During these times of the COVID-19 pandemic, more brands are trying to reach out to their customers digitally. With so much content floating out there, like thumbstopper videos and engaging vox-pop campaigns, it becomes difficult for a brand to capture the attention of a user online towards their offering. Facebook and LinkedIn, well-known platforms in the social media and networking space, have launched new features on their platforms to get more engagement from users online.
For all those bogged down with content in their feed, interactive content in the form of polls are an excellent way to engage your visitors and make them feel heard. You could ask them to share their opinions or perspectives on various conversations and trending topics. Polls can also help companies in their research to evaluate new introductions to their product line. Polls give an insight into the minds of consumers and what they expect from a brand.
LinkedIn has joined Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms with the launch of their new Poll feature. Just follow the steps below to create a LinkedIn Poll:
Once the poll ends, you can get an analysis of the poll with information such as the total number of voters, most preferred option and the selection percentages of all the options. This can help you gain insights on the respondents.
Gone are the days when you had to use a CRM tool to send out emails and another to manage your online advertisements. Facebook has now introduced an option to send Marketing Emails right from the Pages Manager App (PMA). Just follow these three simple steps to start sending emails right from your Facebook Pages App:
The additional benefit of using the Marketing Emails feature on Facebook is that once you have created your database of email addresses, you can create custom audiences to target those users on the Facebook Ads platform. If you wish to grow your target audience, you can also create a lookalike audience to the users matched through this database, based on their interests, preferences and behaviour on Facebook. These audiences help your advertising campaigns get better results, by increasing the relevance of the ads.
After a core update at the start of the year in January, Google has announced the next update to its algorithms early this month, on May 4th. Each update affects Google’s search algorithms and is released with the intention to present information that is relevant and authoritative for any search result.
With COVID-19, many industries have seen a decline because of the nature of their business, while others have seen an increase. This has resulted in a significant shift in the way users search for queries online as well. This is why Google has chosen to rank certain categories higher in its latest update. This will allow relevant content to appear to match searches during these uncertain times.
For example, the search for content related to news, health, and online communities has shot up, while categories like travel, sports, and live events have seen a drop. Google’s latest update accounts for these shifts and the change in algorithms strongly affects Search Engine Results Page (SERP) volatility.
The core update that was announced in January also affected SERP volatility, but May’s core update displays a peak in these rates, which is illustrated in the graph below.
It is important to note that the update also affects thin content, as well as old content which has not been refreshed in a while. Such items will be ranked lower by Google’s algorithm update. But if there has been a change in rankings for the entire industry, there is no guarantee that implementing changes will help increase the position of the content in SERPs. Featured snippets have also been impacted with the update.
Users may recall that in September 2019, Google announced a core update that resulted in a similar outcome which changed rankings completely. A key difference was that YouTube videos began to outrank Wikipedia pages. So this is not the first time something of this sort has happened.
Since the core update reflects the direct impact industries have witnessed throughout these last few months, the same industries have experienced a win or loss with this unprecedented change.
For example, news has become paramount during these times. People across the world are trying to stay informed on COVID-19, as well as the impact it has had on various spheres of our normal lives. Information on health and medical research is also being widely consumed. And with people restricted to their homes, the number of hours online have shot up as well. Users are spending more time on different social media platforms, streaming services, and other categories of entertainment. Thus, these are the industries that have benefited most from the update this month, with news coming out on top.
Other industries have not fared as well. Travel and real estate have seen a dramatic drop, and this is reflected in the results of the update as well. Similarly, live events and entertainment, autos and vehicles, tech, and fitness, among many others, have taken a big hit. Many websites are reporting a significant drop in traffic, which is likely due to the change in the SERP algorithm.
Because marketing during COVID-19 is already in a state of flux, it is important to stay up to date with these changes and implement corrections accordingly. This can make keeping up with competitive SERPs easier. However, it might make more sense to wait until the market picks up for industries currently experiencing a decline in demand and engagement.
Brands across sectors have seen a large scale shift with the decline in the economy, which has taken a hard hit during the ongoing pandemic. And in these last few weeks, as the world has grappled with the Coronavirus and its unprecedented impact, brands have quickly stepped up to roll out important changes and updates to make these times a little bit better. Here’s a look at a few of them.
Google is the number one search engine across the globe, and with people turning to them every day to look for answers on COVID-19, it’s important that their information is accurate and up to date.
Which is why now, when you look up anything related to the coronavirus on Google, every search will trigger and display a dedicated Knowledge Panel which provides users with accurate information.
Google has also announced that arrangements have been made for some teams to work closely with the World Health Organisation through the ongoing health crisis. The information gathered in this interface enables Google to provide and update information on the Knowledge Panel with real-time news and verified advice.
At the same time, so many of Google’s products are integrated into a person’s workday - with Gmail, Google Ads, Analytics, etc. With the Coronavirus, there have been certain products that have been seeing more engagement and traction, and to make working remotely easier, Google provided free access to all features of the advanced version of Hangouts. This is applicable around the world to G-Suite users, as well as customers in the field of education, and will run till July 1st, 2020.
Google has also included Coronavirus as a featured search on its trends page. The most commonly asked questions can help guide healthcare professionals and companies address these queries and provide useful information during a time of unfamiliarity and little knowledge of the disease.
Similar to Google, TikTok has provided users with an Information Center on COVID-19. This is visible on their app in the upper right-hand corner, as an icon shaped like a shield. When users click on this, they are directed to a live page, updated continuously with news-clippings and videos from official sources, updates from WHO, information on global and domestic numbers, myth busters, FAQs, and basic preventive measures, amongst other COVID-19 initiatives.
This is an insightful way of leveraging content during these times, especially since TikTok has really taken off during these last few months with the spread of the virus. New challenges have shown up as people attempt new things while locked indoors around the world, and this has led to a massive surge in the number of downloads. In the week of March 16, 2020, TikTok witnessed an 18% increase in the number of downloads, with 2 million that week alone.
With the prevailing rise of this social media platform, TikTok’s move to provide information on COVID-related updates allows the app to be a one-stop destination for both entertainment and news. Marketers and influencers may also move to leverage TikTok marketing during COVID-19 as the situation of lockdown and social distancing remains in place.
Google is not the only brand to have made remote connectivity easier. Facebook has finally launched the desktop version of its Messenger app. Facebook has been planning to release this update for a while now, but having witnessed the increase in use and number of downloads of video calling apps during these times, this update comes at the perfect time.
The app can be downloaded on any OS and can be launched separately. It enables users to log in and use Messenger just as they would on any browser - with features to chat with different contacts, share media, and of course, video call friends and family to stay connected.
Instagram rolled out a co-watch feature on its app to bring people closer together by providing access to share screens and scroll feeds with one another. This feature is a useful one as it provides a new way for users to connect and share with one another when everyone is under lockdown at home, unable to connect face-to-face.
As the saying goes - The world is becoming a smaller place and digitisation is definitely contributing to it. Speaking of digitization, online advertising is considered a boon for businesses to keep their audiences interested in their brands. However, targeting the right audience is the first challenge faced by advertisers. This is where Taboola emerges as a game-changer in the sector of native advertising. With multiple options and settings, brands are able to create relevant and consistent content for ads that are published in multiple webpages and are synced with the design and behaviour of the users on the page. The best part of using Taboola is that advertisers can reach out to a large target audience to make their content visible and thereby converting potential users to customers.
On the other hand, managing ad spends is the next challenge faced by digital advertisers. This is when Google DV360 comes to your rescue. DV360 is a service platform that helps online advertisers to optimise their campaign with data-driven insights. This platform integrates various advertising tools to create ads that are impactful and efficient. With DV360, it has become easy to manage ad spends and revise the strategies for maximum ROI.
The good news for digital advertisers is that Taboola inventory is now directly integrated with Google DV360, Google's Programmatic Platform that is also available in India. This means marketers can now access Taboola using the DV360 platform and enjoy the convenience of optimising their campaigns while reaching a relevant target audience. This integration comes in as a blessing for advertisers to make constructive decisions to run campaigns that meet all the goals while managing spendings to yield the best results.
If you are already using DV360, activating Taboola is a simple process. Here is a step-by-step guide to activate the Taboola Exchange option on the DV360 platform.
Now you are all set to start your ads and bring out the best results as per the objectives of your campaigns.
Online advertisers have started leveraging both Taboola and DV360 to run successful campaigns by making the right decisions and targeting a wide range of audiences with innovative creatives, audio and video ads. If you have still not used these tools, hurry up and leverage these valuable platforms to build your brand and generate maximum ROI.
Facebook has launched the Multiple Text Optimization (MTO) feature in its responsive ads. This feature is similar to Google’s Responsive Search and Display Ads. Multiple Text Optimization has made it possible for advertisers to feed in various versions of the headline, ad copy, and description for one single-media ad. The various combinations will target different audiences based on what works best for whom based on granular metrics by Facebook
This follows on the heels of the launch of Lookalike Audiences by LinkedIn and options for browser, keyword and gender targeting by Quora.
Multiple Text Optimization, or MTO, is a feature added to the Facebook ‘create ad’ section. It helps optimize each ad for the respective target audience by using different text combinations.
This new feature can be navigated to through either Business Manager or Power Editor. Using this new feature, you can put in the variations for each section of the ad. You can put in 5 title variations, 5 different CTAs, and 5 variations of the description. Of these, the titles, descriptions, and CTAs will be mixed to generate different versions of the ad.
You can view the different combinations before the ad is published, on the ‘View More Variations’ tab, to see what works together. Once published, Facebook will automatically combine different headings with different descriptions. These versions will be put out to various audience groups, which Facebook’s system will analyze. It will then optimize and generate the best performing combination using machine learning
Using MTO, Facebook will customise how your ad appears to different target audiences, based on their viewing history. While this will help customise ads according to different target groups in one go, advertisers might lose some amount of targeting control. This is because the ad will be put out according to Facebook’s algorithm and not the specifications set by the advertiser. Moreover, you can only view the performance numbers as an aggregate of all the combinations, and not how each combination worked.
You can use MTO to test different features with different audiences and to see what resonates best with whom. This testing is accelerated through machine learning, enabling faster insights. While this ad will automatically be optimized for the target audience, it will also help you create the next set of ads with more insight on audience reactions.
Another way of using MTO effectively is by advertising the new product to old customers. Remarket to your old customers by including text variations targeting those who have visited your website. Since they already know and trust your brand, the conversion rate will be easier here.
MTO is thus important for building a brand through digital marketing and making your ads effectively more relatable to customers. Since this feature is similar to Google’s Responsive Search and Display Ads, some of its uses and benefits are the same. Leveraging MTO this way will definitely prove useful in creating a successful Facebook marketing strategy for your brand.
It is the Internet era where people consider Google to be the universal encyclopedia that has answers for every query under the sun. As much as users love browsing information, interactive platforms like Quora have made their way through the plethora of information available online. For the past decade, users have embraced Quora for the concept that common people can share their thoughts as answers. It has emerged as a powerful tool that brings like-minds together on common grounds for knowledge sharing. It has also grown as one of the best platforms to amplify your content and ads.
Recently, Quora has introduced three new targeting options for ads that advertisers can utilise to enhance customer engagement, with an interested and valued audience. Here are the three new features added to Quora.
Advertisers can customise their Display Ads to a relevant audience depending on their history of content consumption. Targeting is based on the keyword search, or related questions read previously. Say, for example, let the keyword be ‘baby food chart’. If users search or read questions regarding baby food or nutrition, then Quora narrows down the target audience and displays your ads in their feed and question pages. Advertisers can target audiences who have typed in the keyword in their search or read related questions in the past 20 days. This feature enables advertisers to focus on the interested audience, thereby improving the number of leads.
Gender targeting paves the way for more specific targeting of ads. If your product is women-centric, like cosmetics, then you can opt to display your ads in the Quora accounts of women. Similarly, for products relating only to men, the same principle applies. You will be able to find this option under the demographic category in the ‘Ads Manager’ search box. This streamlines your ad spends on targeting the right users who are potential customers.
If your ad pertains to any software that is useful for a particular browser, you can choose to target customers with respect to the browser that they are using. This is an add-on to the existing feature, in which Quora targets the users depending on the mobile and device usage.
It is always exciting to experiment on different ad platforms. Now is the time to leverage the interactive Q&A platform of Quora with the new features introduced for targeted customer engagement. Implement these latest strategies to accelerate lead generation through Quora and reap maximum benefits.
Page loading speed and mobile-friendliness have been among the most important Google ranking factors. To combine the two, Google has worked towards making mobile pages load faster with the help of an open-source framework which is called AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages). AMP is considered to be one of the best ways to build good web pages that rank on Google and drive higher organic traffic. With the success of mobile AMP, Google developed other versions like desktop AMP. The most recent innovation with AMP involves a platform people spend a considerable amount of time on: the email.
AMP in email is offered by the Gmail Developer Preview. This helps developers in creating a more engaging and interactive email experience. Here are some of the advantages of AMP for email.
Completing actions with the help of AMP will be much faster, like sending RSVP for an event, scheduling appointments, or simply filling up a questionnaire within the email message.
AMP helps in keeping information of the email relevant and content accurate so that emails don’t become stale. This also makes it easy to keep information updated. A simple example would be confirming an account on a website, with the help of AMP for Emails one can access the confirmation page instantly without having to open a new tab. This makes the overall process more efficient and time saving. This new update also offers a preview for websites like Booking.com and Pinterest within the email.
To optimise your page for a faster load time check out Google PageSpeed Insights.
AMP-powered email has potential that can be beneficial for email marketing, because the engaging content can increase CTR while also generating more interest when compared to a regular email.
Content marketing benefits from this update, as users can receive and access content on their email itself. This again improves the users experience making going through emails a more pleasant experience. This holds true even for users accessing emails from their mobile device.
To make the most of your email campaigns, check out our blog to know more about How to build a strong email marketing database.
Companies are working on creating new customer experiences by using AMP for emails. Adding this functionality to emails helps in eliminating the need to open a new tab to finish the task; instead it can be done within the email itself.
The new format of AMP for Emails is supported by Google’s Gmail, Microsoft’s Outlook.com, Mail.Ru, Verizon owned Yahoo Mail to list a few while it is open to other providers as well. With security and protection of personal information becoming increasingly critical lately, Google has taken several measures to safeguard this. This is why companies creating dynamic emails will need to seek approval from Google first.
Companies which have already started supporting this format are:
The format supports AMP features like carousels, lists and forms among others, while also including the standard HTML markup for email clients supporting AMP. Google has brought in other partners who will also support the AMP for Email on their respective platforms as well. Some of these partners include:
AMP for emails is a much needed update for emails making them more engaging and interactive. This update for emails opens up opportunities for content creators as well as advertisers to roll out fresh content for email marketing.
There is no doubt that digital technology has engulfed our world with a blanket of convenience. There is an app in our phones for literally every day-to-day activity, from booking a cab to ordering pizza. However, the lack of storage space and increased consumption of mobile data and time has led to stagnation in the number of app-users worldwide.
To address this issue, websites are now being re-designed with app-like behaviour. Frequent visits to these websites will lead to a pop-up in your phone prompting you to add a direct shortcut to the website in your main menu. The progressive functions of these app-like websites have led to the emergence of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). This new technology has taken the digital world by storm and is here to stay. Social Beat is one of the few digital marketing agencies who has incorporated this technology in our website. Following is an article from Times of India in which Vikas Chawla, our co-founder, has given us a closer insight into the benefits of Progressive Web Apps and their impact on the consumers.
We are delighted to announce that Social Beat is now part of the Facebook Agency Directory. This is a recent initiative by Facebook to showcase the top digital marketing companies in each region of the world. This will allow FB to drive brands and advertisers towards certified Facebook marketing experts.
Since its inception, Facebook has become central to all things social media and has also pioneered the move towards social media being used as a marketing tool for both small and large brands. Last year, Facebook India launched their SME India Council and Vikas Chawla is now a part of the Council which works closely with the platform to transform feedback from clients into working features and marketing products.
Do stay updated on Our Facebook Marketing Blog to see what’s the latest (as and when Facebook announces its new feature launches).
You may also find it interesting to read our Facebook Marketing Trends For 2017.
Since becoming a Google Premier Partner a year ago, we have constantly pushed the bar up to leverage Google AdWords and other advertising channels to deliver the best ROI. We are happy to announce that Social Beat is the only agency in India that is shortlisted for the Google Premier Partner awards for both Search Innovation & Display Innovation category. Below are two case studies showcasing some of the work we have done.
We work with Notionpress, India’s leading self-publishing company and our goal was to increase the number of leads by reaching out to potential and budding authors. The publishing space is an extremely competitive space, we used Google Search campaigns a key channel to achieve this goal. Right from creating a structured AdWords campaign to daily optimisation of the campaigns, we experimented with every feature that Google offers such as
Understanding that the people who already know us and have interacted with us through the website have the highest potential to convert as a lead, we used the RSLA feature to do just that. This feature helped us target the website visitors to convert them into potential leads. This audience, however, was from different categories and their search queries were different and we couldn't show them the same ad. The messaging needed to change and utilising the “IF Function”, we were able to dynamically change ad copies to RLSA audiences where we created a sense of urgency, which helped in increasing the conversion numbers.
The self-publishing industry in India is not only a competitive one but also a fairly new industry. In order to understand the market and deliver the best results, we had to constantly think of something new and experiment with different strategies. As part of this strategy, we used keywords of different match types to engage with our target audiences to the maximum extent. This process gave us a broad list of keywords to target and understand what exactly people are searching for and gave us a 3X increase in lead flow.
When we tried out keywords of different match types, not only did we identify many more keywords to target but also found certain irrelevant ones. These keywords were not ideal for our client so we constantly managed and added them to the negative keywords list so that it does not affect the quality of our leads. Over 6000 such words were identified and managed and this list continues to grow every day.
Targeting a wide variety of keywords from different categories meant that the ad copies cannot be constant. It needed change depending on what people are searching for. Using the dynamic keywords insertion, we were able to dynamically change the ad copies based on the search query and connect with our target audiences very well, thus contributing to increase in conversions.
We explored the CPA bidding mode to optimise the bids automatically and moved most of the campaigns to this. We started focussing on other aspects such as changing the bids based on devices, hour, time and day of the week and so on.
We used Dynamic Search Ads, which is normally used for e-commerce business as DSA provides additional text on the headlines which is not possible through the expanded text ads. This unique method helped us expand our keyword base, thereby helping us get more conversions.
We also worked on creative writing and focused on engaging ad copies in increasing the number of leads.
With the help of search campaigns, we were able to achieve a whopping 561% increase in the number of conversions, and 154% increase in CTR with optimal CPA. We also had a weekly check in with the client on the quality of leads. With this effort, we were able to reduce the % of qualified leads and improved the final conversion of leads to sales.
Casa Grande, a leader in the real estate space in South India, came to us with the objective of driving sales to their properties through Google Display advertising. With the help of every functionality that Google offers, such as responsive ads, similar audiences and smart display ads, we were able to drastically increase the number of site visits and conversions for the brand.
In India, vernacular content via digital has been growing at a fast pace in India. Of the literate 74%, only 10% read English while the rest consume content in the vernacular medium. In fact, according to statistics, Hindi Internet users (at 201 million) are said to outnumber those accessing the web in English at 199 million by 2021. Keeping this in mind, we used vernacular language as part of our advertising strategy as well as a part of our overall digital media strategy. For a real estate company such as Casa Grande, the audience is spread across Tier I, II and III cities and are not just restricted to the metro cities. It is also true that some of the metro city audiences are more comfortable with the regional language.
Purchasing a property not only involves a lot of money but is also an emotional decision so it is highly essential to talk to them in a language they are comfortable in. We tried out display ads in Tamil, which not only helped us reach a varied set of target audience but also played a substantial role in generating high-quality leads.
When Google Adwords stopped language targeting in Tamil, we quickly turned to Doubleclick and got a license to use the platform. With the help of Doubleclick Bid Manager, we were able to explore placements outside of Hindi language, which helped us achieve great success for Casa Grande, whose target audience is predominantly non-Hindi speakers.
In order to always keep a track of the latest trends in advertising, we contacted our Google support team to get us whitelisted and try out new features in the beta stage itself. Our client was delighted with the huge jump in ROI generated with a visible increase in conversions.
When the concept of similar audiences was introduced, we immediately tried it out for some of our clients and realised the huge potential it has. We’ve also executed new features such as similar audiences to generate sales and help our clients broaden their reach.
Knowing the source of the leads generated from various platforms is highly essential. This helps us to identify which campaigns, placements, topics, and audiences are driving qualified leads in order to improve our quality and quantity of leads. Using this, we are able to understand which platform and source are working better, thereby knowing exactly where to put our money to achieve better results.
No advertising works well without knowing what the target audience exactly wants. Keeping this in mind, we constantly test and refine our landing pages in order to improve the % and quality of conversions that we get. We use Crazy Egg, Zarget and Optimizely for the same. From the designs to the call to action, our team proactively uses heat maps and test various permutations and combinations to understand the consumer better and give them exactly what they want. For example, we did this exercise for our Casa Grande and understood that most of the target audience is looking for floor plans and brochures when they click on the ad. So, the landing pages were optimised to give them just that. This increased our lead flow massively.
The publishing industry being a highly competitive one with reputed and well-established players such as Amazon, we not only need to keep trying something new but also keep a track on the competitors. We use SEMRush and Ahrefs to explore the activities of our competitors to stay ahead of them in our campaigns. We also get new Campaign/Ad Group/Keyword ideas by analysing the competition.
As a team, we are constantly on the lookout to do more in less time and deliver big for our clients. In order to automate the day to day tasks, we use scripts and third party tools, to expand and optimise the campaigns. This process saves us a lot of time and cuts down monitoring simple monotonous processes, which in turn helps us focus on other aspects of optimizing the ad campaigns. It also helps in keeping a close track of the Google Adwords Account Health Score to optimise the campaigns.
We use advanced audience insights to understand our customer and target them. It also helps us with creating smart remarketing lists and use it for RLSA to get better conversions and results out of our advertising efforts.
One of the key reasons that we were able to produce such results is due to our ROI driven focus. To ensure that we push our boundaries and achieve the set targets for our clients, our team relies heavily on knowledge sharing and staying up to date on the new trends. We look forward to continuing pushing boundaries for our clients.
The Internet Society’s (ISOC) Chennai Chapter held a Round Table discussion on how Security has become a mainstream concern as part of the ICANN’s Domain Name Security Seminar (DNSSEC seminar) in Chennai on Sunday, 9th July 17. David Appasamy, Head-Brand & Strategy, Social Beat co-chaired the event along with M Sivasubramanian, President, Internet Society, Chennai Chapter, who organized the event.
The Round table was made possible by host ICANN as part of their DNSSEC initiative represented by Samiran Gupta, Head India for ICANN, and Champika Wijayatunga, Regional Engagement Manager, Security, Stability & Resiliency for ICANN Asia Pacific, who were also part of the Round Table.
The Round Table was attended by a multi-stakeholder group comprising law enforcement, academia with both students & faculty, business & start up representation, civil society with NGO participation and solutions & network representation. The discussions were wide ranging and served to sensitize those present to the increased security risks in today’s environment, both online and offline.
The conclusions arrived at during the Round Table were:
The need for widespread awareness, and for key stakeholders to take the lead in this effort, whether governments, ISPs, online sites or applications, banks & financial services companies, payment or other apps, educational institutions, companies & businesses, parents and role models becomes key. Today, with close to 4 billion people online, the need for secure behaviour online is felt more than ever before. And will only increase in future.