helping them connect at every step of the consumer journey through text, video, display and more.

That’s why today we are introducing simpler brands and solutions for our advertising products: Google Ads, Google Marketing Platform, and Google Ad Manager. These new brands will help advertisers and publishers of all sizes choose the right solutions for their businesses, making it even easier for them to deliver valuable, trustworthy ads and the right experiences for consumers across devices and channels. As part of this change, we are releasing new solutions that help advertisers get started with Google Ads and drive greater collaboration across teams.

Google AdWords is becoming Google Ads

The new Google Ads brand represents the full range of advertising capabilities we offer today—on Google.com and across our other properties, partner sites and apps—to help marketers connect with the billions of people finding answers on Search, watching videos on YouTube, exploring new places on Google Maps, discovering apps on Google Play, browsing content across the web, and more.

For small businesses specifically, we’re introducing a new campaign type in Google Ads that makes it easier than ever to get started with online advertising. It brings the machine learning technology of Google Ads to small businesses and helps them get results without any heavy lifting—so they can stay focused on running their businesses. To learn more, visit this post.

We’ll introduce more new campaign types at Google Marketing Live. Sign up to watch the livestream on July 10th.

Stronger collaboration with Google Marketing Platform

We’re enabling stronger collaboration for enterprise marketing teams by unifying our DoubleClick advertiser products and the Google Analytics 360 Suite under a single brand: Google Marketing Platform.

We’ve heard from marketers that there are real benefits to using ads and analytics technology together, including a better understanding of customers and better business results. Google Marketing Platform helps marketers achieve their goals by building on existing integrations between the Google Analytics 360 Suite and DoubleClick Digital Marketing. The platform helps marketers plan, buy, measure and optimize digital media and customer experiences in one place. To learn more, visit the Google Marketing Platform blog.

As part of Google Marketing Platform, we’re announcing Display & Video 360. Display & Video 360 brings together features from DoubleClick Bid Manager, Campaign Manager, Studio and Audience Center to allow creative, agency, and media teams to collaborate and execute ad campaigns end-to-end in a single place. We’ll share more details about Display & Video 360 in the coming weeks, including a demo during the keynote at Google Marketing Live.

Google Ad Manager: A unified platform

We recognize that the way publishers monetize their content has changed. With people accessing content on multiple screens, and with advertisers’ growing demand for programmatic access, publishers need to be able to manage their businesses more simply and efficiently. That’s why for the last three years, we’ve been working to bring together DoubleClick for Publishers and DoubleClick Ad Exchange in a complete and unified programmatic platform under a new name–Google Ad Manager.

With this evolution, we’re excited to do even more for our partners—earning them more money, more efficiently, wherever people are watching videos, playing games or engaging with content, and however advertisers are looking to work with them. To learn more, visit the Google Ad Manager blog.

Transparency and controls people can trust

We know that the media and technology advertisers and publishers choose to use impacts the relationships they have with their customers. As always, our commitment is to ensure that all of our products and platforms set the industry’s highest standard in giving people transparency and choice in the ads they see. For example, we recently announced new Ads Settings and expanded Why this ad? across all of our services, and almost all websites and apps that partner with us to show ads.

You’ll start to see the new Google Ads, Google Marketing Platform and Google Ad Manager brands over the next month.

We’ll be sharing more about these changes—and many other new Ads, Analytics and Platforms solutions designed to help you grow your business—at Google Marketing Live. Register now to watch live on July 10, 9:00 a.m. PT / 12:00 p.m. ET.


Google Analytics Blog


Retail startup Bulletin is giving brands new tools to manage their in-store presence

July 10, 2018 No Comments

If you visited a Bulletin store, or bought products off its website, COO Ali Kriegsman said you might “pigeonhole” the company as a “feminist apparel brand” — a place to buy T-shirts and accessories with fun, provocative political slogans.

And yes, that is part of what draws consumers. But Kriegsman and her co-founder Alana Branston have also laid out their broader vision for a more flexible, WeWork-style approach to brick-and-mortar retail, one where brands essentially rent out shelf space in Bulletin stores.

So brands that may have only sold online can experiment with physical sales, while shoppers can purchase from a curated, constantly refreshed selection of brands and products.

“We’re building this more feminine retail company, but we are also part real estate company, and now, we are also part technology company,” Kriegsman said.

Bulletin Omni

The “now” that she’s referring to is the launch of Bulletin Omni, a software platform that allows brands to apply to sell with Bulletin, manage their inventory and track their sales.

Bulletin has actually been working on something like this since I first talked to the team last year, but according to Maggie Braine, the company’s director of product and brand experience, Omni only just reached the point where the company is ready to roll it out to all of the 150 brands it works with. She said that without it, the company has mostly relied on “emails, phone calls, and a very, very large Google Doc” to manage the process.

Braine gave me a quick walk-through of Omni, showing me how a brand could, with just a few clicks, add a new product to its offerings in a given store, confirm once that product has actually arrived and then see how each product is selling in each store.

That’s “unheard of” in traditional retail, she said, where “there’s very little transparency” once goods are purchased by retailers. With Omni, Braine said the goal is to give brands the same kinds of data around physical purchases that they have access to when they promote and sell their products through online channels.

She also said the team plans to introduce ways for in-store staff to offer feedback to the brands — like whether a product isn’t selling because it’s too expensive.

Bulletin Omni

Kriegsman said that if the software does well enough, she could imagine Bulletin becoming “a retail software destination,” where other companies buy the software to manage non-Bulletin stores.

Either way, she predicted that Omni will allow Bulletin itself to expand more quickly. The company currently has three New York City stores — one in SoHo, one in Williamsburg and a recently opened location near Union Square — with plans to open in additional cities later this year.


Startups – TechCrunch


AdWords is Dead, Long Live Google Ads: Google Simplifies its Marketing Brands

June 29, 2018 No Comments

Google announced on June 27, 2018 that it is rebranding its advertising suite of products, consolidating some services and revising others.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


Should VCs be investing in beauty brands?

October 8, 2017 No Comments

 In the last two years, Unilever acquired Carver Korea for $ 2.7 billion. Estee Lauder purchased Too Faced Cosmetics for $ 1.45 billion. CVC Capital Brands bought PDC Brands for $ 1.43 billion. L’Oreal purchased a trio of skincare brands for $ 1.3 billion, and also  IT Cosmetics for $ 1.2 billion. E.l.f. Beauty did an IPO.
Venture capitalists didn’t invest in any of these beauty… Read More
Startups – TechCrunch