It’s our 52nd week and you know what that means! We’ve been providing you with 5 pieces of digital marketing news and resources every week for a year. That’s 260 super awesome and important things we’ve told you so far. Yep. We’re pretty cool like that. And we’re going to keep it up, so subscribe at the bottom of this page if you want to effortlessly stay in the know. If you’re unorganised and missed our last roundup you can check it out here.
Online Publications Ditch Comment Sections for Social
Jonathan Smith, Editor in Chief of Vice Media explained how the comments section is ‘prone to anarchy’ where the “loudest, most offensive and stupidest opinions get pushed to the top and the more reasoned responses drowned out in the noise”. Vice isn’t the only publication sick of it. The Verge, Recode and USA Today have all chosen to remove their comment sections entirely. So why has this suddenly become important?
It’s mostly the burden that comes along with monitoring the comments section and the cons definitely outweigh the pros. First introduced to drive collaboration and interaction from readers, most conversations veer from organic conversation into complete chaos. This has been happening since 2012, when Nick Denton of Gawker Media admitted that 80% of reader comments on his site were either toxic or completely irrelevant.
Since 2012 the situation has worsened significantly with more publications switching off out of sheer irritation over the harassment their writers receive and anti-social behaviour. On the contrary, The Times strictly monitors its comments and only approves them if they’re non abusive and on topic though it does make a point to say that this is a ‘subjective’ responsibility of staff.
Even The Guardian, who maintains that, “in so many cases journalism is enriched by responses from its readers”, is admitting that it monitors comments closely based on community guidelines. The Guardian undertook a study that showed that while just 2% of its overall comments are blocked, out of the most abused writers – they’re women and/or black.
So now publications are just keeping comments on social media comment sections. For a few reasons:
The natural transition: naturally readers choose to leave feedback on social media rather than on the site itself so turning off comment sections may have no real impact
Self moderation – Trolling is a particular problem if users are anonymous, on Facebook people are them real selves so they would naturally self moderate. Facebook helps foster a sense of community – especially among loyal and regular readers
Greater engagement – Those who have turned off comment sections have seen higher engagement rates across social media. Social media outlets are also more streamlined to mobile.
Control – It’s easier to delete or moderate comments on social media, and if managers decide a particular article might be inflammatory they can simply choose not to promote it.
5 New Year Link Resolutions
It’s a new year and you’re probably re-evaluating your link building. We curated the 5 best link building resolutions we think you should be making for the coming year:
Check Out Your Competitors
Completely mimicking what other people are doing is generally a no-go. It’s just not good practice. But a lot of link builders do tend to disagree. The best thing you can do when it comes to monitoring competitors is use what you collect to learn what not to do.
You Don’t Need Excessive Content to Do Well
You know the saying, quality over quantity. Churning out 10 pieces of content a week isn’t sustainable for any business, and if you’re one of the lucky brands that can then fair enough. But don’t just churn out watered down, crap content just to stay in the game. Useless content is just that – useless.
Build Genuine Relationships
Don’t interact with people just to get a link or mention on Twitter. If the only time you’re reaching out to an influencer is when you want something, then you’re not going to get much in return because it’s meaningless. See what they’re up to, comment on what you like. They’re not going to care about you if you don’t care about them.
Promote Things That Don’t Just Benefit You
You see those Twitter users who only ever seem to talk about themselves? Don’t be that person that people follow. You can make a lot of good contacts from sharing other people’s work and like we said above, it’s a good way to start that relationship. Showing support for other people makes you more approachable and in turn people will want to contact you as well.
Replicate Your Best Links
Analyse the links you send out there that help you receive the most relevant traffic and figure out how to make that happen again. Maybe you have a great link in an older article on a particular site and you get conversions from it every now and then. Why not try again? What is it that made it so successful? Was it the topic, the wording, the demographic, or the channels you promoted it on? What was the key to its success and how can you leverage that again?
How to Write Awesome Product Descriptions
Writing product descriptions is a difficult task if you’re doing it in house and not getting a professional in to do the job. We’d mostly recommend that you do get a professional to do it, but if budgets don’t allow then we’ve got some great tips for you:
Talk Technical to Win Trust – If you have a more technical product then that can sometimes make it easier to write your product descriptions (if you’re familiar with the functions of the product that is). Prove to your customer that your brand has expertise in the industry by providing all the details they need to know before they even have to ask.
Be Short and Sweet to be Effective – Sometimes a basic formula can work just as well. Onzie is a good example of just how well it can take off. Their product pages combine conversational paragraph long descriptions that engage fans as well as quick bullet-points on need-to-know specs for shoppers who just want to scan the page.
Know When to Show and Not Tell – Text isn’t always the best way to describe a product. Don’t get too wordy, and if you do then think about how you can simplify it. Images carry weight and are better remembered by users, so if you can, show off the product in a way that visually shows exactly what it does. More and more eCommerce companies are using product videos to illustrate products, why not consider this as an option?
Use Storytelling – If your product has a backstory that is particularly important to you or the branding messages you want to put across then chances are it’ll be endearing to your audience to. Also remember that when consumers are browsing they’re picturing what it would be like to have this item to own. Use a story in your product description to help them better visualise its purpose, especially if the product is luxury. Add character to your items, engage the audience to win their hearts.
How to Ensure Human Engagement with Mobile Advertising
For the mobile industry, 2016 will probably be remembered for enabling marketers to refocus their energies on the metrics that define campaign results. One of the biggest worries of the year were measurement discrepancies or ad fraud. The good news is that it is actually possible to ensure human engagement with mobile campaigns if those who are paying can shift their mentality and adopt a zero-tolerance campaign on wasted money when it comes to fraud.
When large investments are increasingly at stake, brands need to make sure that mobile advertising efforts are actually engaging users to provide added value. For the mobile advertising industry to progress, we need impartial and transparent measurement across our campaigns that count human activity – like app installs or landing page arrivals. We know there are a lot of incentives out there that will postpone an end to ad fraud, but it is possible to identify when it occurs.
Ten thousand bid requests aren’t going to deliver ten thousand fully delivered impressions on smartphones for various reasons: device model, creative formats, and connection type. Marketing Tech News estimate that there’s roughly a 25% difference between bid request and fully rendered impressions. For impressions it should be counted as fully loaded when the ad has 100% rendered on the mobile screen for longer than one second. This makes all the difference with human visibility. Without a fully visible impression, you can’t expect engagement from the user.
Following this impression the goal is to have the user click on the message. You can avoid click fraud if you use a standard of one click per impression. So if you’re only counting one click per impression, that means that if only 1 million impressions were qualified as delivered but 1.2 million clicks were counted – something isn’t right.
The last step to ensure human engagement is to make sure the user actually arrives on a landing page once they’ve clicked. The landing page arrival should be counted once the user has seen the mobile website page 100% loaded plus one second. Like we said, without this extra second you just can’t be sure that a consumer has actually seen and understood your message. Taking these things into consideration can save advertisers up to 25% of their advertising budgets. This year, advertisers will need to overhaul the way they evaluate mobile campaign success and focus on measuring human interactions.
How Email Marketers are Embedding Video
Digital video has been among the fastest-growing ad formats for the past several years and digital video is only become more popular among shoppers. So, as you can imagine, email marketers are taking it into consideration and jumping onto the trend.
According to research from Liveclicker – which analysed 2,500 campaigns sent by its clients in the year leading up to June 2016 – the most common way for email marketers to include video in email messages is by using GIFs. Forty-six percent of the campaigns studied use silent animations to embed video content. But, 44% offer full-screen video including 33% of campaigns that required two clicks for playback. Only 11% of emails had full screen video with playback available after just one click and only 8% placed the video inline in the email. Their analysis found that 2% of the tracked emails displayed a static thumbnail from a video.
Email marketing is the digital marketing old school tool, but it has always provided a strong ROI and even high acquisition and retention rates especially from medium and small sized businesses. Furthermore, about four fifths of these professionals claimed that email marketing helps contribute to this outcome over other tactics from organic reach to social media – according to emarsys and WBR Digital.