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Big Tech companies cannot be trusted to self-regulate: We need Congress to act

March 15, 2021 No Comments

It’s been two months since Donald Trump was kicked off of social media following the violent insurrection on Capitol Hill in January. While the constant barrage of hate-fueled commentary and disinformation from the former president has come to a halt, we must stay vigilant.

Now is the time to think about how to prevent Trump, his allies and other bad actors from fomenting extremism in the future. It’s time to figure out how we as a society address the misinformation, conspiracy theories and lies that threaten our democracy by destroying our information infrastructure.

As vice president at Color Of Change, my team and I have had countless meetings with leaders of multi-billion-dollar tech companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google, where we had to consistently flag hateful, racist content and disinformation on their platforms. We’ve also raised demands supported by millions of our members to adequately address these systemic issues — calls that are too often met with a lack of urgency and sense of responsibility to keep users and Black communities safe.

The violent insurrection by white nationalists and far-right extremists in our nation’s capital was absolutely fueled and enabled by tech companies who had years to address hate speech and disinformation that proliferated on their social media platforms. Many social media companies relinquished their platforms to far-right extremists, white supremacists and domestic terrorists long ago, and it will take more than an attempted coup to hold them fully accountable for their complicity in the erosion of our democracy — and to ensure it can’t happen again.

To restore our systems of knowledge-sharing and eliminate white nationalist organizing online, Big Tech must move beyond its typical reactive and shallow approach to addressing the harm they cause to our communities and our democracy. But it’s more clear than ever that the federal government must step in to ensure tech giants act.

After six years leading corporate accountability campaigns and engaging with Big Tech leaders, I can definitively say it’s evident that social media companies do have the power, resources and tools to enforce policies that protect our democracy and our communities. However, leaders at these tech giants have demonstrated time and time again that they will choose not to implement and enforce adequate measures to stem the dangerous misinformation, targeted hate and white nationalist organizing on their platforms if it means sacrificing maximum profit and growth.

And they use their massive PR teams to create an illusion that they’re sufficiently addressing these issues. For example, social media companies like Facebook continue to follow a reactive formula of announcing disparate policy changes in response to whatever public relations disaster they’re fending off at the moment. Before the insurrection, the company’s leaders failed to heed the warnings of advocates like Color Of Change about the dangers of white supremacists, far-right conspiracists and racist militias using their platforms to organize, recruit and incite violence. They did not ban Trump, implement stronger content moderation policies or change algorithms to stop the spread of misinformation-superspreader Facebook groups — as we had been recommending for years.

These threats were apparent long before the attack on Capitol Hill. They were obvious as Color Of Change and our allies propelled the #StopHateForProfit campaign last summer, when over 1,000 advertisers pulled millions in ad revenues from the platform. They were obvious when Facebook finally agreed to conduct a civil rights audit in 2018 after pressure from our organization and our members. They were obvious even before the deadly white nationalist demonstration in Charlottesville in 2017.

Only after significant damage had already been done did social media companies take action and concede to some of our most pressing demands, including the call to ban Trump’s accounts, implement disclaimers on voter fraud claims, and move aggressively remove COVID misinformation as well as posts inciting violence at the polls amid the 2020 election. But even now, these companies continue to shirk full responsibility by, for example, using self-created entities like the Facebook Oversight Board — an illegitimate substitute for adequate policy enforcement — as PR cover while the fate of recent decisions, such as the suspension of Trump’s account, hang in the balance.

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and many other Big Tech companies kick into action when their profits, self-interests and reputation are threatened, but always after the damage has been done because their business models are built solely around maximizing engagement. The more polarized content is, the more engagement it gets; the more comments it elicits or times it’s shared, the more of our attention they command and can sell to advertisers. Big Tech leaders have demonstrated they neither have the willpower nor the ability to proactively and successfully self-regulate, and that’s why Congress must immediately intervene.

Congress should enact and enforce federal regulations to reign in the outsized power of Big Tech behemoths, and our lawmakers must create policies that translate to real-life changes in our everyday lives — policies that protect Black and other marginalized communities both online and offline.

We need stronger antitrust enforcement laws to break up big tech monopolies that evade corporate accountability and impact Black businesses and workers; comprehensive privacy and algorithmic discrimination legislation to ensure that profits from our data aren’t being used to fuel our exploitation; expanded broadband access to close the digital divide for Black and low-income communities; restored net neutrality so that internet services providers can’t charge differently based on content or equipment; and disinformation and content moderation by making it clear that Section 230 does not exempt platforms from complying with civil rights laws.

We’ve already seen some progress following pressure from activists and advocacy groups including Color Of Change. Last year alone, Big Tech companies like Zoom hired chief diversity experts; Google took action to block the Proud Boys website and online store; and major social media platforms like TikTok adopted better, stronger policies on banning hateful content.

But we’re not going to applaud billion-dollar tech companies for doing what they should and could have already done to address the years of misinformation, hate and violence fueled by social media platforms. We’re not going to wait for the next PR stunt or blanket statement to come out or until Facebook decides whether or not to reinstate Trump’s accounts — and we’re not going to stand idly by until more lives are lost.

The federal government and regulatory powers need to hold Big Tech accountable to their commitments by immediately enacting policy change. Our nation’s leaders have a responsibility to protect us from the harms Big Tech is enabling on our democracy and our communities — to regulate social media platforms and change the dangerous incentives in the digital economy. Without federal intervention, tech companies are on pace to repeat history.


Social – TechCrunch


Everything you need to know about audience targeting without relying on third-party cookies

March 9, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Following the passage of landmark consumer privacy laws, Google announced its intention to phase out third-party cookies by 2022
  • Businesses that rely on these cookies for granular consumer data are now forced to rethink their strategies for accurate audience targeting
  • Some businesses are turning to publisher walled gardens, while others are leaning more into contextual advertising
  • Coegi’s Sean Cotton explores the challenges and opportunities marketers face in the absence of third-party cookies, as well as viable alternatives they can use to keep audience targeting on point

Following the passage of landmark consumer privacy laws, Google officially announced its intention to phase out third-party cookies on Chrome browsers by next year. This is certainly a victory for the conscious consumer wary of selling data to advertisers, but it’s also one that might leave businesses scrambling when the cookie jar disappears. But these businesses should be more excited than alarmed. While the death of third-party cookies is an obstacle, it’s also an opportunity: As alternatives to third-party cookies emerge, advertisers might find themselves better-equipped audience targeting and acquirement methods.

Third-party cookies haven’t always been perfect right out of the oven, and their quality was largely dependent on factors such as the data provider’s methodologies, the latency and recency of that data, and any related acquisition costs. Although occasionally stale, these prebuilt audiences allowed advertisers to quickly scale their audiences. The forthcoming phaseout will put pressure on marketers to rethink their strategies for accurately targeting audiences.

What are the alternatives to third-party cookies?

Publisher walled gardens (in which publishers trade free content for first-party data) are a solid starting point for advertisers seeking alternatives to third-party cookies. These audiences won’t come cheap, but it will be possible to find publishers with audiences that strongly align with your own customer base. And because these sources of data are generally authenticated, they’re also an accurate source of modeling data to use as you construct your own user databases.

Many purchases these days begin with online research, so savvy marketers are also exploring contextual advertising as a third-party cookie alternative. Mapping out the sales funnel for your product or service will help you identify opportunities for targeted advertising as your audience performs research, but it’s important to be precise at the same time. Be sure to use negative search terms and semantic recognition to prevent your brand or product from appearing in potentially embarrassing or unsafe placements. (Just consider the word “shot,” which in this day and age could relate to anything from COVID-19 or health and wellness to debates surrounding the Second Amendment.)

There’s still time for a smooth transition away from your dependency on cookies, but you shouldn’t wait much longer to get started. As you explore new ways to get your message out to precise audiences, these strategies are a great place to start:

1. Lean on second-party data

Second-party data (such as the kind provided on publisher walled gardens) can offer accurate audience targeting for advertisers in a hurry to replace third-party cookies. This type of data can inform people- or account-based marketing strategies, helping you identify individuals in a specific industry or those with a certain relevant job title. Similarly, integrating second-party data with your broader digital marketing strategy can create use cases for lookalike modeling or provide a strong foundation for sequential messaging.

Because second-party data will come at a potentially high cost, however, try to partner with publishers and providers for the long term to keep rates as low as possible. As an added benefit, this will give you time to experiment and use various types of data in different ways.

2. Implement mobile ad ID (or MAID) targeting

MAID targeting is based on an anonymous identifier associated with a user’s mobile device operating system. MAIDs have always been the go-to for application targeting because they’re privacy-compliant and serve as a great way to segment audiences based on behaviors and interests. In fact, everyone expected MAIDs to grow as mobile and in-app usage has accelerated. In the U.S., for instance, mobile users spend just over an hour more on those devices than their computers each day, and they spend 87 percent of the time on their smartphones in-app. But the death of third-party cookies will certainly accelerate the usage of these audiences across channels even more.

One of the most powerful insights offered by MAIDs is the ability to track a user’s location data. If a device is frequenting an NFL stadium, for example, you can infer that the user is a football fan, which allows a host of other inferences to form. You can also enrich MAIDs with offline deterministic data, allowing you to construct a more complete picture of the user, their demographic information, and their relevant interests.

Note that recent changes to Apple’s iOS 14 platform might limit this type of targeting on the company’s devices. Besides this, it’s also important to verify the precision and accuracy of the provider giving you location data.

3. Build custom models and indexes

Algorithmic targeting or lookalike modeling caught a bad rap from advertisers who worried the modeled audiences would broaden targeting too far. But as the quality of your audience input increases, the quality of your modeling output increases as well. In other words, concerns are justified only if you’re modeling audiences after modeled data.

On the other hand, models can be an excellent source of additional insight if you’re using deterministic data. This information comes from all kinds of sources, including social media platforms, questionnaires and surveys, and e-commerce sites that have information on user purchase history. In short, it’s data you can trust — meaning it can inform the creation of accurate audience segments and models that capture real customer intent. With deterministic data at the helm, you can create your own models and indexes to aid in your targeting efforts.

First-party data from customers and active social media followers generally provides the best source for models. Be aware of outliers when it comes to audience insights, though; signals should be strong enough to imply the target audience’s actual behavior.

4. Use Unified ID solutions

The death of third-party cookies doesn’t mean the death of all your strategies, and you can expect to see a variety of sophisticated solutions emerge in the coming years that offer audience segmentation with increased control for advertisers and enhanced privacy protections for consumers. In fact, some companies are already working collaboratively to create Unified ID solutions that modernize audience targeting and measurement.

The solutions they’re creating aim to collect user information (such as email addresses) in exchange for free content. Those addresses will then be assigned encrypted IDs that are transmitted along the bid stream to advertisers. If publishers widely adopt unified identity products, they’ll provide an excellent alternative to an overreliance on walled gardens.

However, one of the biggest hurdles for a unified ID solution will be scalability: It will likely not be a solution that can stand on its own for some time.

The death of third-party cookies will absolutely shake up the advertising world, but that’s probably a good thing. Cookies were never designed to be the backbone of digital advertising, and their disappearance makes room for alternatives to third-party cookies that actually deliver a better experience for advertisers and the audiences they’re looking to target. As advertisers gain more granular control over who hears their messaging (and when) and customer data is ensconced behind modern encryption and privacy protection tools, it’s not hard to argue that everyone wins when we put away the cookie jar.

Sean Cotton is the president and co-founder of Coegi.

The post Everything you need to know about audience targeting without relying on third-party cookies appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Why Startups Need Diversification In Digital Marketing

February 16, 2021 No Comments

Marketing Diversification for StartupsIf there was (1) one piece of advice I would give Startups (especially Early Stage), it would be diversification…  and a lot of it. startups typically have very limited advertising budgets so they have to account for every penny they spend. In this article, I will explain the reasons for this diversification as well as how best to execute them on a limited budget.

Set Realistic Expectations:

As one of the most “bastardized” words in agency world, it’s imperative to keep everyone’s hopes and dreams in check with regard to the online marketplace. Attending conferences, reading case studies and talking with other business owners is not only a great idea, it’s encouraged. however, it can also “set off” false expectations that could be devastating to the overall goals and objectives. I have advised clients (both past and present) to NEVER trust Google with their campaigns, keywords and budgets because they don’t care about growing your business, they just want your money. Bottom line: If it sounds too good to be true, your instincts are correct!

Separate of Brand vs. Non-Brand:

It’s simple math. It costs more money to reach consumers who DO NOT already know your brand. Over time, the brand takes “all of the credit” because that is how everyone searches for you. But, here’s the catch. Getting to that phase in consumer behavior can be difficult to achieve, especially on the wallet. Here are a couple strategies that can not only help the wallet, but also the align the expectations.

  • Leverage Google Display, Mobile and YouTube Video networks
    • Low cost ($ 0.10 – $ 1.00 CPC/CPV).
    • More continuous visibility.
    • Expectations are set to branding only.
  • Utilize micro-targeting of Social media for specific audience testing
    • Target specific audience segments within a short period of time.
    • High volume allows for multi-variate ad testing.
    • Conversion tracking pixels allow for full analytics reporting.

PPC Marketing Diversification

Monetize Everything

This may sound like a “no-brainer” to some of you, but startups tend to forget that measuring success is more than just placing an order or a form submission. Often, little things like email signups, chat sessions and phone calls eventually lead to “real” conversions later on in the buying cycle. It’s important for everyone involved to consider these little conversions in the overall big picture. In some instances, these interactions act as a barometer when something is wrong or unclear and can help improve usability within the website experience.

In Conclusion:

Startups are faced with tough decisions when it comes to advertising due to their limited Ad budgets. They also cannot afford to, “bet the farm” on something that they heard at a conference or read in a case study. In 2016, consumers are everywhere (Google Search, Facebook Ads. YouTube. Twitter Ads, etc…) and startups need to leverage all of the platforms to maximize their exposure. They also need to understand that certain ad platforms serve different purposes as well as perform better than others.


Digital Marketing Agency | Google Ads Consultant


Why You Need To Be Using Google Ads Bid Automation

January 27, 2021 No Comments

When advertisers give Google the correct parameters and enough data, automated bidding can work effectively. Achieve your goals and amplify growth efforts.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


2021: The Year You’ve Been Waiting for & What You Need to Prepare

December 9, 2020 No Comments

With all of the unexpected events of 2020, how can marketers possibly prepare for 2021? Industry leader Carrie Albright shares her guide for 2021 prep.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


What Marketers Need to Understand About Automated Bid Algorithms

December 3, 2020 No Comments

One Sr. Strategists discusses the most useful elements to understand about how algorithms work in your PPC campaigns.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


The Google page experience: What you need to know and five steps to prepare for 2021

December 2, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Google page experience metric goes live in 2021.
  • Rewarding pages that offer a better user experience.
  • The signal measures a site’s performance, security, and mobile-friendliness.
  • To prepare for 2021, get a fast web hosting service, optimize your content for mobile users, and install security measures (firewall, SSL, etc.).
  • Avoid pop-ups and whole screen banners that restrict the visitors’ access to content.

The newest search ranking benchmark that’s cooking in Google’s development lab is the Google page experience metric. 

In short, this upcoming metric aims to measure (and rank) the overall responsiveness and user experience of websites that show up in Google’s search results.

Google plans to introduce this metric alongside the current ranking factors. However, there isn’t an exact date announced when this metric goes live.

As Google’s developers officially state in their blog:

“The ranking changes [Google page experience] described in this post will not happen before next year [2021], and we will provide at least six months notice before they’re rolled out.”

You still have plenty of time to react. However, we suggest planning ahead and implementing some of the best practices as soon as possible.

Let’s take a look at what you can expect from this ranking update and how you can prepare your site from the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) perspective.

Elements of the Google page experience metric

Google is mainly building the new metric upon the Core Web Vitals that their Chrome team launched earlier this year.

The overall goal with Google’s page experience metric is to ensure the Google Search users are getting a mobile-friendly, safe, and straightforward browsing experience.

Let’s look at each element that contributes to the page experience metric.

1. Core Web Vitals

Google developed the Core Web Vitals because the average user enjoys fast and seamless web surfing. They also created a Chrome User Experience Report, which you can use to evaluate your site’s current performance according to these signals.

Google page experience metrics

Source

The Core Web Vitals consist of three separate signals:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – quickness of the largest content piece’s loading time.
  • First Input Delay (FID) – responsiveness to the user’s clicking, scrolling, and typing.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – visual stability of the page.

To tick a box in each of these signals, your pages’ LCP should be below 2.5 seconds, FID below 100ms and the CLS score less than 0.1.

2. Mobile-friendly site

Google already favors sites that are optimized for mobile users, and rightfully so.

Research conducted by Statista reveals that there are an estimated 3.5 billion smartphone users this year, with this number growing to 3.8 billion in 2021. It’s safe to say that sites that aren’t mobile-optimized will miss a lot of traffic. 

Therefore, it makes sense that Google only wants their search to display mobile-friendly sites.

3. Safe-browsing

Google puts a lot of emphasis on security and weeding out potentially harmful sites from their search results. After all, if the top search results harm users, it won’t look good on Google at all.

One of the signals with the upcoming page experience metric concludes if the indexed site contains any malicious or deceptive content. Some straightforward examples are malware, spyware, social engineering scams, and false information.

To get a sense of how this works, check out Google’s Security Issues report. You can also scan your website to see if any issues pop up at this time.

4. HTTPS

Following the security topic, Google also prefers secure sites with a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate. Visibly, the difference is between http:// and https:// (where the latter is SSL secured) in the website’s URL.

The SSL certificate’s job is to encrypt any data that travels between the user and the servers. Even if a cyber attack occurs, the hackers are unlikely to make sense of the data.

If you’ve used the Chrome browser, then you might have come across a security warning with a suggestion that the connection is not secure. This is mainly due to the site missing an SSL certificate.

HTTPS - Google page experience

Source

5. No intrusive interstitials

Last but not least, Google aims to punish sites that aggressively keep the visitors away from quickly accessing the content they are looking for in the first place.

The main culprits here are the pop-ups that cover the entire screen, are difficult to dismiss, or keep popping up while consuming the content.

However, disclaimers, cookie usage information, age-sensitive content confirmations, login dialogs, and reasonably sized banners aren’t going to affect your ranking.

Google page experience - Remove interstitials

Source

Five steps to optimize your site for 2021

Google’s new page experience metric isn’t going to substitute the current ranking elements. It becomes an additional ranking factor, but the most essential part from an SEO perspective is still the quality of the content.

Still, since the page experience metric IS going to affect the ranking results, it’s a great idea to know what you can do to prepare.

Here are a few steps you can take to get your site ready for 2021.

1. Get an excellent web hosting service

Your site’s performance is already one of the key ranking factors today. Either you have a server in-house or using a hosting service, it’s wise to make sure your site is fast and responsive.

You can analyze your site’s responsiveness with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool or use a website performance monitoring tool such as Pingdom.

Additionally, you can check out sites that gather and share performance data on web hosting providers.

Example website performance data

Source

2. Keep your page’s size lite

Images go hand-in-hand with today’s websites. However, overstuffing your web pages with visual content is going to make your site slow.

There are a few ways to approach this problem, depending on the nature of your site.

You can optimize your images and make them weigh less by using an image compressor such as ImageOptim. If your page is already content-heavy, consider spreading the largest items to multiple pages within your site.

Alternatively, you can use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) such as CloudFlare to cache your content closer to the visitor’s access point.

3. Optimize your site for mobile

As we proved earlier, the world is heading rapidly to mobile. It’s not enough for your users to access your content with their smartphones; they also expect your site to adjust to the smaller screens.

Therefore, your site needs to be mobile-optimized. 

The good news is that most modern website creation platforms, such as WordPress, already have mobile-friendly templates that don’t require extra coding efforts.

You can quickly test if your site is mobile-responsive by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly testing tool.

4. Install security measures

Website security definitely deserves a separate article to cover all the bases, but let’s only focus on Google’s perspective.

First, don’t knowingly add any malicious scripts or deceptive content to your website.

Secondly, protect your site from malware and other hacking attempts by adding a firewall. While it’s not clear yet if Google will check your site for a firewall, you should have one in place either way.

And finally, install an SSL certificate that encrypts your data since Google is already keeping tabs on if a site is secure or not. However, most of the modern hosting services already include an SSL certificate with their plans.

Overall, investing in website security is worth it for peace of mind and from the SEO perspective.

5. Tone down or remove large pop-up banners

Google considers anything that keeps its users from accessing the content they search for as a nuisance.

Therefore, a piece of straightforward advice – don’t put a giant banner on your site. Make the promotion more subtle, and you won’t have any problems with Google.

As a reminder, cookie information, age-restriction policies, and login dialogs are the exceptions. Although, please don’t go overboard with these either for the sake of user experience.

Google page experience - Remove large pop up banners

Source

In conclusion

Google’s page experience metric will become one of the search ranking signals in 2021, but there isn’t an exact launch date yet.

Still, you can start preparing your site for the upcoming changes. Even if it’s unclear how much weight this new metric has on the search results, offering your visitors a great user experience is a substantial value on its own.

Start by testing your site’s performance, security, and mobile-friendliness. The results give you a pretty good idea of what to tweak and add to your site.

However, remember that the most important ranking factor is still the quality of the content.

Gert Svaiko is a professional copywriter and mainly works with digital marketing companies in the US and EU. You can reach him on LinkedIn.

The post The Google page experience: What you need to know and five steps to prepare for 2021 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Crowd marketing is the forum link building strategy you need to know in 2020

October 10, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Link building is still one of the best tactics to boost your Google rankings
  • Forum link building can help you tap into niche communities
  • Crowd marketing is the concept of setting up a strategy for forum link building
  • There’s no need to be discouraged if you’re just getting started
  • Quality is important both in your content and the forum that you decide to join

SEO is evolving through the years and it’s still more important than ever in your digital strategy.

It takes time to rank high in Google’s search results and one of the best ways to improve your success is to aim for credible backlinks to your content.

Backlinks can prove that the content is trustworthy and useful enough for the users to get you higher in SERPs. 

Through the years, link building is still one of the most effective methods to build your SEO. It helps you improve your search visibility and work towards reaching higher in the SERPs in a consistent and efficient way.

The question is, how can you make the most out of it in 2020?

Forum link building can be your secret weapon. Crowdo has released ‘The Ultimate Guide to Forum Link Building in 2020’ sharing tactics and examples to make it work.

Here are the key takeaways:

Content created in partnership with Crowdo.

Embracing crowd marketing

One of the most common tactics in link building is guest posting. It’s the process of featuring your content on another blog to get a link back to your site.

Although it’s a popular method, there are still more options to consider.

For example, ‘crowd marketing’, involves link building through communities and forums.

Crowdo is listing the benefits of ‘crowd marketing’ on their latest report:

  • Forums can be relevant for every niche industry. You can get links back to your site even when trying to reach a very specific group of people
  • It can be easier to get a link on a forum compared to getting a guest post published.
  • A lot of forums have been around for many years, which increases their credibility as a source of a link

It’s relatively easy to get a backlink from a forum. Your research can help you find the best way to reach your target audience to maximise the value.

It’s important though to avoid spamming or automated link generators. Crowd marketing should be a white hat technique rather than a quick win with no tangible results.

Focusing on the right links

You don’t want to gather as many links as you can if they don’t add value to your site and your ranking.

The quality of backlinks is crucial. If you’re unsure how to define the quality of the backlink, here are the key factors to consider:

  • Website traffic. Examine the traffic of the website to understand its popularity and it value it can bring
  • Relevance. Pick the forums and threads that are relevant to your site’s content. Don’t waste your time on links that are useless.
  • Authority. Look at the domain authority (DA) of the website. Tools like Ahrefs/ Moz / Semrush can help you discover a site’s DA. Aim for a DA that’s at least 50.
  • Context. Make sure your link is naturally placed in a sentence. Don’t just add the link on its own but rather link it to the right context.
  • Quality of forum. Analyse the forum’s quality. Too many spam posts are not a good indication of its quality. Aim for forums that are highly moderated as this may indicate the increase in the quality and the trust.

Best practices for scaling up link building

If you’re just getting started with link building, it might feel challenging to scale up your efforts.

There’s no need to quit though.

Here are Crowdo’s tips on how to address your challenges:

  • Don’t skip research. Research is crucial. Find the communities that are more relevant to your target audience. Look at their metrics. Read the latest threads to explore the topics that you want to be featured on.
  • Build trust. When you’re just getting started in a community, it’s important to take the time to build trust. If you need to register, fill all the details on your profile, join additional conversations, and aim for the long-term relationship.
  • Confirm that the threads are indexed by Google. Make sure that the forum threads that you’re about to post are indexed by Google. You don’t want to waste your time without seeing the content indexed.
  • Treat link building as an investment. Link building takes time. If your niche forum requires a registration fee, work on your end goal and what you want to get out of it. If it justifies the investment, do not hesitate to invest more time and resources on it.

Practical examples

If you want to see what forum building looks like, here is an example from Crowdo’s report.

In this example, the target niche is insurance providers. The community has more than 80k visitors, 93 DA, 48 TF. Thus, it makes the perfect source to add value to a conversation along with a dofollow backlink.

It’s a great example of how your research can lead you to the right source to make your link both useful and relevant.

Next steps

If you need additional help with your forum building, agencies like Crowdo can help you with on-demand link building services.

They are offering an exclusive offer to our readers with a 10% discount. You can find out more here and make the most of the offer using the coupon code provided in the link.

If you want to find out more about forum link building, make sure you read their latest report here.

The post Crowd marketing is the forum link building strategy you need to know in 2020 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Why Startups Need Diversification In Digital Marketing

June 22, 2020 No Comments

Marketing Diversification for StartupsIf there was (1) one piece of advice I would give Startups (especially Early Stage), it would be diversification…  and a lot of it. startups typically have very limited advertising budgets so they have to account for every penny they spend. In this article, I will explain the reasons for this diversification as well as how best to execute them on a limited budget.

Set Realistic Expectations:

As one of the most “bastardized” words in agency world, it’s imperative to keep everyone’s hopes and dreams in check with regard to the online marketplace. Attending conferences, reading case studies and talking with other business owners is not only a great idea, it’s encouraged. however, it can also “set off” false expectations that could be devastating to the overall goals and objectives. I have advised clients (both past and present) to NEVER trust Google with their campaigns, keywords and budgets because they don’t care about growing your business, they just want your money. Bottom line: If it sounds too good to be true, your instincts are correct!

Separate of Brand vs. Non-Brand:

It’s simple math. It costs more money to reach consumers who DO NOT already know your brand. Over time, the brand takes “all of the credit” because that is how everyone searches for you. But, here’s the catch. Getting to that phase in consumer behavior can be difficult to achieve, especially on the wallet. Here are a couple strategies that can not only help the wallet, but also the align the expectations.

  • Leverage Google Display, Mobile and YouTube Video networks
    • Low cost ($ 0.10 – $ 1.00 CPC/CPV).
    • More continuous visibility.
    • Expectations are set to branding only.
  • Utilize micro-targeting of Social media for specific audience testing
    • Target specific audience segments within a short period of time.
    • High volume allows for multi-variate ad testing.
    • Conversion tracking pixels allow for full analytics reporting.

PPC Marketing Diversification

Monetize Everything

This may sound like a “no-brainer” to some of you, but startups tend to forget that measuring success is more than just placing an order or a form submission. Often, little things like email signups, chat sessions and phone calls eventually lead to “real” conversions later on in the buying cycle. It’s important for everyone involved to consider these little conversions in the overall big picture. In some instances, these interactions act as a barometer when something is wrong or unclear and can help improve usability within the website experience.

In Conclusion:

Startups are faced with tough decisions when it comes to advertising due to their limited Ad budgets. They also cannot afford to, “bet the farm” on something that they heard at a conference or read in a case study. In 2016, consumers are everywhere (Google Search, Facebook Ads. YouTube. Twitter Ads, etc…) and startups need to leverage all of the platforms to maximize their exposure. They also need to understand that certain ad platforms serve different purposes as well as perform better than others.


Digital Marketing Agency | Google Ads Consultant


Why content campaigns need to be surprising to earn top-tier press

April 27, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Every successful content campaign understands its audience and knows their pulse. How do you know whether your content campaign is worthy of being viral?
  • Fractl’s first in-depth study into viral emotions found that the most common emotions invoked when consuming viral content were amusement, interest, and surprise.
  • Domenica D’Ottavio shares the key ingredients of successful content campaigns with some interesting examples.

Successful content begins with understanding your audience. What does your audience like? What do they avoid? What do they want to learn more about? What are they most likely to share and engage with?

Fractl’s first in-depth study into viral emotions found that the most common emotions invoked when consuming viral content were amusement, interest, and surprise. After executing thousands of content campaigns, we keep these three emotions in mind when creating content—particularly the element of surprise.

Easier said than done, though. What makes content surprising? How can you use surprise in your content marketing campaigns to earn links and media coverage at top-tier websites?

In this post, I’m going to share two examples of content market campaigns that embraced the element of surprise and why they were primed to be successful.

Content with shock value is primed for social sharing

You often don’t know, until you start working on a project, whether your content will offer something readers don’t expect.

If something is surprising enough to get Whoopi Goldberg talking about it, you know you were successful. In a survey execution for one home-improvement client, we asked 1,000 Americans about their cooking habits.

What seemed innocuous at first, quickly became a link building success, in large because of the huge disparities in the results.

 

Why the content worked

Not only did we learn that Millennials are the worst cooks, but we also learned they have trouble identifying a butter knife, compared to other generations surveyed.

These two news hooks directly resulted in widespread coverage, because they were surprising enough, but also relatable enough, to spark conversation among readers.

Content campaigns that surprise - Example of Millenials being unable to identify a butter knife

After the first placement went live with Washington Post, this campaign spread like wildfire across the internet, earning top tier placements at dozens of publishers including USA Today, Thrillist, and The Daily Meal totalling 145 press mentions for a simple survey execution.

This content campaign is a perfect example of how just a few data points can carry a campaign. The content idea itself doesn’t need to be surprising — that is, exploring cooking habits — just as long as a single component of the data is shocking.

Surprising content that’s useful, too, can produce big wins

While the previous two campaigns produced results full of shock-value, a project doesn’t have to be controversial to be successful.

A lot of brands and businesses want to produce content that’s not only entertaining but also informative and useful to their audience. When producing surprising content that also can be informative, consider the impact of the information. What ideas can you produce that will contribute positively to people’s lives?

In a content campaign for one career-related client, we wanted to find out how much money you could make in various careers that don’t require a degree.

Millennials are the largest generation in the U.S. workforce. Many of whom entered college during or following the great recession. So, topics related to career and finance are hot for millennials, as many of them graduated with student debt, and may have trouble finding work with the degree they earned.

Survey executions are useful for new studies, but when the data already exists and is available for use, why not use it?  The average person often finds it difficult to interpret meaningful findings from existing data sets, which is why they can be perfect for link building content campaigns.

After digging through the data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (a free-to-the-public data source) we found that contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a degree or to own your own business in America and earn 6-figures.

In addition to being surprising, this data also proved useful to our audience.

Many college graduates in America are not making six-figures. So, this campaign was surprising and eye-opening to them. For those looking to get started in a different field, this study provided a glimpse into what high-paying jobs are out there. For those without degrees, this study provided hope and inspiration to improve their situation.

After earning coverage on CNBC, this campaign appeared across many work and career-related publishers wanting to cater to their audience and deliver these surprising and informative findings. Capping out at 141 press mentions, this campaign was also featured on MSN, Marketwatch, and The Ladders.

An element of surprise grabs and keeps the audiences’ attention

When producing content, not every aspect of your piece has to be surprising. In fact, we find that it’s usually one or two data points that yield the majority of link building results for our clients.

The key to creating successful content campaigns in any niche is to intend to serve your audience first. Come up with ideas that answer their questions, and then put your own surprising spin on it.

When producing any successful content campaign, make sure that there’s an element that’s newsworthy, surprising, and data-driven for optimum success.

Domenica D’Ottavio is a Brand Relationship Manager at Fractl. She can be found on Twitter @atdomenica.

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