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How digital technologies can transform your internal communications

As digital transformation takes the advertising industry by storm, some company processes have fallen short. 

As digital transformation takes the advertising industry by storm, some company processes have fallen short. 

As digital transformation takes the advertising industry by storm, some company processes have fallen short. However, Workplace from Facebook's fascinating new report suggests that Workplace – an online team collaboration tool that functions within the social media platform – could help businesses boost productivity and create a more effective in-house infrastructure.


The ‘Building connected organisations; Understanding the role of internal communications in digital transformation initiatives’ whitepaper looks at the different functions available on Workplace – from voice & video calls; smarter workflows; instant messaging; group calls; multi-company groups; live broadcasting; and team organisation; there’s not a lot the mobile tool can’t do.


The report states that businesses need to undergo a cultural transformation and involve employees in this evolution; let them participate more directly in strategy and decision-making if they want to regain their trust in the organisation.

Re-establishing this connection is fundamental, not just in tackling mental health issues at work but in improving productivity rates – which ultimately makes them more profitable. The report provides six ways for CEOs to make their business more connected:


Culture of openness
Workplace from Facebook provides businesses with the opportunity to be more transparent as the platform allows for groups - where anybody can comment, post or share all types of content – to be created. These groups provide a much more accessible way for employees to speak with one other as well as with more senior members, rather than rely on email threads or 1:1 conversations, therefore creating more efficient management structures.


Mobile
Workplace Chat, a feature within Workplace, acts as an effective instant messaging tool that allows workers to perform tasks and stay connected wherever they are – an increasingly important trait given the rise of remote working. With features like voice calls and video conferencing available, office functionality can resume even if workers aren’t actually on-site. Embedded chatbots within Chat mean that repetitive processes such as checking pay slips, reporting bugs and booking time off can be automatically managed.


Visual
According to the report, Facebook is now the biggest photo sharing platform in the world and with one in every five videos on Facebook today a Live video, it’s no surprise that businesses have bolstered their use of Workplace's Live video function, which means that they can share content authentically and in real time. Live allows organisations to break news instantaneously, provide regular business updates or broadcast activities and events as they’re happening.


Integrated technology
Workplace allows businesses to integrate different cloud services so that different apps are recognised and can operate more seamlessly. This function also ensures that security across the platforms is safe and delivers clearer measurement for impact and ROI.


Ubiquitous connections
As the industry moves towards an increasingly freelance workforce, especially in the US, Workplace from Facebook offers businesses the opportunity to easily connect in-house teams as well as with external organisations. This helps to improve the speed and ease of collaboration – enabling clients and agencies to work together better.


Personalised information
Using advanced machine learning and algorithms, Worplace's News Feed can figure out what each user wants to see so that information is tailored to their interests by sifting through any information that would be deemed unimportant. As the old adage goes, time is precious; and this function means that employees can focus on the task at hand rather than become distracted by the mismanagement and flood of information.


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what to expect from SEO in 2020

Between 2010-2015 the SEO industry went from being seen as a shady backroom box of tricks to a leading and essential marketing channel, driven by data, trends and user behavior statistics.

Between 2010-2015 the SEO industry went from being seen as a shady backroom box of tricks to a leading and essential marketing channel, driven by data, trends and user behavior statistics.

Between 2010-2015 the SEO industry went from being seen as a shady backroom box of tricks to a leading and essential marketing channel, driven by data, trends and user behavior statistics.

With ongoing changes Google kept SEO agencies, freelancers and internal teams on their toes by releasing update after update to hone and shape not only what they want search results to look like, but how they want us to act and work within them. This included the once-famed Penguin Update, aimed at webspam and link building practices, supposedly impacted around 0.1% of searches when originally launched, but went on to shape the importance of positive link building, utilization of tools and data and birthed job roles around SEO content strategy while strengthening the importance of content marketing.

Long term with the development of RankBrain and (perceived) closer to real-time algorithm changes, more core updates on a regular basis and the journey through ‘Content is King’ to UX – SEO has become theorized in some sense, with many of us having our own opinions and approaches to the same end result.

As we’ve reached 2020 we have in some parts see new developments from Google slow down, with the company’s focus seemingly on updating reporting suites and core updates that offer little more than ‘an improvement to search results’. We’re no longer beholden to the next big Penguin or Panda updates, but more to the inner workings of Google and sporadic updates to its Search Quality Guidelines – with this in mind, what exactly can we expect from SEO in 2020? Adhering to Google guidelines becomes harder, or easier?

WHITEPAPER
We all know how SEO works and many of us will have specialisms or approaches to SEO we feel get results quicker, but with vague updates and unannounced tweaks to algorithms, is it becoming harder to adhere to Google’s guidelines?

Certainly, the unpredictability is a factor at times – with the recent updates to search guidelines on YMYL and E-A-T being announced, there’s a perception the goalposts are moving ever so slightly, every so often.

This means that if you’re scoring just inside the post on Monday, you might be wide of the mark by a fraction on Tuesday. For websites where the SEO team is at the mercy of web development or other factors outside of their control, this can prove a challenge.

Of course, any SEO agency or specialist worth their weight in gold will be able to outline and approach any issues with a solution in hand.

The flipside to this is, however, is that we all have a clear idea of what a good website looks like and what is going to rank page 1 for chosen keywords. With guideline updates, an industry that shares knowledge like no other and a focus on developing strategies that are future proof, there is no reason for every update to send SEO campaigns spiraling.


In 2020, we predict that the next wave of guidelines will be released, and our prediction is these again will be focusing on trust and authority – not a million miles away from where we’ve been for the last few years.

Actioning and adhering to search quality guidelines
Google Search Quality Guidelines regularly update – these guidelines reflect how Google wants you to work within a website and the process the search engine’s algorithm will take to evaluate the relevance of the website for keyword usage.

These guidelines take into account:
- E-A-T – The Expert, Authority, Trust of the website in relation to the target subject
- Page Quality – How the page is laid out, how it works and whether it has the user’s best interests at heart
- Needs Met – Factors around whether the page ANSWERS the needs of the query

The page quality is assessed to identify where the text is placed, the wording used, content used and the quality of the content.

Google’s most recent updates put E-A-T elements at the heart of the Page Quality section of its guidelines, based on industry and type of product.

The blanket approach, and the actions needed to adhere to (or in fact exceed) Google guidelines are that the page should be “more specific than the query, but would still be helpful for many or most users because” the company is reputable in the area.


Top nine factors content managers should audit for on-page SEO

Element to Optimise - Definition
Landing Page URL: URL of the landing page (after the website name)
Meta Title: This is the blue link that shows in Google
Meta Description: The text that shows under the blue link in search results – to draw a user to click
Heading 1 Tag: A title that shows at the top of a page
Heading 2 / 3 Tags: Additional titles which are placed within the content of a page
Content: The physical content on the page needs to meet particular criteria
Keyword Density: The percentage of keywords to total text ratio on a page
Images: The size, name, and title of an image on the page
Internal Links: Links which point to other pages on the website


Dependence on technical SEO reduced but is still important
Technical SEO has been on the rise for a number of years but the buzz behind it has somewhat plateaued in the last 12 months or so – although it is still essential to audit from a technical perspective regularly. Traditionally, technical SEO would include web structure, speed, hosting and so on – with JSON, mark up and structured tagging following on from this.

Across client bases we’ve seen the need for technical SEO regularly drop by just under 50%, with wider-ranging audits, working with web development on new site builds and regular crawls on health being the norm. Working in this way allows for time to be split effectively across multiple areas of SEO and better use of budget. Education on the technical aspects client-side also means SEO agencies and professionals can focus time elsewhere.

Within semi-regular technical SEO audits, there are some core elements to check, all of which will help identify issues and improve the technical performance of a website, without impacting the day-to-day of search marketing.

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Instagram removed the IGTV button

Instagram is removing the IGTV button from the main screen of its app because “very few” people tap on it.

Instagram is removing the IGTV button from the main screen of its app because “very few” people tap on it.

Instagram is removing the IGTV button from the main screen of its app because “very few” people tap on it.

The decision was confirmed to TechCrunch by a spokesperson for the Facebook-owned company, who claimed that members of the Instagram community are instead “finding IGTV content through previews in Feed, the IGTV channel in Explore, creators’ profiles, and the standalone app.”

The spokesperson said that “very few are clicking into the IGTV icon,” and so there’s little reason to have it there.

“We always aim to keep Instagram as simple as possible, so we’re removing this icon based on these learnings and feedback from our community,” the representative said.
The removal of the button frees up some valuable screen real estate for Instagram, though at this stage it’s not clear what, if anything, will go in its place.

But the decision to ditch the icon — up to now the easiest way to access IGTV content from the main Instagram app — has put the spotlight on the popularity of IGTV itself, and calls into question whether Instagram is struggling to attract new users to the service.

IGTV launched in June 2018 as a way to post long-form video, though it’s aimed primarily at celebrities and those big on social media. Widely described as a bid by Instagram to take on YouTube, the service allows video uploads of up to an hour in duration for certain influencers, while regular users can post videos lasting up to 10 minutes.

Despite its huge backing, IGTV only managed to get around 7.8 million downloads in the first 12 months after its 2018 launch, according to Apptopia, a tracker of mobile apps. At the same time, Apptopia also estimated that IGTV had about 1.75 million monthly users, a figure that pales in comparison to the main Instagram app, which has more than a billion monthly users, or even TikTok, which had around 500 million monthly active users as of mid-2018. And while Instagram has been happy to tout the user numbers for its Snapchat-like Stories feature, which has been hugely popular, it’s backed away from offering stats about IGTV.

Instagram’s YouTube competitor suffered issues at the start with some users frustrated at lack of support for horizontal videos. Sure, you could upload them, but they wouldn’t fill the screen when you tilted your phone, and so left a lot of white space around your small-sized video. IGTV supported vertical videos in a bid to cement its mobile-first credentials. , but less than a year in, it changed tack and allowed horizontal videos to fill the screen.

Losing the icon at the top of the Instagram app doesn’t mean that IGTV is about to switch off, but it’s not exactly a promising sign that Instagram has ditched the most convenient way to access the service from its main app.
Watch this space.


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What is Google Discover

In recent months, many content publishers have been enjoying higher levels of mobile traffic from a new source: Google’s Discover feed.

In recent months, many content publishers have been enjoying higher levels of mobile traffic from a new source: Google’s Discover feed.

In recent months, many content publishers have been enjoying higher levels of mobile traffic from a new source: Google’s Discover feed.

Google Discover is the reincarnation of Google Feed, its personalised, mobile-optimised smart feed first introduced in December 2016, which was aimed at helping users keep up-to-date on topics and events of interest. In mid-2017, the Google Feed got an update and an algorithm upgrade, before undergoing a more thorough refresh and rebrand in September 2018 and re-emerging as Google Discover.

Google Discover is the most recent product of Google’s desire to provide users with the content they might be searching for even before they’ve entered a keyword. It was introduced in conjunction with Google’s 20th birthday celebrations as part of Google’s vision for “improving Search for the next 20 years”, and specifically what Google terms, “The shift from queries to providing a queryless way to get to information.”

Appearing in the Google app on iOS and Android and on its mobile homepage, Google Discover features a mixture of news and evergreen content on topics that it thinks users might be interested in, at the moment they’re likely to want to know about those topics. This might be an update on a subject they’re following in the news, an article about somewhere that they’re about to travel to, or a how-to article on a hobby that they’re taking up.

While this switch from query-oriented, intent-driven search to laid-back “discovery” might seem like yet another blow for traditional SEO techniques, Discover has the potential to drive valuable extra traffic to publishers – and it can be optimised for. Here’s how, and why you might want to.


Why Google Discover is big news for publishers
In a time when organic discovery methods are currently offering diminishing returns, with a Facebook algorithm that de-prioritises publishers and a search landscape yielding fewer and fewer clickthroughs, the traffic boost offered by Google Discover has been a welcome development for publishers.

Digiday reports that although some publishers are finding Discover to be a slightly inconsistent source of traffic, many more have seen significant increases. Vogue reportedly received more traffic from Google Discover in October than from Google Search, while Vice has stated that it is a “valuable” and “steady” referral source. Google Discover also seems to perform particularly strongly in markets where Android is dominant, such as India and France.

Publishers are particularly excited about Discover’s potential to build long-term relationships with readers. According to analysis conducted by Parse.ly, on average 27% of the visitors who come from Google Discover – and other Google content recommendation features – are return visitors, a higher percentage than delivered by any social channel. And unlike a new social channel, publishers don’t need to invest hours into cross-posting content or planning a dedicated strategy.

Of course, that’s not to say that there aren’t things publishers should be doing to improve their chances of appearing in Discover. Here are five tips for publishers looking to appear in Discover and drive more traffic from it.


1. Be mobile-optimised
Unsurprisingly, as Discover is a recommendation feed for mobile, having a mobile-optimised site is essential for being indexed in it. This can come in the form of a separate mobile subdomain (such as m.wikipedia.org) or a responsive main site that can adapt itself to any device, mobile or otherwise. There’s also Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), Google’s framework for creating lightning-fast mobile pages that run on a stripped-down version of HTML.

Mobile optimisation is already paramount for SEO in 2020: in July 2018, Google started using page speed as a ranking factor in mobile search, delivering penalties to sites that delivered the slowest experience on mobile. Google also rolled out its ‘mobile-first’ index in the first half of 2018, which predominantly looked at the mobile version of a site for indexing and ranking, in cases where a site has a separate mobile version, or serves content dynamically based on device type.

In other words, publishers who are serious about SEO and delivering a good experience on mobile should already be in a position to take advantage of Discover – but if you’re not, know that this is the first step towards being able to drive Discover traffic. Users reaching your site from Discover will also be visiting it on a mobile device – so if the experience is poor, they’re less likely to continue reading or navigate to other pages on the site.

2. Include high-quality images or video
Every Google Discover card has a visual component, so having a high-quality, relevant image is more likely to grab a user’s attention as they’re scrolling through their feed. A video clip with a relevant thumbnail can also serve the same purpose.

Images in Discover cards can be large – spanning the entire width of the card – or small, relegated to a small square to the right of the article headline. Large images are the most eye-catching kind, so enabling those will give your visuals the best chance to shine. According to Google, Discover cards that feature large images receive a 5% increase in click-throughs, a 3% increase in time spent on pages, and a 3% increase in user satisfaction.


To enable large images in Discover, Google’s official guidelines on optimising for Discover recommend using an image of at least 1,200 pixels in width and ensuring that Google has the rights to display your high-quality images to users – either by implementing AMP, or by filling out the interest form for Google’s opt-in program for big image use. Making sure that your images are either landscape or will display well when cropped to landscape will also show them off to best effect.

However, it’s worth noting that a smaller image will give more prominence to your headline. If you don’t have access to high-quality imagery but have amazing headline copy that you want to spotlight, a small image may be an advantage. Of course, having a combination of quality imagery and a good headline will give your article the best chance of success in Discover.


3. Create quality content that fulfils a need
No doubt you’ll have heard plenty of marketers banging the “quality content” drum over the past few years as an essential ingredient for ranking well in SEO. Much like mobile optimisation, producing high-quality content is something that you should hopefully already be doing, and has become even more important with the introduction of Google Discover, which features only the top posts from high-interest subject areas.

To be eligible for Discover, articles should also be compliant with Google News content policies, which stipulate that content must be:

  • Original
  • Transparent
  • Proportionate to the number of ads and other paid promotional material

They also state that content must not:

  • Contain confidential or personally identifying information
  • Infringe on anyone’s intellectual property rights
  • Be sexually explicit or graphically violent
  • Promote hate speech, or dangerous and illegal activities
  • Be primarily aimed at providing medical advice, diagnosis or treatment
  • Harass or bully people
  • Impersonate anyone or anything
  • Link to malware, viruses, or other harmful software
  • Be duplicate, low-quality or spammy

It’s worth noting that high-quality content doesn’t necessarily mean long-form or in-depth content, since discussions of quality content often tend to conflate it with long-form content or assume that “quality content” means “thousands of words in length”. One of Econsultancy’s articles that has performed best in Discover, How one company’s rebrand and domain name change led to SEO disaster, is a little over 700 words long – but it uses those words to give a concise and informative overview of the topic, complete with actionable takeaways.

Between 700 words of genuinely useful information and 2,000 words of intellectual-sounding waffle, 700 words of useful information will always win out – not just with Google’s algorithms but in terms of user satisfaction, something that Google is increasingly looking to reward with the introduction of features like Discover.

Which brings me to my next point: your content should fulfil a need for the user and satisfy something that they might be looking for, whether it’s the latest news updates, details of an upcoming film featuring their favourite superhero, or a how-to article that will improve their job performance. This is similar to optimising for search intent in SEO, with the crucial difference being that Google Discover aims to provide the user with something they might be looking for before they even start looking for it.

4. Refresh, refresh, refresh
One of the most significant changes that occurred when Google Feed was rebranded to Google Discover is that Google started to include evergreen content in the content mix alongside more time-sensitive news and trending content. This was a welcome development for publishers who don’t just cover breaking news or report on stories of the moment.

However, if you scroll through your Google Discover feed, you’ll notice that what the vast majority of featured stories have in common is recency. Discover stories tend to be at most, a week old, sometimes only a few hours old, and the feed is updated daily (or more frequently if the user refreshes it) with new content. The articles themselves can be news or evergreen, but most have been published or updated within the last 48 hours.


There is one exception to this rule, which is that Google will occasionally highlight an older story within Discover with a little “In case you missed it” tag to show that it’s from a while ago. Google will surface these at a moment it deems relevant for the user – for example, an article about things to do in Amsterdam might appear when the user has an upcoming trip there. But even the archive content that Google surfaces is relatively recent, generally published no more than six months ago.

The moral of this story is that refreshing content – whether it’s overhauling an evergreen feature article or adding a trending news hook to a relevant older piece – pays off. This doesn’t mean that you need to perpetually update every story in your archive or refresh articles when it isn’t necessary or relevant (see previous tip). But well-planned and timely refreshes of archive content have the potential to pay dividends in terms of Discover traffic.


5. Up your engagement
Google Discover feeds are personalised to each individual user, and you’re more likely to be featured in the Discover feed of someone who is already in the habit of visiting your website, or reading about the topics that you publish, on a regular basis. So, is there anything you can do to increase your chances of appearing in someone’s personal Discover feed if you aren’t already there?

There is, and what it boils down to is building a relationship: using the other channels at your disposal to engage with readers and introduce them to your brand. This includes things like organic SEO and paid search and social ads, which will widen your reach, but it also includes interacting with your audience on social media, with email marketing, or maybe by sending out an email newsletter.

Up your readers’ engagement with your content, start conversations with them, and build habits that will lead to them visiting your site on a few different occasions. Then, you might start to see that Discover traffic pick up as Google takes over and starts featuring your articles in readers’ Discover feeds, leading to more and more repeat visits.


How to find out if your Discover optimisation efforts are paying off
If you’ve noticed some mysterious upticks in your mobile traffic that you think might be coming from Discover, or you’ve been implementing these steps and you want to know if they’re having the desired result, you might be wondering how to measure traffic from Google Discover.

Happily, Google added a Discover report to Google Search Console in April last year that allows publishers to view and track traffic coming from Google Discover. It only appears for sites that meet “a minimum threshold of impressions in Discover” over the past 16 months (Google doesn’t specify what that minimum is), so the presence of a Discover report in your Console is by itself a good indicator of whether you’re appearing in Google Discover often enough for it to be worth tracking.


The Discover report is featured in the Performance section of your Google Search Console, showing how your Discover traffic percentage stacks up against organic search. Opening it will allow you to view metrics like average click-through rate, total clicks and impressions, how individual articles are performing in Discover (based on their canonical URL), which countries are generating the most traffic, and more.

More than anything, regularly digging into your Discover data over time will enable you to understand what kind of content performs best for you in Discover, when, and with which audiences, allowing you to refine and develop your Google Discover strategy.

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backlinks in 2020

Here’s the thing - in order to get more traffic to your website, you need to boost your search engine rankings.

Here’s the thing - in order to get more traffic to your website, you need to boost your search engine rankings.

Here’s the thing - in order to get more traffic to your website, you need to boost your search engine rankings. One way to rank well, and to subsequently generate more organic traffic, is to gain backlinks from credible websites in your industry.

But getting backlinks from big-name publications and eCommerce businesses can take a lot of time and laborious effort. Success often involves networking, content marketing, and utilizing the right tools.

Are you looking to diversify your backlink profile in 2020? If so, here are some tips on how you can get more hyperlinks pointing to your site.


1. Create link round-up posts
Link roundups posts, which feature the opinions of industry experts, can generate a ton of traffic, and for good reason.

We're all looking for expert insights and tips to help us succeed in our hobbies, careers and/or business endeavors, and by providing a compilation of tips, and then featuring them on your site, you present useful information to your audience, and additional promotion for those people you include. An extra benefit of publishing round-up posts is that the experts you feature will often re-share, and even link back to the post from their own sites, adding valuable signals to your page.

But even if you don't have the time to put together your own round-up post, getting featured in other people or brand's compilations is likely easier than you think. For example, SEMrush asks for expert opinions through its #SEMrushchat Twitter chat, which is held every Wednesday. Participants who join in on the conversation often get featured in SEMrush's blog posts, and/or retweeted on their Twitter page.



Getting featured in link round-up posts is a simple way to help you get a backlink from a reputable site, helping improve your discoverability, and boost brand awareness. A good tip is to find publications in your industry that create roundup posts and start following them to identify potential opportunities.

2. Give interviews
When it comes to getting press for your business, getting published on more sites will always be better. But getting exclusive promotions often takes a lot of time and money.

One way you can get ahead is to get in touch with journalists through HARO (Help A Reporter Out). HARO is a free service which enables users to get in touch with journalists that are seeking sources for their upcoming stories. Rather than you having to seek out relevant journalists yourself, a list of opportunities will come to you - all you need to do is to reply to their queries for a chance to get featured, and get a mention or backlink to your website.



Some of the media outlets which use HARO are The New York Times, Mashable, TIME and Reuters, among many more.


3. Guest Blogging
Guest blogging can be a great way to build backlinks - but it’s often easier said than done.

You may have a hard time getting guest posts published on reputable sites, as they get a ton of requests. And even if you do pitch a good topic, you can end up waiting for months to get a reply from the website’s editorial department, as they manage their various priorities.

Instead of sending pitches that'll be left unanswered, another option to consider is to connect with skilled authors on Link-able. The platform claims to have a stable of elite authors with great portfolios, people who have already been published on many of the top sites, including Forbes, Entrepreneur and The Huffington Post.

Utilizing these established writers will make your pitch more appealing, increasing the likelihood of being published.



You can post a project on Link-able, describing your website and your backlink needs. Authors who write about similar topics and industries can then send you applications offering to build relevant links.

Since these writers already have connections, they can more successfully get in touch with editors, and get guest posts published on your behalf.


4. Connect with clients
You don’t necessarily need to look too far to get reputable backlinks. You can also connect with clients who have well-established websites and digital presences, and get guest posts published on their blogs.

Not only will this help you get backlinks from their website/s, but they'll also get free, quality content in return. That’s a win for both sides.


5. Post case studies and industry statistics
Rather than creating backlinks by reaching out to websites, you can also get the links to come to you instead.

Keep in mind that content creators often link to statistics and research-backed case studies. If one of your blog posts is awesome, and jam-packed with original, data-driven insights, then you're increasingly likely to get others linking back to it. This is why creating case studies can help you gain more visibility in your niche, and provide more opportunities for backlinks.

For example, Brian Dean has gained fame in the marketing industry by creating case studies and publishing actionable content on his blog. He used the 'skyscraper technique' to increase his search traffic by 110% in just four days.



The Skyscraper Technique involves a three-step process:

1- Find link-worthy content
2- Make it even better
3- Reach out to the right people


Dean's posts often feature screenshots and step-by-step instructions, so that readers can replicate his tactics themselves. He also adds relevant statistics so industry experts will link to the studies cited in the post.



By using this technique, one of Dean's blog posts drove more than 300,000 referral visitors to his website. 



6. Monitor your competitors
You should also consider monitoring your competitors’ mentions in forums and social media.

While you can easily stalk your competitors’ mentions on Twitter, you can use tools like Mention to get notifications about broader online conversations.


If a customer has a query about your competitors’ product, you can reply first and use this opportunity to promote your products instead. This technique will help you get potential customers to consider your product, and increase your chances of earning backlinks too.


7. Connect with experts on Facebook groups
There are Facebook groups for everything, so you’re bound to find at least a few related to your business.

You can join Facebook groups in your niche or industry to connect with bloggers and marketers.



And while you can reach out to these people through Facebook posts or messages, don’t limit yourself. Add value to the group by sharing relevant industry trends and insights. You can even share your own content - but always ensure it's of high relevance to your audience.

By connecting with marketers or industry professionals, you may get opportunities to get more backlinks, and grow your customer base.


Conclusion
When you’re constantly reaching out to get backlinks, and constantly waiting for replies, it’s easy to feel hopeless. However, there are ways in which you can generate backlinks by trying strategies like this which most marketers simply aren’t using.

Instead of blindly reaching out to websites, create quality content that people will want to link to. Rather than creating promotional blog posts, seek interview opportunities, and participate in link round-up posts. Keep trying and you’ll eventually start to see increases in your backlink profile - and SEO benefits as a result.

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the Content World in 2020

The industry is poised for disruption. By Adam Singolda, founder and CEO of Taboola, the largest discovery platform.

The industry is poised for disruption. By Adam Singolda, founder and CEO of Taboola, the largest discovery platform.

It was a headline-grabbing year for technology, from massive IPO failures, congressional testimony on data privacy and ad practices to the much-anticipated streaming wars. Many of these issues as well as unrealistic business practices set the stage for 2020 and the wave of disruption that’s likely to shakeup technology, media and advertising.

Here are my three predictions for what the new year has in store for the tech.


Netflix will become ad supported
My belief is that every company that is reaching tens of millions of people will inevitably get into the $600 billion advertising business, including Netflix.

A lot has been written about this: Disney+ and Amazon are getting stronger, offering loads of quality content that only make it harder for Netflix to keep its subscribers.

Disney is offering a bundle package of its streaming services: Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ for $12.99, which will include the standard ad-supported tier of Hulu. Amazon, already the third largest advertising company in America with $18 billion in revenue, has a major advantage with Prime, a service now being used by more than 100 million people.

There is a good chance Disney and Amazon are already in most of our homes in some capacity, and they will continue to use advertising as a strong bridge to further penetrate into our lives.

As successful as Netflix is, they’re facing a whole new type of competition on all fronts, from quality of original content to distribution to price. While Netflix said they won’t go the advertising route, I think it is their destiny. And with their reach, data, technology capabilities and opportunity to reach users and TV advertising being such a successful vehicle for advertisers, I predict they will become one of the largest advertising companies in the world—and they will never turn back.


Apple will have its first failure with iTunes on other TVs
Apple’s success rests in the hands of the well-respected and visionary Eddy Cue’s ability to make Apple a services company across music, payments, health and content. But to succeed in a services strategy, Apple must become ubiquitous and offer its content/services everywhere, which is something the company has not done successfully to date.

For example, can Apple truly succeed partnering with Samsung, delivering content through iTunes? I remind you that Spotify’s app on Apple Watch is still just a remote to your phone, but not a standalone app like it is on any other smartwatch. Apple’s biggest conflict is bringing the magic we all love to use in the Apple kingdom outside of their walls by partnering with others.

So, can Apple partner? This will be the year we’ll need to either see Apple evolve into a whole new company culturally under Eddy’s leadership or fail in this new world of services we’re all heading toward.


From Roku to Samsung, physical devices will help save journalism
In 2019, we saw the origin of news as a service, where began expanding into the news business, aggregating news and surfacing articles to their users to drive engagement. Next year, this trend will continue to breathe new life into platforms like Fire TV, Roku and even legacy providers like TiVo.

Amazon debuted a news aggregator app that rolled out to its 37 million active users, Roku added more standalone apps from news organizations to its devices and Samsung alone sells about 700 million devices a year, having created a massive opportunity to surface news that matters to consumers and bring people back to the open web. More access to news is a great service for readers. Platforms and devices that offer quality journalism and video content in a brand safe manner or in ways that actually drive traffic to publishers’ sites or OTT apps by putting more control at the hands of the publisher will rise to the top.

When you think of billions of devices sold a year (smartphones, TVs), the opportunity for the physical world to collectively save journalism is massive, and we’ll see a lot more of that in 2020.

The rapid evolution of the content space in 2020, which is demanding fast growth and fighting hard for users’ attention (and dollars), will force companies to break out of their comfort zone and evolve past their traditional approaches to this market. That includes unconventional partnerships, new types of business models and perhaps even a newly evolved culture that is better prepared for the future. Things are about to move even faster, which is an exciting time for us all in the content space.

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web design 2020

Each industry is linked to specific trends. This is especially true of graphic design in 2020, marketing and, of course, web design.

Each industry is linked to specific trends. This is especially true of graphic design in 2020, marketing and, of course, web design.

Each industry is linked to specific trends. This is especially true of graphic design in 2020, marketing and, of course, web design. From the very beginning of the "technological revolution", you can track a lot of changes in the development of websites. Innovations expand opportunities. That is why they influence which sites we want to see. This is how new trends are formed.

Biggest Web Design Trends 2020 are:

  1. Adaptive design
  2. Push notifications
  3. Motion design
  4. Video
  5. Chat bots
  6. White space
  7. Interactivity
  8. Minimalism

You can create quite unique pages. But if at least a little does not follow the trend, a person is recognized unfashionable, and the site is uninteresting. Analyzing the ratings of Awwwards – the community that determines the best sites of the day, month and year according to different criteria, I was able to highlight the upcoming trends in web design. The following trends are provided by a team of Merehead web, UI/UX designers and even product designers. I've shared surveys with project managers as well to make this article as open as possible from different angles.


Adaptive design
First of all, I want to highlight the trend that will be on top for more than one year. The web page should be readable and visually appealing on any screen or part of it. That’s why adaptability is one of the key requirements of web design. First of all, the focus will be on mobile phones. Obviously, they are used for surfing the Internet no less than computers and laptops. Also consider the browser window mode, which is often used to simultaneously view multiple web pages.

In addition to text and media content, any elements may disappear from the screen when you change its size. But some of them should take on a different look, becoming readily available. So, the key component of the web page on the phone is the “Menu” button, which will allow you to go to:

  • personal account;
  • shopping cart (if it is a store);
  • pricing info;
  • site settings (if they are provided for the user);
  • help;
  • main sections of the site.

From personal experience, I can say that I leave 80% of non-adaptive sites instantly, since it is inconvenient to work with them. Exception is the availability of the necessary information to me. In this case, I have to adapt. But ahead is 2020. The task of developers is to save users from difficulties.

Push notifications
A trend controversial enough for today, but I have to admit, it is gaining momentum. It is unpleasant to see a message from the site in the corner of the monitor while working or watching movies. However, often there is a benefit. For example, a notice that tickets to a concert of your favorite band or a football game are ending. Even though it's a part of web development but also relates to UX design.

Notifications can be blocked, which will eliminate their annoyance. But on devices like a tablet or phone, they are often useful rather than unbearable. Most sites are already asking the user's permission to send notifications.
When adding this element, it is necessary to take into account the target audience and its needs. In the future, it is worth paying attention to the activity and core interests. It is important to properly configure the subject and frequency of notifications. This element should help users, not scare them.

Motion design
The pace of the 21st century has made us very impatient. This also applies to find information on the Internet, even if there is enough time. Therefore, users are in a state of “instant exposure” if the required information is obtained in full on one web page.

How to provide it? The implementation of "motion design". One of the most trivial examples is adding GIF-animations to familiarize with the main characteristics of a car.

This way of presenting information is much more efficient than textual or even pictorial. The advantage of gif over video in faster loading, which is also very important when working with the site.
GIFs can transfer the most complex ideas in a short amount of time. Moreover, they will definitely interest the user, which will make him stay on the site. One of the key benefits is that they work in any browser and smartphone, so they will be accessible to all.

But also it is necessary to take into account that animations, as a rule, are short-lived. Consider that there are no more than 5 seconds. In this period it is necessary to enclose the entire message. If it doesn't work, it's better to replace it with a video.


Video
Not a new trend, but for now there is no substitute for it. It creates a contradiction of lack of time when surfing the Internet. Most users have no desire to stay long on the site. But most of them are willing to spend 2, 5 or more minutes to view the relevant video.
Some statistics:

  • 96% of users watch videos to explore the product in more detail;
  • 79% said that it was the video that convinced them to buy the product;
  • 68% prefer to study new projects by watching videos, rather than reading texts;
  • 94% of PR managers said that video helps users to understand the idea of a project;
  • 84% of managers are convinced that thanks to the video they managed to increase traffic on the site.

Information taken from the survey The State of Video Marketing 2019.

I can safely say that today video content is the undisputed leader among web trends. I do not know about any successful project, which representatives opposed the addition of video.

However, there is a shortlist of rules for adding this element to your site:

  1. Duration. No more than 5 minutes. The basis of the project can be easily described during this period. The task of the video - to attract the user's attention and make him go deeper.
  2. Relevance. The video should clearly correspond to the page on which it is located. For example, you should not post the material "Our team" on the page "Why you need to work with us".
  3. Simplicity. Send only the main message. If you move away from the topic, the user will be bored, but he will not understand the idea
  4. Minimalism. The benefits of video do not mean that you need to fill a lot of clips. Some of the information must be submitted in text form.

Chat bots
The next emerging trend is related to artificial intelligence. Users often turn to support with questions of all kinds. As a rule, over time they coincide and it is more and more difficult to respond to them psychologically.
Chatbots are programs designed to imitate a conversation, that currently is being developed and improved, becoming more like people. They collect a base of constant questions and in the future immediately respond to interested users.

There are two types of bots: with fixed database and AI-based. The first option is something like an improved FAQ section and is ineffective. It is the second option that is a developing trend, since it greatly facilitates user acquaintance with the project.
The advantages of chat bots are that they are cheap (more expensive than the FAQ section, but much cheaper than the support staff) respond instantly and are available 24/7. Disadvantages: do not understand sarcastic requests, cannot correctly answer the question asked for the first time.

Experiments with chat bots began a few years ago. But for now they were remembered only as a stupid program, unable to respond normally to a banal query. Today they have "learned." Now bots can complete an order, help with registration or restore an account.

White space
The use of “white” space is one of the principles of logod esign and an effective way to attract attention. Under the white space means the area between the design elements, as well as the space inside some elements of the web page (including line spacing and stretching of the font).

There is an erroneous opinion in the network that all the white space is “empty”. As you can see, this is not quite the case. Between web design elements there should be an explicit indentation.
It is also important to understand that, contrary to the original name “white space”, space should not be exactly white. It can be any color, texture or even a background image. The essence of white space is that it carries no semantic meaning.

What you should definitely know when developing a web design - the types of white space: active and passive. The first type is specially created spaces between the elements of web design, which in a certain way lead the user through the page. The second is aimed at improving the aesthetic appearance of the page. This includes line spacing, indents between paragraphs, and other similar elements.


Interactivity
The development of technology has led to the fact that high-quality web design by default involves the creation of more complex and dynamic elements. Thus, today we can see a lot of integrated videos, micro-interactions, animated scrolling and much more.
I will not be able to convey the whole essence of interactivity in one illustration, so I suggest you familiarize yourself with Garbage31. This site from the Ukrainian team really brought the concept of "user interaction" to a new level.


Minimalism
This trend is very often combined with white space. However, minimalism is a broader concept. It involves simplifying the interface in several ways:

  • hidden navigation bar;
  • minimum of colors;
  • lack of additional details of graphic design (shadows, font variety);
  • minimum of buttons;
  • other.

I want to analyze this trend with specific examples. Both sites are designed in a minimalist style. Minimum colors, buttons, hidden navigation bars. However, the second option is significantly inferior in this regard for the following reasons:

  • multiple fonts;
  • use of shades;
  • adding of geometry.

Today, minimalism is moving towards maximum simplification with the display of as few elements as possible on one page. A good example of using minimalism is Apple site.

Coming - Outgoing Trends
Finally, I want to highlight several trends that are losing their relevance, as well as those that will definitely gain popularity in the coming years.

Outgoing
Parallel scrolling. For several years, many sites have used this technique. The bottom line is that the background also scrolled along with the front, but with more or less speed. It makes the site more attractive, but it greatly increases the speed of loading a web page, which is unacceptable for current trends.

Complex design. The departure of this trend goes from minimalism. Previously, it was popular to pay attention to any little things (variety of fonts, a variety of images, splendor and other similar elements). Today, the user needs quick access to information. Just no time to review the pictures.

Coming
3D. I will not say that this is a straight forward trend. However, after 5 years it will gain a turn. Today, for its full implementation is not enough available 3D monitors. When their value falls, part of the web design will be the presentation of information in bulk form.

VR. A new level of interactivity. Today, again, it is not available for financial reasons. In a few years, it will be much easier to implement such an idea. It is likely that users will not need a mouse to familiarize themselves with the site. It will be enough just to blink an eye or nod your head to switch between pages.

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video

In-person, live events and conferences can be a key marketing channel to achieve business objectives and generate leads, especially for B2B organizations and tech companies.

In-person, live events and conferences can be a key marketing channel to achieve business objectives and generate leads, especially for B2B organizations and tech companies.

In-person, live events and conferences can be a key marketing channel to achieve business objectives and generate leads, especially for B2B organizations and tech companies.

Events give you the opportunity to connect and build engaged communities, while also potentially turning prospects into clients. In just a few hours, hundreds, or even thousands of people gather in the same space to have an experience provided to them that will educate, and elevate, your brand experience.

And with the right strategy, you can maximize your event results. A key consideration for all modern event marketers is video, with an abundance of digital tools now available to better showcase and share your event experiences, and generate even more attention for your brand.

Really, video is a crucial tool to incorporate into your event. In this post, we'll look at thirteen ways in which you can utilize video within every stage of your event production.


1. Save the Date
If you don’t have enough details to start promoting your event, but you still want to get people thinking about it, a 'Save the Date' video is your solution. This puts the date on people’s mind, and onto their calendars, without needing to be ready to share all of the fine details


2. Event Hype Video
This is a great tool to use to launch the event and get people’s information. Include an overview of highlights, what to expect, what they’ll experience, speaker line-up, and have registration information.

Promote this with a short hashtag to assist people in finding your event on social media


3. Event Mission Statement Video
This is where you can incorporate the backstory and inspiration of how the event came to be - include an interview with the organization’s CEO/Founder and display a thank you message for all of those in attendance.


4. Social Media Posts
Social media teasers are a good way to share some hints about your upcoming event, and countdown or deadline reminders for any promotions or discounts.

Keep these short - and make a square version for Instagram.


5. Behind the Scenes
People love watching behind-the-scenes footage to give them a sense of the inner workings of the event. You can take 'before-event' and 'after-event' videos which showcase the transformation, while you can also have someone conduct a Q&A with the panelists and speakers before they take the stage.

Including personal content connects the viewer, and adds a level of authenticity to your event. Customers like to be able to see the faces of the crew, staff working hard on the event, or even just see what their favorite speaker is doing just minutes before they take the stage.


6. Welcome Video

Welcome videos are always a nice, personal touch to have at any event. Welcome videos enable you to remind your attendees of the mission and purpose of the event before it kicks off.


7. Speaker Announcements
Use a short video to introduce each speaker, award recipient or honoree as a visual aid.

This video should provide a quick bio about who's coming on stage and what the audience will learn over the next couple of hours.


8. Panels/ Keynote Speakers
You can capture panels or keynote speakers, then take that footage and turn it into additional content for your digital channels.


9. Sponsor/Partnerships Integration
If you have an event that has Sponsors or Partners attached to it, incorporating their brand into your event video is key.

Curated footage of their involvement onsite at the event - for example, setting up their booth, interacting with the attendees, shots of their product - can be a great way to highlight their involvement


10. Live Streaming
Live streaming is so important because of the level of immediate interaction and engagement.

Communicate information about your live stream in advance, in order to build anticipation. When users join your live stream, they'll have the opportunity to ask questions, make commentary, use icons and visuals to show how they're feeling, and connect with others posting on the live stream - all in a matter of seconds.

Live-streaming creates brand hype about the current event, and can also facilitate FOMO. People who missed out will see how great your conference is, and will likely be the first to sign up for next year’s event. It's a great tool to engage your attendees, as well as those who are not in attendance.


11. Customer Testimonials
Testimonials give you added credibility, and enable you to put a face to your business.

Testimonials can also provide important validation of your prospects from their peers, which can enhance trust.

What were your attendee’s takeaways from the event? Was it a success? Would they attend it again the future? How would they describe it best to someone who was not there?

If you're inviting clients to your event or conference, this is a good time to capture their feedback - and you can repurpose this footage for future case studies.


12. Thank You Video
The event is over, but your guests are still talking about the great time they had. Within 24 hours, some sort of communication should be sent to your attendees.

Leaving too much time between your event and your thank you message will not be effective or engaging. Your Thank You message could include a personal thank you from the founder, and/or highlights from the night. And if you already have your next event lined up, this can be a great time to share a quick note to 'Save the Date'.


13. Post Event
Event recap videos can keep the buzz going for attendees - and if used properly, can generate more buzz for your future functions.

Everyone likes to be nostalgic and reminded of their favorite times. Use your post-event video to evoke that emotion in your attendees, so that they’ll want to come back for more, and/or share with their friends.

Consider creating a 'sizzle reel', a 1-3 minute highlight video which pulls from all of your event video footage. You want people to look back at your event, talk about it and share it with others. Incorporate powerful clips from the day, upbeat or emotion-provoking music, crowd interaction shows (laughing, clapping, standing ovation) and your message. Think of it as a way to get your information out to the world in a quick, effective way – like a movie trailer. It should get them amped up. And then, remind them that this event will be taking place again the following year.


As you can see, when you have the right strategy, video can be a powerful asset pre, during and post-event. And with all of the footage that you've captured, you can repurpose sound bites, key points, and turn them into social media content to use throughout the year.


With the right planning, you can find a way to be effective and efficient with event video content.


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insta app

Instagram has this week published two new guide books, both for parents and for teens, to help them better understand how to use the app safely...

Instagram has this week published two new guide books, both for parents and for teens, to help them better understand how to use the app safely...

Instagram has this week published two new guide books, both for parents and for teens, to help them better understand how to use the app safely, and how to manage the potential psychological impacts of navigating the feed.

Produced in conjunction with The Jed Foundation, which works to promote measures to protect the emotional health of teens and young adults, the guide books contain a range of insights into how Instagram works, and aim to shine a light on what's happening behind the scenes for each user, in order to reduce unhealthy comparison.

As explained in the Pressure to be Perfect guide:
"Pressure to be Perfect is about recognizing that what you see posted by others is just one part of their story - a single post or video rarely reflects all that is happening behind the scenes. That realization can help free us from the pressure of thinking we need to conform to a certain set of standards when we post, moving from a mindset of comparing yourself with others to one where you are thoughtfully sharing yourself with others could help make the time you spend on Instagram more intentional and rewarding."


The teen guide includes a range of interactive quizzes, with summary rundowns, based on the readers' answers, which are designed to help Instagram users glean more perspective about how they use the app.

Once you've gained a bit more of an understanding of your approach, the guide then outlines further steps you can take to better frame and manage your Instagram usage, with tips on how and when to block other users, links to help resources, exercises and more.


The parents guide focuses more on what to look for in young users, including warning signs which could indicate that your child is suffering from depression or similar. The guide also includes tips on the Instagram tools which are available to help, and what parents can do to help their kids improve their online experiences.


This is a key area of focus for Instagram.


As has been well-publicized this year, Instagram has been working to implement more measures to better protect and assist at-risk users, the most notable of these being the removal of total Like counts, which is designed to reduce the comparative pressure implied within the app.

Various academic studies have shown that the visual focus of Instagram can lead to negative mental health consequences, with some even identifying Insta as "the worst social media network for mental health and wellbeing". Such impacts have been heightened even further in recent times with the rise of Photoshop-style editing apps which enable users to smooth out their skin, increase the size of their eyes, and warp heir body into unrealistic, sometimes even impossible shapes.


Case in point - SNOW, and app which enables users to alter their selfies with subtle, high tech morphing techniques, has been on the rise in the download charts over the past couple of years.

Newer apps are now being developed to detect digitally altered elements in images, and highlight potential areas of change in a photo, which, potentially, at some stage, Instagram could consider implementing as an upload scan, maybe blocking those images which have been heavily altered.

There are various implications to such process, but as noted, the platform is already eliminating Like counts to reduce that pressure. Highlighting specific editing tricks and changes like this could prove even more effective in lessening unrealistic comparison.


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ecommerce trends

By the end of 2019, the total value of e-commerce retail sales is expected to top $3.4 trillion!

By the end of 2019, the total value of e-commerce retail sales is expected to top $3.4 trillion!

By the end of 2019, the total value of e-commerce retail sales is expected to top $3.4 trillion! In the highly competitive e-commerce sector, relevancy needs to be a top priority. One day you’re in, and one day you’re out. Online businesses must constantly be aware of ways to keep their brand and products in front of the eyes of their customers.

One of the best ways to do this is by simply staying alert and up-to-speed with e-commerce trends. However, there is always a risk that comes with trying out the latest fads.

Ultimately, when it comes to experimenting with trends, it is important to make sure that any changes you make are always making things better for your customers.

That being said, there are currently some significant e-commerce trends that every online entrepreneur should be aware of (and consider taking advantage of).

Let’s talk about six of the big ones.


1. Google is Becoming an Online Marketplace
Unless your brand is super well-known, the majority of your customers are likely arriving at your website via organic or paid searches for items that your store offers. So, in order to get your products in front of more customers, you should be optimizing for Google Shopping. This is an extremely powerful sales channel – and can be an incredible SEO hack for online stores.

Integrating your e-commerce platform with Google Shopping will create a PLA (product listing ad) that will automatically top the SERPs on the Shopping tab when a customer searches for a product that matches up with your store. This is exciting news for e-commerce stores that sell niche products.

In fact, a recent case study found that Google Shopping helps to boost conversions by over 17%.

The setup process is pretty simple, too. You just need to head to the Google Merchant Center to sign up and if your online store meets the ad requirements, you can start advertising through this lucrative channel.


2. Customers are Shopping Through Social Media
Social media is a lot more than just likes, shares, and cute dog photos these days. Many social channels are turning into mini search engines of their own – and 55% of online shoppers have bought a product directly through a brand’s social post.

Lots of platforms are making it super easy for e-commerce stores to sell directly through their social pages these days with built-in embedded links. This means that customers can click on specific products within a post and be led directly to a product page, making it far easier to boost impulse buys through online advertising.


3. AR and VR are Becoming More Commonplace
One of the greatest challenges that online stores have always faced is the fact that their customers cannot see the product before buying it. This makes it difficult to sell things like clothing, furniture, and other accessories that people want to preview before purchasing.

AR and VR are helping to solve this problem by allowing customers to virtually try on products without physically touching them. Companies like Warby Parker have launched an app that uses AR so customers can try on different glasses before ordering.

Amazon and Ikea also use similar technology so shoppers can test out how pieces of furniture will look in their own homes.

E-commerce stores should take note of the ways that technology is revolutionizing the customer experience and consider investing in these digital systems.


4. Customizable Products are a Big Hit
Personalization is going to go to the next level with products that are entirely customized for the individual. Many online stores are taking advantage of interactive content – like quizzes and surveys – to build entirely customized products that cater to each individual’s needs or preferences.

One area where this trend is specifically prevalent is in health and wellness. Stores like Curology and Gainful create totally customized product lines based on the individual’s health needs and goals, while brands like Native use an interactive quiz to create a custom scent profile that people can buy as a deodorant or body wash.


5. Flexible Payment Options for Big Purchases
If your store’s products tend to range on the most expensive side, it can be hard to convert new customers simply because they view that purchase as more of a risky investment. One e-commerce trend that can help to combat this is offering flexible payment options through systems like Afterpay, Final, and Affirm.

These services automatically break down large purchases into smaller equal payments over the course of several months – making large purchases a little easier to swallow. In fact, retailers that offer Afterpay specifically have seen conversion rates increase anywhere between 20% to 30%.


6. Companies and Consumers are Becoming More Environmentally Mindful
Caring about the earth isn’t just for tree huggers or Millennials anymore. Most consumers these days are far more conscious about their environmental impact, and they want to support businesses that are doing their best to reduce carbon footprints.

87% of consumers agreed that they would be more likely to buy a product from a brand that offered a social or environmental benefit – giving companies yet another reason to go green.

Many e-commerce brands are doing their best to reduce shipping waste by using recycled or biodegradable materials – such as packing peanuts that dissolve in water. Some businesses are getting super creative here – such as Banish Skin Care which sends products wrapped in branded socks (rather than bubble wrap) to reduce waste.


Conclusion
Although trends inherently come and go, it is important that e-commerce businesses pay attention to ones that are having significant impacts on the customer experience and conversions. While these trends may change and evolve in time, many online stores are seeing incredible returns by capitalizing on them.

So, which of these latest trends do you intend to test out?

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marketing trends

Learn about the hot marketing trends for 2020 and the technology driving them.

Learn about the hot marketing trends for 2020 and the technology driving them.

Learn about the hot marketing trends for 2020 and the technology driving them.
Marketing in 2020 is going to be challenging and exciting. Tomorrow's marketing trends will be shaped by the millennial market and huge leaps in technology. Businesses need to keep their ear to the ground for the latest trends and leverage them quickly. By staying on top of the major developments that impact marketing, you can drive business growth.

Let's explore three of the key trends that could arise in 2020 and guide your marketing strategies.


AR and VR in marketing
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology are now commonplace in business-user interactions. These technologies offer immersive experiences to users and enable people to interact with your products. Adding AR and VR tech can also build brand awareness for your business.

Very often, just the buzz around AR and VR can spike interest in your brand, making it more memorable. By adding AR and VR content, you can boost engagements that lead to greater conversions. There are several helpful use cases that illustrate how virtual and augmented reality can benefit your business.

Today, tools like Google Lens and Apple's ARKit allow people to point their camera at an image and get data. Image recognition algorithms can identify an image, download information, and display it on a user's screen.

Augmented reality in the beauty industry allows people to try on makeup virtually to see how it looks. Brands like Estée Lauder, Lancôme, and Sephora have created AR tools that let people try lipsticks and nail polishes virtually. In this way, users can be more confident about buying a product.

Ikea has launched the Ikea Place app with AR tech that enables users to virtually place furniture in their homes. It not only helps users feel more comfortable buying furniture online, but it's also a fun experience.

Virtual reality is used to create an immersive experience for customers. It's already entered the real estate industry; buyers can tour a home without being at the physical location. It's also being used in the auto industry. Volvo, for example, used VR technology that allowed users to test-drive its XC90 SUV. It created significant buzz around the company and boosted traffic and engagement.

Such examples highlight how the adoption of AR and VR can boost engagement and drive conversion rates. These technologies facilitate interactivity with brands and help users get in-depth details about products. Buyers are more comfortable making purchases online because their doubts and uncertainty are removed.

There are many ways you can use AR and VR technology to tell your audience richer stories. It's essential to learn about these technologies early on and to incorporate them into your business. They're becoming more accessible and affordable, and can play a significant role in helping your business grow.


AI and digital marketing
Artificial intelligence can power your marketing strategies to create striking customer experiences. AI supports data-driven decisions and improves business communication, lead generation and more. In 2020, AI will continue to feature significantly in marketing strategies. Here are several ways AI will support your business's marketing strategies.


Search functionality

For e-commerce businesses, AI can transform how people interact with products. For example, a customer could use an image-recognition solution to take a picture of an outfit. AI tools can retrieve similar or related pictures and display them. This allows users to get ideas about styling and accessorizing which can lead to more sales.

AI-powered computer visions can also support search actions. Users can find a product they want by uploading an image, and the AI tool can then find and display the product in a brand's catalog.


Sentiment analysis

Artificial intelligence can be used in sentiment analysis and social listening. Sentiment analysis attempts to understand the feelings that underlie a text. It helps you understand what the audience is saying about your brand.

You can use sentiment analysis to understand whether people have a positive, neutral or negative opinion about your brand. It can monitor social mentions and the opinions being shared on blogs and social media.

These features are valuable as you'll discover negative content sooner so you can step in and manage your brand's image. It can also assist with evaluating your customer support to help you understand how customers feel.

Greater personalization
You can improve your brand's engagement rate by using AI to create personalized experiences. Many publications use AI to deliver customized content based on a person's search history, location and interests. AI can help you create personalized product recommendations and content suggestions.

You can also use AI to automate advertising. It can help segment your email lists to a fine point where you can target them with highly personalized email marketing campaigns.


Chatbots

Chatbots are already popular and available on many websites as a way to provide quick customer support. They save time and helps users get the information they need fast, especially when the information they need can simply be retrieved from a database.

Chatbots can serve marketing goals by accumulating user interaction data and adding it to CRM databases. They can enable a 360-degree view of your customers, so you can communicate better and offer personalized services.


Social media marketing

Most businesses already know that social media platforms play an important role in online marketing. Content is the beating heart of social media marketing and is what drives engagement, traffic and conversions. When it comes to content, there are a few golden rules that help you connect with your audience

  • Create high-quality and informative content
  • Trigger emotional reactions through power words
  • Use a conversational tone
  • Focus on relationships, not transactions

Work with influencers
There are people who have a significant number of followers in every business domain on social media. These influencers create detailed content that provides useful information. They are typically fair in their analysis of different brands and products and very often, their audiences trust their content. Your brand can leverage this by collaborating with influencers.

Influencers can provide a human touch where brands are often faceless and impersonal. There are many ways you can get reach out and win over the support of an influencer:

  • Invite them to use your product for free
  • Create an affiliate marketing strategy with a membership site
  • Offer discounts to their audience

While working with influencers is not new, the approach is what matters. Focus on building a relationship and a loyal brand following as a way to grow long-term.


Create video content

Visual content creates more views than any other content format. Posting videos to your social media pages can boost engagement significantly. You can add videos and images to a popular feature available on all social media platforms today: Stories.

You can share an image or a short video that stays for a limited time period, like 24 hours. It creates the fear of missing out (FOMO) which compels users to take action and buy immediately.

You can also create interactivity by adding hashtags and polls to get users to engage with your stories. When users interact with your content, they play a part in its co-creation. This helps you build a relationship with your audience, which leads to brand loyalty.

Try to focus on interactivity, emotional connections and authenticity in your content. By offering value and engaging with users you'll have successful social media campaigns.


Boost your marketing strategies in 2020 with top trends
With the new year at hand, it's beneficial to watch out for trends that can help improve your marketing strategies and grow your business.

Technological advances are happening faster than ever in the AR, VR and AI spaces, and there are many applications that can have a profound impact on your business's success. It's also important to leverage social media and the many features it offers to reach your audience. By staying on top of the major marketing trends of 2020, you'll see a welcome boost in business growth.

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social media news

Quick bites of social media goodness.

Quick bites of social media goodness.

Social media is constantly being updated—so you should be, too. Here are 5 of the top social media news stories from this week that you don’t want to miss.


1. Tik-Tok hits 1.5 billion downloads
Tik-Tok’s rise has been on everyone’s lips this year. It’s now the fourth most downloaded non-gaming app, largely driven by Indian uptake. And despite experiencing its first growth setback a couple of months ago, it has just hit the 1.5 billion download mark. The app coupled the announcement with new monetization features such as the option to add links into user bios, and eCommerce URLs into uploaded videos. Only available in the US just now, Tik-Tok says the two new features are experimental and designed to “improve the user experience”.


2. Check out Whale, Facebook new memes app
A meme is worth a thousand words…eye-rolls…snide inferences…pop culture bonding moments – you name it. That’s why we love them. So naturally, Facebook is looking for a piece of the action with its new Whale app. The app is part of the experimental app division, NPE, and is currently being tested in Canada only. You can create memes with the help of templates, text, design and effect tools without any additional subscription. You start by selecting a photo from your personal library or a stock photo, and then you can add text, emojis, and filters. Will Facebook’s latest play pan out?


3. WhatsApp launches new Business Catalog
WhatsApp expansion into the ads realm just passed a new milestone with the new Business Catalog. This allows WhatsApp business users can now showcase their products or services in what amounts to an in-app digital store. The feature is currently available in the US, Brazil, Germany, India, Indonesia, and the UK. If that’s where you are you can set up and customize the catalog via Setting > WhatsApp for Business > Catalog. What’s next for WhatsApp? WhatsApp Pay, currently available in India.


4. Facebook dynamic ads get a boost
Dynamic ads are not new to Facebook but now machine learning can now customize users’ experience at scale. This opens the door to delivering a specific ad to different users based on their activity or preferences. How does this work? It’s basically a combination of data, signals, and insights from Facebook and the advertisers. This will include Dynamic Format & Ad Creative, delivering content in different formats based on users’ behavior. If that’s not enough, Multiple Text Optimization allows you to customize your Facebook ads’ main text, headline, and description fields. It doesn’t stop there: the new auto-translating feature will allow you to reach out to users based on their local language.


5. Pinterest is out to help you cope with negative emotions
Social platforms play a big role in our lives and are frequently blamed for exerting a negative influence. Pinterest is out to turn that around. Now, if somebody searches for terms related to mental health issues, Pinterest will serve up content designed to help. For example, “if someone searches for a term related to self-injury, they’ll find ten new coping exercises that can help them work through difficult emotions and feelings, ” said a spokesperson from Pinterest. This initiative-for-good has been developed in collaboration with The Stanford Lab for Mental Health Innovation, Vibrant Emotional Health, and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

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