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How to Create Better Content by Conducting Better Interviews: Jay Acunzo of '3 Clips' on Marketing Smarts [Podcast]

Author, speaker, and showrunner Jay Acunzo analyzes three clips from a Marketing Smarts podcast interview with Alan Alda and distills lessons from it that will help you to conduct better interviews and create more effective content. Read the full article at MarketingProfs

Reblogged 1 year ago from www.marketingprofs.com

Announcing: The MozCon Virtual 2021 Initial Agenda

Posted by cheryldraper

Come one, come all to the hottest ticket in virtual! We’re packing up the MozCon big top and bringing all the MozCon magic straight to your front door.

Last year we took MozCon to the virtual stage for the first time, and we loved it so much, we’re doing it again! Only this time, we’re taking it to the next level with exclusive performances by world-renowned local SEO jugglers, automation acrobats, link building magicians, and so much more!

We know SEO doesn’t stop — searchers keep on searching, and marketers need to stay on their toes to meet their needs. (Cue the tightrope walkers!)

Join Ringmaster Roger and marketing experts from around the world for three days packed with presentations on SEO, search marketing, mobile, conversion optimization, local search, and more — all from the comfort of home.

Not your typical marketing conference

Get connected

Meet fellow attendees and don’t miss a minute of MozCon fun — follow #mozcon and join the MozCon Facebook Group!

Birds of a Feather networking groups

Who doesn’t love making new friends and engaging in lively discussion? After all, a big part of the conference experience is meeting new connections and reconnecting with older ones. Birds of a Feather at MozCon are purposeful yet unstructured peer discussion groups organized around topics that matter to today’s digital marketers. Grab yourself a snack or beverage and come network with some new friends! Topics vary each day at the conference and offer something for everyone.

Tickets start at $129 for Moz customers

Going virtual means affordability! You can snag your ticket for as low as $129 if you’re a Moz customer, and tickets include access to the virtual video bundle after MozCon wraps up.

Save my spot at MozCon Virtual!


Initial agenda

Time to pull back the curtain and reveal the exciting acts we’ve got planned. Let’s bring out our MozCon Virtual stars!

Amanda Milligan

Marketing Director | Fractl
A Live Guide to Finding & Filling the Gaps in Your Link Strategy

Is your link portfolio strong enough to withstand everything Google and your competitors throw at you? If you’re hyper-focused on acquisition and you ignore strategy, you can end up with a pile of weak backlinks that aren’t relevant — and won’t move the needle. Competitive analysis is your key to finding and filling the gaps in your link building strategy. I’ll walk you through the process start-to-finish.

Areej AbuAli

SEO Consultant
Taking Charge of Your Indexability: How to Optimize and Prioritize Your Technical Work

Take charge over the indexability of your website! With a focus on aggregators and classifieds, Areej will share advice on how to best reduce index bloat for large websites. Diving into parameter handling, sitemap logic, robots directives, and more, we’ll also assess how to analyze the most impactful changes, how to get sign-off from senior stakeholders, and how to prioritize work with product teams.

Brie E Anderson

Owner, Founder | BEAST Analytics
The Value of Perspective: A Use-Case for External Audits

Remember that phone call from your client? The one where they wanted to talk to you about a “free audit” another agency did for them? Let’s talk about it. In this session, we’ll uncover the value of audits and how they can (and should) be conducted with integrity. It’s time to take back the value of perspective!

Britney Muller

Serial Entrepreneur + Data Science Student | Data Sci 101
The Cold Hard Truth about CTR

Reporting on website performance is an integral part of SEO, but not all metrics are created equal. If you think your CTR metrics are telling the full story, think again. Start building more insightful reporting methods with data science. In this session, Britney will show you how to quash your reporting woes and make easy work of identifying exactly why your website’s performance changed.

Casie Gillette

Senior Director, Digital Marketing | KoMarketing
Counterintuitive Content: How New Trends Have Disrupted Years of Bad Advice

Along with the always-shifting landscape, one of the biggest things we as marketers struggle with is the sheer volume of information. For years we were told we had to produce as much content as possible. Then we were told to focus on quality but we still had to have a consistent schedule. What about YouTube or voice search or TikTok? The fact of the matter is, there’s no one way to do content marketing. In this session, we’ll look at content from an entirely different perspective and talk about how you can start creating content on your own terms.

Cyrus Shepard

SEO Consultant | Moz
Mastering 3 Click + Engagement Signals for Higher Rankings/Traffic

Successful websites are all different, yet nearly all Google-ranked websites succeed in the exact same fundamental ways. In our quest to optimize for Core Web Vitals, mobile-first indexing, and JavaScript rendering, have we lost sight of the content and user experiences that dominate the very top of Google search results? In this presentation, Cyrus explores the three Google click and engagement signals that top-ranking web pages master: clicks, long clicks, and last clicks. Using examples and experiment results, he demonstrates how any website — and SEOs of all skill levels — can leverage these signals for improved Google traffic.

Dana DiTomaso

President & Partner | Kick Point
Build for Search: Modern Web Dev That Puts SEO First

With the debut of Core Web Vitals, modern SEO is more relevant to website development than ever before. Sure, we’ve always been thinking about title tags and making sure our pages convert — but the actual underpinnings of a website might have been left to your web development team and maybe that one technical SEO. They’re likely very skilled people, but the chances of them thinking about how development decisions impact SEO are typically slim to none. Let’s modernize the relationship between the web development process and SEO.

Flavilla Fongang

Founder & Creative Brand Strategist | 3 Colours Rule
The Science of Purchasing Behavior: How to Use it Effectively to Attract & Convert More Prospects Into Customers

Some brands have achieved the dream: a large audience who believes in them, buying from them time and time again without questioning the value or authenticity of the products and services. And they’ve done it by developing an emotional connection with that audience. These days, it’s more about building a community around your brand, rather than simply having clients. We’ll explore the power of brand psychology that’s been used by huge, successful brands such as Apple or Starbucks to earn customers that are loyal long-term.

Jackie Chu

SEO Lead, Intelligence | Uber
Internationalization Errors: How to Go Global Without Losing All Of Your Traffic

Internationalization is one of the leading causes of technical SEO debt for multinational companies. We’ll talk through common internationalization mistakes and how to avoid them so you can win visibility and grow anywhere.

Joy Hawkins

Owner | Sterling Sky Inc
To Post or Not to Post: What We Learned From Analyzing Over 1,000 Google Posts

What value do Google Posts have, and how should the average SMB prioritize them? Dive into the data from two studies conducted by Sterling Sky to answer these questions.

The first study analyzes over 1,000 Google Posts to see what types perform better based on clicks and conversions, and measures the impact of various features such as stock photos, emojis, titles, and more. The second looks at whether posting on Google has any influence on where your business ranks in the local pack. Findings from both will have you reevaluating your clients’ Google posting strategy!

Joyce Collarde

SEO Supervisor | Obility
Maximize Your Conversions: Harnessing full-funnel optimization for B2B success

The long sales cycles presented in B2B pose a unique set of challenges for converting visitors into coveted users. Success requires a strategic approach that goes beyond the landing page to include your entire site. In this session, we’ll look at three tried-and-true methods for increasing your conversion rate and winning more business.

Kameron Jenkins

Content Lead | Shopify
The Content Refresh: How to Do More With Less

No matter where you work, there’s something we all seem to have a shortage of… time. Combine that with ambitious traffic KPIs and you’ll quickly realize that a 100% new content strategy isn’t sustainable. Enter the content refresh. Learn how to identify and execute the best refresh opportunities so you can rank faster and increase your existing content ROI.

Lily Ray

Senior Director, SEO & Head of Organic Research | Path Interactive
From the Medic Update to Now: How the E-A-T Ecosystem Has Transformed Organic Search

Learn why E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness) has taken a front seat in SEO discussions in recent years, the numerous places where Google focuses on E-A-T, and how the growing emphasis on surfacing authoritative content has drastically changed the organic search landscape across search, News, Discover, YouTube, and more.

Luke Carthy

eCommerce Consultant
The Ultimate How-To for Faceted Navigation SEO in E-commerce

One of the biggest FAQs in e-commerce: “How do you handle faceted navigation when it comes to SEO?”

We’ll ask the tough questions and answer them head-on! Join Luke as he walks through case studies, real-world examples, and how to leverage faceted navigation to really capitalize on high-converting long-tail keywords. If you’re in e-commerce, you won’t want to miss this!

Miracle Inameti-Archibong

Head of SEO | Erudite Agency
Let the API Do the Work: Harnessing Natural Language for More Productive SEO

Keyword research is a vital process in getting insights into your consumer behaviour. However, it is often a very manual and labor-intensive process. How can we speed up the process so we can get to working on our implementations and getting results? Miracle walks through practical ways marketers can use APIs to do the heavy lifting and save time.

Noah Learner

Product Director | Two Octobers
Game-Changing Ways to Use the Google Search Console API

Let’s face it, you aren’t getting what you want from your keyword data. Unlock your newest SEO secret weapon with this deep dive into the power of the Google Search Console API. This game-changing tool will help you crush the competition, sell SEO to your team, and win prospects with deep SEO insights you had no idea were available.

Dr. Pete Meyers

Marketing Scientist | Moz
Rule Your Rivals: From Data to Action

Most competitive analysis ends in an avalanche of potential keywords to target, leaving you buried in indecision. Real case studies will show you how to forge your data into an actionable plan that drives strategic, targeted content. Escape from under the keyword pile and conquer your content rivals.

Rob Ousbey

VP Strategy | Moz
Beyond the Basics: 5 SEO Tricks for Uncovering Advanced Insights from Your SEO Data

Modern SEOs have no shortage of data, but you could learn even MORE about your site, content, links, and competitors by working smarter, not harder. Rob will show you how to breathe new life into your standard SEO data, and walk away with more advanced insights that are sure to impress your team (and your boss!)

Ross Simmonds

Founder, CEO | Foundation Marketing
Why Marketers Should Think More Like Investors To Drive Content Results

Every single piece of content your brand creates is an asset. So why do we view them as an expense? In this session, Ross will talk about the parallels between content marketing/SEO and the world of investing. From the techniques that take blog posts and landing pages to the moon, to the fundamentals of content investing to create a competitive advantage, learn how an investment mindset can drive results.

Shannon McGuirk

Client Services and Delivery Director | Aira
Doing the Perfectly (Im)Possible: Debunking Digital PR & Link Building Myths in 2021

“You better be pitching that campaign into the press before 9am and definitely not on a Friday or Monday!”
“Link relevancy is important if you’re a link builder, but if you’re a digital PR, it doesn’t really matter.”
“You’re asking the impossible to get links to category and product pages.”

Tired of hearing bold claims and questions like these? We are too.

Shannon is going to challenge many of the digital PR and link building myths you’re seeing debated on Twitter. From the old classic myths that stand the test of time and are always asked, through to new beliefs that are hot topics, she’s going to use data, insights and case studies to show you how to cover come some of these beliefs and improve your link building and digital PR efforts in 2021.

Tom Capper

Senior Search Scientist | Moz
The Fast & The Spurious: Core Web Vitals & SEO

Core Web Vitals are all the rage, but do they live up to the hype? Tom explores the real SEO impact of Google’s shiny new metrics, which ones you actually need to worry about, and how to prioritize fixes.

Wil Reynolds

Founder & Vice President of Innovation | Seer Interactive
The 3 Most Important Search Marketing Tools…Your Heart, Your Brain, & Your [Small] Ego

Search is a game of rankings. Only one can win the #1 spot and small tweaks can mean the difference between ranking #1 and #5. If you’re using the same tools as everyone else, what competitive advantage are you bringing to the table? Wil shows you how to transform your data into winning insights with 3 tools everyone has at their fingertips: your heart, your head, and a willingness to question everything you thought was true about SEO.


We hope to see your smiling faces online in July!

Yes, I’m going to MozCon!

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

Reblogged 1 year ago from feedproxy.google.com

Maryland’s digital ad tax may be a constitutional overreach

Shining a light on potential problems for Maryland’s digital advertising tax grab

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 year ago from feeds.marketingland.com

Google Search Console users experience crawl stats report data issue

Between March 10th and March 23rd there was a data issue with the crawl stats report, no Google Search performance issues were associated with this data bug.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 year ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

Microsoft Advertising introduces more automation via ad suggestions with auto-apply

Ad suggestions marked as auto-apply will start serving after 14 days if no action is taken.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 year ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

How To Choose the Right KPIs for Your Business

How can you tell if your company is growing?

Sure, you can speak to a few team leads and get regular reports on their performance. But if you’re not measuring that information against something else, how will you know when you’ve met the mark or fallen short?

As they say, what gets measured gets improved. Quantifying your current performance through key performance indicators (KPIs) will give you a framework from which to assess your progress.

But how do you choose the right KPIs to focus on for your business? The short answer is that it really depends.

While there isn’t a hard-and-fast rule for choosing the proper KPIs, there are a number of factors you should always take into consideration.

In this post, we’ll walk you through some of the factors that influence which KPIs you should focus on and help you hone in on the metrics that matter the most for your business.

Let’s get started.

One thing to remember about KPIs is that they’re meant to measure your most impactful indicators.

For instance, your social media team may have a ton of data points that can serve as KPIs. However, they should only choose the ones that align with the broader business goals. Let’s say it’s brand awareness. In this case, follower count, post reach, and impressions will likely be the social media KPI metrics to measure.

With that in mind, having KPIs means narrowing your focus on a few vital metrics that will influence your business the most.

OKR vs. KPI

Objectives and Key Results (OKR) and KPIs are often used interchangeably because both terms refer to goals that are tracked and measured. However, where they differ is intention.

Put simply, KPIs indicate if your business is hitting its targets. They are often called health metrics as they tell you how the company is doing to meet an objective that’s already set.

OKRs, on the other hand, are broad objectives for your business with the key results that will signify achievement in meeting those objectives. They are aggressive and ambitious goals that speak to the business’s big-picture vision.

For instance, let’s say a technology company has the objective of becoming one of the top 10 providers in their industry in 2021. Their key results could be:

  • Acquire 1,000 new customers by Q3.
  • Generate 3,000 leads every month.
  • Increase annual membership sales by 30%.

While KPIs are ideal for scaling, OKRs are designed for dramatic growth. They’re more ambitious and push teams to stretch their capabilities.

It’s also important to note that while KPIs can be the key results in your OKR, the opposite is generally not true.

For example, your marketing team could have a KPI of 3,000 leads as mentioned in the example above. However, it’s unlikely that any department would list the “Top 10” goal as their KPI as that speaks to a broader vision and has a more flexible timeline.

What is KPI reporting?

A KPI report is a visual dashboard used to track your metrics and assess how your team is performing against the targets. You can display your report using charts, graphics, and tables depending on the data you want to display and the needs of your team.

As a business, you’ll likely have data coming in on a daily basis that may or may not relate to your KPIs. Having a reporting tool does a few things, including:

  • Allowing you to track your most impactful metrics and filter out irrelevant data
  • Making the data easily accessible to decision-makers and collaborators
  • Giving you a quick and digestible snapshot of your team’s performance
  • Aligning everyone on the goals

How To Measure KPIs

Before you can measure your KPIs, you’ll need to determine which metrics to track. This will greatly depend on your goals and your team.

Once you narrow that down, set your targets. They’re usually based on a combination of factors, including historical performance and industry standards.

You’ll also have to answer the who, when, and why. Who is responsible for this KPI? Identify the person on your team who is managing this KPI, so they can be the go-to when addressing roadblocks that may affect performance. They will also be responsible for reporting on progress.

As for the “when,” you’ll need to know the timeline to reach these targets. Many businesses set them on a monthly or quarterly basis, but your timeline can be shorter or longer depending on your team.

Lastly: the why. It’s the most important thing to keep in mind when measuring your KPIs. Having your goals clearly identified can help motivate your team and make sure everyone is aligned on the direction you’re going in.

Types of Key Performance Indicators

KPIs can be set on a team basis. Sales’ KPIs will be completely different from HR’s KPIs. Beyond those differences, there are also variations in the types of indicators you can measure.

Here are a few of the most common types of KPIs:

  • A quantitative KPI relies on numbers to gauge progress. E.g., “Sales team to generate 100 sales-qualified leads every month.”
  • A qualitative KPI looks at opinion- or feeling-based data. E.g., “Brand sentiment.”
  • A leading KPI can predict future performance. E.g., “Website traffic.” More traffic can mean more conversions, more leads, and more revenue.
  • A lagging KPI describes a past result. E.g., “Turnover rate.”
  • An input KPI measures the assets, time, and resources needed to complete a certain action or project. E.g., “Employee count, budget.”
  • A process KPI assesses efficiency and productivity within the business. E.g., “Average sales call time.”

KPI Examples

Your organization’s business model and the industry in which you operate will influence the KPIs you choose.

For example, a B2B software-as-a-service (SaaS) company might choose to focus on customer acquisition and churn, whereas a brick-and-mortar retail company might focus on sales per square foot or average customer spend.

Here are a few examples of some industry-standard KPIs:

SaaS KPIs

Professional Service KPIs

  • Monthly recurring revenue (MRR)
  • Churn
  • Cost per acquisition (CPA)
  • Average revenue per retainer
  • Lifetime value (LTV)
  • Bookings
  • Utilization
  • Backlog
  • Revenue leakage (link)
  • Effective billable rate

Online Media / Publishing KPIs

Retail KPIs

  • Unique visitors
  • Page views
  • Share ratio
  • Social referral growth
  • Time on site
  • Capital expenditure
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Sales per square foot
  • Average customer spend (ACS)
  • Stock turnover

While you will most certainly want to consider industry standard KPIs, it is more important that you choose the KPIs that are relevant to your specific company and the goals you are working toward.

How To Determine KPIs

Choose KPIs directly related to your business goals.

KPIs are quantifiable measurements or data points used to gauge your company’s performance relative to a goal. For instance, a KPI could be related to your goal of increasing sales, improving the return on investment of your marketing efforts, or improving customer service.

What are your company goals? Have you identified any major areas for improvement or optimization? What are the biggest priorities for your management team?

Answering these questions will bring you one step closer to identifying the right KPIs for your brand.

Focus on a few key metrics, rather than a slew of data.

As you begin to identify KPIs for your business, less is worth more. Rather than choosing dozens of metrics to measure and report on you should focus on just a few key ones.

If you track too many KPIs, you might become overwhelmed with the data and lose focus.

As you can imagine, every company, industry, and business model is different so it is difficult to pinpoint an exact number for the amount of KPIs you should have. However, a good number to aim for is somewhere between two to four KPIs per goal.Enough to get a good sense of where you stand but not too many where there’s no priority.

Consider your company’s stage of growth.

Depending on the stage of your company – startup vs. enterprise – certain metrics will be more important than others.

Early-stage companies typically focus on data related to business model validation while more established organizations focus on metrics like cost per acquisition and customer lifetime value.

Here are a few examples of potential key performance indicators for companies in various stages of growth:

Pre-Product Market Fit

Product Market Fit

Expansion

  • Qualitative feedback
  • Customer interviews
  • Awareness
  • Stickiness
  • Cost per acquisition (CPA)
  • Average order size (AOS)
  • Lifetime value (LTV)
  • Number of customers acquired

Identify both lagging and leading performance indicators.

The difference between lagging and leading indicators is essentially knowing how you did, versus how you are doing. Leading indicators aren’t necessarily better than lagging indicators, or vice versa. You should just be aware of the differences between the two.

Lagging indicators measure the output of something that has already happened. Total sales last month, or the number of new customers or hours of professional services delivered, are examples of lagging indicators. These types of metrics are good for purely measuring results, as they solely focus on outputs.

On the other hand, leading indicators measure your likelihood of achieving a goal in the future. These serve as predictors of what’s to come. Conversion rates, sales opportunity age, and sales rep activity are just a few examples of leading indicators.

Traditionally most organizations have solely focused on lagging indicators. One of the main reasons for this is they tend to be easy to measure since the events have already happened. For instance, it is very easy to pull a report of the number of customers acquired last quarter.

But measuring what happened in the past can only be so helpful.

You can think of leading indicators as business drivers because they come before trends emerge, which can help you identify whether or not you are on track to reaching your goals. If you can identify which leading indicators will impact your future performance you will have a much better shot at success.

With every business, growth is the goal. KPIs help you track your progress and scale progressively to grow in whichever way that matters to your company.

Marketing Plan Template

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.hubspot.com

Keep your presentation actionable and 5 other tips for a successful virtual session; Thursday’s daily brief

Plus, Microsoft Advertising blocks 1.6 billion ads while dealing with the pandemic

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 year ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

Google adds practice problems and math solver structured data and Search Console reports

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 year ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

How To Boost Media Performance On A Budget

American scholar Mason Cooley deftly described a hard fact of life: “A budget takes the fun out of money.” Unquestionably, media enlivens websites, adding appeal, excitement, and intrigue, let alone enticements to stay on a page and frequently revisit it. However, just as out-of-control spending bodes ill in the long run, so does unbudgeted digital media decimate site performance.

A case in point: a page-load slowdown of a mere second could cost Amazon $1.6 billion in annual sales. Of the many factors that affect page-load speed, media is a significant one. Hence the dire need for prioritizing optimization of media. By spending your money right on that task and budgeting your media, you’ll reap significant savings and benefits in the long run.

Performance Budgets

“A performance budget is ‘… just what it sounds like: you set a ‘budget’ on your page and do not allow the page to exceed that. This may be a specific load time, but it is usually an easier conversation to have when you break the budget down into the number of requests or size of the page.”

Tim Kadlec

A performance budget as a mechanism for planning a web experience and preventing performance decay might consist of the following yardsticks:

  • Overall page weight,
  • Total number of HTTP requests,
  • Page-load time on a particular mobile network,
  • First Input Delay (FID)
  • First Contentful Paint (FCP),
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS),
  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP).

Vitaly Friedman has an excellent checklist that describes the components that affect web performance along with useful tips on optimization techniques. Becoming familiar with those components will enable you to set performance goals.

With clearly documented performance goals, various teams can have meaningful conversations about the optimal delivery of content. For example, a budget can help them decide if a page should contain five images — or three images and one video — and still remain within the planned limits.

However, having a performance budget as a standalone metric might not be of much help. That’s why we must correlate performance to organizational goals.

Business Performance

If you splurge a lot of bytes on nonoptimal videos and images, the rich-media experience will not be so rich anymore. An organization exists to achieve outcomes, such as enticing people to buy, educating them, motivating them, or seeking help and volunteers. Anyone with a web presence would appreciate the relationship between the effect of various performance measures on business metrics.

WPOStats highlights literally hundreds of case studies showing how a drop in perfrmance — from a few hundreds of milliseconds to seconds — might result in a massive drop in annual sales. Drawing that kind of relationship greatly helps track the effect of performance on business and, ultimately, build a performance culture for organizations.

Similarly, slow sites can have a dramatic impact on conversion. A tough challenge online businesses face is to find the right balance between engaging the audience while staying within the performance budget.

It’s not surprising then that a critical component for audience engagement is optimized visual media, e.g. a captivating video that weaves a story about your product or service along with relevant, interesting, and appealing visuals.

According to MIT neuroscientists, our brain can absorb and understand visual media in less than 13 milliseconds, whereas text can take the average reader over 3.3 mins to comprehend, often after re-reading it and cross-referencing other places. No wonder then that microvideo content (usually just 10–20 seconds long) often delivers big engagements and conversion gains.

Appeal Of Videos

While shopping online, we expect to see detailed product images. For years, I’ve come to prefer browsing products that are complemented by videos that show, for example, how to use the product or maybe how to assemble it, or that demonstrate real-life use cases.

Apart from my personal experience, a lot of research attests to the importance of video content:

  • 96% of consumers find videos helpful when making online purchasing decisions.
  • 79% of online shoppers prefer to watch a video for information on a product rather than reading the text on a webpage.
  • The right product video can raise conversions by over 80%.

Speaking about the delivery of videos on the web,

“The average video weight is increasing dramatically every year, more so on mobile than on desktop. In some cases, that may be warranted since mobile devices often have high-resolution screens, but it may also be due to a lack of ability to offer different video sizes using HTML alone. Many large videos on the web are hand-placed in marketing pages and don’t have sophisticated media servers to deliver appropriate sizes, so I hope in the future we’ll see similar simple HTML features for video delivery that we see in responsive images.”

Scott Jehl

The same sentiment was conveyed by Conviva’s Q4 2020 State of Streaming (registration required), which noted that mobile phones saw 20% more buffering issues, a 19% higher video-start failure and 5% longer start-time than other devices.

Apart from rendering troubles, video delivery can also raise bandwidth costs, especially if you cannot deliver the browser’s optimal formats. Also, if you are not using a content delivery network (CDN) or multiple CDNs to map users to the closest edge regions for reduced latencies — a practice called suboptimal routing — you might slow down the start of the video.

Similarly, unoptimized images were the leading cause of page bloat. According to the Web Almanac, the differential in image bytes sent to mobile or desktop devices is very small, which amounts to a further waste of bandwidth for devices that don’t really need all the extra bytes.

Doubtless, going overboard with an engaging yet unoptimized content hurts business goals, and that’s where the fine art of balancing comes into play.

The Art Of Balancing Performance With Media Content

Even though rich media can promote user engagement, we need to balance the cost of delivering them with your website performance and business goals. One alternative is to host and deliver video through a third party like YouTube or Vimeo.

Despite bandwidth savings, however, that approach comes at a cost. As the content owner, you can’t build a fully customized branded experience, or offer personalization. And of course, you need to host and deliver your images.

You don’t have to offload your content. There are also other options available. Consider revamping your system for optimal media delivery by doing the following:

Understand your current usage

Study the weight of your webpages and the size of their media assets. Web-research expert Tammy Everts recommends ensuring that pages are less than 1 MB in size for mobile and less than 2 MB for everything else.
In addition, identify the resources that are displayed on critical pages.

For example, can you replace a paragraph of text and the associated images with a short video? How would that decision affect your business goals? At this stage, you might need to review your Real User Monitoring (RUM) and Analytics and identify the critical pages that lead to higher conversion and engagement rates.

Also, be sure to synthetically track Google’s Core Web Vitals (CWVs) as part of your toolkit with tools like LightHouse. You can also measure CWVs through real-user monitoring (RUM) like CrUX. Since the CWVs will also be a signal for Google to crawlers, it makes sense to monitor and optimize for those metrics: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).

Serve the right format

Serve images or videos in the most appropriate format in terms of size and resolution for the viewing device or browser. You might need an image CDN for that purpose. Alternatively, create variants like WebM, AVIF, JPEG-XL, HEIC, etc. and selectively serve the right content type based on the requesting User-Agent and Accept headers.

For one-off conversions, you can try tools like Squoosh.app or avif.io.
A related practice is to convert animated GIFs to videos. For more insight, see this Web.dev article. Want to try setting up a workflow to handle video publishing? See the great tips in the article Optimizing Video For Size And Quality.

Serve the right size

Over 41% of images on mobile devices are improperly sized. So, rather than serving a fixed width, crop your images and videos to fit the container size with tools like Lazysizes. Better yet, AI tools that can detect areas of interest while cropping images could save you a load of time and effort. You could also leverage native lazy-loading for images that are below the fold.

Add subtitles to your videos

Almost 85% of videos are played without sound. Adding subtitles to them doesn’t only provide an accessible experience, but it would capture audience attention and boost engagement. However, transcribing videos could be a tedious job; you can work with an AI-based transcription service and improve it instead to automate the workflow.

Deliver through multiple CDNs

CDNs can alleviate last-mile latency, shorten a video’s start time, and potentially reduce buffering issues. According to a study by Citrix, a multi-CDN strategy can reduce latency even further and offer continued availability in case of localized outages in the CDN’s edge nodes.

Instead of leveraging multiple discreet tools, you could explore a product like Cloudinary’s Media Optimizer, which effectively and efficiently optimizes media, delivering the right format and quality through multi-CDN edge nodes. In other words, Media Optimizer optimizes both quality and size, serving high visual fidelity in small files.

Progressively render video

Auto-playing preview videos on YouTube has shown to increase video watch time by over 90%. Video auto-play has few benefits and plenty of drawbacks, so it’s important to be careful when to use and when not to use it. It’s important to have the option to pause the video as a minimum.

A good way to balance the page-size budget would be to first serve AI-created video previews and poster images only, loading the full video only if the user clicks the video. That way, you can eliminate unnecessary downloads and accelerate page loads.

Alternatively, load a preview video at the beginning and let the player autoplay the full version. Once the preview completes, the player checks the connection type of the device with the Network Connection API and, if the user has good connectivity, swaps the source from preview to the actual video.

You can check a sample page for a demo.
Here’s a tip: since CDNs can detect network connection types more reliably, your production-quality code could leverage the CDN to detect network speed, based on which your client code could progressively load the long-form video.

Wrapping Up

Down the road, thanks to its remarkable ability to tell stories in a way that words can’t, visual media will continue to be a dominant element for websites and mobile apps. However, determining the right content to deliver depends on both your business strategy and site performance.

“A performance budget doesn’t guide your decisions about what content should be displayed. Rather, it’s about how you choose to display that content. Removing important content altogether to decrease the weight of a page is not a performance strategy.”

Tim Kadlec

That’s sound advice to keep in mind.

Reblogged 1 year ago from smashingmagazine.com

Google announces global launch of property promotion ads for hotels

Property promotion ads help hotels capture demand in users looking online for places to stay

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 year ago from feeds.searchengineland.com