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MarTech and AdTech News Headlines Update on April 29, 2022

Are you spending less on social media ads? Because someone is…

There’s an interesting pattern in Meta’s, Twitter’s, and Pinterest’s first quarterly earnings reports…

Meta reported user growth is making progress again, but overall revenue barely grew since last year.

The company also reports that Reels take up more than 20% of Instagram usage, while videos take up 50% of time users spend on Facebook.

Twitter missed its revenue expectation but reported that user growth is better than expected.

But… They also admitted they’ve overcounted daily users for three straight years.

Pinterest cited an overall decline in users since the pandemic, while seeing slightly improved year-on-year revenue.

The Crew’s take: These platforms share a common denominator. Users are increasing, yes. But revenue? Not so much.

Which makes us wonder… Are advertisers hitting the brakes on social media ads? Or is TikTok getting a bigger share but we can’t see it since they are not a public company?

As we learned from the search platforms reports we covered yesterday, search ad revenue keeps rising. So this is probably where part of that ad budget is going.

If this trend continues, it could reveal insights into what ads are working with customers—and where advertisers should budget their dollars.

New Merchant Center updates let you add more product data

Provide your customers with relevant details, and they’re more likely to buy.

Google knows this, which is why they update their Merchant Center product specifications every year.

What’s new: This year, they’ve announced some juicy additions which will help you to:

  • Pause and restart ads quickly.
  • Provide accurate shipping information depending on the country.
  • Better use unique product identifiers.
  • Include the availability date for backorder and preorder products.

Not everything’s live yet, though: Some features are rolling out immediately, while others will be available at the end of June.

Why we care: Additional product data will improve your customer’s search experience and should give you extra brownie points in ad quality score.

And in marketing, the first to implement new features is usually the first to reap the benefits.

Questions to ask potential employers during a job interview

Before going on a job interview, most marketers will spend their time preparing for questions they might get from the interviewers.

But if you want to land the right role, it’s essential that you ask good questions, too.

Because while the interview is evaluating you, you’re also evaluating the company!

After going through tons of job interviews, Amber Naslumad curated a list of great interview questions that will help you find that dream job.

Here are three of them:

“What’s one of the hardest decisions you had to make as a team this last year?”

This question will give you a sneak peek into the biggest changes the company went through lately—and whether those are changes are worth getting excited about.

Responses like “We had to fire 10 people” or “We expanded into a new market” can be very revealing.

“How (and how often) do you gather feedback from your teams and employees, and what’s an example of something you changed this year based on that feedback?”

This will tell you how receptive the leadership team is to ideas, suggestions, and your own expertise.

And whether they’re receptive enough to act on it.

“What’s the most fun experience you’ve had with your team or colleagues this year?”

Curious about the vibe or culture of the team? This question will help you find it out.

There are several others, so be sure to read Amber’s full thread.

You’ll be more than ready for that next interview.

How to grade content from agencies or freelancers

You need content, so you hire an agency. Or a freelancer.

They submit the work to you for review.

And sure, it looks okay. But how do you know whether or not the content they’ve submitted is good quality—and worth what they’re charging?

Let’s walk through a few simple guidelines for grading the content you pay for.

Try grading it using three simple ratings:

  • Clarity: Is the information presented in a clear, organized way? Is it enjoyable to read without losing substance or clarity?
  • Context: Does the piece fit the context it’s being used in? For example, if it’s intended for social media, is the content formatted accordingly—and does it stay within character limits?
  • Style: Is the tone of the piece appropriate for what you’re using it for? If you paid for blog posts, they should be informational and helpful, not promotional or “sales-y.” And if your brand’s overall style is more relaxed, they should read in a casual way, as opposed to sounding academic or formal.

Go through each piece of content you’ve received and grade it based on these guidelines.

That should give you a good idea of whether the content is quality or not.

And if you’re too busy to “grade” content… Outsource! Some of the smartest people we know outsource their content grading to professionals they trust.

So if you purchased videos for ads, but don’t know whether they’re up to par, have a Facebook Ads expert grade them. Paid for blog posts? Have the best writer you know look them over.

Regardless of the approach you take, we hope this helps you review content more easily—and quickly.

ADVERTISING

Vertical ads are all the rage. Buzzfeed agrees… And just announced Upshots, a vertical ad format compatible with TikTok, Reels, and YouTube Shorts. Another format to try out if you’ve got the budget. BuzzFeed arrives at the upfronts with a vertical ad format, a creator network, and plenty of new programming

Maybe the Federal Trade Commision (FTC) found your tax-related ads deceptive, but that doesn’t mean US judges will. That is, if we’re going by this recent TurboTax case. U.S. Judge Will Not Block Intuit TurboTax Ads That FTC Found Deceptive

Apple just fell behind Samsung in the smartphone market. Does this mean less tracking opt-outs? If the trend keeps up, maybe mobile ads will become slightly more effective… A long shot, we know. Apple slips to second in smartphone market share as industry shipments fall

Hooray for “clean rooms.” Roku introduced a retargeting feature that doesn’t expose user data. Good news for both advertisers and connected TV (CTV) watchers, who can get relevant ads without feeling like their devices are listening to conversations. Roku announces clean room for streaming campaigns

Placing ads for your brand on a pitchside board in Rocket League may sound far fetched… but it’s not. Microsoft is developing an ads program for their free-to-play Xbox games. Anyone else curious what the ROI on those would be? GSA looks into facial recognition bias and improving accessibility in federal web services

Out of home (OOH) advertising revenue jumped almost 17% last year, with Apple, Amazon, and Google among the top 10 OOH advertisers in the US. Who would have thought? Tech companies flock to out-of-home during comeback year

Your Reel ain’t a big deal… At least, that’s how the advertisers feel. Despite Meta’s best efforts to position Reels as a viable advertising competitor to TikTok, marketers aren’t biting. Yet. Meta Is Prioritizing Reels, but Advertisers Aren’t Biting

It’s all about who they know. Customers trust user generated content (UGC) more than regular ads when making buying decisions, as new data shows. User-generated content ads outperform conventional ads by up to 50%

In-game advertising is its own universe… or should we say, metaverse. The Interactive Advertising Bureau just released a report on the present and future of in-game ads. Our takeaway? Don’t rush into it if you don’t understand gaming beforehand. IAB PlayFronts takeaways: Game advertising has arrived — and brands are playing catch-up

Apple’s app opt-in rates increased 9% from last year, despite AppTrackingTransparency (ATT)’s regulation on data tracking. Maybe users want to see your ads after all! App opt-in rates climb despite Apple’s permission requirements

GOOGLE

Care for a glimpse at Google’s alleged cookieless solution? The Privacy Sandbox Developer Preview is now available for download so you can test it out and play with new features. Google launches Privacy Sandbox Developer Preview for Pixel, based on Android 13

After getting fined €150 million by the CNIL, France’s data protection agency, Google launched a new “reject all” cookie policy in the European Economic Area, plus Switzerland and the UK. Google gives Europe a ‘reject all’ button for tracking cookies after fines from watchdogs

The next experiment in pursuing a cookie-less future is almost ready. Google wants to test Topics on a limited scale… and it wants marketers to start perfecting their first-party data collection systems. Google is ready to test Topics, but advertisers remain skeptical

South Korean app developers have been linking to third-party payment processors to avoid Google’s high fees. Google has lashed back with threats and update freezes. We’re still waiting to see if the government will step in. Korean authorities tell Google it can’t remove apps that link to external payments

Mind your own business… hours. Google uses machine learning to determine if your hours are accurate, but it can make mistakes. So be sure to check it manually from time to time. Google may update business hours in local listings with AI

PPC

After switching off the AdWords API days ago, Google launched a new version of their Google Ads API, along with some significant updates. Announcing v10.1 of the Google Ads API

Be careful out there. Google added nine new policies to their repeated violators strike-based system, including clickbait and misleading ad design. And yes, some of these violations do seem murky. Updates to enforcement procedures for repeat violations (Apr 2022)

Head’s up. Google Ads are bugging… again. If you set up Automated Rules recently, there’s a chance Google didn’t save them. Bug With Google Ads Automated Rules Conditions Not Sticking

If your location prevented you from advertising in the past, check Google’s latest update. Their Advertiser verification program just added 37 new countries. Update to Advertiser verification program (April 2022)

The circle of… customer lifecycle? Turns out Google Audience Signals don’t only springboard your Performance Max campaigns. They also feed analytics with valuable insights throughout the campaign’s lifecycle. Google: Audience Signals Help Jumpstart Performance Max Campaigns But Continue To Inform

TIKTOK

Its recommendation algorithm was only the start. Better tracking and targeting is also coming to TikTok! The popular platform just grabbed a page out of Meta’s book by adding third-party cookies to their conversion pixel. TikTok Adds Third-Party Cookies To Its Pixel – And Tries To Eat Facebook’s Lunch

Guess which one is the most downloaded app of 2022? Yep, once again it’s TikTok, with a staggering 175 million downloads. TikTok was the top app by worldwide downloads in Q1 2022

Want to go viral on TikTok? Try going deep. Turns out in-depth analysis and solving mysteries work just as well as skits videos. The hottest trend on TikTok? In-depth analysis.

It seems Gen Z users have a simple buyer’s journey. They see something on TikTok, and they buy it. In fact, more than 50% of buyers see a brand on the platform first. 50% of Gen Z shoppers make purchases from TikTok posts

It’s addictive. It’s growing. And TikTok’s advertising keeps skyrocketing, matching Twitter and Snapchat’s combined global ad revenue this year. Should Meta worry? Let’s just say TikTok has already equaled Facebook’s average monthly app usage. The rise of TikTok: why Facebook is worried about the booming social app

ECOMMERCE

Are online sales slowing down? Maybe… Home delivery companies in the US reported the first drop in revenue in two years. Keep an eye on this road if you’re in US e-commerce. UPS encounters unexpected drop in parcel volumes as e-commerce growth slows

Did one-click checkout companies over-promise and under-deliver? Fast shut down a few weeks ago, and now Bolt is getting sued by their most well-known customer. Payment Startup Bolt Sued by Its Most Prominent Customer

Shopping isn’t what it used to be in the UK. Online sales have been trending downward since their peak in February 2021. It might be too early to bite your nails, though… Sales are still 20.3% above pre-pandemic levels. Retail sales, Great Britain: March 2022

Now trending… Buy now, pay later (BNPL). According to this Experian survey, 18% have shopped with the BNPL option in the past 16 months, with 57% claiming it could replace their traditional payment method. Consumers Now Spend as Much Time With Digital Payment As Email, Experian Study Says

Having trouble with your ecommerce website? Google released a video series that can help you troubleshoot technical issues and improve the effectiveness of your site on Google search.

Maybe brick and mortar got hurt, but it never died. Retail shopping is making a comeback in the post-pandemic world. Why? Customers still prefer discovering new products in person. And online returns can be such a pain, anyway. The Pandemic Was Supposed to Push All Shopping Online. It Didn’t.

Shopify busts a move in the creator economy by acquiring Dovetail, an influencer platform for store owners. As if we needed any more proof that influencer marketing is taking over. Shopify’s latest acquisition dovetails into its ambitions in the creator economy

This spring, it’s all about nostalgia and flowers, according to Google’s fashion trends report. Last month, buyers were mostly searching for 70s and 80s fashion and floral-themed accessories. Sounds “springy,” alright. The fashion trends that are warming up for spring

Live shopping is surging in users under 27 years old, and TikTok is unsurprisingly leading the trend. The platform has already started testing additional features for live shopping experience. Now might be a good time to jump on the bandwagon. Live-Stream Commerce Offers Big Potential for TikTok’s Growth Prospects

It’s up and down. Retail sales went up 0.5% across the US while online shopping sales went down 6.4%. If your brand has brick and mortar stores, you might consider optimizing customer experiences. Retail sales rose 0.5% in March amid inflation jump; import prices hit 11-year high

SNAPCHAT

Is there any doubt that augmented reality (AR) is Snap’s biggest value proposition? The company is investing in technology that will make virtual try-ons available on retailer’s own product pages. Their first global partner? Puma. Snap further invests in AR Shopping with dedicated in-app feature, new tools for retailers

PLATFORMS

Elon Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of Twitter hasn’t even closed and he’s already attacking company employees publicly.

Bullying and harassment is not a good look for the leader he needs to be to turn Twitter around. Musk jumped into a conversation on Twitter which called out the company’s legal head Vijaya Gadde for her role in content moderation. Musk declared that her decisions to remove content were “incredibly inappropriate” and triggered a flurry of racial abuse and death threats against her.

Jessica Lessin at The Information has an interesting take on Musk’s purchase of Twitter.

Musk represents a shift from the traditional role of a typical CEO of merely running the company to being a CEO-Creator. “Look at the behavior of other CEOs on Twitter and you realize they see the roles very differently than previous generations of corporate executives. They see their companies as platforms to push political and social agendas, not as purely capitalistic enterprises.” And what do CEO creators crave? Owning their own platforms, which will “[distract] leaders from running their businesses and further strain their relationship with the Fourth Estate.”

TikTok is playing a big part in the upcoming presidential election in the Philippines.

This is, in fact, the main political battleground for digital-native voters. The Inquirer has a look at how mis-info is spreading on the platform. “It can be so compelling that it has the chance of making other disinformation more believable.”

YouTube is starting to run ads on Shorts, its TikTok and IG competitor.

“We are experiencing a slight headwind to revenue growth as Shorts viewership grows as a percentage of total YouTube time.” According to Google, Shorts is now generating 30 billion daily views — quadruple of where it was last year.

Twitch is reportedly changing the way it pays its top creators.

Streamers will be allowed to run more ads, and Twitch will take a smaller revenue share of 50% (down from 70%).

Google launched Media CDN.

It does what it says on the tin — distributing content across multiple servers to speed up the delivery of content. This pits the company against rivals like Akamai.

Meta has resorted to evil PR tactics in the U.S. to smear TikTok, its number one competitor.

It engaged a Republican consultancy to place op-eds and letters to the editor in major publishers, while promoting dubious stories about TikTok’s threats to kids. It’s also trying to get political reporters to go after its rival. “Dream would be to get stories with headlines like ‘From dances to danger: how TikTok has become the most harmful social media space for kids.’”

YouTube and Facebook curbed the social media profile of Hong Kong’s John Lee, the city’s only candidate for chief executive.

Lee has been sanctioned by the U.S. for his involvement in quashing the protests against China’s national security law. YouTube took down his campaign channel, while Facebook blocked him from using its payment services.

Spotify is finally owning up to its responsibility as a podcast publisher (welcome to modern media!).

It’s beginning to clarify its options: removing content, restricting content distribution, curbing monetisation, or applying advisory labels.

Some people are getting worried about Spotify’s enlarged role in the podcast space.

Through its recent acquisition of Podsights and Chartable, you now have ad campaigns on a streaming platform that 1) runs its own podcasts, 2) sells ads on them, and 3) owns the reporting metrics. “Publishers shouldn’t be grading their own homework.”

WhatsApp is rolling out Communities, which allows people to host multiple sub-group chats.

It’s similar to what Telegram already does with channels.

Here’s another nail in the coffin of Google’s AMP.

The Brave browser will start skipping AMP pages and will take you directly to the main article. Brave says AMP is bad for privacy and security, and sometimes loads even slower than the main website.

Spotify is testing a feature to make it easier for you to discover new podcasts by quickly scrolling through them.

Think TikTok’s video feed, but audio. There’s a bit of machine learning magic behind this — instead of having podcasters create 60-second clips, Spotify will do this automatically.

OnlyFans is reportedly looking to go public through a SPAC.

Unfortunately, investors don’t want porn.

WhatsApp is getting some big improvements to its voice messaging.

Among other updates, it’s now letting you play back voices at 1.5 or 2x speed so that people who already annoy you can now do it even faster.

TRANSFORMATIONS

The Australian launched a new service targeting youth.

The Oz is on IG, TikTok, and even LinkedIn. The language is particularly trite. “What’s crackalackin? Do you think department stores should do more to make Christian customers feel welcome? Drop some “fire” in the comments box if you agree.” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

What do NYT subscribers really want?

More opinions, it seems. The NYT has doubled its Opinion staff to over 150 people in the past five years. “It’s undeniable that our columnists create loyalty with our readers. That is a tool for us to create retention.” Lesson: People will pay for a compelling point of view.

How would you force the issue of diversity in a newsroom?

Withhold their eligibility for Pulitzer Prizes. A group of journalism organisations is telling organisers to first require participating newsrooms to fill in an annual diversity survey.

Harvard Business Review is sometimes described as a “surreptitious media company.”

It’s hard to imagine how HBR has 320,000 paid subscribers who each pay around $10-15 a month. Nini Diane, the director of consumer revenue at HBR, was on The Rebooting Show podcast. Check out her views on managing churn and adjusting for different groups of customers.

Despite multiple efforts to disrupt Bloomberg News, no one seems to have made much headway in pulling people away from the crack cocaine of the financial data world.

“Although sales of its idiosyncratic, expensive terminals have stagnated — large parts of the financial world are under pressure to cut costs — Bloomberg was still able to increase revenues by 5.2 per cent to $11.6bn last year.”

STREAMING

Thanks to CNN+, streaming is now a dirty word in the industry.

The service was formally discontinued yesterday — two days earlier than initially announced last week. Active subscribers got their money back, and all subs were canceled. It was a hot potato that everyone wanted to get miles away from.

CNN is writing off about $300 million that it poured into development, marketing, and talent costs. CNN+ employed 300 while planning for a staff size of 500. — all gone in less than a month of operations. But what we have here is a media case study that business schools will be teaching for years to come. Here are the lessons from its demise.

  • The format was wrong. Cable news is meant to be ambient — it’s something you consume passively in the background. Streaming is on the opposite end — highly intentional, highly focused, and led by the user. Think of radio vs podcasts. CNN’s DNA is in rolling news coverage, not on-demand programming.
  • Like many media companies, CNN’s execs were captivated by their own hubris over the brand and conflated reach with utility. Just because you’re well distributed on cable and are recognisable doesn’t mean you’re useful. Media is a harsh teacher.
  • Direct-to-consumer media is hard AF. It only works if it’s something people want. Relevance ➡ utility ➡ value. This is the combination for viability in modern media.
  • The execs wanted to address the problem of cord-cutting. But people ditched cable because they didn’t want cable-style programming or cable bundles. CNN+ is cable on an app.
  • If CNN+ were a media startup, they would have launched in smaller steps, with a prototype or a minimum viable product instead of building an expensive white elephant that no one wanted. Failing fast is failing cheap.
  • CNN+ entered a very crowded space where it inevitably had to compete with Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, Peacock, and others. Red ocean thinking.
  • News, as it’s currently produced, is an appetizer and not the main course — like cable bundles. You’re happy to sign up for HBO if that means you’re getting CNN on the side.
  • The service also launched midway through the merger between AT&T Inc’s WarnerMedia unit and Discovery Inc. The Discovery executives were skeptical of CNN+ and were happy to kill it the moment they could. CNN should have waited for the Discovery deal to close to get the buy-in of the new bosses as CNN’s content would have been better in a big bundle than as a standalone.

Here are the financial projections that were probably cooked up by McKinsey consultants. It assumed that CNN+ could one day attract nearly 30 million global subscriptions. The personas:

  • 29 million “CNN super fans”
  • 24 million “news and non-fiction subscription video on demand fans”
  • 36 million “global news consumers” (people who already paid for a news subscription)

TOOLS

Recently discovered a better way to keep notes on my devices.

Try Hints. It integrates well with WhatsApp and Telegram — you just message the bot and it saves it as a note.

Browser-based video editing.

This blew my mind.

How much time do you spend trying to schedule appointments in your calendar?

Google Calendar now has a better way to schedule appointments — and it’s taking on Calendly.

New revenue reports prove which ad channels are working

Growth, growth everywhere.

A number of tech companies released their quarterly earnings, and they all share one thing in common…

Online advertising is soaring:

Why we care: Follow the money and you can see what’s working. Marketers are spending more than ever on Google Ads and Microsoft Ads, which means search ads are getting results despite privacy regulations.

Keep in mind, however, these platforms are also getting more competitive—and expensive.

Where there are winners, there are losers… The loser being YouTube, which failed to match growth estimations, and came in short at 14% versus the 25% projection. The popular video platform will have to find new ways to grow.

If your YouTube Ads aren’t working as well as you’d like, the solution might be closer than you think…

Are we getting YouTube Shorts ads?

TikTok’s not the only one crushing goals and smashing records…

YouTube announced that Shorts—which is basically their version of TikTok—is hitting 30 billion views per day.

To put that into perspective: That’s the equivalent of every person on the planet watching ~4 YouTube Shorts per day.

Why we care: With YouTube Ads revenue tanking, guess which format has yet to introduce ads? With these numbers, it’s only a matter of time before you start seeing Shorts ads.

Rumors are that Google is already testing the waters.

Let’s just hope they won’t interrupt 20-second videos too often.

14 ideas to help you plan those Mother’s Day campaigns

Still trying to figure out what to do for Mother’s Day?

No, not for your mom… We mean for your brand.

Don’t stress. Lauren Hall at Privy pulled together an inspiring list of campaign ideas, examples, and templates you can draw inspiration from.

Here are our favorites:

Give customers the option to opt-out. Mother’s Day can be hard for some people, and not everybody relates to the holiday.

Letting customers opt out of your holiday messaging is a thoughtful touch that can build great brand rapport—and pay dividends later.

Start building hype with gentle reminders. EF Collection sent an email campaign with the subject line, “Mother’s Day is 1 Month Away.”

While Mother’s Day is obviously closer than that, you still have time to warm your audience to the holiday and get them excited about your offers.

Boost your average order value (AOV) with product bundles. Alepel put together five Mother’s Day bundles and created a specific page on their website dedicated to Mother’s Day gifts ideas.

Use buy-one-get-one (BOGO) offers to create strong purchase incentives. DONNI, a clothing brand, created a “buy a set for mom & get one on us” campaign.

Everybody loves doing something thoughtful for mom… And it’s always nice to get something for yourself, too.

Partner with like minded-brands. Save this tip for the next holiday. Partnering with relevant brands is a great way to get in front of new audiences and grow your list.

Hey, Mother’s Day is close. So read the whole post for more ideas you can try while there’s still time!

The future of social media looks like TikTok

We recently spent a few months putting together on TikTok: How it works and how you can take advantage of the platform for your marketing.

One key insight we found?

Big tech CEOs agree: The future of social media looks like TikTok.

In a recent call with investors, Snapchat’s CEO, Evan Spiegel, said that people are flocking to Spotlight, Snapchat’s TikTok rival, to get their content.

During Meta’s Q4 earnings call, Zuckerberg also acknowledged the trend, saying that “people have a lot of choices for how they want to spend their time, and apps like TikTok are growing very quickly.”

In other words, TikTok isn’t a standalone phenomenon.

Other big tech CEOs are taking notice, and the TikTok-style format will continue growing in popularity on all the platforms you market on.

What this means: People don’t simply have a craving for TikTok—they’ve acquired a taste for short-form, randomized, bite-sized content.

Which means that the type of marketing that works on TikTok will, increasingly, be the type of marketing that works everywhere.

These new Performance Max features could help you get more customers

… And who doesn’t want that?

What’s going on: Google added new features to their automated Performance Max campaigns.

The most notable mention? The new customer acquisition goal.

What it does: This goal lets you bid more for new customers or focus optimizations on new customers only. It also enables you to:

  • Upload first-party data.
  • Set up conversion tags.
  • Use Google’s autodetection method.

Out with the old, in with the new: It’s worth noting, too, that while Google’s busy improving New Performance Max, it’s also phasing out Google Adwords.

They just shut down the Adwords API.

Why we care: All signs point to machine learning being the future of Google advertising. The sooner you start automating your campaigns and adapting to the new Performance Max goals, the sooner you’ll reap the benefits.

Still trying to boost revenue after iOS 14? This report may help

For most people, long reports are like melatonin gummies:

They’re great for helping you fall asleep…

But if you’re one of those marketers who’s trying to navigate Apple’s App Tracking & Transparency (AT&T) update, their latest report may have you alert and sitting up.

What it covers: How Apple’s ad business works, and what the effects of their AT&T policy are.

Why we care: While the report comes across a long-winded justification of Apple’s policies, it’s still useful for understanding how they impact your ads.

Apple’s report also walks you through their permissionless tracking tool called SKAN (StoreKit AdNetworK), which may provide a solution to improving your ad results.

Which video sales letters convert better: The ones with speakers on camera, or text-on-screen?

Russel Ruffino recently asked this question in the Nothing Held Back group, and the responses were both fascinating and useful.

Here are our favorites:

Mike Pavlish pointed out that text slides and one-person camera setups can quickly bore the viewer.

In his experience writing 200+ video sales letters (VSLs) for health supplement offers, he found that what converts best is a professional narrator speaking alongside rapidly changing footage (known as B-roll).

This creates a more engaging, movie-like experience, which hooks the viewer.

Russell Brunson said it depends on who’s on camera. Scott Phillips confirmed his opinion, saying that after he took acting lessons, the conversion rate of his video sales letters jumped by 30%.

And Alen Sultanic pointed out, too, that how viewers prejudge the person on camera also affects viewership and conversion rates.

Sultanic went on to say that copy only accounts for 20% of the results. The scene, the background, the tonality, outfit, look, and charm of the speaker all play a big role in the conversion rate.

On the other hand… Russ Reynolds said scripted Zoom meetings worked well in the financial space.

Reynolds’s tip fits a type of video sales letter we’ve seen a lot lately: Podcast VSLs.

This type of VSL works because it looks and sounds like content, which can also keep users engaged.

Our takeaway? As with every marketing question… It depends!

If your business has a charismatic frontman, then you’ll have more success putting them on camera.

If not, you might have to hire a professional speaker and pair their voice with a b-roll sequence.

How to spy on the best ads on TikTok and get inspiration for your own

A great ad on TikTok can make you a lot of money.

But figuring out how to create great ads takes time—and money, too.

So instead of iterating for months trying to find good creative…

Here are three reliable sources for finding the kinds of TikTok ads you can get ideas from:

  • TikTok’s native tools.
  • Third-party spy tools.
  • Curated collections, like Twitter threads.

TikTok’s native tools: If you go to the TikTok Creative Center, you’ll find curated collections of top-performing ads you can take inspiration from.

TikTok will show you stats about the ads, too, like campaign objectives, formats, duration, and more.

Third-party spy tools: Spy tools for TikTok are not as popular as Facebook Ads ones. But with some digging you’ll find some.

We haven’t used any, but they may be worth a shot if you want to go deeper than TikTok’s own tools, which aren’t as complex as you’d like.

Curated collections: TikTok often creates blog posts—like this one—where they include examples of successful TikTok ads.

There are also some interesting threads on Twitter, like this one and this one, where people manually curate ads they find interesting.

The Crew’s insight: There’s no Facebook Ads Library caliber tool for TikTok, but the methods above should help you find top-notch ads to get ideas from.

Live-action vs animation

You’ve decided to create a video to show off your business, product, service or story. The next decision you need to make is, which will be the most effective for your message: live action or animation? If price is your main concern, you’ll probably opt for animation, but if you really want to get across personality and demonstrate your product live-action could be your answer. We break down the pros and cons of each.

Streaming on YouTube’s network

Google has just announced the launch of Media CDN, a platform that will enable anyone to deliver streaming services using the same infrastructure as YouTube. Google Cloud customers will be able to access the platform to stream their own content — creating unique experiences for customers. They can even monetise it by adding advertisements.

Gen Z in the metaverse

New research has revealed that Gen Z consumers spend twice as much time socially interacting in the metaverse than in real life. Whatever meta space Gen Z are in, including gaming worlds like Fortnite, they’re developing more meaningful connections to their digital identities. These connections mean they are also spending money in the metaverse. We’re not really sure what this means for society as a whole but it does mean there’s a market for virtual stores when it comes to branding avatars.

Singaporeans in the metaverse

When it comes to Singaporean’s activity interest in the metaverse a recent survey found the focus is shopping. 54% of respondents said they’d prefer to shop virtually with other people than in the real world. Worryingly, 48% said they’d prefer to socialise virtually.

Interest in meeting in the metaverse in Singapore in 2022, by activity.

Will Elon Musk do away with Twitter Ads?

It’s official.

The Technoking of Tesla is taking the Twitter throne for $44B cash.

And based on users’ reactions, it could be a watershed moment for the platform.

What’s in store for Twitter: If you follow Musk, you’re familiar with all the changes he’s entertained in his tweets.

Open-sourced algorithms, free speech improvements, changes to its advertising model… Twitter could look different very soon.

Why we care: Elon is openly against Twitter Ads, even saying that the platform’s dependency on ads “enhances the power of corporations to dictate its policy.”

On the other hand, he has also suggested implementing a monthly subscription service that would have an ad-free feed.

So…

Don’t make sweeping changes to your Twitter strategy just yet. It looks like Musk will need the steady cash flow from ads to pay off the debt he incurred for the deal, anyway.

Watch out for fake copyright infringement notices

Turns out link-building has its own version of those “extended warranty” spam calls.

What’s going on: A fake law firm has been sending DMCA notices, demanding links to a particular website in exchange for the use of alleged copyrighted content.

It’s a brilliant tactic… One many users could easily fall for.

Not pictured: Living, breathing attorneys. All the attorneys pictured on the firm’s website are actually AI-generated images—one of the indicators that gave the scam away.

The Crew’s take: Put on your white hat. Cases like these further prove that expert, authoritative, and trustworthy (E-A-T) content, combined with a natural link building network, are what make a healthy SEO strategy.

Oh, and watch out for any suspicious DMCA notices.

Why privacy guarantees can backfire—and even hurt your sales

On the surface, privacy notices on your app or website seem like a good thing.

They assure users you won’t sell or share their info.

And they keep the legal team happy.

But did you know legal language can actually hurt your bottom line?

According to the Ariyh newsletter, when you show prominent formal notices and legalese language right as users are about to submit personal info, you can actually make people feel anxious.

And that anxiety hurts conversions.

According to a series of six experiments,

  • People were 12.4% more likely to say they would buy from a retailer when it had no privacy policy mentioned at checkout vs. having a strict-sounding legal sentence explaining how they protect data.
  • On the other hand, people were 27.6% more likely to buy when the website had a simple “We care about protecting your privacy!” vs. not mentioning a privacy policy at all.

The takeaway? Yes, users expect you to protect their personal information.

But that doesn’t mean they want to have to think about it.

So ditch the legalese. Use discrete data protection notices instead. And be informal—even casual!

The experience will feel more personable and more trustworthy for your users, while keeping the legal team happy.

The ultimate social proof for Twitter Ads

Last week, we were scrolling through Twitter and came across this ad from Ramp.

The ultimate social proof for Twitter Ads

It’s so good that we stopped and marveled for a sec before screenshotting it for this section of the newsletter.

Why is Ramp’s Twitter ad so good? Because it uses the ultimate form of social proof: A testimonial by a well-known user praising their product—and originally posted on the very social media platform the ad’s running on.

This single, well-placed, user-generated tweet does all the advertising.

All Ramp has to do is close with a short caption and call-to-action (CTA).

While most social proof comes in the form of quotes with names and pictures attached, this works better because it leverages on-platform authenticity.

If you see a Twitter ad using a real tweet from an account you can easily verify… you’re more likely to believe whatever claim the ad is making.

Here’s how you can replicate this for your own brand:

  • If you’re relatively well-known, search Twitter for positive tweets about your brand using the search feature and your brand’s name.
  • If there aren’t already positive tweets about you, ask someone you know to post something. It could be a friend, or it could be a prompt you send existing customers via email. Just get something out there. Bonus points if your customers are well-known.
  • Once you’ve got the tweet, screenshot it and use it as the creative for your ads. Give context in your caption, drop in a simple CTA, and you’re done.

It’s simple, but it works.

And best of all? You do this on other platforms, too.

It’s perfectly OK to build a newsletter audience using paid ads

There are plenty of hot takes about how to build newsletters.

But there’s one idea in particular that we think is complete nonsense: “Your first newsletter subscribers need to be organic.”

It’s okay: You can dismiss this advice.

Here’s why: Organic, paid… It doesn’t matter how you get newsletter subscribers. Great newsletter audiences have been built from many sources.

For instance, we generated 3639 subscribers from TikTok Ads, at a very low CPA – €1.68. Would you guess that a marketing newsletter would work well on TikTok Ads?

The idea that organic subscribers are better than paid is a contrarian take that isn’t actually good advice.

And we don’t think you should feel discouraged by it if you encounter it online.

What really matters is that your subscribers care about your newsletter.

Are they opening it? Are they clicking on links? Do they share your newsletter with others?

So instead, focus on getting readers. It’s easy to get subscribers. It’s hard to get devoted readers.

Don’t worry about where your audience comes from. Focus on retaining the people who choose to subscribe.

Best of luck!

5 things to know before you try TikTok Spark Ads

TikTok recently released Spark Ads, and they’re exactly the kind of ads that make users click.

Why? They leverage user generated content (UGC).

Spark Ads help brands amplify existing organic videos published by creators—and they tend to outperform traditional ads.

If you haven’t run Spark Ads yet and are interested in trying, Tara Johnson recommends you keep these 5 points in mind:

  • Use royalty-free audio, or any audio you already own the rights to.
  • Cover your bases before boosting a duet or stitched video. You need permission from both creators. Many duets feature a celebrity, which can make it difficult—or expensive—to get permission.
  • Branded hashtags may cause copyright issues. If a creator adds copyright protected hashtags to their post, TikTok won’t run your Spark Ads campaign.
  • Pay attention to the time frame. Usually creators authorize use of their post for a specific amount of time. If you need more time, request an authorization renewal.
  • No threshold on followers. You can turn the post of any creator into a Spark Ad, regardless of their follower count.

TikTok Ads are a huge revenue opportunity for brands right now…

Snapchat Ads could be your new acquisition channel

Hear that?

That’s the sound of advertisers snapping.

What’s going on: Snapchat’s Q1 financial report reveals that their daily active users increased to 332 million—an 18% year-over-year (YoY) increase.

They also grew YoY revenue by 38%, even though advertisers paused ads for a few weeks because of the war in Ukraine.

Not only that, Snapchat is beating Facebook and Twitter when it comes to growth.

Plug it in: Advertisers are getting a lot of revenue from Snapchat Ads, especially Dynamic Ads. And the platform’s user base continues to grow.

That’s good news for you if you’re looking for another acquisition channel to plug into your stack.

This new EU law will limit your targeting options

Get ready to update those marketing personas…

What’s going on: The new Digital Markets Act will become law in 2024, and will limit a number of targeting criteria, including:

  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation
  • Ethnicity
  • Political affiliation
  • Ads targeted to minors

The Act will also require platforms to be transparent about how they display content to users, and will force them to build alternatives to “systems based on profiling.”

In other words, chronological feeds will have to replace algorithms.

How will this impact you? It depends. If you’ve been running Facebook Ads, you know Meta banned similar targeting options last year, so it’s probably no biggie.

On the other hand, the return of chronological feeds could provide a huge boost to organic content.

Act accordingly: If you run ads or publish content in the EU, now’s a good time to develop and implement new strategies. Two years go by fast…

Instagram Hashtags Don’t Really Impact Engagement All That Much

According to Socialinsider’s report released last week, hashtags don’t really have much impact. In fact, they found that the greater number of hashtags you use in a post can actually reduce the number of impressions they get. Double ouch. So, if you’re in social media marketing, quit spending your time looking at hashtags and start looking at other ways to boost engagement like creating better content and engaging more with the community.

Google Introduces Local SEO Companies

According to Kevin Indig who heads the SEO for Shopify, people search for products on Amazon twice as much as they do on Google. So, last week, Google decided to do something about it. The mega-giant is starting to put a whoooole lot of effort into improving local SEO in order to have a competitive edge against Amazon. This is good news for both businesses and agencies that have local customers. If you weren’t honing in on your local SEO skills, now’s the time to do it.

Instagram Announced Everyone in the US Can Now Tag Products on Their Posts

This is great news for brands who have an Instagram (AKA everyone). Basically, users can now tag products the same way they’d tag other people. This new update makes it even easier for IG users to find and purchase products they see other people posting about. And the thing is, user-generated content and influencer marketing were already exploding! What do you need to do? Well, not much. Just let your influencers and users know that anyone can post about your product on their Instagram profile. That can help your brand get discovered way more easily.

Your ads are about to get a lot more engaging

… and probably more lucrative.

TikTok just announced they’re launching a number of interactive add-ons, like popups and stickers, for in-feed ads.

Options include things like:

  • Countdown stickers.
  • Voting stickers.
  • Gestures.

… to name a few.

Why we care: TikTok found that users who like, share, or comment on videos are 150% more likely to buy your product or service.

These add-ons could help you turn those comments into cash.

Take advantage: The platform’s cheap, endless content is already killing other social networks when it comes to time spent on the app. In fact, Instagram is openly threatening to penalize users for reposting TikToks to Reels.

Raise your prices, but go slow

Wondering how to adjust to Amazon’s new 5% surcharge?

Most merchants are, too. And it’s natural to want to cover costs by passing the fee to buyers.

But if you raise prices too quickly, you repel customers.

So what’s the solution? According to some Amazon sellers, it’s best to increase your prices slowly so customers don’t feel an immediate impact on their wallet.

You may also want to wait until low-price merchants sell out, then raise your prices.

The strategy seems to be working for big businesses: Companies like Nestlé and Tesla had to inch up their prices due to rising costs, but reported increases in organic sales during Q1.

Here’s hoping that smaller brands can do the same.

How to detect and block spam traffic from your website in 10 minutes

How do you know if that bump in traffic is from real visitors and not spam?

Believe it or not, spam traffic is more common than you might realize.

Thankfully, as Zoe Ashbridge demonstrates, it only takes about 10 minutes to identify and block this type of noise.

So let’s go:

One way to identify fake clicks is by controlling suspiciously high or low metrics in Google Analytics, like:

  • Average session duration. Generally, spam traffic won’t browse or click through the site. Instead, it lands on pages and bounces instantly.
  • Bounce rate (or Engagement Rate if you’re using Google Analytics 4). Similar to the previous bullet, an extremely high bounce rate can be a sign of spam traffic.
  • Pages per session. If the number of pages per session sinks while traffic increases, then you have a spam problem.
  • New users. A significant increase in new users can also indicate spam traffic.

Another way is to identify spam traffic is to check your traffic sources, such as:

  • Referral traffic. Fake visits usually come from referral traffic, so look for suspicious links.
  • Check your traffic geographics. Look for large shares of traffic coming from countries you do not target.

Once you’ve verified that you have a spam issue, the final step is to block that traffic. Here’s how to do it:

  • Disavow spam backlinks. This is a nuclear option, so make sure the links you’re disavowing are really sending trashy clicks.
  • Filter spam traffic in Google Analytics. Use the “Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders” feature to block the traffic coming from known flagged websites. The article shows how to do it.

And there you go. Problem solved!

One final note: When you check your metrics for spam traffic, always, always contextualize the values.

For example, you might have a low-pages-per-session rate simply because you’re driving traffic to a landing page.

So double check to make sure you have an actual problem before taking action.

The easiest way to write better content

Every day, our team sits down in offices and rooms throughout the world to write this newsletter.

It goes through dozens of iterations and edits before it hits your inbox.

Today, we want to share a simple tip that’ll make your writing much better. And it’s something that most people don’t do: Write more drafts.

Here’s what we mean:

  • Writing the intro for a blog post? Don’t settle on the first idea you find. Write 10, 15, 20 different introductions. Don’t be afraid to write something bad, because you will, and that’s okay. Afterwards, iterate on the best things you wrote.
  • Writing a landing page header? Fill a page with 20, 30, even 40 different header ideas. Zero in on what’s working. Repeat until you have the best header you can possibly think of.
  • Writing a newsletter? Rewrite the tricky parts, again and again, until you find something that works. Take this section of the newsletter for example: The Crew’s Insights. Often, the final drafts of our best insights look very different than the first drafts. Sometimes that includes partial or complete rewrites.

Why this works: The best creatives follow this process. For every song your favorite singer publishes, there are a dozen more that were left on the cutting-room floor.

For every book your favorite writer publishes, there are hundreds of ideas and stories that will never see the light of day.

So, take it from us: Don’t settle on the first few ideas you come up with. Write until you’re completely exhausted, and don’t be afraid to let the bad ideas flow.

You’ll end up with a much better product this way.

Finding the right infographic

Annoying as it might be for many copywriters, the truth is your audience is more likely to respond to visuals than anything resembling reading. Attention spans aren’t what they used to be, so if a well-designed image can get your message across more effectively than 500 words, what medium are you going to choose? Infographics come in all shapes and sizes — and require skilled design and layout to ensure they make sense.

TikTok’s massive ad revenue

TikTok has well and truly figured out how to monetise the app. Its ad revenue is expected to triple this year, jumping from USD3.88 billion last year to a whopping USD11.64 billion. For perspective, that’s more than the revenue of Twitter and Snapchat combined. Projections put the 2024 figures at USD23.58 billion, just behind YouTube at USD23.65 billion. TikTok has moved well beyond fad status and now boasts a dedicated and engaged audience — which explains why brands are willing to spend big with the app.

TikTok creator revenues

TikTok can be pretty lucrative for content creators too. Last year the top earner — dancer Charlie D’Amelio — made USD17.5 million on the platform. Looking further down the list, Avani Gregg made USD4.75 million for her beauty and makeup videos. If you can find your niche on TikTok, there’s plenty of opportunities to monetise your content.

Estimated annual earnings of selected TikTok channel creators in 2021 (in million U.S. dollars)

Content marketing, Google, and Reddit

Does the average customer recognise content marketing when it appears in their search results? For some, Google results are becoming inauthentic and untrustworthy — content marketing is replacing results from neutral websites. This feeling has given rise to the Reddit workaround. By adding Reddit to your query, you’re supposedly taken to product conversations that are more useful and reliable. How do you market to an audience that is increasingly feeling overwhelmed by marketing?

Your next ad might be on Netflix

It looks like an ad-supported format is coming to Netflix after all these years.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings confirmed that the streaming service is finally open to adding a low-priced tier that would include targeted advertising.

What changed? Netflix is hurting for cash. They lost 200,000 subscribers in Q1 alone, and dropping services in Russia hasn’t helped.

A low-priced subscription could keep the “occasional viewers” happy while pulling in advertising revenue.

Why we care: If Netflix opts for an ad-supported tier, you’d be able to place your ads in front of a captive audience.

And between Netflix’s first party data, and the opportunity to run contextual campaigns, the opportunity would be anything but chill.

Your Facebook Ads might be improving on their own

About a month ago, we came across anecdotal evidence that Facebook Ads were performing better, despite Apple’s privacy changes.

It’s not all “he-said-she-said,” either: Days after the anecdotal reports came out, we learned that Meta was driving better results for advertisers, thanks to its improved internal SKAN modeling.

Plus, Apple might be feeling the bite: Another reason why your Meta Ads may be improving is because people are buying fewer Apple devices.

Apple recently fell to second place in smartphone market share, just behind Samsung.

And we know that Samsung runs mostly on Android, which doesn’t yet have its own version of app tracking transparency (ATT).

The Crew’s takeaway? Don’t give up on Facebook Ads. If trends like these continue, they could still be a good revenue source, even if Meta isn’t booming like… well, TikTok.

6 lessons from 300 LinkedIn posts for growing followers and attracting clients and partnerships

After years of testing content on LinkedIn, Casey Hill succeeded in getting millions of views with his posts and winning nearly a hundred clients for his business in 2021.

Not only that… LinkedIn helped him seal partnerships, hire talent, and get invitations to podcasts and webinars.

Casey recently shared what he learned in the Nothing Held Back Facebook group.

Here are his six lessons:

  • Write from experience. Don’t parrot general advice from other content. Instead, share what you experience first-hand. If you run a test, share it and ask for the opinions of your followers. When you engage with someone else’s content, do it by sharing your experience.
  • Write in storytelling format. A character, a call to adventure, adversity. These are all elements used in compelling stories. Add them to your LinkedIn posts. And for better engagement, start your post with the tension point or conflict and work towards the resolution.
  • Your overall engagement is crucial. Follow and connect with as many as target customers and potential partners. Then leave at least 15–20 comments a week on other people’s posts.
  • Write a compelling hook in the first 2–3 sentences of your post.
  • If the engagement to your post is growing by 20% or more per hour, don’t share another post. Viral or fast-growing posts usually double in engagement in the first two hours. So, wait before sharing. As a rule of thumb, wait four hours before posting again.
  • Shoot for an average of 4–5 posts a week. As Casey Hill says, frequency is often debated. But according to his experience, a compelling post daily, or every other day is ideal.
  • Sharing links can cut your reach by 70-80%, so focus on crafting original content instead.

LinkedIn, when used right, can be an incredible platform for growing businesses.

Casey Hill’s lessons will help you leverage its B2B power.

TikTok is way bigger than you think

In today’s edition of why you should be advertising on TikTok…

TikTok is a lot bigger than you might think. Back in September last year, TikTok announced that it had 1B monthly active users.

And according to an even more recent CloudFlare report, TikTok was the most popular domain in the world during late 2021.

To put a bow on this thing, here’s how TikTok ranked in the world’s top app stores in May of last year:

  • Overall app stores (all combined): #1
  • Apple App Store: #1
  • Google Play Store: #1

TikTok remained one of the top-downloaded apps in the world throughout the year.

So, yes, TikTok is massive… But there’s still room to grow.

App Annie has forecasted that TikTok could reach 1.5B users in 2022.

And, Google confirmed that they’re looking for ways to include short-form content in organic search results––which means, of course, even more people downloading TikTok.

What this all means: TikTok isn’t a cute platform where kids dance and lipsync and get into drama.

Well, it is that, but it’s also much more. More than a billion people use this platform every month, and every smart marketer we know is taking advantage.

SUBSCRIPTIONS

Netflix lost subscribers in the last quarter — the first time in almost a decade. 200,000 subs quit the service and the company is forecasting a staggering loss of 2 million subscribers in this current quarter. The stock plunged 35% on the news (over $50 billion in market cap lost!). The company made a big mistake in jacking up its price in January — at a time of rising inflation — and that made Netflix the most expensive streaming service in the market. The outlook is so bad that the company says it will now consider a lower-priced tier supported by ads. The arms race for video streaming is over.

CNN+, the streaming news service launched only about a month ago, is a flop. Axios reports that owner Warner Bros Discovery has stopped all marketing spend and even laid off its CFO. The service apparently only has 150,000 subscribers so far. I’m guessing we’ll call the time of death in a month.

I can’t remember the last time a publisher put up a paywall only to remove it. Quartz is doing the right thing by taking down its paywall. I never understood how it was going to make that strategy work as Quartz is a generic news publisher with really only one standout attribute: its newsletter is in a highly readable format. Adweek had an enlightening interview with chief executive Zach Seward, who said that the power of the Quartz email was the deciding factor. The company found that 75% of its members prefer to consume Quartz through its newsletter — in fact, email opens surpassed pageviews. And if that’s where users are, why not double down and monetise that instead?

Google may not like your website popups

Marketers pretend to like them, most users hate them.

Is Google taking users’ side?

What’s going on: Some website owners reported getting an email from Google, telling them to remove “intrusive interstitials,” or popups, to improve page experience.

A gentle nudge… or a warning? It’s too early to tell. However, it’s obvious that Google cares about website content being easy to read. And as we all know, poor page experiences equal lower rankings.

What you should do: If you use popups on your website, check your inbox.

And even if you haven’t received an email yet, be careful. If your popups are irritating your viewers, they could be annoying to Google crawlers as well.

Want better engagement? Don’t rely on hashtags

The data doesn’t lie.

According to this recent report by Socialinsider, your Instagram hashtags don’t impact engagement that much.

And increasing the number of hashtags in your posts can actually reduce the number of impressions they get.

Why we care: Social media marketers spend a lot of time looking for hashtags. But maybe that time is better spent on other things…

… Like creating awesome content and engaging with followers.

Capterra gets $4M worth of SEO traffic. Here’s how Saas companies can benefit from their success

Capterra gets 1.5M visits per month.

They dominate search engine results pages (SERPs) for high-value comparison keywords in more than 800 software categories.

Why the insane pull?

Capterra satisfies a strong need for prospects. Businesses want to know how software products compare, and, most importantly, what kind of reviews the products are getting.

Unfortunately, Capterra’s strategy isn’t one you can swipe. Most SaaS companies would need to spend $4M in paid ads just to get all that organic traffic.

But the good news is, Jessica Tee Orika analyzed Capterra’s SEO strategy.

And there are two ways you can use Capterra’s success to your own advantage:

  1. Use Capterra as an ally. Integrate Capterra reviews on your website. Since users trust them, their reviews will wield more influence over your customers’ buying decisions.
  2. Create your own comparison pages. This is a great SEO strategy for SaaS companies. It helps you control how prospects view your product during their decision process.

Plus, comparison pages offer you many SEO benefits, like:

  • Improving your organic search visibility and traffic.
  • Helping users better understand your product.
  • Helping prospects make the best decisions.

So while you probably won’t beat Capterra at their SERP game, you can definitely use the platform to your advantage.

And you can always study their strategy for other marketing lessons, too.

How Neil Gaiman’s idea-generation process is useful in marketing

Neil Gaiman is one of the most successful writers of our time.

Neverwhere. Coraline. The Graveyard Book. The Sandman. American Gods. Anansi Boys.

The guy’s got a list of bestsellers longer than a sales page for a $997 Facebook Ads course.

In a blog post, Neil wrote about where he gets his ideas from:

“You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.”

We’d argue that the same is true for marketers. Marketers, too, get ideas from everywhere: on walks, in the shower, while playing an instrument.

Once you get an idea, though, you need to question it. Neil Gaiman asks the following questions:

  • What if?
  • If only…
  • I wonder…

Turns out these questions work just as well in marketing:

  • What if I had an infinite budget? What would I do?
  • If only I could reach out to X person to help amplify this campaign… Wait, maybe I can.
  • I wonder if it’s possible to do X.

The same questions that help creative writers stay creative are helpful to marketers who want to come up with fresh ideas on a daily basis. And it makes sense because both are creative pursuits.

So, the next time you’re thinking of ideas for a new campaign, ad, or landing page… ask yourself the three questions above. Let your mind wander.

You may be surprised where you end up.

Media Products

As you know, the world’s richest person bought Twitter. This means a couple of things:

  • The platform is now private, which means it frees itself from having to perform for the stock market every quarter. “Twitter as a company has always been my sole issue and my biggest regret. It has been owned by Wall Street and the ad model. Taking it back from Wall Street is the correct first step.” — Jack Dorsey
  • But this also means that the triumph of free speech that some are attributing to the sale is likely even more at risk in private hands than the more public accountability and scrutiny it faces in its public version.

From the Beeb: “The danger that Twitter now faces is that unfettered free speech on social media can become very ugly, very quickly.” Yikes.

From Jack Dorsey: “Elon is the singular solution I trust. I trust his mission to extend the light of consciousness.” Extend the what now?

From The Information: “Musk may be about to take control of Twitter as a recession engulfs the U.S. economy, which could hurt Twitter’s ad business regardless of who is in charge. That could amplify the financial risks he is taking on with the acquisition, given that he plans to borrow about $25 billion to complete the purchase, in addition to injecting $21 billion of his own money. The interest costs on the debt would consume most of the cash the company’s business has historically generated, making it vulnerable to any downturn in its business.” So clearly not the world’s best business move, then.

Meanwhile, this aged well. “How much is it?”

Do you use mockups for your media org? You should, especially for your store if you sell merch, or your sales and pricing pages if you sell subscriptions or memberships, or even for marketing images in your social media campaigns. But high quality mockups that aren’t ugly digital renders are very hard to come by, which is why this wonderful resource exists.

Say hello to Fit Devanagari, a typeface that is one of the wildest, happiest beasts I’ve seen in recent times. Kimya Gandhi, the type designer, says that growing up in India as a designer, she often “heard the phrase ‘but this isn’t how it is done,’ and I wasn’t encouraged to ask why. When I started thinking about Fit Devanagari, the question wasn’t ‘why,’ it was ‘why not?’” Devanagari is an alphabet used to write several Indian languages, and is often represented digitally as a fairly limited collection of sedate typefaces that remind you of that polite-but-boring uncle who was always asleep in the family pictures. One of the interesting aspects of the Fit Devanagari fonts is that it was partly designed by someone who doesn’t read the language, which meant they were free of its semantic constraints, while Gandhi kept track of readability. “This typeface is, to put it politely, not shy.” Uncle just woke up and kicked some ass.

Fit Devanagari, a Typeface that Matches Nothing but Goes with Everything

Have you been wanting to visualise geospatial data on a web map for your newsroom? Fortunately for you, Bertin.js is a JavaScript library that does exactly that. See the Bertin.js in action at ObservableHQ.

This is a great little case study of how immigration-focused Documented redesigned its Early Arrival newsletter to incorporate the needs of its audience. It starts by asking the right questions.

The Browser Company is about to launch Arc, its new browser that promises to make sense of the way we look at the internet. Isn’t it weird that the tool we use for the web is relatively unchanged? “Could a browser keep us focused, organized, and in control?”, they ask. “Yes please”, I answer. The sneak preview looks chaotic and a bit designy, which is not really what I want from a browser. But I suspect that’s just marketing, and for someone whose battles with tabs vs windows takes up most of their work life, I am pretty excited about being focused and organised. And if it isn’t as bloated as chonky Chrome, even better.

Talking Trauma is a microlearning course by ICRC on understanding trauma, building resilience, and ethical communications. The course is for people reporting on humanitarian crises.

Kontentalist is one of our favourite dataviz orgs, and they’re asking people about their needs around how data is used. “How can we make your life easier? What problems can we help solve? What needs can we help fulfil?” Don’t you love it when an organisation asks its community how it can help address their needs? Jump in here before April 29.

Quartz has killed its paywall. They set it up in 2019, but the world has changed enormously since then, as we all know all too well. A reader survey “showed a majority of Quartz members — there are about 25,000 of them, and an annual subscription costs $100/year — didn’t subscribe for the exclusive access anyway.” Quartz still makes most of its revenue on advertising.

The emoji gatekeepers aren’t accepting any new flag emoji proposals. “The Unicode Consortium isn’t in the business of determining what is a country and what isn’t.” Here’s another possible reason: nobody uses flag emoji, even though it’s the largest emoji category.

A new artificial intelligence tool can translate text into images. Apparently the results are “stunning”. I’ve signed up for the DALL-E 2 preview waitlist, so I haven’t played with it myself. But this thing is not a unidimensional one-trick pony; it makes actual art.

Google Maps has just quietly exposed Russian military sites for all the world to see. All it had to do was unblur them.

What are the biggest mistakes paid newsletters make? It turns out there are a whole lot of bad assumptions out there about what kind of content people will pay for. Here are a few:

  • Not switching around conversion strategies. “Too often, I see paid subscription newsletters simply copy and paste the same call to action over and over again.”
  • The lack of a truly differentiated product for paying subscribers. ”Simply offering them more of the same is not going to convince most of them to convert to paid.”
  • Not employing strategies for churn. “[O]ne of the leading causes for churn is simple billing failures — cases where the credit card expired or the subscriber switched banks.”

Product tags just became available to everyone in the US

Good news for brands with an Insta…

Instagram just announced that everyone in the US can now tag products on their feed posts.

That means users can tag products the same way they’d tag other users. They can even access product catalogs and tag particular styles and colors.

Why we care: User generated content (UGC) and influencer marketing were already exploding.

And now, Instagram’s update makes it even easier for users to find, follow, and purchase the products they see influencers and other users posting about.

Tag, you’re it: If your users or influencers posted about your product on their Instagram profile, let them know they can tag your products, too. That can help your brand get discovered more easily.

Google wants you to start thinking locally

It’s not everyday that a war between giants benefits the little guys.

What’s going on: According to Kevin Indig, Shopify’s head of SEO, users search Amazon for products 2x more than they search Google.

So Google is leveraging local search as a competitive advantage against Amazon… which is great news for businesses and agencies with local customers.

Try it yourself: Just search for “SEO” and look near the top of the SERP. You’ll see listings for nearby SEO agencies, even if you weren’t looking for agency services.

Interesting, right?

The Crew’s Take: Google’s putting a lot of effort into improving local SEO. They recently added an inventory schema which tells users what’s in stock at nearby stores.

So if you aren’t improving your own local SEO, now’s a good time to start.

How this company built a B2B selling machine with memes and employee posts—cheaply

If you’ve ever tried generating B2B leads, you know how complicated it can be. Even on LinkedIn.

But there are ways to do it without spending a dollar.

That’s what Dreamadata does. Precious Oboidhe analyzed their LinkedIn B2B lead generation strategy, and it’s worth swiping.

Dreamdata’s secret sauce? Employee advocacy.

“Employee advocacy” refers to a culture where workers actively advocate for their company as a way of building relationships and attracting customers.

Through employee advocacy, six Dreamdata employees built a selling engine that saved the company $6.59 per 1000 LinkedIn impressions and $5.26 per click.

Here’s how their employee advocacy program works:

In addition to relying on the content written and shared by their employees, Dreamdata also follows a set of key principles:

  • Hop on trends. This is a well-known social media tactic that works on every social network. And Dreamdata’s employees obviously follow it.
  • Entertain with memes that tell a relatable story. Here’s a funny yet informative post shared by Samuel Malpiedi, one of Dreamdata’s employees.
  • Show social proof. Yes, everybody is loading their websites with social proof these days, but for some reason they’re not putting that same effort into LinkedIn. It’s as simple as sharing a screenshot of a review or testimonial, or even a screenshot of an email, like this email from one of Dreamdata’s competitors.

Email from one of Dreamdata’s competitors.

There’s definitely more to learn when it comes to getting qualified B2B leads for cheap. We suggest reading this full analysis here.

How to find a message that works

A marketer named Matt Epstein has scaled two separate companies, Rippling and Zenefits, from $0 to $10M ARR.

He did it with a straightforward, repeatable process that he details in this YouTube video.

While Matt’s complete process is too complex to feature in this newsletter section, he mentions one marketing tactic we want to highlight: Testing your messaging.

Too often, marketers go live with one or two messaging angles they settled on but never tested, dumping money into ads that don’t position the product well… and don’t perform well, either.

To fix this, Matt suggests the following:

  • Create as many angles as you can. The more messages you can test, the better. Say you’re selling a high-end razor. You could test the phrase “smoother skin” against the phrase “better shave,” for example. The purpose is to generate as many ideas as possible.
  • Run ads for those ideas on Google and Facebook. Matt’s process is simple: Test those ideas against each other. Figure out what people are actually clicking on. It might not be what you expect.
  • Double down on what works and immediately cut what doesn’t. Moving slowly can kill the success of your marketing. When you find something that works, follow it.

The Crew’s take: This is a simple idea, and you may already be doing this.

But if you’re not, try it. Test as many ideas as you can against a real audience.

You’ll hone the messaging angle that actually works with customers—and build a stronger brand in the process.

Amazon can tell you which products are worth advertising

How do you know which of your products are worth the ad dollars?

Well, Amazon’s new feature would like to make some suggestions.

Check your dropdowns: When you set up a Sponsored Products campaign, Amazon has a new setting that can automatically sort listings for you.

How it works: Amazon will use machine learning to predict which of your products are most likely to drive conversions based on parameters like imagery, description, reviews, and more.

Why we care: Sometimes automating advertising campaigns can save you time and money, and Amazon’s latest feature seems like a chance to do both.

Who wants to lose cash betting on the wrong horse?

Google hints at making product review pages redundant

Affiliate marketers can’t catch a break.

What’s going on: Google will now allow users to compare multiple products directly on the search engine results page (SERP).

Good for them, not so good for you: With a rich comparison feature on SERP, users may not bother visiting product review pages to get information about your product.

Which means… Less traffic to your affiliate website.

Become irreplaceable: You know how flight searches, Yelp, and similar search tools are now inseparable from the SERP?

If SEO is your main source of traffic, now’s a good time to start thinking about other ways of driving visitors to your site.

… or Google’s SERP may just replace you.

How to leverage the competition to grow your business

One of the best ways to help your business grow? Study your competitors.

The point is not to imitate them, but to find the gaps and opportunities you can fill with your own marketing and products or services.

And because so few businesses do this well, competitor monitoring can give you a massive advantage.

Ann Smarty wrote an incredibly useful guide to monitoring your competition on social media for BrightLocal.

She covers a lot of ground, so for now, let’s just talk about the Who, What, and How of monitoring your competitors.

Who to monitor: There are three “who’s” you should pay attention to…

  • Your obvious local competitors.
  • Similar businesses that, while not local, can still offer big learning opportunities.
  • Other businesses in your area so you can watch for events and trends.

What to look for: Anne Smarty has a robust list here, but one of our favorites is the suggestion to read customers’ reviews of your competitors, both the positive and negative.

What are your competitors doing that you can improve on?

And even more importantly, where are they falling short… and how can your business pick up the slack?

How to monitor your competitors: Ann Smarty links to several useful tools throughout her article.

In addition to the tools she suggests, you can also follow competitor hashtags or set up Google alerts.

There’s more to it, of course. We recommend reading Ann Smarty’s entire piece to see which ideas work best for you.

Sell your customers more than just outcomes

Pick up any book on marketing, and you’re bound to find a sentence that goes something like this: People don’t buy the product; they buy the outcome.

It’s mostly correct. But it’s not the whole truth.

We also buy things because we believe in the people who make them.

We want to know that the people behind the products are good people, that they respect the environment, that they have good taste, that they give back to their community, and so on.

Smart brands lean into these motivations. Take Rolex, for example:

  • Roger Federer sponsorship: Rolex pairs the outcome of their product (peak performance and quality) with the kind of status their customers want (people like Roger Federer wear Rolex).
  • Perpetual Planet initiative (and others): Rolex also invests in environmental projects. This signals the brand’s values. They want you to know that, when you buy a Rolex, you’re buying from people who care about the earth as much as you do.

Big brands position their products this way because it works. And as a marketer, this is something you can do, too.

So in addition to promising customers the outcome they desire, promise them the values and aspirations they cherish, too.

It’s hard to say “no” to that!

How The Pandemic Has Affected Marketing Jobs Worldwide

Last week, LinkedIn published its Great Reshuffle report, which reported that more than 60% of employees are considering changing their working environment. In terms of the marketing world, more than 600,000 marketers left their jobs back in 2021, looking for better opportunities. So what are people leaving their jobs for? Social media marketing positions and full-stack marketers. That’s right, companies are WAY more interested in hiring marketing specialists with specific skills and specialties. Why does this matter to you? Well if you’re the one managing employees, make sure you pay extra care to those marketers on your team, or (as statistics show) they’ll be onto better things. On the other hand, if you are the one working in marketing and have been considering a change, demand is high- so now could just be the right time to explore your options.

A New Increase in Global Marketing

These days, companies are taking digital marketing seriously, which means big opportunities for you as a marketer. Last week, the Forrester report found that global marketing spending will increase from $3.6 to $4.7 trillion by the end of 2025 with China and the US accounting for more than 50% of the entire marketing spend. This is HUGE if you’re offering marketing services or tools. That means you should definitely continue to pursue your marketing career, especially in the industries and countries that are heavily investing in digital marketing (clearly, China and the US). You’ll have some serious job security for the future.

Etsy Goes On Strike

More than 14,000 sellers have gone on strike after Etsy announced its transaction fees were increasing from 5% to 6.5% last week. Clearly, this did not make their sellers happy. This goes to show that one small change in a company’s policy has a domino effect and that can easily affect both sellers and those advertising on the platform. What does this teach us? Well for one, you can lose your entire audience if you’re relying on only one channel to market your products/services on. This strike is a good reminder to all of us marketers that we HAVE to diversify our marketing channels. We can’t rely just on one marketing channel, even if it consistently pulls the best results. Change it up, folks!

You can finally search comments on Reddit

You probably know this already…

But Reddit comments contain some of the best info, inspo, and distribution opportunities for marketing content.

And Reddit’s paying attention: The platform just launched in-platform comment search, which means you no longer need to scroll through hundreds of threads and subreddits.

Why we care: Reddit is becoming a content marketing gold mine. Making billions of comments searchable gives marketers a huge opportunity to craft and distribute valuable content.

It also saves us some time.

And as a bonus, you may discover new threads that are relevant to your brand, too!

You probably know this already…

But Reddit comments contain some of the best info, inspo, and distribution opportunities for marketing content.

And Reddit’s paying attention: The platform just launched in-platform comment search, which means you no longer need to scroll through hundreds of threads and subreddits.

Why we care: Reddit is becoming a content marketing gold mine. Making billions of comments searchable gives marketers a huge opportunity to craft and distribute valuable content.

It also saves us some time.

And as a bonus, you may discover new threads that are relevant to your brand, too!

Custom columns are getting superpowers

Rev those drills, marketers.

It’s time to dig deeper into Analytics.

What’s going on: Google just added several useful tools to their custom columns feature.

Now you can do things like:

  • Add spreadsheet functions.
  • Calculate and compare data across multiple date ranges.
  • Use new column formats like “Text” and “True/False.”

… And more.

Why we care: These new tools look like they give marketers access to clearer data, which can help you make better decisions. Clarity might be the one thing you can never have too much of.

By the way, Google’s annual live marketing conference is now taking registrations if you’re interested in attending.

Are these YouTube Ads default settings burning your budget?

When you’re optimizing a video ad campaign, you usually have two ways to improve return on ad spend (ROAS):

  1. Increase your campaign conversion rate, or
  2. Reduce your spend.

But as Joe Martinez points out in this Wordstream article, YouTube Ads come with default settings that could affect your ability to do both.

Let’s talk about three of them:

Default setting #1: Your video ads will appear on networks outside of YouTube. YouTube automatically shows your campaign in the three Networks for YouTube Ads, including Google Display Network.

Showing your videos on Google Display Network isn’t a bad thing, but if you want more control, you can opt-out of this setting when you set up your campaign.

Default setting #2: If you decide to opt into the Google Display Network, monitor which websites you’re bidding for.

Not all websites play video ads.

Default Setting #3: Video Action campaigns automatically include TV devices. However, the call-to-action buttons on Video Action campaigns aren’t always available on TV devices, which means customers can’t click through your video ads.

So you may want to turn off TV devices on your campaigns.

If you do want to show your ads on TV devices, create a separate campaign for this placement.

These are three of the four settings Joe Martinez talks about. We recommend reading the whole piece here.

Yes, user-generated content is outpacing traditional content, and the data proves it

You’ve heard it in all your marketer circles. You’ve also heard us talk about how it’s a must-have now.

If there was another reason to make sure it’s part of your marketing strategy, user-generated content is outpacing traditional content.

According to this study, Americans now spend the same amount of time watching user-generated videos on YouTube, TikTok and other platforms, as they spend watching traditional TV.

And here’s something else to consider:

Traditional news content is no longer trusted. Engagement with traditional news content dropped last year compared to 2020, according to Axios data.

Why should you care? It’s a clear sign about the type of content users want. It’s also another point in favor of TikTok as a social media platform.

TikTok is user-generated content dialed up to the max. Make sure you test it out.

Google continues updates frenzy

Sometimes we wish we got a nickel for every update… Because Google just dropped a fistful of new features.

Let’s start with Google Ads:

And now a little bit about YouTube:

By the way, when it comes to tracking performance…

Your last click may not be the most important one

Millions of brands advertise on dozens of ad platforms.

Isn’t it strange that marketers use only last-click attribution when measuring ad performance?

Not the whole iceberg: A recent study by Snapchat claims that brands relying only on the final touchpoint are missing out on the big picture.

For example, a customer might discover a brand on TikTok, see it again on Snapchat, but end up converting from a Facebook ad.

Facebook gets credit… but do you really want to invest only in Facebook campaigns?

The Crew’s take: Most analytics tools use last-click attribution as default. However, this doesn’t tell the full story, and may harm your ROI and marketing strategy in the long run.

So make sure to set up tracking that captures the entire buyer’s journey.

5 ways to pull in qualified B2B leads with paid search campaigns

Trying to get B2B leads with paid search… and want to cut down cost per acquisition (CPA)?

You might try the suggestions Tim Jensen offers in this Search Engine Journal post:

Filter out users with ad copy. Sometimes the problem with targeting keywords is they don’t describe the user’s intent.

For example, a managed IT service provider may want to target businesses with 100+ employees. But their target customer probably isn’t going to include that in their search queries.

So prequalify your target audience by calling them out in the ad copy:

“Have 100+ employees? Let us handle IT.”

Keep pre-qualifying them on your landing page, too, so you only attract the right leads.

You can do this by saying who your product is exactly for, and by adding more fields to your form to test their intent level.

Combine first-party data and third-party data to target the users you want. Layer your customer list and your website visitors’ data to zero in on audiences directly related to your service.

Target problem-aware audiences. Some of your prospects are experiencing the problem your business solves. But they’re not yet aware of the solution.

Target them by using keywords that relate to the problem they’re looking to solve, rather than the solution.

Optimize for the right conversion. The conversion goal will mostly depend on the stage of the funnel of the audience you want to reach.

  • For top-of-funnel audiences, you might want to optimize for actions such as asset downloads or webinar signups.
  • For hot or warm audiences, your goal could be demo requests, trial signups, and sales inquiries.

Paid search can work for B2B, you just need to adjust your tactics a bit. These five tips may help.

What to look out for when searching for an agency to write your SEO-focused content

Agencies can be great.

When you find a great fit, you get exquisite work that pushes your business forward without having to increase your in-house team.

But when you partner with the wrong agency… Well, you’ve probably heard the stories on Twitter and in Facebook Groups.

We’ll try to help you figure out if or when you are ready specifically for an agency to handle your SEO-focused content.

Why for SEO-focused content? Because it’s the type of agency we’ve seen that is hardest to choose.

Why is it so hard? SEO-focused content has to be extremely good. It’s not just about the SEO part, it’s also about the expertise on the topic. Many SEO content agencies don’t have enough topic experts to deliver this at a good level.

You might also be too early. If you are too early in your business, you might be better off with a freelancer rather than an agency. A skilled contractor will often be able to offer a better price, because they don’t have the agency overhead. And they’re often better topic experts.

So what should you do? Our recommendation is to team up with freelance writers with previous experience in your niche. Or make sure that the writers of the agency you hire have subject matter expertise.

Elon Musk is Twitter’s biggest shareholder

The Story

Elon Musk has purchased a 9.2% stake in Twitter and scored (then promptly abandoned) a board of directors seat.

Listen Up, Tweeps

It’s been a whirlwind of a week for Twitter (and all of us who have been along for this rollercoaster of a ride) as Elon Musk became the top Twitter shareholder after purchasing a 9.2% stake in the social media giant. Initially, Twitter denied that he would get a seat at the table. Then, he announced that he would indeed serve on the board – followed by a series of tweets pitching everything from a company name change, to HQ relocation, to new features. Then, after being asked to cease the tweets or relinquish his seat, Musk chose the latter. So, here we are.

It’s News To Me

Musk describes himself as a “free speech absolutist,” and while his fans are applauding his presence as a turn toward non-censorship, Twitter employees and critics are highly concerned that Musk’s influence will have a negative impact in several ways. Twitter’s inclusive (and generally positive) company culture is not the only area of concern. There is also concern that this new development will damage long-standing efforts to reduce trolling, mobbing, and misinformation on the platform.

STC POV

Elon Musk’s polarization continues with critics and supporters speaking up in droves. His shareholder status puts him in a position of power the likes of which Twitter has not experienced before – which begs the question, what are the limits of Musk’s power? It hints at big changes on the horizon, and we’re keeping an eye on what it means for Twitter, its platform functionality, influencer monetization, algorithmic development, and more. We’ll say this – we ain’t seen nothing yet.

Brands bet on the Metaverse

The Story

Brand innovation is front and center as we continue to witness Metaverse power plays.

Into the Wendyverse

Brands are gearing up for livin’ la vida loca in a digital world by refining strategies, merging physical and digital reality, and creating valuable assets that consumers will want to interact with beyond initial transactions. One of the brands making moves? Wendy’s, which opened its first-ever virtual restaurant in Meta’s Horizon Worlds platform, made its gamified store accessible by Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality (VR) headset users. This just-for-funsies feature is not only a community-building tactic, but it offers real-life promotions redeemable at physical stores.

Metaverse Ain’t Playing

Chipotle Mexican Grill’s virtual restaurant, hosted on Roblox, walked so the Wendyverse could run. Nike’s Air Max Day Metaverse takeover gave power to young creators, plus their “Cryptokicks” NFTs offer digital rewards to match a physical product. Charlotte Tilbury cosmetics’ digital storefront, Ralph Lauren’s AR-powered capsule collection, and virtual clothing try-on with Walmart are giving the e-commerce space an edge. And that’s all before social media and creators get involved — yet another layer of consideration for brands to incorporate into their Metaverse strategies.

STC POV

Whether it’s the NFTs, AR/VR, or an eclectic mix of all things Metaverse, the innovation driving these brands to modernize is turning the consumer experience up a notch – and influencers are perfectly positioned to partner with brands for even more star power. From avatar-powered virtual influencers to the faces we’ve met and followed on TikTok — the Metaverse’s plan for influencer marketing is anyone’s guess.

Inspired TikTok activations take the cake

The Story

Brands are kicking tradition to the curb in favor of quirky experiences, inclusive products, and creator-driven activations to attract consumers via both one-off and long-term influencer collaborations.

Under the Rug

TikTok’s niche creator cohort has highlighted some super-specific hobbies over the years. Take @happy.rugs, for example, whose delightful rug-making content has been foodified with a McDonald’s deal selling a limited batch of chicken sandwich rugs. In other rug news, Ruggable’s creator content is leveraging Bachelor Nation talent and harnessing the power of the franchise’s dedicated fan base, along with their wildly popular personal social channels. These two rugged examples showcase the importance of a brand knowing its audience down to a science. When it works, it works!

Changing the Narrative

Other power brands from the 2000s are making an effort to fix problematic behavior. Abercrombie, whose size exclusivity in the past may have made it the you-can’t-sit-with-us brand of the day, knows that today’s consumers aren’t a fan. It turned over a new leaf with an array of sizing (and a stellar TikTok strategy utilizing mid-size and plus-size fashion creators) that makes fashion accessible for all, making friends with no-BS Gen Z purchasers and scorned Millennials alike.

STC POV

When it comes to influencer marketing, a mix of tactics plus market intelligence packs a punch. While a lot of brands (and creators) prefer long-term partnerships that repurpose content, there’s something to be said for nichey activations that inspire action with limited-time offers or one-day-only experiences. A mix of both is a recipe for success.

Black and white hat SEO

All businesses want to appear in the first few organic results on a Google search query. The question is, what SEO techniques are they willing to employ to get there? White hat SEO involves quality content, page load times, easy navigation and trusted inbound links. Basically, hard work. Black hat SEO involves manipulation of the guidelines with one goal — to rank higher. It’s not always such a great idea.

Crackdown on influencers

Influencers are being used to market any good or service you can think of these days — even ones where you’d expect some degree of expertise in the recommendation. The emergence of finfluencers — content creators who talk about money and investing — in Australia is causing concern. To give financial advice in Australia, you need a licence, and the new crackdown means unlicensed influencers could be fined AUD 1 million or face five years jail for their “advice”. Influencers aren’t necessarily experts, so marketers can’t use them for everything.

Brands, gaming and the metaverse

While many marketers understand the size of the gaming industry, they’re yet to make sense of the marketing opportunities that exist within it. Misconceptions about gaming include demographics (it’s not just teenage boys either, it’s very diverse) and only gamer orientated brands will gain any traction in the space. Not only can brands reach a lot of different consumers open to different messages, but gaming is an obvious connection to the next big thing — the metaverse. Games already exist in a metaverse so they provide the perfect platform for brands to experiment.

Gamers’ revenue streams now

Gamers themselves are reaping financial rewards in the gaming environment. While participating in (and winning) tournaments makes up 32% of revenue streams, in the Singapore market the real money comes from selling in-app products or services within the game. Expect partnership between brands and gamers to grow in the future.

Leading sources of revenue from video games for Singaporean gamers as at April 2020

These digital advertising channels are exploding

2021 was a cracking year for digital advertising.

IAB’s new Internet Advertising Revenue Report shows a staggering increase of $50 billion in digital ad spend in a single year—three times higher than in 2020.

The report also reveals the fastest growing digital marketing channels:

  • Streaming media such as podcasts and live videos grew 50% compared to 2020.
  • Paid search is still on top, accounting for 41.4% of digital ad revenue in 2021.
  • Social media ads spending went up almost 40% after stalling during the pandemic. Why? According to IAB, 80% of brands started working with content creators and influencers, which fueled the increase.

The Crew’s take: A lot of marketers worried about the future of digital advertising when the pandemic started in 2020. Thankfully, advertising is becoming incredibly diverse and growing exponentially across a variety of platforms.

And based on the new data, these growing channels present a big growth opportunity for brands.

Speaking of data…

Shopping experiences aren’t how customers remember them

Do you remember every thought, action, and influence that led you to purchase your last car?

You probably don’t… and neither do your customers.

Don’t believe everything they say: A new study reveals there’s a disparity between what customers think they do while shopping versus what they actually do.

The difference between a buyer’s memory and their buyer journey is largest in auto shoppers—more than 50%.

Grocery shoppers, for instance, are at 33%, while the gap in travel stands at 28%.

Why we care: Consumer behavior is more accurate than consumer memory. So in addition to listening to your buyers, monitor their behavior using analytics, heatmaps, and other tools.

How to balance content skills with subject matter expertise in your marketing team

If you’ve ever led a content marketing team, or been tasked with growing one, you’ve probably run into this question:

Is it more effective to get content from a subject matter expert (SME), or to instill subject matter expertise into content creators?

Maybe that gives you chicken-or-egg vibes. Us too.

But as Robert Rose explains, helping skilled content creators become SMEs is usually a better strategy.

However, there are two conditions necessary for this strategy to work:

  • Your brand or business is willing to invest time and resources to educate content creators about the topic.
  • The content creators want to learn about the topic.

So how do you turn content creators into SMEs? Robert Rose suggests three steps:

  1. Create an education program so content writers can study the subject.
  2. Integrate a subject matter expert into your team so they can share ideas and experience with the content writers.
  3. “Rent” top-level subject experts as you scale. This will help you fill editorial gaps as your content production scales up.

If you’re building a content team, Rose’s post is definitely worth reading in full.

Are you writing headlines… or slogans?

Wander the halls of the internet for a few seconds and you’ll run across a group of sites that make the same problem with their landing page headers:

They’re writing slogans, not good header copy.

Here are a few examples of what we mean:

  • Finally, a CRM to love
  • Make Work Wonderful
  • Thrive Everywhere

Headlines like these leave us wondering… What does that even mean? How? Who?

They’re more like campaign slogans than gripping headlines.

When it comes to homepage or landing page headers, customers want information. They need to be hooked. And if they’re not hooked right away, they’ll leave.

What should you write instead? PersistIQ’s original homepage header provides a great example of what good copy looks like:

“The outbound automation tool designed for small teams.”

This is good for two reasons:

  1. We know exactly what their product does (outbound automation).
  2. We know what makes their product unique (it’s built for small teams).

We’re hooked. Imagine if the PersistIQ landing page header read,

“Sending emails has never been this pretty.”

This is a flashy line of copy. But it tells you nothing.

In closing, we recommend making it clear who your header copy is for, what it does for them, and how it helps.

Maybe it’s not as fancy or exciting to write, but it’s certainly more effective.

The Etsy strike has a lesson for marketers about single-channel advertising

When Etsy announced transaction fees were increasing from 5% to 6.5%, sellers weren’t happy.

And now, more than 14,000 sellers are going on strike.

It’s not the first time Etsy riled their users. AliExpress resellers have been running over legit merchants… and apparently, they’re getting away with it.

Why we care: Remember iOS14 updates? We’ve seen how a small change in company policy can snowball into an Etsy-like problem before, affecting sellers and advertisers worldwide.

And we don’t want you to lose your audience.

The solution? Don’t rely on one marketing channel, even if it consistently pulls amazing results. Instead, diversify your channels and invest in first-party data collection.

And if you’re running ads…

Want to make ads that work? Try flaunting your imperfections

BeReal is Gen Z’s new favorite app, and the way it works is pretty simple:

BeReal encourages users to send one post every day to their friends to show exactly what they’re doing in real time.

“Authentic” social media apps are on the rise: It’s not just BeReal. Many people have started using TikTok and Snapchat, because unlike Instagram, they’re places where you can show the real you in candid, spontaneous moments.

The data backs this up: In Q1 2022, TikTok was the most downloaded mobile app in the world, and The Snapchat Generation 2022 report shows that users put a premium on authenticity.

What about ads? A few days ago we featured a report that showed that user-generated content ads outperform conventional ads by up to 50%.

User-generated ads, unlike “conventional ads,” are authentic, which makes them more credible and relatable.

The Crew’s takeaway? If you want your ads to work, don’t try to be perfect. Be candid. Embrace imperfection. And flaunt some of those flaws.

6 ways to delight international customers and boost your conversions

If your brand sells products to multiple countries, a simple way to make customers happy and boost conversions is building a translated version of your store.

This is useful especially when you sell complicated products that require more explanation.

Let’s say you’re an American business that sells supplements globally.

Your Italian or Spanish users might prefer reading the ingredient list in their own language, even if they speak English. Not everybody understands jargon or colloquial phrases!

Not only does this give them a smoother experience…

… you also show them your unique value proposition and selling points in the language that speaks to them most.

So if you manage a multilingual website, or plan on building one, Feifei Liu from the Nielsen Norman Group has 6 tips for optimizing the experience of your international users:

Save users an extra step. If you can track users’ country and language based on the browser’s preference settings, remove friction from their experience by showing the relevant language version.

On desktop sites, position the language switcher in the top corners so that users can find it immediately. On mobile, place the language switcher button above the fold or in the menu.

Make the language switcher recognizable even when the user doesn’t know the language of the interface. Use visual indicators like the national flag or the currency symbol to represent the switch.

How to find great content ideas on Amazon

If you’re anything like us, you mostly visit Amazon’s website to do some shopping.

But did you know you can also find great content ideas?

We got this tip suggests doing something like this:

  • Find books in your niche on Amazon.
  • Look at the table of contents of some of the best books.
  • Take note of the most interesting chapter titles.
  • Sort your topics based on how much you know already, or note what research you have to do.

In just a few steps you will find countless content ideas for your industry. And those ideas are likely good because you’re choosing them from good books.

You don’t have to read the book, but you should share your personal take on the topic. Don’t plagiarize the authors you find.

What other tactics do you use to get content ideas?

Good news, marketers: spending is on the rise

Where there’s a wallet, there’s a market.

More and more companies across the globe are taking digital marketing seriously—which means big opportunities for marketers.

What’s going on: According to the Forrester report, global marketing spend will increase from $3.6 to $4.7 trillion by the end of 2025.

Who are the biggest spenders? China and the US are splashing the most cash, accounting for more than 53% of the entire marketing spend.

Additionally, IT software and services (SaaS) will drive the biggest growth.

Why we care: Talk about job security. If you offer marketing services, tools, or software, then you’ll want to pursue the industries and regions that are investing heavily in these things.

And from the looks of it, that means IT software and SaaS, and the US, and China respectively.

The most in-demand marketing skills right now

LinkedIn just published their Great Reshuffle report, which reveals insights into how the pandemic has affected marketing jobs worldwide.

Here’s what they found: More than 60% of employees are actively considering changing their working environment. On top of that, almost 620,000 marketers left their jobs in 2021, looking for better opportunities.

Who’s most in demand: Social media marketers and full-stack marketers are all the rage. It seems companies are more interested in marketing strategists, specialists, and managers than marketers with narrow skills or specialties.

Why we care: If you’re a business owner, treat your marketing people well or they’ll hunt for better things.

And if you’re a marketer who’s looking for a change, now’s a good time to level up in the skills companies need most.

21 examples of effective subject lines—and how to create your own

As you’re probably aware, the subject line is one of the most important elements of your email. After all, no opens, no revenue.

So if you’re looking to improve your subject line game, Kaleigh Moore shared several best practices along with examples. And you might find them useful.

Here are some of our favorites:

Use personalization. According to Invesp, emails with the recipient’s name in the subject line have an 18.30% open rate on average vs. 15.70% of emails without.

But adding prospect names to subject lines isn’t the only way to use personalization. You can also imply it by telling the recipient you have something special for them:

“Your Favorites Have Returned”

Evoke curiosity. There are many ways to generate curiosity, but controversial stories, or teasing a new solution to an old problem, are always effective.

“I just did a yoga workout; the ladies stayed in their seats the entire time…”

Ask questions. This is another form of curiosity. Asking questions can urge the reader to open your email to get the answer.

“Are You Cooking With Toxins?”

Go for the sale. Offer-oriented subject lines tend to get low open rates, but people who open them usually have higher purchase intent. So using straight offer subject lines can still work, especially when you don’t abuse them.

“LAST CHANCE! Enjoy 25% OFF”

Create urgency. Get readers to open your email by reminding them that time is running out or that they could be missing a big opportunity.

“Don’t leave savings on the table”

In addition to these practices, crafting great subject lines also comes down to knowing your audience.

So test different styles, formats, and emotions, and see what evokes the best response from your subscribers.

Will AI replace writers?

Whether you write content or copy, you’ve probably asked this question at least once.

Recently a member of The Crew raised the question in one of our Slack channels.

First, let’s clarify something: Flesh and blood humans write the newsletter. No AI here… only raw skill and experience.

With that out of the way, here’s what the Crew thinks about AI vs. writers:

  • While AI writers will certainly get better and better, putting more pressure on—and possibly replacing—mediocre writers… we think it’s unlikely that AI will replace truly skilled writers and editors.
  • Writing is just one part of a writer’s job. Good writers need several other skills, including research, strategizing, knowing markets and human psychology, analyzing campaign results, optimizing campaigns, and so on. So copywriters and content writers can’t be entirely replaced by machines.
  • Long-form content pieces or sales pages written by AI tend to perform poorly.
  • AI doesn’t (yet) understand emotions. And marketing is all about emotions baby!

Long story short, we believe AI will help many writers by saving them time, and may even replace mediocre writers. But it’s hard to believe AI will totally replace skilled human writers.

Someone has to edit what AIs produce, anyway. And usually that editing requires a skilled writer.

However, there are some things you can do to protect your writing career from the robots:

  • Make yourself irreplaceable by constantly improving your craft.
  • Use your copywriting skills to start a business. For instance, build a newsletter. In the future, instead of being replaced by AI, you’ll be the one “hiring” them.

We also think new regulations will be introduced regarding the usage of AI. Google, for example, recently said that it penalizes AI-written content in search results.

What about you? Do you think AI will replace writers?

Google is determined to help customers find the perfect products

Ever tried to find the words to describe what you’re looking for…and couldn’t?

It’s a real problem for shoppers: According to Google’s just-released Shopping Inspiration Insights, almost 66% of shoppers said they’ve failed to find a product when trying to explain it using only words.

And the search giant is ready with the solution.

Use words… and photos: Google’s new multisearch feature lets shoppers combine photo and text search to help them more easily describe—and find—the perfect product.

But not all shoppers have a plan: Google’s Shopping Inspiration Insights reveals that almost 65% of people go shopping even if they’re not looking for anything specific.

In fact, around the same percentage buy stuff even when they didn’t plan to.

And 39% of shoppers get inspired by other people using or wearing a particular product—one reason why user generated content and influencer ads work so well.

Why we care: We’re marketers! The fact that purchases can happen spontaneously shows the importance of having thoughtful and targeted marketing campaigns.

Speaking of ad campaigns…

Nextdoor opens the door for local ads

Looking for another channel to reach local customers?

Try Nextdoor: The social platform is about to launch a new and improved ad manager in the coming weeks.

According to Kiran Prassad, Nextdoor’s head of product, this new version “provides small businesses with a simple solution to reach customers in their local area at scale.”

Why we care: With nearly one out of three households on the app and the post-pandemic incentives to support small businesses, Nextdoor has immense potential for small and medium business marketers.

Add the low barrier to entry, ease of use, and the chance to set and forget your campaigns, and you may have some good ad revenue opportunities.

We wonder how it will compare to Facebook Ads…

How to get ROI from the content you worked so hard to produce

How much time do you spend creating content?

And how long do you spend actually promoting and spreading that content?

Many marketers make the mistake of spending hours on the creative part, but only a few minutes on the promotion.

“I don’t want to seem too spammy.”

“I don’t want to come off too promotional.”

Thing is, you need to put that content in front of new eyes if you want to keep the lights on.

So if you’re not spending as much time promoting content as you should be, Ross Simmond’s Modern Distribution Playbook can help. It offers you a simple step-by-step formula for “getting the word out.”

First thing you do is conduct an audit.

Go through your content and look for the pieces that demonstrate a clear content-market fit. There are many ways to guage this. Look at the content that got more shares, more comments, and more referral traffic.

The next step is running through the Distribution Playbook, which goes like this:

Day One: Social amplification. Post on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook.

Day Two: Native channel amplification. Publish the piece as a Medium article and LinkedIn article.

Day Three: Community driven distribution. Drop your content in Slack, Facebook groups, industry forums, and Discord channels. Publish your content in your industry’s communities.

Day Four: Newsletters and mixing things up. Share a link to your email list, reach out to your network, promote internally to your company.

Day Six: Influencer outreach. Reach out to newsletters or influencers in your industry. Engage a TikToker to create content about the asset.

Day Seven: Repurposing. Repurpose your piece for a YouTube video, Instagram carousel or Story, or to every other channel that makes sense for your niche.

As you can see, the promotion opportunities are endless.

The only way to get a higher ROI on your content effort is to share your work everywhere… so don’t skip this part. It’s too important.

Many marketers value this SEO metric too much. Here’s why you can ignore it

Here’s an unfortunate truth: Many marketers treat one metric like it’s the Holy Grail of SEO.

We’re talking about Domain Authority… or Domain Rank, or whatever your SEO tool calls it.

We’ve been in enough meetings to know that many marketers consider domain authority the leading SEO metric for their brand. Here’s why it’s not:

  • It’s an arbitrary number, devised by whichever SEO platform you use. Objective domain authority does not exist—it’s up to whatever algorithm your SEO tool uses.
  • A higher domain authority doesn’t mean you’ll rank better. The algorithms involved are complicated, but bumping your domain rank by 5 points doesn’t have any guarantee that your content will jump, too. You know, correlation doesn’t mean causation…
  • It’s often used to fake success. If you have insight into the algorithms, domain authority can be easy to manipulate without generating any actual SEO success. As a result, it’s often pitched by snake-oil salesmen looking to fool you into thinking they did great work.

What we’re saying is, nothing good comes from focusing solely on this domain-related metric. At best, it’s a quick-look number to check how easy it might be for you to rank on a topic.

Instead of focusing on vanity metrics, do real quality SEO work. Create great content. And focus on the metrics that matter… like your KPIs, revenue, and so on. That’s why your favorite SEO tools do have more than just Domain Authority or Domain Rank metrics…

The apps don’t lie: Watch these global usage trends

Sensor Tower released a Q2 global app report, and the insights are gold.

Take a look:

TikTok is beating out Instagram, followed closely by Facebook and WhatsApp.

TikTok is also leading the pack in overall revenue and App Store revenue.

Plus, medical, navigation, and travel apps are trending. As more parts of the world get the pandemic under control and travel restrictions lift, consumers are planning—and taking—those long-awaited trips and vacations.

Why we care: Remember when Facebook was all the rage? Users are shifting to a new generation of social media platforms. So if you’ve been ignoring TikTok, now’s a good time to consider adding it to your marketing strategy.

It’s also worth noting the shift in consumer trends and behaviors. Both reveal where your customers are looking… and spending.

And speaking of insightful reports…

Brands: it’s time to become more personal with users

Snapchat’s 2022 “Generation Report” is out.

The platform surveyed 19,000 people across different markets and demographics, gathering valuable insights into what drives user engagement.

What they found: Snapchatters use the platform primarily to keep up with close friends and share important and intimate moments with loved ones.

Such behavior differs from platforms like TikTok or Instagram, which emphasize posting and virality.

What does this mean for brands? According to the report, “brands have to accept Snapchatters for who they are.” Meaning you’ll have to adjust your tone to fit in naturally with their day-to-day conversations.

Values will also play a huge role, because most Snap users prefer brands that benefit and build communities.

Finally, brands should leverage augmented reality and interactive shopping, as the world is “not only becoming more digital, but more interactive and personal.”

There’s lots more to Snapchat’s report. It’s worth reading in full if you have the time.

5 ways to promote your apps in the App Store

Unfortunately, having an awesome, unique app is just not enough to stand out in Apple’s crowded App Store.

But this short promotion guide may help.

Apple recently shared 5 ways to make sure your app gains more visibility and gets more downloads.

Let’s go through ‘em:

  1. Take advantage of custom product pages. The App Store allows you to publish up to 35 custom product pages per app. They can include screenshots, app previews, and promo text. Plus, users can discover them through unique URLs you share. These pages are a huge opportunity to highlight unique features of your app, as well as create custom product pages for specific segments of your audience.
  2. Create custom links and assets. Use the App Store Marketing Tools to generate a content link, short link, or QR code. You can also create “Download on the App Store” badges and embed them in your emails and other marketing channels.
  3. Use Smart Apps Banners to promote your app on your website. Smart Apps Banners let you create banners that link to your app on the App Store and embed them on your website.
  4. Leverage promo codes. You can give early access to your app and its in-app purchases to users, influencers, or the press. This page shows you how to request promo codes.
  5. Get featured on the App Store. The App Store editorial team is always looking to highlight new apps, games, significant updates, in-app events, and great stories.

So if your app helps people in some way, submit it to the App Store editorial team. Apple recommends submitting your app six to eight weeks before you launch or update it.

There you go: Five tips to help you promote your app.

Not a bad checklist to start with!

How to market your startup

Most startups make the same mistakes.

They check out what their competitors are doing, and try to model that. Or they try to execute corporate-sized ambitions with a team of 20.

But these aren’t sustainable marketing strategies. They lead to overstuffed websites, marketing initiatives that exist to check boxes, and workflows that aren’t built for rapidly-growing startups.

Here’s what to do instead:

First, attract customers who find your mission interesting. Most of the time, people buy on emotion. Not logic. They buy to get rid of pain or to increase pleasure.

Which means, then, that people should connect with your startup on a personal, emotional level. So figure out the dominant emotion you’re trying to evoke, and make sure it’s present in every piece of marketing.

Second, show people they can trust you. Once potential customers think, “Hey, this is cool,” you need to show them that you are who you say you are.

You should create content and intentionally gather testimonials with the sole purpose of doing this.

Once you’ve accomplished the two things above, you’re poised to make sales.

So as you market your startup, forget industry standards and competitors’ sites and focus on nailing the two steps outlined above.

And let your competitors repeat the same marketing tactics everyone is using… you know, the ones that customers are probably ignoring anyway.

Google Releases Updates to Help You Stand Out Among the Crowds

Google’s new updates such as their recycling option which adds an icon to your business profile, make it easier for customers to see if your brand or company is into recycling. It’s a great marketing tactic to use if you want your customers to know that you’re in the recycling game. Google also released new updates in Google Docs where it’ll now help you with your grammar, create better and more clear sentences, and give suggestions for writing ideas- all with a touch of their little purple squiggly to guide you. And with the newer version of Google Analytics 4 (GA4) released, you can now add landing pages to Explorations for better performance analysis.

More Streaming Platforms Introduce Video Ads

This is something we keep hearing about- streaming platforms are going to start introducing ads to their platforms. But now, more are tagging along such as Amazon and Vizio who have both recently increased their inventory with hundreds of ad-supported TV shows to their services: I mean hey, there’s no better way to advertise your brand than in between people’s favorite TV shows. And you should expect Amazon Ads video streaming inventory to explode very soon. This means BIG things. Think: huge audiences and the power to reach them. This is your chance to easily target potential customers with video ads while they sit back and relax by their screens. That’s powerful, folks.

Google Search Console and Backlinks

Building links to a brand-new website? Notice that it takes some time to pick up external links? Well, don’t freak out. According to Google’s John Mueller, this can take some time- even up to 10 days for GSC to pick up external links to a brand-new website. So don’t worry if you’re not seeing any backlinks in your reports for a couple of days. What does that mean for marketers? Well, if your focus is on SEO, knowing timeframes like this can help you manage your own or your client’s expectations, especially in the early stages.

Consistency counts

Consistent messaging has revenue benefits too. A 2021 Statista survey found just over a third of respondents believed brand consistency substantially contributed to more than 20% of their company’s revenue. Keeping content consistent pays.

Contribution of brand consistency to company revenue in the United States as of August 2021

April fool’s day marketing

After the last two years of pandemic and recent wars, it felt that people weren’t in the mood for April 1st pranks. Marketers definitely don’t fall into this category. Brands like 4FINGERS announced the opening of a restaurant in a chicken farm, while car subscription business Carzuno offered a toy car vertical. The clear winner was Dyson, whose air-purifying headphones turned out not to be a joke.

Chatbots revolution

From a customer’s perspective, the chatbot experience is always terrible. This hasn’t stopped Google from investing in LaMDA, an AI technology that manages the “open-ended nature” of conversations. The key term here is “manage” — it doesn’t “understand” conversations. Google envisages this AI chatbot to turn search into a conversation. But just because AI can talk to you doesn’t mean it understands, especially in an increasingly complex world.

Trends

CNN took a step into paid streaming services with the launch of CNN Plus. A dozen weekly shows, hours of on-demand news, and even a Reddit-style tool for you to discuss the news with guests and journalists. But will people pay for more news?

The Financial Times launched FT Edit, a lite but paid version of its content offerings that delivers eight articles at 8 am. Think NYT Now (which was killed a year after launch) or Yahoo’s News Digest back in the day. The FT is charging about $8 a month for this lite app, and hopes to reach a new audience outside of its traditional base that pays $40 a month for subscriptions. “If you need to understand what is going on in financial markets, or what is going on to help do your job, this is not the right app for you.”

CREATORS

Linktree figures there might be 200 million creators out there. It surveyed more than 9,500 of them for its 2022 creators report. Here are some interesting findings:

  • 66% of creators said they do it part-time
  • 36% of creators have been making content for less than or equal to a year
  • Of those new creators, 59% aren’t making money yet
  • And in case you thought they were all making bank — just 12% of full-time creators said they earn more than $50K per year
  • 58% of creators produce 2-4 types of content

So you’re working in a newsroom, running a podcast. Suddenly, the execs decide to cut your job. Who owns the IP of your work? Make sure you get that right in your next employment contract. “In an industry with so little stability, journalists must invest — and own — the work on which they created their reputations.”

More creators are going multiplatform. “I am all about stability, and even doing this job, I think it took me 10 months and over 10 million followers to even quit my hairdressing job. To be on one platform and to put all my eggs in one basket seemed a little irresponsible.”

Pinterest is more than doubling its creator fund. It wants to attract creators across categories such as fashion, beauty, and wellness.

LinkedIn rolled out improved analytics for creators, promising to help creators “understand who’s reading and engaging”. It’s also updated its tool for profile videos — you’ll now get prompts to help you figure out what to say in your clips.

PINTEREST

Big news for e-commerce folks. Pinterest just announced their partnership with WooCommerce. Now you can automatically turn your product catalogs into shoppable pins in users’ feeds. Introducing the new Pinterest for WooCommerce extension

Reporting

How do you figure out who’s behind a website? This is a useful (and advanced) checklist for all journalists.

Opportunities

The Southeast Asia Rainforest Journalism Fund and the Pulitzer Center are accepting proposals for reports on the exploitation and deforestation of tropical rainforests. The proposals are required to have strong local voices and a distribution plan to work with local or regional publishers. Really good to see.

Tatler Asia is looking for freelance writers to cover web3. You don’t have to be an expert, but should have an existing base of knowledge on web3 and want to learn more. “We’re initially looking for people to pitch and write stories, with a view to eventually bringing someone on board on retainer to build out our web3 content and products.” Email Lee Williamson here.

Notables

Google News Initiative is running a verification challenge for 15-24 year-olds. Learn about fact-checking tools, how to use them, and then try them out in a quiz. The program runs in 8 languages, including Indonesian, Hindi, Chinese, and Thai. https://www.verificationchallenge.com/

Forget NFTs. You should be buying NASA’s moon dust instead for the ultimate flex.

BUSINESS

If you’ve been wringing your hands, try clapping them instead. Visa reports that consumer spending is rebounding after a fearful start to the year. Let’s hope they’re right! Visa allays slowdown fears as strong consumer spending lifts quarter

Scraping data, content, or copy from the web? You’re busted! Just kidding, just kidding. Turns out that web scraping is perfectly legal, as long as it’s from a public website. Web scraping is legal, US appeals court reaffirms

Time to eat responsibly. Yelp is giving eco-friendly businesses a boost with new searchable attributes like “plastic-free packaging” and “reusable tableware.” Yelp makes it easy to find and support eco-friendly businesses with new business attributes

MOBILE

More privacy updates are coming to Google. The “Data Safety” section in the Play Store tells you how data is collected and shared with app usage. If you’re a developer, make sure you update your apps by July 20 to avoid “further enforcement actions.” Google follows Apple by introducing Android app privacy ‘nutrition labels’

MARKETING

Be careful when you run a giveaway. As Rob Freund explains in this Instagram post, asking participants a purchase or payment to enter the raffle could be illegal.

Looks like junior marketers are the driving force behind marketing innovation and improvements to customer satisfaction. So the next time you’re hiring, consider giving the juniors a chance. Junior marketers are driving customer experience innovation

Paying someone to write fake reviews isn’t just a moral question anymore. It’s becoming a legal one. The UK government is already cracking down on biased information from “bad actors.” Fake reviews to be illegal under new rules

An AI wrote the intro for this article, and it’s impressive, we must say. Could artificial intelligence craft a better writing piece than us? That’s debatable, but the pros and cons of AI are worth exploring. The Future of the Web Is Marketing Copy Generated by Algorithms

How do you grow and monetize a niche newsletter? It helps to talk to someone who’s done it. And we happen to know just the guy… S01E03: Growing and monetizing a niche newsletter with Emanuel Cinca of Stacked Marketer

GROWTH

Do you like getting actionable marketing tips? Then you might enjoy the Growth Hacks Weekly newsletter from Marketing Max. Every Sunday, Max will send you his best growth hack of the week, for free. And if you sign up now, you get his top 5 all time growth hacks. Subscribe here.

Growing into a marketing leader can be lonely. By joining a community of marketers from Reddit, Apple, Voiceflow, and more, you don’t just fast-track your skills, you build the relationships that will fulfill your leadership. Apply today, only 60 seats left!

Did you know ads with people drive a 62% higher conversion rate? And did you know someone needs to hear about your brand 5 times on average before they buy? We found this out from Growth Hacks Weekly. Get one free marketing hack every Sunday, for free.

MICROSOFT

Microsoft Bing added new features to their Shopping section that will tell shoppers if a brand is eco-friendly or not. You can even check a brand’s overall ethicality rating. New updates to the Ethical Shopping hub on Microsoft Bing

If you still haven’t migrated from Microsoft’s expanded text ads (ETAs) to responsive search ads (RSA)… it’s okay. Microsoft Advertising has moved the transition deadline to August 29, so no need to rush. Microsoft Advertising extends RSA migration deadline by 60 days

Head’s up. You can now notify Microsoft Ads about when to expect seasonal fluctuations in ad performance. This should help prepare your ads for unusual performance changes without impacting algorithm learning in the long run—like before big sale days. Microsoft Advertising Seasonality Adjustment Feature Rolling Out

APPLE

Don’t leave your app unattended. The App Store is deleting any apps that haven’t been updated in 2+ years. While this only applies to store listings, many users aren’t happy about the news. Apple warns developers it will pull apps without recent updates from the App Store

ETSY

Etsy’s fee hike was enough to make sellers strike. So why did they increase fees? There are many reasons. Amazon is one of them. How an Etsy founder turned ice cream maker feels about the e-commerce giant today

TWITTER

Should you stay or go? In this piece, Sarah Perez shares her opinion on what advertisers will do if Elon Musk sticks to his free speech agenda. Will advertisers flee a ‘free speech’ Twitter?

For families, it’s Easter. For marketers, it’s seasonal ads, new campaigns, and holiday sales. Twitter has a few ideas for getting engagement during the holiday… and maybe a few sales, too. What to Tweet this Easter: Top hashtags and keywords

Great news for grammar perfectionists. Twitter announced they’re finally working on an edit button. Remember how sad it felt to lose retweets and likes because you had to delete a typo? Those days may soon be over… Twitter confirms it is working on an edit button

LINKEDIN

Announcements and career-life analogies aren’t the only things happening at LinkedIn. The “Facebook for business” platform reported a 34% YoY revenue growth and record numbers of user engagement. LinkedIn Continues to See ‘Record Levels’ of Engagement, Revenue Up 34%

You can finally add a “link in bio” to your profile, which hopefully driving more traffic to your website. Plus, if you have a newsletter, users will be able to subscribe right inside your “Featured section.” LinkedIn Adds New Profile Links and Newsletter Promotion Options

META

How do you feel about Meta automatically expanding audiences for your ads? In this article, Jon Loomer discussed the downsides of Meta’s Audience Expansion trend. Meta is Testing Custom Audience Expansion

Whoops. In a weird moment of self-sabotage, Meta glitched and randomly turned off the best performing ads in many business accounts. Check yours for any changes! Marketers report Meta bug turning off Facebook ads

Meta is making life betta’ for app developers. As of now, 124 apps have passed the $1 million revenue threshold, with 8 reaching the $20 million mark. Even crazier, these apps make up for around 36% of the entire Quest app store revenue. Meta: 124 Quest Apps Have Earned More Than $1M, 8 Have Earned More Than $20M

No more doxxing. Meta plans to end harassment campaigns by banning users from sharing private home addresses. That seems like a good thing. Meta will no longer allow the sharing of ‘publicly available’ private home addresses

Apple users who opt out of personalized ads are actually hurting small business owners more than Meta. That’s according to… Meta, which amplified this issue with a new ad campaign. Meta Reiterates the Value of Personalized Ad Tracking in New Ad Campaign

Like Facebook groups for… WhatsApp? WhatsApp just announced Communities, a new feature that lets users—and brands—create numerous groups and conversations under one account. No launch date yet, but WhatsApp says it’s “coming soon.”

PAYMENTS

Stripe wants to help the “internet economy” grow, and they’re planning to focus on four areas in particular. Here’s what’s in store for internet payments. Stripe update 2021

BROWSERS

Microsoft Edge edged past Safari, landing behind Chrome as the second most-used web browser. But second place isn’t what it sounds like. Edge’s market share is below 7%, while Chrome has 67%. Browser wars: Microsoft Edge just steamed past a major rival

TV

The streaming market is getting crowded. Netflix rivals like Hulu, HBO Max, and Disney+ now represent 61% of combined market share. No chill for Netflix, but plenty of advertising opportunities for marketers. Netflix rival streaming apps now represent combined 61% of market share

PRODUCTIVITY

Should you take on another project? What should you work on next? Brie Wolfson suggests scrapping your to-do list and using these productivity templates instead. And we might just do it, too. Ditch Your To-Do List and Use These Docs To Make More Impact

Friendly reminder. If you’re using a free version of Google Workspace, you have until June 1 before you’re automatically getting “upgraded” to a paid plan. Now’s a good time to back up those docs and photos… somewhere else. Google delays its plans to shelve free G Suite accounts… by a month

NEWSLETTERS

The Assist is a free 4x a week email newsletter that focuses on improving your life in manageable ways. Through actionable life tips that range the gamut from professional to personal, it provides the opportunity to learn and grow through digestible, quick reads.

The Assist is a free 4x a week email newsletter that focuses on improving your life in manageable ways. Through actionable life tips that range the gamut from professional to personal, it provides the opportunity to learn and grow through digestible, quick reads.

INSTAGRAM

Bye, in-stream. After phasing out IGTV last year, Instagram officially retired in-stream video ads as well. The platform is edging closer to its goal—a full-screen feed format containing videos, Reels, Stories, and images all together. Instagram’s Removed In-Stream Video Ad Placements from its Advertising Options

AMAZON

Busted! A study proves that you’re not crazy and that tech companies use smart speakers to gather data for ad targeting. Or at least Amazon does. Cover your ears, Alexa, you’re breaking the law. Study: How Amazon uses Echo smart speaker conversations to target ads

Amazon is rebranding IMDb TV to Freevee and advertisers are thrilled… about the targeting opportunities. Why? With the amount of first person data Amazon has, ad-supported free TV is a potential goldmine. Amazon Sees a Bright Future in Free TV (With Lots of Ads)

Turns out some Amazon sellers are buying and merging reviews from unrelated products to boost product ratings and sales. Amazon says they’ve taken action. Headphones on Amazon boosted by reviews for cuddly toys and unrelated products, investigation finds

Using Amazon fulfillment? Prepare for a rise in shipping costs. Amazon just announced a 5% “fuel and inflation surcharge” for third-party sellers that ship through the company. Amazon adds 5% “fuel and inflation” surcharge to seller fees for Prime shipping

ANALYTICS

If the bug in Universal Analytics’s Realtime reporting is, well, bugging you, Google has a not-so-quick solution… Just switch to Google Analytics 4. Google Analytics Real Time Reporting Bugs With Universal Analytics Won’t Be Fully Fixed

The great migration is coming! Soon you’ll be able to import existing goals from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4. Check the latest tweet by Charles Farina to see the detailed instructions.

Diligent Analytics experts did some digging… and it seems like Conversion Rates are coming to Google Analytics 4.

Was Google Analytics 4 (GA4) acting weird with you yesterday? You’re not alone. Multiple Twitter users reported that some of their GA4 data disappeared… thankfully not forever.

Double-check your data retention settings in Google Analytics 4 (GA4). GA4 makes it sound like standard reports never expire, but that may be misleading.

SEO

Meet the MuellerBot. An AI version of Google’s very own John Muller stands by to answer all your SEO-related questions. It’s almost like chatting with the expert himself… Almost. Get Answers to your SEO Questions with MuellerBot

Bye-bye, Search Console’s URL Parameter Tool. Although Google assures that there’s nothing specific you should do, you may want to monitor your analytics for crawling, indexing, and ranking changes. It’s Gone: The Google Search Console URL Parameter Tool Is Now Offline

Every day, Google’s anti-spam system searches billions of pages for spam, scams, and malicious links. Their latest Webspam Report explains how and why they do it. How we fought Search spam on Google in 2021 

Test everything… except your domain URL. According to Google’s own John Mueller, changing a URL and changing it back for testing purposes can mess up the authority of your content. Google: Don’t Change URLs and Change Them Back For SEO Testing

Google finished rolling out their anticipated March Product Review update. This latest update favors quality and unique content, so make sure you check yours for ranking changes. Google March 2022 product reviews update is finished rolling out

It’s getting harder to dethrone top ranking pages on Google. Also, did you know that over half of Google search queries last year consisted of one or two words? Semrush recently published their State of Search report, and it’s eye-opening. State of Search: Discover How the Web Changed in 2021

Mortal enemies. Apparently, Google’s algorithm doesn’t like AI-generated content, and will automatically flag it as spam. SERPs are turning into a battle of the robots! Google doesn’t want your AI-generated SEO spam content

WORDPRESS

WordPress 6.0 Beta 2 is now ready for testing! But remember, don’t try to test it on an important website. You know how easily those plug-ins and templates can break. WordPress 6.0 Beta 2

REDDIT

The platform’s new Conversation Placements are working. A Canadian Wealth Management company used it to tap into financial conversations, with 33% of the resulting installs becoming their clients! Reddit Celebrates One Year in Canada, eh?

INSIGHTS

The best marketers are always researching what successful brands are doing. Not easy when you have a packed calendar and an ever-growing to-do list. But when you join Insights, the research comes to you. Learn more here.

COPYWRITING

Clickthrough rates (CTRs) aren’t worth much if your landing pages don’t convert. Meta published a guide on what makes landing pages—sorry, “destination pages”—convert. And you know who else published a guide to crafting amazing landing page copy? Yep, we did. Meta Publishes New Guide on Landing Page Best Practices

Agencies use this secret partner to get more clients without growing their team! With Panda Copy, it’s easy to scale your writing power without having to manage a vetting or hiring process. Get unlimited copy from kick-butt copywriters.

Blank pages. Character limits. Structure. Emotion. Edits. Making time to write killer copy is hard enough without the devilish details. So if you’re crushed for time or talent, don’t sweat it. Add a professional to your team… like Joe.

Meet Peggy, an AI who crafts high-converting copy, quickly and easily for hundreds of companies. She says she’s one of the world’s best copywriters and you can put her to the test – just describe the product in at least 50 characters. Try Peggy for free.

AFFILIATE MARKETING

Remember click arbitrage? It turns out the parasitic pay-per-click hack is back and leeching off brand advertising once again. Only this time, it can be automated. Yikes. Click Arbitrage Is Alive And Well, Thanks To Automation

Interesting Marketing Video and Report

A mix of live-action and animation visuals plus historical and product heavy script writing give us the real story of the most influential person behind the electric guitar. Learn more about the Theodore. #gibson #theodore #tedmccarty

A mini-doco with strong journalistic leanings tells the true cost of food waste and how local bars can operate more sustainably.

Say what you need to say in 30 seconds via retro styled animation.

J.P. Morgan celebrate 100 years of operations in China.

Every immortal line and scene to celebrate 50 years of The Godfather (yes, we can ignore the third one).

https://vimeo.com/689566911

An animated timeline to celebrate 100 years of CÉMOI chocolate.

Workday breaks down its software solutions to the level of a pit crew, mathematician and quarterback. #ForAChangingWorld

Vans showcases art installations made from reclaimed materials that deliver an environmental message (that’s then cleaned up).

Apparently it’s not social media — everyone on their smartphone is actually banking. #CantStopBanking

Original photographic stills animated in a patchwork style to recreate the New York CBGBs punk scene. Staff Pick Premiere: “Shots In The Dark with David Godlis” by Lewie & Noah Kloster

If your concept is abstract, like say blockchain, let your animators go wild creatively. Check Out:
Minima at http://minima.global

Sometimes, fantastic animation can distract from the fact that your VO is a lot of buzzwords and jargon.

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