Video Ads on Google - what you should know and how to use them

Google is possibly the world’s largest search engine today. In the more recent past, just two years after it was created in 1998, this “information highway” launched what are called Google Ad Words. Today, these are known as Google Ads and they have a profound impact on the ways in which businesses advertise. But apart from the standard types of ads that we see on Google, we’re increasingly seeing a rise in YouTube usage. 

With 2.1 billion monthly and global active users, the number is increasing each year and YouTube shows no signs of slowing down. With this in mind, it’s important to emphasise that ads on YouTube result in large purchase rates. Recent research puts this at 43%. As a massive search engine in its own right, modifying your Google ads for video is an important step to take for your business’ success. Here’s why.

Google Ads: a brief outline of the different types

Google ads come in many shapes, sizes and types. For the novices among you, a brief outline of the types of ads you can see on Google include the following:

  • Search ads: ever typed in a search query on Google and saw an ad at the top of the search results page? Well, this is a search ad. It’s a text ad that is displayed among the search results on Google. 
  • Display ads: these are generally image-based ads and are shown on web pages within the Google Display Network (GDN).
  • Shopping campaigns: these types of ads appear in two primary areas: firstly, they appear among search results and secondly, they can be found in the Google shopping tab.
  • App campaigns: here, ads are optimised across websites and within app stores such as the Google Play Store.
  • Smart campaigns: with these ads, Google finds the best targeting in order to achieve the highest possible returns on your ad budget.
  • Performance Max: this is a new campaign type. It enables advertisers to have access to all Google Ads inventory from a single campaign. 
  • Video ads: finally, we have video ads. These are between six and 15 seconds long. They are generally found on the YouTube search engine. Visually stimulating, these are the ads we’ll be focusing on in this article.

Video ads: what they are and how they work

Although video ads may appear in one category of Google ads, as mentioned above, they can be further subdivided into various video ad types. Here are the main ones you need to be aware of:

1. In-feed/in-search video campaigns

Perfect for brands that are looking for affordable ways to reach audiences related to a certain topic, in-feed video campaigns can appear on the YouTube homepage, in search results or in the related videos section of a watch page. Essentially, they use placement targeting, which roughly translated means that advertisers are able to choose the specific pages and search queries that they would like to appear under. The way that these ads work is by having your video ad placed alongside YouTube content which is relevant to a user’s search. It’s great for building brand awareness, driving sales or even growing your YouTube audience. 

2. In-stream ads

In-stream ads are meant to be used by brands that are seeking to drive major awareness campaigns. So, how do they work? It’s important to note that these ads can be skippable or non-skippable. The skippable ads are charged on a cost-per-view basis while non-skippable ads are charged based on the number of impressions. In addition, they can appear before, during or after a video if it is over 10 minutes long. These ad types can also appear as related videos as well as across websites and apps that run Google ads. The purpose of in-stream ads is to help drive conversions and reach new audiences. They are also quite cost effective. 

3. Bumper ads

Next up, we have bumper ads. Ideal for retargeting purposes, they help give your target audience more information about your brand or product, especially those who have already made a purchase. These ads are short - only about six seconds long. As a result, they’re considered less disruptive and create a sense of urgency. These are the shortest type of video ad that YouTube currently supports. However, although short, they can truly help drive conversions with short, punchy messages. 

4. Masthead ads

Masthead ads are typically found at the top of YouTube’s homepage feed. This applies both to desktop and to the YouTube mobile app. These are quite a unique advertising opportunity that can help brands drive conversions. However, their costs are considerably higher than the three YouTube ad types mentioned above and they will need to be reserved through a Google sales representative. In addition, it’s good to note that although these ads can reach a much wider audience, their relevance, however, may be lower. It should therefore be a careful balancing act in terms of your conversion and campaign goals. 

Steps to creating video ads on Google

With all the options available to you in terms of advertising on YouTube with video ads, there are a few essential steps involved in the process to getting started. 

  1. As a starting point, you need to know exactly what your goals with a particular ad are. In your Google Ads account, you’ll be able to select from the following: Sales, Leads, Website traffic, Product and brand consideration as well as Brand awareness and reach. The main goal will also determine your campaign subtype. This will play an instrumental role in the ad formats that you can use to help you achieve your goals.
  2. Secondly, it’s important to have a clear budget set out because this will determine how often your ads are shown and their prominence when featured. Be aware of your bidding because this will determine the way in which your budget is spent. Luckily, you have options to choose from. For example, you can select whether you’d like your budget to be targeted at ad views, clicks, site conversions and more. In addition, you can always readjust your campaign to improve its performance.
  3. The next consideration relates to your targeting. With your campaign, you can explicitly focus on reaching people in specific locations, who speak a particular language or those who have a given interest. There is also the option to add content exclusions to help you reach a more focused audience.
  4. Furthermore, you will also be able to organise your ads with ad groups. This is an important way of helping you refine your targeting. It’s a great way of showcasing various products in a range. Alternatively, it’s a way to show different product categories.
  5. Lastly, there’s the aspect of actual ad creation. Some of the most important features of successful ads include creating relevant headlines and calls-to-action. Being creative means that you’re more likely to inspire your audience to take an action. 

Other related aspects to consider for a successful video ad campaign

When it comes to the actual creation process of your video ad, you need to always be thinking of your target audience. Create something that they’ll want to watch from start to finish. Interactive content is one of the best ways to do so. 

You’ll also want to make sure that you show real and satisfied customer reviews. With their massive influence on consumer behaviour, don’t hesitate to include these in your ads as well. 

Your ad should also be short and to the point. Since you’re essentially interrupting a user’s video watching experience, you want to make sure you do not frustrate them with overly long videos. Sticking to the best practice of 12 to 20 seconds should help you achieve this goal. 

Research is another crucial element to consider. It not only involves studying what your competitors are doing but also understanding your target demographic’s needs. 

Finally, you may have created the perfect ad but it’s no use if your entire digital presence doesn’t support it. For example, an ad that requires a purchase should lead your audience to an ad landing page. Ensuring that you actually have such a page will mean that you do not waste your precious clicks. There are also optimised “thank you” pages for new leads post-conversion. Therefore, it’s vital to have a comprehensive and complete offering to support your ads. 

Final thoughts

Video ads can be a powerful way for you to target and engage your audience. However, they require knowledge of the right ad format and a clearly defined strategy that is supported by a holistic online offering. With this in mind, are you ready to create your next video ad? And do you need any help? Remember that at Markception Digital, we’re just a click away and ready to offer our assistance. Simply reach out to our friendly team and we’ll get the ball rolling.

If you need some assistance with your overall social media and digital presence, let us know and get in touch with us. We’d be happy to help.


Social Media Content Optimisation Tips and Tricks

Did you know that over 88% of businesses market on social media these days? If this isn’t a clear indication that your business needs to be on social media, then we don’t know what is. It’s simply a must to go social but there are some essential things you need to know regarding optimising your content. In the world of marketing, they say that “content is king” and this has never been more accurate today. 

As a result, you need to ensure your content is clear, engaging and powerful. But how do you do this while ensuring that your online presence is consistent? In this post, we explore several tips and tricks that you can use to optimise your content. It all starts out with setting clear goals and expectations.

1. Set clear goals

As a starting point, you shouldn’t go social just because everyone else is doing it. You need to have a clear strategy and goals in mind before embarking on optimising your social media presence. This is why it’s crucial to set aside some time and think about what you want to achieve. Do you want more followers? Are you looking for more likes and shares? Do you aim to boost your sales through social media? What type of engagement are you looking for? Having answers to these questions is the first step to ensuring that your social media content is as optimised as possible. 

2. Ensure your profiles are complete

Next up, and once you’ve covered your bases with clear goals in mind, it’s time to optimise your profile. This means ensuring that every possible social media channel and the opportunities it affords you is completed as thoroughly as possible. If you have a Facebook profile, for example, you will want to fill in the “About” section, add contact numbers, images, store hours, your location and also use keywords so that the bots that crawl social media sites can find and rank you better. 

3. Create valuable content

Creating valuable content is the next big step. But how do you determine what is valuable? This will ultimately depend on the business and industry that you operate within. However, some important content that you can post about and share include reports on developments and trends in the industry. These are a great way of providing valuable information to your followers. Another aspect to look out for is evoking humour and emotions. This is an essential way of boosting engagement with your audience because it will signal to them that your brand is not a stiff corporate, but rather a company with a human touch. 

Furthermore, you should optimise your use of user-generated content (UGC). UGC is what your followers create and share related to your brand. This may mean engaging in a two-way relationship with them so that they feel valued and heard. Finally, it’s important to consider making your content interactive. This means making use of polls, informative infographics that can be used by your audience, providing free downloadable resources and many others.

4. Add tags and hashtags to your posts

Your post may be absolutely perfect in every way but it wouldn’t be complete for optimisation if you didn’t add tags or hashtags to it. These are the keywords that help bots classify content and they’re also the ways in which your users can find your content or valuable content more quickly. With regard to hashtags, it’s also important to understand each social media platform and its best practices. If you use Twitter, for example, one or two hashtags have proven to be the best strategy. Meanwhile, although Instagram allows for up to 30, you should limit your usage to around 11.

5. Use images and videos

We live in a visual world where we consume images and videos at a much faster rate as opposed to the written word. As a result, you need to use the right images for your brand and at the right size. You may also wish to make use of short videos because these are a crucial way of getting more exposure for your brand. From Q&As to how-to videos and everything in between including “a day in the life in your company” can really help improve the way in which your brand is perceived and achieve more visibility for your organisation as a whole.

6. Don’t forget your CTAs

Calls-to-action (CTAs) are another crucial component of your social media optimisation strategy. These CTAs require that your audience takes a certain action when engaging with your content. By omitting CTAs, your content will literally just sit there. But were you to add a powerful CTA to your content, you’d gently be guiding your audience towards taking an action. This could range from finding out more about your product or service, liking and sharing your post, downloading an important resource or even making a purchase. 

7. Remain active, not passive

You may think that once you’ve posted your content, that’s all that’s left to it. This would be an incorrect assumption. In fact, a best industry practice is to engage with your audience and ensure that you’re active on social media as opposed to being passive. You can achieve this by replying to comments. This shows that there’s a human side to your organisation and it comes in especially handy when it comes to customer complaints. The quicker these are dealt with, the better for your overall business reputation. 

8. Optimise links with UTMs

Finally, we reach UTMs or Urchin Tracking Modules. If all this sounds a bit technical or complicated right now, don’t worry. As will likely happen with many of your posts, you will want to lead your audience to your homepage, landing pages or even blog posts. This will necessarily imply posting links together with your content. 

By implementing UTMs in your links, you’ll be better able to gauge the ways in which your audience engages with your content and brand. And this will also help you achieve better tracking, enabling you to determine which type of content is more successful than the previous one. Ultimately, the goal is to use this data to make more informed decisions about your content going forward.

In a nutshell

Much like you would optimise your blog posts with the right keywords to rank higher for specific search queries, or your website and digital presence, your social media content needs to be optimised as well. Whether it’s using the right tags or hashtags, it all starts with having a clear strategy in mind. What goals do you want to achieve and how do you plan on doing this incrementally? Once you’ve figured this out, the tips and tricks mentioned above will help you stand in good stead with your patrons and customers, who are increasingly looking for a “human face” behind the corporate veil in its communication with the outside world. Consequently, social media content optimisation should be a key priority in your marketing efforts and one that should not be overlooked.

If you need some assistance with your overall social media and digital presence, let us know and get in touch with us. We’d be happy to help.


B2B Marketing Guide for Beginners

B2B or business-to-business marketing is the process where one business markets their products or services to another business as opposed to individual customers. The decision-makers of this business are usually the target market of a marketing campaign instead of ordinary people. Whether you’re a micro-business or an SME, you need to employ the right tactics and strategies in order to have a cohesive marketing approach that will land you the much-needed sales you’re after. This approach should involve a variety of factors which are considered simultaneously. Wondering what they are? Let’s take a closer look.

Website design and build

Most small businesses start with a website. And in this day and age, where digital tools are at practically everyone’s fingertips, this is the right approach to take. Think of your website as the proverbial sign above your front door or your business card. It needs to be attractive, catchy, informative, user-friendly and functional. It would be best if you had calls-to-action (CTAs), a flawless design, informative copy, and most importantly, your website’s various functionalities (e.g. a booking form) should work optimally each time. You can track your website's performance through various available mapping tools to see how much time users spend on it, which pages they visit most and where they may get stuck in a process.

In addition, ensure that your website is well-optimised for keywords and performance in terms of loading speed so that you not only rank high in search results but also don’t alienate or lose out on B2B customers who are visiting your site for more information. Finally, you need to optimise your website for mobile use because the business world is primarily online, and thatwill ensure that you catch every possible customer.

Social media

Social media is a huge marketing channel to exploit in your B2B endeavours. It has a massive global audience and an ever growing number of individuals and businesses are keeping up with their favourite brands online by following their social media accounts. The critical point here is to ensure you use the appropriate platforms for your business, as not all will suit your purposes. Whereas a micro merchant will use Instagram to showcase their goods, these merchants are typically not B2B but are rather B2C (or business-to-consumer) organisations. Working B2B, you need to be on the right platforms. These may include LinkedIn and Q&A sites like Quora, where professional exchanges can take place.

Remember the 80/20 rule: publish as much as 80% of informative content on your selected social media platforms and leave the remaining 20% for promotion, marketing, special deals and more. That is because customers (even B2B ones) get fatigued by marketing that simply tries to sell to them. The name of the game these days is adding value, which comes through high-quality content. Offering content such as white papers, downloadable resources, blog articles that answer particular queries, and more can be a great way to strengthen and solidify your social media offering.

Paid ads / Google AdWords

Paid adverts should be another part of your marketing toolkit, and that involves paid advertising on places such as Google and social media. You necessarily need to set aside a budget for your targets, and you also need to ensure that you refine, measure and monitor the success of your ads while revising them where possible to ensure maximum efficiency for your marketing spend. Google ads appear at the top of search results on a Google results page and compete with other businesses’ ads for certain keywords.

Therefore, you need to target the right keywords and prior research is essential. In addition, there are paid social media ads which you can implement as well. However, keep in mind your target audience and where they spend most of their time. Some may be found on platforms like Facebook, whereas others are most likely on LinkedIn. Having a clear ideal buyer persona will help ensure that you tailor your ads to your audience more effectively to ensure you make the most out of each marketing cent you spend.

Public Relations

Public Relations was typically linked to advertorials and media coverage in traditional media sources such as newspapers and magazines. While this is still the case, current PR has evolved to include the fact that most news and publications these days take place online. As a result, you need to build backlinks to news sites from your own published content so that you are viewed as a more authoritative and trustworthy source of information and a credible business.

Another part of the foray of PR is hosting or attending events and trade shows. Being invited to speak at events will give you more credibility and greater exposure, while trade shows are another way of raising brand awareness for your business by your target audience.

Local and organic SEO

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is generally performed under two hats: local and organic. Local SEO refers to your business ranking and appearing in the top three “map packs” in Google search results pages whenever a prospective customer conducts a local query. That means having a completely optimised online offering with consistent  information, positive reviews, images where possible, and valuable links.

On the other hand, organic SEO is more of a long-term game. It requires publishing valuable content regularly to help create trust in your business. It also entails using targeted, high search volume keywords in your content, which is strategically positioned not to sound “stuffed” or unnatural. Remember that search engines have algorithms or spiders that crawl sites. They can easily pick up if a piece of content is not valuable and has done too much keyword stuffing to try to get to the top of the rankings in a way that will be unhelpful for your audience.

Email marketing

It would be best if you also had a clear email marketing strategy. That will entail segmenting your audiences into smaller groups and sending them relevant and targeted content. The primary purpose is to ensure they stay on top of your company news, get notified whenever they take a specific action or interact with your website in a certain way, whenever you’re promoting a new product or service and in many other instances.

As a rule of thumb, successful emails are usually between 200 and 250 words long (maximum). Your subject line is possibly the most essential part of your email, and it needs not only to be catchy but not overly salesy or spam-like. Many email providers can quickly sift out a spam email simply by its subject, which is why you must keep it short, catchy and relevant at the same time. While it’s a fine and quite tricky balance, email marketing remains one of the most important ways of reaching your audience.

In conclusion…

A successful B2B marketing strategy is a multi-pronged process that requires careful planning, analysis, implementation, refinement, measuring and testing. However, if implemented in the right way using the tactics and tools mentioned above, you’re ready to compete effectively in your marketplace and industry vertical.

If you need assistance with your overall social media and digital presence, let us know and get in touch. We’d be happy to help.


A Beginners' Guide to TikTok for Business

The evolution and popularity of the digital world today enable businesses to reach a long-awaited destination - the overcoming of geographical and infrastructural limitations. The online space is populated by a wide range of platforms and solutions that empower individuals and organizations to reach more like-minded users, target specific audiences, and get their messages across to the world. 

One of these solutions is TikTok, a social media that can give you the opportunity to communicate with more than 1 billion users across 150 countries. If you’re searching for reliable ways to grow your business and reach out to more potential customers, TikTok is the place to be. 

In this article, we’ll offer a detailed beginner’s guide on how to use TikTok for business.

What’s TikTok?

If you use the internet and have an idea of what social networks are all about, chances are that you’ve already heard of TikTok. In a nutshell, it’s a Chinese-owned video-sharing app that allows users to create, edit, and share videos mixed with music, effects, filters, and more. It’s an incredibly successful project and is considered the world’s fastest-growing social media app that attracts a number of popular celebrities, influencers, and businesses.

It’s different to other social media channels as videos are the prevailing type of content shared. TikTok offers incredible opportunities for business growth, as long as you’re confident enough to use it and create a winning strategy for content creation and sharing.

How to get started using TikTok for business

Getting started with TikTok for business is simple. All you need to do is follow a few steps.

Get the app

You can download the TikTok app from your App Store or Google Play store. Once you’ve downloaded it, simply click the “Me” option in the bottom menu bar and choose “Sign up”. Provide your details for registration or use another registered social media account.

Set up your account

Make sure you create a business account in order to get the most out of the app. You’ll see three dots found at the top right-hand side of the “Me” page. Select “Manage my account” and hover on to the “Switch to Pro Account”. You’ll see the option “Business Account”. Click on it and choose the category that best describes your business. This will enable you to receive personalized content, events, and more.

Create content and connect

Once you’ve set up your business account, there are a ton of interesting creative tools to explore. You can also start creating content to promote your products and services. You can share others’ content and gradually grow your account to become more easily discovered.

But before you can create magic on TikTok, there are a few ground rules and tips that you should know about.

How to grow your TikTok account

The only way that TikTok will make a difference for your business is if you manage to successfully grow your account and attract more users to it. This will enable you to make your content visible to more people, increasing your chances of brand recognition. 

The quickest way to grow your account is by creating interesting and attractive video content. You won’t need any special devices or technology gear, all you need is your smartphone and internet connection. When you’re creating content, keep in mind that the dominant audience on TikTok consists of younger people. Put otherwise, try to find the perfect balance between your brand and the audience by creating funny, grabbing videos. 

Here are a few quick tips for your TikTok videos:

  • TikTok requires that all videos are in an aspect ratio of 9:16. 
  • Currently, the maximum TikTok video length that you can have in order to upload your content is 3 minutes.
  • The best way to shoot your videos for TikTok is vertical.
  • Sound plays a key part in the TikTok experience. Make sure to add relevant and carefully selected songs or music sounds to your videos.
  • Stay up to date with the latest TikTok trends for inspiration on promoting your brand, products, and services. For instance, some of the most popular TikTok trends include lip-sync or dance videos, micro sketches, and video memes. 

Advertising on TikTok

Another way to grow your TikTok profile and attract more followers is by advertising on TikTok. The platform provides a number of advertising opportunities, like in-feed video ads, branded hashtag challenge ads, brand takeover ads, TopView ads, and branded effects. Each type comes with a set of peculiarities and a certain expense that you’ll need to factor into your budget. 

Creating video ads on TikTok for business

If you’ve decided to expand your reach on TikTok by taking advantage of advertising options, you’ll need a step-by-step process. First, you’ll need to set up a TikTok Ads Account. Visit the TikTik Ads Manager and choose your billing country and the purpose of your account. Next, provide the requested details (including email ID, password, and verification code) and agree to TikTok Ad’s terms and conditions. TikTok will then check and verify your account and you’re ready to get started. 

You can create ad campaigns from the “Campaign” section in the menu, under “Create”. From there, you’ll be able to select your advertising objectives and personalize your campaign and specify your targeting. Finally, TikTok will ask you to choose a video or image to promote and to select a call to action button. You’re now ready to submit and enjoy the results.

Conclusion

TikTok enables businesses to grow and expand their reach by offering the perfect place for sharing and engaging with user-generated content. The platform is also appropriate for the creation of different business communities, where users interested in your business’ content can share feedback, discuss topics, and exchange ideas. Put simply, TikTok is an important marketing channel for any business, no matter how big or small. It’s a space that can help you unlock the full potential of your brand and reward you with more visibility, traffic, and sales.

If you need some assistance with your overall social media and digital presence, let us know and get in touch with us. We’d be happy to help.


How to Improve Your Google Business Profile

With Google being the world’s top search engine, every local business should be trying to get the prime real estate on the first page of the search engine results page (SERP). This is done through a Google Business profile. And the best part is that it’s free. It simply takes a bit of time and effort to get going, but once you’re moving, there’s no looking back. The perks of appearing in local search results cannot be understated. They bring in foot traffic to your store, drive more sales for local businesses and ultimately improve not only your search engine optimization efforts but your overall online visibility. If all this sounds pretty good to you and you’re wondering how to improve your Google Business profile, keep reading below. 

How to improve your Google Business profile

Formerly known as “Google My Business”, your Google Business profile - once created - should appear among the top results in Google’s local or map packs. These are the first three results on the SERP for a local search and they help give prospective customers more information about your business. It doesn’t matter if you’re a store, a restaurant, coffee shop, service provider or something else. As long as you’re a local business with a physical presence, your Google Business profile will work wonders for you. Here’s what you need to know. 

  • Ensure your NAP details are accurate

NAP stands for name, address and phone number. It may seem completely obvious that these details need to be as accurate as possible but many businesses fail to update their NAP details. This results in customers visiting a store during hours when the shop is closed, visiting the wrong address and other small business faux pas which can result in lost customers and a loss in revenue. Because businesses may, from time to time, change their addresses and telephone numbers, ensuring this information is as up-to-date as possible is crucial.

  • Choose the right category and subcategory for your business

Secondly, once you’ve made sure your NAP details are as accurate as possible, you need to choose the right category and subcategory for your business. This is a way of highlighting crucial information to your clients who may be looking for one thing only to see another. This also adds to the relevance of the business and its offerings. An accurate category and subcategory means the listing will be optimised. The opposite is also true.

  • Prepare a compelling business description

Google allows you a maximum of 750 characters for your business description. And you need to utilise this retail space to its maximum potential. Use as much of this character limit as possible to showcase what you stand for and what you offer. In addition to this, be sure to incorporate keywords and key search phrases that many customers use to find businesses like yours but avoid keyword stuffing because this will not only sound spammy but it will also get you penalised by Google. 

  • Add photos to your listing

Research proves that we humans are driven by the visual element. Pictures and images can capture our interest and attention in the blink of an eye. This is much faster than reading textual information. As a result, your listing should be optimised with photos (and even gifs and videos, if you’ve got these available). For your images, don’t hesitate to display your business’ logo. Then, provide interior and exterior shots of your business. Action shots of work in progress such as a waiter serving a couple or a plumber carrying out work, or anything else for that matter, will help your customers better visualise your offering and pick you over your competitors.

  • Manage reviews

Think of reviews as the digital form of word-of-mouth advertising. Today, with so many things taking place online, customer reviews and comments regarding their experience with your business is just another avenue for them to express themselves. Your business can and probably will get both positive and negative reviews. And the trick here is to respond to ALL of them. Reviews may relate to your customer service, amenities, the experience with your brand, your products or services and more. However, it’s crucial not to leave any review unanswered. Positive reviews can get a simple “thank you”. Meanwhile, negative reviews can offer a discount, a promise to deal with or improve the situation in the future or something else that’s suited to your business. 

  • Complete your products or services

Another way of optimising your Google Business profile is to add your products or services. This is like giving your customers an online menu from which they can pick and choose from your offering and decide on what they want. Completing your full range of products or services means more information is provided on your listing and it will be more fully optimised, giving customers even more information to enable them to choose you over other competing businesses in your area.

  • Engage with your profile by posting regularly

Much like search engine optimisation (SEO) works with optimising your site and building your online presence to be authoritative in your field, local search results need to do the same. Although you don’t necessarily need to write 2,000-word blog posts each week and publish these, there is other information you can post about on your local listing on a regular basis. These include special offers, a product or service showcase, Covid-19 updates, company news and more. But perhaps the best part is that you’ll also be able to add calls-to-action buttons to your post. These will enable your customers to perform immediate actions ranging from buying a product, booking a service, booking online, signing up for something you’re offering, calling your business, etc.  

  • Optimise your Q&A section

Finally, there’s the Q&A section of your local listing. Here, you can anticipate questions that your customers may have about your business and preempt these questions with readily prepared answers. Alternatively, you can respond to real customer queries quickly and timeously to ensure that other prospective customers can benefit from these Q&As and make a more informed decision.

In conclusion

Optimising your Google Business profile may seem like a lot of work but it actually isn’t once you get into the process. In addition, its benefits cannot be overstated and all this can help boost foot traffic, increase sales, drive web traffic, get you more calls and bookings and so much more. To ensure your Google Business profile is optimised, be sure that you follow the tips mentioned above and you’ll be well on your way to reaping the rewards for your business.

If you need some assistance with your overall social media and digital presence, let us know and get in touch with us. We’d be happy to help.


Google Analytics 4 vs. Universal Analytics

Google, as the biggest search engine in the world, plays a significant role for any business with an online presence. It’s the go-to place for users looking for information, product, and services. Naturally, the analytics provided by Google will be of vital importance for your business, no matter how big or small. The search engine can offer insights into what users are doing on your site, how much time they’re spending on certain content, what they’re looking for, what percentage of your visitors convert into customers and more.

All of this data was provided by Universal Analytics. However, on the 16th of March 2022, Google made an announcement that it will be disconnecting Universal Analytics and moving on to Google Analytics 4 or GA4 from July 2023. This is an extremely important transition that pretty much any business with an online presence should know about. 

And although the release of Google Analytics 4 was months ago, there are still questions about the differences between GA4 and Universal Analytics. In this article, we’ll go through the key differences in hopes of making the topic more comprehensible and easy to understand. 

Key differences between GA4 and Universal Analytics 

Before we start exploring how Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics differ, it’s worth making one important note. The main role of the release of GA4 is to provide an enhanced version of Google Analytics, where siloed data is eradicated from web and app analytics. Rather, it’s merged into a single data collection and reporting interface. This offers the much-needed connectedness between your website, Android, and IOS applications. Data from these different devices and channels can be found in one property for easy tracking and analysis. 

Now that we’ve covered this fundamental fact, we can jump on to the core differences between GA4 and Universal Analytics. 

Event-based vs Session-based

One of the differences that GA4 brings to the table is a transition from sessions to events. While Universal Analytics used cookie tracking to monitor user sessions and behaviour on a particular site. Each user-generated hit was based on that session and without it, there was no option to connect a hit in Universal Analytics to a specific user. 

Although GA4 also relies on cookies, it will also use Google signals. Rather than using session and hit tracking, all activities a user performs whole on your site or app will be stored as an event. In other words, GA4 uses an event-based model rather than the session-based model we were familiar with from Universal Analytics. The model empowered GA4 with more flexibility and the ability to integrate web and app data into a single tool.

No monthly hit limits 

Another improvement that GA4 offers is the fact that there are no longer hit limits that apply. With the free version of Universal Analytics, users were limited to a monthly hit limit of 10m hits. This was considered a significant drawback, as a lot of people found it challenging to store all the data they were interested in. In Google Analytics 4,  the limit is based on events. You can capture up to 500 events, but there is no limit to the number of hits that you can collect. 

Customisation 

For a lot of UA users, custom reports were not an easy-to-use, intuitive option. These reports were only used for a few specific cases. In addition, Universal Analytics only provided three parameter options that could be sent with each event. These were Category, Label, and Action. With Google Analytics 4, you now have the option to send 25 parameters for every event. This enables users to take advantage of the option to explore a multitude of different funnel events. This also allows you to create any type of table report in GA4’s Exploration segment. 

Predictive audiences and metrics

Another important point of differentiation between GA4 and UA is that GA4 offers predictive audiences and metrics, unlike UA. Google Analytics 4 leverages machine learning, allowing it to predict future transactions and revenue. This empowers advertisers with the ability to create targeted ads with increased chances of scoring sales. 

Segments and Audiences

How users can compare segments in reports is completely different in GA4 than it was in UA. In Google Analytics 4, to create a new segment, you’ll need to add a segment to your exploration. As with Universal Analytics, you can still use all dimensions. Once you’ve added the segment to your exploration, you will have to add it to your report. In a nutshell, users have to recreate segments for every exploration. The same exploration can contain a multitude of reports and you can reuse segments for every one of them. 

Also, a fundamental difference is that users are allowed to only segment with existing parameters in predefined reports. If your goal is to segment your reports, it’s impossible to do so without using explorations. 

User-friendliness 

If we had to compare Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics in terms of user experience and user-friendliness, GA4 would certainly win. It’s a lot more beginner-friendly when compared to UA thanks to the models used. While Universal Analytics was designed based on the principle that page views were at the heart of performance and were the most essential metric to track, GA4 acknowledges that page views are not enough and more analytical data is necessary. 

As a result, certain tracking events, like video plays and button clicks are built within GA4, without the need for users to alter any settings. 

In a nutshell

Without a doubt, Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 are not at all the same. There are a number of differences introduced into the new version of Google Analytics. You can make the transition from UA to GA4 more comfortable and stress-free by familiarising yourself with the changes in advance. This will allow you to continue analysing your business’ performance, your users, and customers to ultimately make strategic decisions that will reward you with more visibility, more customers, and more sales. 

If you need some assistance with your overall social media and digital presence, let us know and get in touch with us. We’d be happy to help.


Top most essential email types you should know

If you’ve ever shopped online or signed up for something on the web, the chances are that you would have received an email welcoming you to the business, offering you discounts or special deals, confirming your registration and a whole lot more. Email has fast become a major part of a marketer’s toolkit. And with over four billion people in the world using email, it’s an essential part of your marketing strategy. If you’re just getting started and you’re wondering what the most essential email types are and why you should use them, this post is for you.

14 Essential email types

Without further ado, here are the most essential email types you should be sending to your email list. Not just because it nurtures your clients but also because it builds credibility, reliability and trust. It’s also a great way of engaging with your clientele, especially when you’re asking them for feedback.

  1. Welcome emails

The very first time someone engages with your company and offers you their email address, you need to send out a welcome email. Most customers these days expect it. And receiving it does not have to be limited to saying “Thank you for joining us”. It can go a whole lot further by providing users a sneak peek into what they can expect to get when they sign up with your business.

  2. Feedback and survey emails

We all know that online reviews are the new form of word-of-mouth marketing. Most people will check out product or service reviews online first before they make a purchasing decision. This is why gaining feedback from your customers is so important and this is where feedback and survey emails come into play. They can be used to nudge a client to leave a positive review. Or they can be used to send surveys which can ultimately help you improve your product or service offering in the future.

  3. Product or service updates and new features

Many businesses innovate. And this innovation comes in the form of new products or features. One of the best ways to tell your audience about these is to send them an email. In this type of communication, it’s essential to emphasise the main benefits of the product or service update for your clients so that they know what’s in it for them.

  4. Transactional and lead nurturing emails

The transactional and lead nurturing emails are actually a sequence of emails that are sent automatically when a user takes a certain action or interacts with your online platform in a particular way. For example, if a client has made a purchase, this will need to be followed up with a confirmation message. If this is the first time they’ve registered with your business, you need to send them a form submission thank you email. Other email messages that can form a part of this category include subscription cancellation emails, reorder emails for subscription services and even abandoned cart emails that notify a user that there are still items in their cart and encourage them to complete their purchase. 

  5. Holiday emails

Holidays are an excellent time to send emails to your customers because this gives you the opportunity to get personal. Christmas or Easter are just two examples of holidays you can use to communicate with your audience. And they can be used to not only send season’s greetings but be informative, educational or even transactional.

  6. Milestone emails

Milestone emails take place when your business reaches a certain event that’s of special importance. Has your business reached the 10-year in business mark? Is it your business’ birthday? This is a great opportunity to notify your customers of your achievements and in addition, throw in something like a special deal or offer to mark the celebration.

  7. Newsletters and digital magazines

If you operate a blog and publish content regularly, then new content announcements through newsletters or digital magazines is a good way of not only boosting your readership but adding value to your audience as well with information they would otherwise have missed.

  8. Event emails

Whether you’re hosting a webinar or you’re going to be attending a conference and you’d like to invite your readership to it, event emails are the way to go. Keep them short and sweet and highlight the most important parts such as the date, time and place for the event. Make it catchy and show why you’re considered an industry authority and why they should not miss out on the event.

  9. Gift emails and special offers

These are another excellent way of boosting sales while offering your customers added value. Make your gift or special offer emails enticing and easy to use. This will mean having strong call to action buttons as well as easy navigation that takes them to the exact place where they can shop or order from you.

  10. Co-marketing emails

If you’ve entered into a partnership with another company that’s considered a well-known and established brand, then emphasising this collaboration to your audience will be to your advantage. Highlight who you’ve partnered with, why the partnership and what your users stand to gain from it.

  11. Social media emails

If you’re wondering what social media emails mean, don’t worry! These types of emails are those that are typically sent through social media platforms such as LinkedIn and others. They are just one more way of reaching your audiences outside your traditional email list and no matter what your message or call to action may be, they need to be compelling and personal.

 

  12. Brand story emails

Brand story emails tell the unique story and elaborate on the journey your business has taken to get to where it is today and where it’s going. Storytelling in marketing is a huge plus in a marketing toolkit and it needs to be utilised to its full potential. If you’ve got a story that you’d like to share with your audience, these are the emails that will do the trick for you.

  13. Video emails

Video is quickly gaining traction as one of the most sought after sources of information. They can act as powerful agents of persuasion because if they are engaging, informative and catchy. Sending an email with a video in it is also proven to get much more clicks than those emails without one. So, whether you’re offering a sale or launching a new product that you’d like to show your audience how to use, video emails are a must.

  14. Internal emails

Finally, don’t forget that your employees are your company’s ambassadors and if you engage them well and show your appreciation through valuable emails and internal communication, your business will get that much more exposure and a positive brand reinforcement. 

Wrapping up

Although the quantity of email types that you can send out may seem somewhat overwhelming, it must be remembered that emails in this day and age are a must in any marketer’s toolkit. They help foster engagement, they drive more sales, they help improve your bottom line and they lead to customers who are loyal to your brand. If executed correctly, you’re much more likely to reap the rewards of email marketing than if you were to sideline this critical email tool and use it sporadically or haphazardly.

If you need some assistance with your overall social media and digital presence, let us know and get in touch with us. We’d be happy to help


What is local SEO and why is it important?

In the past, before the internet, we literally had the Yellow Pages directories to help us find anything from hairdressers to plumbers, doctors or restaurants. With Google stepping up to the plate and dominating most of the world’s internet searches, these “Yellow Pages” have become somewhat obsolete. Only to be replaced by “local packs” on Google. So, what are local packs? These are the three top local results for searches conducted on Google regarding an actual brick-and-mortar business, its name, location, address, telephone numbers and so much more. All this ties in with local search engine optimisation (SEO). But what exactly does it mean and how can you utilise it for your business? We take a closer look below.

What is local SEO?

Local SEO can be explained as a marketing approach or strategy to get businesses visible and ranked on Google’s search engine results page. However, this visibility appears above adverts and the so-called “blue links” results. They are listings of businesses in a local area that contain pretty much all the information a customer or visitor is looking for in order to make an informed decision about a business and whether they should frequent it or not. Local SEO is the back-end of getting this visibility. It involves several processes that work in tandem with each other to get ranked in the local or map pack of Google searches.

When a user enters, for example, “hairdresser near me” or “hairdresser in Manchester”, they’re likely to get the top three results with an associated map to help them find exactly what they’re looking for in a location near them. To help users optimise their searches and get the best results, Google utilises its algorithm and crawls spiders using a three-pillar approach. The main factors for these pillars are relevance, distance and prominence. Here’s a brief breakdown of how they work in conjunction with each other.

 

  • Relevance: relevance is the connection, bearing and usefulness of a search that’s entered on Google to a local business. There essentially needs to be a solid “match” between what the user is searching for and what results Google shows them. This match is achieved when a business targets keywords that are relevant or which align with a user’s search query. 
  • Distance: distance refers to the physical distance between a business and a user’s location. If a user does not specify a location in their search, such as mentioning “Notting Hill” or “Sussex”, Google will calculate the distance “based on what is known about their location.”
  • Prominence: finally, there’s prominence, which refers to the recognisability of the business in the real and not digital world. Prominence is calculated based on several criteria. This includes a collection of information that Google has about a business from the entire internet. This information includes links, articles and directories. Others include online customer reviews, questions answered and more. Examples of businesses or attractions that may receive higher prominence and, therefore, more visibility in a user’s search include well-known museums, landmarks, hotels or even shop brands. 

 

Benefits and importance of local SEO

Local SEO is critical for SMEs which have a physical location or service-based businesses and also for franchises and franchisees. By having that visibility on the local pack, you can immediately reach more people, drive more conversions, drive more foot traffic to your store, boost traffic to your website, increase calls, bookings and leads, as well as build trust, loyalty and engagement with searches, all this in addition to enhancing your business reputation.  

Why is this important? In essence, it all boils down to what businesses are after: more leads, customers, conversions and sales. In our digital world, the higher your web traffic, the higher the chances of online visibility and then conversions and product or service sales. Also, depending on the nature of your business, local SEO becomes important because you can further boost signups for accounts and newsletters, get more phone calls, offer free trials to more people and get more form submissions.

Some data to back this up includes that:

  • 78% of users who search for a product or service in their locale on their phone visit that business within a day;
  • 70% of customers are more likely to visit businesses with a complete business profile;
  • Around 50% of the latter are more likely to purchase from them;
  • 28% of local searches actually result in a purchase;
  • 30% of searches conducted on mobile phones are linked to locations;
  • 61% of consumers conduct local searches on a daily basis;
  • 82% of consumers check out online business reviews prior to making a decision; and
  • 86% of consumers depend on Google Maps to find the location of a business.

Top tips to excel with local SEO

Now that you understand why local SEO is so important, you might feel out of your depth in terms of approaching this broad subject. But there are some tips we’d like to offer you to ensure you make the most out of your business profile on Google. Here’s what you should consider:

  • Choose accurate categories for your business on directories and on Google Business Profile
  • Use keywords in the description and content
  • Create content that’s relevant to the expertise of your business
  • Add keywords in your title tags and meta descriptions
  • Acquire links from local and industry websites
  • Be sure the proximity of the business is relevant to the user’s location
  • Add your business’ name, physical address and telephone number to your listing and be consistent with this information across your entire online presence
  • Make the phone numbers clickable on mobile
  • Ask your users for reviews - the higher the reviews and your response rate to them, the higher the chances of ranking and converting leads
  • Be sure to have a contact page and map on your website, including testimonials
  • Claim your business’ social profiles
  • Create content that’s locally targeted (e.g. a list of local events)
  • Be sure to build citations on local search engines, blogs and local directories
  • Develop your business’ reputation through digital PR
  • Monitor your competitors and changes in Google
  • Engage in local SEO reporting (where necessary)
  • Ensure your website is mobile-friendly.

Final remarks

Local SEO is a must for any business these days - whether you offer products at a physical store or services at people’s homes. It’s an often overlooked marketing strategy but if used in a holistic way and optimised as well as your organic SEO efforts, it can yield significant results for your business’ success. These days, everyone’s online - both businesses and customers. Catering to their search needs means more visibility for your business and therefore more leads, bookings and sales. 

If you need some assistance with your overall social media and digital presence, let us know and get in touch with us. We’d be happy to help.


How to increase your Instagram organic reach in 2022?

Instagram is becoming a vital part of the social media strategy of every business. This mainly goes for companies that work on the B2C level and sell goods and services to end-users. Investing in ads may be something that everybody does, however, there is another important aspect to consider - boosting your organic reach on the social network. Luckily, there are still some ways to do that on Instagram and we are going to give you a few essential tips. 

In this article, we are going to feature only proven tactics that we use for our clients. Keep in mind that the results may vary. If you are consistent and have high-quality and engaging content, the increase will come sooner rather than later. 

Use Instagram Stories and Instagram Reels

Last year, the Head of Instagram - Adam Mosseri, said that “Instagram is no longer a photo-sharing app”. He mentioned that “the company is looking to lean into entertainment and video after seeing the success of competitors like TikTok and YouTube.”

That’s why stories and reels should become your primary focus.

We know that they are two different things. However, both of them will boost your organic reach in 2022. Instagram Stories remain a key factor to share some brief insights from the company's everyday life or to announce something interesting that will be coming up - a new product, a new service, or maybe a promotion. They are the ultimate engagement tool for your audience where you can ask questions, run polls or quizzes and this way directly interact with your followers. The more they take action on your story, the more it will be prioritized by the algorithm because these actions will “tell” the platform that this content is cool and interesting.

Instagram Reels on the other hand will be pushed by the algorithm of Instagram itself (they have to overpower TikTok in some way, as Mosseri said). You can use reels to even share a short story that can be funny or creative and get your audience engaged. Maybe you can outline what awesome place for work you provide. Imagine an Instagram reel that tells that story: 

  1. Work from the boring office as usual;
  2. The weather is nice and people are looking out the window; 
  3. The manager tells the whole team to head down and work from the beach;
  4. Final shot with some refreshments and a few people on laptops with their feet in the sand. 

Not bad, right? However, you need to follow and apply the trends in the niche your brand operates in. Otherwise, you are going to have boring content that nobody interacts with. 

The right post at the right time

This might look very simple. Yet a lot of people out there are not paying attention. You can get the most of your posts if your schedule is aligned with the time of day when most people from your target audience are active. If you don’t pay attention to the details some mistakes can happen like: 

  • Not considering that your target audience is in a different time zone; 
  • Not taking into account holidays and vacation periods people have; 
  • Not posting relevant content to some major events going on. 

In order to get the best out of your posts, you have to be sure to post the right thing at the right time that will get your audience engaged. This may sound complicated, but you can check when your audience is most active (from profile insights) and check if there is something interesting you can use as inspiration or the subject of your post. That answers the questions “When?” and “What?”

For example, for a client of Markception, we post on Instagram in the relevant time for Chicago (around 10 AM local time) and browse for local interesting events, historical facts, or celebrity visits to use as information in our posts. 

Engage the audience with challenges, giveaways, and contests

The best way to increase your organic reach is to engage your audience. And you can do that by involving them with something easy: 

  • Have a challenge; 
  • Ask them a question; 
  • Organize a giveaway; 
  • Get them to vote in the comments; 
  • Organize some contests. 

All of these can be integrated into the social media strategy of your brand. For example, one of the best performing stories for a client of ours that offers beauty procedures was related to the way women put on their under-eye patches. There was a poll on an Instagram story and the results were amazing. It was the most engaging story ever posted on this client’s account. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go live, use hashtags, inspire user-generated content, and tag other users and brands

This may seem like too much stuff for one final tip. However, most marketers don’t use the full potential of the social network. In order to increase your Instagram organic reach the most, you have to use all the tools to your advantage. 

That means you can go live and share something awesome that happened to you. Did you land a new client? Opened a new office? A new store? Got some reward? Be spontaneous and go live when there is something big to share. You can always say at the end: “More news on our website soon!”. 

Hashtags are important because your post can be discovered by someone who doesn’t follow you. However, people don’t tend to use them that much. The same goes for the location. And you could be missing out a lot if you are one of these people. Explore the #s which are relevant to you based on your service, location, experience, trending topic, or something else that can be related to your business. 

Tagging on Instagram works both ways. Yes, it is great to interact with users and brands. However, the big boost will come if you inspire user-generated content that is related to your brand. For example, here is something you can do:

  • Announce a contest for the best makeup routine with the cosmetic products you are selling;
  • Communicate a reward that will be attractive enough to get the people engaged; 
  • Get your audience to post a story with their makeup and share what they love about your product; 
  • Get them to tag your account. 

That, right there is just one of the examples you can do. Get creative and you will achieve awesome results. Users are tired of the same old ads, posts, and content. They want something new, something fresh and they want it now. So give it to them! 

If you need some assistance with your overall social media and digital presence, let us know and get in touch with us. We'd be happy to help.


What are some of the social media trends for 2022?

Another year is about to pass. And while people are still opening their Christmas gifts, we at the marketing agencies are planning meetings with clients to discuss strategies and are exploring useful trends that will be hot in 2022. In this article, we have summarised the best ones for you. A huge help in our research has been reporting on global trends by Hootsuite, Social media examiner, CMS Wire, and the Influencer marketing hub.

Trend #1: Influencers will help brands build communities 

Influencer marketing is not something new. However, it was more directed to increasing sales rather than creating communities. People are getting tired of seeing someone famous to try to convince them to buy something they don’t need. We foresee that one of the big trends of 2022 will be the joint work between marketers and influencers in creating communities around the brand with people that share the same values and vision. 

Trend #2: Content will be king again

Yes, it is true that people have shorter attention spans and are reading less as each year goes by. However, this makes written content even more important. You need to share compelling and engaging messages with your audience using fewer words. This requires a lot of skill and the development of the right copy for your brand. 

Good copywriting is just part of the bigger formula for content marketing. The main thing about a great content marketing strategy is the diversification of content formats and using them to achieve different goals. Brands should create audio and video content in different formats and distribute it via different channels. And not only that. 

The option for creating and distributing good content is a lot: 

  • blogs;
  • vlogs and videos;
  • podcasts and audiobooks;
  • ebooks and infographics; 
  • different forms of visuals; 
  • email and newsletters;
  • presentations; 
  • expert article and white papers;
  • reports;
  • free courses and training and many more. 

You need to find the rind formula that fits the needs and goals of your brand. 

Trend #3: Ads that don’t feel like ads

Consumers are tired of seeing the same old ideas, same old CTAs, same old visuals. The brands that risk it with their ads will have better chances than the ones that don’t. Ads in 2022 have to give some added value, not just be another brick in the wall of sponsored content people see. This can be done with the implementation of more creative concepts - ads that don’t feel like commercial material are the thing that will encourage people to trust the brand. 

Trend #4: Social media customer care becomes vital

Users are interacting with big brands more and more on social media. Yes, phone and e-mail remain a vital part of customer service. However, if brands underlook the customer care experience they offer on social media, they are going to be in big trouble. Communicating with customers on social networks is not about only chatting - you have to answer reviews or some status where an unhappy person has tagged your brand. Do not underestimate this - your brand might suffer a lot of reputational damage if you do. 

Users on social media expect brands to have an immediate and adequate reaction to their questions and needs. For them, social media is a channel for direct connection and interaction with a brand or business and their expectations are quite high. 

Trend #5: Nostalgia will work like a charm

The final trend in our short overview is nostalgia marketing. This will again bring benefits to the brands that know how to use it right. People are nostalgic and care about the past. The best thing is that it can be used by brands in almost any industry: 

  • If you are a sports club issue limited edition shirts from several years ago; 
  • If you are a diner, have a retro evening night. 

There are a lot of great ideas out there. When you sit down to figure out your marketing strategy for next year just make sure to stay true to your brand and follow the trends. If you need some help in that area, feel free to contact us