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Facebook’s Workplace, now with 5M paying users, adds drop-in video Rooms and more

May 23, 2020 No Comments

One of the biggest technology takeaways of the last couple of months has been that organizations need confident, wide-ranging digital strategies to stay afloat, and Facebook — in its wider bid to build products to serve businesses — is taking note. In the same week that the social network doubled down on business tools for small and medium enterprises with Shops, it is also sharpening its focus on larger enterprises and how they might use its platform.

Today, Facebook announced a number of new products coming to Workplace, its enterprise-focused chat and video platform, including Workplace versions of Rooms (its Houseparty video drop-in clone), Work Groups (a feature it launched on Facebook itself last October to create informal Groups for co-workers), more tools to make video conversations more interactive and enhanced tools for its Portal video hardware.

Alongside all that, Facebook also announced the general availability of Oculus for Business, an enterprise-focused version of its virtual reality headset and platform that plays on how spatial computing is starting to get adopted in a business setting, particularly in training and collaboration projects. It said that there are now more than 400 independent software vendors contributing products to the effort.

The new products are coming at a time when Facebook is focusing how its platform can be a natural tool for consumers who are already using it, to migrate to use it more for work purposes too.

This is something that Mark Zuckerberg has also been teasing out, with his own announcements and discussion today about moving more of Facebook’s staff to remote work. “This is all about a feeling of presence,” he said during his Live video, aimed at staff but broadcast publicly. “As we use these tools for work as well and eat our own dog food, we’ll advance the technology.”

Facebook is also responding to what is going on in the wider working world. Video conferencing and other communications services for remote teams are booming, a direct result of people having to work from home to fall in line with current COVID-19 social distancing measures.

That shift has led to a huge surge of usage and interest in communications tools like Zoom, Teams and Skype (from Microsoft) and Hangouts and Meet (Google’s video offerings).

Facebook itself has been no stranger to that trend: Workplace now has 5 million paying users (and millions more using it for free) — up by 2 million to the end of March. (For some, but not direct, comparison, Slack says it has 12 million daily users and more than 119,000 paying customers, which include many more individual users; Microsoft’s Teams most recent numbers from March are 44 million daily users, but it doesn’t break out which of those are paying.)

Interestingly, that number doesn’t include April or the first part of May, arguably the peak of measures for people to shelter in place in countries outside of Asia (where many put in measures earlier).

“We will see the impact of COVID-19 a few weeks from now,” Julien Codorniou, VP for Workplace, said in an interview. He added that he doesn’t think that the softened economy, and subsequent layoffs for some large employers, will have had an impact on growth, despite Facebook’s customer list including big players from the hospitality and retail sectors (Walmart, Virgin Atlantic and Booking.com are among its many customers in those sectors).

“Usage has stayed the same,” he said. “They know they will have to go back to work at some point and they have to keep their [employee] community engaged. Workplace became mission-critical overnight.”

The new features getting launched today are interesting in part because they are not necessarily so much about expanding the Workplace ecosystem with more links to outside apps — that was one strategy that Workplace has chased in previous iterations to keep up with Slack and enhance its toolset — as it is about enhancing the Facebook-native set of features that it would like people to use. It might speak to Facebook accepting that its strongest play is to accentuate its social features rather than try to position itself as an all-in-one productivity platform (which might come naturally as a result; or might not).

Work Groups — basically smaller groups you could create on Facebook to chat directly to your colleagues outside of your wider circle of friends — was an odd one to launch outside of Workplace, but Codorniou said it was very intentional: the idea was to give a wider set of Facebook users a taste of how they might use Facebook in a work context, and to hopefully drive more usage of Facebook as a result.

The fact that the Rooms feature is now coming to Workplace itself will be one way to entice more of those users — there are now 20 million (yes, that’s right: the power of Facebook scale) — to migrate their usage to Workplace to take up other tools on offer there. For those on Workplace already, it’s another way to boost engagement on the platform.

Rooms are also an import from the consumer side of the business. Rooms was Facebook’s informal attempt to bring in a bit of the spontaneity of other apps like Houseparty (which is a part of Epic Games), but tapping into the social graph that you already have on Facebook. It’s a relatively new feature, only getting launched at the end of April, so it’s interesting to see it making such a quick appearance on Workplace. (Live took significantly longer to get imported.)

The key element of Rooms that will stand out for Workplace users is that those who are on Workplace already can use it to create links that others can use to drop in, even if they’re not a part of the user’s Workplace group or on Facebook itself. Like Zoom or the others, essentially it’s a URL link that will let anyone with a camera, a microphone, a browser and a connection link in.

The tools that Facebook is adding to enhance how Workplace users are able to work with video, meanwhile, will also potentially improve engagement on the platform, but also more simply, give it needed parity with the other tools that have proven popular — necessary if Facebook hopes to get more traction with its native tools, even as it continues to offer integrations with the likes of Zoom.

Live Producer lets the host of a video live event start polls, share their screens and see “health” metrics to gauge responses to what they are saying. Q&A follows the same idea, a Slide-like system to queue, triage and select questions without the questions being necessarily visible to everyone watching. Lastly, the addition of captions will be especially welcome in international teams when you might not always be speaking to people fluent in whatever language you’re using. It’s starting first with live captions in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian and German.


Social – TechCrunch


Google’s Duo video chat app gets a family mode with doodles and masks

May 9, 2020 No Comments

Google today launched an update to its Duo video chat app (which you definitely shouldn’t confuse with Hangouts or Google Meet, Google’s other video, audio and text chat apps).

There are plenty of jokes to be made about Google’s plethora of chat options, but Duo is trying to be a bit different from Hangouts and Meet in that it’s mobile-first and putting the emphasis on personal conversations. In its early days, it was very much only about one-on-one conversations (hence its name), but that has obviously changed (hence why Google will surely change its name sooner or later). This update shows this emphasis with the addition of what the company calls a “family mode.”

Once you activate this mode, you can start doodling on the screen, activate a number of new effects and virtually dress up with new masks. These effects and masks are now also available for one-on-one calls.

For Mother’s Day, Google is rolling out a special new effect that is sufficiently disturbing to make sure your mother will never want to use Duo again and immediately make her want to switch to Google Meet instead.

Only last month, Duo increased the maximum number of chat participants to 12 on Android and iOS. In the next few weeks, it’s also bringing this feature to the browser, where it will work for anyone with a Google account.

Google also launched a new ad for Duo. It’s what happens when marketers work from home.

Mobile – TechCrunch


Platforms scramble as ‘Plandemic’ conspiracy video spreads misinformation like wildfire

May 8, 2020 No Comments

A coronavirus conspiracy video featuring a well-known vaccine conspiracist is spreading like wildfire on social media this week, even as platforms talk tough about misinformation in the midst of the pandemic.

In the professionally-produced video, a solemn interviewer named Mikki Willis interviews Judy Mikovits, a figure best known for her anti-vaccine activism in recent years. The video touches on a number of topics favored among online conspiracists at the moment, filtering most of them through the lens that vaccines are a money-making enterprise that causes medical harm.

The video took off mid-week after first being posted to Vimeo and YouTube on May 4. From those sites, it traveled to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter where it circulated much more widely, racking up millions of views. Finding the video is currently trivial across social platforms, where it’s been reposted widely, sometimes with its title removed or reworded to make it more difficult to detect by AI moderation.

According to Twitter, tweets by Mikovits apparently don’t violate the platform’s rules around COVID-19 misinformation, but it has marked the video’s URL as “unsafe” and blocked the related hashtags “#PlagueOfCorruption and #Plandemicmovie. The company also hasn’t found evidence that her account is being amplified as part of a coordinated campaign.

Over on Facebook, the video indeed runs afoul of the platform’s coronavirus and health misinformation rules—but it’s still very easy to find. For this story, I was able to locate a copy of the full video within seconds and at the time of writing Instagram’s #plandemic hashtag was well-populated with long clips from the video and even suggestions for related hashtags like #coronahoax. Facebook is currently working to stem the video’s spread, but it’s already collected millions of views in a short time.

On YouTube, a search for “Plandemic” mostly pulls up content debunking the video’s many false claims, but plenty of clips from the video itself still make the first wave of search results.

The video itself is a hodgepodge of popular false COVID-10 conspiracies already circulating online, scientifically unsound anti-vaccine talking points and claims of persecution.

Mikovits, who in the video states that she’s not opposed to vaccines, later goes on to make the claim that vaccines have killed millions of people. “The game is to prevent the therapies ‘til everyone is infected and push the vaccines, knowing that the flu vaccines increase the odds… of getting COVID-19,” Mikovits says, conspiratorially. At the same time, she suggests that doctors and health facilities are incentivized to overcount COVID-19 cases for the medicare payouts, an assertion that contradicts the expert consensus that coronavirus cases are likely still being meaningfully undercounted.

In the video, Mikovits accuses Dr. Anthony Fauci of suppressing treatments like hydroxychloroquine—falsely touted by President Trump as a likely cure for the virus. While her claims appear to have landed at the perfect opportunistic moment, her beef with Fauci is actually longstanding. As Buzzfeed reported, in a book she wrote six years ago, Mikovits accused Dr. Fauci of banning her from the NIH’s facilities—an event Fauci himself was not familiar with.

Mikovits also touches on a popular web of conspiracy theories fixated on the idea Bill Gates is somehow implicated in causing the pandemic to profit off the eventual vaccine and makes the unfounded claim that “it’s very clear this virus was manipulated and studied in the laboratory.”

In other interviews, Mikovits has suggested that face masks pose a danger because they can “activate” the virus in the wearer. In the “Plandemic” clip, Mikovits also makes the unscientific claim that beaches should not have been closed due to “healing microbes in the saltwater” and “sequences” in the sand that protect against the coronavirus.

To the uninformed viewer, Mikovits might appear to ably address scientific-sounding topics, but her own scientific credentials are extremely dubious. In 2009, Mikovits authored a study on chronic fatigue syndrome that was retracted by the journal Science two years later when an audit found “evidence of poor quality control” in the experiment and the results could not be replicated in subsequent studies. That event and her subsequent firing from a research institute appear to have kicked off her more recent turn as an anti-vaccine crusader, conspiracist and author.

With “Plandemic,” Mikovits seems to have positioned herself successfully for relevance in the pandemic’s information vacuum—her book sales have even soared on Amazon. Toward the end of the clip, her interviewer even cannily sets up a future outrage cycle at the inevitable crackdown from social media platforms, where the video flouts rules ostensibly banning harmful health conspiracies like the ones it contains.

“It’s other people shutting down other citizens and the big tech platforms follow suit and they shut everything down,” Willis says with steely concern. “There is no dissenting voices allowed any more in this free country.” 

As we’ve reported previously, the coronavirus crisis is fertile ground for conspiracy theories and potentially lethal misinformation— a fact that the “Plandemic” video’s apparent mainstream crossover success demonstrates. Widespread uncertainty and fear is a powerful thing, capable of breathing new life into debunked ideas that would have otherwise kept collecting dust in conspiracist backwaters, where they belong.


Social – TechCrunch


Ultimate guide to video marketing on YouTube

April 29, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • YouTube’s popularity has made it the second most popular search engine after Google.
  • For marketers trying to market their products and services to new audiences, YouTube needs to become a priority.
  • Venngage’s Ronita Mohan outlines everything you need to know about YouTube product marketing in the ultimate guide below.
  • From deciding your target audience and goals to creating great, targeted content, YouTube SEO, metrics to analyze and more material that will add value to your video marketing efforts.

YouTube marketing has fast taken over the world, not just because of the popularity of online videos but because of the accessibility of the platform.

This has led to YouTube becoming the second most popular search engine after Google. Users are heading directly to YouTube for detailed visual answers to their questions, instead of googling their queries.

For marketers trying to market their products and services to new audiences, YouTube needs to become a priority. 

We outline everything you need to know about YouTube product marketing in the ultimate guide below.

Outlining YouTube marketing goals

No marketing strategy would be complete without setting out specific, measurable goals—the same goes for YouTube.

What do you want from your YouTube channel? Do you want to spread brand awareness? Increase conversions? Educate the community?

Accordingly, you will have to design your content and share it with your audience.

You also need to understand the people who use YouTube. Yes, it is a very popular platform, but you aren’t aiming for every single YouTube user.

The goals you set for the channel will also translate into the kind of audience you are aiming to reach—people who want to be educated about a subject, or who want to purchase items that will improve their lives. Or others who just want answers or troubleshooting assistance.

Once you decide on your target audience and your goals, you can create content that specifically caters to them.

Try creating a calendar for your YouTube content—you should aim to post every day, if possible—so that you have clear deadlines for sending out content.

Your videos don’t have to be very long—five minutes at the most—but the channel should be updated frequently so you can improve engagement rates.

Creating a YouTube business channel

According to the latest visual content marketing statistics, video used by marketers has increased by 7% from previous years—and this rise is expected to continue.

When you make a personal Google account, you will be able to sign into YouTube—however, this is not the same as having a business account on the platform.

For one, if you want to upload videos, you need to create a channel—this channel can be specifically for you to upload business videos.

YouTube does offer an option to create an account solely to manage your business—the Brand Account option allows multiple people to use the same login to manage the account and gives you access to analytics.

You still need to create a channel for the Brand Account if you want to upload videos, leave comments, and make playlists.

Once you create your channel, it is imperative that you add your brand logo as the profile image, in the right dimensions—800 x 800 pixels.

You also need to add a YouTube banner (like the Lego channel example above)—2,560 x 1,440 pixels is the recommended size from Google. Check the cropping across devices and finalize the art.

With the channel art uploaded, you should add your associated brand accounts—your website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, et al.

The links you add will appear on your channel as icons that users can then click through to.

You will also need to add a brief description of your company, and you have the option of creating a welcome video that will introduce visitors to your channel.

These are the basics of setting up your business channel. Then, it’s onto content creation.

YouTube marketing video types

There are a number of video types that you can explore when creating content for your YouTube channel. We look at seven of the most popular varieties below.

1. Behind the scenes

Take users into the life and times of your brand and your company culture with behind-the-scenes videos. Tours of your office space, Q&As with staff members, highlights from office events—these all make for excellent social content. 

 

The Lush behind-the-scenes video is a great example of how engaging this content is—two employees share how a product is made, intercut with visuals of the actual process.

It’s soothing, calming, fun, and it gives the company a more personal outlook.

2. “Best of” videos

 

Most YouTube channels round off the year with ‘best of’ videos—of the year, the decade, the season, best tools, or best strategies. And this is something that you can collate for your brand, or collaborate with someone to create.

“Best of” videos are also great gateway content—someone searching for videos on a particular topic could find yours and be interested enough in your content to watch more. 

3. Explainer videos

These are very popular types of videos—people are constantly looking for solutions to their problems. This is why YouTube has become a favourite search engine in its own right.

Make life easier for users by creating explainer videos that showcase how to use a product, how to troubleshoot an issue, or how to understand a concept or industry.

 

Google Small Business’ video on taking high-quality photos is a simple but effective explainer—it features someone who has had success in the area alongside clear and easy-to-follow steps. 

Note the friendly and comforting tone that makes the video more accessible to users who may be at the beginner stage of business photography. This helps make content more relatable and engaging.

4. Interviews

Interviews with professionals in your field, in your company, or in an area of interest to your audience also make for popular content.

Akin to explainer videos, interviews also place your brand as a thought leader in the field—it tells people that you don’t just create content, you are an expert on it. 

 

This interview from Inc with a leading CEO in the field makes for great content. The light and personal tone, the choice of the interviewee, and the message all place the brand as a thought leader trying to improve the knowledge of their audience.

5. Listicles

Lists make for very popular content online—whether in blogs, infographics, or videos, lists about a topic are eye-catching and easy to consume. 

 

Listicles are the most popular kind of content online. The Ahrefs video here is short, snappy, and to the point. 

But the reason why listicles work is that they are finite—the audience knows there are 3 points and they can also go back to the point that is more relevant to them.

When attention spans are low, it helps to make your content more bite-sized, as exemplified in listicles.

6. Product demos

Make your product readily usable for customers by creating a product demo—that you can then use on your website. A demo will answer a lot of questions about the way a product should be used, while also acting as a sales pitch to buyers who are still on the fence. 

 

Oracle Netsuite’s product demo has a simple set up—two people discussing the product with shots of the product in use. It gives users a visual guide to follow and refer to when they’re using the product themselves.

7. Testimonials

The internet may be a bastion of content, but it also has a propensity for spewing information that is patently untrue. If you want users to engage with you, you need to be real.

And what better way to do that than to feature testimonials with real people—staff and customers—on your YouTube channel?

These make for convincing videos that will make your brand look more human.

 

Omada’s testimonial video shows the importance of giving brands a human face—these are real people who were helped by a company and that makes the brand more attractive to potential customers.

Creating YouTube videos

Now that you know what kind of videos you should be creating, it is time to make your videos. 

The content you create should be brand-conscious—ensure your logo is visible but that it doesn’t overwhelm the screen.

You should always include a call-to-action—asking people to subscribe to the channel, to like your video, visit your website, or to use a promo code.

Adding a strong and relevant CTA will help users stay engaged with your brand beyond viewing a single video.

Also, though many think that YouTube videos need to be highly stylized and have great production values, that isn’t always the case.

Focus less on how your video looks, and more on the content of your video.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What story are you trying to tell? 
  • Who are you telling it to? 
  • What do you want in return?

Answer these questions when you are making your videos—that will help you generate interest in your audience much more than expensive visuals.

Remember that video marketing on channels like YouTube is less about making sales, and more about making connections.

Don’t put content out there and hope for the best. You need to engage with the audience—ask people to comment and then reply to them. Look out for trolls and report them immediately.

Promote your content on social media channels. Add a link to your YouTube channel on your website and newsletter.

YouTube SEO

SEO isn’t just for written content—it has a huge role to play in video marketing, and eventually in how well your channel is received.

There are a number of SEO tools that you can use to make this process easier. But first, you need to know the key aspects of YouTube SEO that you need to work on.

1. Tags

If you want your audience to find your content, your channel and videos need to have the tags that are relevant to them. 

The VidIQ extension is a good tool for checking tags that would be relevant to your content and are more effective in reaching your target audience.

2. Keywords

As with tags, when creating videos, ensure you choose the keywords that not only describe the content but also appeal to your audience.

Use a mind map to brainstorm your keywords and keep track of which ones are most effective for your audience.

3. Headlines

You will have spent time optimizing blog headlines. The same goes for YouTube videos. The headlines you choose should be extremely relevant to your topic. 

Keep the headline to 60 characters—as you would do with a blog headline—so it isn’t cut off on search engines. 

You should keep the primary keywords to the beginning of the headline—another important way to boost organic SEO.

Don’t use obscure keywords as this will make it harder for your videos to be found—and will negatively impact your ranking.

Looking for inspiration?

Here are some headlines that earned brands 1000s of views:

Short, sharp, and focused headlines will improve clicks and engagement.

4. Thumbnails

The type of thumbnail that appears beside your video has an impact on how many people click on it—thus improving your ranking. According to YouTube, 90% of the top viewed videos feature custom thumbnails.

When you upload a video to YouTube, you will be able to choose a frame from your video. While this makes the process easier, it doesn’t actually tell the audience much about the video.

Instead, create a customized frame to use as the thumbnail—this can include visuals from the video, alongside the headline and a tagline.

Customized thumbnails will share more information than a random screenshot from the video, and make your content more attractive.  

5. Video descriptions

Your video headline can only share so much information—to make your video more compelling to the audience, and for YouTube SEO rankings, write a detailed video description.

As with titles, ensure your primary keywords are kept in the front of the description. Include bullet points about the key areas you are discussing—if you can include timestamps for when in the video you will be discussing these points, even better.

Add a bit of levity by including links to the music you’re using in the video. And you should definitely include your CTA in the description.

To break it down, here are the essential elements of a great video description:

  • To-the-point introduction, written in brand tone, explaining exactly what viewers will see in the video
  • Keywords, used at the beginning of your description and sprinkled throughout. Avoid keyword stuffing, as you would do with a blog
  • Include your CTA below the description—a link to subscribe to your channel, visit your website, or use a code
  • Below the CTA, add links to related content
  • Add timestamps to important moments in the video

6. Hashtags 

People don’t realize that hashtags on YouTube are definitely a thing—and they can be massively helpful for your organic SEO.

YouTube allows a maximum of 15 hashtags, which can be used in the titles and descriptions of your videos.

These hashtags are clickable—users can see all content related to those hashtags. This also means you need to be judicious in your use of hashtags.

For one, they need to be relevant to your topic. They also need to be popular—obscure hashtags, like rarely-used keywords, won’t be clicked on.

Use hashtags to make your content more easily discoverable but choose them wisely. 

YouTube metrics

The discussion around which YouTube metrics you should be focusing on has been raging for years. There are a large number of metrics available but they aren’t all made equal.

Here are some of the metrics that you should examine when trying to determine how well your content is performing:

  • Bounce Rates – The rate at which people are leaving your video before completing it
  • Click Rates – The number of times your video is being clicked on
  • Completion Rates – How many times your video has been watched to completion 
  • Comments – The number of comments your video received
  • Conversion Rates – How often users viewed a video and then acted on the CTA
  • Likes and Dislikes – The number of likes or dislikes your video received
  • Recurrence Rates – How often viewers watched the same video multiple times
  • Referrals – Where users are finding your videos from
  • Sharing – How often people are sharing your videos
  • Subscribers – The number of subscribers your channel has
  • Video Views – How many people watched a video in total

Those are a lot of metrics but you don’t have to study each one to decide whether your content is a success.

Go back to the goals that we mentioned in the first point of this blog—what are you trying to achieve with your YouTube marketing strategy? 

  • If you want more conversions from your videos examining the completion rates and conversion rates of your videos will tell you whether your content is engaging enough for people to act on your CTA.
  • If creating a wholesome YouTube channel is your goal, study the referrals to find out where people are finding your content—so you can optimize those channels further.

Though you will want to grow your subscriber base, the number of subscribers you have may not be indicative of how good your content is.

  • If your videos are being viewed despite low subscriber numbers, it may be a sign that your content is good but isn’t catering to repeat customers.
  • In general, bounce rates and completion rates are good indicators of the success of your content.

When people leave your video without completing it, that means it didn’t hold their interest. If most people are leaving around the same point in the video, that gives you an idea of what you need to improve in the content itself.

Videos with low completion rates could be indicative of the fact that your videos are too long. Try creating shorter videos to see the impact on completion rates.

Focus on the metrics that align with the goals of your video marketing strategy instead of looking at every single one of them.

YouTube advertising

YouTube advertising is an option that brands can explore once they have become more comfortable with the platform.

According to PPCHero, 48% of marketers are investing in YouTube advertising, making it the third most popular advertising platform, after Facebook and Instagram. 

There are a number of YouTube ad formats that you can use to reach your target audience.

Some YouTube video ad formats:

  • Bumper ads: Six-second long unskippable ads that play before, during, and after videos. These cannot be skipped.
  • In-stream ads: These 15 second-long ads come in skippable and non-skippable forms and appear before, during, and after videos across YouTube and other Google-affiliated videos.
  • Masthead ads: The masthead ads appear muted at the top of the YouTube search page. These ads can be 30 seconds long.
  • Outstream ads: Optimized for mobile marketing only, Outstream ads appear on mobile websites associated with Google, not on YouTube mobile.
  • Video discovery ads: Much like banner ads, the video discovery ads appear on the YouTube homepage, search results pages, and alongside related videos. 

Depending on your needs, you can create ads that will improve your brand awareness and reach.

Bumper ads have the best chance of being seen because they are unskippable—but they are also only six-seconds long. If you can create strong messaging within that time, you can reach your target audience.

For a start, it makes more sense to create in-stream ads. You have more length to play with—15 seconds—and you can have them placed during a variety of relevant videos.

If you are unfamiliar with the platform, it’s always best to test out a few options so you know how which direction to go.

Conclusion

Video marketing on YouTube can feel like a challenge at first—but by following the above steps, you can start to build a following on the platform and improve your conversions. 

Now that you have these basics in the bag, you can launch a YouTube channel to market your brand and products and let it grow into a successful marketing platform.

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

The post Ultimate guide to video marketing on YouTube appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Hallway creates a ‘virtual break room’ for remote workers using scheduled video chats

April 14, 2020 No Comments

The coronavirus outbreak has forced millions of U.S. employees to work from home — many for the first time. But remote work can be lonely and isolating, as people feel disconnected from their team and co-workers due to the lack of face-to-face conversations. That’s where the new startup, Hallway, aims to help. The service re-creates the break-room experience and the serendipity of random hallway conversations with its new app aimed at Slack users.

The app allows companies to schedule 10-minute video chats within Slack channels, where colleagues can catch up with one another outside of more formal web meetings.

The startup was co-founded by Parthi Loganathan, a former product manager at Google who launched Google Chat and Google Go; and Kunal Jasty, a former associate at private equity firm Insight Partners.

The two were originally working on a product called Across that would help teams provide customer support in shared Slack channels. But when the shelter-in-place was brought into effect in San Francisco, things quickly changed.

“It forced a lot of companies that were unprepared for remote work to go remote overnight,” Loganathan explains. Meanwhile, his roommate complained he was going stir-crazy working from home and missed talking to his team.

“Hallway seemed like a simple and fun way to tackle that problem, so we built it in a couple of days,” Loganathan says.

The founders already had first-hand experience with the challenges involved in dealing with remote teams, as half their team was based in India. And they had experience building Slack apps, not only with Across but with others similar to Hallway, as well.

As a result, Hallway was built quickly, with only four days in between the idea and the first user, Loganathan says.

To use Hallway, you can either add it to Slack from the Hallway website or from the Slack app directory. (To install it, you may need admin approval if you don’t have permission to add apps to your Slack workspace.)

There’s no front-end for the app — everything is user-facing in Slack, including the login process, onboarding experience and the settings user interface. Once installed, you’re given the onboarding instructions over direct message within Slack. You can then invite the Hallway bot to any Slack channel by typing /invite @hallway. This kicks off the bot to start creating break rooms on a recurring basis automatically, which are announced by way of an @here message.

By default, Hallway’s break rooms are scheduled every two hours between 9 AM and 6 PM Monday through Friday, but users can adjust the timezone and adjust the frequency of the breaks by typing in /hallway in a Slack channel to customize the settings.

You can opt to use your own Zoom or Google Meet links with Hallway. But the experience works better with Hallway’s timed video chat rooms, which are powered by daily.co’s video infrastructure.

The service itself is free for up to two slack channels, but only offers 10 of its timed video chats before you have to either switch to using your own web meeting links or have to upgrade.

Hallway’s “team” pricing plan for larger companies supports up to five channels and offers an unlimited number of video chat rooms, as well as the customization options, for $ 30 per month. For more than five channels, enterprise pricing is available upon request.

Since launching just a few weeks ago, Hallway has quickly grown its customer base.

The service is now being used by more than 170 teams at companies like Nextdoor, Productboard, Bank Novo, Pivotal, Coursera and others. The majority of users are on the free plan for now. However, companies in need of an upgrade can access more flexible pricing if users are willing to share the service with friends.

For the time being, the co-founders want to focus on improving the Hallway experience in Slack, but they’re already thinking about what comes next.

“We’re solving the problem of keeping teams connected and reducing workplace loneliness while working remotely. Right now, we’re improving the core experience of spontaneous timed video chats and giving users more options to customize them,” says Loganathan. “We’re looking into specific use cases we can help companies with, like team building and employee onboarding for remote teams,” he notes.

The company may also consider a solution for Microsoft Teams in the future, he says.

Hallway has raised an undisclosed amount of pre-seed funding.


Social – TechCrunch


Video marketing: The ultimate guide (You’ll only need this)

March 25, 2020 No Comments

Video is not only a content type anymore, but it has also become a culture. Before that, theater movies and TV had driven the culture, and the only thing that has changed over the past few years is the platform.

Culture is what drives the marketing around it, and 83% of marketers believe that video is becoming increasingly important; a clear indication of more brands using them as a part of their marketing strategies. It can be clearly seen how important video has become for every platform and marketing channel.

And, if you’re not creating videos for marketing campaigns, then you will be left behind this decade.

According to Cisco, 82% of internet traffic will be through videos by 2022. And according to TechCrunch, people watch 1 billion hours of YouTube video per day (That’s more than Netflix and Facebook video combined). 

In our digital times, everyone is capable of publishing videos and everyone is publishing videos; all you need is a good camera and an internet connection. This culture-driven ability now belongs to anyone who can create a video and is so captivating that the right group of people choose and prefer to watch videos.

A person who will never read a 100-page book will gladly watch a 10-minute IGTV.

Video is more than just cute babies and funny animals. It’s so powerful that, even mentioning the word “video” in your email subject line can increase the open rates by 19%.

In this article, I’ll unveil all the fundamentals, tactics, and best practices for video marketing.

What is video marketing?

Video marketing is all about creating a video to market and promote your product/service, educate your audience, increase engagement on social media, widen your brand awareness and reach your audience with interactive content. There are some popular platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat that businesses are using for video marketing. 

Brands are making videos to help customers make better purchasing decisions by understanding and analyzing their favorite products and features in an engaging way.

Share of businesses using video on their landing pages worldwide from 2016 to 2018

Source

According to HubSpot, 72% of consumers prefer to watch a video about a product than a read product description and more than 50% of consumers want to see videos from brands more than any other type of content.

A quick question.

Why do videos work so well? 

Because our brain can’t resist the visual outburst, videos are easy to follow-through and we get addicted to them. We remember dialogues from the movies we watched in the past decade but we hardly remember some paragraphs from some book we read a few years back. Movies are just a visual representation of the scriptwriter and storytelling of the director.

Half of the internet users look for a video before visiting a store (Google) and your campaign can’t survive without video in your marketing strategy where 87% of businesses now use video to help market their product and services (WyzOwl).

Using video marketing for business isn’t something brand new but to obtain the best results, implementing a proper video marketing strategy is a must.

Gone are the days when throwing some random video in your strategy worked, it’s now more than 80% of the content on the internet and the field has become highly competitive.

Developing a video marketing strategy that works

According to HubSpot research, customers and consumers prefer low-quality authentic video than high-quality inauthentic video. Simple, mundane videos don’t work all the time in the world of marketing. Today, documenting your different work processes like BTS (behind the scenes), vlogs, live videos, and product walkthroughs seem more real and human than videos created filled with artificial effects.

The versatility of the video content you publish also makes it a successful marketing strategy. Be it the branding of your ecommerce business or tapping into new audiences, videos have always got your back.

93% of businesses reported getting a new customer on social media, thanks to video. It’s also very important to create a sound strategy when you’re planning to implement video in your marketing which should include:

  • Creating a script based on customer’s pain points
  • Designing a template that reflects your branding
  • Distribution of video on different platforms
  • Feelings or emotions you want to evoke
  • The persona you’re targeting with the video
  • Recording and editing the video
  • Integrating video into different marketing content
  • Coming up with new topics and trends
  • Analyzing the video performance
  • Improving your strategy based on your data

As we have discussed before, that video is accessible to everyone and any type of business, you only need the right strategy to kick-off. Whether you’re executing operations in the service team or the marketing team, the usefulness of video is apparent everywhere.

Let’s dig deep into the types of video you can create for the different marketing campaigns:

Types of marketing videos

You will be having different objectives for your marketing campaign and based on that you’ll choose the type of video you’re going to create. So, here is the list of top marketing video types to choose from:

1. Explainer videos

The primary purpose of explainer videos is to educate your audience whether it’s your product/service or some concept in your industry. They generally are short in length and it shouldn’t be more difficult than curating decks of slides in the presentation. It’s kind of a scripted journey of your customer’s problem and how they can resolve it.

2. How-to videos

How-to videos are the most popular type of video which customers love to consume and revolve around the educational concept to teach your audience in a step-by-step manner. These types of videos are compelling because they literally show you how to do something.

3. Customer testimonial videos

Customer testimonial videos are the best way to showcase social proof and brand advocacy for your brand. You can ask your consumers to tell their story on camera, what challenges they faced, and how your brand helped them overcome those obstacles.

4. Demo videos

In this type of video, you have the ability to brief your product or service to your audience in a systematic way. It can be an unboxing review, walkthrough or run your physical product through some tests.

72% of people would rather use video to learn about a product or service (WyzOwl).

5. Personalized video messages

Are you out of ideas for your email marketing campaign?

Try creating video messages.

Nothing can be more personalized, charming and captivating than this type of video message. It will not only improve engagement rate but it will also move your prospect down the funnel towards conversion. See how Marketo used personalized video messages to invite their audience to the summit.

6. Live videos

According to Livestream.com, users watch live videos 1.8x times longer than non-live video, representing the present aspect of your brand. It allows your audience to participate, engage, and connect with your brand in the live video.

You can use live video content to stream events, Q&A sessions, presentations, interviews with experts and foster your audience to interact with your brand.

In this Facebook live video, Martha Stewart prepares viewers for holidays with some outdoor decorating ideas and encourages them to buy each product at Home Depot.

7. AR/VR and 360° videos

Everyone in the industry knows that AR/VR is the future and its market has already reached $ 16.8 billion US. These are future tech that will skyrocket your customer’s experience and you should be integrating your products by now.

VR and 360° videos are important videos that let you put your customers into another person’s shoes, for example, Oreo ran this fun campaign which lets you experience the Oreo virtual world. On the other hand, AR allows people to check out products while sitting in their homes. Everyone knows IKEA furniture App did this beautifully by showcasing their furniture and homeware in your specific living rooms.

Customer experience journey through video marketing

Everyone is familiar with the customer journey or the funnel as we say in which a customer goes from showing interest in your products or services to buying them. Videos are not any piece of content that you can introduce to your audience at any time or any platform. I say that no content should be introduced to the customer in the funnel at the wrong time.

Customers can be offered an additional incentive to push them towards buying a certain product. According to the latest coupon statistics, 86% of millennials say that deals and discounts impact their purchase decisions. This makes coupons a perfect weapon of choice for video marketers.

Here’s a brief to every stage of the customer journey and what type of videos you should introduce to your audience at each stage of the funnel:

1. Awareness

This is the initial stage of the customer’s journey where you show them who you are and what you represent.

  • Your prospect has a great product but he is unable to generate revenue.
  • Prospects try to find the solution on Google by typing their issue.
  • He ends up watching YouTube videos and learns that his problem is ‘A’.
  • Again, he searches “how to solve problem A” and one of your customer review videos pops up in the suggestion.
  • He gets intrigued by the comments on your video and checks out your YouTube channel.
  • Finds out that you have uploaded tons of helpful videos and shares them with the team.
  • Every time he visits YouTube, your videos are recommended as suggestions.

“84% of marketers credit video with increasing traffic to their website.”

Type of videos to use:

  • Explainer Videos
  • Commercial
  • How-To Videos
  • Fun Videos

2. Consideration

In the consideration stage, prospects know that they have a problem and want to find the solution. They try everything to find the solution, ask a friend, compare alternatives, search on Google and want a cost-effective solution to the problem.

  • They know the problem and watch one of your videos on YouTube but it is just a teaser. They click on the given link to watch the full video on your website.
  • They watch one video after the other because of the pop-ups.
  • In between, an email submission form comes up and they fill it. Congratulations, you’ve captured a lead. It triggers an email via your automation platform.
  • Just a few days later, they receive an email with a relevant video.
  • After checking their watch history, the sales rep sends them a personalized video that is shockingly relevant. They end up booking a meeting.
  • This kind of customer care strengthens the relationship.

“80% of marketers credit video with increasing the average time on page for their website.”

Type of videos to use:

  • Testimonials and Video Case Studies
  • Detailed Product Demos
  • Personalized Video Voicemails
  • Setup Webinars

3. Decision

In the decision stage, customers are quite close to making a decision to buy your product or service and it’s your job to create crystal clear smooth processes for the transaction. They should feel like they have control over the complete process and know every detail.

  • Team of prospect lists out all the alternatives including your brand, then they schedule a demo but only your brand sends them a video which makes it easier to understand the product.
  • Prospect sends you an email with a few concerns and you reply to them with a video walkthrough.
  • During their research, they search for a solution to problem X and they find your YouTube video, which makes you the top vendor.
  • After a few days, with a deal on the table, they receive a personal video from a senior executive of yours and they buy.
  • Prospect receives a welcome video from the sales rep and an intro to what’s gonna happen next.
  • You redirect the prospect to the on-boarding video library which makes the whole process even smoother.
  • Now, when their team faces any problem, support videos with screen recording resolves every issue in minutes.

“83% of marketers say video results in a good ROI.”

Type of videos to use:

  • FAQ Video
  • Campaign Nurturing Videos
  • Instructional Video

4. Advocacy

If someone buys your product or service, you’ll always get a chance to engage them with your content and updates that help them grow with your product and industry.

  • The customer finds your product very useful and is very pleased with it.
  • They create a short testimonial video and your marketing team uploads it on your YouTube channel.
  • New prospects find that testimonial on Google and visit your YouTube channel. The cycle repeats again.

“86% of viewers say they regularly turn to YouTube to learn something new.”

Type of videos to use:

  • Troubleshooting Videos
  • Product/Brand Update Videos
  • Interview Videos
  • Social Live Videos

I have shown you how we can integrate videos in each stage of the customer journey. It’s not mandatory to use all of them but it’s recommended to use personalized videos as much as you can. So, design your next customer journey close to perfection with a sound video marketing strategy.

Video analytics

No marketing campaign can be successful without a defined goal and continued experimentation after measuring the data metrics of the campaign. Your goal for running the campaign could be brand awareness, increasing website traffic, or even conversion.

How can you define your goal for the campaign? 

By considering your target audience, buyer personas, media they consume, when they consume it, and which stage of the buyer’s journey they are in.

Video marketing

Having a better understanding of these metrics will help you measure your campaign success and define your goal of the campaign. There are several marketing tools available that make it easy for you to evaluate different Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Here are a few important metrics that you need to keep your eye on:

1. Rate of play

This metric helps you grasp insight into how many people are actually watching your videos. The rate of play is the percentage of people who played your video divided by the number of impressions on the video.

Factors that play an important role in improving this metric include your thumbnail, platform you are publishing the video on, the initial few seconds of the video, and many more. If you’re getting tons of impressions but no one is playing your video, then you need to optimize your videos as soon as possible.

2. View count

The total number of view count on your video reflects how many times viewers have watched your video. It’s easy to measure but tricky to derive because different platforms measure view count differently.

Facebook takes 3 seconds and YouTube an entire 30 seconds of playtime to measure one view count. This metric is also known as reach which means if your goal is brand awareness then this metric is great to track.

3. Click-through rate (CTR)

This is an important sign that signifies if your video is extremely good or not because its primary goal is to make viewers take a desired action that leads them to an already-optimized landing page with a clear call-to-action (CTA).

CTR is the number of times your call-to-action (CTA) is clicked divided by the number of times it’s viewed.

4. Social media sharing

It’s way too easy to monitor the social sharing metrics and it’s extremely important to increase your organic reach on the internet. The social sharing metric shows you how many shares you’re getting on social media from your viewers.

A “share” is the active engagement that a viewer takes to share a video with his friend when they really like the content. When one viewer shares the video, then a similar audience on his network is more likely to share and it creates a chain reaction that helps you reach a wider audience organically.

5. Conversion rate

It’s the rate of conversion for your video campaign that tells how many leads, prospects or customers were generated through your videos.

Conversion rate is the number of times visitors completed your desired action divided by the number of clicks on your CTA. However, measuring this metric is kind of difficult but you can surely track it if you work smartly.

6. Completion rate

It’s the most liable metric for videos because it shows how many people have watched your video completely.

The completion rate is the number of people who completed your video divided by the number of people who played it.

If no one is watching your videos completely then your content needs to be optimized. It shows the success rate of your video marketing campaign.

7. Bounce rate

You might be thinking about how this metric is important in measuring video success. Sometimes, it happens that adding a video to the web page improves the session duration.

The bounce rate is defined as the rate of your video played, where the viewer actually watches some part of your video.

So, start off by noting down the bounce rate of the page before you add the video and after adding the video to the page, check if there is any improvement in the bounce rate. And how the audience is interacting with the new video content.

Bonus tips for awesome video content

As I mentioned in the beginning, everyone is capable of producing and publishing content these days and everyone is doing it. So, before concluding this blog, I would like to give you readers a few more tips, techniques, and strategies to give you an edge over other creators.

Video equipment checklist

Video marketing checklist

Source

Here’s the list of resource requirements you need to fulfill in order to start producing the video content:

  1. Camera: A decent quality DSLR camera would be perfect for the job and will cost you around $ 500-$ 600. A high-end camera smartphone like Samsung S10+, Google Pixel 4, or iPhone 11 Pro will also do the trick and will cost you the same.
  2. Tripod: It’s very effective for video stabilization and vlogging purposes as it makes your camera portable to carry. So, spend on tripods which are lighter in weight.
  3. External Mic: This will improve the quality of sound in your video and especially when you’re shooting for online courses and explainer videos. It will cost you around $ 100-200.
  4. Lighting: In the starting, you can use a reflector to take advantage of ambient light. If you want to step up to more powerful lighting, you can use something like a softbox.
  5. Editing Software: You just need a few skills like editing out your vocal pauses and inserting some text. This would be enough to make a good quality video, as the final content matters the most anyway. You can use expert tools like Adobe Premiere Pro in Windows and Final Cut X Pro in Mac.
  6. Editing Hardware: As much as you need the editing software for finishing videos, you also need some graphic power to run that software. Low-graphic power systems make it difficult to alter large size files. It should have minimum requirements – 8GB RAM, 2GB VRAM Graphic Card, Intel 6th Gen or AMD FX.

Make a great video

In this section, we will check everything that makes a video great:

  1. Use a script: Writing a script for your video helps you deliver 2-3x content in a short period of time. You don’t have to write each and every word; the outline structure will do just fine. For reference read: Write a Video Script 
  2. All direction lighting: Using the omnidirectional method gives your object more sharpness and natural feel.
  3. Soundproofing: Shooting in an echoing room will make you sound terrible. Buy soundproofing material or throw some thick yoga mats on the floor.
  4. Color Correction: This can make a huge difference in the output of your raw footage. It is the most undervalued but an important editing part of the video.
  5. Lots of cuts: Cutting is essential to the delivery of your audio and making it clean, and precise. It can help you remove all the noise, avoid filler words, and streamline the content flow.
  6. Animation Effects: If you’re making explainer videos or educational content, then graphics give you a bonus in conveying your message. You can use software like Adobe After Effects and also outsource tasks to some experts in the field.

Few more strategies

Here are a few more advanced strategies that will help you give more views on your videos:

  1. First Impression: Capture your audience’s attention in the first 5-10 seconds by starting your video with a question, compelling story, or telling them what they will learn in the whole video.
  2. Longer Videos: Try uploading videos longer than 5-10 minutes on very different topics and make them detailed and filled with insights. Long-form content works greatly if created well.
  3. Theme Consistency: You should be consistent with your branding in each and every video. Try to create a theme consisting of your brand color, font, voice, and niche topics which will help you increase brand awareness.
  4. Humor: Using humor in your videos will make your content more watchable. I don’t recommend filling it up with jokes unless you’re a comedian. Just using one or two light-hearted funny lines in the script would be perfect.
  5. Sequence: Always ask your audience to watch the next related video on the topic. On YouTube, you can show them in suggestions and make a playlist.

Tools for video analytics

Video marketing tools

We have already learned what metrics we should measure and here’s how we can measure them:

  1. Vimeo: Advanced video analytics to help you learn more and decide better. It delivers quality and focuses on building a huge community.
  2. Wistia: It has a great feature to show you the bounce rate when a person jumps off from your video and a complete brand customization capability for embedded players.
  3. Vidyard: It offers a defined reporting dashboard and has integration with major marketing automation software. It also gives real-time video views data.
  4. Google Analytics: Firstly, it is free to use. Perfect if you’re just starting off. It gives you the ability to build a customized dashboard and can be specifically used to track conversion rates.

Conclusion

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this guide for video marketing and its best practices.

Video marketing may look intimidating at first but it’s the present and future of content and you can always start slow. You’ll be able to produce good quality content with practice and don’t forget to align content with your brand.

Creating and publishing videos to grow your brand is way easier than ever and make sure to be a part of this big bubble. Start by turning your epic blogs into different, small pieces of videos in an interesting way and re-purpose all your insightful text content into videos.

Go out other and amaze your audience with your videos and keep improvising all the time.

Light, Camera, Roll, Action!

Which part of this guide intrigued you the most and what points did I miss out on?

Please have your say. I am listening.

Himanshu Rauthan is an entrepreneur, Co-Founder at MakeWebBetter, BotMyWork, and the Director of CEDCOSS Technologies. He can be found on Twitter @himanshurauthan.

The post Video marketing: The ultimate guide (You’ll only need this) appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Tinder’s video series ‘Swipe Night’ gets a second season

February 28, 2020 No Comments

Following a successful debut for Tinder’s first foray into original content, the company is giving its interactive video series “Swipe Night” another run. The company confirmed today it’s renewing “Swipe Night” for a second season, which will launch this summer (again) as an in-app experience within Tinder’s dating app.

Variety first reported the news of “Swipe Night’s” return. Tinder further confirmed the details to TechCrunch.

“Swipe Night,” as you may recall, first launched in October 2019 within Tinder. The experience introduced a first-person adventure played in-app, where users would make choices at key turning points to progress the narrative — like a choose-your-own-adventure story.

The series was designed to increase user engagement and help the app’s young users better connect.

Today, half of Tinder is Gen Z (ages 18-25) — a demographic that’s embracing their single lifestyle and more casual relationships compared with those on other dating apps, like Tinder parent company Match, for example, or its newer acquisition Hinge. These younger users connected with the idea of starting conversations based on a shared experience, says Tinder.

However, the reality is that “Swipe Night” had also arrived at a time when users were opening Tinder’s app less on a daily basis, even as monthly usage climbed. Though “Swipe Night” only ran on specific dates in October 2019, users’ choices within the interactive experience were added to their profiles. This allowed users to see who else agreed with their decisions and who took the opposite path. That made launching Tinder and swiping through profiles more compelling — even for those who may have been tiring of Tinder before the series’ arrival.

The experiment worked. Tinder said millions of users tuned in to “Swipe Night,” and matches and conversations increased by 26% and 12%, respectively. With “Swipe Night,” it seemed, Tinder finally gave users something to talk about.

The returning second season of “Swipe Night” will again be directed by Karena Evans, who directed Coldplay’s music video “Everyday Life” and Drake’s “In My Feelings” and “God’s Plan.” This time, it will be written by Jessica Stickles (“Portlandia,” “Another Period”) and Julie Sharbutt (“3 Days”).

“Working on Swipe Night was such a fulfilling experience for me. I got to do something that had never been done before and innovate with storytelling to bring a generation of people together. I’m in search of projects that impact, shift or curate a culture and couldn’t be more excited to return for more,” said Evans, in a statement.

“Swipe Night’s” second season may see Tinder tweaking the formula a bit, and may even introduce new mechanics to keep it feeling fresh.

In addition to the Season 2 launching in the U.S., Match previously confirmed that 10 international markets across Europe and Asia will get “Swipe Night” this year. Tinder said today that Season 1 would be launching internationally on March 14th, but declined to say when those users would receive Season 2.


Social – TechCrunch


Tinder’s video series ‘Swipe Night’ gets a second season

February 28, 2020 No Comments

Following a successful debut for Tinder’s first foray into original content, the company is giving its interactive video series “Swipe Night” another run. The company confirmed today it’s renewing “Swipe Night” for a second season, which will launch this summer (again) as an in-app experience within Tinder’s dating app.

Variety first reported the news of “Swipe Night’s” return. Tinder further confirmed the details to TechCrunch.

“Swipe Night,” as you may recall, first launched in October 2019 within Tinder. The experience introduced a first-person adventure played in-app, where users would make choices at key turning points to progress the narrative — like a choose-your-own-adventure story.

The series was designed to increase user engagement and help the app’s young users better connect.

Today, half of Tinder is Gen Z (ages 18-25) — a demographic that’s embracing their single lifestyle and more casual relationships compared with those on other dating apps, like Tinder parent company Match, for example, or its newer acquisition Hinge. These younger users connected with the idea of starting conversations based on a shared experience, says Tinder.

However, the reality is that “Swipe Night” had also arrived at a time when users were opening Tinder’s app less on a daily basis, even as monthly usage climbed. Though “Swipe Night” only ran on specific dates in October 2019, users’ choices within the interactive experience were added to their profiles. This allowed users to see who else agreed with their decisions and who took the opposite path. That made launching Tinder and swiping through profiles more compelling — even for those who may have been tiring of Tinder before the series’ arrival.

The experiment worked. Tinder said millions of users tuned in to “Swipe Night,” and matches and conversations increased by 26% and 12%, respectively. With “Swipe Night,” it seemed, Tinder finally gave users something to talk about.

The returning second season of “Swipe Night” will again be directed by Karena Evans, who directed Coldplay’s music video “Everyday Life” and Drake’s “In My Feelings” and “God’s Plan.” This time, it will be written by Jessica Stickles (“Portlandia,” “Another Period”) and Julie Sharbutt (“3 Days”).

“Working on Swipe Night was such a fulfilling experience for me. I got to do something that had never been done before and innovate with storytelling to bring a generation of people together. I’m in search of projects that impact, shift or curate a culture and couldn’t be more excited to return for more,” said Evans, in a statement.

“Swipe Night’s” second season may see Tinder tweaking the formula a bit, and may even introduce new mechanics to keep it feeling fresh.

In addition to the Season 2 launching in the U.S., Match previously confirmed that 10 international markets across Europe and Asia will get “Swipe Night” this year. Tinder said today that Season 1 would be launching internationally on March 14th, but declined to say when those users would receive Season 2.

Mobile – TechCrunch


How to set up SEO on WordPress [Video]

February 11, 2020 No Comments

When you create a website, the goal is to share your products, services, or information with as many people as possible. And to do that, you need people to visit your website and see what it has to offer. However, when you make a new website, it won’t automatically show up on the first page of Google results. You have to use SEO to get there, and we’re going to show you how to do that with WordPress.

Watch the 15-minute video here, or read the text below. In this video, you will learn how to setup WordPress SEO in 2020.

Why is SEO important?

SEO strategies take search engine algorithms into account, helping you build your website’s authority and visibility. SEO is a must-have for any successful digital marketing strategy, whether you are using WordPress or any other platform.

Is WordPress good for SEO?

WordPress has been one of the most popular website builders for many years. It started as a blogging platform, but in the last few years, it has become more and more popular as a website platform.

  • It offers customizable themes and a wide variety of tools, extensions, and widgets.
  • It has some great website building tools that make it very SEO-friendly.
  • It is also an affordable platform with excellent technical support and lots of resources available.

WordPress suffers in some aspects when it comes to SEO, though. It is very complicated on the back end. You might need an SEO expert and a pro web developer, and research to implement more advanced SEO.

However, most cases will not require an expert as SEO can be set up on the platform. You will only have to choose a plugin and learn how to use it.

WordPress websites can also be negatively affected by Google’s mobile-first indexing. If you’re trying to decide what platform to use for your new website, you can learn more about WordPress and many others right here.

Step-by-step WordPress SEO setup: How to do SEO yourself on WordPress

We created a free video course that explains everything, step-by-step:

 

WordPress can provide a strong foundation for good SEO, but there are many things you can do to make your website more visible to search engines. Here’s a step-by-step list of how we handle SEO on WordPress.

1. Optimize URL structure

You will need to choose the correct permalink structure from the start, or you may have SEO problems later on. A simple way to structure your URLs is like this: yourwebsite.com/category/sub-category/product-page.

This URL structure is called “pretty URL”, and you can enable it from – Settings > Permalink menu inside of WordPress

2. Choose between www or non-www

Do you want a website that appears as “www.xyz.com” or just “xyz.com”? This doesn’t usually affect SEO, but if both versions exist, it will get you in trouble with Google. It’s mainly a matter of personal preference, but it’s something you may want to give some thought to.

3. Set up your site’s SSL Certificate (HTTPS)

The next step is to set up an SSL certificate, which is now required if you want to show up in search engines. As much as 90% of page #1 search results on Google will be HTTPS secure. You can do this with a free Cloudflare account. If you have questions about this, check out this step-by-step tutorial video to learn everything you need to know.

4. Install the Yoast plugin

Earlier, we mentioned that WordPress comes with many useful plugins that can make your life a whole lot easier. Yoast is one of the best plugins that do a great job. Thanks to its easy-to-use tools, Yoast can help you a lot with SEO and content optimization on webpages and blogs.

5. Verify Google, Bing, and Yahoo

Next, you should submit your website to search engines (such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo) and verify your website ownership to them. This way, you can track your website performance, view keywords, get alerted to broken links and linkbacks, and get a whole lot of valuable data regarding these search engines.

6. Optimize your XML sitemap (exclude thin content pages)

This lets search engines know when your site has been updated. Yoast automatically configures *XML sitemaps, making things easy for you.

Optimize your Robots.txt file—This is a file placed on your site’s server to instruct the search engine robots on how to crawl and index files on your domain. There are two ways you can edit robots.txt on WordPress:

  1. Use Yoast > Tools > Editor to fix it.
  2. If not available, install the ‘Virtual Robots.txt’ plugin

Note: Make sure to add your XML sitemap in the robots file.

Create HTML sitemap

Many websites can benefit from an HTML sitemap in addition to an XML sitemap. The ‘Simple Sitemap’ plugin makes this easy.

7. Optimize your site for speed

A good website is a speedy website. These days, websites need to have high-quality images and design, but they still need to load almost instantly, or you’ll lose visitors. Loading speed affects your SEO both directly and indirectly. We recommend an image optimization plugin like Imagify and a cache plugin like WP Rocket or Autoptimize. Also, it is a good idea to change the settings for minification, lazy loading, and CDN delivery.

8. Install schema markup

If you operate a local business, online store, or you are an influencer, this is very important. It helps search engines deliver valuable results to visitors searching for you on Google. Here are some of the plugins we regularly use and suggest for basic schema markup: All In One Schema Rich Snippets, WP Review, snip – The Rich Snippets & Structured Data Plugin, and Schema.

Bottom line

There are many ways to set up SEO on WordPress and optimize it to your needs. As professionals in the field, these are our suggestions. However, SEO is ever-changing. If you want to stay in that coveted top slot of the Google search, you need to keep up with the changes and continually optimize. Check out our SEO Management service to get affordable, all-in-one SEO assistance for your business.

Mike is the co-founder of Zima Media, a digital marketing agency specializing in SEO and paid advertising.

The post How to set up SEO on WordPress [Video] appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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