November’s Digital Round-up

November’s Digital Round-up

November has been full of exciting and potentially industry changing news across a number of digital platforms. From mega LinkedIn updates to new metrics in Google Ads, we’ve picked out some of our favourites.

Excess Social Media Use?

In August, Facebook and Instagram announced that they would be introducing activity trackers into the sites that track how much time is spent on the app by a user. It’s only taken Instagram three months to release this update, under the name ‘Your Activity’. The tool includes a time limit which you can set to ensure you don’t spend excessive time on the platform and an option to temporarily mute push notifications. Facebook is yet to release an activity tracker on their own platform, but we believe this will come soon.

Tech companies are looking into how to help users manage their time as more studies are released suggesting that online activity is associated with negative effects on wellbeing. We’re yet to see how committed social media sites are at deterring excessive use of their platforms, but this is a positive step forward.

A new LinkedIn

We could dedicate a whole blog to all of the recent LinkedIn updates, in fact we dedicated two. Take a look for more detail on the changes to LinkedIn Pages and Campaign Manager. In brief, in the space of a couple of months, LinkedIn have revamped a huge portion of their platform. They have transformed their paid advertising segment along with giving ‘Company Pages’ a facelift and renaming them LinkedIn Pages.

In addition, there are a couple of updates which to us, stand out as being out of place. One of these is the introduction of a QR code reader to easily follow other users, like Instagram and Snapchat. The other update is adding LinkedIn stories, which have been successfully implemented in Instagram and Snapchat. It’s understandable that a platform will try and get mileage out of proven successful functionalities, however when their primary function doesn’t quite line up with their own platform’s USP, it’s hard to understand the true value.

We’ve only scratched the surface of some of the new updates, and it will be interesting to see how this changes the platform, and we actually predict quite a big 2019 for LinkedIn.

Google Ads update their metrics

After some confusion around the meaning behind the metric ‘average position’, Google have reviewed their ad analytics and implemented four new metrics to the mix. The average position was often confused with meaning the position on the page, rather than position in relation to other adverts – so this has now been clarified with a separate metric ‘Impr. Absolute Top %’. This new metric shows you the percentage of your adverts which have been shown as the very first advert at the top of the SERP.

The other metrics include:

  • Impr (Absolute Top) % – the percent that your advert has been shown above the organic results
  • Search (Absolute Top) IS – the impressions you have received in the absolute top location divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location
  • Search (Top) IS – the impressions you have received in the top location, compared to the average estimated number of impressions.

You can find more information about these metrics and what they mean in the Google blog.

LinkedIn Ad Campaign Manager Changes – Objective-Based Advertising

LinkedIn Ad Campaign Manager Changes – Objective-Based Advertising

This week is a big week for changes in the LinkedIn world – alongside their Company Pages enhancements, they have up-ended their advertising platform to become more objective driven. Not a bad idea, forcing advertisers to think about the reasoning behind their campaigns before the format of them.

Yesterday morning, if you clicked on ‘create campaign’ it would take you to a screen asking you to choose your format – did you want sponsored content or a text ad? Now, when you create a campaign you are taken to a different choice, to select your objective.

So, where to start?

In our opinion, it’s now clearer and easier to add your campaigns to groups – something that was easily missed before with all campaigns cluttering in a default folder. This is the first thing that our eyes were drawn to when taken to this new start-up page.

Once you have the campaign name, you chose the objective – these are the same choices as before but are now up proud at the front. Every campaign has a reason, and that should drive the content and the analysis. Whether it be driving visitors to your website, downloading an e-book or driving recruitment.

Targeting your advert

After selecting the objective, you are taken to the similar set up as before where you can select your audience and budget.

With the new ‘global search’, you can search for the criteria you are aiming for, or you can use the ‘drill down feature’ which categorises audience targeting factors into 5 key groups such as company, demographics or seniority.

Again, you can then save this as a template to re-use in the future.

Forecasting panel

The panel down the right-hand side of the screen is now more useful, providing further details about the reach and cost of your campaign, potential results and cost per click. This makes it easier to understand how your campaign should perform as you are setting the parameters.

New ad formats

We now have eight ad campaign formats to choose from, including the recognised in-stream adverts with one or two images, text ads and video adverts. InMail campaigns are still there, however they have now been called Message adverts and are easier to preview whilst compiling.

In late October, LinkedIn introduced Dynamic Adverts, which pull profile information through to the ad campaign making them stand out and engage viewers – these have now been split into three types of campaign – spotlight, jobs and follower adverts.

Spotlight adverts enable you to showcase a specific offer or product in a clear and clean design, using one headline (limited to 50 characters) and a background image.

It marks just one of the updates that LinkedIn has announced in recent months, and they seem to be rolling out thick and fast. Bing recently announced their integration with LinkedIn, enabling advertisers to target people through their LinkedIn profiles – what else is around the corner? It’s a growing platform, and certainly one you need to be active on for marketing in 2019.

A new LinkedIn – Company Pages change to LinkedIn Pages

A new LinkedIn – Company Pages change to LinkedIn Pages

This week, you may have spotted a few differences whilst you are browsing on your LinkedIn company page. LinkedIn have been reviewing the way that company pages work to streamline management for Page Admins, increase employee engagement and grow audiences.

Sharing Content on the go

Creating and sharing content from your LinkedIn page just got much, much easier. The first change you may spot is ‘Suggested content’ which appears at the top of your page – using this functionality you can filter the industry and topic that you are interested in and it will provide you with a list of recent articles from your interest area. From that list you can directly share the content from your page. This is great for ensuring you aren’t just talking about yourself and are instead showing that you are keeping up to date with the latest trends.

Page Admins can now access their company pages through their LinkedIn mobile app, posting new content and even commenting and sharing as your company. This is brilliant news for all Page Admins who were so used to having to defect to desktop to be able to share an update.

Increasing Employee Engagement

This new option will enable company Page Admins to share new content with employees to help build engagement; it forms part of a new suite of tools to help increase employee sharing on LinkedIn.

Page Admins will also now be able to discover and reshare content posted by employees, or by anyone mentioning the company in the post. Again, this means that company pages can finally be shown to have a personality, having real conversations and commenting as a brand rather than sticking to updates.

Optimised calls to action

Another big change for LinkedIn is how they are enhancing their calls to action. These can be spotted at the top of company pages in the form of a button driving people either to contact, visit a website or view jobs. You can also see more eye-catching calls to action on native ads.

Alongside the enhanced calls to action, we now have a new tagline functionality below our industry information on the Company Page, allowing 200 characters of information about the company to be added. This can be used to pull out the key messages that you want to showcase using the call to action to compliment it.

It’s a positive change, and one we are welcoming with open arms – LinkedIn is finally becoming more user-friendly for Page Admins who aren’t sat at a desk. Any opportunity to give your brand more personality is not a bad thing! LinkedIn has also recently updated their ad platform to become more objective focused – learn more about those changes too.

The Basics of Google Ads

The Basics of Google Ads

Paid search, or Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns are important in helping your company appear on Google for people who have searched for terms (or keywords) that are relevant for your industry. It’s a fantastic opportunity to gain an advantage over competitors.

The PPC Journey

So, how does Pay Per Click advertising actually work? It can be easily summarised by these seven steps:

  1. The customer searches for their desired product/service using a ‘search-term’, e.g. ‘Laptop case’
  2. A keyword within your Ad Account matches the customers search term. E.g. ‘Laptop bag’
  3. The advert is then triggered to show for the customer. E.g. Buy Laptop Bags | Browse all Laptop Bags | buylaptopbags.co.uk
  4. The customer may then click on the advert.
  5. You are charged for that click by the search engine.
  6. The customer lands on your website.
  7. The customer may then convert.

Keyword Research

In order to run a good PPC campaign you need to ensure your keywords are relevant to your products/services. There are a number of ways for you to do this, including:

  • Looking at the wording you use on your website
  • Having a look at your competitor’s websites for the terms they use
  • Asking your friends and family what they would search for

After you’ve gathered a list of keywords, you can use a research tool (such as Keyword Planner) to see how often people are searching for your chosen keywords, and to help you discover related ones. Adding some of the most relevant keywords to your own website can help improve the quality score of your ads but remember to make them sound natural and in context to the page and copy as Google will pick up “keyword stuffing”.

Keyword Match Types

In terms of setting up your keywords in your PPC campaign there are numerous different types of searches you can perform. These are:

  • Broad match: Your ad may show to any generally related search, including synonyms. For example, if you bid with broad match on “laptop case,” your ad could show when someone searches for “computer bags.”
  • +broad +match +modifier: So long as all words are in the search, your ads will show regardless of order or additional words.
  • [exact match]: Your ad will only show if the search term is exactly the same as your keyword.
  • “phrase match”: Similar to exact match, however words can be added before and after the keywords.

Plurals and common spelling mistakes are also taken into account meaning you don’t need to have variations of the same words.

Whichever keyword match type you decide to go for will determine the overall reach of your campaign, however with a broader match type you may end up paying for a lot of clicks which aren’t relevant to your business.

The Quality Score

With so many potential customers using search, you’ll often be competing with other companies for the best spots. Your position is determined by how much you are willing to bid and the quality of your ad campaign. The quality score is how Google rates the quality and relevance of your keywords and PPC ads and the experience of your websites landing page.

This means that even if your budget isn’t as large as some of your competitors, if you create a high-quality ad you can appear higher on search results.

Your quality score will also affect your Cost Per Click (CPC), as a high score can actually result in a discounted cost, but a low score can result in an increase.

Google Algorithms

It’s been reported that Google changes its search algorithm 500 to 600 times a year. While this may seem like a lot, most of these updates are small and don’t have too much of an impact. However, every so often Google releases a big update which will change how the search engine operates. For example, in 2016 Google removed the side adverts which appeared on the right-hand side of the page to focus on the ads at the top and bottom of the search results.

Testing

One of the most important aspects of creating PPC campaigns is to monitor your ads regularly to make sure they are running as efficiently as possible, identify if a certain ad is performing better than others and then try and figure out why this could be happening. Make sure your keywords are capturing the right traffic and don’t forget to negative those that aren’t relevant, also make sure your landing pages are answering the questions your audience is asking.

When done right PPC ads can be a great way to reach new potential customers without using a huge budget. It might take you a little while to really maximise your campaigns, but this shouldn’t put you off!

We recently covered the basics of Googles Ads at one of our Technical Tuesday events at the Wrapped head office, if you want to hear about future events sign up to our newsletter. Learn more about our PPC service.

October’s Digital Round-up

October’s Digital Round-up

There’s been plenty to talk about in October’s digital roundup, from social media sites shutting down to privacy issues throughout the industry. Here, we outline the top bits of news that marketers and business owners need to know from October 2018.

Instagram copies Snapchat (again)

There’s been a lot of change at Instagram over the past month, but one thing they are pushing is making it easier to follow and be followed by new people.

The new ‘nametag’ feature is essentially Instagram’s version of Snapchat’s ‘snapcode’ and works in a similar way.

There has been some murmurs within the industry suggesting that Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, sees Instagram as it’s long-term ‘money-maker’. If this is the case, we could see a lot of changes appearing on the platform in the coming months, especially with Instagram’s original founders announcing in September they would be leaving the company after 8 years.

We finally say goodbye to Google+

The platform (once described as a serious rival to Facebook!) has now announced it will be shutting down in October. After a 3-year-old security flaw was discovered, Google took the step to shut down their social network for consumers.

Google+ is the company’s fourth attempt at creating a social networking site but has followed the same path of its predecessors in failing to grow an engaged user base.

It’s yet to be seen whether Google will attempt to create another social networking site or if they will continue their push on hardware and home devices following their October “Made by Google” events.

No more clickbait?!

Facebook has announced it is clamping down on low quality ads on its platform in an attempt to reduce the amount of clickbait and unwanted content which appears on users newsfeeds. It aims to create more meaningful connections between people and businesses.

The penalties imposed on anyone deemed to have created low quality ads are:

  • Individual ad: A reduced reach or will be disapproved
  • Multiple ads: This may have a negative impact on all ads running from that account.

This news comes as no surprise as Facebook tries to move back towards its roots by championing a more user-friendly experience which promotes high quality, engaging content.

Facebook targets transparent ads

Along with clamping down on low quality ads, Facebook is also aiming to make political adverts more transparent in the wake of several security issues they have faced this year.

Facebook have imposed several new, strict rules around political advertising that you’ll have to obey. From now on, you’ll need to prove your identity and location in the form of a passport, a driving licence, or a residency permit. Each advert will also feature a “paid for by” label.

They have introduced a new online archive which shows previously ran adverts, how much was roughly spent, and who they are reaching. The archive can be searched by anyone and does not require a Facebook account to access.

Snapchat vs Instagram

Since it’s rise, Snapchat has always been billed as a social platform for Gen Z, however according to a recent study by Piper Jaffray, Instagram was used (slightly) more often per month. 85% of participants said they opened Instagram once a month, compared to 84% for Snapchat.

Some reassurance for Snapchat is they topped the list for “favourite social platform” with 46% choosing the platform compared to 32% choosing Instagram.

Could this be another step towards doom for Snapchat? It’s widely suggested they have always struggled to monetise the app, but their new Amazon search feature could help increase the popularity of the platform which already seems to have its best days behind it.

Twitter maintains profit

It looks as though Twitter is going to make an annual profit for the first time since the app was created in 2006 even with the number of monthly active users decreasing. This could be down to a number of reasons, such as video ad sales increasing, the site cutting costs in certain areas and the livestreaming of major sporting events.

The broadcasting of sports has been in the media frequently these last couple of years with a number of different platforms trying to secure some of the biggest events to help grow their audiences. During Q3 2018 Twitter streamed MLB and MLS games which meant revenue increased as advertiser interest increased. It will be interesting to see how platforms continue to introduce more streaming aspects to their services in the future.

October was certainly a busy month for social media news as we’ve only scratched the surface. It looks as though user privacy is going to be a subject which consistently appears, so it will be interesting to see how that moves forward

How to create great blog content

How to create great blog content

It can be difficult knowing where to start with creating blog content. An empty page seems overwhelming, how can you engage your audience? How do you get seen in a busy online world?

Blogs are valuable content. They serve as brilliant social fodder and, if done well, help drive visitors to your website through search queries.

Here are a few tips to help you get started with creating your business blog.

It’s all about the plan

The most difficult part of blogging is knowing what to write about, so creating a plan provides you with a list of topics to get talking about. Spacing out your content means your blogs aren’t like buses all being posted at the same time.

Start by planning out the year. Are there any industry events or milestones that you would like to talk about? Do you have any launches or campaigns happening that should be shouted about? Plan these into a long-term plan, getting into the finer details when looking at the month ahead.

Think about the questions that your audiences are asking and answer them through your blogs. Don’t just use your content to promote yourself and sell your services – make sure you are being useful. How can you help? Always write for your customer, put them first and speak to them in their language.

The Four Rules of Thumb for engaging content

There are four principles we recommend you keep in mind when writing blog content – in fact, any content!

  • Be Relevant
  • Have Intent
  • Be Familiar
  • Be Engaging

The Importance of Being Relevant

Think about your target audiences – in fact, list them out as personas. Think about each type of customer when you are planning and writing your content; are you writing to every persona, or do you keep focusing on a just one? How should you write slightly differently to each persona? In your plan, detail which persona your blog will be tailored for, so you can picture them whilst you are writing. This helps your writing become more conversational as well as being relevant for the audience you are trying to reach.

What is Your Intent?

Your content always needs to have intent. Think about what the purpose of the post is before you open the Word Document and start writing. Are you trying to educate your customer? Instruct them on how to use something? Give them your opinion about a news item, encourage thought around a topic, or inspire them? Make sure you keep that blogs aim in mind whilst writing to keep it on track. Add calls to action to help them along their journey.

Something Familiar?

It’s good to have a clear tone of voice when you are writing as your brand, it helps you sound consistent, striking a note of recognition with your audience. Keep that same tone of voice across all your marketing channels so that your brand is always the same, no matter which route your customer comes through. Think about the great brands like Innocent – they always have the same tone of voice, so if you didn’t see their logo and name, you would still recognise who had written that content.

How to be Engaging

Your blog content needs to work hard to be engaging, to keep people reading – to make them want MORE. Make sure to ask questions, make your readers stop and think. Use subtitles to break up your text so it doesn’t look too long and like a chore to read. Keep the language short, chatty in blogs as though you are talking directly to your reader.

Importantly, always make sure your content has a personality. Never be boring.