Back to Top

YouTube Select: YouTube’s new premium advertising program adds connected TV targeting

Brand advertisers will be able to target TV screen viewing for the first time.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

Reblogged 12 months ago from

Soapbox: As customers are forced to cheat on their favorite brands, will they come back?

Ongoing supply chain shortages are part of our collective reality as retailers struggle to keep products stocked.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

Reblogged 12 months ago from

Is automotive a bellwether for Google My Business trends during COVID-19?

Compared automotive results with all others to find customers are actively interested in supporting businesses that share updates and respond to reviews.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 12 months ago from

Google Shopping experts join Live with Search Engine Land Friday: Sign up to attend

We’ll talk about what we’re seeing in the market, customer challenges and successes and what retailers and brand marketers should focus on now.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 12 months ago from

Bing can now answer queries with a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’

The yes/no summary uses natural-language modeling and comes with a carousel of sources.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 12 months ago from

4 takeaways from Walmart’s Q1 earnings for brands, e-commerce marketers

Walmart is shuttering as it embraces an omnichannel strategy and looks to make e-commerce more profitable.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 12 months ago from

Social Spotlight: Talkspace and how to build a community of support

Welcome to the Social Spotlight, where we dive deep into what we love about a brand’s approach to a specific social campaign. From strategy through execution and results, we’ll examine what makes the best brands on social tick — and leave you with some key takeaways to consider for your own brand’s social strategy.


The idea of what “community” means for brands on social media has shifted more in 2020 than it has in a decade. What used to be a place for brands to rally their loyal audiences around the brand itself has evolved into a platform for wider connection, where the brand is the catalyst but no longer the focus. A primary example of this is Talkspace, the asynchronous, chat-based therapeutic and mental health app.

Therapy has, for generations, been a very private, 1:1 relationship between therapist and patient. It’s no secret that we as a culture have been reticent to discuss mental health as an issue, but Talkspace and its contemporaries have modernized the process of finding and building a relationship with a therapist. Not to mention, the app meets today’s patients where they are by allowing for both text and video chatting. But what is truly compelling about the brand is the destigmatization of mental health and therapy that it promotes across social by turning its channels into a platform of togetherness, belonging and a mutual desire to be healthier and happier. This social strategy, rooted in the idea that we can be better together, has been even more effective for Talkspace in the current global climate. The further we are physically from each other, the more important the virtual community becomes.

What you can learn

1. Be the approachable authority.

The long-standing stigma surrounding mental health has created an aura of secrecy about what constitutes a disorder and how therapy can provide support and relief. Therapists have long been cast as mysterious or threatening, holding some power over us that we don’t understand. By pulling back the curtain on what it means to be a therapist in today’s world, Talkspace is demystifying the practice and opening up mental health as a normal part of overall wellness.

  • Getting started: Your brand is likely considered an authority in your space. But the real authorities are the people who design, build or implement your products or services. Opening your brand to the community by providing resources through the people who built your brand will reinforce your authority and build community through shared, human experiences.

2. Tailor your resources to where your audience is right now.

Certainly the current global pandemic has created an unprecedented need for mental health support, which Talkspace recognizes and has addressed with additional resources, access and focus on those who may need it most. What I love about this is how organized they’ve been on social, ensuring that current subscribers and non-subscribers alike can easily find the resources they need whether they are longtime therapy patients or if they are considering mental health support for the first time.

  • Getting started: Regularly assess your audience’s needs and align your brand content with those needs. Social listening is a great way to learn about what is exciting or vexing your audience in real-time, giving you the ability to provide resources and information at the very moment it’s needed most.

3. Make social the easiest access point for people new to your brand.

Talkspace understands that the COVID-19 crisis is driving many people to recognize external threats to their mental wellbeing for the first time. The idea of trying therapy can be threatening or daunting to someone who’s never experienced it before, so Talkspace has set up risk-free resources that let therapy newcomers explore the options for mental health support and get some answers before they commit to the process. By using social to introduce complex topics in an approachable way, Talkspace is priming its audience to be more open to the brand experience than they might otherwise be.

  • Getting started: Word of mouth through social is many peoples’ first introduction to your brand. They may not be ready to buy or subscribe, but they may be looking for information to help them make that decision. Creating social content and experiences that give them a peek at what your brand can offer, stands for or believes in will make newcomers feel welcome to explore without pressure or obligation. When they are ready to commit, that positive experience will be at the forefront of their minds.

This post Social Spotlight: Talkspace and how to build a community of support originally appeared on Sprout Social.

Reblogged 12 months ago from

A look ahead: Examining the shifts in the COVID-19 conversation

For brands and consumers alike, a return to normal is unlikely to occur any time soon. As of May 5, there are over 3.5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide and few countries (if any) are prepared to return to business as usual.

But even as COVID-19 continues to ravage countries all over the world, how people are talking about the crisis is changing. People are anxious to return to their normal lives and conversations around when the lockdowns will end are gaining traction on social. In Italy, mayors are taking to Twitter to lambast civilians disobeying stay-at-home orders; and in states like Wisconsin and Michigan, people are taking to the streets to protest extended quarantine policies.

Marketers have already adjusted their social strategies in response to COVID-19. Now, they find themselves having to reevaluate and readjust once more as consumer behaviors and conversations evolve. But with the majority of the world still under lockdown and people growing increasingly restless, what are marketers to do?

To help answer these questions and more, we dove once more into Sprout Social’s Featured Listening Topic to better understand people’s behaviors and how certain industries continue to navigate this pandemic.

From #StayAtHome to #EndTheLockdown

Lockdown fatigue is on the rise

At the beginning of the year, Twitter was filled with conversations related to staying home and COVID-19 virus. But from March to April, the topic volume around COVID-19 dropped 39% even though the number of confirmed cases more than doubled from one million to 2.7 million.

Around the same time, the conversation around testing kits and vaccines shifted. Data from the Sprout Social Featured Listening topic reveals discussion around vaccines hit a message volume high around mid-March before falling around the beginning of April.

But after several weeks of quarantine and stay-at-home orders, people are growing increasingly restless to return to their normal lives. The beginning of April saw social conversations around ending the lockdown gain steam, growing 268% from March to April. Additionally, engagements in “end the lockdown” conversations increased by 353% from March to April, with message volume peaking on April 21, the same day several states announced their plans to reopen.

Not everyone is ready to reopen

Despite an increase in lockdown fatigue, people remain conflicted about the idea of states reopening. We noticed a 7% decrease in positive sentiment surrounding “end the lockdown” conversations once states began to relax their guidelines and the usage of the hashtag #StayHome increased by 21%.

These conversations became even more emotionally charged when we looked at what was happening at a state-by-state level in the US. Adding the keyword “state” to the “end the lockdown” conversation saw a 483% increase in negative sentiment and a 456% increase in messages during the month of April. Conversations around reopening are likely to take center stage as states like Florida and Texas let their stay-at-home orders expire.

How three industries are responding to COVID-19

Every industry has had to adjust its operations in the face of this pandemic. Restaurants have pivoted to curbside pick-up and takeout orders only, while those in the fitness industry have switched to online training models.

In the following section, we’ll take a closer look at how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted three different industries and how brands have responded.

Higher Education

From January to March, higher education generated 8.4 million mentions, with conversation volume peaking around March 12 as universities across the country announced campus closures and students aired their concerns over being kicked off campus on such short notice.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the top keywords used when discussing COVID-19 and higher education was “online,” as students and faculty alike navigate virtual classrooms together. For graduating seniors especially, recent conversations have centered around cancelled graduations and the move to online ceremonies.

In response, brands and high-profile celebrities are taking matters into their own hands to celebrate young graduates. YouTube is hosting a graduation livestream with commencement speakers including Barack and Michelle Obama and Lady Gaga, while beer brand Natural Light plans to host its own commencement event on Facebook Live.

Key takeaways (1/1/20-5/13/20):

  • Higher education garnered over 14.6 million mentions across 3.5 million unique authors through mid-May of 2020.
  • The top keywords used when discussing COVID-19 and higher education include “online,” “university,” “people,” “college,” “students,” and “time.”


Few industries have been hit harder by the virus than the healthcare industry. From January to April, there were over 69.7 million conversations around healthcare and COVID-19 by 12.2 million unique authors in Sprout’s Featured Listener.

While overall sentiment skews positive, much of the negative conversations around healthcare focus on the challenges healthcare professionals face. Thirty-five percent of the healthcare conversation is negative, with topics like slowing the spread and the sacrifices of healthcare workers attracting the most engagement.

On a more positive note, brands are taking to social media to demonstrate their support and gratitude for healthcare workers around the world. McDonald’s, inspired by New Yorkers who applaud healthcare workers every evening, has Tweets with the clapping hand emoji scheduled to send every night at 7pm.

Prominent celebrities have also joined in on the virtual celebrations. Athletes like Wayne Gretzky and Donovan Mitchell are sharing photos of their jerseys with their names replaced with that of a doctor or nurse on their social channels using the hashtag #TheRealHeroes. Beloved Red Sox player David Ortiz has teamed up with local Boston organizations to donate food and other essentials to first responders.

In addition to recognizing healthcare workers by name, several brands are using their social platforms to give back to doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals. PUMA, for example, donated over 20,000 pairs of sneakers to healthcare workers while EOS donated over 100,000 hand creams to New York hospital workers. And popular coffee chain Dunkin’ Donuts recently shared their give-back initiative providing free coffee and donuts to doctors and nurses.

Key Takeaways (1/1/20-5/13/20):

  • Conversations around healthcare and COVID-19 generated 69.7 million mentions and over 1.7 trillion social impressions from 1/1/20-5/13/20.
  • Healthcare mentions spiked in mid-March as the discussion around testing began to increase, with the words “test,” “testing,” and “test” mentioned 179,000 times on March 13.


With consumers still stuck at home, the demand for online shopping and delivery services is higher than ever before. From January to mid-May, the conversation around retail generated over 6.1 million social mentions across 2.6 million unique authors in Sprout Listening’s Featured Topic. Retail social mentions then hit a high of 370,150 messages on March 15 as major retailers like Nike and Starbucks announced the indefinite closure of their brick and mortar stores.

Another factor to consider when examining the conversation around retail is the treatment of essential workers. On April 12, we noticed a significant dip in overall sentiment as retail workers took to social to share their concerns about working at essential businesses, like grocery stores, during the pandemic.

As states increasingly look to lift stay-at-home orders, retailers are also exploring options to safely reopen their doors to customers. Gap, Macy’s and Nordstrom are just a few major retailers with plans to reopen their stores by the end of May while Starbucks in the UK announced its phased reopening beginning May 14.

Key Takeaways (1/1/20-5/13/20):

  • Conversations around retail and COVID-19 peaked with 660.3k mentions between 3/14/20-3/15/20 as non-essential businesses announced temporary closures and reduced business hours.
  • The top hashtags most frequently used when discussing COVID-19 and retail included #StayAtHome, #Lockdown, #ecommerce and #SocialDistancing.
  • From March to April, the overall volume of retail conversations on social dropped 50% as people adjusted to the new retail normal.

The COVID-19 conversation remains fluid

Listening data reveals COVID-19 conversations are on the decline, but the fact remains that the pandemic shows no signs of slowing down. And as businesses toy with the idea of loosening their restrictions, new challenges will emerge that brands need to be prepared to face head on. With so much uncertainty still ahead, here are two things all brands should consider:

  • Stay agile. As much as we’d all like to resume our daily lives, the reality is COVID-19 is sticking around for the long run and the situation can turn on a dime. For brands, maintaining a sense of agility is crucial for surviving this pandemic. Are you able to respond to an overnight shift in consumer behaviors? While COVID-19 conversations are on the decline, is your brand ready for the new challenges that accompany plans to reopen for business? In situations where there is no rulebook on what to do next, brands need to be agile enough to manage and adapt to unexpected change at a moment’s notice.
  • Keep an eye on state-level conversations. With talks of reopening gaining steam, brands need to pay close attention to what’s happening at the state-by-state level and what their customers are saying. If reopening is in your near future, what precautions are you taking to address some of the concerns of your customers? Or what backup plans do you have in place if you decide not to reopen? Make sure you’re localizing your messages as state plans to reopen take center stage and keeping your customers up to date on the latest happenings for your business.

Looking for more resources?

This post A look ahead: Examining the shifts in the COVID-19 conversation originally appeared on Sprout Social.

Reblogged 12 months ago from

What’s next? 10 actions every social marketer needs to take today

Pivot, iterate, adapt. Marketers all around the world have had to embrace these actions as they learn about what’s next for their brands and careers.

And while the future is uncertain, there’s one thing we know to be true: we’re stronger when we work together. That sentiment is what our Sprout Sessions event series is all about.

We planned Sprout Sessions as a multi-city series of live events, but we too had to pivot, iterate and adapt. For 2020, Sprout Sessions became a digital event that we could organize remotely, and we couldn’t be happier with the results! More than 3,200 social marketers spent a full day connecting and learning from one another about the power of social data, trends and tactics to propel their strategies, and careers, forward.

Couldn’t attend the event? Keep reading for an exclusive look at our top 10 takeaways and how to access each session on demand for more learning.

1.   Approach limitation as an avenue for innovation

With the rise of social distancing and shelter in place laws, people are seeking out new ways to connect. Those who’ve been successful at facilitating this connection are able to view this limitation as an opportunity to get creative.

Speakers throughout the day, including Sprout’s CMO, Jamie Gilpin, and BCW’s SVP of Digital Innovation, Matt Kelly, agree that success comes from finding creative ways to differentiate your brand from the rest. Times of uncertainty provide room for innovation and it’s important to view your limitations, no matter how big or small, as challenges that can be worked through by finding other means to create connection.

2. Use social listening to better understand your audience

If you attended Sprout Sessions Digital, this takeaway will come as no surprise. Session after session we heard first-hand from brands about the critical role social listening plays in informing your strategy. While many businesses have closed their physical doors to the public, there’s one door that remains open: social media.

While monitoring is a great way to keep track of mentions and messages to your brand, social listening allows you to go one step further by keeping a pulse on the broader conversations at hand. Understanding how people feel about your product, service or industry allows you to stay ahead of trends and give your audiences what they need before they have to ask for it.

Solutions Engineer, Jill Florence, led us through a master class to explore how social listening can help brands adapt to today’s climate, measure success and respond to their audiences with agility. The biggest takeaway from her session is to remember that listening is an iterative process. As our world continues to change, so should your listening queries. Revisit your topics often and refine them to help you understand what worked before, what is working today and what will work next.

3. Find the story in the data and share it far and wide

Director of Marketing Technology at VERB Interactive, Erin Fitzgerald, said it best:

Spending time analyzing numbers does not make you a data-driven company, but rather, making decisions based on the data and sharing those insights internally does.

Erin Fitzgerald

Director of Marketing Technology, VERB Interactive

No matter what industry you’re in, social data is a valuable resource that can inform multiple parts of your business, from sales to customer service to research and development. As you analyze your data, work to uncover the story the numbers are telling you and share those insights across your organization. Our biggest takeaway here is two-fold: align with leadership on which metrics matter to define success, and always prepare your reports as if they’ll be forwarded to the C-suite.

4. Test your strategy & iterate frequently

There’s no time like the present to take a quick inventory of how your social strategy is performing! As people’s feelings and behaviors change by the day, social media testing is an essential step to ensuring your content is hitting the right mark. With so many variables to test, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. With so much data at your fingertips, our top takeaway here is to start small and scale your efforts from there.

Don’t be afraid to take risks and test out new ideas, whether that’s testing the use of emojis or different CTAs. Above all, foster an environment that allows for free-flowing ideas. Be open to the results (even if they’re not what you expected) to inform your tactics further or pivot entirely.

5. Be an observer of the world

As a social professional, you’re on the front lines for your brand, interacting every day with customers and new audiences alike. It’s your job to be the voice of your brand while providing timely and relevant information to your audience, which often requires you to be well-rounded on topics that may or may not directly relate to your industry. Immersing yourself in content from different brands, media outlets and platforms will give you fresh inspiration for your own brand’s strategy. It will also highlight new skills your team can build in order to tell stories more creatively on social.

This especially rings true for smaller social teams of one or two people. In fact, prAna’s Social Media Lead, Brittany Sheppard, attributes her team’s success to their ability to adapt and learn new skills quickly, such as learning how to operate a camera or use video editing software. Our takeaway here is to observe the world around you and identify skills that will help take your team’s efforts up a notch.

6. Tap the authenticity of live video

The demand for video has skyrocketed. According to data from our 2020 Index, 50% of consumers prefer to engage with video content, and multiple speakers throughout the day noted that live video is what their audiences want most.

Known for their viral penguin videos, Shedd Aquarium has used video content to help take people out of their living rooms and into an experience that closely mimics being at the actual museum.

“The shift to raw video is one that is here to stay,” said their Social Media and Content Manager, Carly Hill. “One thing we’ve seen through all of this is that people are expressing gratitude for how our videos are helping them get through the day. We’ll continue to use video to give our audience the educational content they want even as things start to normalize again.”

Our biggest takeaway here is make do with what you have—you don’t need a full production team to create videos that provide value and inspire people to take action.

7.  Optimize your strategy for digital

Our new world has highlighted the important role social plays in a brand’s success, not only in marketing but across the entire customer journey. Delivery services and online shopping portals are consumers’ new normal—and that’s what they will expect from brands even after businesses are fully open again. We’ve seen just how quickly buyer behavior can transform, and brands should expect to see this change stick around for the long run.

Businesses from all industries, not just food services or consumer goods, should anticipate a demand for online services from here on out. Ensure every touchpoint with your brand is exceptional in order to stand out as a true differentiator in what Dakota Kendall, Social Media Marketing Manager at Humm Kombucha, calls the “sea of sameness.”

8. Prioritize customer care

In order to provide exceptional customer experience, you must equip your customer-facing teams with the tools and resources they need to handle all inbound inquiries. After all, 40% of consumers expect brands to respond within the first hour of reaching out on social media, while 79% expect a response in the first 24 hours.

As more people turn to social for answers, teams will need to be structured and staffed to respond in a timely and empathetic manner. Use your social channels to provide ongoing support and help customers navigate any less than optimal experiences. During a time when so much is uncertain, our response and how we treat our customers is one thing we can control.

9. Double-down on your value

As the world works to regain control of the economy, unemployment is increasing and people are more value conscious than ever before. As marketers, we must embrace that consumer pressure on value is going to be a permanent expectation.

There are all these opportunities for brands to inform and support their audiences as long as they’re leaning on messages that are empathic, socially responsible and thoughtful.

Stephanie Prager

Head of Global Business Partners, Twitter

Where can your brand provide the most value in our current situation and how will you continue that momentum in the long term? Asking these questions allows you to thoughtfully plan for what’s next while addressing how you can support your audience today. Prioritize relevant content and use social data to understand what your audience needs, and if your brand has a place to chime in on the conversation.

10. Humanize your brand

Now more than ever, brands need to demonstrate their human sides. The way you support your customers to help ease their challenges right now will make a memorable impact. Even if you aren’t quite sure what to say, be open to the idea of joining conversations with your community to drive connection and illustrate your compassion.

At the end of the day, we’re all trying our best to do our jobs and balance our personal lives. Attaching that lens of empathy on everything you do will help you push through, make the lives of your customers a little brighter and create long-term loyalty.

We hope you enjoyed this look at the takeaways from Sprout Sessions Digital 2020, and we encourage you to share what you think with us on social! If you’re a Sprout Social customer, you can access recordings of each session in the Learning Portal.

Not a customer but hungry for more? Start a free trial to access the session recordings and more on the Learning Portal.

This post What’s next? 10 actions every social marketer needs to take today originally appeared on Sprout Social.

Reblogged 12 months ago from

How Webinars Can Help Your Customer Retention Strategy in 2020 [IG]

When you first think of webinars, you probably think they’re a great tactic for the first part of the flywheel — attract.

While you’d be right, webinars are also a way to delight and retain customers.

In fact, 75% of B2B buyers consumed webinar content last year, which makes it a good idea to include webinars in your marketing mix.

But I wonder, how are B2B companies using webinars? Do they focus primarily on lead generation? Or do they realize the potential webinars offer throughout the buyer’s journey and after the sale?

An answer began to take shape when I read this post. Bethany Cartwright says, “Webinars work across the entire customer journey. From thought-leadership panel discussions to weekly live demos, webinars are a dynamic and effective way to move prospects down the funnel from awareness to closed deal and beyond.”

Then, working with ClickMeeting, who now publishes an annual State of Webinar Report, I set out to closely examine how B2B marketers can make webinars work up, down, and beyond the sales funnel.

In the infographic below, we see that webinars provide a way to connect and engage with customers throughout the buyer’s journey.

Reblogged 12 months ago from