TWITTER’S 280 CHARACTERS, WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR BRANDS?

You may have noticed recently, social media network Twitter has allowed all users to write up to 280 characters in a tweet, doubling the original 140 character limit. This was an intriguing move from Twitter, given that it has built its brand on users sharing content in this bitesize form.

Users’ reaction to this move has been mixed, with a lot of people mentioning the fact the most requested feature – to be able to edit tweets – has been ignored and has instead been replaced with a feature no one has asked for. You can see in this article that people were quick to utilise the 280 characters to express their desire for an ‘edit’ button.

“All we wanted was an edit button”

Upon announcing the expanded limit, Twitter rolled out the update to a select few users for a trial period, before rolling it out to the masses. Their findings helped them justify the update and it is now here to stay. Here is what Twitter had to say when it was eventually rolled out to everyone last week:

Tweeting made easier.

The justification for the update are all fair – we have all at some point had to try and make some grammatical sin when we’ve hit the character limit. Also, when you are curating content, trying to stick to the 116 character limit is always a challenge. Twitter released their findings here:

Giving you more characters to express yourself

Now you are probably wondering, as a B2B marketer, how you can best utilise the 280 characters to take your Twitter game to the next level. There are a few things you can do, but you also have to be wary of how it could damage your brand, if not done right.

It is probably not the best idea to try to reach the 280 character limit in every single tweet. Not only does this create more work for yourself, but this could actually be quite damaging to your brand. With Twitter content being produced in a greater volume and regularity, there is so much content being shared on people’s feeds. Twitter recently shifted to an algorithmic feed, rather than a chronological one (unless you use Tweetdeck) meaning that users will only see content from people they are regularly interacting with. If your tweets are constantly hitting the 280 limit, users may not pay attention to the whole tweet and potentially skip past it. This will happen more regularly as more users start to use the expanded tweet limit.

Choose your use of the limit carefully. For many of the reasons above, you should try to avoid bombarding your followers with 280 character tweets, but it can also be very useful if used sparingly and with good intent. If you want to see some good and bad ways that brands have used the limit so far, this list will give you all the examples you need:

Other than being careful with your use of the new limit, I think it is a fantastic way for brands to expand the way they communicate their messages to their followers. Ensure your content is still focused and relevant, but at least now you will have more flexibility with the content you post.

If you would like to have a chat with us about how your brand can best utilise social channels, and the new 280 Twitter limit, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

INBOUND 17: ‘DON’T EMBRACE THE FUTURE, CHARGE INTO IT.’

After a motivational and inspirational day one at Inbound 2017, I had high hopes for day two. Particularly since it began with a keynote Q&A from Michelle Obama.

Michelle Obama was everything I hoped she’d be: funny, inspirational, strong and emotive. However (and I will come back to her), from a business perspective, it was Bozoma Saint John (Uber’s Chief Brand Officer) and Larry Kim (Wordstream founder and Mobile Monkey CEO) who stole the show for me.

There’s been a common theme throughout the conference. Modern marketing must be emotive and original. Today was no different.

Here’s my Inbound 2017 day two highlights:

Brands are people. They have personalities, perspectives, feelings and a future’ – Bozoma Saint John, Uber

“I want to make sure that my existence here changes the course for the future of diversity and inclusion.” A strong start from the Chief Brand Officer of Uber! She’s at the top of the game. Her CV (including Apple and PepsiCo) speaks for itself. And her latest task is turning Uber into a brand that people love as much as Apple.

She says that she has begun that by starting with human emotion. ‘It’s what drives us to be our best selves’, she said. It’s what drives our decision-making. Brands that excel make us feel something, like empowerment or inspiration. She wants Uber to become the most dependable way to take customers home.

Her message is powerful but simple: ‘As a brand marketer, my goal is to feel a commonality with an audience.

‘98% of marketing efforts go nowhere’ – Larry Kim, Mobile Monkey

My second highlight was the session with Larry Kim, founder of Wordstream and current CEO of Mobile Monkey. His session was about getting great results across every marketing channel, or as he called it, ‘unicorn marketing’.

He began with a story about a test he did last year. He wrote 300 blog posts and then measured them. Only eight performed well (he called these ‘unicorns’), the others were ‘donkeys’. These eight stories generated over 60% of his overall traffic.

Larry Kim’s story had a purpose. He wanted to showcase that when you find a ‘unicorn’, you have to jump on board and row as fast as you can! Why? Because top performing content boosts engagement rates. Higher engagement rates mean lower cost per engagement on social channels (and improved visibility as social algorithms reward engaging content), more click-throughs and openings on email (which, in turn, positively effects spam filters), and better conversion rates. The message is clear – promote quality content.

So, what does he suggest? Find the top 3 campaigns and then rework them. If a piece of content did well on one medium, it would likely do well on another. Turn it into another piece of content on another channel (byline article, social post, video, infographic, etc.). Alternatively, do a follow-up story, which explores the topic in greater detail. Or, a webinar on the subject and, if the webinar goes well, rinse and repeat. His theory on ‘unicorn marketing’ is simple: less work, but better results.

As he said, ‘85% of the value of your marketing campaigns comes from 5% of the campaigns’.

‘A repeat of a winning campaign will always outperform a new campaign.’

People are exposed to adverts every 2.7 seconds they are awake’ – Jeff Rosenblum

Interruptive adverts no longer work the way they used to. People are exposed to ads every 2.7 seconds they are awake, and receive 5000 brand messages per day. It’s overload. Jeff Rosenblum spoke about the changing face of customer engagement. Spoiler alert – it’s been a common theme throughout this conference.

He discussed a neuroscience experiment called ‘repetition suppression’, which highlights how today’s audiences simply ‘turn off’ when repeatedly faced with a brand message. As the above stat shows, this is happening way too much.

What, then, is the solution? ‘Fighting friction is a better way’. This is when businesses focus on helping people fulfil their hopes, dreams and aspirations. ‘It’s about improving lives one small step at a time’. What he means is businesses shifting from transactional relationships to emotional ones.

He describes the benefits of this pretty nicely:

Emotional relationships are irrational in the most positive of ways. An emotional audience interacts with the brand like it’s their best friend, and this relationship produces the most irrational results.

This session hammered home, once more, the point about creating immersive stories. It isn’t about injecting products into the story. If you weren’t convinced and still think you should focus on ‘product, product and more product’:

‘Brands who focus on empowering people outperform the competition by 8x.

Here are a couple more quotes I related to:

People are numb to something that doesn’t break the rules’ – Brit Marling, actresses, writer and producer

‘Regular content marketing doesn’t always work. You need to learn how to stand out. Share what’s unique to your business’ – Garrett Moon, CoSchedule

‘Businesses who have lost their way communicate like zombies. What’s the most common zombie trait? Being indistinguishable from competitors and losing identity’ – Julie Lellis, Elon University

I’ll end my day two recap where I started: The incredible Michelle Obama.

I was so engrossed during her Q&A that I barely noticed the time. However, a few things stuck and I think us marketers can all learn some valuable lessons from her:

‘If you’re going to lead, lead with grace and compassion.’

‘Don’t embrace the future, charge into it.’

‘A dark time is probably the most important period of growth you’ll ever have.’

‘Understand that each failure and crushing blow only makes you stronger.’

‘Have exceptional empathy.’

‘Stop, breathe, think, and reflect.’

‘Be authentic and stay true to yourself.’

Stay tuned for day three tomorrow and check out our video recap for more highlights.

 

 

IS BING DIGITAL ADVERTISING GAINING GROUND ON GOOGLE?

The digital advertising space has become very competitive over the last few years. As more and more advertisers weigh in and Cost per Click’s’ (CPCs) are rising, marketers are looking for viable alternatives to the behemoth that is Google.

Bing Ads has emerged as an attractive contender for many who are looking for a high return on ad spend and comparatively low CPCs.

Here is a quick recap of how Bing Ads evolved(1): Microsoft was the last of the “big three” search engines (the two others being Google and Yahoo!) to develop its system for delivering PPC ads. Until the beginning of 2006, all of the ads displayed on Microsoft’s MSN Search engine were supplied by Overture (and later Yahoo!).

As search marketing grew, Microsoft began developing its system, MSN adCenter, for selling PPC advertisements directly to advertisers. As the system was phased in, MSN Search (now Bing) showed Yahoo! and adCenter advertising in its search results. In June 2006, the contract between Yahoo! and Microsoft expired and Microsoft was displaying only ads from adCenter until 2010.

In January 2010, Microsoft announced a deal in which it would take over the functional operation of Yahoo! Search, and set up a joint venture to sell advertising on both Yahoo! Search and Bing, known as the Microsoft Search Alliance. A complete transition of all Yahoo! sponsored ad clients to Microsoft adCenter occurred in October 2010.

On 10 September 2012 adCenter was renamed Bing Ads, and the Search Alliance renamed the Yahoo! Bing Network.

In April 2015, the Yahoo! partnership was modified; Yahoo! Search now only has to feature Bing results on the “majority” of desktop traffic. Additionally, Microsoft took over as the exclusive seller of ads delivered through Bing; Yahoo! now sells its ads through its in-house Gemini platform.

In September 2016 Comscore reported that Bing had surpassed 20 per cent market share in the UK, outpacing Google for growth, making it a force to be reckoned with for UK digital marketers (2).

Setting up campaigns on Bing used to be cumbersome and laborious, but that is a thing of the past now with the capability to easily and quickly import campaigns from Google AdWords. A word of warning though: not all campaign types offered on AdWords are also supported on Bing Ads, for example, Dynamic Search Ads or Smart Display campaigns. Remarketing lists can also not simply be shared between the two platforms. I have also found that daily budgets are not always imported correctly. Apart from these caveats, this functionality is a great time-saver.

When it comes to editing the campaigns once they have been imported, the latest version of Bing Ad Editor is also fast and intuitive to use. So even for the most task-rich, time-poor digital marketer, there are quick wins here, and a few hours spent copying your most profitable campaigns over to Bing could be a very shrewd investment.

 

Sources

(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bing_Ads#cite_note-tc-changes-14, accessed on 5 September 2017
(2) http://www.netimperative.com/2016/09/bing-gains-google-20-uk-market-share/, accessed on 5 September 2017

3 IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS FOR YOUR FIRST PPC CAMPAIGN

While Paid Per Click (PPC) might be sounding more fantastic by the minute — not so fast! If you think you’re ready to dive into the world of PPC, here are a few considerations to explore before you start:

1 – You need to know your product
To sell a product successfully you should know it well. Your landing page needs to reflect that knowledge. Your goal is to build trust with potential customers. If you don’t know your product well then how can you sell that product to others?

2 – Harvest local keywords
Keyword research should reflect the local culture of your target market. It is important to understand which words have the most positive association and are the most “clickable” in the given context and location. The best way is to capture actual search queries and turn those into effective keywords.

3 – Focus on the right metrics.
Lack of tracking or focusing on the wrong metrics can be detrimental to any campaign. Regardless of industry and business type, tracking, analysis and testing should always form a big part of the equation. Without these components, a PPC campaign can easily fail.

So, are you beginning to see how PPC is a viable marketing channel for your brand? Even if you’ve never done it before, throw caution to the wind and test it out in 2017.

If you are thinking about implementing a PPC campaign and aren’t sure of the best way to do so, drop us a line at hello@hitfirstbase.com and we’ll be happy to have a chat with you.