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You are probably familiar with Google Search – 86% of UK Internet users use it. But do you know about Google Search Console, the essential tool complementary to Google Analytics?

Today we are going to review the tool’s main features and explain why it’s essential for monitoring your website’s performance. Let's go!

What is Google Search Console?

Google Search Console is a free tool offered by Google to help website owners monitor, maintain and spot problems with their site's presence in Google SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

For optimal monitoring, we recommend consulting the tool regularly (or failing that, subscribing to follow-up emails) so you can react quickly in the event of a problem.

How to configure Google Search Console

Sites do not automatically connect to Google Search Console. You need to have a Google or Google Workspace account to link your site. The two types of registration are:

  • Domain property – This allows you to track your entire domain and subdomain variations
  • URL-prefix property – This works by specifying the start of a URL. Any URLs that begin with that prefix are then included in the property.

Once your domain has been added to Google Search Console, you need to prove that it belongs to you. There are several options available. You can:

  • Go through your site’s HTML file (this requires access to your website’s source code)
  • Change the DNS settings on your domain host account
  • Use Google Tag Manager or Google Analytics
  • Add a verification HTML tag to the <head> section of your homepage

How to link Google Analytics and Google Search Console

To further the analysis of your SEO data, it is also possible to connect Google Search Console to Google Analytics. It’s quite simple to do. Simply open your Google Analytics account, go to “Admin” and in the “property” table, click on “property settings”. Once there, go to “Search Console”, click on “Adjust Search Console”, then add and save the relevant property.

As a reminder, the main difference between Google Analytics and Google Search Console is the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) they track: Google Analytics tracks your site’s traffic and the behaviour of visitors, while Google Search Console tracks the positioning of your site and any errors.

Screenshot of Google Search Console

Top 5 Google Search Console features


Track page and query performance

The main feature of Google Search Console is tracking your main pages and keywords, to detect which perform best in SERPs. This happens directly in the “Search Results” section, where you have four KPIs:

  • Clicks, which totals how many users click through to your website
  • Impressions, which aggregates the number of times users see your URL in Google Search
  • CTR (Click-Through Rate), which is calculated by dividing clicks by impressions
  • Average position, which, as the name suggests, is the average position of your website in SERPs. 

That's not all: in addition to this "summary" you can also refine your search based on:

  • Queries, which compiles the queries most searched by Internet users 
  • Pages, which groups the pages that appear most often in SERPs
  • Country, which details where organic users come from
  • Devices, which shows the technologies people use to arrive at your website
  • Appearance in search results, which lets you know if the result presented to the user was enriched or not
  • Date, which summarises the site's organic performance by date
Search Results Screenshot

Submit a URL for indexing

Google Search Console allows you to check if a page is indexed by Google, and, if not, crawl the URL for indexing.

To access this feature, simply copy/paste the relevant link into the search bar at the top of the page and press enter. Once the URL has been parsed, you can:

  • Test the URL live, to see how Google rates your page
  • Make sure your page is mobile-friendly and free from structured data errors
  • Request indexing

Indexing requests are limited to ten per day. If you create and submit an XML sitemap (use the sitemap section) you can list as many pages as you like.

URL inspection screenshot

Check the correct indexing/crawling of the pages

There is another way to check whether your pages are correctly indexed: the Search Console coverage report. This will help you better understand coverage issues and whether a page is in the index. There are 4 pieces of information here:

  • Valid: the pages concerned are properly indexed by Google
  • Valid with warnings: the pages concerned are indexed but they encounter problems (for example, a page is indexed but is blocked by a robots.txt file)
  • Error: the affected page is not indexed because it has errors
  • Excluded: the pages are not indexed because of a specific instruction, like your sitemap.xml file

Common errors in the coverage report include:

  • URL not found (404)
  • Server error (5xx)
  • Detected but not indexed: the URL in question is known to Google but has not been crawled yet
  • Crawled but not indexed: the page has been crawled by Google robots but has not been indexed (it may be in the future)
  • The URL is blocked by your robots.txt file
  • URL designated “noindex”: the URL in question has a “noindex” direction, which blocks the indexing of the page

A site with a large number of errors and excluded pages may have indexability or quality problems. It will therefore be necessary to investigate further to see what is affecting your crawl budget.

Google Search Console Indexed Pages Screenshot

Check if your site is optimised for mobile browsing

With Google’s mobile-first update, it is essential that your site is optimised for mobile devices. Fortunately, Google Search Console can help you identify any errors that users may encounter.

To check this, head to the “Mobile Usability” section. There you will find any errors listed by Google. Common errors include "clickable elements are too close together" or "text too small".

Note that since Google’s Core Web Vitals update, you can also find out if your URLs are fast enough for mobile and desktop users. To do this, simply head to the “Core Web Vitals” tab.

Mobile usability on Google Search Console

Find out if you have received a penalty

Does your website no longer appear in Google Search? Have you noticed a sudden and dramatic drop in traffic? Then it’s possible that Google has imposed a penalty, or “manual action”, against your site.

To check, go to the “Manual actions” tab in Google Search Console. If a green tick appears, everything is fine (and the problem is elsewhere). If you see an error, go through the information provided and correct it as soon as possible.

Most penalties are now algorithmic and don’t show in Google Search Console. Read our blog about Google’s Helpful Content Update to learn more.

Manual Action screenshot

Conclusion

Google Search Console is a powerful tool. It is essential for any site owner to understand how their site is performing in search results and is one of the rare places to actually see the search queries your site pages are found by. It allows you to properly monitor your SEO strategy as well as identify errors that could cost you traffic and ranking opportunities.

Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates, or get in touch for more information about how to improve your SEO, paid or content marketing activities. 

Netflix is getting a new ad-supported subscription tier from November. This new lower priced tier comes after Netflix recorded a decline in subscribers for the first time in a decade.

The company has said it won’t be advertising to children or promoting cryptocurrency, gambling or political messages. They have also said that advertising will be limited to 4 minutes per hour and displayed in a pre-roll format.

What does Netflix hope to achieve?

By adding an ad-based subscription tier, Netflix is following in the footsteps of Hulu, HBO and Amazon. The company hopes to tap into a new market of viewers, broaden its pricing strategy and increase ARPU.

ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) is a metric used to calculate how much money a company makes from each viewer. This can be increased in a couple of ways, including charging a higher price for subscriptions, lowering costs and introducing additional revenue channels, such as advertising.

Man eating popcorn watching Netflix

What are the benefits of advertising on Netflix?

Reach

There are multiple benefits for advertisers on Netflix. The first is Netflix’s huge reach. The company currently has over 220 million subscribers worldwide. What's more, the vast majority of subscribers share their accounts with family and friends.

Attention

Just like advertising in cinemas, advertisers enjoy the undivided attention of Netflix viewers. This means advertisers can spend less time focusing on how to hold someone's attention and more time on messaging.

Prestige

Netflix is a household name. So much so that the name of the company is now a verb – you don't watch Netflix, you Netflix. This incredible brand power means businesses that advertise on the platform can easily establish brand trust and authority, crucial for securing return on investment.

Data

Netflix has been around for a number of years but is only now revealing audience data. This rich supply of first-hand data will provide meaningful insights for the brands using its platform.

Conclusion

As an industry leader, Netflix ads have the potential to scale marketing efforts and provide a lucrative channel for marketers. However, as this new subscription tier is mainly for price-conscious viewers, marketers will need to be sure it’s right for their brand and target audience.

Get in touch with our team for more information about how to improve your SEO, paid or content marketing activities. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.

 

Google releases updates several times a year. Each update is designed to improve Google’s search algorithm to help users find content faster. But very occasionally, Google releases an update specifically designed to undo the effects of SEO – or, to be more specific, black hat SEO.

This latest revamp is called the Helpful Content Update. It is meant to encourage webmasters to move away from search-focused content and focus more on the user.

For years, copywriters fixated on driving traffic to their website have written content to rank on search engines rather deliver useful or informative content to visitors. This has led to an era of duplicate, low-quality blogs and articles.

Google is now on a mission to purge the Internet, and its search results, of this content to make their SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) more relevant.

What is helpful content?


Helpful content, or what Google terms “people-first” content, is anything designed to meet the expectations of visitors. It is at odds with “search-first” content, which is written for the sole purposes of ranking on search engines.

Google classes content as “helpful” if it meets the following criteria:

  • It is relevant to your website or business.
  • It matches your audience, their interests and expectations.
  • It demonstrates first-hand experience or in-depth knowledge of a particular subject.

Likewise, Google will penalise your content if it is:

  • Primarily geared towards search engines
  • Highly automated
  • Irrelevant to your niche or audience
  • Written because a topic is trending

Still unsure?


If you’re still unsure about what constitutes helpful content, put yourself in the place of another business or service provider. We like to use the example of a florist.

Let’s say we have a client who runs a floristry business. They are looking to attract more customers to their website so they start writing about as many plant-related topics as possible. This strategy seems reasonable at first. After all, florists know a thing or two about flowers. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right approach.

First of all, not all plant-related subjects are relevant to a florist’s expertise or audience. Readers won’t visit a floristry website to learn about gardening or growing plants. Second, writing about broad topics dilutes your brand’s E-A-T (Expertise, Authority and Trust). You are much more likely to create content that ranks well by focusing on the things you know and exploring subjects germane to your business, brand and followers.

What to do if the update affects your website


Google’s Helpful Content Update works by crawling your site and categorising all of your content into two groups: helpful and unhelpful. Sites with significantly high levels of unhelpful content will be labelled as such and then any content – not just the low-value content – will perform worse in organic search.

Because the update uses a site-wide signal, it is important that websites affected by the new classifier take immediate action to remove or update any unhelpful content. Websites affected by the update should also keep in mind that as Google’s classification process is automated, it could take several months for their site to return to pre-update performance levels.

To identify the content that’s causing you issues, use the criteria we outlined above to evaluate your copy and blogs. Ask yourself if your content genuinely answers the questions you cover and if those queries are relevant to your audience. Using Google Analytics, look for pages with high bounce rates or very low on-page time. Be mindful that these metrics don’t always indicate low value. Well-structured content can direct users to the right information quickly.

What does good content look like?


Above all, good content is unique and answers a specific question or need. Proper online content should also be well sourced, clear and concise, and grammatically correct. Use the following points to craft your content.

Accuracy

If you’re not sure about a date, statistic or fact, double check it to make sure your content is accurate and up to date. Getting things wrong will not only make your content less valuable but affect how trustworthy your brand looks to potential customers.

Freshness

Don’t forget about published content. If you cite a study or cover a subject that’s constantly evolving, make sure your content evolves too.

Insight

Evaluate how users interact with your content. Are searchers finding the answers they need, or are they exiting the page and looking elsewhere? If your content doesn’t explore a topic in enough depth, go deeper, covering all the points they need and anticipating their next search.

On-page and technical SEO

Don’t forget about user experience. Size images properly so pages load quickly, make sure all of your on-page elements are responsive, and use descriptive headings and alt-tags to help users navigate each page.

What does the future hold?


Google's Helpful Content Update launched on August 25th. It will take about two weeks to fully roll out. Donal Langan, Head of SEO at Bell Digital Marketing, had this to say:

"While it isn't ground breaking that Google’s latest algorithm update is encouraging original, relevant, quality online content, the early reports suggest it has not had a big impact on website ranking as yet. However, Danny Sullivan from Google has suggested that this is a continuing effort that will continue to be refined and become a bigger factor."

"At the moment, it makes sense to review your site content and improve it, because it is likely that future algorithm updates will have a greater impact in this area. Quality, Originality, and Relevance to your audience is never a bad tactic."

Get in touch with our team for more information about how to improve your SEO, paid or content marketing activities. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.

 
 

 

From Google core updates to viral trends on TikTok, the digital marketing landscape is always evolving. Read our latest round-up to stay ahead of the game and learn what’s sparking conversation online.

Organic search

Google tests new featured snippet layout

Normally Google only shows one source or site in its coveted “position zero” slot. But for the past month or so,  Google has been testing new layouts for its featured snippet listing, sometimes displaying up to four featured snippets for a single search.

Google has very occasionally shown “multifaceted featured snippets” since 2018. But this new testing indicates that Google may be planning to update the featured snippet, replacing its highly sought-after position zero with something more versatile.

This is important news for site owners and SEOs as changing the design of the featured snippet could lead to fewer click throughs and less organic traffic.

Google’s People Also Ask feature returns to normal

Google’s People Also Ask feature is a rich snippet that answers questions related to the user’s search query. It was first introduced in February 2018 and is a favourite among content marketers.

Earlier this month, digital marketers noticed that the People Also Ask feature was turning up in fewer results pages. The exact reason behind the change remains unknown. But according to RankRanger, Google has now returned the snippet to its original frequency.

Paid search

Google introduces four new Performance Max features

Google is rolling out four new features for Performance Max campaigns. The new features are designed to help advertisers diagnose problems and improve performance.

1) Data exclusions

Smart bidding uses conversion data to help advertisers meet their targets. Google’s new feature attempts to resolve issues caused by inaccurate conversion tracking by giving users the option to exclude certain dates.

2) Seasonal adjustments

Google’s new seasonal adjustments tool allows advertisers to modify their bid strategy when they expect a short-lived but significant change in conversion. 

3) Explanations 

The explanation feature is designed to help advertisers identify performance fluctuations and diagnose issues. It also offers recommendations for improving ad performance.

4) Optimisation score 

Google’s optimisation score gauges performance. It allows advertisers to see where their campaigns can be improved and provide recommendations for driving better results.

Technical SEO

Ahrefs suggests almost half of clicks go to hidden terms

Most SEOs trust the accuracy of Google Search Console (GSC). After all, the data comes directly from Google. However, researchers at Ahrefs have announced that you may not be able to trust the platform’s keyword data as much as previously thought. In fact, Patrick Stox, Product Advisor & Technical SEO at Ahrefs, argues you may be seeing less than half of all the keywords driving clicks to your website.

If you’re worried about how much data is missing from your own site, the easiest way to see how many clicks Google isn’t showing you is to use the GSC connector in Google Data Studio. Patrick Stox has made a report in Data Studio that you can replicate.

 

Get in touch with our team for more information about how to improve your SEO, paid or content marketing activities. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.

With brand awareness cited as a top priority among marketers, and over 3.8 billion social media users online, building a consistent corporate brand across social media is a must in today's digital economy.

What is brand consistency?


If you’ve worked tirelessly to cultivate the perfect brand, you’ll want it to be recognised far and wide. But in order for consumers to know who you are and what you stand for, you need to be consistent.

Brand consistency refers to how a business incorporates its core values and brand identity into its messaging and delivers “on brand” marketing materials across all channels and touchpoints.

Why is brand consistency important?


The biggest benefit of brand consistency is brand recognition. This allows an organisation to foster a strong association between its core messages and visual identity and set itself apart from the competition. Other advantages of brand consistency include:

  • More control over brand perception
  • Greater trust and brand loyalty

What should you do before launching a corporate social media account?

Define your brand and its goals

Use simple, concise language to work out what it is you want to achieve. If your brand has nicknames or variations, use the same one across all social platforms. It takes nine visits on average for someone to make a purchase – make sure it's the same name on each visit!

Know your target audience

Knowing your target audience is crucial for creating social media content that generates followers. Use a profile of your target audience to inform colour choice, tone and which platforms you use.

Perform a social media audit

If you already have social media, assess your previous content, engagement and what is and isn't working. Take these learnings to create content that performs better, optimising for when and how often you post.

Decide which platforms to focus on

If you're just starting out, choose which social media platforms you want to focus on. Don't spread yourself too thin. It's far better to have one account that aces its brand elements than three half-hearted ones.

How to build a consistent corporate brand on social media


It's worth emphasising that building a consistent brand is a process. You won't see drastic engagement or sales growth overnight. But it's worth the wait...

Much of brand consistency can be split into two basic categories: imagery and written content.

Imagery

This is arguably the most important aspect of your branding. This is because humans are highly visual and our brains are better at retaining visual information. The following tips are relevant for profile pictures, header images, event pages, social media posts, graphics and adverts, as well as your website, email marketing and blog.

Colour palette

Use a consistent colour palette across your images, graphics and videos so users  recognise your brand when they scroll past your content. Colour reflects emotion and purpose, so think carefully about how you want users to feel when they see your posts.

Photographs

Take your own photographs rather than using stock imagery. This will help you maintain a consistent style.

Watermarks

Use a watermark or logo on any images you publish to prevent other people from repurposing your content and diluting your brand identity.

Written content

Maintaining a consistent brand voice is essential on social media. To do this, consider your existing customers and the customer personas you wish to target. Are they professional, young, female, or all three? This will greatly impact the language and tone of your brand messaging.

If your social channels are managed by more than one person, it's worth creating a brand guideline. Anyone who speaks on behalf of the brand can then refer to it and use the same language and tone of voice. Include your brand persona, personality traits, specific vocabulary (such as if you use the word client or customer), and any company phrases. You should also define:

  • Tone - Is it familiar, direct or humble?
  • Language - Is it colloquial, complex or niche?
  • Purpose - Is it your brand's goal to sell, educate or entertain?

Content Repurposing


If you have more than one social media channel, an effective way to successfully build brand awareness across your socials is to repurpose content. As each platform is built differently, and each platform's audience differs, the way people engage with content will also differ. You therefore need to align your content and profiles with each platform's best practices.

In essence, this means taking snippets of content, rewriting the same information, or marginally altering an image or graphics so users recognise your brand. For example, if you create an extended IGTV video, you can combine snippets into a shorter video for TikTok, or create a slideshow for Facebook or Twitter accompanied by relevant text. See our Northumbria University campaign below.

Instagram post on a smartphone
Twitter post on a tablet device
Social media post

Four tips for acing your social media marketing efforts

 

  1. Talk like a human. Use conversational dialogue rather than corporate. This helps to make your brand more relatable and personal.
  2. Interact with your following. Reply to messages and comments to create an authentic two-way relationship that builds trust.
  3. Post relevant content that interests your target audience. Posting content that doesn't interest your followers will eventually lead to subscriber attrition.
  4. Post frequently. Draw up a social media schedule and stick to it. If you're not visible, you're not building brand recognition.

If you implement these actions on social media, you'll improve consistency and awareness, and demonstrate your brand personality, all of which will help you connect with your target audience. This strategy can be applied to all online channels, including your website, blog and email marketing.

To enquire about content strategy or social mediaget in touch with our team.

 

This article explains why so many businesses are embracing influencer marketing and how it can help you engage audiences, create new content and reach potential customers.

What is influencer marketing?


Simply put, an influencer is someone who has the ability to influence the decisions of a significant number of people, often within a niche. They are trusted by their following as an expert in their field and influence consumer decisions.

Influencer marketing campaigns take place on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, and are often seen as a branch of social media marketing. 

The benefits of influencer marketing

1. Increased brand awareness

Brand awareness is one of the main motivations behind working with influencers. 

When an influencer posts content on social media, their users are exposed to your products and services, expanding your reach within the market. This can help users develop a deeper connection with your brand.

2. Builds trust and credibility

An influencer's promotion of your brand or product signifies their approval and endorsement; your brand is relevant and should be followed. This is critical in today's cynical world.

According to a Micro Biz Mag study, 'people are more than twice as likely to trust people they follow on social media to give an honest review of a product than they are to trust the website of the company selling the product.'

3. Visibility and reach 

Influencers have thousands of followers, if not millions. And if you work with the right set of middle and macro influencers, your campaign can reach a lot of people. What’s more, an influencer whose niche perfectly aligns with yours will get your content in front of an audience that is already engaged and open to making a purchase.

4. Reach digital natives

Influencer marketing offers excellent access to Millenials and Gen Z. These profitable demographics live in a digital-first world and are highly influenced by, and open to, social media and influencer marketing within their purchasing process and brand relationships. A staggering 85% of these audiences are 'highly open' to information regarding specific products on social platforms.

5. Content strategy

If you're feeling stuck for content ideas, or need a fresh approach, influencer marketing may be just the solution!

Today many influencers are experienced and talented content creators, with an excellent knowledge of their field, their following and what users respond to. By partnering with influencers, you can create new content that better reflects your brand and the needs of your audience. 

6. Purchasing decisions and sales

Influencers and social media impact consumers at every stage of the sales funnel, from lead generation to purchase. Here's why:

  • Social media is an easily accessible platform.
  • Consumers are increasingly looking to influencers for inspiration on what products to purchase. 
  • Consumers are increasingly looking to social media to validate products and services. 
  • Consumers are eager to try new products promoted by their favourite influencers.

According to studies, 60% of YouTube subscribers follow the advice of their favourite YouTubers on what products to buy, and almost 40% of Twitter users admit they've made purchases as a direct result of influencer tweets. 

To learn more about how to improve your content strategy to increase traffic through your sales funnel, click here.

7. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

Inbound links indicate to search engines that your content is relevant and trustworthy. Influencer marketing campaigns can help you build high-quality links, boosting your overall rankings and online visibility.

Speak to our dedicated SEO team to learn how you can improve your business' SEO and drive traffic. 

8. Cost and return on investment

Influencer marketing has excellent ROIs in comparison to other forms of marketing, especially when employing smaller influencers with lower fees and higher engagement rates.

Engaging in longer-term partnerships with influencers rather than one-off campaigns, aside from progressing your credibility and brand awareness, can also save you time and money.

What are the risks of influencer marketing?


If you've gotten this far and your interest is piqued, you may now be wondering, but what are the risks? Here are some of the most common.

Make sure the influencer has a good reputation

If an influencer has a controversial or negative reputation, or has posted offensive or inappropriate content on social media, this will have ramifications for your brand. 

At Bell, we use Kolsquare's influencer platform, host to 2 million influencers across 180 countries, to monitor and carefully select the appropriate influencers for each brand and campaign. This extensive resource allows us to anticipate any potential issues and provides in-depth influencer profiles.

P.S. It's also good practice to ensure that the influencer has an authentic connection to your brand, genuinely endorses you and your products, and that there are no conflicts of interest.

Avoid 'serial brand influencers'

As part of the screening process to select an influencer, research their collaboration history to avoid influencers who have been involved in too many partnerships. A serial brand influencer risks the credibility of your campaign and may not have your best interests at heart.

Sign a contract

This may seem obvious, but it always bears repeating! Influencers can fall short of their promises and disrupt a campaign by:

  • Delaying or missing a publication date
  • Posting unapproved or misleading content
  • Cancelling a campaign at the last minute

Protect yourself with a contract. 

What is the future of influencer marketing?


When it comes to digital marketing, we're all looking to the future and trying our best to keep on top of the latest trends. Here are some we predict.

Larger brands will drop influencers

Experts have predicted that larger brands will be more likely to drop influencers, but smaller brands will continue to favour them for growth and exposure.

Brands will favour smaller influencers

There are several tiers of influencer, including nano, micro, macro and mega. Many brands are already shifting to favour the smaller influencers over the larger. Here's a few reasons why:

  • Brands have a wider pool to choose from. Over the pandemic countless lower tiered influencers sprung up. 
  • Smaller, niche influencers offer brands a more targeted audience.
  • Studies have shown that influencers with fewer than 25,000 social media followers achieve the highest engagement rates. 

Shift in focus

During the pandemic there was a noticeable shift away from excessive, glamorous parties to focus on health, wellness, fitness and beauty. This is likely to continue in the future, with influencers promoting more meaningful, mindful messages to their following. 

Certain platforms favoured

This will shift as social networks come and go. But the current projection is that influencer content will continue to grow on Instagram and TikTok, while Facebook and YouTube shrink. This is because promotional content can feel less genuine, which current consumers reject more easily. 

Check out our blog to keep on top of other trends.


Now you know how influencer marketing can grow your business, what's your next move? Talk to our social media and influencer marketing experts at Bell for a tailored content strategy.

 
 
 
 

Instagram is a constantly evolving platform. Regularly, it offers new features to its users. Here are the latest developments of the platform in 2021.

#1 Update on your friends' content

For a few months now, many users have been complaining about the evolution of the Instagram algorithm. You may have noticed that you don't see your friends posts anymore? Instagram is now about to test a feature on your friends’ content. The platform will display suggestions within the posts of the accounts you follow. Accounts that are lucky enough to test this feature will be able to add themes to their interests. This will allow suggestions to be displayed on their feed. This test will only be available in English-speaking countries for the time being.

#2 Visual search for Instagram shopping

Instagram has announced that it wants to add visual search to shopping on the social network. Therefore, it will soon be possible to find an item for sale on Instagram by taking a photo of it. This is a very handy feature, which you may have already seen on sites like AliExpress and Pinterest.

#3 A step forward for more inclusiveness

With the evolution of society and recent talks about inclusivity, Instagram launched a dedicated section on account profiles to add pronouns, so users will be able to specify their gender identity and display the pronoun they want to be referred to. The new field to be filled in (after the name and before the nickname and bio) is optional, and the user can decide whether their pronouns appear on their public profile or for their followers only. The new feature allows users to share up to four pronouns selected from a pre-approved list of common pronouns including she, he, they, ze and others.

#4 The "link" sticker that redirects to a site

The days when you had to have at least 10,000 followers to be able to redirect to a website will soon be over. Since last April, Instagram has been testing a "link" widget. This feature is one of the most anticipated by Instagram users.

#5 Instagram tests the stories vertical scroll

Today, stories are read as a kind of carousel by tapping on the right to go to the next story. Instagram is working on a prototype that allows stories to scroll vertically, up and down. This will look surprisingly like its competitor TikTok.

#6 Live videos with up to 4 people arrive

Used to Instagram calls with up to two people? Instagram has now increased the number of participants to four accounts introducing Live Rooms, allowing more people to get involved.

#7 Experimenting with automatic stories captioning

Testing a new sticker: "closed captions" that automatically generates a caption in stories. The text appears on the screen as the speech unfolds. A bit like the widget for song lyrics, but here the caption will be generated directly from your voice.

If you need advice on how to optimise your posts and increase the reach of your organic or paid social media content, don't hesitate to get in touch. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.

Twitter is now back to normal after users across the world experienced disruptions on Wednesday morning. These issues caused different elements to stop working, including being unable to sign in or users who were able to access the platform couldn’t use certain functions such as the search and notification features.

During the six-hour outage, TweetDeck experienced similar issues, which caused major problems for digital marketers. The Twitter support page tweeted on Wednesday afternoon to confirm that the issue had been fixed, but they have failed to address what caused the outages.

Communication Interruptions

For many people, Twitter being down for a few hours may not seem like a big deal. However, as digital marketers, Twitter is a vital communication platform which we rely on to keep up-to-date with industry news and developments.

As an SEO professional, I use Twitter as a source for live updates and alerts about the SEO tools on which I rely on a daily basis as well as keeping up to date with new Google updates and industry news.

Tweetdeck For Digital Marketing

As well as being unable to keep up with live industry updates, the outage caused many other disruptions for marketers.

TweetDeck, when running well, is a great tool used for monitoring activity on multiple accounts and allows users and brands to schedule tweets to post at specified times. However, there were reports of images and videos disappearing from these scheduled posts. This can be very problematic for businesses as it disrupts their marketing which can, in turn, create issues for their campaigns, promotions and overall sales.

So, What Can We Take From This?

Our lives have become engrossed with online communication platforms that we couldn’t imagine life without them. When an outage like this happens, it reminds us how heavily we rely on social media. Twitter have experienced several outages over the last few months that lasted a maximum of an hour. However, this month’s one caused issues for about six hours, raising concerns as to how much we should, or shouldn’t, depend on social media.

If Twitter keeps experiencing outages, will people seek a more reliable source? Will a new platform arise to take its place?

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Ad formats for your Facebook campaigns

The best way to get the most out of Facebook advertising starts with high-quality creatives. However, in practice, a creative can perform differently depending on your ad format, so it’s important to choose the right one for your campaign’s objective.
Facebook offers a plethora of ad formats and once you start playing around with them, you will quickly learn that some are more performant than others, depending on your different objectives. Here, we’ll mainly talk about the ad formats that are most useful for driving traffic and conversions for your website rather than for increasing Facebook likes and post engagement.

Simple Image assets

The easiest and probably most prevalent ad formats are Image and Carousel ads. These formats are simple to use because you only need images, titles, descriptions and links. One Image Ad shouldn’t take you more than two minutes to create, whereas Carousel ads are essentially multiple Image Ads in one and would take slightly longer. Both of these are good for achieving objectives such as generating traffic, leads and conversions for your website.

Video or GIF assets

The go-to format would be simple Video Ads. This format is just as easy to use as Image Ads and is one of the best performing formats on Facebook. Videos used should ideally be short in length (under 10 seconds), with good rhythm and limited text. Too much text in a Video or GIF could lead to your ad being served less by Facebook. With Video Ads, you can also choose to use formats such as Carousel or Stories, the latter being a placement that is fast-growing on Facebook and has already proven itself on Instagram too. The reason that you might consider this as an ad format, is that you can use it as your only placement. It is always important to make a video that has the correct specs, which in this case would be portrait. We have discovered that Video Ads are best at generating conversions.

Different types of creative assets

If you have different types of creative assets, it’s a good idea to try different ad formats at the same time, within the same ad set. On Facebook, it is always good to test different formats to see which is most effective. Having both Image and Video Ads running in one ad set, at the same time, can be an excellent way to see what is best for your business and for your campaign’s objective.

More complex ad formats

If you’re not afraid of using more complex ad formats, then try Collection or Instant Experience Ads. These formats are good if you have multiple products or assets to promote. They offer more customisations with Title & CTA positions and formatting. There are three templates that you can choose from, or alternatively, do it yourself with a custom instant experience. This ad format essentially creates a mini-website for you, which usually looks better than your typical ad. However, due to this, it takes more than one click to get to your website, which can cause high bounce rates, even before the prospect reaches a landing page. We have often noticed that these ad formats are great for engagement but less so for conversion-focused activity.

Make sure to test your ad formats

If you have the assets, we encourage you to test every ad format you possibly can. Here at ESV, we provide our clients with catered insights, built through previous experience, whilst always encouraging them to test new formats and placements. Something that would not work for a certain business could provide excellent results for another. Moreover, giants such as Facebook and Instagram are constantly tweaking how their platforms work and it is very likely that a format that never worked out for you in the past could end up working six months later.

Do you need advice on which format to choose for your paid social campaigns? Get in touch through the contact form below and our experts will be in touch.

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