Tag: Marketing

Clubhouse News – Clubhouse update for November 2021

iOS Release Notes👋🏽 Thank you so much for being part of the Clubhouse community!

Below is a list of what we shipped in each recent release. Weds, 11/17

Hey, happy Wednesday! We have some new stuff for you to play with today. Closed CaptioningWe want Clubhouse to be a welcoming place where everyone can enjoy the magic that happens when people get together and talk with one another. Closed Captioning mode within Live rooms makes that possible for more people. It starts rolling out today with support for English. We’re also releasing Captions in beta for Cantonese, Mandarin Chinese, Yue Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Arabic, Russian and Turkish.

To enable Closed Captioning, click on the “…” button within a live room and select “Show Captions”. Check it out and please send us any feedback!

Better Discovery for Replays

There’s nothing like experiencing the moment in real time, but replays have helped creators of all types build a catalog of their best rooms for people to enjoy as if they were live, but later. Now we’re also making it easier to find these replays as a user. Yay!

Replays in Search

Replay rooms now show up as a result when you search! If you heard about a great room that you missed, just search for the title, kick back and listen in.

Replay Carousels

We love the hallway because it’s so much more than a feed — at its best, it really feels like walking through the world and seeing all kinds of people around you having wildly diverse conversations.

Today, a new crowd is arriving at the party: carousels featuring replays from the best rooms in your network!

It’s also really good exercise for your finger to swipe sideways instead of just downwards, scientifically, this is a known fact. Enjoy!

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

Clubhouse Update / Clubhouse News

Wed, Oct 27

Hi all!

Today we have a little big feature that we are so excited to share with you…📌🔗

Introducing Pinned Links!

Pinned Links allow you to pin a link to the top of your room. If you’re the room moderator, just tap the “…” menu in the upper right, then tap “Pin a Link.” Any moderator can change or remove the link anytime. We suspect that people will use Pinned Links in all sorts of fun ways — like playing games, running polls, and sharing links to YouTube videos.

Just as importantly, we’re excited to see Pinned Links help room creators drive people to subscribe to their Substack, download their podcast, read their book, go see them at The Laugh Factory, discover their new single, buy their product, or support their Patreon or GoFundMe page.

You can learn more on our Pinned Links blog post, or just start a room and try it out! We can’t wait to see how you use it.That’s it for now. As always, thank you for being part of Clubhouse! 🙏🏽

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

Snapchat Shares New Insights into NBA Fan Engagement in the App

With over half of all basketball fans in the US active on Snapchat, the app presents significant opportunity for tie-in campaigns and promotions. … …

Snapchat Shares New Insights into NBA Fan Engagement in the App

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

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3 New Ways Facebook is Helping Brands Manage Their Content and Communities

According to Facebook‘s recent State of Small Business Report, more than half (55%) of small businesses say they’re using digital tools to communicate with customers.

On the heels of this research, the platform announced several new tools and features to help businesses connect with their customers online and grow their communities more efficiently.

Building Community

For businesses that already use the new redesigned Facebook Pages experience, originally unveiled this past January, the platform is introducing additional ways to manage your community and find relevant content from other businesses without having to deviate from the app.

More specifically, businesses can engage as their business profile streamlining routine tasks including commenting, posting and liking. Once a user takes the time to check out or hover a particular update or post, they can tap through a new dedicated feed of listings from these Pages that may align with their top interests.

To further help you save time managing your business account, Facebook suggests leveraging the Professional Dashboard that serves as a central hub for all the key tools as well as actionable Page Insights. A final tip – don’t overlook the ability to set task-based permissions to admins to further monitor who has access to your Page.

Upping discovery

“The need for digital business communications and transactions isn’t slowing down, and we’re continuing to build products that meet the evolving needs of people and businesses as they look to do more online,” Facebook shared in the official announcement. In this vein, it’s rolling out a few noteworthy updates emphasizing the quality versus quantity of leads.

A new ‘Conversion Leads’ goal for Lead Ads allows advertisers to optimize for lead and most likely versus pure volume. Put differently, emphasizing functionality of Lead ads as opposed to going for reach alone. You can also integrate your CRM data with Facebook. Per the platform, Lead ads that used Conversion Leads quality optimization saw on average greater than 20 percent increase in lead-to-sale conversion rate compared with existing optimization.

To drive longer-term relationships, Facebook also introduced the option to convert Lead ads form into Messenger templates. As part of the testing phase, Newsome Interactive added Messenger to its lead-generation strategy and saw more than a 13 percent lift in lead volume.

Finally, new ‘Call Ads‘ will enable advertisers to display a ‘Call Now’ CTA button in their ads. This not only allows advertisers to connect with consumers in real time, but also help improve the overall performance of Call ads and lower the cost per call. In testing, Facebook reports observing a greater than 30 percent cost reduction in cost per quality call during the test, compared to running Call Ads with the Link Clicks optimization goal.

Improving the Business Suite: scheduling stories and editing scheduled posts y

Last year, Facebook rolled out Business Suite with the primary goal of taking the headache out of managing their online presence so they could focus purely on establishing meaningful connections.

A recent survey revealed that two out of three users said Business Suite helped them connect with more customers. Following 2020, however, as a growing number of people and businesses focus their efforts online, and with the future leaning heavily towards digital communications and transactions, the platform wants to take these efforts to the next level.

In its latest push, Facebook is focusing on helping brands streamline content creation by planning, and these new features are designed to do just that.

Here’s what’s new:

  • The ability to compose Stories within the app, then schedule them to go live on both Facebook and Instagram. Your scheduled posts will then be displayed on your content calendar within the Business Suite app.
  • The ability to save all Facebook and Instagram posts as drafts, adding even more planning flexibility for your Stories approach.
  • Coming soon: the ability to publish and manage Facebook Photos and Albums from Business Suite by navigating to the “Posts & Stories” tab.

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How Facebook is Diversifying Monetization Options for Creators

Per new Facebook reports, fom 2019 to 2020, the number of content creators earning the equivalent of $10,000 per month grew 88 percent and content creators earning $1,000 per month grew a whopping 94 percent.

To further support its bustling community of creators, the platform recently unveiled several new updates and features to help them diversify their revenue options whether it’s a primary business or a side hustle. Here’s a recap of what’s new.

  • Earn revenue from short-form video: Content creators can monetize all video types and testing sticker ads in Stories.
  • Opening monetization to more content creators: Facebook is expanding in-stream ad eligibility allowing more video creators access to the program. In addition, Facebook is opening up in-stream ads for Live and expanding paid online events and fan subscriptions to more countries.
  • Accelerating fan support: Content creators have easy access to fan support while growing consumer adoption via free Stars giveaways to viewers.

Diversifying reach through short-form video

Looking to the expanding format of short-form video — Facebook revealed that creators will now be able to earn money from videos as short as one minute long, “with a minimally interruptive ad running at 30 seconds.” For reference, in the past creators and brands could only monetize with in-stream ads of videos three-minutes or longer with the ad itself shown no earlier than 1 minute.

In the announcement written by Facebook’s Director of App Monetization, Yoav Arnstein, explained the growth trajectory of in-stream adds across video partners of all sizes – with ad payouts increasing over 55 percent from 2019 to 2020 alone.

“We’ll begin testing the ability for content creators to monetize their Facebook Stories with ads that look like stickers and receive a portion of the resulting revenue,” Arnstein explained. The broader goal is to further the development of these in-stream ad formats that lend to diverse, engaging experiences amongst relevant audiences though rewards or product interactions.

With this, the company unveiled updated eligibility criteria for those who quality for monetization. These include:

  • 600,000 total minutes viewed from any combination of video uploads – on-demand, Live and previously Live – in the last 60 days.
  • Five or more active video uploads or previously Live videos. Videos must be published, not deleted, and compliant with our Content Monetization Policies.

Driving revenue through Live with Stars

Live is another key area of focus for Facebook. As part of the push, the platform is delivering new live video monetization options to a previously invite-only program. More specifically, those looking to add in-stream ads in their live broadcasts will need to have 60,000 Live minutes viewed in the last 60 days. Aside from in-stream ads for Live, the company is boosting awareness of its Stars gift-giving program. Per the announcement, over the past six months people sent video and gaming creators an average of 1 billion Stars per month, equal to $10 million per month.

“During certain Star-enabled livestreams, some people will see an offer to claim free Stars that they can send at their discretion to their favorite content creators to boost their visibility and connection with the creator and add to the creators’ earnings,” said Arnstein.
While Stars lends itself primarily to the Live format, Facebook is experimenting with Stars across different formats including a new test of Stars for video-on-demand and Stars options for short-form video clips.

Bringing fan subscriptions and paid online events into more regions

2020 was a testament to the power of digital in bringing people together. From sporting events, cooking classes, Live podcast recordings, virtual tours, make-up tutorial and more, brand and creators continue to expand the scope of how they connect with new and larger audiences and monetize their efforts. To continue the momentum, Facebook is bringing paid online events to an additional 24 countries including Hong Kong, Indonesia, and Ireland.

Similarly, Facebook is also expanding its fan subscription feature. To date, there are over 1 million active fan subscriptions to content creators on Facebook and paid online events are in 20 countries. The fan subscription feature is currently in more than 25 markets and, with a new push, will made available an additional 10 countries including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.

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3 Ways Gen-Z is Empowering a Digital Economy

In partnership with Oxford Economics, Snapchat recently set out to explore the role of Gen Z in driving the post-pandemic recovery, digital economy, and their impact in marketing efforts and what this means for the industry at large.

We’ll take a closer look at some of the themes and trends unveiled by the findings, but amongst the key pieces of information in the report include:

  • Gen Z will support $3.1 trillion of spending by 2030 across six key markets studied: Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States
  • The global AR market is projected to expand four-fold by 2023
  • Technology and COVID-19 are set to transform skills demand, with the majority of jobs to require advanced digital skills
  • A greater emphasis for the future workforce will be put on skills such as agility, curiosity, creativity, critical thinking and problem solving playing into Gen Z’s natural strengths

Gen-Z: the engines of consumer spending

Gen Z is set to emerge as an independent and powerful source of consumer spending. While most of this cohort are on the periphery of the labor market given their age, this is set to change drastically in the coming years. Specifically, their consumer spending will increase more than six-fold, from $467 billion in 2019 to $3 trillion in 2030, equivalent to 11 percent of total household spending. Further, Gen Z’s share of total employment will rise noticeably from a mere 10 percent in 2019 to 30 percent in 2030.

Beyond digital competence, Snapchat highlighted several key characteristics that will set Gen Z-ers up for success in workforce. These include agility through absorbing information quickly and responding to new challenges with an open and innovative mindset. They’re also more creative and compared to their older cohorts and very curious to engage in forms of communication and content creation including AR, emojis, lenses and filters.

The evolving AR market

It’s no secret that COVID-19 will act as a significant disruptor, accelerating shifts towards a more digital society and fundamental changes that will transform our world of work.

One of the fastest-growing technologies many have their eyes on is AR. Outlined in Snapchat’s report, it is estimated that the global AR market revenue nearly quadrupled between 2018 and 2020. The next three years are expected to be marked by a similar trend with estimates projecting a 10x increase by 2023 from 2018. Stats aside, what is key to note is that AR’s characteristics pave the path for a significant demand in digital skills comparable to that seen in 2010 with the rise of social media platforms.

Allowing new forms of expression, entertainment, utility and information-gathering it is not only essential to how brands attract attention and connect emotionally at scale, but the technology is facilitating immersive experiences that are redefining retail and online beauty. According to research by Shopify, interactions with AR/3D garnered nearly 94 percent more conversion to sales compared to non-AR channels. Outside of marketing and e-commerce AR will continue to transform how we experience healthcare, education, architecture, entertainment and manufacturing.

The future of learning and re-skilling for a dynamic workforce

While the disruption to formal education amongst Gen Z is a key concern following 2020, the impact on their labor market prospects remains uncertain. To put the rise of online learning into context, platforms such as Coursera and edX enrolled over 180 million students in courses in 2020, up by 1,000 percent compared to five years earlier. As we face increased reliance on remote working, Snapchat’s analysis points to Gen Z’s higher digital competence as largely supportive to their adaptation to this new way of working.

Additionally, in common with all recessions, the pandemic is set to accelerate a new wave of automation driving demand for creativity and curiosity in the workplace—two of the inherent traits of Gen Z mentioned earlier. With this, the increased importance of lifelong learning is set to rise with workers required to adapt to more rapidly evolving demands. This involves picking up new technologies and software to spur new ways of doing business, respond to the structural changes and challenges, and re-skill in a dynamic workforce that will set the tone for the 2020s.

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How The Clubhouse Phenomenon Could be Utilized as a Marketing Strategy

If you don’t happen to be familiar with the unique audio-based social network, Clubhouse, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many haven’t had the chance to use it because they’re either not on an iOS device or they haven’t received an invite. However, it’s likely that marketers will soon wake up en masse to the potential of this platform as a unique opportunity to win new leads and leverage fresh conversions for their business. 

Despite launching in May 2020, by the end of the year Clubhouse was enjoying having over 600,000 registered users, despite a lack of presence on Android devices and online. 

Clunhouse User Growth

(Image: Backlinko)

As we can see, in early 2021 Clubhouse downloads have spiraled past six million thanks in no small part to Elon Musk’s advocacy of the platform. The growth of Clubhouse appears set to continue to spiral due to the network’s unique invite-only framework, where users are unable to simply sign up to the app without first receiving a user invitation. 

Clubhouse non-us markets

(Image: Backlinko)

While the vast majority of Clubhouse users are based in the US, the market is expanding rapidly across Germany, Japan, and the UK. Other English-speaking nations like Canada and Australia are experiencing an increasing number of downloads while Turkey’s relatively young population is among another significant nation of large early adopters. 

But what actually is this new social media network that’s spent the past year steadily embarking towards global domination? And why could Clubhouse provide marketers with a golden opportunity to connect with their audience in a brand new way? Let’s look at how Clubhouse can be utilized as a marketing strategy:

What is Clubhouse

Clubhouse is a social audio chat app where users have the ability to tune into interviews, conversations, and discussions between people on various topics. Think of the platform as a podcast, or a streaming service like Twitch, only the content is live audio. Once the discussion has finished, the content is gone and there are no recordings available afterward. 

For the time being, only existing users are capable of inviting others. This means that to sign up, users will need to know somebody who has already registered to the platform themselves to get in. Meanwhile, anybody can download the app on iOS to reserve a username – and then it’s a case of waiting to get an invite to dive in. 

The reason behind this rather unique approach to Clubhouse stems from the fact that the creators are still developing the platform and working to develop safety features and guidelines ready for more broad adoption. When the app can handle large audiences, plans are in place to open it up for everyone to use. 

This closed-circuit release of Clubhouse may have inadvertently – or indeed deliberately – become an excellent marketing ploy by its creators. The scarcity of invites has created a buzz around the app that may not have existed to the same extent if everybody had the chance to join in and eavesdrop on conversations from the word ‘go’. 

Furthermore, a number of factors like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the sustained popularity of podcasts, the free time that remote work has generated and general widespread video fatigue appear to have combined to make Clubhouse the ideal social app at the ideal time. 

Ray Wang, Constellation Research principal analyst and founder described Clubhouse as “the modern version of AM talk radio democratizing a digital society. The other unwritten part of the business model is a way to reward content creators with a new platform.”

Clubhouse taps into the popularity of podcasts while allowing users to multitask as they engage in the app. Unlike with copy and video, listeners to audio can do tasks like exercising, cleaning, or checking our inboxes as we hear the individuals we follow talk live. 

The Potential That Clubhouse Holds for Marketers

So, what makes Clubhouse a great fit for brands? The answer to this depends on your business, and what you’re looking to achieve from your campaigns. 

At the moment, Clubhouse has displayed significant potential for boosting users as thought leaders and expanding audiences within their respective niche. 

In terms of use cases, it’s been reported that some attorneys have already been able to find new clients via Clubhouse by using the platform as an opportunity to share their expertise and demonstrate their value to followers within dedicated rooms – while some brands have even begun sponsoring discussions on the app and sharing business insights in rooms of their own. 

This appears to be the most significant benefit for brands. The platform is a hub for sharing knowledge and insight through the means of various discussions that can build on community connections. These demonstrators of value could hold significant value too with Clubhouse rooms currently seeing high levels of engaged, active users. 

As a marketer, you could ensure that your brand sparks the right topic of discussion and use it to draw in a refined and engaged audience – helping, in turn, to boost your presence and maximize audience reach. 

How to Run Campaigns on Clubhouse

While it’s reasonable to expect Clubhouse to introduce some form of advertising opportunities for businesses in the near future as the app grows, there’s real value in creating your own campaigns that are geared towards demonstrating expertise and engaging with a new audience. 

By using Clubhouse to set up a room of your own, you can use the app to grow your own community of followers who are interested in your business’ content and thus more likely to act on their interest and make a purchase. To get started on Clubhouse – assuming that you’ve managed to access an invite – here’s a step-by-step guide to building your own room:

1. Find People, Rooms, and Clubs to Follow



Start a room

(Image: Social Media Examiner)

One of the most significant things you can do as a marketer on Clubhouse is to be strategic with who and what you follow. Following too many random accounts can lead you to have access to too many rooms that you’re not interested in. Take care in who you follow – the hallway will generally show you only rooms that match your perceived interests. 

2. Begin Building a Vibrant Network of Users




(Image: Social Media Examiner)

When you enter rooms, you’ll see a breakdown of the individuals around you. The people in the room are broken down into three categories. Firstly, you’ll have the stage which consists of those speaking to the audience. Then, there’s the front row. The front row consists of the individuals in attendance who the speakers themselves follow. Finally, the third section is the audience. 

When you click on the people on the stage and the front row, you can access information about them. This can help you to determine who to follow and how you can build your connections within the app. 

3. Optimize Your Portfolio to Build a Following

Your Clubhouse bio is where you can tell your audience exactly what you want to be known for. What you include in your bio will play a key role in how people find you in the member directory, so be sure to use a healthy array of keywording to get you noticed. 

Rather than a traditional online bio, invest time in creating an extended informational bio, and don’t be afraid to include emojis. Here, you want to stand out. Mention where you work, your title, content channels, and social profiles – as well as any clubs you’ve already launched. 

To build a following, enter rooms that are relevant to your industry and get to know the people who regularly visit them. As you get more active and show up more, the people who host those rooms could invite you to come on stage where your audience will notice you. The more time you get on stage, the more followers you’ll attract

Don’t waste time when you’re talking. Don’t introduce yourself or your field of work, or even your business. Simply ask or answer a question clearly and succinctly and offer value based on your expertise alone. When you effectively engage with your audience, they’ll feel compelled to click on your bio and read more about yourself and your business. 

4. Begin Hosting Your Own Rooms on Your Terms




(Image: Good Housekeeping)

When you create a room, you automatically become a moderator for that room. As a moderator, you can control who comes up on stage, who gets muted, and who can join you in the role of moderator. 

Here, your goal is to bring order to the room and anticipate what the audience wants and needs. Sometimes that could mean taking a short break, where you can ask your audience to give moderators a follow. When the audio content resumes, you can even suggest listeners ping their contemporaries into the room to listen along. 

Having your own room means that you get to curate your content. You can invite your business’ industry experts to the stage in a bid to demonstrate why their knowledge can be a vital component in earning clients money, or you can tap into the diverse qualities of Clubhouse’s global audience by including voices from all around the world. 

New event

(Image: WikiHow)

To start a room, all you need to do is to create an event and schedule it. There are two caveats to creating your room that need to be addressed. Firstly, it’s important to ensure that you’ve networked enough to begin drawing an audience into your room. Preaching to an empty room can be a waste of valuable time spent on campaigns elsewhere. 

It’s also key to ensure that your room is scheduled well enough in advance and at a convenient time that doesn’t clash with any competitor discussions that could take your audience away from you. 

Building a Vibrant Community With Clubhouse

The explosion of Clubhouse onto the social media scene has come at a time when users are looking to favor companies with authentic and trustworthy branding rather than corporate giants with decades of accumulated brand loyalty. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it a time of deep financial uncertainty and a steady stream of news events. In this era, consumers want to find confidence in brands that appear to share the values of their consumers. In creating live, uncensored and unscripted rooms through Clubhouse, your brand has the chance to demonstrate genuine value while offering users the chance to benefit from your expertise for free. 

HubSpot’s social media community manager, Krystal Wu explained that “Clubhouse offers a lot of opportunities for connection with celebrities, a vast variety of people in different industries, and even close friends. It opens the door for live conversations allowing people to be vulnerable within a community space. This type of connection is unique to deliver audio content with small to large groups of people. Its unscripted content that anyone can be a part of.”

By setting up rooms to discuss your industry and your brand’s position and potential to deliver leading service, it’s possible to win dedicated fans and followers who are more likely to reward your willingness to share your knowledge by choosing your business to make a purchase. 

As marketers utilize this early and largely untapped market, it’s vital to bring in analytics platforms to observe your progress. Insights provided by Google Analytics and Finteza can map how audiences receive your Clubhouse content and use it to inform their purchasing decisions. You can build a custom funnel that will show you exactly how visitors from Clubhouse navigate and behave on your website, how many of them convert and where they exit. 

Conversion funnel

Through studying the flow of traffic and subsequent conversions, you can make informed decisions on how to approach the market and how much time to commit to the app. 

Brands that use Clubhouse have a brand new opportunity to earn credibility by discussing topics that they’re experts on. However, they could also earn greater trust because they’ve made themselves available to listen and talk candidly with their audiences. 

This level of trust-building with potential customers is a chance that shouldn’t go begging in the value-driven climate of 2021.

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How Social Platforms Are Supporting a Growing Community of Digital Advertisers

This year social media will play perhaps the largest role in client marketing and advertising ever. To succeed, marketers need a clear understanding of how consumer behavior on social media has changed, which platforms they’re now turning to, and feel confident they have the tools and resources to remain agile to address the changing digital landscape and the rising creator movement.

Facebook and TikTok recently shared announcements in this vein focusing on new partnerships and product updates. Here, we break them down and how they stand to help brands excel in 2021 and beyond.

Paving a Future of Digital Growth, Brand Safety and Innovative Campaigns

In TikTok’s official blog sharing the news, its newest partnership with WPP will provide clients of the company with “unique access and capabilities” on the platform. More specifically, the holding company will receive early access to advertising products that TikTok is developing including API integrations and next-generation formats including augmented reality offerings.

The news comes roughly a month after WPP shared its five-year growth plan highlight its commitment to expand further into the “high-growth areas” of commerce, experience and technology. These areas currently make up 25% of its business, however WPP wants them to represent as much as 40 percent by 2025. How does it plan to get there? At he time WPP pointed to digital as the key driver it would emphasize—as opposed to traditional—advertising.

WPP’s media buying arm, GroupM will play an important role in the partnership with regards to brand safety. The company will work closely with TikTok to establish a process for adhering to the GARM Brand Safety and Suitability Framework, thoroughly assess integrations with third-party verification vendors, and develop meaningful first-party inclusion and exclusion controls. More broadly, the companies will also conduct market-leading research to guide brands on best practices and arm them with data-informed strategies for driving audience engagement and opportunities to innovate.

Deeper Insights, Diverse Voices, and Early Access

“More and more brands all over the world are experiencing the impact TikTok has to create moments that not only shape culture but also drive business value,” shared Blake Chandlee, VP of Global Business Solutions at TikTok. “We both share a common goal: to drive amazing campaigns for our clients that resonate with our growing audience in a way that is authentic, inspires creativity and brings joy,” he continued.

So, what steps are the two taking in the partnership to achieve this mission?

Primarily, TikTok outlines that it will work with the app’s “creator community” to facilitate exclusive opportunities on behalf of WPP’s clients. In addition, WPP’s teams will have “access to customized trainings and certification programs conducted by the TikTok team to ensure they are providing best-in-class strategies to clients.”

To facilitate diversity and create exclusive opportunities for collaboration with select advertisers, WPP will be the Lead Agency Development Partner to new creator-focused APIs, “which will incorporate WPP’s market leading brand safety methodology while leveraging unique brand and marketer data signals.”

Advertiser Topic Exclusion Controls in the News Feed

While TikTok is leaning in on content development, other platforms are focusing on product developments dedicated to privacy and safety.

Facebook, for instance, in a new push announced its test of advanced advertiser topic exclusion controls, which will enable businesses to stop their ads appearing next to certain topics in the News Feed, based on their brand suitability preferences.

This type of process would help the platform more accurately and effectively define the ad would be presented on the platform, particularly in the News Feed. “A children’s toy company may want to avoid content related to a new crime show, so they could select the ‘Crime and Tragedy’ topic,” the announcement explained.

For anyone keeping tabs, Facebook currently offers exclusions for ‘news’, ‘politics’, ‘gaming’, and ‘religious and spiritual’ content for video campaigns. Given its latest test relates to a much more specific set of categories and the variability and personalization that comprise the News Feed, this effort will likely require some time to get right. “This product development as well as testing and learning in News Feed will take much of the year,” the company stated.

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How TikTok and Shopify are Maximizing E-Commerce Revenue Options

Over the past several years the way we shop has changed dramatically. As social platforms evolve into the new-age shopping malls, a trend largely fueled by the pandemic, consumers will continue to prioritize relationships with brands based on the online experience they provide every step of the way.

In this spirit, in October 2020, TikTok and Shopify announced a global partnership geared to help more than one million merchants reach highly engaged audiences and drive sales by tapping into TikTok’s global scale. Today, they announced new tools and integrations to expand revenue options for retailers and enhanced brand-consumer experiences.

Faster, more efficient, and secure payments

In 2020 Shopify’s Shop Pay helped buyers complete more than 137 million orders in 2020, and by the end of the year, had facilitated nearly $20 billion in cumulative gross merchandise value (GMV) since its launch in 2017.

To help facilitate even greater usage, the company is teaming up with Facebook so retailers selling with Shops on Instagram and Facebook can leverage the tool. In case you’re unfamiliar, Shop Pay functions akin to Amazon’s One-Click purchase product. In this case, users will have the ability to save their email address, credit card, and shipping and billing information in the app so that they can complete their transactions faster and more efficiently whether they are browsing through Facebook or Instagram.

“Through our continued work with Facebook, we’re excited to combine the best in commerce with the power of community, extending the benefits of Shop Pay to even more people buying and selling with Shops on Instagram and Facebook,” Shopify wrote in the official announcement. The article also noted that checkout on Shop Pay is 70 percent faster than a typical checkout, while it also sees a 1.72x higher conversion rate.

Convenient order tracking and sustainable shopping options

According to a recent Twitter report on customer care, seventy-eight percent of retail brand handles that excel at customer support take ownership of customer problems in order to build trust. A significant piece of this involves personalized customer support such as a convenient way to trace and manage the tracking of orders.

“With 430+ million orders tracked over 450 billion miles, our global order tracking service enables consumers to track all of their important purchases, receive updates, and manage orders,” shared Shopify.

Aside from ease and convenience, people are embracing social commerce for the greater quantity of options available that align with what matters most to them. For a large portion of consumers, shopping sustainably is a top priority with making these decisions. Per Shopify, over half (53%) report that they prefer green or sustainable products, which is why Shop Pay offsets 100 percent of the delivery emissions for every order.

Establishing more direct connection between creators and monetization opportunities

TikTok made its foray into the e-commerce world with integrations with Shopify and Walmart late in 2020. Today, the platform’s looking to take its efforts even further with several new tools to facilitate more e-commerce opportunity and maximize its revenue options. according to a new report from The Financial Times the platform briefed advertisers on three new forthcoming updates coming soon to the app. These include:

  • A tool that lets its most popular users share links to products and automatically earn commission on any sales
  • The ability for brands to showcase catalogs of their products on the platform
  • “Livestreamed” shopping, a mobile phone version of television shopping channels, where users can buy goods with a few taps after seeing them showcased by TikTok stars

The push around presentation and experience enhancements is a smart and welcomed one according to several statements shared with FT.
“The product and the content has not matured into a place where sophisticated advertisers really want to commit,” one ad agency executive said. With added features to help simplify listings and formalize commission processes as well as those to deliver on an in-app showcase, this could be the nudge some advertisers are waiting for in order to pull the trigger.

“Culturally, TikTok is well placed for livestreamed commerce to capture the dissolving distinction between content and commerce because it doesn’t feel as polished as other platforms,” added Jack Smyth, Creative Technology officer at WPP’s Mindshare.

While the platform faced a tumultuous and uncertain 2020, one thing is clear – in order to keep its biggest creators, it needs to ensure that they can generate similar income to what they’d be able to on other, more established and lucrative platforms.

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The post How TikTok and Shopify are Maximizing E-Commerce Revenue Options appeared first on Social Media Week.


How To Drive Traffic From TikTok In 2021

The importance of social media is increasing significantly. Brand storytelling is evolving, influencers experience a sharp rise into fame, and social media campaigns are becoming the main traffic source of many companies.

In this piece, we’ll talk about a specific and very platform, TikTok, and walk through the various ways for how to drive traffic from it. Let’s get to it.

Driving Organic Traffic

Organic traffic is the best, free way to drive traffic from TikTok. Haf (50%) of the users are under the age of 34. What is also interesting is that around 50% of the users are in the $75k+ household income bracket.

Complete your Bio

On TikTok, clicks can come only from the links shared in your bio. That is, you can not put links in the description of the video and lead people to your site from a particular video on your profile. What you will see in most cases is a reference to another channel, or saying that you can learn more if you go through the link in the bio.

It is important to stay coherent and upkeep the visitor’s expectations. If there is no possibility to line up your TikTok profile and your page so they reflect a similar line of content, consider using a landing page builder and create a sub-page that would make sure that you do not lose the traffic that you are getting from TikTok.

Increase Engagement: Videos and Sound

TikTok promotes videos that have higher engagement. Views, shares, comments, likes – are all interactions that count towards that score.

TikTok is full of creators. Some have great skills, some have great looks and some are just purely interesting. Take Bella Poarch for example, who made a hypnotizing head-bobbing video that garnered over half a billion vews.

The point is, you just have to consider your audience/client’s avatar, adjust your account strategy accordingly, and start creating content.

You can outsource content creation to sites like Fiverr and Upwork. On these two sites, you can get everything that you might need, even the complete TikTok videos.

Continuing on the video of Bella Poarch, you can also create sounds to increase your visibility on TikTok.

Videos that are using music (and that is all of them) will have a link in the description of the song and the author of the music. You can create your music trends and leverage this to your advantage to grow your audience.

Choose Good Posting Times

Post when your audience is not only awake but is actually active on TikTok.

If you post and your audience reacts immediately (posting in good times) your engagement rate will become higher and spread on the TikTok platform faster than if you post at bad times and your content receive reactions only several hours later.

Organize Contests and Giveaways

One strategy that is becoming mainstream due to how well it falls into the who social media marketing context are influencer giveaways. Why? They have good virality potential and aren’t intrusive.

You announce, for instance, a prize, a product, trial, free consultation, a free lesson on online course platforms, a t-shirt, free use of your product or service for a limited time, whatever seems fitting for your audience and in order to compete for the prize, the audience has to do an action — such as follow you or share the video.

Getting Paid Traffic: TikTok Ads

We discussed primarily organic options, now let’s talk about paid ones. The advantages are obvious – you get instant traffic without any need to build a follower base or thing about the content.

The main advantage of paid ads is that you get instant results. Also, you can precisely specify your audience and expected end result. What is the goal that you are after? We presume that is not just getting a visitor on your site and then seeing them leave. You want a conversion or at least a lead if you already have your email marketing services in place.

Setting up a tracking pixel and spending a part of your budget to test what works – is what will ultimately bring more results than just burning your money and hoping that something sticks.


Sure, you can go to the ads manager and buy your ads there – or you can go directly to any TikTok influencer account and ask for shoutout prices. Why?

Because you target your audience even better and you can get your cost per conversion lower than on the ads platform. It is no wonder that many affiliate websites, online stores and drop-shippers are doing exactly that.

Here is Addison Rae promoting the American Eagle account through a shoutout. Her content is more geared towards younger audiences, mostly female — so hip clothing, accessories, and similar topics work well.

In comparison to Instagram, working with TikTok influencers may be a bit difficult, because both accounts have to follow each other to send DM.

This is usually solved by email in their bio, link to their Insta or Youtube profile. Collect the contacts, and outreach to them (to keep everything in check, you would probably have to use an outreach automation service or check how to send mass email in Gmail – depending on the volume of recipients of course).

In the top examples, we were showing some of the biggest accounts on TikTok, there a price for a shoutout is very individual but expect five figures at least. It would not be wise to spend such a big budget on an untested territory so what you want to look for are micro-influencers and small theme accounts, there you can get shoutouts for $25-$100.

The common denominator and main takeaway for everything related to digital marketing of course remains testing and to stay consistent. We hope that this guide and the tips that are included in it will help you to look for the strategy that will work for your account, and you will be growing along with TikTok!

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3 Trends Disrupting Mobile in 2021

The world changed drastically in 2020 and several of these shifts are here to stay including the uptick in mobile usage. With people staying home, mobile devices became the cement, the go-to tool for managing our day-to-day lives. Transforming nearly every vertical in the industry in the process, from how we entertain ourselves to how we plan and organize our finances and everything in between, our world is increasingly defined by mobile.

To help marketers navigate the landscape and identify opportunities to succeed in mobile in 2021 and beyond, App Annie unveiled the latest State of Mobile report. The findings provide an important overview of the key mobile app trends and shifts over the past year and what they mean for the future including:

  • In 2020, mobile accounted for $143 billion in consumer spend, 3.5 trillion hours spent, and 218 billion downloads. Overall, adoption boomed advancing two to three years in a span of 12 months.
  • Mobile gaming is estimated to surpass $120 billion in consumer spend in 2021 — capturing 1.5x of the market compared to all other gaming platforms combined.
  • Mobile surpassed live TV for time spent in 2020 at 4 hours per day vs. 3.7 hours. With this, mobile ad placements are on the rise (95% YoY) with this type of ad spend currently on track to exceed $290 billion in 2021.

Now let’s unpack some of the underpinning themes around mobile to keep top of mind as we begin to execute the new year’s strategies.

Empowering the everyday trader and democratizing investment

Per the report, time spent in finance apps during 2020 was up nearly half (45%) worldwide outside of China in 2020 YoY. Despite a tumultuous economic year, mobile was the common thread across the spectrum of fiscal management including research, decision-making, evaluation and purchase or investment. It is the mechanism for participation and not only building wealth, but more importantly, establishing financial literacy.

Currently, the fundamentals of personal finance and investing are not typically taught in schools, in some cases delaying when people decide to actively begin investing. Looking ahead to 2021, investment apps are stepping up, fulfilling an important knowledge void for novice investors, and making investing more approachable and empowering.

Gaming and streaming: the new influencer marketing frontier

According to App Annie, “The average American watched 3.7 hours of live TV a day, whereas they spent 4.0 hours on their mobile device in H2 2020.” Further, 40 percent more hours were streamed on mobile in 2020.

With more eyeballs favoring mobile, marketers thought long and hard about their ad placements and their tactics. Specifically, 2020 saw $240 billion in mobile ad spend. This figure is expected to grow to $290 billion in 2021 fueled by celebrity collaborations, an approach 2020 proved effective in cutting through the noise driving 2.7x downloads.

It isn’t only about churning out mobile ads but taking into consideration the unique demographic opportunities mobile offers across age groups. In support of this, the data showed that in the U.S. Gen Z, Millennials and Gen X/ Baby Boomers spent 16 percent, 18 percent, and 30 percent more time YoY, respectively, in their most-used apps.

Unsurprisingly, casual gaming and entertainment apps including Twitch, TikTok and ROBLOX dominated app downloads amongst Gen Zers as brands got innovative and used these spaces as the new frontier for their influencer efforts during the pandemic. The report supported this theme further stating that mobile gaming is anticipated to surpass $120 billion in consumer spend in 2021 while TikTok is expected to reach 1.2 billion active users this year.

The future of social commerce and live shopping

Rather than delaying brands’ long-term strategies, the pandemic served as an accelerant for e-commerce, ensuring that three-year business growth plans became reality in just six months. In 2021, it is anticipated these bold moves will continue.

As evolving consumers habits fuel new channels for discovery and purchases, brands and retailers must rise to the occasion and position themselves to connect with these growing, engaged, and purchase-ready audiences. Live shopping is one of the spaces to watch, the report noting that social commerce and live shopping present a $2 trillion market globally by 2024.

With many people are more accustomed to buying online, many won’t go back to their pre-COVID habits, even when they’re able, which is a plus for many platforms, notably Pinterest and Instagram according to App Annie data which found global downloads of Instagram and Pinterest worldwide grew 50 percent and 20 percent YoY, respectively.

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How to Gain New Customers and Reduce the Cost of Acquisition

We all hope that we can get new customers on the fly with as little spend as possible. Unfortunately, such optimism is rarely rewarded.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) has been (rightly) called the startup killer. New entrepreneurs often have an unfounded optimism in whatever they’re offering. In doing so, they end up greatly underestimating how expensive getting a customer can be. 

Those that have been in business know that acquiring a new customer can cost seven times more than selling to an existing one. And, depending on the industry, it can cost you between $7 to $395 to get a new client. 

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Sounds discouraging, right? 

Indeed, customer acquisition is hard. But, the real devil’s in the details here. Much of what we know here comes from statistics that average out much of the results. 

In other words, there are plenty of companies that are just doing customer acquisition wrong. So, here are a few ways you can decrease your CAC while increasing client satisfaction.

Follow a Customer Onboarding Process

Your sales and marketing might be misaligned. Your customer success team might end up dumping all the info on them at once. Or, you may not have a repeatable process in the first place. 

There’s just too much that can go wrong with client onboarding which can drive up your acquisition cost.

Building a better customer onboarding workflow will help you reduce customer acquisition costs and increase retention. Think of how you can help your customers get the best out of your product. 

A good onboarding process should include —


  • An easy account registration process.
  • A succinct, but well written welcome message.
  • Reminders for clients who haven’t logged in a while.
  • A step-by-step guide to product setup.
  • Educational material to help clients leverage your product as effectively as possible.
  • Milestones for each task completed by the client in the onboarding process.
  • Robust after-sales support.


You can even consider creating customized solutions for clients if need be. Your onboarding workflow should make sure your client never has to sit and wonder what to do next. 

Don’t Forget Email

In their quest to become social media stars, many brands end up ignoring email to no end. Big mistake. Unlike the clunky clutter of a social media feed, the inbox is deeply personal.

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Says Brian Greenberg, CEO of True Blue Life Insurance, “The power of email is that it goes directly into a consumer’s inbox. Then it stays there. Most people don’t delete things out of their inbox, so if they need to pull up a thread you’ve had together or want to find your latest offer, all they have to do is search their inbox real quick. I’ve had people contact me at True Blue Life Insurance using a seven-month-old email.”

Some ways you can use email for customer acquisition — 


  • Use the reciprocity principle. Offer your prospects something free in return for their email.
  • Try cold emailing. A good cold email is a personal message and solves a problem.
  • Send follow-up messages after your first ones. 
  • Don’t spam, though. Really, don’t.


The popularity of email continues to grow, so, consider adding them to your marketing arsenal. If you’re strapped for time, then you can use a service like Designmodo that offers tested, high converting email templates.

Send gifts

Gifts have an advantage over other promotional methods — they forge a deeper emotional connection. And customers with such a connection with a brand have a 306% higher LTV than those that don’t. 

Most marketers today stick to electronic gift items. Redeemable coupons, gift cards, feature upgrades, etc are all popular giftable items. 

For example, GetEarlyBird.io, a new Fintech service for helping parents invest in their children’s future adds $15 to every new account opened. This is a great strategy for new SaaS companies. 

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That said, don’t write-off the humble old direct mail gifts just yet. Nothing can quite beat a direct mail gift item. They’re memorable and are more visible than their digital peers. 

Use Chatbots

No one page on your website can answer all of your prospect’s questions. And, most of them don’t have the time to find what they are looking for anyway. 

This is where Chatbots can really come in handy. Now, they can’t replace a human and have had us lol with their answers at times. But, chatbots have come a long way today. 

They can answer most general questions and can even direct users to desired resources. They also don’t take breaks and are present 24/7. 

Their acceptance rate is also climbing. For example, twice as many consumers were willing to engage with a chatbot in 2019 than in 2018. Likewise, 74% of users actually prefer to use chatbots to find answers to simple questions.

They have also been used very successfully. JoyOrganics uses a highly customized chatbot that not only offers chat but has links to FAQs right in the chatbox itself. 

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Go local

Unfortunately, many companies mistakenly think customer acquisition through the internet is all about going big. The world’s their oyster, after all. 

But, don’t forget about your local market space either. The people in your immediate vicinity can relate to your product better than those living half a world away. 

Besides, local SEO is better suited to small businesses such as restaurants, dry cleaners, home repair, etc. 

Local SEO helps slash your customer acquisition costs in a few ways. Firstly, having an office in a city helps your clients see your presence upfront. Secondly, you can forge better relationships with people you actually meet. Your local following can also help you build a better brand (think KFC). 

Customer acquisition gets hard and expensive when you’re more concerned with the sale than with helping customers. All the methods described above work best when used to forward as much benefit as possible. 

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How YouTube is Expanding into Short-Form Video Territory with ‘Clips’

Move over, Twitch. YouTube is testing the ability for viewers and creators to make clips of longer videos, allowing for the sharing of short, bit-sized clips of a video. Sound familiar?
The feature is currently “in testing” with a small group of channels while YouTube gathers feedback.

“We’ve heard a lot of feedback from creators and viewers who have wanted an easy way to capture short segments of content and share moments from videos or streams,” the company shared in an official YouTube blog post announcing the feature. “We’re excited to begin our testing of a clipping feature on YouTube starting today with a small group of creators while we start gathering feedback.”

We’re breaking down at how it all works, key differences between clips on Twitch, and more.

How it works

Until today, viewers had to rely on the watch page URL of videos and live streams. In this case, it was only possible to start a video at a specific time by adding specific parameters. With the introduction of Clips, however, users can share a portion of their content or a live stream – a length of 5 to 6 seconds per their own attribution. Both Creators and signed in viewers can create Clips through a new URL.

These clips will play on a loop directly and will live on the original video’s watch page. Put differently, a clip is a timestamp link to the original video. Because the clip will be played on the original video and loop repeatedly, the viewer’s browser is not directed elsewhere. This is a key differentiator from Twitch’s take on the feature, which creates a new video from a clip.

Here’s a breakdown of the process:

  • Start watching an eligible video on YouTube and click the clip icon that looks like aa pair of scissors
  • Designate the portion the video you’d like to clip. You can increase (maximum of 60 seconds) or decrease (minimum of 5 seconds) the length of your selection by dragging the slider.
  • Give the clip a title (max 140 characters).
  • Click the “Share Clip” button that will trigger different options to publish the content.

To share from a social network, select the platform icon of your choice including Facebook or Twitter. If you’re sharing it to a personal or company website, click the “Embed” button to generate a code you can use for a landing page.

If you’re sharing it via an email, select the email icon using the default email software on your computer. Alternatively, you can click the “Copy” button to create a shareable link to the video you can paste in elsewhere including in the body of an email message.

Community response

So, what’s the verdict? Most who have voiced their opinions on the news expressed enthusiasm for the chance to share quick, interesting moments from their YouTube videos and help spread the word about smaller channels amongst the community.
“This is a really great new tool especially for streamers. It will definitely help people be able to share their favorite creators in an easy-to-use manner,” read one comment.

Others used the opportunity to share where certain tweaks could be considered when it comes to control over the playback of the content and curbing abuse.

“Twitch allows its streamers to limit the ability the make clips, delete clips that were made, or even turn the feature off to prevent trolls from using the feature to harass, ridicule, or bully streamers. Will similar provisions be made to prevent said abuse from occurring?”

Another deviation from clips on Twitch is that YouTube clips from a channel aren’t publicly listed anywhere. While on Twitch you can find a “popular clips” section, YouTube clips are only listed privately in a user’s account settings, akin to a shareable, personal bookmark.

One comment suggested the ability to add a feature to select which of these private uploads can be shared widely via a playlist. “Maybe you can add it [a clip] so it goes to your channel unlisted or private, then you can check it and add it to a playlist.”

Let’s talk monetization

According to YouTube, ads are eligible to appear on Clips as long as the original video is at least 30 seconds long. While this doesn’t take earning a profit off Clips content completely off the table, it does raise flags for larger channels that often weave in integrated ad-reads to their videos. How this will ultimately shift the reliance on Google’s automatic ad programs versus third-party deals that include ad reads will certainly be a space to watch as the roll-out of the offering continues.

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How Twitter is Supporting a Community of Thought Leaders and Fact-Checkers

According to the PEW Research Center, about four-in-ten (40%) Americans got their news from Facebook — and these numbers only continue to grow. With this, fact-checking groups and organizations continue to gain popularity all over the world and remain on the upswing as the line between opinion articles and credible sources have grown increasingly blurry over the last decade.

A community-approach to combating misinformation

In a new push to help address problem, Twitter introduced Birdwatch, a U.S.-only pilot of a community-driven approach to tackling misinformation on the platform.

“We apply labels and add context to tweets, but we don’t want to limit efforts to circumstances where something breaks our rules or receives widespread public attention. We also want to broaden the range of voices that are part of tackling this problem, and we believe a community-driven approach can help,” Vice President of Product Keith Coleman explained in the official announcement blog post.

How it works and creating transparency

Per the announcement, participants in Birdwatch will identify what they believe to be misleading information in tweets and write notes that provide informative context. These notes will only be visible on the Birdwatch site during the initial phase of the pilot, and other participants will be able to rate the helpfulness of those notes.

Coleman also clarified that once the beta phase is complete, the ultimate goal is to make notes visible directly on Tweets for the global Twitter audience, “when there is consensus from a broad and diverse set of contributors.” For now, the priority remains on building out Birdwatch and gaining confidence that the context it produces is helpful and appropriate.

In the meantime, Twitter is implementing proactive steps to ensure transparency in Birdwatch including:

  • Making all data contributed to Birdwatch publicly available and downloadable in TSV files.
  • Publishing code publicly in the Birdwatch Guide as the platform develops the algorithms behind the scenes.
  • The initial ranking system can be found here.

“We know there are a number of challenges toward building a community-driven system like this — from making it resistant to manipulation attempts to ensuring it isn’t dominated by a simple majority or biased based on its distribution of contributors. Coleman wrote. While at times it may be “messy,” the platform has confidence in this approach to curb a common problem plaguing social media landscape for marketers and users alike.

Collaborating with Revue to support thought leadership

In a separate update, Twitter is making moves to support thought leadership throughout the platform through its acquisition of Revue, a service that helps anyone create and get paid for their newsletters.

“Writers and long-form content curators are a valuable part of the conversation and it’s critical we offer new ways for them to create and share their content, and importantly, help them grow and better connect with their audience,” stated Mike Park, Twitter’s VP of Publish Products.

For now, Revue will remain a standalone service, per the announcement, with the goal of its team to help Twitter users stay informed around their interest and favorite thought leaders while also introducing new ways for writers to monetize their audience whether established at a publication, an external, personal website, on Twitter or elsewhere.

While many writers turn to other sources to publish longer content, beyond the 280-character limit, Twitter hopes this will be a solution that helps them create and share their content and be a better home for them and their audiences.

“We’re imagining a lot of ways to do this, from allowing people to sign up for newsletters from their favorite follows on Twitter, to new settings for writers to host conversations with their subscribers,” added Park.

Feature image courtesy of Digital Information World.

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5 Insights to Chart Your Brand’s Path to Digital Growth in 2021

As marketers, it’s easy to find comfort in our respective lanes and fall back on data that validates our assumptions about what will work or not. 2020 proved that in order to be a leader, you must find opportunities to be a challenger. The best way to do this is by constantly bursting your own bubble and keeping an open mind.

A new report by Hootsuite, in partnership with We Are Social, offers a comprehensive look at the state of the internet, mobile devices, social media, ecommerce, and more. Featuring data from over 220 countries and territories, plus detailed regional reports and quarterly updates, there is no better tool for digital planning insights this year.

Get your free copy of Hootsuite’s Digital 2021 Report!


You can download the full report here, but below is a peek at some of the high-level insights and themes shared throughout the nearly 300-page report.

Worldwide social media use: at a glance

Digital 2021 shows that there are now 4.66 billion people around the world using the internet, as of January 2021, up by 316 million (7.3 percent) compared to this time last year. This is close to 60 percent of the world’s population.

In terms of time spent, the average internet user spends nearly 7 hours per day using the internet, a nine percent increase compared to last year. Per week this is equivalent to two full days out of a seven-day window.

Why do you need to know? Hootsuite CEO Tom Keiser explains. “Providing the global perspective on demographics and usage patterns on these platforms helps our customers focus their digital strategies and connect with their audience in the most relevant and authentic way,” he said.

Misconceptions around multi-channel

Looking to the world of social media, Facebook remains the world’s most used platform, followed by YouTube and WhatsApp. But the burning question has become: how do you decide where to be and when to show up?

Despite common misconceptions, a multichannel strategy does not need to include every single platform to work. In fact, 98% of the users of any given social network also use at least one other social platform.

That means you don’t have to be everywhere to reach your audience. Rather, you can focus on one or two platforms and still reach the right audience.

Don’t overlook the silver surfers

As Hootsuite’s report reveals, baby boomers are the fastest-growing segment on several of the top social platforms’ audiences. The report showed that users over the age of 50 are growing more quickly than any other age group on Facebook and Snapchat.

Where are the younger demographics flocking? Gaming and streaming platforms. More than 90 percent of Gen Z internet users say they play games, compared to 67 percent of those aged 55 to 64.

Ecommerce trends and new search behaviors

A whopping 77 percent of internet users aged 16 to 64 now say that they buy something online each month, with food and personal care the fastest-growing consumer ecommerce category. This shift is shaping search behavior in profound and fundamental ways.

Specifically, close to half (45 percent) of global internet users now say they turn to social when researching products or services. This figure is even higher among Gen Z users, who report that they’re more likely to search for brands on social than via search engines.

“Increasingly, consumers connect with brands in the same way they do with their friends and family members, via social and messaging apps,” added Keiser.

To be a leader, think like a challenger brand

2020, particularly at the onset of the pandemic, proved that the analysis of conversations on social media as they unfold in real-time pays dividends. The ability to use these to unearth creativity and pivot in response to evolving behaviors and trends will remain a key competitive advantage during a time when public opinion is susceptible to fluctuating regularly.

Look no further than the story of a 90-year old cranberry juice company, Ocean Spray, and how it quickly became a disruptor when a viral TikTok took the social scene by storm. The moral to apply in 2021: challenge your preconceived notions and rethink your tried and true strategies.

The brands that will win this year and beyond are the ones that dare to step outside of their comfort zones and capitalize on new growth opportunities in spaces they may not have thought to look. The future does not fit in the containers of the past and the sooner we come to realize this, the more effectively we will be in finding paths to success.

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How Pinterest is Expanding its Product Promotion and AR Capabilities

In its recent State of Mobile report, App Annie found that global downloads of Instagram and Pinterest worldwide grew 50 percent and 20 percent YoY, respectively.

With the acceleration of e-commerce poised to continue, platforms are doubling their efforts in the space with good reason. This was further supported by Shopify’s annual “The Future of E-Commerce report covering key global trends in the space.

One key finding from Shopify’s insights: At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, 10 years of ecommerce growth happened in just 90 days. In addition, its important marketers note that it’s not just Gen Z and millennials fueling this shift—older shoppers also moved online during this period.

Just how many people shopped online? Per a separate global survey across 11 markets hosted by Shopify, 84 percent of consumers shopped online during the pandemic and 150 million people became first-time e-commerce buyers. Looking ahead, Shopify projects e-commerce as a percentage of total global retail sales will also continue to grow over the next five years.

An opportunity to new experiences and meaningful consumer connections

What this ultimately means for brands is the opportunity to create new experiences and foster more meaningful connections with consumers. At the same time, this will also represent a headwind for digital marketers and brands as the landscape becomes more crowded and competitive. In response, platforms are leveraging emerging technologies to bring together the best of online and in-person shopping experiences and help brands in their efforts to cut through the noise. Most recently, Pinterest enhancing capability around accessing and comparing products with the expansion of its AR ‘Try On’ tools.

New AR ‘Try-On’ Tools for Eyeshadow

Last year the company rolled out lipstick Try on Pins with selected brands and now its AR overlays apply to eye makeup. Powered by Lens, users can access new, shoppable eyeshadow Pins highlighting products from brands including Lancome, YSL, Urban Decay, and NYX Cosmetics.

“Millions of people come to Pinterest every month to search for beauty ideas and inspiration. This is our latest step in bringing together the worlds of visual search and shopping as people come to Pinterest to shop early in their decision-making process, ready to discover new brands and products,” the company shared in the official announcement.

The eyeshadow try-on can be used in conjunction with the already-existing lipstick tools. In an effort to prioritize accessibility and inclusivity, the eyeshadow shades are integrated across a variety of skin tones, as is the case with the lipstick options. As users test different eyeshadow colors, the platform will identify Pins based on your preferences, helping to streamline the process of trying on an in-stock shade and making a purchase.

Developments in object detection and enhanced AR functionality into our smartphone cameras paired with catalog uploads not only creates additional engagement and interaction options, but also allows for improved product promotion, tying into another key update from Pinterest.

Expanded product tagging

In October 2020, Pinterest introduced updates to its product tagging functionality that would allow merchants to tag their own scene images with exact products. The company Is now widening this beta phase to incorporate more advertisers and, in the coming months, creators through expanded product tagging. Per Pinterest, Pinners are 70 percent more likely to show shopping intent on products tagged in scene images than on standalone Product Pins.

“The future of shopping will rely on online shopping experiences that are similar to that of in-store and complement that joy we find in browsing, seeing curated collections, and trying on products until we find what’s best for us.”

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How TikTok is Supporting Creators and Fostering New Talent

With TikTok expected to reach 1.2 billion active users this year, the app is wasting no time executing efforts to foster new talent and double down on its efforts to help its community of creators thrive. This includes helping talent find innovative ways to connect with their audience and cultivate best practices to bring their videos to the next level.

Here’s a quick overview as to how the company aims to make good on this mission.

The Black Lives Matter movement and algorithmic bias

In 2020, particularly in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, platforms including TikTok were confronted directly on issues of bias and content suppression. Reports of videos being taken down, muted or hidden from followers as a result of their support of the movement surfaced in addition to instances where community guidelines were unfairly applied.

Many began to demonstrate a commitment to showing support for Black creators with action via dedicated programs. In August, for example, Facebook introduced a Black creatives program and committed $25 million to Black creators on Facebook and Instagram. Earlier this month, YouTube rolled out its multi-year commitment to support Black creators with its #YouTubeBlack Voices fund.

Introducing the TikTok for black creatives incubator program

In a new push, TikTok announced TikTok for Black Creatives incubator program to invest in Black creatives and music artists on the app. The initiative follows on the heels of the platform’s focus on Blackout Tuesday and the #ShopBlack campaign to boost Black-owned businesses this past fall. The company also launched a new online hub to provide Black business owners with support and education in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This program is intended to identify, support, and elevate the next generation of culture-driving Black creators and artists by giving them the often-hidden tools and opportunities that can help them transform their creativity into successful careers,” shared Kudzi Chikumbu, Director of Creator Community at TikTok in a statement to TIME Magazine.

The three-month program, per the official announcement, will give 100 Black creators and music artists the opportunity to have their voices amplified by participating in town halls with Black entrepreneurs and celebrities in addition to community-building forums and educational events with TikTok executives.

Simplifying the process to becoming a creator

More broadly, TikTok hopes to make 2021 a year where anyone’s aspirations to create can be achieved without pressure or complexity.

“While becoming a creator is as simple as tapping a few buttons, thriving as a creator takes time, dedication, and some education. With the different tools, analytics, effects, and creative ideas to balance on a TikTok account, making a strategy for creating content can be daunting,” the company shared.

The platform’s solution? A one-stop-shop education hub for all the basics across six key categories such as:

  • Getting Started on TikTok
  • TikTok Creation Essentials
  • TikTok Foundations for Success
  • TikTok Content Strategy
  • Community Guidelines and Safety
  • Getting Paid to Create

Each category offers video tutorials with insights to add to your TikTok toolkit and addresses important questions around establishing a presence on the app and how to get paid to create. The resources aren’t only for beginners. “For avid or even expert TikTok creators, the Creator Portal will also feature articles that help interpret community trends, dive deeper into the use of sound and music, and spotlight creative effects, helping to inspire and diversify content creation,” the announcement added.

In tandem, TikTok created the @creatorportal account, which will showcase faces from the video creation platform’s community including @coachmichelle, @flossybaby, @lgndfrvr, @siennamae—and share videos on how to join them.

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How Twitter is Expanding its Reach in Audio

In June 2020, Twitter introduced audio tweets where you can record your voice and share that audio as a tweet to your followers. A perk? These can also be listened to while you multi-task across other day-to-day activities including checking email or working on a document — comparable to a micro podcast. There’s a lot that can go unsaid or uninterpreted via text, so the platform’s goal with the offering is to bring a more human experience to conversations.

Following this, the company announced in December its own audio-based social networking product and Clubhouse rival, Spaces, was heading into beta phase. This opened the door for users to chat in real-time using voice instead of text, as they do today. The product remains in beta while the platform works out technical issues and bugs with the feature, but also the more complex issues that arise from hosting live audio, including moderation.

Fast forward to today, Twitter announced its acquisition of community-focused podcast app, Breaker. Here’s a breakdown of the latest.

What is Breaker?

Since its inception in 2016, Breaker’s mission centered around influencing the perception of audio and disrupting the norms of podcasts as audio feeds and podcast apps as productivity tools. Instead, Breaker painted a picture of podcast apps as an experience around which a community could be established. More specifically, Breaker users have the ability to like and comment on their favorite episodes, discover new podcasts that align with their passions, following friends with similar interests and taste, and share their favorite shows to their other social media platforms to spark conversation.

Creating the future of audio

Breaker co-founder Leah Culver took to Twitter sharing her eagerneses to help create the future of audio through and build out Twitter Spaces while CEO Erik Berlin emphasized his vision to help the industry redefine and reimagine traditional podcasts.

“We’re truly passionate about audio communication and we’re inspired by the ways Twitter is facilitating public conversations for people around the world,” shared Berlin in the official announcement. In his own Medium post, he shared, “We’re now inspired to go even further in re-imagining how we communicate with each other, beyond the scope of traditional podcasts.”

In a separate thread, Twitter engineering lead Michael Montano, reiterated his excitement to leverage Berlin and Culver’s backgrounds to help “improve the health of public conversation on our service.” He added, “both Erik and Leah have founded and sold startups previously and will bring an entrepreneurial spirit to our engineering organization.”

According to TechCrunch, Berlin was previously the founder and CTO at social advertising company 140 Proof — which sold to Acuity — while Culver previously founded Pownce and Grove and co-authored web technologies OAuth and oEmbed.

“As an entrepreneur she’s been out front, testing ideas on several waves of online conversation and publishing. Pownce and Convore were exciting and in many ways ahead of their times,” said Montao of Culver’s efforts to push for more open standards over the past several years.

Podcasting: the new tech battleground

With the ebbs and flows of tech, there seems to be areas that receive targeted traction. Podcasting is that space today. Look no further than the giants Amazon, Google, Apple and Spotify.

Amazon’s $300 million acquisition of Wondery, Sirius bought Stitcher for $300 million, not to mention Spotify’s purchases of Anchor, Gimlet, Parcast, Megaphone, and The Joe Rogan experience — one of the most popular shows on the scene to date. Unakin to these deals, however, Twitter’s play is unique in that its sale doesn’t center on strictly podcasts themselves and the content, rather Breaker’s sale is made up of staff and technology with the larger objective of cementing Spaces as a viable offering for marketers and users.

Feature image credit via Breaker.

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How YouTube is Supporting Black Creators and Artists

Last summer admist the Black Lives Matter Movement and protests in support of George Floyd, YouTube announced the launch of a multi-year $100 million fund dedicated to amplifying and developing the voices of Black creators and artists and their stories. More specifically, the fund has supported programs such as 2 Chainz’ “Money Maker Fund” series highlighting HBCU entrepreneurs and Masego’s “Studying Abroad” livestreamed concert series.

Today, the platform is using capital for that effort to create a global grant program for Black creators.

“The painful events of this year have reminded us of the importance of human connection and the need to continue to strengthen human rights around the world. In the midst of uncertainty, creators continue to share stories that might not otherwise be heard while also building online communities,” YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki wrote in a blog post detailing the decision and reflecting on 2020.

The #YouTubeBlack Voices Class of 2021

Per Billboard, the program is kicking off with an inaugural class of 132 individuals spanning musicians and lifestyle vloggers including Kelly Stamps and Jabril Ashe, also known as Jabrils, who share educational videos centered around the emerging gaming, technology, and AI spaces.

The musicians named to the group include Brent Faiyaz, BRS Kash, Fireboy DML, Jean Dawson, Jensen McRae, Jerome Farah, Joy Oladokun, KennyHoopla, Mariah the Scientist, MC Carol, Miiesha, Myke Towers, Péricles, Rael, Rexx Life Raj, Sauti Sol, serpentwithfeet, Sho Madjozi, Tkay Maidza, Urias and Yung Baby Tate.

Each grant recipient will be provided an undisclosed funding amount to be used in support of their channels, and can encompass needs such as editing, lighting or other equipment to amplify and enhance the quality of their content. YouTube will also offer additional resources such as workshops, training and networking opportunities to boost skills and fuel meaning collaborations. “We are not only supporting them in the moment, but this is seed funding that will help them to thrive on the platform long-term,” he added.

Hailing from across the United States, Kenya, Brazil, Australia, South Africa and Nigeria, the cohort was selected in part based on their past participation in #YouTubeBlack, a campaign and event series promoting Black creators launched in 2016.

Paving a future for change

“These creators and artists have been doing this work already and are known by their communities, but we’re really excited to invest in them, and we believe that they can and will become household names with this support, shared Malik Ducard, YouTube Vice President of Partners on the #YouTubeBlack community.

In today’s landscape, influencers are themselves a media channel. The budgets put against them shouldn’t just be production-driven but rather emphasize a broader commitment to diverse and authentic stories driven by co-communication and co-creation. For YouTube, this effort is not only beneficial in ensuring these creators have their voices heard, but in allowing the platform to stay true to its goals and values and its commitment to its community.

“This is not a flash-in-the pan Instagram moment. This is about keeping the drum beat of change alive, and in the DNA of our organization,” added Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s Global Head of Music, reiterating the confidence in the ability of this group to lead and find long-term success through raw passion, creativity, and an entrepreneurial spirit. “Our expectation is that these artists are going to be significant and important voices and make music even more enjoyable.”

The future of brand-artist collaborations

For brands partnering with music artists – the takeaway here is that social listening requires responsiveness, flexibility, and mindfulness when it comes to integrating culture. People want to be heard, not sold to, and efforts should extend offline. This is only achieved through a full understanding of a new age of partnerships – one where brands have a bigger role to play in artist’s lives and artists are crossing the threshold to become true digital marketers monetizing the whole self.

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How to Win Social Media Conversions After The Holiday Rush

If only the world of marketing came with a little respite once in a while. As a chaotic, tumultuous holiday season packed with desperate brainstorming sessions for new holiday slogans, themed ads and special offers draw to a close, marketers find themselves tasked with campaigning their way through the new year lulls. 

While the transitional months from winter into spring are typically quiet for many businesses spanning retail and eCommerce, more companies are assembling marketing campaigns in order to win customers and maximise profits during the spending downturns of January, February and March. 

Retail Sales

(Image: Statista)

As we can see from the chart above, drops in retail sales from the build-up to the festive season into the new year can amount to a 30% fall in purchases among consumers. The chart, which has plotted out the recent history of retail sales in the United Kingdom, shows that while spending has steadily increased, peaks in spending around Christmas time have been consistent until 2020. 

The arrival of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, however, pointed to a significant disruptive influence in retail sales online in the UK. With more citizens facing more time spent indoors while social distancing and isolating away from the pandemic, it appears that more online shoppers chose to spend their money on goods and services.

With the pandemic culminating in a widespread shift towards workers transitioning away from office commutes and towards working-from-home (WFH) and the continued prevalence of the COVID-19 pandemic around much of the world, marketers may be facing a fresh opportunity to create successful marketing campaigns during this traditionally slow period for sales. 

Realizing The Greater Roles of Social Media in the WFH Landscape

The rise of WFH looks as though it’s here to stay, and this could carry significant ramifications for the world of marketing – especially as social media campaigns continue to gain traction among marketers aiming to generate greater brand awareness and loyalty alongside advertising campaigns. 

Social Media Usage

(Image: Marketing Charts)

According to the metrics above, social media usage in the US was set to accelerate significantly in the wake of COVID. With more citizens across the world unable to interact with friends and family in person, social media usage became more prevalent. With one social network, TikTok, experiencing a huge increase in users. 

Social Media During Covid-19

(Image: Marketing Charts)

The height of the pandemic saw more marketers take to tapping into the potential of this huge new network of active social media users. In fact, as much as 84.2% of CMOs looked to use social media to build brand awareness online, while customer retention and acquisition both ranked high. 

While businesses can certainly tap into social media for continued campaigning following the conclusion of the festive season, one of the most significant drawbacks of this time of year amounts to how best marketers can utilize their social media campaigns to draw in new and returning customers. 

With this in mind, let’s explore some of the key ways in which CMOs are looking to keep things fresh when it comes to content in the new year: 

Champion Community Interactions

There are few better ways of entering the new year successfully than to work towards championing community-driven content. By opening your business up to its community, you can not only share their content but also build a significant level of brand loyalty and awareness online. It’s even possible to build a space for dedicated users to interact with each other and share their experiences and ideas using platforms like Mighty Networks or Zapnito

Kristen Baker, a marketing manager at HubSpot explained that “in today’s highly digital and connected society, it’s funny to think people can still feel disconnected from others. This goes for personal relationships as well as business relationships – specifically between brands and their customers as well as brands and their employees. So, what is it that has people feeling a disconnect to others and the companies they do business with? It’s a lack of community.”

One key example of an organisation building a huge cross-platform community through marketing can be found on Netflix. When the company teamed up with content marketing agency, Mustache, the result amounted to a series of new social media accounts using the @NetflixIsAJoke handle to post funny videos, memes and other forms of content. 

The campaign prompted a vibrant community across a range of platforms and generated around 3.5 million new followers for Netflix in the process. 

By spending the quieter months following the festive period working on building a community and engaging more with your social media followers, you could not only establish more brand loyalty but build a deeper understanding of who your customers are and the sort of content they would like to see. You could even invite them to create content on your behalf and share the best entries in return for a prize. 

As marketing budgets tighten following the holiday season, user-generated content can pay dividends in keeping your social media followers engaged and continually clicking on your brand for updates. This, in turn, can lead to a healthy boost to website traffic, conversions, and much more engagement later on when new promotions kick-off. 

Work on More Organic Promotions

There are many reasons why the new year is a good time to start interacting more with your customers. In the age of WFH, it’s likely that they’ll have more time to spend on social media, and in those long drawn out winter months, they may actually crave some interaction with people – even if that ‘someone’ actually turns out to be a brand. 

You can help to foster a sense of loyalty by introducing a more evergreen promotion in the form of a loyalty scheme. As a new year arrives, customers may be looking for new challenges, and a loyalty or referral program could be perfect for keeping them engaged in those early months. 

There are plenty of ways in which you can introduce a loyalty program specific to your business. The classic approach made popular by both coffee shops and bookshops is a stamp card where every purchase equals a stamp. After a pre-determined number of stamps, the customer can receive a free product or service – or a freebie. 

If your business is more heavily dependent on service subscriptions, then it’s possible to run a referral program where customers get discounts for referring friends. You could also introduce tiered loyalty schemes where customers can move through tiers based on the purchases they make. The higher the tier they’re in, the greater the discounts. 

Naturally, these more organic and evergreen promotions encourage customers to convert more often, knowing that they’ll be rewarded for their loyalty. At a time that’s traditionally much more tranquil following the frantic festive season, loyalty rewards can bring a significant boost to conversions. 

Promote Self Improvement

The rise of the pandemic has led to a widespread increase in self-improvement measures. Whether it’s eating healthily, regular exercise or mindfulness, it seems that these trends are likely to continue in the age of WFH. 

This could be a significant opportunity for social media marketers who are looking to increase brand loyalty in the new year. Your social media marketing efforts can resonate with consumers more by promoting self-improvement. 

Be sure to generate trust in your brand by sharing your expertise, creating tutorials to share across social media (these can be video-based or textual), or even creating online courses central to your content. 

These approaches can add value to your business on social media, and followers will feel emboldened in following you and taking on the information that you share. 

The notion of self-improvement can be a significant tool for businesses to use in their marketing campaigns in January and February, where New Year’s resolutions remain fresh in the minds of consumers online. Position your online self-improvement materials on your social media accounts as a means of offering your followers the opportunity to learn through your company’s expertise. 

This social media marketing approach can be created as a freebie or as a paid service, but as long as it demonstrates value to your customers, it’s an effective way of resonating with their mindsets following on from the festive period. This boost in loyalty and awareness among your social media follower will lead to more click-throughs on to your landing page and subsequently more conversions from users who were content with your self-improvement content. 

Content Trial and Error

Of course, it’s vital at this time of year to continually monitor the performance of your campaigns. Raw metrics are likely to show drops in the number of conversions being made with your company, so it’s important to look elsewhere for key indicators surrounding how your campaigns are taking shape. 

By running links to your website’s landing pages from social media, you can actively review each step of your sales funnel through dedicated analytics engines like Google Analytics and Finteza. Both platforms are capable of providing rich insights into the causes of page and cart abandonment and various bouncebacks. 

Google Analytics

(Image: EasyAutoTagging)

At a time of year where consumer spending is largely frantic, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your funnels are kept squeaky clean and free of any potential sticking points for non-committal visitors. 

Be sure to regularly monitor your social media links and posts, and always compare and contrast your performance by looking into the various impressions you’re getting and the click-through rate that they’re generating. 

It may even be worth setting up different landing pages for each social media platform so you can better identify the best-optimised campaign for each network. 

As the frantic festive period and the huge marketing pushes of companies become a memory, it can be much more difficult to generate campaigns that can see similar levels of traction. In markets with a little less consumer spending power, the process of trial and error can really pay dividends in spotting newly emerging trends and capitalizing on them.

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How Google is Preparing for Fully Immersive AR Environments

Since its inception, one of the biggest use cases of AR on mobile remains the ability to play with your appearance whether through clothes, accessories, or makeup. Snapchat and Instagram are no stranger to this trend, and now Google is making its mark in the space with its own update.

Specifically, the tech giant tapped ModiFace and Perfect Corp, two companies highly involved in AR beauty technologies, to deliver a feature that gives online shoppers a way to virtually try on makeup without having to deviate from their Search results.

Separately, Google teamed up with Snapchat to put an immersive twist on its ‘Year in Search’ trends overview. Here’s a high-level overview of the latest.

Bringing the benefits of in-store shopping to mobile

Similar to YouTube’s AR feature for makeup try-on launched last year, Google’s latest push utilizes top brands including L’Oréal, Estée Lauder, MAC Cosmetics, Black Opal, and Charlotte Tilbury allowing consumers to try on a variety of makeup products without having to set foot in a store to test the look and feel.

Here’s how it works: When a user searches for a particular lipstick or eyeshadow product such as— “L’Oréal’s Infallible Paints Metallic Eyeshadow,” — they’ll be directed to the virtual try-on shopping experience at the top of their search results. From there, they can browse a library of photos of models representing a range of skin tones to help compare the shades and find the right product for them

“Seventy-three percent of U.S. shoppers are planning to buy online,” said Archana Kannan, Group Product Manager, Shopping and author of the announcement regarding this past holiday season’s expectations. “There are plenty of perks with online shopping, from the convenience of doing it from your couch to the multitude of options right at your fingertips.”

Details aside — the key takeaway here is that more than ever consumers are finding out about products from social media, then clicking through direct links to retailers to make purchases or even transacting directly on social platforms like Facebook or Instagram without leaving the app. A big driver of this shift? Influencers.

Endorsements from experts and enthusiasts

As part of the effort, Google is taking into consideration how consumers ultimately make their decision and a big trend as of late is recommendations from trusted sources like influencers.

In this vein, the company is unveiling recommendations from beauty, apparel and home and garden enthusiasts and experts, including online influencers, when a consumer browses Google Shopping on their phone. For example, hear the latest from professional makeup artist Jonet about makeup looks, or get holiday gift ideas from Homesick Candles.

“Sometimes it’s helpful to get recommendations and see how products work for other people,” explained Kannan. “Once you’ve found a product you love, you’ll be able to easily shop these recommendations.” This feature comes from Shoploop, a product formerly part of Area 120, Google’s in-house incubator.

The ‘Year in Search’ AR experience

The end of the year always seems to be nostalgic and Google and Snapchat are leaning into this in an innovative way. A new Google Lens accessible through Snapchat gives users an interactive walk down memory lane of all the key events of 2020 and noteworthy insights.

For instance, clicking on a photo of a Black Lives Matter protest highlights that compared to the previous year, searches of the term were up five-fold. Further, searches for “protest near me” were made in every state in the country for the first time ever.

“As 2020 comes to an end, Snap and Google have partnered to bring Google’s iconic “Year in Search” story to life with an immersive augmented reality experience. This marks the first time Google’s “Year in Search” has been brought to life in AR, and the campaign’s debut on Snapchat.”

Additionally, Snapchat also reports that for the first time Google will run its “Year in Search” video as ads on the platform.

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How to Build a Brand Ambassador Network on Instagram

Can you believe Instagram turned 10 in 2020? Boasting 1 billion users, it’s surely not a platform that you have ignored as a marketer or business owner.

However, I see many brands fall short with their Instagram marketing strategy. I don’t want you to be one of those brands so I’ve created this post on how you can boost the effectiveness of your Instagram presence with brand ambassadors to grow more traffic, brand awareness and sales.

Why Does My Brand Need Brand Ambassadors?

Sixty-percent of Instagram users log on daily. That means that your target consumers are interested in what their peers and people they follow post about. Don’t you want some of those daily posts to be about your brand? Brand ambassadors can be influencers or happy consumers. They have the ability to create authentic posts about your brand. After all, consumers are ad blind and they don’t want to hear about your brand from your brand itself. Consumers want to learn about new products and/or services from their peers. Brand ambassadors are considered to be peers.

Where to Find Brand Ambassadors?

There are many ways to identify people who are the perfect fit for your brand ambassador program on Instagram. As I mentioned, brand ambassadors can be influencers or happy consumers. Influencers have a lot of followers on Instagram while happy customers may not have huge a social following, but they can still get your brand in front of hundreds of their friends and family.

Here are a few ways you can go about identifying brand ambassadors to post on Instagram.

  • Identify and activate influencers using a tool like GroupHigh or BuzzSumo
  • Consult with your client services team to identify happy consumers and email them and ask them to post on Instagram and tag your brand
  • Send out an email to your consumers asking them to share their experience with your brand on Instagram

How to Get Ambassadors to Post

Turning someone into a brand ambassador often requires some creativity and a little incentivization. Based on successful brand ambassador programs on Instagram, there are few things we can learn from other brands on how to get consumers to post on Instagram about their experience with your brand.

  • Offer free product for posts
  • Offer different tiers of gift cards for how many likes an ambassador gets on their post
  • Monetarily incentivize ambassadors to post
  • Set up a commission structure for the sales that come in from their Instagram posts
  • Organizing and Scaling Your Brand Ambassador Program

The goal is to get as many brand ambassadors as you can to post. This takes a lot of organization. You can create a Google Sheet to track who is in your program and the links and reach of their posts. You can also keep a running list of all your brand ambassadors in an email marketing tool like MailChimp so you can regularly communicate with them.

However, organizing, scaling, and incentivizing your ambassadors can be a tedious process. Especially when your days are filled with other marketing initiatives. That’s why tools like CrewFire which organizes and allows your to incentivize your ambassadors to post are like a dream come true for marketers.

Creative Ways to Maximize Your Earned Media from Ambassadors

Your brand ambassadors are going to create some amazing earned media for you on Instagram. The images and words they used can be great assets for more than just sales. Here are a few ways that you can reuse your earned Instagram media:

  • Use the images on all of your social channels
  • Utilize their images and quotes from their posts on your homepage
  • Create a category on your website for potential consumers to see all of your earned Instagram content
  • Use their images in your marketing materials

How to Track the Results from Your Brand Ambassador Program

To ensure that your brand ambassador program on Instagram is reaching its fullest potential, you’re going to want to track your earned media. Create a spreadsheet, consult your earned media, and utilize Google Analytics to record how your program is performing.

To be able to track your ambassadors on an individual level, ask them to put your link in their bio on the day that they post about you. Even if they won’t put your link in their bio, you can still track the results of your brand ambassador program on Instagram.

These are the most sensible metrics to track:

  • Impressions (number of followers the ambassador has)
  • The number of likes their posts get
  • The number of Instagram comments an ambassador gets on their posts
  • The number of posts the ambassador posts about your brand
  • Traffic their posts brought to your website (if they put your link in their bio)
  • Sales (if they put your link in their bio)

Key Takeaways

Brand ambassadors are a cost effective and authentic way to earn media for your brand and create brand awareness on Instagram. Consumers want to hear about brands from their peers and not from your brand, so these third-party recommendations are very powerful.
Don’t forget to incentivize your ambassadors to post and remember that a little goes a long way. Usually, your happy consumers just need a little nudge to post about your brand.

Have you worked with ambassadors on Instagram? If so, feel free to reach out on social with your tips and insights!

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How to Effectively Engage Your Audience Through Email Marketing

Gone are the days of Spray and Pray email marketing. You cannot do those once customary ‘Email blasts’ to every subscriber on your contact list. The email marketing landscape has changed rapidly, thanks to the ever-increasing demand for personalized messaging. Striving for higher subscriber engagement is the primary reason behind this transition. However, things are not as simple as they seem to be since subscriber engagement is about sending the right message to the right message person at the right time.

As per a recent report by Campaign Monitor, “Increasing customer engagement rates was the most important goal for 58% of marketers and the most significant barrier for 44% of marketers.” These numbers show how much customer engagement means to email marketers and how crucial it is to enhance it.

Hence, I have compiled a few of the most effective tactics that you can pursue to take your subscriber engagement rate through the roof.

Dynamic and storytelling content

‘Content is king,’ and content hasn’t earned that title just like that. For any communication, be it personal or professional, communication is the soul, which stands true for email marketing. Weaving storytelling content in your emails would immediately elevate their online experience. They would be hooked from the get-go. However, it is some extra effort to sync your storytelling and branding together, but it is subscriber engagement you are aiming for, so you go to give it everything.

You can feature value-added content in your storytelling, such as news, tips, customer success stories, tips, and much more. As per a Forbes report, “millennials no longer become engaged through pure ads.”

When you strike the right chord with the subscribers, your engaging content will start impacting the sales as well. Connecting with people at a personal level leaves a profound impact on their buying behavior, and if executed right, it can do wonders for your brand.

If you are also looking to enhance your email campaign’s engagement appeal, then look no further than Mailchimp email experts or Marketo certified experts. They are the best in the business of taking your email marketing endeavors to the next level.

Impactful subject lines

On average, 121 emails are being received in every inbox each day. That’s a lot of emails, irrespective of whether they are personal, professional, and promotional. Now, in this sea of emails, the subject line is the deciding factor if your emails would be opened or will be another forgotten message that was never read in the first place.

It’s imperative to create subject lines that make a substantial impact on the readers. They will appeal to them and boost your engagement rates. A well-crafted subject line is short, tempting, and descriptive. You can go for different tonalities such as personal, informational, how-to, etc. Inserting emojis in subject lines is clever since they promise higher CTRs.

Here is a good example of how a precise subject line can set the right premise for your email. The subject line for Postable’s email says, “Refer your friends and get $$$.” The messaging is to the point clear, and hence, the recipient knows exactly what to expect once they open the mail.

Source: Really Good Emails

Personalized emails

A Campaign Monitor report found that “improving email personalization was the number one goal for 38% of marketers and was also the number one challenge for 36% of marketers.” To achieve personalization in your email marketing campaign, you can practice marketing automation, email list segmentation, and even third-party integrations.

Striking that chord with the recipients is easier if the content you serve them is relevant to them and as per their interests. Personalization doesn’t stop at just adding their name in the subject line. Instead, you can engage with them in even more ways, such as writing first-person emails and more. The plan is to give them a feeling that you understand your email subscribers and value them.

The following email template example depicts the point I am trying to make. When a subscriber sees the recipient’s name at the outset, they will trust you more, which would lead to much higher engagement. This email sounds more like a well-thought letter than a robotic email that you and I already receive truckloads of on a daily basis. Hence, a personalized email is a perfect start to have a loyal and engaging subscriber base.

Source: Really Good Emails

Segmentation of your email lists

Personalization gets you higher subscriber engagement, and nothing comes closer to personalization than segmenting your target lists. As email marketers, we create so much content that we sometimes forget diversity amongst our respective user bases. Information that’s relevant to one subscriber might be redundant for another. A great way to serve both of them is by segmenting your email list and creating specific personalized content based on that.

For example, if you experience low usage rates, then sending out re-engagement emails to engage inactive customers would be the best thing. For a more consistent customer, you can update him about the upcoming deals and offers.

The big takeaway here? In the end, customer engagement is decisive to customer acquisition and eventual customer retention. However, before trying to engage with them, it’s better to understand them first. It’s indispensable to have an understanding of who your customers are, what they prefer, or what’s the best way to connect with them.

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The post How to Effectively Engage Your Audience Through Email Marketing appeared first on Social Media Week.


How Reddit is Expanding its Video Presence with Dubsmash

2020 has seen a surge in the ever-expanding category of video offerings, particularly short-form, geared toward younger audiences. The latest to make a place in the space? Reddit.

The platform recently revealed its acquisition of short video platform Dubsmash. While the app will retain its own platform and brand, Reddit will integrate its video creation tools to help boost the creative opportunities available to creators and brands.

“Video is increasingly core to how people want to connect, and as we continue to grow our community, we’re committed to providing the best possible tools users need to find, create, and interact with one another through video,” Reddit shared in the official announcement.

The path towards video

Since launching native videos in 2017, Reddit reports usage has increased sharply, growing 2X in 2020 alone resulting in millions of organic video uploads. Separately, a spokesperson for Reddit shared with sources at Social Media Today that A Reddit spokesperson told SMT that, RPAN’s first year, over 291,000 streams were shared on the platform, by more than 54,000 streamers.

While initially these streams were capped at 45 minutes, there’s now a way to extend the length, which could open the window for creators to monetize their videos and tap into Dubsmash’s 52 million daily active users.

For some background, Dubsmash stands as one of TikTok’s biggest rivals that gained initial traction in 2015 as a lip-sync video app. In 2017, it broadened its appeal by incorporating more features that would earn it the title of social platform and moved its headquarters from Berlin to Brooklyn. Fast forward to this year, it had over one billion downloads and was second in the short-form video market.

Elevating underrepresented voices

Consumers prefer realistic portrayals of life versus displays of escapism, therefore it’s more important than ever to listen to their conversations rather than predict what they want or value.

In this vein, platforms must adapt as brands now take a stance on political and social issues far more than in previous decades, not only offering a branch of support but also acting as advocates for the consumers they represent and the issues they face.

Per the announcement, Dubsmash as a “welcoming platform for creators and users who are under-represented in social media.” Roughly 25 percent of all Black teens in the U.S and females represent 70 percent of Dubsmash users. This seems to align nicely with Reddit’s mission of fostering a sense of community and belonging via thousands of topics and passion points.

“In our years of building Dubsmash, we’ve learned how video can spark creativity, unlock interactions, and deepen connections within communities,” added Dubsmash’s co-founder and president, Suchit Dash. “Our focus is showing a different side of the internet.”

The transition to video — it’s only beginning

“The transition to video will be bigger than the transition to mobile,” explained Reddit Chief Executive and co-founder Steve Huffman in a statement to the Wall Street Journal. “We’re still only at the beginning.”

Video streaming apps specifically saw a 40 percent YoY spike with games, (35%), financing and shopping apps (25%), and social and communications apps (20%) following closely behind. Overall, it’s safe to say mobile adoption was accelerated by the global pandemic in ways that simply cannot and will not be reversed. App Annie predicts we’re ahead by roughly 2 to 3 years.

As we look ahead, predictions show that video will account for 78 percent of mobile traffic by 2021, up from 60 percent today. TikTok may be the king for now, but that won’t stop others from making their mark.

In an era of empowered consumers, video will continue to a core format central to how we find, share, and relate to content. Experiences should be the primary focus for brands — and these have to be easy-to-navigate, immensely creative, and match the space and flow of communication. Video is one of these focus areas worth integrating into your content strategy.

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The post How Reddit is Expanding its Video Presence with Dubsmash appeared first on Social Media Week.