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Doomscrolling again? Here are five ways to cut back.

Doomscrolling again? Here are five ways to cut back.

Trust us, your eyes don’t need to be glued to your social media feed right now. We’ve outlined some practical ways to unplug from your never-ending, always-changing feeds.  Read more…

More about Mashable Video, How To, Social Media, Unplugged, and Social Media Wellness

Reblogged 1 year ago from feeds.mashable.com

Educate Your Content Marketing Prospects First, Then Sell Them

Companies often use their blogs as sales vehicles for their company. This is the wrong approach. It ends up turning off your audience and reducing the impact your blog can have on your company. Why is it Bad to Heavily Promote Your Company in Your Blog Posts? If you step back and look at your…

The post Educate Your Content Marketing Prospects First, Then Sell Them appeared first on Benchmarkemail.

Reblogged 1 year ago from www.benchmarkemail.com

What’s New In Vue 3?

With the release of Vue 3, developers have to make the upgrade from Vue 2 as it comes with a handful of new features that are super helpful in building easy-to-read and maintainable components and improved ways to structure our application in Vue. We’re going to be taking a look at some of these features in this article.

At the end of this tutorial, the readers will;

  1. Know about provide / inject and how to use it.
  2. Have a basic understanding of Teleport and how to use it.
  3. Know about Fragments and how to go about using them.
  4. Know about the changes made to the Global Vue API.
  5. Know about the changes made to the Events API.

This article is aimed at those that have a proper understanding of Vue 2.x. You can find all the code used in this example in GitHub.

provide / inject

In Vue 2.x, we had props that made it easy to pass data (string, arrays, objects, etc) from a parent component directly to its children component. But during development, we often found instances where we needed to pass data from the parent component to a deeply nested component which was more difficult to do with props. This resulted in the use of Vuex Store, Event Hub, and sometimes passing data through the deeply nested components. Let’s look at a simple app;

It is important to note that Vue 2.2.0 also came with provide / inject which was not recommended to use in generic application code.

# parentComponent.vue

<template>
  <div class="home">
    <img alt="Vue logo" src="../assets/logo.png" />
    <HelloWorld msg="Vue 3 is liveeeee!" :color="color" />
    <select name="color" id="color" v-model="color">
      <option value="" disabled selected> Select a color</option>
      <option :value="color" v-for="(color, index) in colors" :key="index">{{
        color
      }}</option></select
    >
  </div>
</template>
<script>
  import HelloWorld from "@/components/HelloWorld.vue";
  export default {
    name: "Home",
    components: {
      HelloWorld,
    },
    data() {
      return {
        color: "",
        colors: ["red", "blue", "green"],
      };
    },
  };
</script>
# childComponent.vue

<template>
  <div class="hello">
    <h1>{{ msg }}</h1>
    <color-selector :color="color"></color-selector>
  </div>
</template>
<script>
  import colorSelector from "@/components/colorComponent.vue";
  export default {
    name: "HelloWorld",
    components: {
      colorSelector,
    },
    props: {
      msg: String,
      color: String,
    },
  };
</script>
<!-- Add "scoped" attribute to limit CSS to this component only -->
<style scoped>
  h3 {
    margin: 40px 0 0;
  }
  ul {
    list-style-type: none;
    padding: 0;
  }
  li {
    display: inline-block;
    margin: 0 10px;
  }
  a {
    color: #42b983;
  }
</style>
# colorComponent.vue

<template>
  <p :class="[color]">This is an example of deeply nested props!</p>
</template>
<script>
  export default {
    props: {
      color: String,
    },
  };
</script>
<style>
  .blue {
    color: blue;
  }
  .red {
    color: red;
  }
  .green {
    color: green;
  }
</style>

Here, we have a landing page with a dropdown containing a list of colors and we’re passing the selected color to childComponent.vue as a prop. This child component also has a msg prop that accepts a text to display in the template section. Finally, this component has a child component (colorComponent.vue) that accepts a color prop from the parent component which is used in determining the class for the text in this component. This is an example of passing data through all the components.

But with Vue 3, we can do this in a cleaner and short way using the new Provide and inject pair. As the name implies, we use provide as either a function or an object to make data available from a parent component to any of its nested component regardless of how deeply nested such a component is. We make use of the object form when passing hard-coded values to provide like this;

# parentComponent.vue

<template>
  <div class="home">
    <img alt="Vue logo" src="../assets/logo.png" />
    <HelloWorld msg="Vue 3 is liveeeee!" :color="color" />
    <select name="color" id="color" v-model="color">
      <option value="" disabled selected> Select a color</option>
      <option :value="color" v-for="(color, index) in colors" :key="index">{{
        color
      }}</option></select
    >
  </div>
</template>
<script>
  import HelloWorld from "@/components/HelloWorld.vue";
  export default {
    name: "Home",
    components: {
      HelloWorld,
    },
    data() {
      return {
        colors: ["red", "blue", "green"],
      };
    },
    provide: {
      color: 'blue'
    }
  };
</script>

But for instances where you need to pass a component instance property to provide, we use the function mode so this is possible;

# parentComponent.vue

<template>
  <div class="home">
    <img alt="Vue logo" src="../assets/logo.png" />
    <HelloWorld msg="Vue 3 is liveeeee!" />
    <select name="color" id="color" v-model="selectedColor">
      <option value="" disabled selected> Select a color</option>
      <option :value="color" v-for="(color, index) in colors" :key="index">{{
        color
      }}</option></select
    >
  </div>
</template>
<script>
  import HelloWorld from "@/components/HelloWorld.vue";
  export default {
    name: "Home",
    components: {
      HelloWorld,
    },
    data() {
      return {
        selectedColor: "blue",
        colors: ["red", "blue", "green"],
      };
    },
    provide() {
      return {
        color: this.selectedColor,
      };
    },
  };
</script>

Since we don’t need the color props in both the childComponent.vue and colorComponent.vue, we’re getting rid of it. The good thing about using provide is that the parent component does not need to know which component needs the property it is providing.

To make use of this in the component that needs it in this case, colorComponent.vue we do this;

# colorComponent.vue

<template>
  <p :class="[color]">This is an example of deeply nested props!</p>
</template>
<script>
  export default {
    inject: ["color"],
  };
</script>
<style>
  .blue {
    color: blue;
  }
  .red {
    color: red;
  }
  .green {
    color: green;
  }
</style>

Here, we use inject which takes in an array of the required variables the component needs. In this case, we only need the color property so we only pass that. After that, we can use the color the same way we use it when using props.

We might notice that if we try to select a new color using the dropdown, the color does not update in colorComponent.vue and this is because by default the properties in provide are not reactive. To Fix that, we make use of computed method.

# parentComponent.vue

<template>
  <div class="home">
    <img alt="Vue logo" src="../assets/logo.png" />
    <HelloWorld msg="Vue 3 is liveeeee!" />
    <select name="color" id="color" v-model="selectedColor">
      <option value="" disabled selected> Select a color</option>
      <option :value="color" v-for="(color, index) in colors" :key="index">{{
        color
      }}</option></select
    >
  </div>
</template>
<script>
  import HelloWorld from "@/components/HelloWorld.vue";
  import { computed } from "vue";
  export default {
    name: "Home",
    components: {
      HelloWorld,
    },
    data() {
      return {
        selectedColor: "",
        todos: ["Feed a cat", "Buy tickets"],
        colors: ["red", "blue", "green"],
      };
    },
    provide() {
      return {
        color: computed(() => this.selectedColor),
      };
    },
  };
</script>

Here, we import computed and pass our selectedColor so that it can be reactive and update as the user selects a different color. When you pass a variable to the computed method it returns an object which has a value. This property holds the value of your variable so for this example, we would have to update colorComponent.vue to look like this;

# colorComponent.vue

<template>
  <p :class="[color.value]">This is an example of deeply nested props!</p>
</template>
<script>
  export default {
    inject: ["color"],
  };
</script>
<style>
  .blue {
    color: blue;
  }
  .red {
    color: red;
  }
  .green {
    color: green;
  }
</style>

Here, we change color to color.value to represent the change after making color reactive using the computed method. At this point, the class of the text in this component would always change whenever selectedColor changes in the parent component.

Teleport

There are instances where we create components and place them in one part of our application because of the logic the app uses but are intended to be displayed in another part of our application. A common example of this would be a modal or a popup that is meant to display and cover the whole screen. While we can create a workaround for this using CSS’s position property on such elements, with Vue 3, we can also do using using Teleport.

Teleport allows us to take a component out of its original position in a document, from the default #app container Vue apps are wrapped in and move it to any existing element on the page it’s being used. A good example would be using Teleport to move an header component from inside the #app div to an header It is important to note that you can only Teleport to elements that are existing outside of the Vue DOM.

The Teleport component accepts two props that determine the behavior of this component and they are;

  1. to
    This prop accepts either a class name, an id, an element or a data-* attribute. We can also make this value dynamic by passing a :to prop as opposed to to and change the Teleport element dynamically.
  2. :disabled
    This prop accepts a Boolean and can be used to toggle the Teleport feature on an element or component. This can be useful for dynamically changing the position of an element.

An ideal example of using Teleport looks like this;

# index.html**

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
<head>
    <meta charset="utf-8" />
    <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=edge" />
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width,initial-scale=1.0" />
    <link rel="icon" href="<%= BASE_URL %>favicon.ico" />
    <title>
        <%= htmlWebpackPlugin.options.title %>
    </title>
</head>
<!-- add container to teleport to -->
<header class="header"></header>
<body>
    <noscript>
      <strong
        >We're sorry but <%= htmlWebpackPlugin.options.title %> doesn't work
        properly without JavaScript enabled. Please enable it to
        continue.</strong
      >
    </noscript>
    <div id="app"></div>
    <!-- built files will be auto injected -->
</body>
</html>

In the default index.html file in your Vue app, we add an header element because we want to Teleport our header component to that point in our app. We also added a class to this element for styling and for easy referencing in our Teleport component.

# Header.vue**

<template>
  <teleport to="header">
    <h1 class="logo">Vue 3 🥳</h1>
    <nav>
      <router-link to="/">Home</router-link>
    </nav>
  </teleport>
</template>
<script>
  export default {
    name: "app-header",
  };
</script>
<style>
  .header {
    display: flex;
    align-items: center;
    justify-content: center;
  }
  .logo {
    margin-right: 20px;
  }
</style>

Here, we create the header component and add a logo with a link to the homepage on our app. We also add the Teleport component and give the to prop a value of header because we want this component to render inside this element. Finally, we import this component into our app;

# App.vue

<template>
  <router-view />
  <app-header></app-header>
</template>
<script>
  import appHeader from "@/components/Header.vue";
  export default {
    components: {
      appHeader,
    },
  };
</script>

In this file, we import the header component and place it in the template so it can be visible in our app.

Now if we inspect the element of our app, we would notice that our header component is inside the headerelement;

Fragments

With Vue 2.x, it was impossible to have multiple root elements in the template of your file and as a workaround, developers started wrapping all elements in a parent element. While this doesn’t look like a serious issue, there are instances where developers want to render a component without a container wrapping around such elements but have to make do with that.

With Vue 3, a new feature called Fragments was introduced and this feature allows developers to have multiple elements in their root template file. So with Vue 2.x, this is how an input field container component would look like;

# inputComponent.vue

<template>
  <div>
    <label :for="label">label</label>
    <input :type="type" :id="label" :name="label" />
  </div>
</template>
<script>
  export default {
    name: "inputField",
    props: {
      label: {
        type: String,
        required: true,
      },
      type: {
        type: String,
        required: true,
      },
    },
  };
</script>
<style></style>

Here, we have a simple form element component that accepts two props, label and type, and the template section of this component is wrapped in a div. This is not necessarily an issue but if you want the label and input field to be directly inside your form element. With Vue 3, developers can easily rewrite this component to look like this;

# inputComponent.vue

<template class="testingss">
  <label :for="label">{{ label }}</label>
  <input :type="type" :id="label" :name="label" />
</template>

With a single root node, attributes are always attributed to the root node and they are also known as Non-Prop Attributes. They are events or attributes passed to a component that do not have corresponding properties defined in props or emits. Examples of such attributes are class and id. It is, however, required to explicitly define which of the elements in a multi-root node component should be attributed to.

Here’s what this means using the inputComponent.vue from above;

  1. When adding class to this component in the parent component, it must be specified which component would this class be attributed to otherwise the attribute has no effect.
<template>
  <div class="home">
    <div>
      <input-component
        class="awesome__class"
        label="name"
        type="text"
      ></input-component>
    </div>
  </div>
</template>
<style>
  .awesome__class {
    border: 1px solid red;
  }
</style>

When you do something like this without defining where the attributes should be attributed to, you get this warning in your console;

And the border has no effect on the component;

  1. To fix this, add a v-bind="$attrs" on the element you want such attributes to be distributed to;
<template>
  <label :for="label" v-bind="$attrs">{{ label }}</label>
  <input :type="type" :id="label" :name="label" />
</template>

Here, we’re telling Vue that we want the attributes to be distributed to the label element which means we want the awesome__class to be applied to it. Now, if we inspect our element in the browser we would see that the class has now been added to label and hence a border is now around the label.

Global API

It was not uncommon to see Vue.component or Vue.use in main.js file of a Vue application. These types of methods are known are Global APIs and there are quite a number of them in Vue 2.x. One of the challenges of this method is that it makes it impossible to isolate certain functionalities to one instance of your app (if you have more than one instance in your app) without it affecting other apps because they are all mounted on Vue. This is what I mean;

Vue.directive('focus', {
  inserted: el => el.focus()
})

Vue.mixin({
  /* ... */
})

const app1 = new Vue({ el: '#app-1' })
const app2 = new Vue({ el: '#app-2' })

For the above code, it is impossible to state that the Vue Directive be associated with app1 and the Mixin with app2 but instead, they’re both available in the two apps.

Vue 3 comes with a new Global API in an attempt to fix this type of problem with the introduction of createApp. This method returns a new instance of a Vue app. An app instance exposes a subset of the current global APIs. With this, all APIs (component, mixin, directive, use, etc) that mutate Vue from Vue 2.x are now going to be moved to individual app instances and now, each instance of your Vue app can have functionalities that are unique to them without affecting other existing apps.

Now, the above code can be rewritten as;

const app1 = createApp({})
const app2 = createApp({})
app1.directive('focus', {
    inserted: el => el.focus()
})
app2.mixin({
    /* ... */
})

It is however possible to create functionalities that you want to be share among all your apps and this can be done by using a factory function.

Events API

One of the most common ways developers adopted for passing data among components that don’t have a parent to child relationship other than using the Vuex Store is the use of Event Bus. One of the reasons why this method is common is because of how easy it is to get started with it;

# eventBus.js

const eventBus = new Vue()

export default eventBus;

After this, the next thing would be to import this file into main.js to make it globally available in our app or to import it in files that you need it;

# main.js

import eventBus from 'eventBus'
Vue.prototype.$eventBus = eventBus

Now, you can emit events and listen for emitted events like this;

this.$eventBus.$on('say-hello', alertMe)
this.$eventBus.$emit('pass-message', 'Event Bus says Hi')

There is a lot of Vue codebase that is filled with code like this. However, with Vue 3, it would be impossible to do because $on, $off, and $once have all been removed but $emit is still available because it is required for children component to emit events to their parent components. An alternative to this would be using provide / inject or any of the recommended third-party libraries.

Conclusion

In this article, we have covered how you can pass data around from a parent component down to a deeply nested child component using the provide / inject pair. We have also looked at how we can reposition and transfer components from one point in our app to another. Another thing we looked at is the multi-root node component and how to ensure we distribute attributes so they work properly. Finally, we also covered the changes to the Events API and Global API.

Further Resources

Reblogged 1 year ago from smashingmagazine.com

The Ultimate Guide to Brand Awareness

Have you ever heard people refer to themselves as “Apple people,” “Nike people,” or “Trader Joe’s” people?

This is what brand awareness can do for a brand: embed itself into consumer lifestyles and purchase habits so that they don’t have to think twice before becoming a customer — time and time again.

This guide will help you better understand brand awareness, establish it among your audience, and build campaigns that allow it to continually grow and morph with your business. Let’s dive in.

Brand awareness might seem like a vague concept, and in truth, it is. For those marketers and business owners out there who like to gauge success with neat and tidy numbers, brand awareness will likely ruffle your feathers.

But just because it isn’t a metric that can be perfectly determined doesn’t mean it doesn’t carry value. Brand awareness is incredibly important for business success and overall marketing goals. Here’s why.

Brand awareness fosters trust.

In a world where consumers rely on extensive research and others’ opinions before making a purchase, brand trust is everything. Once a consumer bonds to your brand, they’re more likely to make repeat purchases with little to no forethought –– which then bridges the gap between trust and loyalty.

Brand awareness establishes that brand trust. When you put a proverbial face to your brand name, consumers can trust easier. Brand awareness efforts give your brand a personality and outlet to be sincere, receive feedback, and tell a story. These are all ways that we, as humans, build trust with one another. The human/brand relationship isn’t any different.

Brand awareness creates association.

When you’ve had a paper cut, I bet you’ve put on a Band-Aid. When you had a pressing question, I’m sure you’ve Googled it. When you needed to make a few copies, I’m guessing that you Xeroxed them. And when you’ve packed for a nice picnic, I’m willing to bet you grabbed a Coke to drink.

Am I correct? Most likely. But … notice how the some of the words above are capitalized. These are brands, not nouns or verbs.

Speaking in brand-less terms, Band-Aid should be referred to as bandage, Google, as a search engine, and Xerox as a copier. But it’s more fun to refer to the brand itself, even if we aren’t using their specific product.

That’s what brand awareness does. It associates actions and products with particular brands, subconsciously encouraging us to replace common words with branded terms. And before you know it, simple paper cuts or picnics are doing the marketing for us.

Brand awareness builds brand equity.

Brand equity describes a brand’s value, which is determined by consumer experiences with and overall perception of the brand. Positive experiences and perception equal positive brand equity, and the same goes for negative notions.

Here are a few valuable things that come from positive brand equity:

  • Higher prices due to higher perceived value
  • A higher stock price
  • The ability to expand business through product or service line extensions
  • Greater social impact due to brand name value

How does a brand establish (and increase) brand equity? By building brand awareness and consistently promoting positive experiences with the brand. Brand awareness is the foundation of brand equity.

Once a consumer is aware of a brand, they start to recognize it without assistance, seek it out to make a purchase, begin to prefer it over other similar brands, and establish a loyalty that not only spurs on other purchases but also inspires recommendations to family and friends.

That, my friends, is why brand awareness is so important. It establishes trust with your customers, creates positive associations, and builds invaluable brand equity that allows your brand to become a household name and consumer staple.

How to Establish Brand Awareness

Brand awareness among your audience and the general public doesn’t happen overnight. It also doesn’t happen from a simple advertisement or marketing campaign.

Strong brand awareness is a result of multiple simultaneous efforts that extend beyond trying to get paying customers.

If you expect to raise awareness of your brand by running a few product advertisements on Facebook, you won’t get very far. Not only will the consumer be focused on the product (not the brand), but the ad will also lack impact beyond a simple sale.

Here are some ways to establish a solid brand awareness foundation and make a lasting impact with your audience:

Be a person, not a company.

When you get to know a new friend, what do you like to discover about them? I like to learn about hobbies, passions, likes and dislikes, and more. I also pay attention to how they speak, what they like to talk about, and what stuff gets them excited.

These are the traits your brand should determine and promote about itself. To leave an impact with your audience, you’ve got to define yourself as more than a company that sells stuff. How else would you define yourself? What words would you use if you had to introduce your brand to a new friend?

Socialize.

Introvert or extrovert, outgoing or quiet, all humans benefit from social contact and spending time with one another. It’s how we stay connected, learn new things, and become known by others.

The same goes for your brand. If you only attempt to connect with others when trying to make a sale or get support, you won’t be known as anything beyond a business with a singular intention (and the same goes for a person).

To raise awareness of your brand, you’ve got to be social. Post on social media about things unrelated to your product or services. Interact with your audience by asking questions, commenting on posts, or retweeting or sharing content you like. Treat your social accounts as if you were a person trying to make friends, not a business trying to make money.

Research shows that over 50% of brand reputation comes from online sociability. Being social leads to greater awareness and simply being known.

Tell a narrative.

Storytelling is an incredibly powerful marketing tactic, whether you’re marketing products or promoting your brand. Why? Because it gives something real for your audience to latch onto.

Crafting a narrative around your brand humanizes it and gives it depth. And weaving this said narrative into your marketing inherently markets your brand alongside your products or services.

What should your narrative be about? Anything, as long as it’s true. It can be the narrative of your founder, the tale of how your business had its first product idea, or the little-engine-that-could story of how your small business made it in this big world.

People like hearing stories about each other. Authenticity is impactful, and it can lead to a big boost in brand awareness.

Make sharing easy.

Whatever your industry, product offering, or marketing strategies, make it easy for your audience to share your content. This could be blog posts, sponsored content, videos, social media posts, or product pages. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it’s shareable.

Word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective way to establish trust and familiarity among customers. If someone sees that a friend or family member is recommending a product or service, they’ll take notice of that product … and brand. Is this a brand worth exploring? Do they have other great products I can rely on? What are their social accounts like, and what do they talk about?

If you make it easy to post about your stuff, consumers will raise brand awareness for you by simply clicking “Share”.

Brand awareness is about impact.

It’s about interacting with your audience in ways that don’t only ask for money, participation, or loyalty.

Imagine if you met a new person who wanted to be your friend. If they asked for any of the above, you’d probably laugh and walk away, right? Not only is that a shallow approach to friendship, but it also leaves no lasting impact on you.

The same goes for establishing brand awareness among your audience.

How to Increase Brand Awareness

What about expanding your established brand awareness and building on that strong foundation? What can you do as a brand to campaign for awareness and constantly increase it?

Here are a few campaign ideas to boost your brand awareness:

Offer freemium.

Freemium is a business model that offers a basic product or product line for free, only charging for any products deemed premium or enterprise-level. It’s a popular pricing strategy for software companies, like HubSpot and Trello.

Offering a freemium option allows customers to get a taste of your brand and product before making a purchase. It’s a try-before-you-buy opportunity that can, technically, last forever (as opposed to a free trial period that some companies choose).

It’s common to offer a freemium option with the condition that the brand’s watermark will be shown on any public-facing parts of the product or service. This makes freemium a win-win situation: The consumer gets the product for free, and the brand gets free advertising when consumers use it. 

TypeForm is another great example of this. TypeForm offers a freemium option of its survey software, but customers must include a thank-you page that features the TypeForm logo and message.

Depending on your type of business and product offer, Freemium may be the best way to raise awareness of your brand among your audience.

Create free content.

Nowadays, creating content is easier than ever … which is a good thing because today’s consumers turn to the internet for any and all questions, concerns, and DIY projects. 

Content is a fun way to raise awareness of your brand because it’s the easiest way to show personality and share opinions and positioning on issues — two major components that personify and humanize your brand.

Content doesn’t have to be in written form, either. You can also create videos, infographics, podcasts (which we’ll cover below), and more. Sure, written content like blogs and downloadable guides are arguably the easiest, but they’re definitely not the only option.

Content doesn’t have to live on just your website, either. Guest posting and sponsored content provide opportunities to get in front of new audiences and diversify the type of content you create.

If your brand isn’t creating content, you might be missing out on some major brand awareness opportunities. Content provides an amazing way to authentically connect with your audience while getting your brand name in front of people.

To learn more about content creation, check out our guide here.

Sponsor events.

How many festivals, concerts, fairs, and exhibitions have you attended? These types of events are typically not possible without the help of brand sponsorships. (Take a look at a t-shirt, koozie, or string backpack you likely grabbed from the event. See any brand names?) 

Sponsoring events is a surefire way to get your brand in front of hundreds, thousands, or millions of people that likely fall into your target audience. From banners to flyers to water bottles, your brand name will be everywhere if you sponsor an event.

Sponsoring an event also allows you to pin your brand name on an event that matches your personality, interests, and passions, meaning consumers will then associate your brand with that event and its aesthetic and character.

Consider Red Bull. Red Bull is an energy drink, and without any brand awareness efforts, we’d simply consider it an energy drink. But, thankfully, Red Bull took their marketing to the extreme — literally — by sponsoring extreme sporting events like cliff diving and motocross. They also sponsor athletes. Now, we inherently associate Red Bull with daring and adventurous … and believe that, if we drink it, we can be the same.

brand awareness-red bull

Give your brand a personality.

Treating your brand as a person and defining your narrative are the first steps to giving your brand a personality. The next step would be infusing this personality into your marketing efforts. 

When you market your products and services with personality, you can’t help but boost your brand awareness because your brand will shine right through. Sure, your consumers will take note of the pants or pasta you’re marketing, but they’ll also experience your personality through your advertising.

This is a great strategy when mixing your traditional marketing campaigns with brand awareness campaigns. They don’t always have to be one in the same, but they definitely can be. 

Consider Old Spice. (Did you just picture the man on the horse? I did.) Their advertisements for their hygiene products are overflowing with personality and humor, and they still mention their products throughout. The advertisement not only makes an impact on its viewers, but a mere mention of the “Old Spice man” also sends consumers back to YouTube to watch the commercial … and to the store to buy some deodorant.

Produce a podcast.

More than one-third of Americans 12 and older listen to podcasts regularly. There’s no doubt podcasts play an important role in our lives … and marketing efforts.

Podcasts used to be a complicated process, only created by those with a studio and fancy microphone. Now, it’s easier than ever to create and release a podcast, and doing so can do wonders for your brand awareness efforts. 

Why? Because podcasts, like written or visual content, provide a way to connect with your audience authentically. Instead of blatantly promoting your product or service (which we’ve agreed isn’t the best way to go about boosting brand awareness), podcasts give you the opportunity to educate, inform, entertain, or advise your audience and build trust by doing so.

Here are some examples of great podcasts produced by brands you know and love:

See how these brands have chosen podcast topics that relate to their 1) overall brand message and 2) products or services? Doing this helps them relate the podcast back to their brand and continue to raise awareness, too.

For more information on podcasts, check out our guide here.

Building and growing brand awareness is a never-ending process, just as maintaining a friendship or relationship never really ends.

 Boosting your brand awareness through campaigns gives you a chance to dabble in marketing and advertising opportunities you’d otherwise not invest in — meaning new, powerful ways to connect with your audience.

How to Measure Brand Awareness

How do you know if your brand awareness efforts are working? How do you know if you need to change direction, top the competition, or fix a crisis? Just like any other marketing metric, you measure it.

Wait … I thought you said brand awareness couldn’t be measured!

Aha! You’ve been listening. I appreciate that.

You’re right — brand awareness can’t be measured in the traditional sense. But, you can still review activities and metrics that’ll help you gauge where your brand stands in terms of popularity and consumer awareness.

Here are a few ways to gauge your brand awareness and learn where you can tweak your efforts:

Quantitative Brand Awareness Measures

These numbers can help you paint the overall picture of your brand awareness. To measure quantitatively, check out these metrics:

  • Direct traffic. Firstly, direct traffic is the result of people intentionally typing in your URL and visiting your website. Your direct traffic number will tell you how much your marketing is prompting people to visit your website. This is an important metric, as many consumers today discover brands through social media, advertisements, or by typing in keywords related to your brand or product. When consumers go directly to your site, it means they were aware of your brand beforehand.
  • Site traffic numbers. This number just reflects overall site traffic, which will tell you how much of the general internet population is checking out your content and spending time with your brand. It won’t quite tell you where people came from, but that doesn’t matter, because they’re aware of your brand enough to check it out.

  • Social engagement. Engagement can refer to followers, likes, retweets, comments, and more. It’s a reflection of how many people are aware of your brand and socialize with it, as well as how impactful your content is. For instance, sites like Sparktoro can give you a specific score for your Twitter impact.

Qualitative Brand Awareness Measures

This step is where your brand awareness “score” gets a little murky. But these tactics can still help you gauge who and how many people are aware of your brand. To measure qualitatively, try:

  • Searching Google and setting up Google Alerts. Doing this gets you up to speed with how your brand is being talked about online. It will alert you to any news or mentions by third-party press. As your brand grows, its internet real estate will expand beyond your website, so keep an eye on that.
  • Social listening. Social listening is monitoring social media management tools for organic mentions and engagement. Who’s tagging your brand, mentioning it in comments, or using your hashtag in their posts? These tools can help you discover that. And the more your audience is discussing your brand on social media, the more they’re aware of it.
  • Running brand awareness surveys. This process involves getting direct feedback from your customers and audience and can be incredibly helpful with not only understanding who knows of your brand but also what they think of it. You can release surveys through SurveyMonkey or TypeForm and share them on social media or directly with your customers. This guide will help you create and promote them.

These quantitative and qualitative metrics will help you understand your brand awareness among your audience and the general public. It’ll never be a perfect number, but keeping your pulse on this measure will help influence campaigns and stay connected to your audience. Regardless of how you gauge brand awareness for your company, avoid these common mistakes when measuring brand awareness.

Over to You

Brand awareness is a powerful (albeit vague) concept that can have a major impact on your marketing efforts, consumer perception, and revenue.

Follow these techniques for establishing and building awareness for your brand, and you’ll find yourself with a loyal audience that recognizes your brand among competitors, chooses your products time and time again, and recommends their friends and family do the same.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.hubspot.com

How We Became Digital Marketers in Just One Summer

Posted by rootandbranch

Editor’s note: This blog is from the perspective of five University of Pittsburgh students — Kirsten, Steve, Darcie, Erin, and Sara — who completed a class this summer called “Digital Marketing Search Fundamentals”, taught by Zack Duncan of Root and Branch.

Introduction

Our digital marketing class this summer did not give us credits that count towards graduation (in fact, some of us graduated in Spring 2020), nor did it give us a grade. Instead, we learned about paid search and organic search along with some of the key concepts central to digital marketing. We also became certified in Google Ads Search along the way. 

We each had different reasons for taking the course, but we all believe that digital marketing will have value for us in our lives.

At the beginning of the term, in June 2020, we were asked, “What is one thing you’re hoping to get out of this class?” Here are some of our responses to that question:

  • I hope to gain a strong understanding of SEO and Google Ads, and to get hands-on experience to understand how both would be used in a work setting.
  • I want to learn something about marketing that I might not learn in the classroom.
  • I’m hoping to become more competitive in this difficult job market.
  • I hope to build on my resume and develop skills for personal use.
  • I want to learn a foundational skill that can be applied in many different aspects of business. 

Now that we’ve completed the class, we wanted to share our thoughts on why we believe digital marketing matters — both for our lives today and as we look ahead to the future. We’re also going to cover five of the most important building blocks we learned this summer, that have helped us see how all the pieces of digital marketing fit together.

Part 1: Why digital marketing matters

Why digital marketing training matters now

To become more competitive candidates in applying for jobs

Some of us are recent grads in the midst of searching for our first jobs after college. Some of us are still in school and are actively looking for internships. We’ve all seen our fair share of job listings for positions like “Digital Marketing Intern” or “Digital Marketing Associate”. Given that the majority of us are marketing majors, you might think it’s safe to assume we would be qualified for at least an interview for those positions. 

Nope. 

Before gaining a solid foundation in digital marketing, we were often quite limited in the listings we were qualified for. But things have been changing now that we can say we’re certified in Google Ads Search and can speak to topics like digital analytics, SEO, and the importance of understanding the marketing funnel.

To help with growing freelance side businesses

Towards the beginning of the pandemic, a few of us were dangerously close to graduation with little to no hope of finding a job in marketing. Instead of binge-watching Netflix all day and hoping some fantastic opportunity would magically come our way, the entrepreneurial among us decided to see how we could use our current skills to generate revenue. 

One of us is especially interested in graphic design and learned everything there was to know in Adobe Creative Suite to become a freelance graphic designer, starting a side business in graphic design, and designs logos, labels, menus, and more.

After this class, finding clients has changed in a big way now. Instead of being limited to looking for clients in social media groups, digital marketing knowledge opens up a whole new world. With a functioning website and a knowledge of both paid and organic search, the process of finding new customers has dramatically changed (for the better!).

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To be more informed consumers

While a digital marketing background doesn’t instantly translate to job opportunities for everyone, it can help all of us become more informed consumers.

As consumers, we want to pay for quality goods and services at a fair price. Some basic digital marketing knowledge gives us a better understanding of why the search engine results page (SERP) findings show up in the order that they do. Knowing about keywords, domain authority (for organic search) and quality scores (for paid results) can demystify things. And that’s just on the SERP.

Moving off the SERP, it’s helpful to know how nearly every advertisement we see is somehow targeted to us. If you are seeing an ad, there is a very good chance you fall into an audience segment that a brand has identified as a potential target. You may also be seeing the ad due to a prior visit to the brand’s website and are now in a retargeting audience (feel free to clear out those cookies if you’re sick of them!).

The more information you have as a consumer, the more likely you are to make a better purchase. These few examples just go to show how digital marketing training matters now, even if you are not the one actively doing the digital marketing.

How a digital marketing foundation be useful in the future

It’s helpful in creating and growing a personal brand

Your brand only matters if people know about it. You could sit in your room and put together the most awesome portfolio website for yourself and create a solid brand identity, but if no one else knows about it, what’s the point? Digital marketing concepts like understanding SEO basics can help make your presence known to potential customers, employers, and clients.

It would be terrible if your competition got all the business just because you didn’t use the simple digital marketing tools available to you, right? Digital marketing efforts can have many different goals ranging from making sales to just increasing general awareness of your brand, so get out there and start!

To become a more flexible contributor in future career opportunities

One thing we’ve heard consistently in the job search process is employers love flexible, cross functional employees. It seems the most successful and valued employees are often those that are not only experts in their field, but also have a pretty good understanding of other subjects that impact their work. Let’s say you’re an account manager for a digital agency, and you have some great insight that you think could be helpful in driving some new ad copy testing for your biggest client. It’s going to be a whole lot easier talking with your copywriter and media team (and being taken seriously by them), if you have an understanding of how the text ads are built. 

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To see data as an opportunity for action, as opposed to just numbers

Are you someone who enjoys numbers and performance metrics? That’s great! So are we! But those numbers are meaningless without a digital marketing background to provide context for the data. 

Understanding data is a valuable tool for getting to know your audience and evaluating advertising campaigns. Seeing that your Google Search text ad has a poor click-through rate is only actionable if you have the foundation to take steps and improve it. Analyzing your website’s metrics and finding that you have a low average session duration is meaningless if you don’t connect the dots between the numbers and what they mean for your web design or your on-page content.

It’s pretty clear that the numbers don’t give much value to a marketer or a business without the ability to recognize what those metrics mean and the actions that can be taken to fix them. As we advance in our careers and have more and more responsibility for decision making, digital marketing fundamentals can continue to grow our experience with turning data into insight-driven action.

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To optimize for conversions — always

Whatever the goal, it’s important to know if you’re operating efficiently in terms of your conversions. In other words, you need to know if you’re getting a return for the investment (time, money, or both) you’re putting in. When you’re operating to get the most conversions for the lowest cost, you are employing a mindset that will help your marketing efforts perform as well as they can.

Having a digital marketing foundation will allow you to think intelligently about “conversions”, or the kinds of results that you’d like to see your marketing efforts generate. A conversion might be a completed sale for an e-commerce company, a submitted lead form for a B2B software company, or a new subscriber for an online publication.

Whatever the desired conversion action, thinking about them as the goal helps to give context in understanding how different marketing efforts are performing. Is your ad performing well and should it receive more media spend, or is it just wasting money? 

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Thinking about conversions isn’t always easy, and may take some trial and error, but it can lead to making smart, measurable, and cost-effective decisions. And those decisions can get smarter over time as we get more and more familiar with the five key building blocks of digital marketing (at least the five that we’ve found to be instructive).

Part 2: Understanding five building blocks of digital marketing

1. The marketing funnel (customer journey)

The marketing funnel (or the user/customer journey) refers to the process by which a prospective customer hears about a product or service, becomes educated about the product or service, and makes a decision whether or not to purchase the product or service in question.

It encompasses everything from the first time that brand awareness is established to the potential purchase made by the customer. The awareness stage can be known as the “top of the funnel”, and there are lots of potential prospects in that audience. 

From there, some prospects “move down the funnel” as they learn more and get educated about the product or service. Those that don’t move down the funnel and progress in their journey are said to “fall out” of the funnel.

As the journey continues, prospects move closer to becoming customers. Those who eventually “convert” are those that completed the journey through the bottom of the funnel.

Understanding that there is such a thing as a customer journey has helped to frame our thinking for different types of marketing challenges. It essentially boils down to understanding where, why, when, and how your prospects are engaging with your brand, and what information they will need along the way to conversion.

2. Paid search vs. organic search and the SERP

For many of us, one of the first steps in understanding paid vs. organic search was getting a handle on the SERP. 

The slide below is our “SERP Landscape” slide from class. It shows what’s coming from paid (Google Ads), and what’s coming from organic search. In this case, organic results are both local SEO results from Google My Business, and also the on-page SEO results. Here’s a link to a 92-second video with the same content from class.

We learned to look for the little “Ad” designation next to the paid text ads that are often at the top of the SERP. 

These are search results with the highest AdRank who are likely willing to bid the most on the specific keyword in question. Since paid search is based on CPC (cost per click) pricing, we learned that the advertiser doesn’t incur any costs for their ad to show up, but does pay every single time the ad is clicked. 

Although many CPCs might range in the $2 – $3 range, some are $10 and up. With that kind of investment for each click, advertisers really need to focus on having great landing pages with helpful content that will help drive conversions.

Organic search, on the other hand, is “free” for each click. But it also relies on great content, perhaps even more so than paid search. That’s because the only way to get to the top of the organic search rankings is to earn it. There’s no paying here! 

Search engines like Google are looking for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T) in content to rank highly on the SERP. In addition to making good local sense for Google, it all comes back to the core of Alphabet’s business model, as the slide below shows.

Understanding Google’s motivations help us understand what drives organic search and the SERP landscape overall. And understanding the basics of paid and organic search is an important foundation for all aspiring digital marketers who want to work in the field.

3. Inbound vs. outbound marketing

Are you working to push a message out to an audience that you hope is interested in your product or service? If so, you’re doing some outbound marketing, whether it be traditional media like billboards, television, or magazines, or even certain types of digital advertising like digital banner ads. Think about it as a giant megaphone broadcasting a message.

Inbound work, on the other hand, aims to attract potential customers who are actively engaged in seeking out a product or service. Search marketing (both paid search and organic search) are perfect examples of inbound, as they reach prospects at the moment they’re doing their research. Instead of a megaphone, think of a magnet. The content that does the best job in solving problems and answering questions will be the content with the strongest magnetic pull that gets to the top of SERPs and converts. 

If you’re going to be here for a while, click the image below for more information on how we think about content in the context of digital marketing efforts.

4. Basic digital marketing metrics

There are some universal metrics that we all need to understand if we’re going to develop a competency in digital marketing. Click through rate (CTR), for example, is a great way to measure how effective an ad unit or organic result is in terms of generating a click. 

But before we can fully understand CTR (clicks divided by impressions), we first need to make sure we understand the component parts of the metric. Here are four of those key components that we learned about during our digital marketing training:

  • Impression: A search result (paid or organic) or an ad shows up on a page
  • Click: A user clicking the search result or ad on a page triggers a recorded click
  • Conversion: After clicking on the search result or ad, the user completes an action that is meaningful for the business. Different types of businesses have different conversion actions that are important to them.
  • Cost: While organic search results are “free” (not counting costs associated with creating content), paid ads incur a cost. Understanding the cost of any paid advertising is a crucial component of understanding performance.

How does it all work in practice? Glad you asked! Check out the example below for a hypothetical advertising campaign that served 10,000 impressions, drove 575 clicks, cost $1,000, and generated 20 conversions:

5. Platforms and tools a beginner digital marketer should use

Our class was focused on search marketing, and we talked about one platform for paid and one platform for organic. 

On the paid side, there is only one name in the game: Google Ads. Google has free training modules and certifications available through a platform called Skillshop. You’ll need a Google-affiliated email address to log in. After doing so, just search for “Google Ads Search” and you can go through the training modules shown below. 



If you’re already a Google Ads pro, you can hop right to the exam and take the timed Google Ads Search Assessment. If you can get an 80% or higher on the 50-question exam, you’ll get a certification badge!

For organic search, we learned about keyword research, title tags, H1s and H2s, anchor text in links, and more through the training available on Moz Academy. The 73-minute Page Optimization course has eight different training sections and includes an On Page Optimization Quiz at the end. Fair warning, some of the content might be worth watching a few times if you’re new to SEO. For most of us this was our first exposure to SEO, and it took some time for most of our brains to sort through the difference between a title tag and an H1 tag!

Another platform that we liked was Google Trends, which can be useful for both paid and organic search, and is just generally a cool way to see trends happening! 

There are many more resources and tools out there in the world. Some of us are aiming to get more comfortable with these fundamentals, while some others have already branched out into other disciplines like social media.

Conclusion

Thanks for coming along with us on this digital marketing journey. We hope it was a useful read!

During the process of putting this together, things have changed for us:

  • Kirsten landed a full-time job.
  • Steve started doing consulting work for a growing Shopify site in Google Ads and Google Analytics, and is planning to make consulting his full-time work.
  • Darcie landed a job as a Paid Search Analyst for a national retailer.

For all of us, we know we’re only taking the first steps of our digital marketing futures, and we’re excited to see what the future holds!

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

How Do Sessions Work in Google Analytics? &mdash; Best of Whiteboard Friday

Posted by Tom.Capper

Google Analytics data is used to support tons of important work, ranging from our everyday marketing reporting, all the way to investment decisions. To that end, it’s integral that we’re aware of just how that data works. In this Best of Whiteboard Friday edition, Tom Capper explains how the sessions metric in Google Analytics works, several ways that it can have unexpected results, and as a bonus, how sessions affect the time on page metric (and why you should rethink using time on page for reporting).

Editor’s note: Tom Capper is now an independent SEO consultant. This video is from 2018, but the same principles hold up today. There is only one minor caveat: the words “user” and “browser” are used interchangeably early in the video, which still hold mostly true. Google is trying to further push multi-device users as a concept with Google Analytics 4, but still relies on users being logged in, as well as extra tracking setup. For most sites most of the time, neither of these conditions hold.


Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hello, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. I am Tom Capper. I am a consultant at Distilled, and today I’m going to be talking to you about how sessions work in Google Analytics. Obviously, all of us use Google Analytics. Pretty much all of us use Google Analytics in our day-to-day work.

Data from the platform is used these days in everything from investment decisions to press reporting to the actual marketing that we use it for. So it’s important to understand the basic building blocks of these platforms. Up here I’ve got the absolute basics. So in the blue squares I’ve got hits being sent to Google Analytics.

So when you first put Google Analytics on your site, you get that bit of tracking code, you put it on every page, and what that means is when someone loads the page, it sends a page view. So those are the ones I’ve marked P. So we’ve got page view and page view and so on as you’re going around the site. I’ve also got events with an E and transactions with a T. Those are two other hit types that you might have added.

The job of Google Analytics is to take all this hit data that you’re sending it and try and bring it together into something that actually makes sense as sessions. So they’re grouped into sessions that I’ve put in black, and then if you have multiple sessions from the same browser, then that would be a user that I’ve marked in pink. The issue here is it’s kind of arbitrary how you divide these up.

These eight hits could be one long session. They could be eight tiny ones or anything in between. So I want to talk today about the different ways that Google Analytics will actually split up those hit types into sessions. So over here I’ve got some examples I’m going to go through. But first I’m going to go through a real-world example of a brick-and-mortar store, because I think that’s what they’re trying to emulate, and it kind of makes more sense with that context.

Brick-and-mortar example

So in this example, say a supermarket, we enter by a passing trade. That’s going to be our source. Then we’ve got an entrance is in the lobby of the supermarket when we walk in. We got passed from there to the beer aisle to the cashier, or at least I do. So that’s one big, long session with the source passing trade. That makes sense.

In the case of a brick-and-mortar store, it’s not to difficult to divide that up and try and decide how many sessions are going on here. There’s not really any ambiguity. In the case of websites, when you have people leaving their keyboard for a while or leaving the computer on while they go on holiday or just having the same computer over a period of time, it becomes harder to divide things up, because you don’t know when people are actually coming and going.

So what they’ve tried to do is in the very basic case something quite similar: arrive by Google, category page, product page, checkout. Great. We’ve got one long session, and the source is Google. Okay, so what are the different ways that that might go wrong or that that might get divided up?

Several things that can change the meaning of a session

1. Time zone

The first and possibly most annoying one, although it doesn’t tend to be a huge issue for some sites, is whatever time zone you’ve set in your Google Analytics settings, the midnight in that time zone can break up a session. So say we’ve got midnight here. This is 12:00 at night, and we happen to be browsing. We’re doing some shopping quite late.

Because Google Analytics won’t allow a session to have two dates, this is going to be one session with the source Google, and this is going to be one session and the source will be this page. So this is a self-referral unless you’ve chosen to exclude that in your settings. So not necessarily hugely helpful.

2. Half-hour cutoff for “coffee breaks”

Another thing that can happen is you might go and make a cup of coffee. So ideally if you went and had a cup of coffee while in you’re in Tesco or a supermarket that’s popular in whatever country you’re from, you might want to consider that one long session. Google has made the executive decision that we’re actually going to have a cutoff of half an hour by default.

If you leave for half an hour, then again you’ve got two sessions. One, the category page is the landing page and the source of Google, and one in this case where the blog is the landing page, and this would be another self-referral, because when you come back after your coffee break, you’re going to click through from here to here. This time period, the 30 minutes, that is actually adjustable in your settings, but most people do just leave it as it is, and there isn’t really an obvious number that would make this always correct either. It’s kind of, like I said earlier, an arbitrary distinction.

3. Leaving the site and coming back

The next issue I want to talk about is if you leave the site and come back. So obviously it makes sense that if you enter the site from Google, browse for a bit, and then enter again from Bing, you might want to count that as two different sessions with two different sources. However, where this gets a little murky is with things like external payment providers.

If you had to click through from the category page to PayPal to the checkout, then unless PayPal is excluded from your referral list, then this would be one session, entrance from Google, one session, entrance from checkout. The last issue I want to talk about is not necessarily a way that sessions are divided, but a quirk of how they are.

4. Return direct sessions

If you were to enter by Google to the category page, go on holiday and then use a bookmark or something or just type in the URL to come back, then obviously this is going to be two different sessions. You would hope that it would be one session from Google and one session from direct. That would make sense, right?

But instead, what actually happens is that, because Google and most Google Analytics and most of its reports uses last non-direct click, we pass through that source all the way over here, so you’ve got two sessions from Google. Again, you can change this timeout period. So that’s some ways that sessions work that you might not expect.

As a bonus, I want to give you some extra information about how this affects a certain metric, mainly because I want to persuade you to stop using it, and that metric is time on page.

Bonus: Three scenarios where this affects time on page

So I’ve got three different scenarios here that I want to talk you through, and we’ll see how the time on page metric works out.

I want you to bear in mind that, basically, because Google Analytics really has very little data to work with typically, they only know that you’ve landed on a page, and that sent a page view and then potentially nothing else. If you were to have a single page visit to a site, or a bounce in other words, then they don’t know whether you were on that page for 10 seconds or the rest of your life.

They’ve got no further data to work with. So what they do is they say, “Okay, we’re not going to include that in our average time on page metrics.” So we’ve got the formula of time divided by views minus exits. However, this fudge has some really unfortunate consequences. So let’s talk through these scenarios.

Example 1: Intuitive time on page = actual time on page

In the first scenario, I arrive on the page. It sends a page view. Great. Ten seconds later I trigger some kind of event that the site has added. Twenty seconds later I click through to the next page on the site. In this case, everything is working as intended in a sense, because there’s a next page on the site, so Google Analytics has that extra data of another page view 20 seconds after the first one. So they know that I was on here for 20 seconds.

In this case, the intuitive time on page is 20 seconds, and the actual time on page is also 20 seconds. Great.

Example 2: Intuitive time on page is higher than measured time on page

However, let’s think about this next example. We’ve got a page view, event 10 seconds later, except this time instead of clicking somewhere else on the site, I’m going to just leave altogether. So there’s no data available, but Google Analytics knows we’re here for 10 seconds.

So the intuitive time on page here is still 20 seconds. That’s how long I actually spent looking at the page. But the measured time or the reported time is going to be 10 seconds.

Example 3: Measured time on page is zero

The last example, I browse for 20 seconds. I leave. I haven’t triggered an event. So we’ve got an intuitive time on page of 20 seconds and an actual time on page or a measured time on page of 0.

The interesting bit is when we then come to calculate the average time on page for this page that appeared here, here, and here, you would initially hope it would be 20 seconds, because that’s how long we actually spent. But your next guess, when you look at the reported or the available data that Google Analytics has in terms of how long we’re on these pages, the average of these three numbers would be 10 seconds.

So that would make some sense. What they actually do, because of this formula, is they end up with 30 seconds. So you’ve got the total time here, which is 30, divided by the number of views, we’ve got 3 views, minus 2 exits. Thirty divided 3 minus 2, 30 divided by 1, so we’ve got 30 seconds as the average across these 3 sessions.

Well, the average across these three page views, sorry, for the amount of time we’re spending, and that is longer than any of them, and it doesn’t make any sense with the constituent data. So that’s just one final tip to please not use average time on page as a reporting metric.

I hope that’s all been useful to you. I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below. Thanks.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Reblogged 1 year ago from feedproxy.google.com

How implementing a CDP makes operations more efficient

Properly preparing for CDP implementation is the first step to success.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 year ago from feeds.marketingland.com

The rise of vertical search engines

30-second summary:

  • Google’s rise as the dominant search engine has left the industry undisrupted for 20 years.
  • The number of use cases for search are infinite meaning Google’s information lacks depth in some cases.
  • Vertical search engines support unique workflows and provide domain expertise.
  • Specialized search for consumers is well established but B2B search is rapidly growing due to a “digital exhaust” effect.
  • B2B search helps fuel SMB’s and the mid-market because more businesses get found.

On October 20, 2020, the Justice Department sued Google, an Alphabet subsidiary, claiming the company’s internet search platform is an illegal monopoly that is harmful to both competition and consumers. The case aims to prove that Google’s position as a dominant search provider limits consumer choice and partnerships with companies like Apple suppresses competition. Taking on Big Tech has been a mainstay in the national conversation ever since the 2016 Presidential election, but this is the first antitrust action taken against Google. While we might not reach the end of this story for years, the DOJ’s suit signals a larger shift in the search industry, which hasn’t been disrupted in over 20 years. The unintended consequence of Google’s conquest to broaden search is limited depth for some. Businesses tend to be affected more than consumers because of how results are ranked. Therefore, in the wake of Google’s antitrust suit, a new market for specialized information has emerged.

Shifting dynamics

In 1998 Google processed 10,000 search queries per day – roughly 3.65 million annually. The official Google Zeitgeist reported 1.2 trillion searches in 2012, the year it was published. That trend would eventually stabilize to an estimated 2.3 trillion searches per year in 2020.

Despite its size and tremendous growth, web search dynamics have begun to shift. Google has taken a super-aggregator and partnership approach to many growing verticals. Google Maps, for example, aggregate Booking.com, TripAdvisor, and Yelp. Google Shopping and Google Finance are aggregators for ecommerce and financial information, respectively. Vertical search has always been at odds with aggregators, wanting to be found but also wanting direct traffic. Vertical search engines have built their own mobile apps to lure users away from the Google search bar.

Defining a vertical search engine

A vertical search engine is a search engine that focuses on a specific domain, or vertical. Think of LinkedIn for people search, Zillow for housing search, or Kayak for travel search. The benefits of using a vertical search engine are:

  1. More precise information due to narrowed scope
  2. Calibrated systems for providing users with vertical expertise
  3. Purposefully designed to facilitate a specific task or workflow

The third point is particularly noteworthy, especially when comparing vertical search engines to Google. It’s unlikely that you’re searching for car prices and inventory for fun. The price tells you if you can afford it; location information tells you where the nearest dealership is. Search is part of a workflow. Google, in most cases, acts as a middle man, guiding users from point A to point B.

Like web search, vertical search also supports various workflows. Where they differ is providing users with both the pathway and tools to complete an intended action. Here’s an example: Zillow users start by searching for homes, weighing data on home prices and taxes against other factors like school districts and proximity to work. The user’s workflow ends with an appointment for an open house with the listing agent. Workflows differ greatly depending on someone’s need, which is why the market for vertical search engines is so vast.

In recent years Google has attempted to compete with certain consumer search workflows. Google Flights, a Kayak competitor, brings users closer to booking travel all within one platform. Interestingly enough, Google’s purchase of ITA Travel in 2011 (which became Google Flights) was reviewed and cleared with the DOJ. If history is any lesson, Google is surely capable of competing with certain vertical search engines and capturing market share for consumer-based search. Business to business search, however, is a different ballgame.

The need for B2B search tools

There is a gap in the B2B search market. The gap exists, in part, by the design of Google’s search algorithm, which ranks websites based on five key factors. You’ll find the most popular business websites, but not every business website. More importantly, results might not provide the right business.

B2B search is beginning to transform, however. The amount of digital exhaust has increased drastically over the last few years. The emergence of Shopify, Squarespace, and others have decreased the barrier to entry for businesses on the internet. In 2014 the internet surpassed one billion websites and two billion is within reach. Having a website is one thing, but getting found is another. Companies must invest in website tools and resources and consistently optimize website content. Not to mention, it takes time to accumulate domain authority. If you’re a small business in a constrained economy, this looks like a tall order.

Google’s ranking algorithms, limited workflows, and surface-level information create an opportunity for B2B search engines across multiple functions. For example, ThomasNet (www.thomasnet.com) is an industrial sourcing platform connecting procurement professionals and industrial manufacturers. Drugdu (www.drugdu.com) operates medical device databases citing access to over 1,000,000 products.

With so much focus on small businesses this year due to COVID-19, it should be noted that B2B search products are good for SMBs, thus good for the economy. Tools like ThomasNet and Drugdu even the playing field, allowing small businesses to be found. Information also tends to be more trustworthy because of the general absence of advertising and crowdsourced information reduces reliance on individual company databases.

The big picture

The last antitrust case presented against a large technology company was in 1998 when Microsoft was, ultimately, found guilty of abusing monopoly power. Over the last two decades, Google has emerged as the clear leader in consumer search, but they’ve failed to extend their reach into vertical search engines. That void has since been filled with dozens of specialized search engines, platforms that mostly benefit small to mid-sized businesses. The advantages for users are clear: focusing on a limited set of data accelerates workflows and supplies better information. As the Google saga unfolds, vertical search engines are well-positioned to grow by facilitating business-to-business commerce.

Andrew Bocskocsky is a software expert, CEO, and Co-Founder of B2B search engine Grata.

The post The rise of vertical search engines appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Reblogged 1 year ago from www.searchenginewatch.com

Four digital marketing strategies to prepare for a wild holiday season

30-second summary:

  • Ecommerce has become an increasingly important element of any business, but it is more important than ever going into the 2020 holiday season.
  • With the plethora of brands vying for ad space online, companies must make the most of their marketing budgets by adjusting their digital strategies.
  • Socium Media CEO Owen Loft offers four tips for breaking through the noise to get in front of your customers and boost sales this holiday season.

Retailers already set up for online sales had an immediate advantage, but others quickly fell behind. Instead of reaping profits from consumers who have chosen to shop from home, retailers without online infrastructures have missed out on booming sales opportunities. Online shopping was already trending upward before the pandemic, but the pandemic pushed the shift from physical to ecommerce ahead by five years.

Businesses cannot afford to overlook digital. But one question remains: How can they bolster their online presence and get in front of their target customers in the current landscape?

Holiday season 2020: A perfect storm of competition

Reaching customers who have flocked online has become more challenging (not to mention costly) as large retailers take control of valuable advertising space. And big-box stores aren’t the only ones driving up the cost of digital advertising — political candidates have sunk more than three billion dollars into campaign advertising this year.

Major retailers such as Best Buy and Walmart are taking more online-centric approaches to holiday shopping this year. Many have already announced that they will keep their physical stores closed on Thanksgiving. Some will even remain closed on Black Friday or offer limited shopping hours, pushing customers to stay home and shop online.

With the coronavirus pandemic stretching into the fourth quarter of 2020, major elections, and the holiday season, marketers have major competition for valuable online ad space.

Revamp your digital marketing strategy to reach customers at home

To break through the noise and make the most of your marketing budget in the current environment, you must adjust your digital marketing strategies. Here’s how:

1. Prepare for the early rush

In years past, Black Friday signaled the start of holiday shopping. This year, however, Amazon’s annual Prime Day — typically held in the summer — was rescheduled to early October due to the pandemic. Some experts predict this will be the starting point for holiday shopping in 2020, which amounts to roughly an extra month and a half of holiday-related advertising and deals.

Another reason for the early start? Getting ahead of anticipated shipping delays. Some businesses already have felt the coronavirus-related strain on deliveries; pair that with additional demand, and customers will probably start shopping early to make sure their gifts arrive on time for the holidays. It will be more important than ever to start your holiday marketing efforts early. You’ll also want to communicate shipping cut-off dates clearly on your website so customers can plan their purchases accordingly.

2. Leverage your email lists

With major events converging at once — COVID-19, the 2020 election, and the holidays — consumers will be bombarded with ads across the internet. Considering this perfect storm, it might be easier to reach your target customers in their inboxes. And if they subscribe to your business’s emails, it means they’ve had positive experiences and trust your brand. They’ll be more likely to order from you, a known quantity, rather than the thousands of other retailers jockeying for their attention.

3. Highlight gift-able items in your ads

Some items in your business’s inventory simply won’t wrap well, while others are practically made to be gifted. Analyze your inventory and determine which products would fit in a gift guide for your business.

To do this, harness the data you already have. Which products are popular with your customers? What were your top sellers during the 2019 holiday season? You should also research consumer trends to see what up-and-coming products will be popular this year, which will allow you to highlight them in your marketing.

Once you’re armed with that knowledge, make sure you have adequate inventory of those products — even if those items aren’t your typical bestsellers — and plan your marketing strategy around them. With high-quality images and video and updated ad copy ready to go, those products are sure to fly off the shelves.

4. Be flexible

While online shopping is by no means new, ecommerce in the time of COVID-19 is unprecedented. Retailers — even major ones — can’t predict how consumers will behave this year. With a slew of retailers staying closed during the traditional holiday shopping times, some consumers may shift to ecommerce for everything. Others may decide to play the waiting game in hopes that physical stores reopen before the holiday season kicks into gear.

Because it’s impossible to know precisely what consumers will do, your tried-and-true marketing methods may not work. If you don’t already, prepare some contingency marketing plans in case you need to pivot quickly and try a new strategy to reach your customers.

Ecommerce has steadily become an important part of business, but this year it is absolutely critical. With a veritable trifecta of competition due to the pandemic, election, and holiday season, marketers must reassess their digital marketing strategies to ensure they can reach customers and boost sales.

Owen Loft is Co-founder of Socium Media, a performance-focused digital marketing agency specializing in paid search, paid social, and SEO. He can be found on LinkedIn.

The post Four digital marketing strategies to prepare for a wild holiday season appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Reblogged 1 year ago from www.searchenginewatch.com

10 Common Landing Page Myths to Avoid

I remember when I found out the Tooth Fairy wasn’t real. My whole world was shattered. Granted, I was about eight, but I was furious to find out that my parents had been putting a quarter under my pillow every time I’d lost a tooth, not a sweet fairy named Daphne who lived in a castle made out of my pearly whites.

Luckily, believing in the Tooth Fairy is pretty harmless. Other myths, especially those that affect your business, are not.

In previous posts, we’ve debunked myths about marketing automation, social media, blogging, SEO, and A/B testing… but we’ve never touched on landing pages.

Keep reading so you don’t miss out on information that’ll help you convert visitors into leads and leads into customers. We’ll debunk the most common landing page myths and arm you with information to take your landing pages to the next level.

Myth #1: You only need a few of them.

Lots of people think that you don’t need many landing pages. Maybe you have a ‘Contact Us’ page and a demo page, and that’s pretty much it, right? Wrong. If you only have a few landing pages, you’re missing out on traffic, leads, and customers big time.

Every new landing page you create is another opportunity for you to appear in search engines and get your link shared on social media — and better search engine rankings and social media posts mean that you’ll have more opportunity to drive traffic and conversions for your website.

Additionally, besides landing pages on your website, you’re going to need landing pages to convert leads. These pages are probably not available on search engines, but will help you track how many leads have clicked into an offer and how many have downloaded your content offers.

Need more convincing about the importance of having more landing pages? Check out this post.

Myth #2:Short forms are better than long forms.

No form length is the “best” — it all depends on what you’re trying to accomplish with the form. Are you trying to get a ton of new leads? Keep the form short. Are you trying to get really qualified leads? Make the form longer. One is not better than the other — they just address different goals.

Your form length will most likely end up somewhere in the middle. To find your form length sweet spot, run A/B tests and adjust your form length according to their results.

Myth #3:If I copy someone else’s landing page, my conversion rates will go up.

Landing page examples and templates are great jumping off points for your own landing pages, but you shouldn’t expect to plug your content into someone else’s landing page and end up raking in the conversions. A landing page is successful because of interaction of many nuanced elements — the content on the page, the design of the page, and the audience viewing the page.

If you’re going to copy a landing page layout, use best practices to tweak it to help your audience convert on your offer, then test it and test it to make it better.

Ultimately, a landing page will only succeed if the content offer matches the intent of the customer.

Myth #4:You need to have all conversion elements above the fold.

Lots of people believe that all of the important content on your landing page should appear above the fold — supposedly, people won’t scroll to fill out the form or find out more crucial information about what lies behind the form.

But the fold doesn’t really affect conversion — KISSmetrics found that when people are motivated to convert on a page, they do, regardless of where the form submit button is. According to that article, the biggest factor in increasing motivation is compelling copy, regardless of length. So forget optimizing only for the fold — through A/B testing, figure out how much information people need to convert.

Myth #5: Trust seals always increase conversions.

Think about the situations in which you often see trust seals. You’re usually giving over your credit card number or some other sensitive contact information, right? It makes sense to get a little visual reminder that your information is safe, because you really are giving over sensitive information.

But what if you saw a trust seal on a page where you weren’t giving over sensitive information? It’d be out-of-place, making you wonder what the heck the company was really collecting from you, right? Trust elements can help tremendously on pages that need them — but they can also deter folks if they’re included on pages that don’t.

Myth #6: If you change your form button from green to red, you’ll increase conversions.

Full disclosure: we’ve run this test and found that a red call-to-action (CTA) outperformed a green CTA … but that doesn’t mean that red buttons are always better than green ones. That test worked for that page, with that page’s design, for that page’s audience. If you run the same test on your site, you might find that the opposite is true.

This myth goes for any color test really —there is no one right color that’ll convert tons and tons more people. Test out colors yourself to see what works best.

Myth #7: Landing page copy should always be short and sweet.

Like color, there’s no right length of landing page copy. We kind of touched on this in Myth #4, but the copy length myth is perpetuated enough it deserved a section of its own.

Landing page copy length is like what your teachers would say when you’d ask them how long an essay should be — however long it needs to be to cover the subject. In the case of landing pages, it should be however long you need it to be to have people convert on your landing page’s form. For complex offers that require people ponying up a lot of money or their sensitive information, more information could be better. For simple offers, like an ebook, you probably don’t need a ton of landing page copy.

Like almost all of these myths, this one’s nuanced. Run tests on your landing pages to find out what copy length your visitors need.

Myth #8: Conversion rate is the only metric to watch.

Landing pages are a stepping stone in your marketing funnel. You’re not just trying to get people to fill out a form. You’d hope that eventually they’ll become a customer from you.

So if you’re trying to get the most out of your landing pages, you shouldn’t just look at the percent of people who converted on that form — you want to look and see what happens after.

What percentage of them become customers? By looking at your closed-loop analytics, you may find that a landing page that has a low initial conversion rate actually brings in customers like crazy, or vice versa … which is something your boss would care to know and fix.

Myth #9: You should include as many things as possible on your landing page to get people to convert on something.

Your landing page isn’t a last-ditch effort to capture someone’s information. It’s there to get people to convert on your form and move down your marketing funnel. You don’t want to give people too many options because they’ll get distracted and your conversion rate goes down. This means you should try removing your navigation and any extraneous forms. More is not better when it comes to landing page elements.

Myth #10: You build ’em and leave ’em.

You could probably guess this last myth from one piece of advice I’ve repeated over and over throughout this post: Test your landing pages. There are almost always ways you can tweak and improve them. If you build them and leave them alone, you’re losing out on valuable conversions. Landing pages support the backbone of your marketing funnel — so make sure you’re getting the most you can out of them by running A/B tests often.

Building a landing page can feel like a daunting task with the contradictory advice out there. That’s why you should use a landing page builder to assist you.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in March 2014 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.hubspot.com