Youtube is a mainstream media channel. Previously better known for the many millions of cat videos and amateur stunt footage it held, YouTube has changed phenomenally in recent years to become the second largest search engine in the world.
Personally I choose to watch what is in my YouTube subscription box before I even turn on the TV and I know I am not alone. Millions and millions of people are now subscribing to their favourite YouTubers and more content is consumed on the platform than any other media channel.
When you think of YouTube success stories you’re more than likely to think of someone like Justin Bieber. Discovered back in 2007 thanks to the upload of a YouTube video capturing Justin singing at a talent contest, he has now become one of the biggest pop stars in history. However it isn’t his YouTube success that is at the forefront of marketer’s minds any longer. ‘YouTube Personalities’ are some of the most powerful and influential forces to hit digital marketing and social media. Through them, vast sums of money are ploughed into corporate sponsored content and product placements.
If your YouTube channel has enough followers, every single view will earn you money. Simply by becoming a member of the YouTube Partner Program, you earn a percentage of the CPM (cost per thousand impressions) earned from ads on your videos. However, it’s not enough to post a few videos and expect to make millions. From tutorials and tags, to collaborations and challenges there is an insatiable demand to fulfil. In this fast paced social media obsessed world your fans will expect regular content instalments and updates to be at their disposal. They want every detail from what you’re eating on Instagram to where you’re checking in on Facebook.
As the digital landscape evolves, PR and SEO have emerged as natural bed fellows. Yet still, many businesses have yet to marry the two disciplines together, leaving them rather like a disgruntled couple, that’s no longer communicating. But it needn’t be like that!
Here’s our bit of relationship counselling on what businesses need to do to encourage a strong and most importantly, fruitful relationship between PR and SEO.
So why should SEO and PR now be working so closely together? Well it’s pretty simple. While once, many considered SEO to simply mean getting inbound links to your site to boost visibility on Google search results pages; nowadays this is no longer the case. Today, the quality, relevance and influence of the sites linking to you have become more important factors as far as Google is concerned. As such, if you’re going to hit those top spots on results pages, creating and promoting engaging and informative content has now become a necessity. Sound familiar? Well yes, that’s because this is what PRs have been doing all along.
So it is clear that these days, engaging and well-targeted content not only leads to greater brand awareness (a common PR objective), it will also encourage people to want to share your story (a key SEO objective). What’s more, the online relationships that PR professionals build and maintain with influential bloggers and traditional publishers tend to be highly valued, which is an absolute gold mine in terms of SEO objectives. It is therefore essential that PR and SEO work together to maximise a brand’s digital presence.
We’ve all heard how Burberry and Harry Styles ruled the social media world over London Fashion Week last week. But if you dig a little deeper, there is another clear winner – the competitions.
Using Brandwatch we monitored the social media chatter for the two weeks around London Fashion Week to cover the build-up and tail off of the coverage. Of the more than 400k mentions of London Fashion Week during this period, some 96% were on Twitter. And there is no denying that no one came even close to getting the spike in attention that Burberry and Harry Styles did.
The Harry Hype
It was quite incredible to see the stats – on the day that Burberry held its show and Mr Styles rocked up for his front row seat, @burberry got over 35k mentions and @harry_styles got almost 12k that day alone. When you consider that on the other days the top accounts got a few thousand mentions, these two blew them completely out of the water!
But their coverage was for the most part confined to that moment – it was a spike. And if you take a look at the stats over the two weeks surround LFW, it’s interesting to see that other brands did in fact give Burberry and Harry a run for their money thanks to some simple but attention-grabbing competitions.
I presented with Jon Myers yesterday at SES London on the subject ‘Ad optimisation in multi-channel digital advertising’. It may sound like a complex marketing headache but to bring it back to the real world and simplify things you need to think audience engagement. I’ve said it before but it’s all about the audience so here are my top tips for using data to help identify who your audience is and engage with them.
1) Think audiences not channels
With the vast quantity of data available it’s becoming an ever confusing world. Intent signals have multiplied and we can now look at what your customers have bought, their browsing behaviour, what they sign up to, social signals, the devices they’re using and more.
Everyone is talking about data at the moment, but not everyone knows what to do with it or how to get the most out of it. As part of the research and insight team I work with data every hour of every day – so I thought I’d jot down a few pointers on how best to maximise your data.
The right people are the key
Although the technical challenge of pooling all the available online data shouldn’t be understated, it is vital that you have the right people in place to maximise the value of the information available. Apart from analytical skills, these people should be strong communicators, helping stakeholders from every part of your business understand your customers.
In fact, having a talented analyst with an inquisitive mind, and access to coherent and quality customer data, might just be the most impactful investment any business can make in 2014.
Why data is so important
In 2014, collecting and analysing digital data should be any businesses’ primary route to understanding its customers’ behaviours and needs, all in real time.
Keyword research is the process of searching for user intent across the web, and this information can be used to inform SEO or content strategy. It’s a powerful activity that digital marketers can take advantage of, and it’s often very quantifiable so it can be easy to spot and assess opportunity.
Having done a fair bit in my time I wanted to share some of the processes, tools and considerations I have when I’m on the lookout for new key terms or gaps to target.
One point I must make early on is that key term research for SEO doesn’t involve choosing 20 high volume search terms for your strategy, it’s a basis to discover intent and inform a much more holistic view on how people are searching for your product or service. The days of targeting specific high value terms are over and we must be a lot more strategic in 2014.
Google keyword planner
A lot of keyword research starts with the Google Keyword Planner – which isn’t a bad thing as it’s the biggest database of terms and their monthly search volumes. The Keyword Planner has been rolled out over the last six months as a replacement to Google’s last keyword tool, which was a little more flexible. The tool is still free to use and allows you to get search volumes for a range of your own key terms and they’ll provide suggestions on other similar terms that you can export and manipulate. There’s an image below that shows two highlighted columns that are useful for SEO, the others are only applicable to PPC – for example competition level.
Last August I opened a discussion on whether there really was ‘online’ or ‘offline’ anymore, and how harnessing digital can not only improve how you advertise but ensures that customers actually only get what they are interested in. As I sat enjoying my first caffeine fix of the day watching BBC Breakfast yesterday I saw a report that highlighted everything I was talking about, in action.
Tim Muffet did a report on Apple’s new iBeacon technology being implemented in stores throughout the US and soon to be in the UK. These are small indoor transmitters that work off the new Bluetooth 4.0 technology. They sense when someone with a smartphone is nearby and then push information to the phone. In conjunction with app development companies, you can enhance this engagement. So if you were in a high street shop standing next to a shirt you had been looking at online, it could send you a push notification saying, “This is the shirt you’ve been looking at”, or “The shirt you are looking at is now on sale”.
Some have been quick to point out that if we were all walking around looking at our phones, we’d soon be bumping into everything and each other! I can see what they are getting at but I really do believe that this tech is a step in the right direction.
Why? Well, for one it starts to open the door for a variety of creative options. For example if I only half completed an order of that shirt on the website, I could still be encouraged to complete my order in-store. By cross referencing information and seeing I was almost there with the sale, I could be sent a discount code specifically to use right there for that particular item. And if the technology was built into digital screens, then the poster nearest to me could present me with that information instead. At least then I wouldn’t be walking around staring at my phone the entire time! But then, if you had been looking at more intimate items and were in a lingerie shop, for example, you probably wouldn’t want what you’d been looking at showing up on screens around the store!
Companies now need to commit to removing inorganic backlinks as vigorously as they once focused on building them. Why? Because if a great part of the site’s link strength relies on unnatural and manipulative links the site’s rankings and overall traffic would be at very high risk. Companies need to become aware of these links now, BEFORE they experience traffic drops which will almost certainly occur when Google re-evaluates their site’s backlinks either through an algorithm update or a manual review. Once penalised it can take months, if not years to claw back the position they once held on Google’s search results pages.
For a very long time link-building was the core activity in pretty much any SEO campaign. In many cases, links with keyword-rich anchor text would result in higher rankings, especially if they were placed on authoritative and trusted domains. Google attempted to address this manipulative approach with the release of the first Penguin update back in April 2012. This completely changed the way most SEO savvy people think about link building strategies.
The end justifies the means
Up until 2012 Google was positively evaluating the vast majority of links on the web no matter how useful, relevant or trustworthy the sites they were sitting on were. With Google striving to deliver the best possible organic results to searchers, they came up with a rather controversial idea in order to clear the link graph of all unnatural, paid and manipulative links that were slipping undetected through their algorithms.
They decided that the responsibility of links pointing at a website would sit with the site owners rather than with Google’s algorithm.
Of course this decision did not come without any collateral damage (AKA negative SEO) and Google had clearly declared a war against anyone who had tried to manipulate their rankings, in a similar fashion to “the end justifies the means” doctrine.
As Facebook turns ten, we thought we’d ask a few folk here at iCrossing to comment on the big stories that have hit the news of late predicting the imminent death of Facebook and to explain what they believe the future really holds for the world’s leading social media network:
Sam Fenton-Elstone, Head of Media:
Facebook will become…..the king of mobile advertising
I don’t have a lot of time for the latest Princeton research. It’s an interesting model to use – comparing the infectious spread of social media to a disease – as the spread of social media can, on the face of it, mirror that of a virus. However there is no way we are going to see such a rapid decline in users. 80% drop off just isn’t going to happen.
Facebook has evolved. The way people use it has evolved. These days I mostly access Facebook via my mobile and so do many others. This change in behaviour has enabled Facebook to grab a large slice of mobile ad spend – 16% in fact. From an advertiser’s perspective, Facebook is hard to beat if you want to reach users directly, across devices.
FBX, the Facebook exchange has also opened up the platform to a large proportion of ROI hungry advertisers enabling popular retargeting strategies to be delivered on the site where people spend most of their time online – just under 8 hours per month! Facebook is a huge success and here to stay and I for one am delighted about that. Happy Birthday Facebook.
Adam Skalak, Head of Natural Search:
Facebook will become……a search engine to rival Google
Our annual ‘Mobile Phone Operating System Infographic’ is now live and reveals the true impact of Android’s recent meteoric growth, as it now has twice as many global users as Apple’s iOS.
The data shows that 43% of mobile phone owners now use market leader, Android, compared to just 22% who use iOS, the market number two. What’s more, Android’s market share has grown by 21 percentage points since Dec 2011 alone (rising from 22% to 43% of all global mobile owners). Click here to see the full size image.
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- Wired Sussex
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