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  • Gary Vee’s Takeaways About Digital Marketing in 2020

    Apr 24, 2020 On November 26, 2019 Conduit Digital had the unique pleasure of hosting social media influencer and entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuk. Also known as “Gary Vee,” he is a well-known figure throughout the digital marketing industry who constantly provides incredible insights into the industry and how to build agency success. Gary Vee came to Conduit to deliver an exclusive agency keynote address on the State of Digital Marketing in 2020. This awesome keynote address was also featured on Gary Vee’s Podcast, “The GaryVee Audio Experience.” Here are the most important things that we learned from Gary’s visit to Conduit. Who is Gary Vee? Gary Vaynerchuk, better known as “Gary Vee,” is one of the leading influencers in the digital marketing industry. Gary Vee got his start over 13 years ago after starting a web series called Wine Library TV. After slowly building a following and an audience, Gary Vee started VaynerMedia, a full-service advertising agency that has grown to work with some of the most recognizable brands in the world. Today, Gary continues to be an influential figure in the marketing and entrepreneurial spaces. He is a highly sought after public speaker, a 5-time New York Times bestselling author, as well as a prolific early angel investor in companies like Facebook, Twitter, Uber, and more. Gary Vee visited Conduit for an exclusive event where he discussed the direction of the digital marketing industry, his tips for success, and more. About Conduit Digital Conduit Digital, a division of Traffic Builders, ranked the #21st fastest growing agency in the world by Ad Week, offers the most cost-effective white-label solutions to help you reduce agency overhead and expenses while growing revenue. We provide a complete digital marketing solution with proven results that you can see in real-time with our unique and customizable Live Report. Our client agencies’ success is the Conduit team’s mission. We are not a low-end white label provider and we don’t work with just any agency, we are market exclusive and we are a true competitive advantage. The day you partner with Conduit Digital is the day you become the best digital marketing agency in your market. We invited Gary Vaynerchuk to come to Conduit’s headquarters to talk about the State of Digital Marketing in 2020. Find out what he had to say! What Gary Vee Had To Say During The Keynote Address Gary has so much knowledge of the industry that he could have talked for days! We may have only had 30 minutes with him but the insights he was able to provide during that time will help us here at Conduit plan and execute our 2020 strategies. We want to share this amazing information with you! Here are our biggest takeaways from Gary Vee’s rare agency keynote address. Reconciling Client Expectations VS Agency Values What do you do as a B2B company when so much of what you do relies on what a client sees as success? What do you do when it doesn’t match your company’s point of view of what is happening on the consumer level? Often times there is a disconnect between agencies and their clients on how success is measured. It is becoming increasingly important to bridge the gap between what the end-client expects to see results-wise vs what agencies value in their results for their clients. By learning about a client’s goals and expectations, you will stand a stronger chance at demonstrating the value your results receive. This in turn will help eliminate client churn within your agency. The Current State Of The Internet Despite growing one of the largest and fastest-growing ad agencies in the world, Gary Vee says that VaynerMedia has almost never sold exactly what the market wants at that moment. In 2009, Vayner was selling social media management when some companies he talked to didn’t even know what Facebook and Twitter were. It is hard for some people to understand or remember how new the medium was back then. Today, social media is the current state of the internet. In the mid-90s, search engines and browsers were the state of the internet. After that, it was email. Then search ads, followed by blogging. Finally, Youtube came along, followed by social media, which is where we stand now. It is more important than ever before to live in the current state of the internet and leverage your brand on social media. Know Where You Are Vulnerable As an agency, it is important to understand your strengths and weaknesses. If you consider your expertise in an area that is considered more vulnerable, you have to be careful. Gary tells the story of his first speaking engagement in New Jersey, at a local chamber of commerce meeting. While people were making fun of him at the time for his interest in the internet, many of the people there laughed at him and considered the internet to be a fad. Gary has had the benefit of being relevant to the consumer is doing at that moment. The number one thing that agency owners can focus on is actually having your firm prepared for 2020. Preparing Your Agency For 2020 Having your firm prepared for 2020 is at the top of nearly every digital marketer’s mind right now. One of the biggest factors in preparing for 2020 is understanding the current social media landscape. Tik Tok is one of the biggest emerging platforms while LinkedIn only continues to grow and be an excellent B2B connector. Creating content for these platforms will be key to any agency’s success in 2020 and in the future. What this means for the digital marketing landscape is that influencers matter. Anyone who believes that influencers are just a trend will be sorely mistaken. Being a deep practitioner at cultivating contextual creative at a large scale will be the most important thing for building your brand. In order to achieve success, you must be able to understand all of the ad units in the marketplace today and how they work together to create success for your clients. For example, understanding the difference between Instagram Feed and Instagram Swipe Up. Understanding that GRP and Impressions are the most vulnerable metrics as the industry moves to a results-based KPI model will allow you to be ahead of the curve in preparing your agency and your clients for a more success-driven marketplace. Since many agencies are building their own direct-to-consumer capabilities, results-driven digital marketing will be more important than ever before. The Industry is About To Get a Lot Smarter The digital marketing industry has long been a lot like the Wild West. Agencies and less than ethical marketers have been able to get away will black hat strategies that hurt the reputation of the industry as a whole. Thankfully, as the industry gets smarter more and more scrutiny is being put on some of these practices. Even if agencies are unaware of what they are doing is the wrong approach, an overall dive into the key metrics and deliverables across the industry will force agencies to be smarter about how they do business. What that means is that some agencies will have to ask themselves these questions: Do you believe your advertising is actually helping your clients’ business? Many people do not realize or believe in what they are doing. Whereas you know that someone exclusively in traditional marketing does not believe their advertising is truly helping, digital is in a different position. Because digital is based on math and real statistics and analytics, people have a tendency to be tricked by the math. For example, if you are a one-dimensional PPC seller, but then the market shifts away from PPC, causing the cost to go up and put you in a decline, you are now stuck as a one-dimensional seller. The question becomes, how protected are you? HR is Still King Most agencies fail if they lost 5-10% of their best employees. That is why it is still so important to ensure your culture is a productive and exciting place to work. Investing heavily in HR to make sure that they are there for your employees’ concerns is key to any successful culture. Getting to really know and understand your employees will allow you to become more personal with them and ensure long-term employee retention. Ultimately, everyone is in the people business. Having the right people at your agency, and making sure that you retain them, will be key moving forward in 2020 and beyond. What Gary Vee Had To Say During The Livestream Q&A In addition to Gary Vee’s amazing keynote address, he took the time to answer the questions that agency owners just like you had for him. Here are some of the great questions we received and what Gary Vee had to say about them. How Do You Ensure Transparency? “At Vayner, we let everyone have full access to everything. No black boxes. Everyone has full access to their platforms and data. I’m not looking to make money on people’s data, while most of my competitors are. But ultimately the best thing is to do you. Run your business. It has been really fun for us to actually be transparent. Media and creative should be broken up. I look at organic reach vs paid reach. I look at underpriced reach. Being able to run cheap Youtube ads based on Google searches allows you to create a cohesive and memorable brand. While organic feed content is less intrusive than a pre-roll ad, pre-roll is completely grounded in your own behavior and searched terms. No one should be a digital agency without having media and creative in the same room. Agencies will be held more accountable by being both creative and media buyers.” How Do You Deal With Process? “We are so much more advanced on culture than process. I barely look at process and every time I do, I look at it poorly. I believe that human beings are disproportionately obsessed with process over the actual output. The second you start putting the process above the output, you lose. I would rather the process be murky and breakable than put on a pedestal. It is a tricky one, but if you listen to what I just said, you’ll understand that it comes down to people. And with a great culture, your people will thrive. Too much process puts too much influence on inter-office politics and not enough on creative problem-solving.” How Do Data Privacy Regulations Affect The Industry? “There is a much bigger conversation about data privacy that is not being had. I actually don’t think that people care about the privacy. I think that as time goes on, people will actually go the other way and prefer to have machines know nearly everything about you. This notion of privacy does not exist. What privacy are we actually talking about? What websites I went on? What my credit card number is? You give out that information freely almost every day. There is a fun narrative right now to demonize technology. But ultimately, that is going to be bad and not good.” How Do You Measure The Success Of Your Content? “My measurement on content success is far more qualitative than quantitative. I know something is working based on reading the comments. And for me, it is more about the quality of the comments than how many. I am building brand at scale.” Do You Envision Facebook Ever Becoming A Viable Search Option? “I used to think that they might be. However, just like I knew Google+ would fail because it is not in the company’s DNA, at this point I can’t ever see Facebook becoming a viable search option to compete with Google or Bing. Search isn’t inherently apart of their DNA. I’m shocked that they aren’t given the scale that they have and the data opportunity. But anything could change. If they hire one great search executive from Google then everything could change. There is a lot of fantastic information I would love to search on Facebook’s platforms but again, some things are just inherently apart of a company’s DNA.” What Will Be The Biggest Impact 5G Has On The Industry? “I’m not really sure. The one thing I really know about 5G, I think it is funny about how people think about 5G. Most people think, ‘Cool, my phone will be faster.’ Meanwhile, this is a transcending technology. 5G will be the reason autonomous cars become real because lag time will be zero. 5G is the reason a surgeon could be woken up in Brazil tonight to perform surgery remotely across the world. So the speed in which information moves is so incredible. This is not like from 4 to 5 but it’s like from 4 to 400. So I think it is profound and I think the ability of information to move with no lag is really going to be profound. Think about a world where our pavement is smart and because of 5G it can talk with your car so that it slightly moves so you can avoid the puddle while driving on the highway and your car doesn’t drive off the road. That’s what I’m looking for when it comes to 5G.” What Gary Vee Had To Say During Our Private Q&A Before giving his rare agency keynote address, Gary Vee took the time to engage with Conduit Digital’s team of experts. We had the opportunity to ask Gary our most burning questions on how he achieved his success, where he envisions the future of digital marketing, and more. Now, we are sharing this awesome information with you! Here are our biggest takeaways from this exclusive Q&A with one of the key figures in the industry: Don't Sell Things You Don't Believe in Any marketer, whether you are a digital marketer or a traditional marketer, needs to be consumer-centric. There are so many things that marketers do that hit the metrics that the client wants to see, yet completely lacks the common sense to bring any value to the client’s end-consumer. “Don’t sell things you don’t believe in.” At VaynerMedia, Gary Vee’s globally recognized advertising agency, they do not do things that may be expected of them if they do not believe that it brings value to the client or the end-customer. As successful as VaynerMedia is, they could be three times as big if they sold things that the company, and Gary, didn’t believe in. However, because they don’t believe it brings value to the consumer, they sacrifice potential revenue for added value. Most agencies and marketers are in a bubble that is B2B centric. The ultimate driver of success is consumers, and if agencies focused on selling what they believe in to the end-consumer, rather than trying to fit the client’s metrics, they will be less vulnerable and see more success. Influencer Marketing is Here To Stay From the times of John Wayne selling cigarettes on the cover of magazines, influencer marketing has long been a great way to market and sell products. The influencer marketing that we have now appears different because content creators have long-tail platforms and reach with their audiences. In reality, it is the same principles as the days of John Wayne. However, not everyone can be an influencer. It is important to stay within your company’s DNA. If your DNA is tech, build a platform that can connect you to your audience. If your DNA is management, then you have the most value by managing your 100 or so clients exclusively. If your DNA is agnostic, you have to always be ready for the best deal that presents itself whether that is blocking, tackling, and DMing, or the platforms themselves that influencers live on. “I live in a world where I day trade attention.” Influencers are both grossly overpriced and underpriced. They may think that their 100,000 followers on Instagram make them worth $5,000 per post even though it is probably worth $18. On the flip side, an influencer with 40,000 followers on Tik Tok may be happy to make a post for as little as a spare sock. “I love inefficient marketplaces. It is what I thrive on. And human beings are the most inefficient marketplace.” How To Keep Culture Alive Many people think it is difficult to keep the company culture alive while the company grows. However, it is actually pretty simple to ensure culture stays alive and well within your company. Spend time getting to know the company and the employees. Really dive deep to ensure you are seeing more than just what upper management tells you. VaynerX, Gary’s investment division of his company portfolio, recently reached 1,000 total employees. As Gary Vee said about maintaining culture: “It is very easy, yet extremely difficult.” Gary Vee explained how, if he bought an agency tomorrow and spent a year truly getting to know the company, he would simply fire the people at the company who didn’t match the vision for the culture, regardless of their position. Many companies are hesitant to fire a troublesome employee if they bring in perceived value such as a salesman or a member of the leadership team. Culture will never be what you want it to be unless you are willing to take those leaps. A big issue when it comes to culture is employee empowerment. If an employee has great ideas that are being suppressed by a bad manager, it creates a bad culture. If good ideas are being suppressed by a bad boss, employees will feel empowered if their boss gets in trouble instead of them. Holding leadership accountable is key. As employees rise through the ranks, they eventually settle into their spot. A lot of people would be pumped to work for a great company, get paid a good salary, and have a great work/life balance. The problem is that this causes them to go on the defensive in order to protect their “spot.” This may cause them to subconsciously or unintentionally suppress good ideas. Being thoughtful about that truth and giving room for your employees to grow and breathe creates a great culture. “I spend an ungodly amount of time with HR.” Making sure HR is working for your employees rather than for the company is key to building trust and internal culture. Taking 5 or 10 minutes to respond to an email or listen to an employees concerns or thoughts goes a long way in building trust and credibility with your employees and throughout your company culture. Work/Life Balance is Important While maintaining a good work/life balance is great, it tends to ebb and flow. People actually see things funny when it comes to work/life balance. Between having off on weekends plus a few weeks of vacation over the year, you are already only working around 225 of the 365 days in the year. “As someone who enjoys work, having time off is foreign to me.” Many people see work/life balance in terms of seconds or hours instead of years or a life’s worth. Everyone has a different balance that works for them. There can be too much pressure and too much judgment from external forces when it comes to work/life balance. In reality, an employee should only ask, “Does this balance work for me?” Where Advertising is Going in 5-10 Years When asked where he sees advertising in 5-10 years, Gary Vee said, “I have no idea.” It can be difficult to know where advertising is going because it is difficult to know where consumer behavior is going. What we DO know is that when it comes to technology, voice search will be a major player. “Voice search’s impact will be as large as the mobile device, when at scale.” Gary Vee gets a lot of credit for the way he has invested in certain technologies and platforms. However, as he tells it, he doesn’t invest in technologies that aren’t here yet. When he got on board with Tik Tok, it already had over 1.5 billion global downloads, yet he still gets credit for “discovering” the platform. “People love to say ‘no’ about today, let alone about the future.” Gary says not to worry about AR, VR, blockchain, or other technological advancements until they are used at scale. While all of these technologies are coming and are worth monitoring, they are not yet used by consumers at scale. No one uses VR platforms for even an hour a day, yet they use their mobile devices for at least 7 hours a day. People love to jump the gun on technological advancements ahead of consumer behavior. Before you worry about your AR capabilities, maximize what you can do today on platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, or Tik Tok. If you are willing to invest in future technologies in a practical way, understand that they will make you less money in the short term. However, this does not mean they are not worth watching or investing in. “When my CFO told me he wanted to shut down the voice department, I said, ‘You might as well shut down the whole company.” The reason Gary is able to invest in these technologies is that he is willing to make the long-term investment before profitability. If you can live with those parameters, you can be successful in future technological investment. You have to have speed in adjusting to what the consumer has done. If you can be quick in executing today, it has a higher value than worrying about bridging the gap tomorrow. Brand Over Everything Having a known, recognizable, and trustworthy brand is the most important factor for a business’s success. With the brand that he has built, Gary knows that he can put out a call to hire analysts and he will receive over 5000 applications. That is the power of a brand. Building a brand allows you to act very quickly in how you operate and execute on day-to-day behaviors. It is about the speed in which you can execute today vs the value of being right about tomorrow. Leveraging your brand allows you to become a leader in the space. Content Quality VS Quantity When it comes to content, Gary Vee is king. He understands better than anyone how to build a successful content strategy. “Quantity is not debatable.” Quality is a debate because quality is fundamentally subjective. While every creative would like to think that quality is not debatable, that is more due to pride and ego than a magical ability to always create content people love. Gary Vee’s strategy is to create as much quantity as possible and let the audience decide quality. He considers that level of humility to be the underlying pinning of his success yet people are always trying to create frameworks of what content could and should be. Do not worry about content being “on-brand” when someone you have not met will get to decide if your content is right for them. We all have different opinions on what is funny or what works. When we spend hours in meetings talking about shades of the color blue or debating what adjective to use, it is the biggest farce in the industry. It is the subjective nature of human opinion in strategy and creative yet also the greatest variable to success. Create at scale and find “right” instead of pretending that you are right. “When you create volume, you have a much higher chance of creating relevance to many different people.” Context is everything. Creating more content gives you the ability to create more relevance. This whole industry is built on potential reach. The majority of brands are losing market share because they are not relevant. Consumer trends are changing and brands are being left behind. Conclusion As one of the leaders in the industry, Conduit was so excited to gain these incredible insights from Gary Vee. Let’s take a look back on what we learned during this exclusive Q&A. We learned that you should never sell things you don’t believe in. We learned that influencer marketing is here to stay. Conduit discovered how to keep are already successful culture alive as we continue to grow (if you haven’t heard, Conduit is a division of Traffic Builders, the #21 fastest-growing agency in the world according to Adweek). We discussed the growing importance of work/life balance and what that means to different people. Gary Vee took a deep dive with us into the future of digital marketing. Finally, we discussed content strategy and how brand, quality, and quantity work together to create a successful content strategy. We are going to be implementing these strategies and more in our 2020 content and marketing plan. To find out how we can help you use these insights to not only survive but thrive in 2020, check out Conduit Partnership.

  • Strategic White Labeling Can Grow Your Agency: Here’s How

    Apr 24, 2020 With a plethora of digital marketing solutions available on the market, it is becoming harder and harder to know what solution is right for you and your clients. In recent years, white label digital marketing solutions have become some of the leaders in the industry, enabling agencies across the country to offer strategic white label products under their own brand. However, as the landscape continues to evolve, it is becoming more and more valuable to have a strategic white label digital media agency on your side. Both white label marketing solutions and strategic white label digital marketing solutions have their merits. As you research the merits behind each solution, the same question will appear over and over; which digital marketing solution is right for your agency? White labeling has been a growing trend in the digital marketing industry for some time. Many agencies offer white labeled services to their clients. If you have seen the terms “white label” or “white label marketing” appear over and over when doing your research on choosing a digital partner you may be asking yourself, “What is white label marketing?” What Are White Label Digital Solutions? White labeling is the practice of offering rebranded products or services and passing them off as your own. Through this process, the company white labeling a product can provide their audience with a new product or service without needing to reinvent the wheel or develop a complete in-house team. For example, say you have several clients who wish to run a pay per click (PPC) or paid search campaign. Not having much experience in this space, you decide to white label a PPC solution. By working with a reseller company to offer white label PPC marketing solutions, you can rebrand or repackage their services as your own. Therefore while your customers are receiving the services from your company, Agency A, the solutions are provided by the White Label Company, unbeknownst to your clients. How White Labeling Works White-label products or services are produced by a provider, or reseller company, and are rebranded and resold to consumers by another company, for example, Agency A. White labeling gives the provider access to a large distribution network or additional revenue streams while their reseller partners such as Agency A can expand their product or service offerings to their own customers. The key to white labeling is anonymity; consumers who buy the end product are completely unaware it was originally produced by a white label provider. Many products or brands are white-labeled and resold without the consumer even realizing it. What White Labeling Can Do For Your Agency Now that you understand the concepts behind white labeling products and services, you are probably wondering, “What can White Labeling do for me?” Access to Industry Innovations If you wanted to offer solutions without white labeling, it could mean lots of time spent building your own internal team. That means finding the right employees, having the right systems in place, and giving your team room to innovate and shine. Unfortunately, this process can take years and in the end, your internal team might not be able to outperform your competition. When you white-label your products, you gain access to the latest industry innovations since you are working with an experienced team. Great Results on a Budget Without having to recruit, hire, and train an entire team, you will be saving time, money, and lots of headaches by going with a white label solution. As more and more agencies look for expanded marketing solutions, you need to be offering a solution that is more affordable and better performing than your competitors. White labeling enables you to get results while saving a ton of money in employee expenses. Create New Revenue Streams Perhaps the most important aspect of choosing to work with a white label digital company is your ability to create new revenue streams. When working with a top-tier or strategic white label company, you will be able to offer all of their services as your own. This enables you to offer more services to your customers, as well as create new revenue streams for your agency. Learn More: Why Offering A Complete Digital Solution Will Grow Your Agency The Easiest Way To Grow Your Agency’s Revenue White Label VS Private Label Generally, the terms “white label” and “private label” are used interchangeably and are often the same thing when referring to services. The difference is that “private label” is commonly used when referring to tangible products. For example, when a cereal company like Kellog’s “private labels” their cereal to a retailer so that the retailer can offer the same cereal under their own brand or a generic brand. In the digital marketing space, the term “private label” is not often used when referring to a reseller company. No matter how you look at it, a product or service is being sold and is made to be re-brandable so that the seller can sell it to the consumer under their own name. White Label VS Co-Branding While white-label and private label are the same thing, a co-branded product cannot be white-labeled. Co-branding is when the original supplier’s brand is added to the product as well as the branding of the co-seller. This method effectively leverages the brand power of the better-known brand to assist in the sales of the lesser-known brand. An example of co-branding is when Red Bull and Go Pro joined forces to sponsor the “Stratos” event, where performer Felix Baumgartner jumped from a space pod with a GoPro strapped to his body. This event proved to be extremely popular and boosted both Red Bull and GoPro’s brands, especially as GoPro was just starting to make a name for themselves. Co-branding enables you to leverage a vendor’s brand and expertise to boost your own products or services. It allows you to reduce resources and perform faster on-boards since your co-branded vendor already has the infrastructure to quickly onboard clients. There are also some negatives when it comes to co-branding. When you resell a vendor’s brand you may actually be strengthening their branding. You also generate less profit since the vendor’s margins and pricing is controlled. It is also important to keep in mind that a co-branded vendor may end up taking your own customers from you in the long run. White Label VS Co-Branding WhiteLabel Ability to resell services under own brand Set your own margins Don’t have to build an in-house team Offer more services Requires end-customer support Can be challenging to build a personal brand Co-Branding Partner with top brand Leverage the top brand’s existing background and expertise Reduce resources Fast onboarding Controlled margins Dealing with competition Generates less profit White Label VS Outsourcing Outsourcing is when you pay someone else to perform a function of your business, whether it is a one-time thing or a continuous service. A product that is outsourced may or may not be white-labeled. An outsourced product only becomes white-labeled when you buy a product or service and then sell it to others with your brand on it. If you are looking to outsource a function of your digital agency, you are simply re-selling the services under the original company’s brand. If you are outsourcing and white labeling, then you are re-selling services from the original company under your own brand. It is possible to outsource without white-labeling but it is impossible to white-label without outsourcing. You could even consider white-labeling a form of outsourcing. Frequently Asked Questions About White Labeling You aren’t the only agency owner looking for white label digital solutions. Here are just a few of the most frequently asked questions from people just like you looking to offer white label solutions to their clients: What support is offered by the vendor? Just like any business partner you deal with, you want to ensure your white-label partner is there when you need them. Every white-label company offers differing levels of support. It is important to do your research before you choose a white-label solution. How do I pay for services? Every white-label company is unique and offers its services at different rates. Some like to take a percentage of the sales of the white-labeled service, others charge monthly or hourly fees, and others may have a unique pricing strategy. Study your pricing options to ensure your agency has the support and deliverables your clients need at a price that won’t break the bank. What services can I white-label? Some agencies are product specific and don’t offer a complete digital marketing solution. While it may be tempting to think that a service-specific white-label provider may be the right partner, it is actually better to work with a partner who has a holistic view of the digital marketing landscape and can provide insights on more than just one core product. Reasons Why Your Agency Should White Label White-labeling services with a trusted partner can have numerous benefits for your agency and your clients. If you are looking to expand your offerings, white-labeling enables your agency to attract new customers by increasing the scope of your current offerings. For example, if you are a creative agency looking to offer SEO services to your existing clients, then white-labeling SEO services may be right for your company. Being able to offer an expanded list of services will help you to attract bigger clients as you go from a specialized agency to a full-service agency. White-labeling also enables you to enhance your company’s brand. Since you are offering an expanded product list without having to hire and train entire in-house teams, you are able to focus more on building and selling your brand. Delivering exceptional results with your white-labeled services will also help you to build your brand as a trusted player in the industry. By white-labeling digital services, you can focus more on your core competencies, with the peace of mind that the services you are white-labeling will perform. Adding a proven service to your offering saves you risk, capital, and time. You will be able to gain a team of trusted experts with the knowledge and experience needed to build successful multi-product digital marketing campaigns. You get all the benefits of a dedicated team without the costs such as taxes, payroll, insurance, or other overhead. Save yourself the headaches of recruiting, hiring, training, and professional development on employees outside your area of expertise. Pros and Cons of White-Labeling Pros Diversify your service offerings Increase your client’s dependability on your services Expand into new revenue streams Differentiate yourself from your competition Faster to market More cost-effective Integrate with existing brand Bypass steps required to build an internal team Enhance overall brand Time to focus on core competencies Proof of performance Partner with industry leader Cons Consumers will associate mistakes or underperformance with your brand Limited pricing flexibility Need for close continuous support from white label partner Need internal support for customer concerns Harder for lesser-known brands to leverage themselves as leaders Possible branding restrictions White label supplier may be a competitor What To Look For in a White Label Partner If you have decided that white-labeling your digital marketing services are right for your company, it is important to understand what to look for in a white label partner. Here are a few important things to look for when you are looking for a white label partner: Partner with Similar Goals It is important to find a white label partner that has similar goals and vision with your business. Your white-label provider will be a strategic business partner, so you need to be sure that your ideals align with any potential white label partner. They Provide a Service that is Right for Your Business Obviously, you want to offer the best to your clients. Therefore, if you are planning on offering services through a white-label provider, you need to be sure that the quality of the service is excellent. Is your white-label provider consistently making improvements and innovations? Are they user-friendly and accessible? They Have a Solid Reputation A good reputation speaks for itself. Being able to be known as a reliable and trustworthy partner is something that many people strive for, but only a few actually achieve. It is important to do your research on a company’s background, reviews, and track record before re-selling their services under your brand. They are Experienced There is nothing more important when choosing a white-label partner than them having previous experience as a white-label provider. White-labeling services are a lot more complex than simply passing on your customers to an existing product. White-label partners must have extensive processes in place for performance and communication. Well-thought-out strategies and proven results are a must for any potential white-label partner. They Offer Exceptional Service and Support Does your potential white-label partner have organized methods of onboarding and deliverables? Having an iron-tight process for delivery and execution is a must for any potential partner. Your partner must have enough resources to support your company’s growth as well as clear communication with you and your team Transparent Reporting In today’s fast-paced modern world, data is king. It is more important than ever before to have clear and transparent reporting and analytics so that you can improve performance and deliver the best results to your clients. Without being able to show how the product is helping their business, clients will have little reason to stick around. Clear Contract Terms When a potential partner’s contract terms are vague and confusing, it is usually a good indicator that they are not a good partner to work with. As long as the terms and conditions of the contract are clear, both parties can know exactly what to expect out of the partnership. Don’t get stuck with a shady business partner. What To Avoid In a White Label Partner If you have decided that white-labeling your digital marketing services are right for your company, it is important to understand what to avoid in a white label partner. Here are a few important things to avoid when you are looking for a white label partner: Competitors Given the nature of the digital marketing landscape, it may be hard to find a digital partner that you DON’T compete against. The important thing to look for when choosing an agency is to work with a partner that won’t attempt to compete directly with you. Look for market exclusive agencies who only work with one partner per market rather than a company that works with everyone. You don’t want to be paying your own competitor! Too Good to Be True You already know the classic saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” The same applies when choosing a digital partner. If the services they are offering are priced incredibly low or they are promising unusually high results, chances are they are not a truthful or trustworthy partner. Poor Communication Communication is key in any successful business venture. If your potential white-label partner is an unreliable communicator, it can be a sign of things to come. Look for an agency that places a strategic white on clear communication. Inconsistent Branding Make sure your service provider understands your brand and knows how to represent you. A track record of previous brand consistency is important when considering any partner. If you have specific standards or procedures, you should expect your white-label partner to adhere to these guidelines. The services you white-label need to be a consistent extension of your brand. Looking For a White Label Partner? What to Look For Similar Goals Provide a Service that is Right for Your Business Have a Solid Reputation Experience Offer Exceptional Service and Support Transparent Reporting Clear Contract Terms What to Avoid Competitors Too Good to Be True Poor Communication Inconsistent Branding Who Should I Choose as My White Label Provider? Ultimately, the agency you choose to provide you with white-label digital services has to align with your vision and goals for your company. With a vast sea of potential partners on the market, which white-label provider is right for you? Perhaps you should consider working with a strategic white label company instead of just a run of the mill agency. Strategic White Label Just like your clients know that you are the best partner for their marketing needs, you need to be sure your white-label partner is the best partner for your needs. That is why you might want to consider working with a strategic white label digital provider instead of a white-label solution. You may be asking yourself, “what is a strategic white label company? What Is a Strategic White Label Company? A strategic white label company is an experienced, white label provider that offers superior white label services. Strategic White label is far more than just white label. A strategic white label company has extensive experience creating data-driven results for comprehensive digital marketing campaigns. While some white-label companies are product-specific or are smaller in scope, a strategic white label provider is a holistic digital marketing solution. For example, Conduit Digital is a strategic white label digital company that offers comprehensive digital marketing solutions. We offer far more than just single product solutions. The extensive data we have acquired through running thousands of campaigns enables us to provide holistic digital marketing solutions that are far more effective than simple single product campaigns. With a trusted reputation throughout the industry, you can rely on Conduit Digital to provide services above and beyond a typical white-label provider. How Strategic White Label Works Strategic white-label products or services provide services in the same manner as white-label providers. Services are produced by a strategic white provider and are rebranded and resold to consumers by another company, for example, Agency A. Strategic White labeling enables resellers to offer services beyond that of a typical white label provider while still retaining all of the benefits of working with a white label provider. What Strategic White Labeling Can Do For Your Agency Now that you understand the concepts behind strategic white labeling products and services, you are probably wondering, “What can Strategic White Labeling do for me?” Accessibility Regardless of if you are choosing a white-label company or are leaning toward a strategic white label company, it is important to have a partner that is accessible. Strategic White label partners have proven methods of success; open communication and accessibility to the people working on your campaigns are a must-have feature for any potential service provider. Comprehensive Digital Solutions Many white-label providers are product-specific. A strategic white label provider is experienced in an entire suite of digital marketing services and can provide assistance and expertise in every aspect of the campaign. They are more than just single-product solutions; strategic white label providers offer a complete and comprehensive digital marketing solution for your agency and your clients. Proven Results By offering complete digital solutions, strategic white label agencies are able to collect vast amounts of data to assist in digital campaigns. A strategic white label provider has proven multi-product results and can provide the necessary guidance to help you both offer new services and improve your existing offerings. White-label providers simply don’t have the track record that strategic white label providers do. Transparent Reporting Strategic White label providers know that they are better than other white-label providers and they have the data to prove it! Your strategic white label partner must have clear and transparent reporting practices. If you don’t understand your clients’ data, you will never be able to help them. Look for a partner who not only clearly represents their reporting, but takes the time to help you and your clients understand it. STRATEGIC LABEL VS WHITE LABEL The major difference between strategic white label providers and white label providers is the quality of work and the desire to grow the agency they work with. Strategic White label providers are just that; strategic! That means their methods are more effective, communication is clearer, and they create consistent and proven results for you and your clients. If you have already decided to go with a white-label provider, you might as well go with the best and choose a strategic white label provider. Strategic White Label VS White Label Strategic White Label All the abilities of a white label provider Clearer and more transparent reporting Multi-product digital solutions Holistic view of digital marketing Have name and brand recognition/reliability Constant and direct communication Ability to skyrocket growth for agency partners White Label Partner with top brand Ability to resell services under own brand Set your own margins Don’t have to build an in-house team Offer more services Requires end-customer support Can be challenging to build a personal brand Frequently Asked Questions About Strategic White Labeling You aren’t the only agency owner looking for strategic white label digital solutions. Here are just a few of the most frequently asked questions from people just like you looking to offer strategic white label solutions to their clients: What is The Difference Between Strategic White Label and White Label? White label providers re-sell their goods and services to agencies just like yours, enabling you to offer expanded services under your own brand. Strategic White label providers are white-label providers that give you superior results and accessibility. What Digital Services Do Strategic White Label Agencies Provide? Strategic White label digital providers offer a complete suite of digital services. You won’t have to go to one company for one product/service and another company for a different product/service. With a strategic white label provider, you can get all of the services your agency needs with just one dedicated partner. Are strategic White Label providers easily accessible? Despite being larger, more experienced, and offering more services, strategic white label providers are often more accessible than a typical white label provider. They have existing processes that enable them to provide clear and constant communication and data reporting. What To Look For In a Strategic White Label Partner? When choosing a strategic white label partner, look for all of the signs of a good partner like transparent reporting, fair and affordable pricing, clear communication, and most importantly, proven results. Obviously, only you will know which strategic white-label or white label partner is right for your agency and your clients. Developing a trusting and fruitful partnership begins with choosing the right digital partner. What To Avoid In a Strategic White Label Partner? You should be careful to avoid agencies that claim to offer strategic white label services without the background to prove it. As strategic white label providers grow throughout the industry, watch out for the phonies! If an agency claims to be strategic white-label, be sure they have the data, results, and transparent communication to prove it. Who Should I Choose As My Strategic White-Label Provider? As a division of the #21 fastest-growing agency in the world and one of the leaders in the digital marketing industry, Conduit Digital is proud to be one of the first and only strategic white label providers on the market. The agency that you choose to work with has to be reliable, data-driven, accessible, and results-proven. Conduit provides a complete digital marketing solution with proven results that you can see in real-time. We have developed a modern, unique, and customizable Live Report that is completely interactive for both our agency partners and their clients and enables you to see your data in real-time 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Experience a higher level of strategic white label products and services with Conduit Digital. Learn How White Label Partnership With Conduit Digital Can Grow Your Agency Revenue!

  • OTT Advertising During The COVID-19 Outbreak

    Apr 23, 2020 OTT advertising has been a fast-growing sector of the digital marketing industry. With the rise of COVID-19 and people self-quarantining in their homes, the world looks much different than it did just a couple months ago. New York City is a ghost town, as people try to avoid crowded areas. Workplaces are empty as people try to stay productive from their home offices. Countless restaurants have completely redesigned their dining rooms with nobody allowed to enjoy a good meal without taking it to-go. Students of all ages have been forced to move their classes online. The Coronavirus has had an extreme affect on how people live their everyday lives. Without the ability to go out and socialize, people are trying to find ways to pass the time. One of the most common ways people are counteracting the boredom is binge watching shows on their favorite streaming services. If it’s Netflix, Hulu, Pluto TV, and/or any combination of other services, people are watching video on demand services more than ever! OTT streaming services are set up to actually benefit greatly from these drastic changes, which isn’t surprising at all when you take into consideration how OTT has been growing the past few years. The Evolution of OTT Advertising At Conduit Digital, OTT advertising has been the fastest growing digital product since we launched it in 2017. This has proven to be a trend in the overall OTT industry as well! Starting in 2010, OTT revenue has increased more than tenfold, starting at $6.1 billion in 2010 to $84.76 billion in 2019 worldwide. Most recently, within the U.S., revenue grew by 35% from 2018 to 2019 at $22 billion, and is expected to grow by another 29% in 2020 to $28.5 billion. The majority of the market is held by three of the top video-streaming platforms: Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime video. While OTT has succeeded, television continues to see subscriptions drop year after year as more subscription-based video-streaming platforms pop-up. The way people consume their media is vastly changing and evolving, which should mean the way businesses reach their audience does too. For the years 2018 and 2019 combined, around 10 million US TV subscriptions were dropped (aka the infamous “cord-cutters”), while during that same time, online streaming service subscriptions have only risen. Where OTT Is Going Now we know how much money is being spent on OTT, how much have actual subscriptions grown? In 2014, there were 150 million online streaming services subscriptions. In 2019, this number has grown to over 600 million, a 300% increase! Subscribers are also expected to almost double to 1.1 billion by 2021. Researchers also found that about 70% of US citizens are subscribed to at least one OTT service, while the average user subscribes to 3.4 different services. In addition to the average user being subscribed to multiple OTT services, it’s also been reported that the number of households with two or more OTT subscriptions has increased by over 130% in the past five years. In 2019, 46% of US households subscribe to multiple OTT services, as opposed to 33% in 2017 and 20% in 2014. This proves that once users try one of the big guns like Netflix or Hulu, they are likely to expand on their OTT capabilities and subscribe to other services! It’s getting easier each year to reach a vast number of people using OTT! The Impact of Coronavirus Quarantine On January 23, 2020, Chinese authorities locked-down the city of Wuhan, which was expanded to the entire Hubei province on January 30th affecting over 11 million people. As the virus spread, more countries followed suit by locking down borders and issuing stay-at-home orders. Unfortunately, the virus spread like wildfire throughout the United States, coming to a head when Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey’s governor, Phil Murphy, and others followed New York’s lead and issued a statewide stay-at-home order that all non-essential businesses in the state would be closed indefinitely. Since then, multiple other states have followed the trend and issued stay-at-home orders. According to a recent poll, 75% of U.S. residents are self-isolating in some way, even though there is no countrywide order. This means 200+ million people are stuck at home in America. How Quarantine Has Helped OTT Advertising Skyrocket Since the start of quarantine here in the United States, streaming services have seen some serious uptick in usage. Nielson is predicting upwards of a 60% increase in streaming due to COVID-19 isolation. We have seen instances of rapid streaming growth around the world in places like Italy and Spain who were under quarantine before the United States, as previously mentioned. According to Nielson, first-time installs of Netflix’s app were up 57% (Italy) and 34% (Spain), respectively, according to Sensor Tower data. In addition, live streaming across YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, and Mixer grew by more than 66% in Italy between the first week of February and the week of March 17th, according to StreamElements, and viewers were watching nearly double the number of channels (TechCrunch). This increase won’t and is not only being seen in Italy and Spain, here in the United States we have already seen surges in internet usage up nearly 70% since the lockdown. This growth is directly contributed to the increased number of people stuck working from home, but the majority of individuals are just looking to pass their time by consuming content across the web. Early estimates have shown that streaming has jumped by at least 12%. This increase in streaming movies, TV shows, and the plethora of content that spans from free streaming platforms such as Pluto TV to HBO Go means more eyes are looking at the in-home big screen (TV). Why Investing In OTT Is Smart To Do Right Now Experts expect only 2020 to be affected by COVID-19, and that we will continue to see the consistent rise of OTT. As stated previously, subscribers are expected to skyrocket to over 4 billion by 2027, which means there will be a lot less eyes watching traditional television. While streaming services built around broadcasting live sports will see less subscriptions in the coming months due to ongoing pandemic, other streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, will continue to succeed. Almost all streaming services should see a big bump in their user bases due to so many people staying home looking for new things to watch. By 2025, the expected market size for OTT is projected to be around $180 billion. The main drivers of OTT services include more device integration, with a higher focus on mobile, and improved internet speeds and access. With the incoming implementation of 5G which promises lower latency and higher bandwidth, which in turn creates improved Internet speeds, OTT will continue to rise and spread across the globe. When the pandemic is over and life returns to some amount of normalcy, we may see some regression in terms of new-subscription rates. With the help of 5G, and the audience reach OTT has, brands and businesses alike are investing in streaming service advertisements. Conclusion Now is the time, more than ever, to incorporate OTT advertising to your client’s Digital Marketing solution! Prior to 2020, OTT was experiencing exponential growth in its industry and user base. With the outbreak of COVID-19 affecting all aspects of our everyday lives, OTT has been no exception. The main difference is that OTT stands to benefit greatly from the extra time people have on their hands. Businesses that fail to acknowledge the potential this new form of advertising can bring them will only be left behind and struggle to compete against competitors. Our skilled team at Conduit understands the impactful future over-the-top television will have on the industry, which is why we ran over 100,000,000 commercials in order to find what works best.

  • 105 Tips and Tricks To Crush A Google Ads Campaign

    Apr 17, 2020 Pay-Per-Click marketing is one of the most popular and effective forms of online advertising available today. In a nutshell, advertisers bid on keywords that are relevant to their business and they only pay when a searcher clicks on their ads. The problem with running a Google Ads campaign is staying up-to-date. With Google and Microsoft constantly updating their platforms, it is very easy to fall behind by running outdated strategies and it’s your results that suffer. Thankfully, Conduit has you covered! We took a deep dive through the Google Ads and Microsoft Ads platform, asked experts and reviewed all of our historical data to compile a comprehensive list of tips and tricks for building a highly-effective Google and Microsoft Ads campaign. In any given month, we manage 1,400 campaigns over 90+ Nielsen markets so we know what it means to run a successful PPC campaign. Want to crush results for your clients and drive even more ROI for their marketing dollars? Keep reading to learn our google ad tips and tricks to better optimize your campaigns. Google Ads Tips & Tricks 1. Select Your Campaign Goals To Match Your Marketing Goals You can’t create the perfect local search campaign without choosing the right goals. Are you looking to increase sales? Drive more leads? Obtain more website visitors? Knowing your goal is half the battle. Remember to choose the right goal that fits your business needs! 2. Start With a Search Campaign To Garner The Best Results In order to boost your business to the top of the search results page when someone searches locally for one or more of your services, start off with a basic search campaign. These campaigns are the bread and butter of the Google Ads platform. According to Blue Corona, 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine, and 47% of people click on one of the first three listings. 3. Implement Search Remarketing Into Your Campaign In order to effectively retarget people who previously visited your website, choose an RLSA (Remarketing List For Search Ads) campaign. If someone leaves your site without buying anything, this campaign type will help you reach these potential customers when they continue looking for what they need. Using an RLSA campaign has been proven to increase KPIs. Conduit Insight: A plumber in Kentucky saw a 38% conversion rate increase leading to an increase in sales after the addition of an RLSA campaign! 4. Try Out Dynamic Search Campaigns Quickly direct potential customers to what they want by using a dynamic search campaign. If you have a well-developed website or a website that hosts a large inventory base, you should use a Dynamic Search Campaign to fill in any gaps that may exist in your keyword-based campaigns. If someone searches for a product or service that you offer on your website, Google will use this content to select a relevant landing page while creating a clear, relevant headline for your ads. Conduit Insight: An automotive dealer in Louisiana was looking to move used vehicle inventory off of their lot. A dynamic search campaign was implemented into their strategy which focused on the used vehicle inventory on their website. This local dealership saw a 200% increase in conversions! 5. Generate More Phone Calls Using a Call-Only Campaign If your main business goal is to keep the phone ringing, make sure you’re utilizing a call-only campaign. These campaigns are built to only show on mobile devices and will guide your searchers to call your business after they tap on your ad. Remember, you can set your call-only campaign to show during your business hours so you don’t miss any opportunity to connect. Conduit Insight: A local plumbing company in Virginia added a call-only campaign to their strategy and saw a 53% increase in phone calls driven to their business in over just one month’s time! In addition to this, there was a 54% drop in cost per lead making the call-only campaign a success! 6. Don't Be Afraid To Bid On Branded Keywords To Claim Your Name There are many advantages to baking a brand campaign into your strategy. Most local clients who are running a tight SEO strategy question whether or not they are wasting money by bidding on their brand name since they are already appearing at the top of the search results page anyway. This topic has been debated for years. In short, the answer is no! The more real estate you claim on the search results page, the better. Not only is bidding on your brand name cheap, if you don’t, your competitors will (if they aren’t already). By running a brand campaign, you can craft ad copy that promotes all of your latest deals and grab the attention of your searcher which is something that you won’t be able to do organically. Because of the relevancy between your branded keywords, ad copy, and landing pages you’ll also watch your account KPIs increase! Not only will you grow your brand equity, but you can also evaluate just how people are searching for your brand online and quantify those searches. Just sit back and watch your CTR (click-through-rate) and Quality Scores skyrocket! Conduit Insight: After analyzing the data of a local cleaning company in Idaho, the incorporation of a brand campaign increased their conversion rate by 32% and decreased their cost per lead by 41%! Not only did their brand awareness increase significantly within their targeted area, but they also saw their phone ring off the hook! 7. Fulfill Your Customers Needs By Showing Up When They're Looking For Your Products Or Services The main purpose of your local search campaign is to fulfill your customer’s needs. Whatever services or products you’re offering, you want to make sure that everyone knows it! Building out a search campaign that is tailored to your customers’ needs is your top priority. If there is one service or product that you’re looking to focus on, separate it from your services campaign and build it out on its own. By doing this, you can control how much budget you put toward that particular campaign. If you already have a Google Ads campaign running and you’re looking to optimize, you can break out high converting keywords into their own campaign for this same reason. It’s all about budget control. 8. Place A Bulls-Eye On Your Competition By Bidding On Competitor Names Overthrowing your competition by running a conquest campaign is a no-brainer! Bidding on your competitor’s brand name is an effective way to steal their potential traffic, leads, and hard-earned sales. There is one caveat, though. Your competitor’s brand name must not be trademarked. In order to avoid any massive penalties or legal issues, don’t mention your competitor’s name in your ad text. Also, keep any mention of your competitor’s name out of your display URL. For example, if you’re a local burger joint you don’t want the display URL attached to your ads to say “www.mysite.com/better_than_McDonalds.” Ad Group Tips 9. Create The Perfect Ad Group Structure Although ad groups are nothing more than containers that hold your keywords, structure matters! Get the perfect organizational structure by creating a tight-knit system that combines your keyword groupings, ad copy, and landing pages and ties them all together. It’s also important to be consistent. The message in your ad copy and the landing pages you’re driving searchers to need to be relevant. Doing these things will lead to more conversions and lower your cost. The reason you’ll generate more leads is simple. For example, if someone is searching for “duct cleaning near me” and you’re an HVAC company that offers these services, you should have an ad group for duct cleaning. Your ad copy boasts about your latest duct cleaning specials which entices the searcher. You then land the searcher on a landing page offering your latest duct cleaning special. The odds that this potential customer will call you is much greater due to the relevancy between all of these things. You’re giving the client exactly what they’re searching for. Creating ad groups that are well aligned will also lead to a higher quality score which in turn will lower your keywords cost per click. Paying less is something we all strive to do! Conduit Insight: A pest control service in Indiana had a rather good average quality score of 6.5 out of 10. After making improvements to this client’s keywords and ads, their average quality score increased by 37% to 8.9. Year-over-year, their overall cost per click dropped by 45%! 10. Group Your Ad Groups By Similar Themes A good rule of thumb when creating ad groups is to group them based on a common theme. For example, let’s say you are a general contractor that offers home remodeling services. You offer flooring, home repairs, painting, room additions, and complete remodels. While it may be easier to create one ad group and dump keywords for all of your service offerings in there, it’s not a good idea. Someone searching for hardwood flooring wouldn’t benefit from seeing ads mentioning painting and vice versa. In order to create an effective organizational hierarchy of ad groups, you should create at least one ad group for each service. That way you can write your ad copy to be more relevant to the searcher who is looking for a specific service you offer. 11. Show The Right Ads To The Right People By structuring your ad groups properly, you will maximize the effectiveness and profitability of your ads. Google looks closely at your ad groups when deciding who should see your ads and when. The more specific and focused you build out your ad groups, the more effective they will be. By doing so, you aren’t only pleasing Google but you’re also creating a more user-friendly experience for your potential customer by giving them exactly what they’re looking for. The key is to keep your messaging so highly targeted that the searcher has no choice but to convert! 12. Try Out Multi-Keyword Ad Groups (MKAGS) In the PPC world, it’s all about customer intent. Although this is a controversial topic, most agencies will agree that SKAGs (Single Keyword Ad Groups) are a thing of the past. It’s been thought that using one keyword in each ad group will allow for a more targeted approach and a more organized structure would be created. The thinking is that if you build your ad groups to only focus on the exact keyword that someone is searching, chances are that your money would be well spent and lead to a conversion. This is more than likely not going to be the case. Nearly a year ago, Google announced a change that was made to close variants of exact match keywords. This change means that when someone is searching for a keyword or phrase, it no longer has to exactly match the keyword in your ad group. Variations of your keyword, including implied words and paraphrases, are now taken into consideration. Function words such as “the” and “for” can also be included. Ever since then, Google has gotten better at breaking down more complex long-tailed keywords. If searches are now more based on intent, it only makes sense to build out your ad groups with that same mind frame. If not, you could end up bidding against yourself due to the new rules of close variants. For example, ‘auto dealership’ and ‘auto dealer’ are now considered the same and many SKAG ad groups are just variants of other keywords already in the account. By using multi-keyword ad groups, you will not only save time and money but also reach your intended audience based on their intent. Conduit Insight: A restaurant owner in Florida had an existing Google Ads account which was transferred over to Conduit. This account was structured using an extreme amount of SKAGs (single keyword ad groups). After restructuring the account into more manageable MKAGs (multi-keyword ad groups), we were able to eliminate excessive waste by 33% over the course of two months. In addition to this, the conversion rate increased by 54%! 13. Implement Three ETA's And One RSA Per Ad Group According to Google’s best practices, all of your ad groups should contain at least three ETA’s (expanded text ads) and one RSA (responsive search ad). Doing so will allow you to test ad copy to see which ones are more relevant to your users’ search queries. Ads & Copywriting Tips 14. Utilize The Character Limits Within Your Headlines and Descriptions Effectively reaching your target audience with relatable and actionable ad text is crucial, but ensuring you aren’t a blip on the radar is also important. Make sure you are maxing out those character limits and taking up SERP real estate! 15. Always Include A Second Description Increased screen-real estate means increased visibility, especially on mobile devices. Based on data collected by Wordstream, just by adding ad extensions, CTR has been seen to jump by 12% meaning that expanding your exposure further down the SERP will only help to increase awareness and engagement. 16. Include Numbers In The Ad Text, While Being Specific Using exact numbers when referring to price points or customers served is more believable when not using a generic-rounded number that blends in. For example, “Over 1,000 Satisfied Customers” doesn’t quite tell the story that “1,546 Satisfied Customers” does. Conduit Insight: Conduit used this tactic when setting up Callout Extensions in a lawyer from Florida’s campaign, and we saw the conversion rate increase by 39% in the ads that showed the specific extension! 17. Utilize The Keywords Throughout The Ad Text Using a keyword throughout the headlines and descriptions of an ad boost relevance in the eyes of Google and searchers. This will improve Quality Scores and help to reduce your cost per click. 18. Understand Need Recognition When Writing Ad Copy Unless searching for Branded terms, consumers are looking to alleviate a need they have. Focusing on writing ad copy from the perspective of why the searcher is there in the first place is a great start. 19. Get Local With Ad Copy Especially for brick and mortar stores, proximity and convenience are huge factors in a customer’s choice. Identifying yourself as a member of the local community creates a level of comfort and familiarity as well. 20. Don't Over-Pin Headlines In Responsive Search Ads The beauty of Responsive Search Ads is in the freedom that Google has to mix and match your headlines and descriptions for the best performance. Wordstream states that pinning headlines reduces this freedom, thus reducing the potential for the algorithm to find the optimal ad text combination. 21. Use One Responsive Search Ad Per Ad Group Based on how Responsive Search Ads work, it is optimal to max out the headlines and descriptions in one ad than to have multiple ads. Also, as mentioned earlier, utilizing Responsive Search Ads always advertisers to take advantage of Google’s algorithm which finds the best ad creative match up. Ad Extension Tips 22. Include All Extensions Relevant To Your Business As previously stated, and according to Google, adding more ad content in the form of extensions increases the visibility and often the number of clicks your ad receives. However, do not get ad-extension fever and add extensions that don’t offer any value for your business. Conduit Insight: From looking at our data, campaigns that include call outs, site links, and structured snippet extensions see an increase in CTR of 45%! 23. Add Extensions At The Relevant Level Within The Account Extensions can be added at the Account, Campaign, or Ad Group level. For example, say you are running a campaign for an Electronics Store that has ad groups broken out by product types offered with one ad group focusing on ‘Televisions’. Using a Structured Snippet specifically listing the Brands of televisions at this ad group’s level to make the ad hyper-relevant to the searcher’s need. Sitelinks Extension Tips 24. Include Relevant Sitelinks Reassuring the fact that more ad content leads to more engagement, Google states that including sitelinks increases the click-through rate by 30%. 25. Use Sitelinks To Direct Traffic To Relevant Pages Deeper In Your Website Sitelinks allow you to cast a wider net out to your target audience. Let us give you an example. If a campaign is selling sweaters, adding additional links to different types of sweaters will help increase the likelihood that you are displaying a solution to a specific consumer’s specific need when they are served your ad. 26. Add Descriptions To Your Sitelinks Google allows the option to add descriptions to your Sitelink extensions to include additional information about the page. These descriptions also make each Sitelink extension more prominent on the SERP, in turn increases the visibility of your overall ad. Conduit Insight: We used Sitelink Extensions for a client trying to sell newly-constructed condominiums in Florida giving users the option to go directly to the Contact page, see the basic blueprints of the units offered, and jump right to images of the residences. When analyzing the data, we saw that ads that included Sitelink Extensions increased by click-through rate by 20%! 27. Highlight Your Unique Selling Points Using Callout Extensions Use Callout Extensions to highlight additional unique selling points of choosing your business, whether overall at the account level or more specifically at the ad group level. Conduit Insight: When the campaign for a plumber located in Indiana was launched by Conduit, we originally used campaign-level generic Callout Extensions. We eventually broke the campaign into campaigns focusing specifically on ‘Installation’ and ‘Repair’ keywords respectively, and while doing this we created specific Callout Extensions to showcase the offers in these specific service areas. Where you can, it is beneficial to showcase USPs that will give you an edge over the competition. 28. Using Structured Snippets Will Provide More Valuable Information To The Searcher Structured Snippets allow you to create an extension centered around choosing a header or category, and showcasing what your business has to offer within that category, known as values. For example, if you were advertising for a shoe store and creating a structured snippet at the account level, you may choose ‘Styles’ as the header and ‘Running’, ‘Casual’, ‘Dress’, and ‘Sandals’ as the values. 29. Ensure That Headers And Values Are Aligned You want to make sure that the values you plan on showcasing align with the header you choose to go with. This could create a mismatch and confusion in the eyes of the consumer, but the ads could also get disapproved by Google altogether. 30. Include Call Extensions Google reported that 70% of mobile searchers make a phone call to a business directly through the ads. This ties back to the shorter path to conversion, as one less action needs to be taken. This is also more pertinent to Local campaigns, as a higher percentage of visitors will traditionally be searching from mobile devices. For Local Businesses that are tied to a consumer’s need for a higher level of immediate contact and a sense of urgency, supplying them with a number to call as soon as they search can be a huge help to them and your conversion rate. 31. Get Local With Call Extensions As often as possible, try and create a Call Extension using a number with a local area code as we have seen this familiarity increase the CTR. Conduit Insight: A tow truck service in Indiana saw a 40% conversion rate when only looking at conversions generated by the call extension using a local area code. 32. Use Lead Form Extensions To Generate Leads Although still in beta, Lead Form extensions can be a great way to collect consumer data and generate leads. By customizing the extension, lead form itself, and the submission message that users see after submitting their information, your ads can be set up to collect leads right from the SERP. 33. Set Up A Webhook To Easily Manage Leads From Your Lead Form Extension You’ll most likely want to attach your Lead Form Extension to a webhook, as the other option is a CSV download of all the submissions get wiped after 30 days, stated by Google. To set this up, simply input your webhook’s URL and key under ‘Lead Delivery Option’ when setting up your Lead Form Extension. 34. Utilize Message Extensions To Make Customer Contact Easier Like Lead Form extensions, Message Extensions allow users to contact a business, or convert, directly from the SERP. Decreasing the path-to-contact and increasing the size of your overall ad, CTR’s have been seen to increase by 50% when Message Extensions were included by Wordstream. When setting up, you can choose to have messages sent directly to a phone number in the form of text messages. The other option is to have the messages sent to an email address, and then your responses will get sent back to the customer in the form of a text message on their mobile device. 35. Make Sure That You Link To A Text-Friendly Number When Using Message Extensions This is pretty self-explanatory, but if you choose to have messages sent to a phone number when setting up your Message Extension, the phone number you use must be able to receive and send text messages. 36. Utilize Ad Scheduling As Message Extensions Are More Time Sensitive Like other ad extensions, you can use ad scheduling to dictate when your Message Extensions can accompany your ads when they are served. If the business has limitations during certain days of the week or hours of the day in terms of being able to respond, make sure to schedule this while setting up your Message Extensions to ensure that leads are not being missed and inquisitive customers are not messaging a non-responsive number in their time of need. 37. Make Sure To Have Message Reporting Turned On Make sure to enable ‘Message Reporting’ to ensure that you are able to track and report on the data that your Message Extensions collect. 38. Always Link Google My Business Listing To Set Up Location Extensions Location Extensions are set up by linking a Google My Business account to a Google Ads account. By simply linking these accounts, the business location, as well as the contact information, will automatically display underneath your search ads. 39. Take Advantage of Google Map Ads By Linking The Google My Business To Google Ads Enabling a Location Extension, your ads will become eligible to show in search results of Google Maps, which becomes more crucial when reaching a user who has shown local intent. Not sure how to link to your Google My Business listing? Look no further. Conduit Insight: When running a hyper-local and mobile-focused auto body shop campaign in Alabama, Conduit saw that pairing mobile bid adjustments with the Location Extension generated a conversion rate of over 50%! 40. Ensure That Your Google My Business Information Is Cleaned Up Before Linking Your Google My Business Account To Google Ads Make sure that the Google My Business account information is cleaned up and accurate, as Location Extensions give the advantage of including a clickable business address and phone number, which get pulled directly from the Google My Business listing. These provide users with additional ways to convert and gain information about your business, especially those with more local intent. Having your business information up to date on the listing is one of the quickest ways to optimize it to increase organic traffic! 41. Location Extensions Make You Eligible To Show Ads In The Local Pack SERP visibility has been linked to CTR increases in a multitude of these tips, and additionally serving ads in the Local Search Ads pack adds to this. Following a local search, Google will showcase eligible ads paired with ‘Get Directions’ and ‘Call Buttons’ underneath a map of where your business is located relative to the searcher. These listings are shown amongst organic ‘local results’, but being eligible to serve ads here is one more point of visibility with action items that local searchers can take towards contacting or choosing your business. 42. Set Up Price Extensions To Show A Local Competitive Advantage Price Extensions allow you to include a carousel of snippets under your ad text containing the associated prices of up to 8 of your individual products or services. As price is arguably the largest competitive advantage one can have, utilizing price extensions so showcase this can play a great role, especially in local markets. Conduit Insight: When running a local summer-vacation destination’s campaign in New Jersey, we found that including price extensions tied to the activities that visitors would be able to find there (and more importantly that local competitors were also offering) specifically drove a click-through rate of 28%! 43. Qualify Your Price Extensions For Easier Upkeep By Using The Price Qualifier Google allows you to set up a ‘Price Qualifier’ to accompany the price you advertise per product or service. These qualifiers include ‘From’, ‘Up To’, and ‘Average’ that allow you to dictate how these prices are presented to searchers. They also allow for a tad more freedom in terms of constantly keeping your Price Extensions contingent with the exact prices you are offering in-store. 44. Link Price Extensions To The Most Relevant & Conversion-Friendly Page While being able to include individual final URLs per product or service being showcased, you want to make sure that users are being taken to a relevant one. A click on a specific price within the carousel implies more intent than a more general click on overall final URL, so you want to make the client’s path to conversion as fluid as possible. 45. Use Promotion Extensions To Showcase Sales And Discounts That You Have Running Promotion Extensions are designed to advertise any enticing sales or discounts that a business is currently running and separates these out under the traditional ad text where they can blend in and get lost. Google gives you the option of using ‘Monetary Discount’, ‘Percent Discount’, ‘Up To Monetary Discount’, or ‘Up To Percent Discount’ Promotion types. You also have the option of using ‘On order over’ or ‘Promo Code’ Promotion details if there are certain requirements associated with the promotion being offered. 46. Use Promotion Extensions Rather Than Updating Ad Text Promotion Extensions can be set up with start and end dates, meaning that you can very easily ensure that these extensions are not running outside the life of your sale or discount. Conduit Insight: The account managers at Conduit have found it much simpler to use this method over the more-time-consuming and messier approach of duplicating ads, swapping out promotional headlines and descriptions, and applying automated rules to enable or pause certain ads when sales or discounts begin or end if the promotional ads are not driving to their own landing page. Promotion Extensions give you the freedom of not worrying about promotional ad text running at inaccurate times, while also providing a very visible and enticing spot on the search results page to reach users. 47. Create App Extensions To Drive App Downloads If you are advertising for a business that values app downloads, utilizing App Extensions is a surefire way to increase exposure and generate conversions. By linking to a page on an app store, you can create a direct link under your text ad accompanied by a call-to-action that you create. 48. View Your App Store Page The Same Way As A Landing Page You would never send traffic to an irrelevant, unenticing landing page, right? Right, you wouldn’t. So why send users to a poor page in the respective app store that doesn’t promote the path to conversion? View these pages as any other traditional landing pages, that is, as the next important step to securing a conversion. Not sure how to create the perfect landing page for your ppc campaign? We’ve got you covered. Landing Page Tips 49. Drive To Specific Landing Pages To Increase Quality Score If your campaign is segmented by ad groups focusing on specific service areas or products that you offer, ensuring that your ads drive to hyper-relevant landing pages that match the keywords you are bidding on can impact ad performance immensely. User experience is the driving force behind Google Quality Scores, and Landing Page Experience is one of the three pillars that impacts it. Driving to a relevant Landing Page will increase Quality Scores which will, in turn, increase your click-through rate and help you drive more conversions. 50. Drive To Specific Landing Pages To Reduce Path To Conversion Piggybacking off of the previous tip, creating specific ad groups that drive to pages that are as relevant as possible to the keywords that you are bidding on will reduce the path to conversion, which will, in turn, help you drive more conversions. The more you require users to navigate to where they ultimately are most likely to convert, the more bounce opportunities they are provided with. An ad that shows when someone searches for “foam top surfboards” should drive to the page showcasing all of and only the foam top surfboards that you offer. Conduit Insight: When optimizing the campaign for a Plastic Surgeon in Florida that had been running for some time, Conduit made the ad groups more granularly-focused while driving to procedure-specific subdomains on the site. After analyzing the data for a month, we saw the conversion rate increased by 17%! 51. Making Landing Pages Local-Friendly Local intent is incredibly powerful, and understanding that nurturing this can help your business will go a long way. Creating familiarity by using phone numbers with local area codes, showcasing business locations on maps, and using local imagery are all ways that you can relay your locality to page visitors. After all, in a survey taken by Uberall, 82% of smartphone shoppers use “near me” while searching. 52. Keeping Path To Conversion Above The Fold Driving users to a relevant landing page is crucial, but making conversion points clear, at the forefront, and above the fold of the other aspects of the page can have a major impact on optimizing your campaign’s conversion rate. Any additional step required by the user has the potential to be the point at which they bounce, so why drag out the path to conversion? Conduit Insight: While running a campaign for a hospital in Kentucky, we A/B tested where the lead form and phone number were located on the landing page relevant to the statistics and informative text. We found that pushing the lead form and phone number to the uppermost right corner of the landing page resulted in the conversion rate doubled! 53. Request Only The Necessary Information Revisiting the idea that you want to make the conversion path as seamless as possible for the user, requesting impertinent information or including a tedious form that takes a long time to fill out will almost always result in a lower rate of conversion. Especially with elastic services and products where the user has many options to satisfy their need, elongating the conversion process will negatively impact the user experience. According to Wordstream, eclipsing 7 fields of information on a form results in a steep drop off. 54. Continuously A/B Test Your Landing Pages Like anything else, there is always room for improvement. Even what may appear to be the obvious right choice in content or page-layout can be tested and will often times surprise you. A/B testing one aspect of your page at a time over the life of your campaign will hone in on the most optimal landing page to drive to. This is a slow process, but one that surprisingly most marketers fail to utilize. Conduit Insight: Conduit has been running a PPC campaign for a hospital specializing in cancer treatment in Tennessee, and while slowly A/B testing the landing page, we have been able to hone in on a page that has driven a 106% increase in conversions compared to the initial page! Keyword Tips 55. Bid On The Brand Name Bidding on the brand name comes with a multitude of benefits that outshine the belief that users would reach your site and convert anyway. While your organic listing will be in the search results as well, making sure that you have an ad in the #1 spot takes up more Branded space on the search results page and will also ensure that you stay listed above competitors who may be using conquesting keywords (i.e. bidding on your brand name.) Also, being able to dictate the copy within the ad (unlike an organic listing) allows you to utilize current sales and promotions to pre-qualify searchers who are most likely further down the path to purchase relative to users who have not searched for branded terms. 56. Use The Landing Page And Overall Website As An Initial Keyword Guide To start, familiarizing yourself with and clicking through the subdomains of a website will help you hone in on an extensive list of products or services offered. 57. Using Keyword Modifiers To Make More Relevant Ad Groups Keyword modifiers allow you to create additional ad groups with keywords more relevant to their respective ads. To put it simply, modifiers create longer-tailed keywords with each modifier that is added. Searchers on mobile devices have shown a lot of local intent, which is why “near me” has been an immensely common modifier that marketers tend to include in their local campaigns. In this case, structuring an ad group around this modifier would allow you to test creating geo-based ad copy, increasing bid adjustments on mobile devices, and creating ad extensions with a larger focus on your proximity. 58. Regularly Comb Through The Search Terms Report Regularly utilizing the power of the Search Terms Report is the backbone of finding new keywords, match types you should be including, and keywords or phrases that are eating up a budget that you should be negativing out of your campaign. Having a scan through this report as often and as granularly as possible at the ad group level will be in your best interest. As search terms build up over time, the list of search terms that you are paying for can get very expensive in a hurry and difficult to analyze. Also, looking through the Search Term Report at the Campaign level can be difficult for this same reason, but more so because of the fact that you need to see which ad group pulled in each search term. Analyzing the report at each ad group’s level is the best approach, as the list is smaller, you will know exactly what keywords you are bidding on relative to the search terms you are looking at, and optimizing right in that same ad group becomes easier. LEARN MORE: What Google’s First Price Auction Bidding Model Means For Your Agency Negative Keyword Tips 59. Use Negative Keywords To Reduce Wasted Ad Spend Getting ahead and staying on top of implementing negative keywords can have a massive impact on the health and success of your campaigns. Bidding on the ‘right’ keywords ensures that your ads are being served to your target audience, but negative keywords are equally as important because they ensure that your ads are not being served for the ‘wrong’ search terms. Let’s look back at the shoe store example. If you were advertising men’s boots, but the business did not specifically sell waterproof men’s boots, then you would want to include “waterproof” as a negative keyword. Plain and simple, when used effectively, implementing negative keywords is a surefire way to increase your campaigns’ ROI because you dwindle down your wasted ad spend from users outside of your target audience as you keep adding them. 60. Use The Search Term Report For Negative Keywords The Search Term Report can be used to find keywords to bid on that you aren’t taking advantage of, but you can also use the report to see search terms that triggered your ads that you don’t want to be paying for. Similar to using it to find keywords, you’ll want to stay on top of implementing these negative keywords by scanning over the Search Term Report as often as possible at the ad group level. You also could be wasting ad spend at any moment. 61. Use The Correct Match Type For Negative Keywords Understanding match types will go a long way in terms of how your negative keywords impact your campaign. Like regular keywords that you bid on, you can choose to make a negative keyword Broad Match, +Broad +Match +Modified, “Phrase Match”, or [Exact Match]. The differences between these match types and how they dictate how your negative keywords function will determine what search queries will serve your ads. 62. Make Sure Ad Groups Aren't Cannibalizing Each Other If you have created similar ad groups having keywords that are similar and maybe one modifier away from one another, it is important to make sure that they are not competing and cannibalizing each other. You may see that a variation of a keyword is performing very well and decide to separate it out into its own ad group or campaign. When you do this, it is imperative to use this longer-tailed keyword as a negative in the other ad group. Using the ‘waterproof men’s boots’ example yet again, when creating the ‘waterproof men’s boots ad group, also be sure to include “waterproof men’s boots” as a negative keyword within the “men’s boots” ad group. Otherwise, these two ad groups would bid on the same keyword and compete with one another whenever a user in your location targeting search for “waterproof men’s boots”, in turn increasing your cost per click and your cost per conversion. 63. Start Your Campaign Off Right With Negative Keywords Many digital marketers view negative keywords as the go-to when looking for ways to optimize a PPC campaign, so why not launch a campaign that is already ahead of the optimization curve? Including a negative keyword list into a campaign prior to going live will limit wasted ad spend from the start and make sure that the campaign is putting its best foot forward. Many times, product or service campaigns can benefit from a generic list of negative keywords to start with. Very common baked-in negative keywords include employment keyword modifiers like “jobs” or “hiring” for non-recruitment campaigns and informative keyword modifiers like “do it yourself” or “how-to” to negate users that aren’t looking for meet a need with your product or service. 64. Include Negative Keywords With Care That all being said about how great negative keywords can be for serving your ads to your target audience and boosting ROI, they should be handled with extreme care. As you can imagine, a poorly placed negative keyword can flip the performance of your campaign upside down as it could hinder your ads from getting served to a portion or all of your target audience. This could have a devastating blow to your conversion rate and leave you scratching your head asking yourself, “Why has my conversion rate dropped 50%?” All the while, a negative keyword was blocking your ads from serving! We recommend taking the time and adding negative keywords at the ad group level, as adding them at the campaign level increases the risk of including a nagging negative keyword in an ad group that it shouldn’t be. Also, if negative keywords are being added in bulk at the start of a campaign or down the line, they should always be heavily vetted for any negative keywords that would negate valuable traffic. Conduit Insight: Having a major impact on campaign efficiency, negative keywords filter out traffic outside of your target audience which can lead to drops in cost-per-click and cost-per-conversion. This was the case for a home remodeling company in Idaho, as while we were continuously adding negative keywords that we found by looking through the Search Term Report over a 6-month period, we saw the cost-per-conversion drop by 53%! Audience Development Tips 65. Boost Your Campaign's Performance With Audience Targeting Adding audience targeting to your PPC strategy has been proven to boost a search campaign’s performance by reaching people who are browsing websites, using apps, or watching videos. You can add audience targeting at the campaign or ad group level. Doing so is a good way to reach people based on who they are, what their interests and habits are, or by how they’ve previously interacted with your website. 66. Be Strategic And Creative With Your In-Market Audience Lists Don’t just add random audiences to your campaigns just for the sake of adding them. Be strategic! If you’re looking to add in-market audiences to a campaign keep in mind you may sometimes be limited based on the categories provided by Google. For example, you’re looking to add relevant in-market audiences to a funeral home campaign. There is no specific option in Google to choose anything slightly related to this industry. You can get creative and add in-market audiences to people who are actively searching for flowers in your area. Since the two may go hand in hand, you may be able to reach people who are also looking for your services. Conduit Insight: A weight-loss company in California was unable to add in-market audiences to their campaign due to the limited audiences listed in Google Ads. After adding in-market audiences for food, baked goods, and chocolates, this company saw a 21% increase in conversions over the course of two months! Don’t be afraid to be creative! 67. Turn Your Non-Converters Into Converters Create a remarketing list that targets people who’ve visited your website but didn’t convert. There’s only one caveat. Your remarketing list must contain at least 1,000 visitors before you’re able to add it to your search campaign. Let’s say you’re a shoe store owner looking to target customers who previously interacted with your business. If, for example, you have a user searching for running shoes, who then showed an interest in your website by looking at prices of the latest pair of Nike sneakers, this person may have left your website to continue comparing prices because they were only in the research stage. If you have a remarketing tag on your website, cookies would be used to track this person and they would be added to your remarketing list. Since they are in the research phase, they would more than likely be searching for shoes again and will get served your ad. Google’s best practice is to write ad copy that entices this person, boasting about specific savings given to first-time customers, for example. Your odds of hooking them into the sale will be greater than someone whose ad is geared toward having a large inventory selection since the searcher’s intent is deeper down the funnel. Not to mention, they already showed interest in your product or services. Also note, due to privacy concerns, there are some verticals in which remarketing is restricted such as in the healthcare industry for example. Don’t let that stop you. Instead of using remarketing lists, try adding relevant in-market audiences to your campaigns. 68. Re-Engage Your Customers Using Customer Match You can use your online and offline data to target your customers in order to increase conversions or drive brand awareness. Start off by building a customer list using information your customers already shared with you. The list may contain customers’ names, phone numbers, email addresses, and zip codes. This data can easily be downloaded to an excel file from your existing CRM system. Don’t forget this list must consist of 1,000+ members. After uploading this list into your Google Ads account, you will be able to target ads to those specific customers and other customers just like them. 69. Target What People Are Actively Searching For Using In-Market Audiences Choose from audience lists compiled by Google which consists of customers who are actively searching for products or services like yours. These lists are categorized so you can easily choose them based on a consumer’s general interests and behavior. Google uses machine learning to compile these lists based on billions of search queries and browsing activity to predict purchase intent. Because of this, you have the ability to target people who are lower in the purchase funnel and are closer to converting. 70. Only Add The Amount Of Audiences You Can Manage You can layer in-market audiences with other audience targeting options for a more granular approach. According to Google, there is a limit of 5,000 audience lists you can add to an account but there’s no need to go above and beyond. Make sure you are adding an amount you can test and manage. 71. Expand The Reach Of Your Best-Performing Audiences In order to reach new users who are similar to your already existing, top-performing remarketing audiences, focus on similar audiences. These lists consist of new users with similar characteristics to your website visitors. Using these lists will help you reach new potential customers. The Google Ads platform will look at the millions of people searching on Google and compare this information to the aggregated data collected in your current remarketing lists in order to build similar audiences. Google will then automatically update your similar lists as your original remarketing lists evolve. Conduit insight: An appliance store in Alabama saw a 23% increase in conversions after adding similar audiences to their campaigns. A remarketing list was created which consisted of users who purchased refrigerators. Similar audiences analyzed the existing remarketing list and then gathered data from new users searching for terms such as “buy new refrigerator” and added them to this list. Because of this, we were able to reach pre-qualified users searching for refrigerators who have never visited the website. 72. Get A Predefined Fix Using Affinity Audiences Implement Google’s affinity audiences to reach people based on their passions, habits, and lifestyles. These audiences are created by Google based on browsing and search history. The targeting can be a bit broad so make sure to implement these lists into a well-thought-out strategy. For example, if you’re looking to implement affinity audiences for a sporting goods company, consider adding the Sports Fan affinity audience. 73. Target Your Audience Based On Specific URLS Get your creative juices flowing by building your own highly tailored custom affinity audience lists. With custom affinity, there are several unique advantages to choose from compared to the other targeting methods offered by Google. First, you have the ability to target audiences based on specific URLs based on recent web activity. Let’s say you have an auto dealership whose main focus is to sell used vehicles. More than likely, they have a website with a used vehicle page. With custom affinity audiences, you’re free to target only those searchers who’ve visited the dealership’s used vehicle page. Remember, after inputting your variables, you’ll be able to preview the estimated size of your audience list! 74. Actively Go After Your Competitors Use custom affinity audiences to target users that visit your competitor’s website. All you have to do is build your list to include all of your top competitors by inputting their name of business or website URL and you’re off to the races! 75. Target Specific Keywords And Search Terms Build a list that targets specific keywords and search terms based on people’s interests or places they might frequent. For example, if you’re looking to create targeted lists that target surfers, consider entering places that an avid surfer might be interested in like gyms, a sporting goods store, or a health food store. Use these terms to build out your audience list. 76. Remember To Use The Correct Targeting Option When building out your lists, it’s important to choose the right setting based on your campaign goal. When implementing an audience, you can either choose to set it up as targeting or observation. Choosing the wrong setting is one of the most common mistakes people make as it’s a crucial piece of the puzzle that will either make or break your campaign. If you’re running a remarketing campaign, for example, be sure to set your RLSA audiences to “targeting.” This means your ads will only be shown to people on that specific list. If, for example, you’re looking to implement in-market audiences into your search campaigns, be sure to choose the “observation” setting. Doing so means you are not limiting your ads to only be shown to a specific list. If you accidentally set up your remarketing lists as “observation” you will see a lot more traffic coming in and costs will be a lot higher. Because your search terms are broader, you could end up spending a ton of money on an audience that was meant to be limited. 77. Be Sure To Bid Adjust Your Audience Lists After some time has passed and you are able to analyze how the lists are performing, you can introduce bid adjustments. This will allow you to bid a bit higher on top-performing lists while attempting to bring in more conversions! Conversely, if you want to bid more on one list, but less on another, you can always decrease your bids on a specific list. Demographic Tips 78. Layer in Demographic Targeting Strategically reach your targeted audience using demographic targeting. Google collects demographic data from users based on their settings and their activity within your Google Ads account. Because of this, you can target specific users based on their gender, age, household income, and parental status. Conduit Insight: A cancer center in California was looking to schedule consultations for potential prostate cancer patients. By layering in demographic targeting to reach men aged 50+, based on the fact that the risk for getting prostate cancer is greater after that age, the conversion rate increased by 18% in just one month! 79. Get To Know Your Customer Base Reaching the right audience and continuously testing is imperative to improve your campaign’s performance. If you have CRM data available to you, it would be beneficial to analyze this data to get to know who your customers are. You can then take this knowledge and apply it to building audience lists in your local search campaigns. 80. Don't Forget To Use Audience Exclusions Use demographic exclusions to omit specific demographic targeting. This function is similar to adding negative keywords to a search campaign. There’s no need to waste ad spend any longer on people who don’t fit your demographic! 81. Bid Adjust Based On Demographic Performance Once you’ve gathered data from your demographic targeting, you can segment bids based on the performance you’ve analyzed. For example, implementing a bid modifier to your highest converting audiences can not only help you reduce wasted ad spend but also increase ROAS. Account Setting Tips 82. Track The Performance Of Your Campaigns Be sure to enable auto-tagging under your account settings tab to ensure proper tracking is implemented. By choosing to turn this feature on, Google will automatically place a tracking parameter to your URLs to help you track offline conversions and report on your performance using tracking platforms such as Google Analytics. The information that’s gathered can help you see which keyword drove traffic to your website, which particular campaign the keyword came from, and the cost of that keyword. Conduit Insight: Since enabling auto-tagging is one of Google’s best practices, we’ve made it one of ours as well! Unless we are provided a specific URL that’s already UTM tagged by the client, we turn on auto-tagging every time! Doing so allows us to go a step further in the customer journey by analyzing what happens after the ad click. 83. Enable Message Reporting To Get The Most Of Your Message Extensions If you’re utilizing the message ad extension in your ads, make sure you turn on message reporting so you don’t miss an opportunity to gather detailed information about messages triggered by your ads. According to Google, a forwarding phone number will be assigned to your ads which will allow for the tracking of messages. What this feature will do is allow you to view reports that you can analyze and then make campaign optimization decisions. 84. Enable Message Reporting To Get The Most Of Your Message Extensions Boost the performance of your local search campaigns by enabling ad suggestions. Google will take variations of your existing ad copy and create text ads and automatically add them to your campaigns. According to Google, research has shown that ad groups with 3 or more high-quality ads can get up to 5% to 15% more clicks or conversions than ad groups with only 1 ad, provided ad rotation has been optimized. Not only will you save time by not having to create different variations of your ad copy, but you’re also taking advantage of Google’s savvy artificial intelligence. If you don’t like a particular variation, all you have to do is edit or dismiss the suggestion! Ad Scheduling Tips & Tricks 85. Use Ad Scheduling Around Business Hours And Days So You Don't Miss Out On Leads If your business hours and days that you are open dictate when a customer can contact you, then it will be beneficial to use ad scheduling in your campaign. If you’re advertising for a restaurant or a plumbing company that has off-hours where no one would pick up the phone, a click-to-call would result in wasted ad spend, and the customer would have a bad user experience. Utilize Ad Scheduling so your ads only serve during times when someone is sitting on the other end of the phone to ensure you aren’t missing out on leads. Understanding this can be extremely beneficial for Local campaigns and local intent, as you wouldn’t want users who are looking to visit your location to be served an ad when you are closed and potentially ruin customer relations. 86. Use Day-Parting To Make The Most Out Of Your Budget Dayparting refers to using Ad Scheduling to only run your campaigns and ads during certain hours of the day. Especially with a limited budget, dayparting allows you to schedule when your ads are running to optimize towards generating maximum conversions. This may not be an actionable tactic for every campaign, but using it where it can help will help you squeeze every last drop out of your budget. 87. Use Bid-Adjusted Ad Scheduling To Bid More Aggressively Another tactic that is similar is to utilize the bid adjustments within ad scheduling to bid more or less aggressively during certain times of the day or week. This could be beneficial for a campaign that competitively cannot afford to not have ads running, but has actionable trends to take advantage of. In these situations, you would essentially create a schedule to run all day with the bid adjusted portion of the day separated out so that you can increase or decrease bids within those hours, and run the rest of the day normally with no changes. 88. Use The "Time" Pre-Defined Reports To Analyze Opportunities Within Google’s Pre-Defined reports in the top-right of the Google Ads platform, the ‘Time’ section gives you the option to see campaign data broken out by day, day, week, month, quarter, year, and hour of day. For the purposes of setting up ad scheduling and dayparting, you will mostly only need to analyze the ‘hour of day’ and ‘day of week’ to get the data you need to make an analytical decision on if ad scheduling is a good option for you and when to set it up. 89. Use Ad Scheduling To Drive Certain Conversions Noticing that your campaign drives many more phone calls during the evenings would be a lay-up if you were familiar with using Ad Scheduling. Being able to run a call-only campaign from the hours of 4 PM to 11 PM would help you take full advantage of this analytical data! Conduit Insight: A Conduit client who is a plumber in Missouri reached out to us to let us know that they would be getting more limited in terms of being able to answer lead phone calls. So, we created ad schedules strictly around their business hours, and bid more aggressively during the morning hours as we saw the most conversions being generated then. By utilizing this strategy, we were able to generate a 99% increase in conversions compared to the previous month that we were not using ad scheduling! Device Targeting Tips 90. Target Devices In Google Ads The Google Ads platform allows you to dictate what devices your ads can get served on. Using bid adjustments in the “Devices” tab within a campaign, you can manipulate how your campaigns bid on mobile devices, desktops, and tablets. By decreasing a device’s bid by 100%, you can restrict your ads from serving on that device entirely. Conduit Insight: By using a hyper-local tactic of targeting a small radius around the location and only serving ads on mobile devices, we were able to target the local audience and drive foot traffic to an auto body shop in Alabama resulting in a conversion rate of 51%! 91. Set Up Device Bid Adjustments Based On Device Reporting Using Google Ads Reports, you can segment campaign data by ‘Device’ under the ‘Targeting’ section. By analyzing your campaign’s data in this view, you’ll have the tools to make data-driven decisions on what device bid adjustments to make to your campaign to boost your conversions and make the most of your budget! Advanced Bid Adjustment Tips 92. Increase Bids On 'Call' Interaction Types If Calls Are Highly Valued If you are advertising for a business that places a lot of value on phone call leads, then increasing bids to generate Calls within the ‘Advanced Bid Adjustment’ tab will be a useful feature. Google explains that making these Advanced Bid Adjustments increases or decreases the frequency with which one of your ads is shown with the click-to-call Call extension. This feature allows you to manipulate how often your number is shown, which can make all the difference for local businesses who place more value on users clicking to call. Keyword Planner Tips 93. Use The Keyword Planner To Expand On Initial Keyword List After familiarizing yourself with a client’s website or just compiling a complete list of your own service areas and products offered, take advantage of the Keyword Planner in Google Ads. By using the ‘Start With A Website’ option, Google will crawl the pages of your website and return a list of keywords based on search volume within the geographic and time parameters that you set. The ‘Start With Keywords Option’ allows you to input keywords that you have already compiled to see other related search terms and their respective search volume in Google. This tool allows you to vet your list of keywords prior to launching a campaign to ensure that you are not missing out on any potential searches that would fall within your target audience. 94. Use Keyword Planner To Discover Negative Keywords Prior To Campaign Launch Using the Keyword Planner in the same way as finding keywords to bid on, the tool can also open your eyes to related searches that you may want to make sure do not trigger your ads. There may be some niche keywords that fall within a product or service category that you do not offer, and the Keyword Planner can help you identify them if you have not done so already. Conduit Insight: As an example, Conduit manages a PPC campaign for a storage facility in Florida that specifically does not allow customers to store their automobiles on-site. Using the keyword planner while searching for self-storage keywords, we were able to discover that “car storage” gets quite a lot of searches. Using this in our negative keyword list, we were able to filter budget-wasting traffic prior to the campaign even going live. 95. Take A Broad Approach When Using The Keyword Planner While using the Keyword Planner for the purpose of ‘discovery’, it is important to do so with a wide-net approach. You’ll want to use ‘root’ or ‘parent’ keywords in order to widen the scope of relevant keywords that the tool will return. Although the Google Keyword Planner is quite adept pulling a vast list of keywords, having this approach in mind will aid in making sure you have the scope necessary to start your campaign off on the right foot. Ad Preview And Diagnosis Tips 96. Use The Ad Preview And Diagnosis Tool To Determine Why Your Ads Or Ad Extesions Aren't Showing The Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool allows you to gain insight into whether or not your ads are showing, what your full ad looks like on the search results page if it is showing, and why it might not be if it isn’t. If your budget has run out for the day, a negative keyword is interfering, your Quality Score is too low, or your ad isn’t showing for other reasons, the Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool is useful in determining this. 97. Do Not Search For Your Ads On Google The Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool returns the exact same search results that you would see if you were searching on Google, so why wouldn’t you utilize it? Searching on Google will only harm your campaign by inflating the data, and also wouldn’t provide the additional insight that the Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool offers. Automated Rule Tips 98. Use Automated Rules To Cut Down On Manual Changes Managing a PPC campaign can be a lot of work, but utilizing Automated Rules can help you with monitoring aspects of your campaign and scale changes based on criteria that you set. Rules can be set within campaigns, ad groups, ads, keywords, audiences and demographics which you can get pretty granular and creative with. You have the option of setting Automated Rules to enable, pause, or send you an email (and change keyword bids and final URLs at the Keyword-level) based on conditions and a time that you set. So, for example, you can automatically pause certain keywords if their Avg. CPCs eclipse a certain amount. Prior to creating rules, it is best to think of your daily or semi-daily ins and outs within an account and determine how automation could assist you. Conduit Insight: Some clients will utilize landing pages specifically created for a certain finite promotion. So, in this case, Conduit uses rules to pause ad groups to ensure that ads driving to promotional landing pages don’t run past the promotion end date. 99. Make Sure You Are Using The Corect "Apply To" Setting When creating rules, the second step is to determine what your rule applies to. Make sure that your rule is set to the correct campaign data that you intend it to be. If not, changes that you expect to be made will not be. GOOGLE ADS SCRIPT TIPS 100. Take Control Of Your Campaigns By Using Scripts Use scripts to automate specific functions within Google Ads to save yourself time so you can focus more on the things that matter most, like optimizing your campaigns and analyzing how they’re performing. There are a variety of scripts available that you can implement into your account. From running scripts that track your quality score to scripts that will pause keywords that have zero impressions, there are many options available that will give you back some time to focus on your next strategy. Since Google Ads can spend up to twice your daily average budget, it makes managing your monthly budget a tedious activity. To ensure you don’t exceed your allotted monthly budget, implement a simple script that will stop Google from overspending your budget. This script can be set up to run every hour and pause any campaign that goes over the threshold you set. Conduit Insight: We implement a budget script on all of our campaigns as a safety feature to ensure the monthly budget is never exceeded. Conversion Tracking Tips 101. Track The Right Leads Like A Pro Based on your marketing goals, it’s crucial to track the proper conversions for your local lead generation campaigns. Not setting up conversion tracking or having an improper set up can completely destroy your campaign. All of the hard work you put into the account structure, doing your keyword research, and writing your ad copy will be useless if you can’t properly analyze your data. There are a few options available for set up. You can either implement the conversion tracking code onto every page of your website or use Google Tag Manager (which is Conduit’s choice). You can also go a step further and import your Google Analytics Goals into your Google Ads account after linking the two. 102. Make The Phone Ring Off The Hook Be sure to track phone call conversions using the call extension in your ad. This conversion type is referred to as ‘calls from ads’ and will track just that. Every phone call received from someone who clicked to call from your ad. If you’ve implemented call-only ads, it will allow you to track those as well. Don’t forget to set up conversion tracking to track the calls on your website! Every missed call could be a potential opportunity lost. 103. Track Lead Generation Forms Make sure you know what your searchers are doing after clicking on your high-quality ads! Conversion forms convert traffic into leads and that’s something you can’t afford to miss. By properly tracking any lead form submissions on your website, you will be able to gather your potential customer’s information as well as monitor the performance of your campaigns. 104. Boost Your Conversion Rate WIth Live Chat/Text Conversions Consider tracking third party chat platforms as conversions if there’s one available on your website. A live chat box will pop up allowing for the communication between an operator and with someone searching for your products or services. Once the chatbox has been completed, more than likely your potential client will have provided their contact information which is then sent to your CRM. You also have the ability to track text messages if you have a third-party texting service implemented. Tracking these leads and knowing where they came from is extremely important in your marketing journey. Conduit Insight: An auto dealership in Ohio saw a 36% increase in conversion rate after implementing a live chat feature on their website! 105. Track Google-Hosted Local Conversion Actions Be sure to link your Google My Business account to your Google Ads account in order to allow Google to automatically track even more conversion actions for you. According to Google, these actions are created whenever someone completes an action that’s specific to your physical location (like a store) during or after interacting with your ad. These actions happen on Google’s products and services such as Google Maps. Google can calculate store visit conversions after a user visits your physical location within 30 days of interacting with your ad. This is one metric you don’t want to miss out on! Conclusion Thanks for checking out this extensive list of tips and tricks to optimize your Google Ads campaigns. With these tips you will be able to outrank your competitors and drive more revenue to your clients’ business. Learn more about how our white label Pay Per Click advertising team uses these tactics to create incredible success for our partner agencies and their clients.

  • How Demonstrating Value in Results Can Decrease Client Churn

    Apr 17, 2020 It can take you 3 months to land a client. And only 1 email to lose them. Our CEO Tim S. Burke, Director of Ad Ops Rob Burke, Director of Client Experience Tim C. Burke, and Senior Manager of Search and Social Kwasi Asare-Darko sat down to discuss reducing agency churn by demonstrating value. Check out some of the awesome tips and tricks on how your agency can reduce churn and keep your business growing in 2020. What Is Churn Rate? Before we get into the ways your agency can reduce churn rate, first we should discuss what churn rate even is. Churn rate, in a very broad sense, is the measure of the number of people or items that are moving out over a certain period of time. Having a low churn rate essentially means the number of clients who leave your agency are out weighed by the number who stay or sign on. As an agency owner, or anyone in the business market, you want to reduce the number of clients leaving your business so your profit continues to grow. How Do you Calculate Churn Rate? In order to calculate churn rate, you need to take the number of clients your agency lost last quarter and then divide it by the number of client’s you started with. This will give you your churn rate. For example, if your agency had 100 clients and lost 20 over the course of the quarter, your churn rate is 20%. What is A “Good” Churn Rate? If your churn rate is 10% or higher, it may indicate that your customer management may need to be relooked at and altered. Having a high churn rate can be an indicator that something in the way you conduct business needs to change and lucky for you, we have a few tips that can help with that. Why Decreasing Churn Is So Important The issue of agency client churn is an issue that is near and dear to our hearts. In a lot of ways, we have made it our mission to decrease client churn as much as possible. Why? When you work so hard to land a client, then optimize and strategize on a campaign to bring them great results, only for them to leave, it is a lot like running in place. You want your agency to be in a place where you are constantly growing and moving forward. When a client leaves you, they’re not saying good things about you and that’s number one. The other thing is the activity around that is that it’s just bad optics internally when people leave so it leaves you running in place. We want our agency friends to run forward. Why Do Clients Churn Sometimes you can run a campaign to perfection and create incredible results for your clients. Yet for some reason, they still want to leave. So what are the biggest reasons that agencies experience client churn? Expectations One of the biggest reasons agencies churn clients are improper expectations. For example, we’ve seen as we’re executing OTT campaigns, people might not be saying that they are expecting to see their ads on Hulu coming in. As an agency, you know the budget that you are utilizing is maximized at a lower entry point. So while their ads may be served on Pluto, which is a rock star in the OTT industry, they might not have heard of it. They were expecting to see their ads on Hulu, or even Netflix and Disney+ platforms that don’t deliver ads. Making sure to fully communicate goals and expectations to the client will help them understand what they bought. Although it may seem obvious to us, guiding them through your process is a better way to ensure they won’t leave. We believe transparency is key. Try showing prospective clients an example report before they have even signed on to build that trust and expectation. Expectations also have another level. Before a client starts working with an agency they have to have reasons why they’re working with that agency. A lot of times we talk about all of the campaign goals but we don’t talk about how did you find us, where did you find us, why do you want to work with us and discuss what’s right for them. One of the things that a lot of digital agencies do in particular is lead with data that’s the wrong data. Agencies push metrics like CPC and the number of impressions that are much less significant to a business owner than how many people walked in and purchased or purchased online. Ultimately you know we say all the time around here it’s CPC and it’s SEO but it’s really ROI. Leading With ROI ROI has to be really part of the upfront discussion of, what do you want to happen at your business. If you’re gonna spend $5,000 on a campaign, whether it’s traditional or digital, what do you want to have happen in your business for you to continue to want to do that. Focusing on ROI first is so important, but usually in the first few weeks of any campaign, we’re really gathering data, we’re testing, we’re trying to produce results. However, the data is always going to dictate how to go about it. It is important that a baseline is established of how this is working at the bottom of the funnel, driving conversions and leads, and how that’s impacting your client’s business. It is not necessarily a great thing to show impressions or show clicks right off the bat because that data doesn’t become important until it’s established that this many impressions on percentage basis leads to this many clicks, which on a percentage basis leads to this many conversions, which on the percentage at least this much real return on ad spend. It Starts With The Sales Process In the sales process, if you’re just going to rush in to close the deal and then just throw it over the fence, it’s a recipe for churn right away. If you’re just rushing through and not really truly understanding the needs of the client, you’re setting yourself up for failure. People buy advertising for a reason, and it’s not always the same reason. Get to the bottom of what it is they’re really looking to have happen at their business and then having your solution be able to drive that end result. It comes down to establishing that upfront, and then all the data that you’ve gathered can support that direction. A lot of clients are looking for a checkmark. For example, they hear that PPC is a solution for them so they just expect to see a PPC campaign. However, it’s the job of the agency to push a little bit to find out what exactly they want to do and why they want to do that. Have honest conversations with the client when they’re telling you I know what’s right. Be able to show them or just have a blunt conversation with them that you’re not right. No one wants to be told they’re not right but the fact of the matter is, as an agency you can’t be held accountable for producing results any other than your way. If you were going to write a prescription, you would want to know what’s in that medicine. What it really comes down to is the ability to say listen I heard you loud and clear what you want to have happen at this business. Here are the steps that we’re going to take to get there. It’s All About Helping The Client Grow Our job as agencies is to help clients grow. To get there, you need to have benchmarks supported by return on investment. Ultimately it’s got to be done in a way that allows you to achieve not only the clients win, but the collective win results from the way your agency created those results. If you’re going to just do it to please your clients, then start the clock because that client is going to churn. You weren’t hired for them to give the direction if you’re telling. If you have to, tell them that they’re wrong off the bat. Stop, Collaborate, and Listen Your client knows their business better than you know their business. So the truth always lies somewhere in the middle. If the client is looking for a direction that might not work, just remember they’re still bringing that up for a reason. Be willing to test for your client or be willing to say you know what this just won’t work but here’s something that will. When you have to have the conversation about why something didn’t work, have it with data. Numbers don’t lie numbers don’t lie. Otherwise, you’re just saying no and it’s based on your opinion. That’s when it becomes a combative relationship. Compromise with your client and work together to make intelligent decisions based on data. If the client’s only goal is to see their OTT ad, then absolutely we can make that happen. But the data will always support the direction. You can spend a client’s budget on some impressions if that’s truly all they want, but it is far better to let the data lead the path to results. As the agency, it is your responsibility to discuss through and educate the client whilst using their business goals as the platform. Trust and Credibility We talk a lot here about trust and credibility. They are really the things that have to be sold on a regular basis to any client. If they don’t trust you it’s gonna be a hard relationship to manage if you don’t have the credibility. Guide them to their goals or they’re not going to pay attention. In every sale that we’ve gotten, the first things we have to do to maintain this relationship are trust and credibility, and those things can’t be broken. Listen to your client but ultimately the client tells you what it is that they want. In the ad space, it’s us assisting them and how to do it the right way. Trust and credibility can be proven through transparency as well. In the last edition of the Conduit Connections Pain Point Series, we talked about effective communication, proactive communication, and owning mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. How you handle those mistakes is the mark of true transparency. Conclusion Decreasing churn is a major problem for any agency. Closing the disconnect between client expectation and performance will be a key factor for any successful agency in 2020. It is more important now than ever to ensure you have an honest and open dialogue with your clients, set realistic expectations, and dive deep into their ultimate goals. In a world of SEO, PPC, and KPIs, always remember that the most important metric is ROI. Conduit Digital works with thousands of clients every single month and we know from trial and error and experience how to decrease churn by proving results. Partnering with an agency like Conduit Digital that understands your needs and can help achieve to your client’s expectations is a sure way to decrease overall customer churn.

  • Voice Search Optimization: Boost Your Voice Search SEO Strategy in 2020

    Apr 16, 2020 Due to the advancement of speech recognition, voice search optimization SEO has exploded in popularity; in fact, a prevalent stat thrown around in the SEO community is that about 50% of all searches will come from voice by next year. Now, whether you’re skeptical about that presumptuous prediction or not, as a savvy digital marketer, you cannot ignore these facts: 40% of adults are currently utilizing voice search at least once a day (Location World) A quarter of individuals between ages 16 and 24 use voice search on their mobile device in the last month (Global Web Index) According to Purna Virji of Microsoft, 25% of searches that are conducted in the Windows 10 taskbar were done via voice–this is on a desktop! 72% of the surveyed individuals who own voice-activated speakers say that those devices are part of their daily routine (Think With Google) Many adaptive SEO’s are finally making conscious efforts to implement Voice Engine Optimization strategies (more on this later), but before you learn the best practices of VEO, you should understand how it works. What is Voice Search? Voice search or conversational search is just what it sounds like. Instead of typing keywords into a search query to generate results, you are able to speak into a device. The evolution and advancement in voice search technology is making it easier than ever to search on home assistants. So what exactly are these home assistants? The major voice search platform includes: Siri: Siri uses Google’s search engine to deliver results Alexa: Alexa uses Bing’s search engine to deliver results Google: Google uses Google’s search engine to deliver results Cortona: Cortona uses Bing’s search engine to deliver results To sum it up even more, here are what the biggest names in voice search rely on: Amazon: Amazon is part of Alexa which uses Bing Apple: Apple came out with Siri which uses Google Google: Google voice uses Google Windows: Windows came up with Cortona which uses Bing Voice Search Ranking Factors Backlinko, a reputable source for SEO analyzed 10,000 Google Home search results and discovered the following: 1. Length of Answers The average voice search result is around 29 words. 2. Schema Markup 36.4% of results for voice search implement schema on its page. 3. Easy-To-Read Content The average voice search result from a Google Home was written at a ninth-grade reading comprehension level. 4. Word Count Google tends to rely on long-form content as the average word count of a page that was used as a voice search result is 2,312 words. 5. Featured Snippet Check this out, 40.7% of the voice search answers coming from Google Home were from featured snippets. How Does Voice Seach Work? Due to the complexities of human linguistics, producing accurate voice recognition results have been a difficult feat to accomplish. This is because you can say the same word with a different pitch and cadence. Compare that to a static input such as an image; images are treated as an array of numerical values which can be directly fed into a computational neural network–a computer can figure out what an image is because each pixel is assigned a numerical value, which represents a certain color on the RGB scale. The speech recognition software takes the input of the original analog sound wave and assigns a value based on the wave’s height. After recording the wave heights at equally-distanced points, the software is able to assign each point a numerical value, after which the data is fed through a recurrent neural network; this type of neural network is able to influence future predictions using its memory. For example, if you say “hel”, the neural network can extrapolate that “lo” will be the next syllable, forming the word “hello”. Nyquist-Shannon Sampling Theorem Thanks to the Nyquist–Shannon sampling theorem, the input of the soundwave can be immaculately reconstructed into digital form just from measuring the equally distanced recorded soundwave heights. Once the sound wave is digitized and the automatic speech recognition system processes the data and turns it into text, the now-converted text is used as a search engine query. One of the more prominent reasons why voice search is growing rapidly is due to the impeccable accuracy of transforming voice to text; Google, the most accurate of them all as of this writing, is able to recognize human voice with up to 95% accuracy–nearly that of a human. The type of search engine depends on the device you use; for example, if you use Google Voice or Siri, you can expect to receive results based on Google’s algorithm. (Fun fact: Google pays billions of dollars to Apple just so they can be the default search engine for all of Apple’s devices). If you use Amazon’s Alexa or Microsoft’s Cortana, you can expect to see results from Bing. Voice Search's Impact on Local SEO A common misconception of voice search optimization is optimizing solely for smart speakers. According to this Bright Local study, 56% of individuals used voice search to find information about a local company in the last twelve months on a smartphone. Compare that to only 18% of the individuals surveyed stating that they use a smart speaker for that purpose. In addition, 46% of voice search users reportedly look for a local business using voice search on a daily basis. Here’s another pertinent stat: 53% of individuals report that they use voice search when they are driving. What do you think they’re searching for? Perhaps a local business? From the same Bright Local Study, here are the typical next steps a user takes after using voice search to find a local business: 28% said they call the local business 27% said they visit the business’s site 19% said they visit the business’s location Clearly, “voice search” isn’t just a hype word anymore; if you don’t start implementing voice engine optimization strategies, you’ll fall behind in the ever-changing environment of SEO. Voice Search Optimization Stats There are a few thorough case studies on voice search optimization and its impact, one of the more popular being Backlinko’s behemoth 10,000+ word article. Below you will find a summary of his most notable findings after analyzing 10,000 Google Home results, along with some actionable advice from the Conduit SEO team. Page Speed The average page loads in 4.6 seconds for voice search queries. Action: Head over to Google’s page speed insights tool to make sure that the page you are trying to rank loads at 4.6 seconds at the most. If your page doesn’t pass this test, Google’s tool gives you some key opportunities to improve the page’s speed, some of which include eliminating render-blocking resources, minifying CSS, compressing large images, and reducing server response times. HTTPS 70.4% of Google’s voice search results are secured with an SSL certificate. Action: Migrate your client’s site to HTTPS. If done incorrectly, it can produce pernicious effects. If you are unsure how to do this, reach out to a qualified digital marketing expert here at Conduit. Length Of Answers The average voice search result is around 29 words. Action: Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Be sure to write short, concise answers that properly cover the query. Schema Markup Although a small correlation, 36.4% of results for voice search implement schema on its page, compared to the 31.3% average for conventional searches. Action: For competitive niches, anything that can be used to push your client in front of their competitors should be implemented. Think about how Schema started: in 2011, three of the largest search engines at the time came together to create a semantic vocabulary for search engines to better understand the contents of a web page. If these rival search engines came together to work on a joint project with a goal to better understand web pages, it’s a good idea for you to implement it. You don’t need to be a programmer either; there are WordPress plugins such as Project Supremacy that make the creation and implementation of Schema Markup extremely user-friendly. Authority Of The Domain Domains considered higher in authority have a propensity to show up in voice search results far more frequently than lower authority sites. According to his study, the mean Domain Rating (Ahref’s metric of measuring how powerful the backlink profile of a site is) of a result is 76.8, which is on a logarithmic scale of 100. Action: This is one of the points at which the traditional SEO of the last twenty years comes into play. Building backlinks from high authority sites will continue to play a salient role in the foreseeable years. There are many link building strategies, including guest posting, broken link building, and resource page outreach. Many link building guides cover each of these in-depth; you will ultimately determine what makes the most sense for your client. Easy-To-Read Content According to Backlinko’s findings, the average voice search result from a Google Home was at a ninth-grade reading comprehension level. Action: Avoid industry jargon as much as possible, and make your content easily ingestible for your users. Word Count In regard to voice search results, Google seems to be favoring long-form content; in fact, the average word count of a page that was used as a voice search result is 2,312 words. Action: Cover the topic as in-depth as possible. You shouldn’t force words onto a page for the sake of reaching a certain word count, but you should be fully satisfying the search intent of the user, and write about topics in the article that both the user and Google would expect to see. Featured Snippet 40.7% of the voice search answers coming from Google Home in their study were from featured snippets. Action: You may ask, “how do I show up in featured snippets?” A common way the Conduit SEO team steals featured snippets is from reverse engineering what’s already being used. For example, how is the content structured in the featured snippet for which you’re trying to optimize? Are the answers listed in bullets points, are they being pulled from header tags, or something completely different? Follow the structure of what Google is favoring and write a more comprehensive piece of content. How To Optimize Your Pages For Voice Search A prevalent stat thrown around in the SEO community is that about 50% of all searches will come from voice by next year. Yet, as we are witnessing the significant growth and popularity of users searching by voice, marketers are scrambling to figure out how to optimize their website and product pages for search. Voice Search Optimization Checklist So now that you know what voice search is and the ranking factors, let’s see how you can optimize your product pages for voice searches: 1. Add Product Q&A When optimizing content for voice search, be sure to focus on the 5W + H questions – who, what, where, why, when and how. Being able to answer a question will grow your webpage drastically. 2. Use Lists And Table Organize your product pages with bullet points and tables as this will allow voice search platforms to have a better understanding of your content. This also increases readability and makes it easy for readers to read and engage. 3. Include Schema Add schema to your page as this helps search engines better understand your page. This is incredibly important for voice search as it can allow Google to pick up important information when trying to answer a question. “Speakable” – which is a schema markup currently in beta on schema.org is a great one to add to your page as this identifies important sections in an article or webpage that are best suited for audio playback. 4. Optimize Product Description Be sure to add terms that are related to your product in the product description. Google uses semantic analysis to understand what the query typed or spoken really means. LSIGraph is a great tool to help you find profitable semantically related keywords. Conclusion If you are not thinking about voice search optimization as a means of increasing your search visibility, don’t wait until it’s too late. Voice search is growing and more users are adopting it and as you know, the digital marketing industry is never stagnant. Take into account the voice search ranking factors and follow the steps above to get started on your voice search strategy. Change is a ubiquitous component of SEO, so if you want to stay ahead of everyone else, it’s important to keep up on the latest trends and changes in the industry. Even though many consider voice search to still be in its infant stages, staying ahead of the curve will allow you to stand out, as well as give you the tools and knowledge to implement strategies built to withstand the ups and downs that come with the industry. In order to stay ahead of the curve and execute the best campaigns possible, our analysts are constantly staying up to date on industry trends by feeding our brains with articles, podcasts, etc. Working with a white label SEO Partner like Conduit Digital gives you the ability to start optimizing your client’s websites for voice search results. What is voice search optimization Voice search optimization or voice search SEO is the process of optimizing your website content and local SEO factors such as location and user generated (third party) reviews in order to increase visibility for voice search results. Voice search optimization is vital for Local SEO.

  • How Google BigQuery Can Solve All Of Your Data Storage Issues

    Apr 16, 2020 BigQuery is Google’s serverless, highly scalable, enterprise data warehouse. This large-scaled data bank was designed to make a data analyst’s job more productive with unmatched price-performances. Simply put, BigQuery is where Google gives analysts a place to store and manage petabytes of data without the hassle of managing the infrastructure. In today’s age managing an onsite data warehouse is very challenging, expensive, and time-consuming. Google saw the impending issue of big data and how it would impact businesses and the way they use data for analytics and insights. Thanks to Google this has cut time and my personal stress in half. Instead of buying multimillion-dollar servers that would need to be upgraded as demands, Google increased by scaling out and buying a lot of cheaper servers. This now would be Google’s mission of figuring out a way to make them work together to meet demands. One would say Google scaled out and not up. And when it came time to scale more, the company bought a few more machines, instead of having to upgrade the multimillion-dollar server. This helped Google create a high-performance, cost-effective, data warehouse for pretty much anyone that has and more importantly needs to analyze data. How It Works Google BigQuery is a cloud-based, fully managed, serverless enterprise data warehouse that supports analytics over petabyte-scale data. It delivers high-speed analysis of large datasets without requiring investments in onsite infrastructure or database administrators. The most impressive and unique feature BigQuery has is its ability to scale up and down depending on the need of each query, it will add and remove computing power as well as storage resources as required. This is how BigQuery can run queries on terabytes of data in seconds. Let us take a step back and define what a query exactly is. A query is simply a question. When one types a search term or terms into Google they are running a “search query” the keywords are sent to the search engine and are processed using an algorithm that retrieves related results from the search index. The results of the query appear on a search engine results page. When it comes to BigQuery one would run a database query, the database stores data in a structured format. When one runs their query they are essentially doing the same as when they type in search terms in Google, the query runs scouring the structured data finding what is needed and returning it in the form of pictorials, graphs or complex data manipulations. Google BigQuery is a part of the Google Cloud Platform and works in harmony, but both are not required for the other. BigQuery is designed to help expedite the analysis of big data. While ultimately eliminating storage as well as overhead costs. This then also eliminates the complex nature of maintaining onsite hardware and administrative resources. Below is a list of some of the advantages BigQuery has to offer according to Enterprise Strategy Group. Time To Value Users can get their data warehouse environment online quickly and easily, without requiring expert-level system and database administration skills by eliminating the infrastructure and reducing the management (known as “No-Ops” or “Zero-Ops”). Simplicity Complete all major tasks related to data warehouse analytics through an intuitive interface without the hassle of managing the infrastructure. Scalability Scale up to petabytes or down to kilobytes depending on your size, performance, and cost requirements. Speed Ingest, query, and export PB-sized datasets with impressive speeds using the Google Cloud Platform as the underlying cloud infrastructure. Reliability Ensure always-on availability and constant uptime running on the Google Cloud Platform with geo-replication across Google data centers. Security Protect and control access to encrypted projects and datasets through Google’s cloud-wide identity and access management (IAM). Cost Optimization Predict costs with transparent flat rate and/or pay-as-you-go pricing, and contain costs through the use of project and user resource quotas. Bigquery is Self-Scaling Google BigQuery is self-scaling, which means it identifies the resources required for each query to finish quickly and efficiently and provides those resources to meet the demand. Once the demand has been met and the workload completed, it will reallocate the resources that were required to finish the task quickly and efficiently to other projects and other users who need it at that moment. This is how BigQuery successfully runs queries on massive amounts of data. Both in transferring data in and in processing that data for results, BigQuery is capable of delivering immense speeds even at petabyte scales. For enhanced data durability, BigQuery provides high availability and reliability through geographic replication that is completely transparent to its users, and without the requirement to obtain the physical resources and space to house it all. Google BigQuery enables organizations to combat the cost and complexity challenges that come with building and maintaining a fast, scalable, and reliable big data infrastructure. By utilizing Google BigQuery’s cloud-based approach, the time and cost traditionally dedicated to protecting data and guaranteeing the time needed for computing is drastically reduced. Best Practices For Controlling Costs Now, Google’s BigQuery gives not one, but all the necessary tools to make it what they need. Only pay for the storage and compute resources used, thanks to BigQuery’s serverless architecture. BigQuery’s separation of storage and computing makes it easy to scale independently and endlessly on demand, resulting in low-cost, economical storage. BigQuery can lower the total cost of ownership by 56%–88%. One can analyze up to 1 TB of data and store 10 GB of data for free each month. But if someone is not paying close attention to the way they are running their queries they could incur costs not expected. This is because of BigQuery charges based on the size of the queries one runs. If one needs to run a query that only needs to pull from, let us say, 10 columns or rows, and they run a full query on all the columns or rows, they will be incurring the costs of running a full query on all of their data in that table. If one has terabytes of data this query could cost them a pretty penny. This is when setting up tables based on queries frequently run will save money in the long run. This is where we put the time and effort into creating tables with fewer columns for queries we run frequently for reporting. By doing so, every time we are reporting we are only using the exact number of columns (data) we need to complete the job. What Google Recommends Not pulling in any excess columns causing increased costs. Going off only querying the columns of data one needs, Google recommends to not use the SELECT * option when running their queries. Using SELECT * is the most expensive way to query data. When one uses SELECT *, BigQuery does a full scan of every column in the table. Now one can still use the SELECT * option when running a query, Google recommends using SELECT * EXCEPT to exclude one or more columns from the results. This will allow the analyst to select only the columns they need to query helping control costs. Personally, we would not recommend using the SELECT * option when running queries in the event one mistakenly misses columns they wanted to exclude from the query. For this reason as previously mentioned, we have taken the time out to create destination tables which we can sort by date ranges to only query the data we absolutely need to. In addition to the ability to create destination tables to control costs, BigQuery has an awesome feature that allows analysts to price their queries before running them. According to Google, queries are billed according to the number of bytes read. To estimate costs before running a query: View the query validator in the Cloud Console or the classic web UI Use the Google Cloud Platform Pricing Calculator Perform a dry run by using the: –dry_run flag in the CL dryRun parameter when submitting a query job using the API BigQuery also has the ability to use the maximum bytes billed setting to limit query costs. This can limit the number of bytes billed for a query using. One can accomplish this by using the maximum bytes billed setting. When setting maximum bytes billed, if the query will read bytes beyond the limit, the query fails without incurring a charge. If a query fails because of the maximum bytes billed setting, an error like the following is returned: Error: Query exceeded limit for bytes billed: 1000000. 10485760 or higher required. How Bigquery Has Helped Conduit Here at Conduit, we were faced with a similar issue Google was when they set out on their journey to create BigQuery. We hit a point where we needed our reports to be smoother and faster, and find a solution that could handle all our data from our 1,500 monthly clients. This was not an easy feat, we needed a solution that was simplistic, reliable, affordable and not limited in its scaling and speed capabilities. After months of researching, we narrowed our search down to BigQuery. For us, BigQuery had time to value ratio we could not match with other applications, let alone when we compared it to our previous process. At one point in time, we were pulling our client data into reports via Google and Excel sheets. This did not just pose an issue for us in its scaling capabilities when we hit a certain amount of data, it was as slow as molasses. BigQuery solved that issue for us, with its pretty much limitless scaling capabilities as well as its ability to process petabytes of data in seconds! Simplicity Simplicity was another factor we valued heavily. We needed something we could get a grasp on and manage in house, helping us control costs and manipulate our data in a way we wanted. BigQuery provides us with the infrastructure to not only store our data but transform it utilizing queries so that we can connect our data sources in as lightweight of a way as possible. Helping us control costs in the long run. Scalability Touching back on our need for scalability, with 1,500 clients monthly and most clients running multiple campaigns with us we were in need of an application that could scale with our tremendous growth. BigQuery was designed with that in mind, having virtually no limitations on scalability with the combination of its low costs is a great price point for analytics data. Speed We were not just looking for a solution that was simple and had massive potential for scalability it also needed to be blazing fast to give us the ability to have real time reporting. BigQuery’s serverless infrastructure provides us with the speeds we need to accomplish all of our reporting needs. The infrastructure provided by BigQuery would be unreachable for most companies. Access to that type of computing power is not common and would cost companies an unfathomable amount of money to accomplish (a bit of an exaggeration but you get the point). With BigQuery’s capability to run a 4.06TB query in roughly 24 seconds, our search for a solution that had the speed capabilities we required ended there. Reliability Reliability also played a massive role in our search. The need for a reliable infrastructure to eliminate the need for our own was top of mind. BigQuery provided us with exactly that. According to Google, this is exactly how they accomplish their unmatched reliability, “BigQuery has a geographically diverse team of Site Reliability Engineers (SREs) who monitor the service 24/7 for outages, performance degradation, latency, and failures. SREs track the service against internal SLOs, which are often much stricter than public SLAs. We are also able to help customers research not-so-obvious SQL issues. The BigQuery team works behind the scenes to help ensure that you get the most current software stack running on fantastic infrastructure. To that end, we may seamlessly migrate your queries to a different data center (while of course respecting the dataset location constraints you’ve set, e.g., if you’ve asked that it remains in Europe). This means that your BigQuery queries may run in one data center in your region in the morning, and in another data center in the afternoon, as we roll out a new version of Dremel, upgrade networking or hardware or implement a new compression algorithm.” Protection Simplicity, speed, and reliability were not all we were looking for; we needed security above all. With over 1,500 clients and all the data that comes with that volume, we needed to make sure our clients were protected. BigQuery makes this possible by encrypting projects and datasets through Google’s cloud-wide identity and access management (IAM). Conclusion When it boils down to it all, cost is the overall deciding factor. Not only saving you money but also time. BigQuerys transparent pricing allows us to easily calculate and forecast costs based on the number of reports we create and the queries we run. On top of that, BigQuery allows 1 TB of data and store 10 GB of data for free each month. Making the switch was a no brainer. With all of this, we hope to have brought some light to your current and stressful process. If you are looking for a White-Label Digital Solution to help you lighten the load and make your current process more streamlined and stress-free, contact Conduit Digital. We have the tools, knowledge, and expertise to bring your clients’ digital campaigns to the next level. See how Partnership with Conduit can help grow your agency to the moon.

  • Tips On Marketing Your Brand During The COVID-19 Pandemic

    Apr 16, 2020 Marketing is always tough. But when a global pandemic strikes and many local and global economies come grinding to a halt, it can be near-impossible. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, brands have had to drastically reconsider their marketing efforts. After all, you don’t want your brand or your clients’ brand to come off poorly during a sensitive time. So how do you navigate this brand minefield and chart a successful course for you and your clients? The Truth Is, No One Knows And that’s ok! We are in an uncertain time and anyone who tells you that they “have the answers” probably doesn’t. However what we can do is band together, and take a look at what others around our industry are doing to reach out to consumers who are just as afraid as the business owners themselves. Since the crisis began, many brands have changed their strategies to reflect the changing times. Some have been more successful than others. Perhaps the best way to chart a course for your clients is to look at what has been done successfully so far during this crisis. Who Did It Right These brands have found the right mixture of sincerity, mindfulness, and value to market to consumers during this difficult time: Designs This cleverly designed Guinness ad from freelancer Luke O’Reilly is far more than just a call to self-quarantine. The subtle imagery of the couch against the all-black background invokes the imagery of a Guinness beer, reminding consumers that the product can be consumed from the comfort of their own home. As a brand that can still offer a product to its customers, Guinness found a way to promote a healthy message with a clever reminder to buy their product. This Nike ad from Weiden + Kennedy was part of a larger campaign where they got many of their big name athletes and spokespeople to promote their “Play inside, play for the world” initiative. With a simple approach, Nike was able to promote this message while remaining consistent with their brand voice and messaging. This campaign from McDonalds from Brazilian agency DPZ&T achieves a minimalist message. By distancing their iconic Golden Arches, they are sublty reminding people of the “social distancing” message that is being spread by healthcare and government officials. This is a great example of an approach that isn’t too “in-your-face” or pushy while reminding consumers of the grander mission. Initiatives While any marketer can appreciate a good design or a clever campaign, this is a serious time. And because of that, companies have a social responsibility to help where they can. Many industries will be able to help in their own unique ways. Diageo and Anheuser-Busch have shifted production and logistics to produce millions of bottles of hand sanitizer in order to aid the medical community during this time. This act goes far beyond a simple message of support or monetary donation. This commitment to a common goal and unity is exactly what makes gestures like these sincere and genuinely helpful during a time like this. Facebook and Tesla have also pledged to provide tangible help to the healthcare community. After stocking up on safety masks in the wake of California wildfires last year, both companies have pledged to donate their supply of masks to local healthcare organizations. While these may seem like simple gestures, they go a long way in creating real impact for local communities in need of these crucial supplies. Popeye’s took a different approach. Trying to remain light and playful during a hard time, the famous chicken chain gave away 1,000 free month-long subscriptions to Netflix if they sent a picture of themselves eating Popeye’s chicken while staying at home. While this campaign had little in the way of impact for the medical community, it did encourage the stay-at-home messaging in a way that grasped consumer engagement. How Does This Help My Agency? While looking at some of the biggest brands in the world is an interesting exercise, you may be thinking, how does any of this help my agency or my clients navigate through COVID-19? While your clients may not have the name recognition of McDonalds or Facebook, they can learn from their initiatives. These brands were able to walk the fine line of appearing to take advantage of the situation vs providing real value. With these examples in mind, we can begin to break down how your agency should be marketing for yourself and your clients. Ultimately, it begins with messaging. Are You Providing Real Help? Ask yourself the question, how can my agency or my clients provide real help right now? If your clients are in a position to provide tangible help to their local community, they should be capitalizing on that opportunity. Are your clients in the restaurant or healthcare industry? Give them guidance on how they can serve their community. For example, some local restaurants are donating meals to healthcare providers or creating funds to support out-of-work staff. Encourage your local vendors to engage with their communities and help in any way that they can. Maybe your vendors are the ones that need desperate help. Unfortunately, most small businesses can’t last 0-3 months without revenue. So what is your agency supposed to do if you and your clients have to keep the pedal down and keep selling? What If I Have To Sell? While no one wants to be disingenuous or out of touch, many businesses have no choice but continuing to look for ways to market and sell their products or services. And that’s ok! However it is more important now than ever before to be weary of the tone and messaging. If your agency and your clients are in sell-now mode, here are some Do’s and Don’ts to remember. Do 1. Provide Real For Customers If you’re going to be selling, give consumers an incentive to buy. Many agencies are temporarily waiving their fees, discounting prices, or providing strategic assistance. 2. Create Context Around Campaigns Though this is a global pandemic, its impact is local. Every message, ad, or campaign needs to be sensitive to the context of the issues people are dealing with. 3. Tailor Messaging To The Right Platforms As consumers move increasingly online, make sure you are finding the right audience and speaking to them on that platform, for that platform. Don’t 1. Try To Capitalize On The Crisis Just don’t. No explanation needed. 2. Run The Same Campaigns You Were Before A lot has changed in the past few weeks. Even if the goals of the campaign are the same now as they were before, consumers are not. Be sure to run campaigns that fit the current times. 3. Display Mixed Motives Many people, agencies, and organizations are struggling right now. If you are going to sell, that is ok! Just be transparent with your customers or clients and make your messaging clear. How Agencies Are Marketing Themselves A great thing about our industry is that every agency is unique! Just like the owners and teams behind the scenes, each agency has a different perspective on how to market themselves and their clients during this crisis. We reached out to agencies across the country to hear how they are marketing right now. Kevin J. Walker, Co-Founder & President, Boardwalk “Celebrate any achievements you may have during the crisis. Let your market know you’re waiting for them to come back. Mark Cuban said it best recently. Your market is watching how your business behaves during this crisis. And your brand will be judged by that behavior for decades to come. So make sure to maintain the highest standards of ethics and responsibility. Find ways to help others if you can.” Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO, Mavens & Moguls “Communication is key to all of our community, customer and employee engagement. As far as messaging goes, between the pandemic and the possible recession, brands have an opportunity to further connect with anxious consumers and focus on the true relevance of their products or services. We have to acknowledge that now things are different so we need to communicate in a way that will give our audiences better focus, helping them to create a bridge from today to the future. We need to communicate in a way that combines information and need, synthesizing feeling and facts. I feel we have a tremendous responsibility because never before has communications had the power to help society in the way that it does right now. Words are part of the healing process and we can see which leaders and brands are doing the best job every day with messages that touch not only the mind, but also the heart and soul. There has never been a more important time to provide accurate, empathetic communication with transparency, truthfulness and timeliness. It is inappropriate now for content to appear tone deaf in any way to this crisis. Do not ask to be paid, be too salesy, imply solidarity, hope they are doing well, etc. it seems cheesy and worse opportunistic. Everyone is struggling right now to find a new normal so the key is to show your humanity and compassion.” How Agencies Are Marketing Their Clients Data-driven strategies drive our industry forward. Here are a few examples of what different agencies are doing to help their clients succeed during the pandemic. Shana Harris, COO, Warchawski “Our clients are pivoting to see how their offerings can be helpful during this time. The lesson here is that being adaptable and entrepreneurial is a skill that you will always need. For example, one of our clients is in the jewelry industry and has a unique model. They buy all sorts of high-end luxury jewelry and gold. This model allows them to do collateral loans and stay open. We have shifted our marketing efforts to support this side of their business and also promote their mail-in service. Clients in the conference business quickly had to cancel their upcoming conferences and create online webinars and networking events. For clients in sales, this is a good time to offer a good sale to help people during this time or allow people to defer payment, etc. Clients in the service business should offer flexible payment options that would also be a good way to promote your services while also showing how you are being flexible during these times. Media relations is still a great way to get third-party credibility and position your client as an industry leader. The rules of media relations don’t change, even during a pandemic. You still need to make sure your pitch and story answer these questions: Why is this newsworthy? Is it timely? Why should the media pay attention to this story vs. another story? How does this impact the target audience?” Jamie Hardin, Founder & CEO, Greenlit Marketing “Our clients are responding to COVID-19 with content, resources and offerings that address what their target audiences are struggling the most with. We are fortunate to work with small to mid-size businesses that can move quickly and adapt to what we’re seeing in the market. Increase in social media engagement is also a must.” What Conduit Is Doing We understand the troubles that agencies face during this time. We face them too! Conduit Digital is hoping to help guide our clients through these times with compassion, care, and attention. However in order to get through this time, we need your help! We are calling on all of our fellow agencies to join the #AgenciesUnited community. Times are tough but if we band together to share insights, ideas, content, struggles, and solutions, we can come out of this crisis stronger as an industry. Join us on the mission to Unite agencies everywhere. See What Partnership Can Do For Your Agency

  • A Complete Guide of The Evolution Of Digital Video Advertising

    Mar 27, 2020 Digital video advertising is one of the fastest-growing sectors of digital marketing. In fact, digital video advertising may be one of a marketer’s most powerful tools. 84% of people say they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video. However, digital video advertising as we know today has had a short history in comparison to the ideas and concepts behind it. Advertising dates back to the beginning of basic societies, and to fully understand what digital marketing is, we need to understand how it has evolved over time. In this blog, we will go over: What Is Digital Video Advertising? Back To The Beginning The First Television Advertisement The Normalization of Television Ads Infomercials – The New World of Video ROI The Challenge of DVR and Ad-Blocker The Influence of Vloggers Society and Privacy Video ROI Today The Future of Video Advertising Conclusion What Is Digital Video Advertising? Digital video advertising is simply the process of marketing your business or company in a video format online in order to build brand awareness or sell a product/service. This can be done through a bunch of different platforms, some of which we will get into later in this blog. Back To The Beginning Long before dollar bills were accepted as currency, trading and bartering was key to sustaining the livelihood of your family within the community. Bartering for goods allowed individuals to no longer have to provide every necessity for themselves. Instead of being responsible for providing food, clothing, shelter, hunting tools. They could now use their talents to maximize what they were best at and trade with other community members for the other necessities. Once communities were big enough to have multiple individuals holding the same commodities advertising was born. Now not only was having a trade and a product necessary but sales also became a necessary skill, having individuals trade with you over what another person could give them. This is by no means the way we think of advertising today but it was the start of the concepts behind today’s advertising. Differentiating yourself from the competition for your own benefit. These are still the concepts marketers focus on today; consumer behaviors, market research, how to sell value, how to differentiate yourself from other comparable products and services. The largest difference is simply the medium in which we communicate our messages. No longer does every product require a face-to-face sales pitch. Communication has evolved and every new medium that has been invented, humans have worked to capitalize on it at a mass scale much more effective than the previous one-to-one sale. The richest and most compelling medium to date, video, has provided a new dimension of advertising that was never available before a narrative and that narrative is still important today from the first television ad 79 years ago. The First Television Advertisement It was July 1, 1941, when a regular-season game of America’s pastime, baseball took place. The Philadelphia Phillies beat the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field that day 6-4 but the real history was made before the game even took place. Just prior to the game, aired a 9-second television ad for Bulova watches, a brand that is still prospering today. This was the first-ever video commercial to be aired on television. The ad would be considered incredibly basic as of today’s standards as it was a simple black and white clock in front of a map of the United States with a voiceover of the tagline “America runs on Bulova time.” At the time, however, it was a revolutionary step forward in the world of advertising. The advertisers and viewers of this ad in the New York area likely did not know it at that point, as that commercial cost only $9 to air, however, those 9-seconds were the early start of a worldwide billion-dollar industry in video advertising. The Normalization of Television Ads When Bulova watches aired the first commercial, they were well ahead of their time. In 1941 most Americans had not yet heard of television let alone owned one. The radio was still the most relevant medium of information for things such as the commentary of baseball games. This ad was only seen by about 4000 people in New York at the time, these individuals were technology innovators or friends of one in terms of the technology adoption curve. It was not until after the end of World War II in 1945 that the popularity of the television took off, but that did not stop ads from following suit with Bulova to start their advertising on television. Brands such as Colgate and Coca-Cola would often sponsor programming to have their name front and center at the start of programming. Then by 1952, Mr. Potato head became the first toy to advertise on television in which proved successful as they sold 2 million potato dolls that year. 1952 was also a big year for politics as related to video. This was the first year that political campaigns were run on television. The presidential election in 1952 was between Republican, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Democrat, Adlai Stevenson. Eisenhower won by a landslide which can be in part attributed to his catchy television campaign. The minute-long video ad featured a tune titled “I Like Ike” and was animated by Walt Disney Studios. It featured cartoon humans and animals all marching to take Ike to Washington. In this time of early majority having televisions in their homes, it worked to help the public see “Ike” as a likable guy that deserved to be in Washington. This was the start of a long history of video presidential ads, now video ads are a huge factor in getting your message across to voters and making sure they are aware of your platform. The medium in which the public consumes the ads has now evolved to different mediums such as social media and YouTube advertising but the messaging has not. Candidates use tactics to appeal to voters emotionally and connect with their audience to drive influence in decisions at the polls. Even though the medium has again changed, the impact video ads have made on elections over the years started with Ike in 1952. Superbowl Commercials While the first television ad was shown preceding a baseball game, in current society the most expensive television commercials are during the biggest United States sporting event of the year, the Super Bowl. Each year major brands spend millions of dollars to reach a wider audience. This started back in 1967, the year of Super Bowl I, at that time it cost a max of $42000 to advertise a 30-second commercial. This is expensive even by today’s standards for an average commercial, however, is marginally cheaper than the $5.2 million it will run brands today. That is a 12281% cost increase in just a 54-year time span. Brands find value in being able to reach such a large audience across all ages, genders, ethnicities, in one $5.2 million opportunity. Commercials have become such a prominent part of the Super Bowl experience that it is one of the only times per year that Americans actually look forward to ads. Some viewers even claim that they watch more for the commercials than the game. This tradition came about as Super Bowl commercials have a reputation for being the best of the best in terms of video advertising. This makes sense as if a company is willing to spend $5.2 million on 30-seconds of air time they want to make sure their message makes a significant impact during that duration. Advertisers look to arise emotion out of viewers whether it’s humor or sadness they want to make a lasting impression. Every brand strives to be that one commercial that everyone is talking about in the following days and weeks after the big game. They can even overshadow the main event of the game depending on how the teams perform that day each year. Infomercials – The New World of Video ROI In the mid-1980s after the Federal Communications Commission lifted regulations of time limits on advertising air time, video ads took on a new form. The typical 30-second commercials evolved into 30-minute infomercials. Infomercials first arrived on scene in the 70s but took off in the 1980s. Although these ads were delivered through the same medium of television this reinvented the way viewers consumed product information. No longer was a short jingle the best way to capture the attention of your audience, brands were now able to display, demonstrate, and explain the value of a product over an extended period of time. These long-form commercials were great for brands that sold household items as they often required a lower production budget. Budget was needed to spend on the “actors” demonstrating the items but not on any advanced production tools. This is still a prominent tool used today, as there are full television channels dedicated to infomercial programming. The biggest game-changer that infomercials provided was the power of attribution. No longer were advertisers reliant on waiting until the end of the month or quarter to see if they noticed an increase in sales, after airing a commercial. Infomercials allowed for a direct return on investment tracking. For example, if an infomercial aired between 7-730pm, in that 30-minute window, data analysts would be able to see how many orders were received and what the value of each order was during that exact time frame. Those specific numbers were never before available when tracking the impact of video ads. ROI attribution gave marketers the tools to optimize their campaigns based on definitive, concrete data for the first time. Based on collected data they could determine, when was the best time of day to run these ads, at what point within the half-hour were the most calls generated, what selling point seemed to drive viewers most to pick up the phone and order. This ability showed direct value in video advertising that is the groundwork of why digital is so important today, attribution! World Wide Web For a long time after becoming a common household item in the mid 1950s the television was the only screen in the household. It was even a rarity to have more than one television, as it was often seen as a group activity. This was also due to the limited channels, programming and hours per day that content was available. It wasn’t until the 1980s when computers were introduced as a household item that things started to change at an incredibly rapid rate. In the thirty years from the 1950s-1980s Americas went from having one to two screens per household on average. In the thirty years from the 1980s-2010s households went from having two screens to on average seven per household! This was due largely in part to first the amount of content available, where each person in the same household may want to consume different content at the same time. In addition the introduction of so many new devices with screens, mainly cell phones, and tablets. This quick development over time is now allowing more outlets than ever before for advertisers to reach their message to their audience. Through; video streaming sites, social media platforms, websites, video ads are everywhere and the more screens available the more opportunities created for marketers. YouTube The internet took off in the 80s but the introduction of a specific website in the mid-2000s changed video forever. YouTube was introduced to the world in February 2005. It was a new concept where anyone could upload video content and have it be streamed by any viewer, and users grew at an alarming rate. It was only a year and a half before it was bought by Google in October of 2006. Google saw it as “the next step in the evolution of the internet” and they were absolutely right, as today more people watch YouTube than anyone television channel. Then in 2007 YouTube became a new way for advertisers to reach their audience with commercial messaging. In-stream ad space became available on the platform and the YouTube partner program was launched. This program, through this day, allows creators to monetize their content by “selling” ad space on their personal content. Advertisers now had a new outlet to share their commercials and creators had a way to make an income off their content giving them more incentive to upload engaging quality content. This introduction allowed advertisers an innovative way to reach their audience through online targeting. Where television ads were served to a mass audience and advertisers hoped that someone in their target demographic would be tuning in, this was the first opportunity to target not only the content being watched but the individual end-user. By serving ads to the specific consumer not the masses it allowed for more niche targeting than previously available. Their video ads delivered within the then Adwords platform developed overtime to reach end-users through very tactical targeting options. Today, using the same platform, now called Google Ads, advertisers can reach users based not only on what type of content they are watching but on a demographic level can select a specific gender, age, household income, or parental status. Google’s plethora of knowledge about its users works to the advertiser’s advantage. Beyond a demographic level is where the power of the YouTube and Google partnership really becomes powerful in the way of targeting. Collected information about users on the Google search platform allows us to target them with ads on YouTube based on interest and exact searches. Custom Intent Audiences allow advertisers to serve ads based on exact keywords consumers are searching for on Google. This cross-platform integration embraces making the consumers’ ad experience as relevant to them as possible, as consumers want to see ads for products or services most significant to their needs. In addition, advertisers can also take advantage of Custom Affinity Audiences to serve ads to those that have visited websites with relevant content to what they are selling. Ads on YouTube, unlike other formats, allow your ads to be any length, so now you are able to only use the amount of time you need and not be forced to stick within the traditional 30-second format. Another important feature though is that there is skippable and non-skippable content. This has altered the way we work to deliver a message, it is now more important than ever on this platform to include branding or the most important part of your message in the beginning of your ad as viewers can often skip after completing the first 5-seconds. This also provides a unique benefit where you have the opportunity to make branding impressions at no cost if a viewer does not complete your ad. These tools have revolutionized video ads. Having the capability to serve ads to individuals based on past internet activity brings video advertising lower in the funnel than previously possible. Facebook Facebook although founded a year before Youtube in 2004 did not have a video centric platform. Their advertising for a long time focused on display and banner ads. It wasn’t until February 2013 that video ads were released. This is integrated with their current business manager platform making all their available targeting applicable to this new video format. Video ads provided a more engaging medium to catch the eye of Facebook users as they were scrolling through their timelines. Facebook is an advertiser’s dream because users give so much information directly to the Facebook platform on a regular basis. Facebook knows their exact age and gender upon signing up for an account and the more you use the platform the more it tracks your activity and gains valuable insights on your likes and dislikes. Their algorithm can even pair “lookalikes.” This tool allows you to utilize the power of already determined customers and target audiences who are similar to them. Often audiences who are similar to your current customers will also have an interest in your product or service. Serving engaging video content through this medium can drive extremely relevant customers to complete your advertising goals, whether it is to drive awareness, leads, or e-commerce. Based on our own 2019 Conduit insights video ads outperform static images. Driving a bigger reach and a higher click-through rate. One of the biggest things to note with Facebook videos is that, unlike YouTube, a majority of video content on Facebook is consumed without sound. This again has changed the way advertisers need to connect with their audience. As Facebook users scroll through their timeline, the default for videos is to be mute, and the majority of users view content this way. Since silent movies it has never been so important to design video to be consumed by viewers on mute. This can be achieved through different strategies, including making your imagery stand out and tell a story on its own, this can be difficult but also very powerful, the other important optimization would be to always include captions on Facebook video advertising. Having a user view your ad and not understand the message is an incredible missed opportunity! Not adapting to the way users utilize video on the Facebook platform can hinder your campaign performance by not properly conveying your message. The Challenge of DVR and Ad-Blocker As previously mentioned the Superbowl is the one time per year that individuals look forward to seeing commercials. On a day-to-day basis, commercials are more perceived by general society as a nuisance that interferes in their viewing process. So while advertisers work to utilize new mediums to reach their brands to consumers there are now more ways than ever to avoid this messaging. When television ads became popularized in the 1950s the only way to avoid it was to leave the room when it came on screen. Now advertisers struggle with the introduction of items such as DVRs and ad blockers allowing users to fast forward through or avoid ads for what they deem a better-uninterrupted viewing experience. Video platforms, such as YouTube, Facebook, Hulu are as well are struggling to find the optimum balance between an optimal viewing experience and advertising as this is how many make their profits. Over The Top (OTT) streaming services often have multiple pricing options, where customers can purchase the basic option with ads or pay a premium to have an uninterrupted viewing experience. This has been one of the biggest influences in making in changing the way advertisers present their products to consumers. Video needs to be presented in a more seamless format now. In the digital world, video ads need to be the opposite of infomercials. Their focus cannot be a hard sales pitch but a storyline where the consumer is taken on a journey to arrive at a conclusion that lines up with a brand’s goals. OTT While Facebook and YouTube are dominating the small screen in terms of video, bigger screens are also still very important to a full-funnel video marketing strategy. Over The Top Television is an internet-based, video-on-demand content format. As more and more consumers, lead by the millennial generation are cutting the cord and are focused on streaming, Over-The-Top advertising has become imperative in reaching your target audience on the bigger screens. This platform is the closest to traditional television commercials where ad formats allow for 6, 15, 30, or 60-second ads most often watched on a big screen and are often consumed by multiple people at once. This is because households are likely to get together to watch OTT content as a group. This platform is unlike television though as it allows for advanced targeting capabilities to reach those who have already expressed interest in your brand or related products, then provides the added bonus of there being extra viewers in the room. Our Conduit insights recommend utilizing 15 or 30-second ads on this platform to best engage your audience. This is what best captures the attention of your audience and to always include a strong Call-To-Action such as a prominent phone number or website you would like your audience to visit as unlike other online platforms ads are not clickable to redirect the audience to further information. Short Form Video: TikTok and Snapchat As generations evolve so does social media. Newer platforms are being built around shorter attention spans. Snapchat and Tik-Tok are among the growing platforms that are centric on short-form content, 15-seconds or less. Both channels have their own advertising platforms to share your ads with their viewers. This again has revolutionized video ads, making sure they are concise and as to the point as possible is more important than ever. Short-form ads on these platforms allow for little interruption between already short content. This keeps audiences engaged as the disruption only lasts a few seconds and is often non-skippable. This again is another platform that combats the growing expansion of ad blockers and consumers trying to avoid ad content. Non-skippable ad space with video content behind it that a user is waiting to watch is extremely valuable to marketers, especially on such large and growing platforms like Tik-Tok and Snapchat. The Influence of Vloggers The importance of the storyline is where influencer marketing makes a huge splash in the world of video advertising. Instead of using traditional commercial style ads looking to make an emotional connection with a potential customer, in 60 seconds or less, influencers are able to utilize their already established connection with their audience to convey the value of a brand or product. As in any relationship, trust is built over time, and many viewers feel like they have a relationship with influencers. Even though they have likely never met in person regularly seeing them online allows them to bond. Connecting with their audience on a regular basis allows influencers to employ their relationship when promoting a product. When viewers see influencers that they “know” vlogging about a product it is perceived more as a friend giving a recommendation rather than a sales pitch trying to pressure them into purchasing something. Consumers often view ads as untrustworthy. This is where the human connection of influencers and vloggers can make all the difference. Influencer marketing can be viewed as product placement on steroids. This is not a new concept, just a different platform. For years people have seen products used by their favorite film stars or professional athletes, in movies, television, and commercials. This is the same principle; that people buy products from people they like and people they trust. Society and Privacy Another major issue facing digital marketers is privacy restrictions. This has always been in place for sensitive topics such as healthcare, where due to HIPAA restrictions things like remarketing for health industry campaigns were not available for obvious reasons. Now, however, people are becoming more conscious of “big brother” and are worried about the information these platforms have. Over the years as the personal information we supply to the internet has increased more laws have been created to protect users. Some countries have stricter guidelines than others in what they find is acceptable information to target users based on. The more these laws develop and take away our targeting capabilities the more challenging it will be for marketers to reach their video messaging to the right audience on the right platform. This is why not only learning who your audience is but what they are interested in is extremely valuable, in being able to reach them in different ways. Video ROI Today Infomercials made direct attribution and return on investment analysis available for the first time with video advertising. With digital marketing, we have now taken that to the next level. We can not only track direct ROI but different steps in the funnel and watch the entire consumer journey unfold in analytics. Through proper tracking, we can see how consumers interact with our website from each different video channel from programmatic, to YouTube, to Facebook. These platforms all work together along with a comprehensive remarketing strategy to drive the consumer down the funnel and we are able to see just that. Through proper implementation of website analytics, we can determine every action taken by individuals once reaching your website. This allows us to determine the effectiveness of your video marketing strategy and make adjustments towards your goals, whether they are eCommerce or lead generation based campaigns. The Future of Video Advertising Video advertising has come a long way since its introduction in 1941, in terms of what kind of content is considered engaging, to the platforms ads are consumed on, to the attribution capabilities. As technology advances and still new platforms are created marketers will work to capitalize on their capabilities. We are sure that video advertising will not go away anytime soon but it will continue to evolve. Soon the up and coming craze will be virtual reality. While this technology is available today and is quite extraordinary it has not yet evolved to being adopted by the majority as a regular household item. As virtual reality gaming and experiences expand so will marketers’ capabilities in reaching this audience. We see this being the next step in the evolution of video advertising and will be focused on the growth of this industry and who its audiences will be. Wherever video heads, virtual reality, or otherwise we know two things are very important when it comes to video advertising. First is that adapting your strategy based on the individual platform is a must. One 30-second “television style” commercial will not be applicable to all video channels. Having an irrelevant format running on the wrong channel will hinder the success of your campaign. For example, designing to deliver your message without sound on Facebook or keeping your ad under 6-seconds for Snapchat. Using the right platforms but failing to adapt your strategy to the right format can lead to an underperforming video campaign. Second, always keep the storyline at the heart of your ads. Conclusion By utilizing digital video advertising for your next marketing campaign, you can increase your ROI in ways that traditional marketing never could. Video is an extremely rich source of media and compared to all other forms gives the biggest opportunity to spark an emotional response. While platforms and media channels may change human emotion will not, providing a compelling story will always drive the performance of your content. If you are looking for a white-label provider to fulfill your digital video advertising needs, don’t hesitate to contact Conduit today! Our experienced and certified OTT and Youtube Advertising teams have the capabilities to bring your digital video advertising campaigns to the next level! If you would like to speak with an Expert at Conduit about how Youtube ads or Over the Top television advertising can be the best strategy in today’s advertising age, contact us here!

  • What is OTT Advertising? – TV’s Biggest Rival Is Here

    Jan 23, 2020 What Is OTT Advertising? OTT advertising is an internet-based, non-skippable, immersive, video-on-demand content format that allows advertisers to engage with a unique audience that is committed to the content it is consuming. OTT stands for Over-the-Top-Television, which originally referred to the devices that go “over” a cable box to provide the user access to TV content such as Roku or AppleTV. In OTT channels, content is delivered via the internet rather than through a traditional cable/broadcast provider. A connected TV, also called CTV, is a television or connected device with an internet connection and a UI that enables users to access OTT content through applications. OTT Ads OTT and CTV ads are served as pre-roll and/or mid-roll within streaming content on connected devices such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast, Apple TV, and gaming consoles. It refers to film and television content provided by a high-speed internet connection rather than a cable or satellite provider. OTT ads are the closest digital marketing product to traditional TV viewing. The big-screen guarantee promises that your OTT viewing experience will parallel the traditional broadcast experience. How Does OTT Work? OTT ads are delivered using a variety of factors such as programmatic TV delivery, household audience targeting, performance optimization, and as an extension of traditional TV. Programmatic TV delivery utilizes machine and artificial intelligence as a mechanism for buying and placing media to enable real-time impressions and targeting reporting. Household audience targeting enables OTT and CTV users to enjoy an enhanced TV experience that allows them to choose what to watch, and when to watch it. We identify viewers based on their online behaviors. In this way, we target the audience group behaviorally and not by the genre they are likely watching. Performance optimization occurs when OTT analysts monitor and interact with campaigns daily. Your OTT analyst will make adjustments to application inventory, Video Completion Rates (VCR), and frequency of the ads to deliver the best possible performance results. OTT used as an extension of traditional TV combines the power of TV with the precision of digital marketing. You should tailor campaigns to local audiences using advanced targeting tactics to maximize and measure relevance. What Types of Targeting Are Used For OTT? Geographic Targeting Geographic targeting is one of the most advanced location-based advertising techniques for targeting users based on a specific and sought after geographic area. This offers you the ability to accurately geo-target their potential customers across connected and streaming platforms. This enables you to capture your audience’s location within a media market, city, state, country, zip code, and/or radius requested. Behavioral Targeting Behavioral targeting enables advertisers to combine the effectiveness of search with the brand impact and reach of OTT targeting. Keyword level targeting gives advertisers the ability to target potential customers with OTT ads based on searches they perform across the web. A user performs a search, then the system collects data associated with that search. Then the same user is shown a pre-roll and/or mid-roll ad based on the keywords searched. Brand recognition level increases for you as the user is seeing the brand on multiple mediums. Addressable Geo-Fence Targeting Addressable geo-fence targeting brings clients a powerful, effective, and accurate new way to target specific households and businesses with OTT and CTV video advertising. Targeting up to one million street addresses within their campaign, clients can improve their TV campaigns, direct mail campaigns, and other marketing efforts. This targeting is based on plat line data from property tax and public land surveying information to maximize the precision of addresses being targeted. Benefits of OTT Big Screen Viewing OTT advertising is likely speaking to multiple members in a household. Over 93% of these users are viewing in the same area of the house or are viewing simultaneously in other rooms of the house. With a single impression, you are reaching multiple consumers with an opportunity to introduce your brand, drive, recall, engagement, consideration, and influence purchasing behavior. Audience Targeting Big screen delivery to an entire household reaches anyone in the home, geographically and behaviorally. Advanced targeting delivers your ad to household members who have already expressed interest in your products and services. Engagement OTT/CTV has the highest level of engagement among all other digital products. With no ability to skip ads on the big screen, OTT and CTV consistently deliver VCR rates over 90%. Viewers have self-selected their content and are tuned-in, making them highly likely to pay attention. Watching ads on the big screen means users are always “prime-time.” Examples of OTT Streaming Devices Over-the-Top marketing utilizes devices to give users access to the TV channels they want. Here are a few of the most popular streaming devices currently being used: Roku Roku is a digital media player that allows you to stream video, music, and entertainment content. You can stream Amazon Video, Netflix, HBO GO, Hulu Plus, Spotify, and more from the comfort of your own home without needing to pay for a cable package; all it requires is an internet connection. Roku reported having over 29.1 million active users last summer. Roku devices were used 3.5 hours per day on average, making it one of the most used devices in your home. Amazon Fire Stick The Amazon Fire Stick is a small device roughly the size of a flash drive that plugs into a TV’s HDMI port. The Fire Stick enables any TV to stream content over Wi-Fi such as Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Pandora, HBO GO, and much more without needing to pay for a cable package; all it requires is an internet connection. Amazon has reported over 34 million active users for the Fire Stick. Examples of OTT Streaming Services While streaming devices such as Roku or Amazon Fire Stick give users access to streaming, they require streaming services to deliver the content to these devices. Here are a few of the most popular Over-the-Top services: Pluto TV Pluto TV is an internet-based TV platform which is owned by Viacom. Pluto TV generates revenue from Over-the-Top advertising between programming, with plans to remain a free television provider. Pluto TV’s user base has increased by more than 3 million since the beginning of the year. Viacom has said that Pluto TV finished 2018 with more than 12 million monthly active users, 7.5 million of which were on connected TVs. Tubi TV Tubi TV is a free, ad-supported service, with advertisements shown during commercial breaks between programming. It is the largest independently-owned video service in the United States since Pluto TV’s acquisition by Viacom. As of June 2019, Tubi TV offers more than 15,000 films and TV series with deals from major content creators such as NBCUniversal, Lionsgate, and Warner Brothers. Tubi has over 20 million monthly active users. Xumo Xumo provides free Live and on-demand streaming entertainment. Xumo features over 160 different channels to choose from including popular digital and television networks such as CBSN, History, and PGA tour. As of April 2019, Xumo has confirmed over 5.5 million monthly active users after adding distribution deals with LG and Comcast Xfinity. Last summer, Xumo reported a 325% rise in viewership and a 90% increase in user consumption. OTT Pricing Model In terms of pricing, OTT is based on a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) model. This is very much in line with the majority of other digital marketing products, making the transition to OTT advertising easier for marketers. While this pricing model lines up with the current digital marketing landscape, it stands in stark contrast to traditional TV pricing methods. Traditional advertisers rely on an antiquated ratings points basis, using metrics such as cost per point (CCP), gross rating point (GRP), or television rating point. These models have proven to be out of date and less effective than a CPM OTT pricing model. Thanks to the programmatic and immediate nature of OTT, everything is bought in real time. This means that platforms and advertisers are never left with an aging inventory that may be prioritized or deprioritized unfairly. Everything is bought in real time and ads are only served when it matches the client’s targeting parameters. Top Features of OTT Advertising OTT, CTV and Internet TV, are popular buzzwords in the digital advertising world, and rightfully so. Based on the significant video advertising shift towards OTT Television, agencies are missing more than just the boat if they are not including it within their product suite. At Conduit Digital we like to call it “Tra-Digital” because OTT is the perfect extension of traditional advertising but with the power of digital targeting. The explosion of 170 million OTT users was led by streaming on Smart TVs and devices like Roku, Amazon Fire Stick, Google Chromecast and Apple TV that allow them to access television content for free through the internet. Power OTT applications like Pluto TV, ABC News, Sling TV, ESPN, and NFL allow viewers more live TV and on-demand content than they can possibly consume. When it comes to brand awareness, OTT is king. CTV delivers commercials with an average Video Completion Rate of more than 90% and those ads are non-skippable! High video completion rates mean high engagement and relevance. Here are our Top 4 reasons to add OTT and CTV to your digital advertising lineup. 1. Large-Screen Advertising Connect TV advertisers are able to target the largest screen by household giving advertisers the capability of targeting audiences with a great likelihood of reaching multiple viewers at once when factoring in co-viewing. 2. Behavioral Targeting Show commercials to audiences that are most interested in your brand or product to drive brand awareness, website visits and consideration that aids in conversions. 3. Geo-Targeting Target by state, DMA, city or down to zip. Yes, you read that correctly! With OTT you can target down to the zip if market conditions allow. This is great for local advertisers who want to utilize a cost-effective video advertising option that targets their business community. 4. Live and Dynamic Reporting Be transparent with your clients. Conduit campaigns come with advanced reporting capabilities giving agencies and advertisers data on delivery by day, application by keywords and helps to inform other marketing plans. Video Completion Rate transparency allows clients to see the percentage of their commercials that are being watched from start to finish. CTV advertising offers an industry VCR rate of more than 90% and is exceptional for advertisers looking to improve brand awareness and reach. OTT Trends OTT advertising is the fastest growing digital marketing product. In fact, the data suggests that it will only keep growing. Here are some important trends currently happening in Over-the-Top marketing: 61% of Americans own a Smart TV (or CTV) 52% of Americans use OTT services For viewers between the ages of 18-34, OTT usage is over 65% The average OTT customer owns up to three OTT devices they can use to watch OTT content and subscribe to different services People spend more time watching OTT content than they do driving a car or talking to friends and family As OTT services gain more and more popularity, this presents grim news for cable, satellite, and broadcast providers/advertisers. Cord-cutting millenials are supplanting aging baby-boomers as the primary consumer target. In fact: Millennials who subscribe to at least one OTT service watch more than twice as much OTT content as they do live TV. The top content that people want is movies, followed by scripted TV shows. Live news and sports, thought to be the killer app keeping broadcast and cable alive, rank #3 and #4 respectively across all demographics. Fewer than 40% of Millenial OTT users plan to keep their cable package. The amount of cord-cutters is rising exponentially. Nearly ⅔ of cord-cutters are more like “cord burners;” they say that cutting cable has noticeably improved their life and there is nothing a cable company can do to lure them back into having a bundle. TV Advertising vs OTT Advertising Last year, brands spent over $70 billion in advertising through traditional television audiences. Studies and data show that this media strategy is extremely outdated. Only 5% of all ad dollars go toward OTT marketing, despite the fact that over 50% of the audience is already there. As over the top advertising catches up with traditional TV advertising, it is important to stay ahead of the curve. What Is The Future Of OTT? OTT advertising is the bridge that will finally connect digital and traditional marketing. As OTT continues to grow, it is important to have a strategic digital partner who understands over the top advertising and where it is going. Conduit’s OTT team utilizes robust datasets and emerging industry trends to develop conversion-oriented OTT campaigns that deliver proven results.

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