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Progressive Web Apps: What Do Marketers Need to Know? 0

Progressive Web Apps: What Do Marketers Need to Know?

sourced from: https://conversionxl.com/blog/progressive-web-apps/

Often, marketing creativity encounters technical limitations. A web page can load only so fast. UX is constrained by browsers. Cutting-edge solutions are accessible only to those with large budgets.

Native applications resolve some of these issues but bring their own baggage—development costs, platform irregularities, download requirements, update needs, and issues with search indexability.

Mobile sites get more visitors, but apps fare better for engagement and conversion rates:

comScore Mobile Metrix, U.S, Age 18+, June 2017

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) have the potential to combine mobile reach with native app engagement. But few marketers know what they’re getting into when they go down that path—or decide against it.

That ignorance is expensive. Decisions related to site redesigns are often the most expensive—and least reversible—that marketers make. Take Hertz: They’re now suing their marketing partner, Accenture, for $32 million after a botched site and app overhaul.

When it comes to redesigns, you may be the sole decision-maker. You may simply be a voice in the room. In any case, you need to see past the shiny objects in web design pitches and know how PWA technology will (or won’t) help you achieve your marketing goals. 

This post delivers baseline technical knowledge about PWAs and focuses on aspects—like UX, SEO, and analytics—that most affect marketing teams.   

What are PWAs?

Born out of the issues highlighted above, PWAs are—per Alex Russel, who coined the term— “websites that took all the right vitamins.”  Made possible by modern browsers, PWAs enable an app-like experience within a regular browser, while circumventing the pitfalls of native apps. 

In other words, PWAs try to combine the best of web and apps:

Lightning-fast loading speeds, without bulky app downloads and constant updates;Optimized indexability, without sacrificing the UX benefits of native apps;Deployable to all app marketplaces, without requiring different codebases;Extended reach via lower data-usage, without curbing performance;Enhanced accessibility through the elimination of downloads and app purchasing;Offline web browsing, web access to mobile hardware, linkability…

Gartner has predicted that PWAs will replace 50% of mobile apps by 2020. Several digital titans—Twitter, Forbes, Uber, Alibaba, AliExpress—have already switched to PWAs, and there’s a growing collection of case studies that show the positive effect of PWAs on marketing KPIs: conversions, revenue, time spent, engagement, re-engagement, leads, etc. 

Check out any of these sites on your mobile device to experience a PWA first-hand:

Order a Starbucks coffee.Play the 2048 game in your browser.Plan your journey with MakeMyTrip.Browse a fashionable ecommerce store (demo).

PWAs might seem like every digital marketer’s dream come true, but there are significant challenges, which we’ll get into shortly. First, however, let’s dive into what makes PWAs tick.

How do PWAs work?

The web is littered with re-worded explanations, so rather than spilling more ink, here’s one of the better ones:

A Progressive Web Application is a software application, written in the Web platform and running in the browser, that behaves like a cloud-delivered native application. 

It’s an application because it installs and runs code on the shopper’s device or computer, with more speed and capability than the “single-page JavaScript apps” of the past. 

It’s web because it’s written in the languages of the Web—HTML, CSS, and JavaScript—instead of in some domain-specific language or in a native framework captive to one platform. 

And it’s progressive because it lazy-loads itself, along with any relevant data and assets, as the user navigates around your store.

Are PWAs compatible with most browsers?

Modern browser support of features like push notifications and home-screen save is integral to PWAs. PWAs require browsers to support “service workers” (more below), which almost all modern browsers do. (Safari, frequently lagging behind, is often referred to as “the Internet Explorer of PWAs.”) 

But the lack of support for specific features doesn’t impede PWA use. Since PWAs are websites, they’ll still work in all browsers (just without all features). 

Why “service workers” are essential for PWAs

A website sending push notifications when you’re not interacting with your phone? Browsing the internet when you don’t have a connection? This (and more) is possible because of the service worker. But what is it? 

Matt Gaunt of Google defined the service worker:

A service worker is a script that your browser runs in the background, separate from a web page, opening the door to features that don’t need a web page or user interaction.

We all know how a website works—the codebase is stored on a server, and any person can access it via their browser by typing in the domain name or direct IP address. 

When it comes to PWAs, there’s an additional element: the service worker. It resides between the server and browser, adding a new layer of background functionality to mimic app-like features (e.g., push notifications for food-delivery status from a restaurant website). 

While traditional web browsing consists of direct user-to-server interaction, the service worker enables indirect interaction:

In essence, a service worker is a client-side JavaScript file that’s added to your codebase. (If you want a deeper, more technical explanation, check out this talk given by the Google Chrome Developers community.)

The magic—and limitations—of caching

The service worker is also a crucial element to PWA performance that depends on caching. PWAs give developers unprecedented control over what is and isn’t cached on the user’s device.  

There’s a caveat: On the first load, users won’t benefit from the “caching magic” that’s responsible for subsequent, blazing-fast load times. PWAs can serve a small shell document with inlined resources to deliver the impression of a fast first load, during which time the Service Worker is installed.

While this may slightly improve the first-contact experience, PWAs have yet to provide instantaneous speeds right off the bat. That’s where Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) come in. 

AMP for acquisition, PWAs for engagement

AMPs are lightweight HTML pages designed to load as fast as possible. (Here’s a good explainer video.) AMPs are used mainly for static pages (e.g., news sites) rather than the more dynamic pages found on, for example, ecommerce sites.

Google integrated AMP into its mobile search results in 2016, and pages using AMP are intrinsically prioritized in the search results, marked with an “AMP” badge:

For complex websites with many dynamic elements, you can combine PWA and AMP to get the best out of each platform. 

PWA enriches user experiences and engagement through features like push notifications, while AMP can be integrated on static pages like the homepage and blog posts.

Tokopedia—the biggest marketplace platform in Indonesia—built AMP versions of their top three organic landing page types: product, category, and trending. This created 3.6 million AMP pages for organic search, their biggest product-discovery funnel. The AMP pages then transitioned users to a PWA to ensure consistent speeds and a great UX.

Armed with an understanding of how PWAs work, let’s dive into the outcomes of deploying the technology.

The impact of PWAs on performance, UX, and accessibility

The performance benefit of a PWA

First impressions matter. And the first experience your visitors get with your site is neither design nor content. It’s the page-load time. The most polished user journey means nothing if you can’t get your visitors to the starting line. And on mobile, some 53% of visitors abandon a page that takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

PWAs scale down the weight of data requests to a fraction of their current level. PWA adopters commonly cite up to a 300% performance improvement. For sites that are already optimized for speed, this can lead to near-instant loading speeds, akin to those of native apps. 

Even without integrating AMP, PWAs help with the first page load by prioritizing the first meaningful paint and serving a light shell document with inlined resources. 

UX benefits of PWAs

Historically, native apps outperformed mobile websites in terms of user engagement. PWAs can close that gap with features previously reserved for native apps, like no reload when switching a page. (When designing a PWA, it’s recommended to proceed as if you were designing a native app, not a web page.)

PWAs even beat out native apps in a few places, like their elimination of app-install friction and decreasing web-to-app installs drop-offs. Below is an example of UX from a regular website (left) versus a PWA (right):

 

Here are seven other UX benefits:

1. Home-screen save

In an increasingly mobile-oriented environment, the most valuable digital real estate is a user’s home screen, previously owned almost exclusively by native apps. (Adding websites to your home screen, historically, has been a multi-step process. Chrome and other modern browsers now have a built-in feature for a one-tap home-screen save.)

A presence on the home screen puts your logo front-and-center and your site a click away. 

2. Push notifications

The service worker makes push notifications possible for your mobile website. Beyond the Rack achieved a 26% average increase in spend and 72% more time spent on their PWA from users visiting via push notifications. Carnival Cruise Line hit a 42% engagement rate with their push notifications. 

Launching marketing campaigns, informing about order progress, brand news—it’s a unique communication channel to help your brand become a part of your user’s every day (assuming you use that power wisely). 

3. Offline mode

“Offline mode” is not a fully native offline experience (though it could be made possible—at a great cost to UX). The service worker can override standard browser caching management with custom rules, and cache storage is independent of the remote server.

This means that, once your connection drops, continued browsing is possible through the service worker. Imagine you’re browsing your favorite clothing store while commuting on the London Underground or a rural area with spotty coverage.

When you hit the back button, rather than seeing a 404 error, the service worker delivers a cached page with the previously retrieved data. The offline mode is, effectively, a fail-safe.

(Technically, it’s even possible to checkout offline; however, the order would be processed after a connection is reestablished.)

4. Deployable to app stores

Having your app listed in app stores is valuable. It’s one reason why many businesses invest in (expensive) native app development for iOS and Android. PWAs can circumvent that need.

Thanks to technologies like Trusted Web Activity, which wraps a web tab into an application, you can convert any Progressive Web App into a native app within few hours. (There’s still a single codebase—the native app is partially a web view.)

It’s then possible to deploy it to both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store without the need to develop a native app from scratch.

5. Automatic updates

Updates are a chore for users—and a liability for all involved. PWAs don’t require them, actively updating themselves in real-time, like a website. 

6. Platform agnosticism

Every platform has benefits and downsides, leaving you the unenviable task of overcoming platform-specific limitations.

Platform-agnostic applications are an efficient alternative to building and maintaining separate native apps for iOS, Android, and the web. PWAs provide the same user experience to almost everyone (depending on browsers’ readiness for service-worker support).

7. Linkability and indexing

As with any website, PWAs have URLs and can be crawled and indexed by the search engines. Unlike native apps, users can find PWA pages directly in SERPs. The faster load times keep search engines and users happy.

Accessibility

PWAs’ fast load times support accessibility for companies that operate in emerging markets or need to provide users consistent site access at all times.

For instance, Uber’s rapid expansion into new markets demanded a fast, device-agnostic ride-hailing application that worked well regardless of location. Hence, they opted for a PWA. 

Requests came in at only 50kb, allowing the PWA to load in under 3 seconds on 2G networks.

These benefits come hand-in-hand with some hefty challenges.

3 PWA challenges that affect marketers

While a PWA might mean a familiar UI and a flat learning curve for users, there are significant differences in the backend, which affect developers—and marketers.

There are three things to keep in mind:

It’s easy to break SEO.PWA analytics are difficult to set up and manage.Your development team might not be ready for PWA.

1. It’s easy to break SEO.

There are misconceptions about PWAs and SEO. The most popular states that “Google prioritizes PWA pages in their search results.” This is false.

Google doesn’t care about PWAs, but it does care about fast load times, which also influence user behavior (and, in turn, sends signals back to Google). In other words, simply having a PWA won‘t help you with SEO, but having a good PWA may.

There are other misconceptions—and challenges—when it comes to PWAs and SEO.

Why is SEO a challenge?

PWAs are JavaScript-based sites. The rendering mechanics for PWAs differ from those of standard HTML-based websites. To understand the difference between the two approaches, you need to understand server-side and client-side rendering:

Standard websites use a traditional rendering method called Server-Side Rendering (SSR). With SSR, a page’s full content is pre-rendered on the server side and passed each time a user requests a page. So, every time a user visits a new page, the whole page is downloaded, even if the difference between the two is minimal.JavaScript-based websites use client-side rendering (CSR). CSR renders a website in a user’s browser, hence the name. The user receives a small JavaScript file instead of a large HTML file, and the browser requests only necessary elements when switching a page or loading additional content. This is what makes JavaScript-based sites load quickly.

CSR is superior from the UX perspective but more complicated when it comes to SEO. You rely on search engines to render your JavaScript-based website correctly.

Usually, when a search engine bot discovers a page, it crawls the page’s source code (i.e. HTML) and eventually indexes all available information. This is easy for HTML-heavy websites, as most content sought by the crawlers is immediately available. But since PWAs usually have only JavaScript in the source code, it creates an added layer for search engines to parse.

Search engines retrieve the content from JavaScript-based sites in waves. During the first wave of indexing, search engines crawl your page and index only the non-JavaScript content. As rendering resources of a search engine become available, crawlers return to your page to finalize the process.

As this is a resource-intensive process—even for Google—it could take several extra days to get your content indexed. For many web businesses, especially news sites, content indexing speed is crucial. This can also affect ecommerce sites that have, for example, marketing campaigns with time-limited offers. 

There’s a solution, but it’s shaky.

There are several workarounds. Dynamic Rendering, for instance, is the method recommended by Google. With Dynamic Rendering, you combine both rendering methods: Search-engine bots get the SSR version; human users get the CSR version. 

(Does this count as “cloaking,” a common black-hat SEO technique to serve different content to search engines vs. users? According to Google, No.)

Search engines, especially Google, have praised PWA technology, but there’s little understanding of the readiness of search engines to handle JavaScript sites. As Google conceded:

Currently, it’s difficult to process JavaScript and not all search engine crawlers are able to process it successfully or immediately.

Other leading search engines, like Bing and Yandex, don’t guarantee proper indexing of JavaScript-based websites.

SEO best practices remain unchanged

Since PWA isn’t a ranking factor, all technical, on-site, and off-site SEO best practices apply to PWAs as well. Here are some of the usual SEO suspects you need to take into account if you’re migrating your site to a PWA: 

Implement self-referring canonicals for unique pages and canonicalize duplicates or set meta robots to “noindex, nofollow.” (This is especially important if you’re combining PWA and AMP.) Each page should have a unique URL.Make sure crawlers can access valuable content hidden in tabs, infinite scroll, etc. If you want crawlers to explore content behind buttons, images, etc., use an HTML link.Use Schema.org markup to help crawlers understand the content of the page and Open Graph markup so that URLs share nicely over social media.Don’t show different content to users than you show to Google (save for the caveat above).Make sure your page passes the Google Mobile-Friendly Test.Audit pages for speed on Google PageSpeed Insights.

2. Analytics implementation is complex.

Say, for instance, that you’ve implemented offline browsing and offline checkout in your PWA. How will your analytics and third-party marketing scripts track those events?

The main challenge for data tracking in a PWA is the hybrid web-app ecosystem. Since a PWA is a website (launched in a slightly different way), standard tracking tools like Google Analytics can work.

Standard pageview tracking

A PWA employs JavaScript frameworks like Angular or React, meaning standard pageview tracking won’t function properly. For example, the History API gives developers the ability to modify a website’s URL without a full page refresh.

Because PWAs load new page content dynamically, the analytics code is fired only once. So how can you track user behavior on every page? Your PWA implementation needs adjusted tracking code to ensure “virtual pageviews” are fired at the right moment.

Implementing tracking with Google Tag Manager or directly in the code requires thorough and thoughtful testing to avoid common issues:

Mismatches between page paths/titles and actual application state;Pageviews split across multiple URLs;Subsequent pageviews not being tracked.

The complexity rises when it comes to ecommerce and other advanced PWA implementations. The tag firing sequence and Data Layer pushes frequently face obstacles; data-layer governance is critical. 

Unique feature tracking

How do you track the unique features of PWAs—push notifications, offline mode, add-to-home screen, etc.—in analytics? 

On-page events

On-page events are the simplest part. There’s no difference compared to regular web tracking. 

User actions like subscribing to push notifications or add-to-home-screen are easily tracked using standard Google Analytics methods. Just push information to the Data Layer for the Custom Event you want to track. 

Service worker events

It becomes more complicated when the functionality is initiated by your PWA service worker, like the push notification itself. 

Your PWA service worker runs outside the main app, which makes it impossible to access the Google Analytics queue and push data about notifications triggered by the PWA or offline browsing data. In short, it means you can’t track the service worker’s behavior through your regular Google Analytics tracking code. Instead, the service worker needs to send hits directly to Google Analytics. 

This is possible via the Measurement Protocol, which bypasses the regular analytics.js snippet to send data directly from the service worker to a specified Google Analytics property.

How is that possible? Ultimately, what analytics.js does is generate custom POST requests to a Google Analytics property based on the on-site behavior of the user. In the case of the service worker, the same process is simulated manually.

Offline mode tracking

Analytics, of course, don’t work without an internet connection. However, there’s a workaround. 

By using Fetch API, you gain the ability to listen and respond to offline requests. The service worker intercepts requests to Google Analytics and retries them later if the initial request fails.

For offline pageviews, you may want to differentiate which requests happened while the user was offline versus which ones took place while the user was online. You can do this with a Custom Dimension in Google Analytics that identifies how long hits were queued (i.e. For how long was the user offline on a specific page?).

All of this can be done through adjustments to the tracking code, analytics property, and a Workbox configuration.

3. Your development team might not be ready for PWA.

Working with PWAs demands expertise in JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and Chrome DevTools. While these requirements might appear basic, most teams are short-staffed. An industry analysis showed that front-end engineers are the most constrained resource on IT teams.

As a first challenge, the development team needs to fully rewrite the front-end of your website to be JavaScript-based. That work requires expertise in specific frameworks, like React. 

Typically, you’re looking for full-stack front-end engineers. To deliver a PWA project, they need to be:

Professional in JavaScript and frameworks like React.Experienced with Single-page applications (SPA).Leverage DevOps knowledge for infrastructure, service workers, and server-side-rendering setups.Fluent with PWA architecture for linking all the components together (e.g., how mobile Apps are submitted to App stores, how add-to-home screen works, and how mobile and desktop communicate with each other).Understand PWA-specific analytics and SEO setups, manage requests from back-end to front-end PWA components, caching layer setups, etc.

The skills are easy to learn but hard to master, and nothing short of mastery will do. JavaScript was the most popular development language in 2018, with the React framework taking first place in what developers wanted to learn in 2019. 

Costs: Websites, apps, and PWAs

As with any new marketing initiative, it often comes down to a central question: How much will it cost? No matter your current setup, you need to define your web ecosystem first to understand a (potential) PWA’s place in it. 

You may have a responsive website, mobile app, and supporting tools like widgets, browser extensions, etc. Each component of your web ecosystem takes development effort, and your tech team development pipeline vs. costs breakdown might look as follows:

ComponentRelative costResponsive, feature-rich website development$$$Optimizing mobile experience$$Android native mobile app development$$$$iOS native mobile app development$$$$

PWAs have the potential to cut costs since a single investment removes the need for independent app develop:

ComponentRelative costPWA website development with app-like mobile experience$$$PWA app launch in the App Store as native app$PWA app launch in the Play Market as native app$

Native mobile apps can still exist for your regular and loyal customers (to get the most from the tighter integration with phone hardware), but supporting standalone mobile apps can drain resources. On average, based on our experience in the U.S. market, native app development costs are:

“Startup” native app development: $50K–100K“Enterprise” native app development: $500K+

With a PWA, you cut these costs by using the same PWA codebase for all platforms—desktop, mobile, and apps.

If you already have a successful ecommerce store, then PWA integration requires rewriting the front-end of your store. This usually takes 2–4 months of development work, depending on the complexity of your store. There are ready-to-use PWA frameworks like Ionic and ScandiPWA theme for Magento, which can integrate a PWA with your site in weeks, not months.

If you’re launching a new website or ecommerce store, then integrating a PWA at the start may offer greater value. For other businesses, a few key questions can help determine whether a PWA merits consideration. If you answer “No,” to all three, a PWA doesn’t make sense:

Are you planning to introduce a mobile app?Is your site due for a refresh?Is mobile traffic dictating demand?

Conclusion

PWAs have promised to bring some of the best of native apps straight to a browser. Compared to web and app development, PWAs are cheaper to create and maintain, and are platform agnostic. 

Marketers have a say in site redesigns. In many instances, it’s the most expensive (and hardest to change) decision they’ll make. In addition to the potential benefits, marketers are wise to remember the SEO and analytics challenges and requirements before signing off on a PWA. 

It’s also up to marketers to realize PWAs’ potential. Push notifications, for example, won’t help if marketers spam potential buyers. As with so many other technologies, PWAs are a tool—it takes an expert craftsperson to create value with it.

The post Progressive Web Apps: What Do Marketers Need to Know? appeared first on CXL.

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We Analyzed 5 Million Google Search Results. Here’s What We Learned About Organic Click Through Rate

sourced from: https://backlinko.com/google-ctr-stats

We analyzed 5 million Google search results to better understand organic click through rate.

First, we analyzed CTR data across 874,929 pages and 5,079,491 search queries.

Then, we looked at how factors like title tag length, sentiment and meta descriptions affect organic CTR.

Thanks to data provided from ClickFlow, we were able to get CTR data from several different Google Search Console accounts.

So without further ado, let’s see the results.

Here is a Summary of Our Key Findings:

1. The #1 result in Google’s organic search results has an average CTR of 31.73%.

2. The #1 organic result is 10x more likely to receive a click compared to a page in #10 spot.

3. Organic CTR for positions 7-10 is virtually the same. Therefore moving up a few spots on the bottom of the first page may not result in more organic traffic.

4. On average, moving up 1 spot in the search results will increase CTR by 30.8%. However, this depends on where you’re moving from and to. Moving from position #3 to position #2 will usually result in a significant CTR boost. However, moving from #10 #9 doesn’t make a statistically significant difference.

5. Title tags that contain a question have a 14.1% higher CTR vs. pages that don’t have a question in their title.

6. Title tags between 15 to 40 characters have the highest CTR. According to our data, pages with a title tag length between 15 and 40 characters have an 8.6% higher CTR compared to those that are outside of that range.

7. URLs that contain a keyword have a 45% higher click through rate compared to URLs that don’t contain a keyword.

8. Adding “Power Words” to your title tag may decrease your CTR. We found that titles with Power Words had a 13.9% lower CTR compared to titles that didn’t contain Power Words.

9. Emotional titles may improve your CTR. We found that titles with positive or negative sentiment improved CTR by approximately 7%.

10. Writing meta descriptions for your pages may result in a higher CTR. Pages with a meta description get 5.8% more clicks than those without a description.

I have detailed data and information of our analysis below.

The #1 Result In Google Gets 31.7% of All Clicks

The initial goal of our study was to establish CTR benchmarks.

Using our full data set of ~5 million results, we found that the #1 result has the highest CTR (by far).

We also saw a sharp CTR dropoff starting on the 2nd page of the results.

In fact, only 0.78% of Google searchers clicked on something from the second page.

This CTR trend is consistent with other CTR industry studies, like this one from Advanced Web Ranking.

Because CTR starting on the 2nd page is extremely low, we wanted to zero-in on the first page results. So we re-ran this analysis with data that excluded results from page 2 and beyond. We also eliminated queries that may skew the results with an abnormally high CTR (for example, branded queries).

And after we analyzed only the first page results with this data subset, we found that the #1 result in Google has a CTR of 31.7%.

Here is the full CTR breakdown for Google’s first page organic results:

As you can see, the #1 result in Google has a 10x higher CTR compared to the #10 result.

For anyone that’s worked in the SEO field for any length of time, this finding shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s well-known that ranking #1 is significantly more valuable than any other position.

That’s because, according to a recent Moz survey, many Google users instinctively click on the first result in Google. This likely explains why the #2 result, which is just a few mere pixels below the #1 spot, has such a large CTR dropoff.

Key Takeaway: The #1 result in Google gets 31.73% of all clicks.

Organic CTR Spikes At Position #5… And Again At Position #3

As I outlined, the #1 result in Google has (by far) the highest CTR.

However, there are still clicks to be had outside of the top position.

Specifically, while CTR is relatively flat between positions #6-#10 there’s a significant CTR spike starting with position #5.

This suggests two things:

Most users don’t scroll past the 5th result.
Moving up from position #6 to #5 may result in a significant CTR boost.

We see another sharp CTR increase starting with position #3.

This may be due to the fact that, for results without ads or SERP features, the #3 result often appears above the fold.

In fact, we found that the top 3 Google search results get 75.1% of all clicks.

Key Takeaway: Our data suggests that “ranking on the first page” may not be a worthy SEO goal. Instead, it’s all about ranking in the top spot (or at least in the top 3). The top 3 organic results get 75% of the clicks.

Moving Up One Position Increases CTR By 30.8%

We discovered, all things being equal, moving up a single position in Google increases relative CTR by 30.8%.

However, this CTR boost isn’t evenly distributed. Not even close.

The CTR impact of moving up in the SERPs varied widely depending on position.

For example, moving from position #9 to #8 will result in 5% more clicks. Not a huge difference.

However, moving up from #6 to the #5 spot will result in 52.6% more clicks.

Key Takeaway: Moving up one position in Google will increase your relative CTR by an average of 30.8%. However, this increase varies greatly depending on position. We found that the greatest CTR increase came from moving from #6 to #5, which resulted in an absolute CTR boost of 52%.

Most Websites Get 8.1 Clicks Per Query

We also looked at, for all the queries reported in the Google Search Console, how many resulted in clicks.

First, we discovered that most of the queries that a site ranks for in Google get very few impressions.

This suggests that most of the keywords that a site ranks for are long tails with low search volume. Or that the site isn’t ranking highly for these terms. Or both.

And likely due to a low number of impressions, most queries result in a small number of clicks (8.1 per query).

Key Takeaway: “Ranking for X keywords” may not be a valuable SEO metric. That’s because most pages rank for keywords with little search volume. Instead, most impressions and clicks tend to come from a relatively small number of queries.

Question Titles Have an Above-Average CTR

We compared the average organic CTR between titles that contained and didn’t contain a question.

(We defined a question as a title that used the terms “How, Why, What, Who” or a title with a question mark).

We found that questions with titles had a 14.1% higher click through rate compared to titles without a question.

Here’s the full CTR breakdown across the top 10 results.

This finding is consistent with headline CTR studies, like this one published in the journal Social Influence.

Questions may improve CTR because, when someone is searching for something in Google, they’re essentially looking for an answer to a question.

(They are called “queries” after all).

And using a question title may confirm to the reader that your result contains the answer to their exact question.

For example, I used a question title on this page optimized around the term “nofollow link”.

According to my GSC data, that page has a CTR of 29.2%.

Most people searching for a broad term like “nofollow link” want to know what a nofollow link actually is. And my question title shows that my result will give the searcher the answer they’re looking for.

Key Takeaway: Question-based title tags have a 14.1% higher CTR compared to non-question titles.

Title Tags Between 15 to 40 Characters Have The Best CTR

What’s the ideal title tag length? Should you keep your titles short and sweet? Or use long titles that contain lots of info about your content?

According to our data, you want to aim somewhere in the middle.

Specifically, we found that titles between 15 to 40 characters have the highest organic CTR.

While there may be an SEO benefit of long title tags (longer titles=more keywords), this may be partially offset by a lower organic CTR.

In fact, Etsy tested numerous title tag variations as part of a large-scale SEO experiment. And they discovered that “It appeared in our results that shorter title tags performed better than longer ones.”

The author of that post hypothesized that shorter titles may perform better in Google due to query matching. However, according to our analysis, CTR may also play a role in why short and medium titles work best.

Key Takeaway: Title tags between 15 and 40 characters have the best organic CTR. Titles inside of this range have an 8.6% better average click-through-rate compared to those that fall outside of this range.

Keyword-Rich URLs Are Correlated With a Significantly Higher CTR

We wanted to see if keyword-rich URLs positively impacted CTR.

For example, take someone searching for “weekend trips”. Would a URL like travel.com/weekend-trips have a higher CTR than travel.com/travel-page?

To accomplish this analysis, we looked at each of the search queries, compared them with the URLs, and provided a similarity index that ranged from 0% to 100%.

A value of 0% means that the two words are not similar at all, while a value of 100% means a perfect match. We ignored all punctuation marks and symbols. We also treated certain words as the same (book vs books, cake vs cakes, etc.).

Indeed, we found a strong correlation between keyword-rich URLs and organic CTR (p-value = 0.01)

Although having a perfect query-keyword match resulted in the highest CTR, our data shows that a URL that partially matches a query can also result in a significant CTR boost.

Google’s Search Engine Optimization guide reminds webmasters that your page’s URL shows up in the SERPs. And they recommend that you use “URLs with words that are relevant to your site’s content…”.

And a 2012 paper published by Microsoft found that “trusted domains” had a higher CTR in search engines compared to domains that people weren’t familiar with.

The theory behind this is that search engine users use a page’s URL to figure out the best match for their query.

Key Takeaway: We found a 45% increase in CTR for pages with a perfect query match (the entire search query is in the URL) vs. a non-match (no search query term matches the URL).

“Power Words” May Negatively Impact Click Through Rate

“Power Words” are specific words and phrases designed to help your headlines stand out, and in theory, get more clicks.

For example, Power Words and terms like:

Secret
Powerful
Ultimate
Great
Perfect
Best
Insane
Amazing

Our data found that Power Words actually decreased CTR by 13.9%.

My theory on this is that, while Power Words are great for grabbing attention on noisy platforms (like Facebook), they may look like clickbait in Google’s search results.

For example, look at the top 3 results for the keyword “how to write headlines”.

For a keyword like this you’d expect over-the-top titles like “How to Write Insanely Amazing Headlines”.

However, the top 3 results all use title tags that are pretty subdued.

Key Takeaway: While Power Words may work on social media, they can hurt your organic click through rate. In fact, titles with Power Words have a 13.9% worse CTR compared to titles without any Power Words.

Emotional Titles Can Increase Organic Click Through Rate

Our data suggests that emotional titles (titles with a positive or negative sentiment) have a higher CTR compared to emotionally-neutral titles.

Specifically, we found that emotional titles have a 7.3% higher absolute CTR compared to non-emotional titles.

We also discovered that negative and positive titles tend to work equally well. Controlling for other variables (like ranking position), titles with a positive sentiment have a 7.4% higher CTR, while titles with a negative sentiment have a 7.2% higher CTR.

For this analysis we analyzed each word in the title for “text polarity”. And each title was assigned a sentiment score based on the title’s estimated negative or positive sentiment.

For example, a title like this was considered neutral.

And this title was scored as having a positive sentiment.

Several industry studies, including this one from BuzzSumo, have found a correlation between emotional headlines and engagement.

However, I wasn’t able to find any industry study that specifically looked at the relationship between emotional title tags and Google organic CTR.

And at least according to our data, emotional titles can result in a higher click through rate in the organic results.

What’s interesting is that, while we found that Power Words hurt CTR, emotional titles help CTR.

This may be due to the fact that sentiment is a more nuanced metric than the presence or absence of a single Power Word. In other words, it’s possible to write an emotionally-charged title without using a Power Word. And titles that deftly push emotional buttons without looking like clickbait can stand out and get more clicks in the SERPs.

Key Takeaway: Titles with negative or positive sentiment have a higher organic click through rate vs. neutral titles.

Pages With a Meta Description Have a Higher Average CTR vs. Pages Without a Description

Even though descriptions don’t directly impact SEO, Google still recommends writing a unique meta description for every page on your site.

In fact, they even suggest that well-written descriptions can improve the number of clicks you get from Google search.

Which is why we decided to compare organic CTR between pages with and without a meta description. We found that pages with meta descriptions had a 5.8% better CTR compared to pages without a description.

This finding shouldn’t surprise anyone with experience in SEO. Even though Google doesn’t always use the meta descriptions you write for them, your meta description can appear fairly often in the SERPs.

Without a meta description to fall back on, Google has to pull snippets from your page to fill in that space in your snippet.

And the text that Google pulls from your page is almost always going to be less enticing than a well-written description.

Key Takeaway: Writing unique meta descriptions for each page can increase your site’s organic CTR. We found that pages with a meta description had a 5.8% higher CTR compared to pages without a description.

Summary and Conclusion

Again, I’d like to thank Eric Siu from ClickFlow for helping make this study possible.

If you’re interested in learning more about how we collected and analyzed the data for this study, here is a PDF of our methods.

And now I’d like to hear from you:

What’s your #1 takeaway from this research?

Or maybe you have a question.

Either way, go ahead and leave a comment below.

The post We Analyzed 5 Million Google Search Results. Here’s What We Learned About Organic Click Through Rate appeared first on Backlinko.

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How to Make Your Google Search Snippets More Clickable

sourced from: https://conversionxl.com/blog/google-search-snippets/

An alarming digital marketing trend should scare all online publishers: Organic traffic from Google is vanishing:

Google’s latest search elements (featured snippets and People Also Ask) steal clicks from organic listings.The first three positions account for over 50% of clicks. This means that you’re still “buried” on the bottom or middle of Page 1.Organic click-through rate (CTR) is declining across the board: The top position had a CTR of 38.7% in May 2014. As of June 2019, it was 31.0%.

On top of all that, most browser-based searches on Google result in zero clicks:

Zero-click searches result from Google’s ability to give quick answers on search result pages—current local weather, definitions, solutions to math problems, currency conversions, etc. (Image source)

Yet, Google remains the most effective online traffic source. With more than 3.5 billion searches a day (and 1.2 trillion per year) worldwide, a presence on Google isn’t optional. If a business isn’t on Google, it doesn’t exist.

Search (read: Google) is still where most buying journeys start. It’s also the only scalable, sustainable source of free traffic. You may not like the trend, but there’s no alternative to Google’s traffic. So how can you still get organic clicks from a Google SERP?

Making your search snippets more clickable is a good place to start. Whether you rank first or fifth, improving your click-through rate is low-hanging fruit that will impact your bottom line—without a major investment in link-building or dedicated marketing campaign.

Here are things you can do to improve your click-through rate in Google.

1. Get more clickable links inside your search snippet.

There’s an accepted truth from email marketing: The more clickable links you have in your email, the more clicks you get. When web users see something that looks like a link, they feel compelled to click it. Links invite clicks; it’s as simple as that.

The same principle applies to Google’s search snippets. The only difference is that we can’t directly edit links’ appearance on a search results page (SERP) or—more importantly—how many links they choose to include.

There are two ways to increase your odds of having more than one clickable link inside your search snippet:

Create an on-page clickable table of contents.

Have you ever seen “Jump to” links inside a search snippet? They take you right to the part of the page with the information you’re searching for. Here’s what they look like:

And here’s what populates that link from the document:

Google’s “Jump to” link is populated by a “named anchor” HTML element that identifies (or “names”) a part of the document.

There are two ways to add these:

Do it manually. Create anchor links for fast navigation. This method requires a bit of work, but, on the bright side, you have full control over how you name your anchors and links for better usability and SEO-friendliness.Use a WordPress plugin like Easy Table of Contents. Automatically add a clickable, named-anchor table of contents to each article based on H2 and H3 subheads. Here’s a detailed tutorial on using this plugin.

Optimize for mini-sitelinks.

While generic sitelinks usually appear for navigational queries, mini-sitelinks may be triggered for all kinds of searches, and there may be more than one search snippet with mini-sitelinks on a SERP.

Both types of sitelinks rely on on-page navigation (and whether Google deems your navigational links relevant to the current query). This is what mini-sitelinks look like for an informational query:

You don’t have control over mini-sitelinks, but you can increase your odds of earning them. Google uses on-page clues to generate mini-sitelinks, especially:

On-page tables of contents (see above);Related content blocks underneath your content. This is the case in the screenshot above. Mini-sitelinks are populated from a “related reading” block underneath the article:

Having both (named anchors and related content blocks) increase your chances of getting those extra links.

2. Get more words in bold in your search snippet.

Bold font immediately attracts user eyes. Within search snippets, Google highlights certain words in bold to help users choose the best result. Having more words in bold inside your search snippet will help it stand out and likely attract more clicks.

Here’s how you can ensure that more words are highlighted in bold in your search snippets:

Use your target query strategically.

This is an easy one: Google will bold the query (or part of the query) that the user typed into the search box:

The obvious solution is to use your target query in your content (more than once) to give Google more opportunities to generate a search snippet with those words in bold. Note that I’m not talking about keyword density, a concept that should have been long forgotten (yet stubbornly reappears in our industry).

Strategic keyword usage means using your target query in prominent places around your document to ensure search crawlers and human readers instantly see them when landing on the page.

I previously wrote a detailed guide on keyword research, which lists places to include your target query:

Headline;URL slug;First paragraph;Subheadings.

Use related terms and synonyms.

Google has long moved away from exact keyword matching. These days, they understand search queries in context. Specifically, Google can understand closely related words as well as synonyms, which they often highlight in search results:

Google bolds related terms—not just exact keyword matches—that relate to the query.

You’re likely doing this already without realizing it. Good writers use varied vocabulary and include synonymous phrases and concepts without thinking about “click-through optimization.”

However, being a bit more strategic about it will help you on many fronts, including creating better, more thorough copy, improving your organic rankings, and, yes, increasing your click-through rate (CTR).

Tools you can use to make this easier

Ahrefs

Ahrefs has a cool section inside their “Keyword explorer” called “All keyword ideas.” This section offers “keyword extensions” (i.e. extending your base term into a longer phrase) and lists closely related terms you should consider using in your content.

To use the tool to go beyond your core term, use the “Exclude” filter to filter out phrases containing it:

Text Optimizer

Text Optimizer is the semantic research tool that goes right to the source—Google’s search snippets. It uses that data to generate a list of closely related terms and concepts.

You need to use common sense and editorial judgement to pick terms you want to use, but if you choose at least 25, you’re likely to see an organic visibility boost (i.e. higher rankings) and higher search snippet CTR:

The tool also helps you use those important phrases in close proximity. Click any term, and it generates possible sentences for you to use:

3. Structure your content well.

Optimize for enhanced snippets with structured markup.

Structured markup adds code to a webpage to make it easier for search crawlers to understand, extract, and display key information in SERPs.

When it comes to the actual search snippets, Google supports a limited number of structured markup types. Most supported structured markup helps Google include data in additional search elements (e.g., brand knowledge graph elements, video and image carousels, claim-review results, book reviews, etc.)

To impact your organic search snippets, you can use the following types of structured markup:

Structured markupWho/when it should be usedWhat it does to your search snippetRatings and reviewsTool reviewers, product reviewers, etc. If you review entities often, consider installing one of these plugins.Depending on how you implement it, the search snippet displays the reviewer’s name and the star ratings given.LogoEveryoneIn mobile search results, it shows a logo next to your search listing.BreadcrumbEveryoneOn desktop, it generates a prettier URL path showing section names instead of the actual URL. (On mobile, it is displayed this way, regardless of markup.)CourseIf your page lists available coursesShows a list of courses underneath your page title in SERPs.FAQIf your page contains a list of questions and answers around the target query. Shows a collapsible list of questions underneath the search snippet.How toIf your page contains a detailed how-to tutorial on any topicShows time required, list of required tools/materials, and collapsible steps to follow.Q&AIf your page features a question with multiple answers posted by usersLists all available answers, including the “best answer,” underneath your search snippet.

Create lots of comparison and summary charts and tables.

Google loves good-old tables and charts. They often use them to generate enhanced search snippets. Here’s what it may look like:

Notice how Google also highlights key sections of the chart in bold, making them stand out in search results even more.

And here’s the summary <table> that triggered the enhanced search snippet:

Note that the table is preceded by a keyword-based subhead, which may have helped Google discover it.

To give Google more reasons to generate enhanced search snippets, summarize multiple tools and tactics with tables.

4. Work on your title tags.

This is a no-brainer, which is why I’m not listing it first, even though it’s vital.

But some people don’t realize that the title tag (i.e. article headline) impacts the click-through rate from search results—not just rankings—as it’s the biggest clickable part of the search snippet.

Using well-discussed headline tricks (e.g., numbers, adding colons or hyphens to separate parts of the headline, experimenting with negative words, etc.) will likely help your page stand out in search and improve its CTR.

5. Update your ranking content regularly.

Google loves fresh content. So do users, which is why Google shows dates in search results:

Keeping your content up-to-date helps organic rankings and CTRs. However, don’t just re-publish the same content with a new date. Google may frown upon that.

To justify an updated publish date, you need to provide substantial new value. How “substantial” is up for discussion, but Ross Hudgens suggests that at least 5% of your content should be updated:

(Image source)

To make sure your content remains up-to-date, evaluate and update old content as part of your monthly marketing routine. Make it a task in your editorial calendar.

I use ContentCal to keep my team organized and alert them of upcoming projects:

Apart from organizing a content maintenance routine, the tool also urges your team to market it again, sending fresh signals to Google.

Tools to help you keep your content up to date

Revive

Animalz came out with a free tool that connects to Google Analytics, analyzes your traffic for the past 12 months, and identifies pages that have been steadily losing traffic:

By updating these pages, you may “revive” their performance in search results. A new publish date may help clickability, but, as part of the updating process, consider all the other tips in this tutorial.

Finteza

While Animalz looks at all your content, Finteza limits the audit to the pages that drive the most traffic. You need to have it installed for some time before you can access historical insights.

Once you accumulate some data, log in to your account and follow these steps:

Click “Websites” and open the report for the site you’re analyzing.In the left-hand panel, navigate to “Sources > Search” to access your organic traffic report. Until you disable it, this will filter all further reports.Click “Pages” to see the list of your best-performing pages. You can clearly see if any are losing clicks:

The report is ordered by the percentage of total traffic each page brings to the site, making it easy to monitor the most important assets.

Google Search Console

Finally, Google Search Console offers a helpful “CTR” report inside the “Performance > Search results” section, which you can use to monitor changes:

Click the “Pages” tab underneath the line chart. Then, filter pages for a minimum number of clicks to focus your attention on those that drive the most traffic:

Using a date range comparison, you can sort pages by changes to CTR, helping you identify those that would benefit from further optimization:

Once you identify a page that’s suffered a decline in CTR, you can add in “Average position” to see if a drop or rise in CTR was likely caused by a change in rankings—or something else. 

In the example below, the CTR declined substantially even though the average position remained the same. That suggests that a change to a SERP element (like a featured snippet) may be costing you clicks. 

From there, you can investigate the SERP to see if optimization of your content may help you recover those lost clicks.

Conclusion

Keeping your content well-structured, up-to-date, and in-depth will improve rankings, as well as click-through rate and on-page engagement. It’s a win-win.

Choose from the optimizations above to boost your overall content performance in an essential, albeit fickle, acquisition channel.

The post How to Make Your Google Search Snippets More Clickable appeared first on CXL.

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High Rankings & Low Traffic: How to Fix It

sourced from: https://www.digitalmarketer.com/blog/high-rankings-low-traffic-fix/

A recent BrightEdge report said that organic search drives 51% of all website traffic. That means organic traffic is the best traffic source for almost any business. And there are several reasons for this:

With organic search, you can get the most targeted traffic
It’s more affordable than paid advertising (I don’t say it’s free, because SEO may also require some costs)
Unlike traffic from paid advertising, the organic search usually results in long-term traffic

But even without knowing that stat, it’s likely that you’ve taken efforts to make organic search work for you, and maybe the results have appeared to be impressive: now your page is ranking on the first page of Google search results.

But your ranking is not the final goal. Often, when you are tracking your traffic, you’ll notice it doesn’t always improve with higher search rankings. How’s that possible?

In this post, I’ll tell you 3 possible reasons why your high rankings didn’t result in high traffic and help you fix the issues.

1. Your Content is Ranking for the Wrong Keywords

This is the most common reason. But what does the concept of “wrong keywords” mean? It means that in the process of keyword research, you collected the terms that wouldn’t bring you any profit.

There are 2 ways this could have happened.

1. You selected too specific keywords

Long-tail keywords are trending these days. These phrases are longer and more specific than 1 and 2 keyword phrases. Because they are less generic, long-tail keywords also have lower search volume than “head” terms. However, this is their main advantage. Using these keywords, you avoid competing with niche giants that are unlikely to lose their positions.

That’s why you are focusing on long-tail keywords. But there’s always the flip side of the coin. You might have selected very specific keywords.

Ranking high for keywords almost nobody is searching for is the same as not ranking at all. For instance, showing up on the first page of Google for “black superman t shirt with red logo” is pretty useless.

Solution: Check search volume

When selecting the right keywords, always consider their search volume–a number of searches for a particular keyword in a given period. Most keyword research tools provide this score for every queried keyword.

In case you don’t use any, you can go with Google Trends. This website analyzes the popularity of search queries in Google Search across various regions and languages. Moreover, with this tool, you can compare several terms. If you aren’t sure which topic or keyword is more popular, you can check it with Google Trends:

2. You didn’t consider search intent

Is your page ranking for keywords that don’t match searchers’ intent? To answer this question, let’s look into the concept of search intent.

People conduct searches for different reasons. The ultimate goal of a person searching for a specific keyword is called search intent.

Google has learned to determine the search intent of a queried phrase and show results that meet this search intent. That’s why if you search for “how to shoelace shoes,” you don’t necessarily see the exact keyword match in the results. The search engine understands what kind of information you need and provides you with relevant content:

There are 4 types of search intent:

Informational: to learn something new. The following modifiers are specific to this type of search intent: how to, what, why, guide, tips, learn, etc.
Navigational: to find particular information on a specific website. These queries usually contain branded keywords.
Commercial: to find the best solution. The searcher is going to take action, but he or she is still trying to make a final decision. Commercial queries are followed by such words as best, review, top, vs., etc.
Transactional: to take action. Transactional intent is the intent of making a purchase. The modifiers are: buy, order, price, purchase, etc.

So if you didn’t denote your page’s intent with keywords, Google could have started to rank your e-commerce website for informational queries (and vice versa). In the result, people seeing your snippet won’t click and your target audience won’t see it in the search results.

Solution: Denote search intent

To make your content rank for the relevant queries, denote the specific intent with your keywords. For instance, if your product page contains a long description, add the modifiers specific to transactional search intent.

To avoid this problem in the future, Google your selected keywords before implementing them. Check every top snippet to understand the majority intent.

(NOTE: Before you get started fixing your traffic problem, you need to know who your ideal customer is, where they are, and what they will buy. Download our FREE proven Customer Avatar Worksheet now and get clear on who you’re selling to.)

2. There are Too Many Special Elements in the Search Results

According to Andy Crestodina, the more features there are on search results pages, the lower the click-through rate is.

If there are too many special elements (featured snippets, ads, “people also ask” box, etc.) in the search results, there’s a chance that users simply don’t scroll down to your number 3 post.

Solution: Adapt to the changes

You shouldn’t despair. Trends are changing, and so should we. There are various techniques to increase your search traffic, and I’ll highlight 2 that work the best:

1. Target keywords with fewer SERP features

You can optimize your content for keywords that result in fewer special elements. Your SEO tool of choice will help you cope with this task. To illustrate the process, I’ll go with Serpstat.

First of all, enter your target keyword into the tool’s search bar and select your country. In the Keyword Selection section, apply filter Special elements in SERP > Does not include > *here you should select any feature you don’t want to appear in search results for your query*. I selected 3 of the most popular (and massive) elements: featured snippets, related questions, and top PPC block.

When you see the list of keywords filtered by the specific criteria, you can either export it or select only the most suitable for your goals.

2. Try to win featured snippets

Featured snippets usually take up a bunch of space in the search results. By winning these snippets, you will increase the visibility of your page significantly (and steal some traffic from #1 ranking page). But how to win them? Although nobody can guarantee winning Google’s featured snippets, you can increase your chances significantly with these simple steps:

Among all the keywords your page is ranking for, identify those with featured snippets in the search results. If you use Serpstat, the algorithm is pretty much the same as when we were filtering out specific SERP elements. But this time, the condition is just the opposite, and the filter should be: Special elements in SERP > Includes > Featured snippet.
Analyze your competitors’ featured snippets to have an idea on the most efficient content structure.
Provide clear content structure with H1–H3 subheads, lists, and bullet points.
Implement the keywords you selected into your subheads.

Check my recent post to find a detailed guide on optimizing for featured snippets.

3. Your Meta Data Doesn’t Make People Click

Last but not least. What if your meta descriptions simply don’t look appealing enough?

Your meta data is the first thing users judge your page content by. If your headline and meta description don’t provide a clear description of your page content, people don’t see what they should expect. In the result, they give their clicks to your more compelling competitors.

Solution: Improve your meta data

Here are the simple rules for creating efficient meta data:

Don’t ignore meta tags. Google will build a description for you using some random text abstracts
Titles should contain no more than 65 characters. Search engines cut long lines. For your potential visitors to see the full title of your page, make sure its length lets them do it
Place the keywords at the beginning—this will help you attract people’s attention right from the start
Denote competitive advantage
Add call to action (CTA). Such invitations as “Learn more,” “Order now,” “Read here,” etc. will help people better understand what your page offers them

Organic search isn’t the only traffic source

Search is a great source of long-term traffic, but it’s not a panacea. Experiment with new potential traffic sources, and you can find channels that also drive a significant number of visits and links to your website. Moreover, diversify your traffic channels to reduce your risks of losing all your traffic when your site is affected by some new Google update.

(NOTE: Before you get started fixing your traffic problem, you need to know who your ideal customer is, where they are, and what they will buy. Download our FREE proven Customer Avatar Worksheet now and get clear on who you’re selling to.)

The post High Rankings & Low Traffic: How to Fix It appeared first on DigitalMarketer.

0

Sales Copy: 7 Never-Fail Principles

sourced from: https://conversionxl.com/blog/7-principles-of-effective-sales-copy/

Why is it that some books become bestsellers and others can hardly sell a 100 copies? Why do you read some books with passion and interest but can’t get past the first 10 pages of others? What’s the difference?

It’s simple: word choice. The words you use—and the order in which you use them—make all the difference when it comes to crafting sales copy that wins sales. It doesn’t matter if it’s books or websites, but words do matter, so pick yours carefully.

As Mark Twain said, “The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”

Here are seven principles of effective sales copywriting.

1. Know who you’re talking to.

Look at the three pictures below. A skater dude, a busy mom, and a backpacker. If you’re writing sales copy for a product, you should always talk to a specific person.

You should talk differently to each of the people below—no brainer, right? Still, most people try to write copy that works for everybody. Try to figure out the common denominator among all the potential buyers.

Create a customer persona. Describe this person. Give them a name. Imagine what this person is like, how they spends their days, and what their key issues are. Your sales copy will be much better if you write it with a specific person in mind.

If you need some more help with the process of creating your persona, check out these articles:

How to Identify Your Online Target Audience and Sell MoreHow To Create Customer Personas With Actual, Real Life DataHow to Drive Product Growth with Behavioral PersonasHow Data-Driven Marketers Are Using PsychographicsHow to Build Robust User Personas in Under a MonthLearning Styles: The Impact on Marketing Messaging

Or, if you want to go more in-depth, check out our buyer persona course.

2. Write to your friend (wife, colleague, etc.).

Don’t forget you’re dealing with people. Even if you sell B2B products, there’s always a person with a name and an identity reading your copy and making decisions.

If you know this, then why are you writing business jargon? Forget buzzwords (“social media management system”) and nonsense that doesn’t mean anything (“flexible solutions”). Say it as it is.

Use the “friend test.” Read your copy, and if you spot a sentence you wouldn’t use in a conversation with your friend, change it.

Human relationships are about communicating. Business jargon should be banished in favour of simple English. Simplicity is a sign of truth and a criterion of beauty. Complexity can be a way of hiding the truth.

– Helena Rubinstein, CEO, www.labgroup.com

3. Work hard to create a compelling headline.

People don’t read; they skim. The main thing they do read is the headline, so make it good. If the headline doesn’t capture their attention and make them interested to read further, the rest of the copy doesn’t matter.

On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.

– David Ogilvy, ad guru

Questions to think about while coming up with a great headline:

What does your prospect care about the most?What’s their biggest problem?What’s their biggest goal or dream?How can you help them achieve it or solve it?

The best headlines communicate a direct benefit. It’s hard to know off-the-bat which headline will work the best. Test them.

4. Don’t make them think.

Thinking is hard. Most people don’t want to do it.

They look at your copy and want to understand what you’re offering. If it’s not obvious in the first few seconds, they’ll move on.

Your main headline might be benefit-oriented, but, underneath it, describe in 2–3 lines:

What your product is;What your product does;Who you product is for.

A photo or screenshot of the product is a smart idea—people “get” images much faster than text.

5. AVOID ALL CAPS AND DON’T USE EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!

There are no good reasons to put your text in all-capital letters. Putting a lot of words in all caps or bold slows down reading, comprehension, and interest.

Lower-case letters have more shape differences than capital letters. Text in lower case is recognized faster than all caps.

Also, using more than one exclamation mark in a row just shows that you’re 12 years old. Nobody wants your stuff more because you add exclamation marks. Au contraire.

6. Readability matters.

If you want people to read your text, make it readable. The most interesting copy in the world will go unread if the readability is poor.

Key things to improve readability:

Font size: minimum 14px, preferably 16px;Line height: 24px;New paragraph every 3–4 lines (empty line between paragraphs);Use sub-headlines as much as you can (at least after every two or three paragraphs);Use images to break text apart. People read more if patterns are broken.Line width: max 600px. If your lines are too long, people won’t read them.Use dark text on a light background (ideally black text on white background).

7. Sales copy should be as long as necessary.

Tests have shown that 79% of people don’t read. However, 16% read everything. Those 16% are your target group—the most interested people.

If people aren’t interested in what you are selling, it doesn’t matter how long or short your sales copy is. If they are interested, give them as much information as possible. A study by the International Data Corporation (IDC) showed that 50% of uncompleted purchases were due to lack of information.

Your readers can always skip parts of your sales copy and click “Buy” once they have the information they need. But if they read through the whole thing and they’re still not convinced or have questions, you have a problem.

Conclusion

Great sales copy is essential—and elusive. The best copy ditches the corporate jargon and speaks directly to customers.

If you can remember these seven principles of sales copywriting, you’ll be way ahead of most (and have the sales numbers to prove it):

Know who you’re talking to. Write to your friend (wife, colleague, etc.). Work hard to create a compelling headline.Don’t make them think.AVOID ALL CAPS AND DON’T USE EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!Readability matters.Sales copy should be as long as necessary.

The post Sales Copy: 7 Never-Fail Principles appeared first on CXL.

0

4 Steps to Grow a Profitable Facebook Page

sourced from: https://www.digitalmarketer.com/blog/grow-profitable-facebook-page/

Every now and then, I hear someone say:

“Facebook is dead.”

And for a second I think, could it be true?

Could Facebook, one of the most powerful marketing platforms in history, already be on its way out?

And I gotta tell you. I don’t think so.

Because when you know how to position your page in a way that appeals to the right people, in a way that makes your content naturally shareable, then the potential upside on Facebook is staggering.

Here’s an example of what I mean by staggering:

Over 53.9 million people reached.

Here’s another:

Over 26.1 million reached.

And here’s a few more, because why not?

Keep in mind, these aren’t my posts. They’re from my students. And they’re NOT huge brands.

These are small business owners. Solopreneurs. Regular people like you and me.

So far I’ve had more than 38 of them achieve a reach of at least 10 million people on a single Facebook post—most of that coming organically.

And guess what?

If they can do it, you can too.

It doesn’t take a master’s degree in marketing. It doesn’t take a million dollars.

All it takes is a solid understanding of how to grow a Facebook page. And I can teach you how to do that in 4 basic steps.

So what are we waiting for? Here they are: the 4 steps to growing a profitable Facebook page.

Step 1: Figure Out Who Will Be in Your Club

Do you have big dreams of reaching millions of people and generating tons of new customers from Facebook?

Awesome. I want to help you get there.

But before we get to your Facebook page itself, the #1 most critical thing you have to do is figure out who those people are.

Who’s your audience?

If you’re going to reach 10 million people, what kind of people are they?

What kind of person is going to appreciate and share your content?

It’s important that you think about this early on in the process, because so many people make the mistake of focusing on themselves—their company, their product.

But you don’t grow an audience by focusing on yourself. Do it by focusing on the people you want to attract.

Here’s a great exercise to help figure this out. It’s super simple and it works amazingly well.

Just complete this sentence:

For example:

Hi, I’m Rachel. And I help people sell their products even if no one knows who they are.
Hi, I’m Rachel. And I help people grow an audience even if they don’t have a lot of friends.

The first 2 parts of this sentence are really easy. Everybody knows who they are and what their company does.

What tends to be missing is that last part. The “even if” statement. And that’s a problem, because that’s kind of the most important part of the sentence.

In fact, you should repeat that last line as many times as possible. Go for at least 15 “even if” statements.

For example, a weight loss coach might help people to lose weight, even if they…

Hate the taste of vegetables
Have never exercised in their life
Don’t know what to eat
Have low self-esteem about their body
Are addicted to sugar

And so on.

See how this helps you to appeal to the real problems people are facing?

Those “even if” statements are what sell your products. So spend some time to get as many as you can.

(NOTE: Before you get started growing your Facebook page, you need to know who your ideal customer is, where they are, and what they will buy. Download our FREE proven Customer Avatar Worksheet now and get clear on who you’re selling to.)

Step 2: Decide How You’ll Build Your Page

There are 3 main strategies you can follow to build your Facebook page:

Build it around a person or lifestyle
Build it around a single topic
Build it around yourself, your company, or your product

There are pros and cons to each of these, so here’s some advice on how to do each one effectively.

1) Build your page around a person or lifestyle

The first way to build your page is to focus it around a particular kind of person or lifestyle. For example:

Men in their 50s who are high-performers
Moms with kids in preschool
High-income golf players in their 40s

You need to understand this person. You need to know their concerns, their hopes, their fears, their dreams.

This can be a really effective strategy, but you have to approach it the right way.

First and foremost, you have to really understand this person or lifestyle.

In a lot of cases, this lifestyle is going to be your lifestyle. If you’re creating a page meant for moms with kids in preschool, and you ARE a mom with kids in preschool, then you’re creating this page for people like you. You already understand your audience.

But that’s not always the case. Maybe you’re a 35-year-old guy creating a page for moms with preschoolers. If that’s the case, it’s OK, but keep in mind you are going to have to talk to your audience to learn about them.

Call them on the phone. Ask them questions. LISTEN to them.

You need to understand this person. You need to know their concerns, their hopes, their fears, their dreams.

In a nutshell, you need to know the important issues to this person right now. Because on this page, you’re going to become a cheerleader for those issues.

2) Build your page around a single topic

The second way to build a page is to focus it around one specific topic.

For most people, this is the approach I recommend. This is the easiest and fastest way to grow an audience—and it works not just on Facebook but also on Instagram, Pinterest, etc.

When I say a “single topic,” it could be just about anything. Such as…

Funny cat videos
Crockpot recipes
Mystery novels
Party planning
Wreath making

Some people might read that last example and think, “Wait, wreath making? Seriously?”

Yep. Seriously.

Damon and Parker have grown the audience for Deco Exchange (a company that sells wreath-making materials) up to almost 200,000 people. And they make thousands of dollars a day from their Facebook Lives.

Why is Deco Exchange so successful in such a weird little niche market?

For starters, they make it immediately clear who their content is for. Take this video, for example:

Anyone who sees this video will instantly know if they’re interested or not. If you’re a crafty person who loves making things at home, your eyes will light right up. If not, you’ll keep scrolling.

This goes to show you that you do not have to make your page about some huge topic with mass appeal. You’d be surprised at the kind of audience you can grow around a niche topic that people are passionate about.

In fact, you want to make sure your topic doesn’t get too broad.

For example, I knew a woman who created a page that was all about how to build your own deck. She was an older woman who was really passionate about building decks—which is unusual, but also pretty awesome.

What wasn’t so awesome was the fact that she also posted a lot about her dogs.

And she also posted a lot of new margarita recipes.

Can you see how those are too far off-topic? It makes the page unfocused, and that’s going to push people away.

A page focused on margarita recipes could be a great topic. But not when it’s also focused on deck-building and dogs.

So pick one topic, and make sure your page keeps a tight focus on it.

3) Build your page around yourself, your company, or your product

The third and final way to create your page is the one that a lot of people default to, which is to make their page all about them.

An example would be my own page, Moolah Marketer:

Now, a page like this can work. But I want to make you aware of some caveats here.

First of all, even if your page is focused on you or your product, it should never be entirely about you or your product. You also want to include content relevant to the topic or lifestyle that appeals to your audience so that it relates to THEM.

(RELATED: DigitalMarketer’s 21 Best Articles for Organic Traffic in 2018)

If you scroll through some of the stuff I post on Moolah Marketer, you’ll notice I’m not talking about my products or how great I am. Instead I share marketing strategies that I know my audience is interested in.

And here’s another thing to think about:

If your goal is to create a personal brand, consider starting out with a topic-focused page first and then pivoting.

This is what Deco Exchange is in the process of doing right now. They started as a topic-focused page that was all about wreath making. Then over time, they’ve pivoted to more of a personal brand that helps wreath makers and other crafty people to build a business around their hobby.

(NOTE: Before you get started growing your Facebook page, you need to know who your ideal customer is, where they are, and what they will buy. Download our FREE proven Customer Avatar Worksheet now and get clear on who you’re selling to.)

If you want to build a personal brand, this is a really good way to go about it.

Because like I said earlier, your page will grow the fastest if you focus on a topic. And it’s actually pretty easy to pivot from that to more of a personal brand, AFTER you’ve built up your audience.

Step 3: Wear Your Niche’s Bumper Sticker

At this point you know who your audience is. And you’ve chosen the type of page you’re going to build.

The next thing you need to do is make sure your page appeals to those people. I like to think of it as wearing your niche’s bumper sticker.

One way to measure this is to see if your page passes the “blink test.” In other words, if you look at the page long enough to blink, you should know what it means.

This sounds simple, but you’d be amazed how many pages get it wrong.

Here’s an example of a page that fails the blink test:

Blink your eyes, and what do you see?

Invisible children. The cover image is a video with someone driving a car. And if you’re really perceptive, maybe you noticed they have a lot of events under the cover image.

What is this page about? No idea.

Now let’s compare it to this page:

Much clearer, right? You get it right away. They sell crazy suits.

So, how do you make sure your page passes the blink test? How do you make sure you’re wearing your niche’s bumper sticker?

This involves the 3 most visible parts of your page:

Page title: You want your page title to be clear. You also want it to resonate with the way your audience sees themselves. One super-easy way to come up with a great page title is just to ask:

“What would my audience call themselves?”

Do this, and you just might come up with a perfectly named page like…

Profile picture: When choosing your profile picture, there are 2 things to keep in mind.

First, a very small version of this image is going to show up next to all your posts. So don’t make the image too detailed, because people won’t be able to tell what it is.

Second, remember that this image is going to show up right next to your page title. So if all you do in your profile picture is repeat the page title, you’re not taking maximum advantage of this space.

Notice the page for Invisible Children does this:

It basically says “Invisible Children” twice in a row. It’s not the worst thing in the world, but it is a bit of a missed opportunity.

Cover image: Because this is a much bigger image, it gives you some room to really show what your page is about.

Here’s an awesome example from Genuine Fishing:

This is a great cover image because it makes the promise super clear: we’re going to help you catch that BIG fish.

Step 4: Make Your Reader Feel & Look Good

At this point, your last step is to actually start posting content. But be careful here—the wording, point of view, and positioning you use on this content can mean the difference between a viral post and a dud.

In general, your goal with every piece of content is to make your readers…

Look good
Feel good
Have a better life

This is not about making YOU look good. It’s about making your READER feel good.

And preferably, it can also make their FRIENDS have a better life. Because if your reader thinks it will help their friends, they’ll be much more likely to share it.

For example, pretend you’re creating a post about how to clean the carpet. And let’s say your audience is married, stay-at-home moms.

Which of these headlines would get more shares?

“10 ways for you to get cleaner carpets”
“10 ways to get cleaner carpets, even if your husband never vacuums”

This is not about making YOU look good. It’s about making your READER feel good.

Both of these headlines promise the same general benefit (cleaner carpets). But for an audience of married, stay-at-home moms, the first headline is NOT particularly shareable.

Just imagine how it would feel if your mother-in-law shared that post with you. Or imagine how it would make you look if you shared it with one of your married friends.

It would kinda make you look like a jerk, right? It would imply that they aren’t already doing a good job of keeping a clean house. Which is rude.

The second headline, by comparison, is much better. Because it implies it’s the husband’s fault that the carpets aren’t clean. And that’s going to make this audience more receptive to it.

Another thing to think about with your content is, are you going to appear threatening to your audience?

Take Damon & Parker from Deco Exchange for example.

Some people have suggested that these guys should clean up their image. That they should dress more creatively, and clean up their house so that it looks neat and organized.

But here’s what those people don’t understand:

It doesn’t make your readers look good to share someone else’s perfection.

A 45-year-old woman is not going to feel threatened by sharing Damon & Parker’s content. After all, they’re 25–30-year-old guys with a messy house and an unpolished video style.

(In fact, if anything it makes their audience feel GOOD to know that at least their house is cleaner than Damon’s.)

But if that same content came from another 45-year-old-woman with perfect hair and a spotless house, that would come across as more threatening. Because the audience of 45-year-old women would compare themselves to her and feel inadequate.

These aren’t hard concepts to understand. But they do require looking at your content from your audience’s perspective and thinking about how it’s going to make them feel.

Now Go Grow Your Page

Notice that I used the word grow in the title of this blog post. Because the reality is, you don’t just build a Facebook page with a huge reach.

It’s more like planting a tree. If you plant the right kind of seed in the right kind of soil, and then take care of it the right way, it will flourish.

And that’s exactly what the 4 steps in this post will help you to do with your Facebook page.

So go out there are start growing.

(NOTE: Before you get started growing your Facebook page, you need to know who your ideal customer is, where they are, and what they will buy. Download our FREE proven Customer Avatar Worksheet now and get clear on who you’re selling to.)

The post 4 Steps to Grow a Profitable Facebook Page appeared first on DigitalMarketer.

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(REVEALED) Real Data from Actual Facebook Messenger Marketing Campaigns

sourced from: https://www.digitalmarketer.com/blog/facebook-messenger-marketing-case-study/

In this article, I’m going to show you never-before-revealed data from some of my recent Facebook Messenger marketing campaigns.

I’m sharing these behind-the-scenes Messenger analytics (against my better judgement…) for 3 main reasons:

Authenticity: Seeing is believing. You’ve heard the hype about chatbots. I want to pull back the curtain so you can determine, based on real data, whether or not the hype is deserved
Motivation: I want to show you that you can get similar results by applying specific marketing tactics
Comparable analysis: If you’re already using chatbots and Facebook Messenger marketing, you’ll be able to assess whether or not your results are in the range of typical outcomes

I’ll not only show you the numbers I achieved, but also exactly how I achieved them. By reverse-engineering the process, you can get similar levels of marketing success.

Survey Sent via Facebook Messenger: 52% open rate and 15% response rate.

In this marketing campaign, I sent a survey to a group of contacts (12,680 of them).

The survey was called “What’s Your Bot Level” in which I tried to gauge how familiar my audience was with chatbot marketing.

It started out with a quick question, “I’m a chatbot marketing…” and then you would fill in the blank with your experience level—novice, fan, or pro, basically.

Here are the results that I got after sending that exact survey:

The survey was delivered to 10,689 contacts
52% or 5,639 of the contacts opened the survey
2% or 1,733 of the contacts responded, i.e. answered questions, on the survey

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the campaign. (Names have been blurred for privacy reasons.)

Why am I showing you this particular campaign?

After all, a lot of my campaigns have 75% response rates and higher!

This survey was only 52%. Why brag about a comparatively ho-hum open rate?

Here’s why I’m showing you mediocre results:

These results, though mediocre by chatbot marketing standards, are way higher than what you’d get from an email marketing campaign. See chart below for a breakdown of the analytics
It’s a survey. Surveys are notoriously difficult to get people to respond to
It was sent to over 10,000 respondents. That means over 5,000 people read my survey, and 1,733 responded to it. These are significant numbers

Let’s draw a comparison between this survey campaign (sent via Messenger) and an equivalent survey that we sent via email.

The survey sent via Messenger had a 5,303% higher engagement than the one sent via email.

Besides, surveys are invaluable for marketing teams.

What if you could get more than 16% of your mailing list to respond to a survey? How would this inform your marketing, engage­ your users, or empower your sales team?

This is the power of Messenger chatbot marketing.

To create a chatbot survey, you’ll need to use a chatbot builder, (MobileMonkey is a great option, and what I use). You simply create a dialogue—questions, followed by answers, followed by another question, etc.

Most MobileMonkey users take a survey template and customize it to their specific needs.

You can also create surveys from scratch using the MobileMonkey bot builder.

You’re probably well aware that a survey isn’t just for information-gathering purposes. A survey is also a powerful engagement tool, compelling your users to take action.

Here are some tips for a successful Facebook Messenger chatbot survey:

Make it easy for people to respond. Multiple choice questions in which they tap answers are best
Make the survey short. People bail from long surveys
Make it obvious what the survey is about. Confusion leads to rejection

Facebook Messenger Drip Campaign: 81% Read Rate and 14% Response Rate

Drip campaigns are the bread and butter of email marketing.

Done right, a strategic drip campaign can nurture a cohort of email marketing leads to some conversion action.

And guess what. It takes days.  

Chatbot marketing has taken drip campaign success rates to a whole new level, like the one I’m sharing with you here.

What email marketer in the last 15 years has seen results like these?

81% of the recipients read or opened the drip campaign
14% of the recipients responded to the drip campaign

Why am I showing you this one?

Because it’s a small sample size. Not everyone who’s reading this is working with audiences of 31,000+ respondents, as we sometimes do. If you’re just getting started with Facebook Messenger marketing, your audience size may be in the few hundreds, not the tens of thousands.

While there are times that it’s acceptable to send a message to a huge list, it’s much more strategic to define small audience segments for effective hypertargeting.

The example I’m showing you above is such a segment—a cohort of contacts that share certain engagement characteristics.

(NOTE: Not sure where to get started on your own Facebook ads? Download our NEWLY UPDATED Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library for FREE! You can copy and paste these 7 proven Facebook ad campaigns to create low-cost, high-converting ads on demand. Get them here.)

I also show it to you because 90% of these respondents took action within the first 60 minutes of receiving the chatbot sequence.

Chatbots turbocharge drip campaigns. Instead of waiting a period of days to send the next message, you need only wait minutes. When you’re able to accelerate the process, you can close conversions much faster and with a higher success rate.

Creating a drip campaign in the MobileMonkey chatbot builder is a simple drag-and-drop process. First, you’ll create the dialogues, and then you’ll organize them in the Drip Campaign builder.

As the efficacy of email marketing fades, I want marketers to have confidence in drip campaigns—but not email drip campaigns.

Facebook Messenger drip campaigns powered by chatbots are alive and well, and scoring 80% open rates mere minutes after launching.

Facebook Messenger Data: Cumulative Metrics

The final set of data I want to show you isn’t from a specific Messenger campaign. Rather, it’s drawn from the collective marketing campaigns that I’ve been executing using MobileMonkey and Facebook Messenger.

As a preamble to the actual data, let me tell you yet again why I’m sharing these specific numbers with you.

The most fundamental reason is this—it’s data. Data is omnipotent. Acting upon data is the only effective way to make informed marketing decisions. If you know and understand your data, you can adjust your marketing accordingly.

When opening up any new marketing channel, it is essential to have a sense of the numbers—how many, how fast, who, why, and when.

Here are some of those numbers.

This metric shows the total number of contacts acquired in Messenger over time (the date range is, of course, adjustable).

Let’s compare this with email. One Messenger contact is the equivalent of anywhere from 20 to 100 emails in terms of the engagement driven. Thus, a Messenger contact list of this size gets the same engagement levels that you would expect from a 400,000-person email list.

This number—total contacts in Messenger—is the guiding light for the emerging class of chatbot marketers.

Whereas traditional marketers pour effort and energy into amassing email leads, today’s Facebook Messenger marketers measure their success by the number of Messenger contacts.

With email marketing, the contacts consist of, well, an email address—hardly anything else.

With Messenger marketing, the data on each contact is much richer, leading to extremely effective segmentation, retargeting, and campaign refinement.

Every contact goes into a contact list that is organized, searchable, and can even be exported automatically to any other business apps, CRMs, databases, etc.

For each contact that subscribes to your Messenger contact list, you have automatic visibility on the following information:

Profile picture
First name
Last name
Unique ID
Gender
Country
Time zone
Date and time created
Time of last activity

You can create an infinite number of attributes and tags that will help to further refine your contacts based on your own selections and parameters.

Another helpful data point is the rate of acquisition.

The chart below indicates the number of new contacts per day. It’s helpful for analyzing trends, specific campaign effectiveness, and overall trends.

Knowing the total number of sessions generated by chatbots is another integral number for measuring chatbot marketing success. This chart shows the total number of sessions (orange) plotted with the number of unique sessions (purple).

These are just a few of the many metrics available within MobileMonkey’s bot analytics.

To get a rounded view of my data, I often take a look at any paid entry points to my Messenger contact list, which is usually click-to-messenger ads. Doing so helps me understand the costs associated with Messenger list building.

For example, here’s a glance at a recent Messenger ad campaign. Here’s a quick rundown of the salient data points:

Campaign duration: 5 days
Total amount spent: $12.36
Total impressions: 1,373
Results: 158
Cost per result: $0.08

Each of the number sets discussed above is important for the role they play in refining and developing my Messenger marketing strategy.

Data from Facebook Messenger Campaigns: Your Turn

We’re in the infancy of Messenger chatbot marketing.

Sure, it’s an exciting field and a lot of marketers are jumping in, but there is no track record of people sharing data or metrical insights into the success of their chatbot marketing efforts.

That’s yet another reason why I chose to share this information with you.

The scarcity of data may lead marketers to conclude that 1) chatbot marketing isn’t effective and/or 2) all these marketers are lying about their 70% open rates.

I hope these few data points will provide a glimpse of authenticity to strip away the veneer of hype that masks the chatbot marketing world.

None of the data I shared with you is anomalous. None of it is sensational. And all of it is real.

Now it’s your turn.

Using chatbot marketing, what kind of results do you think you can achieve?

(NOTE: Not sure where to get started on your own Facebook ads? Download our NEWLY UPDATED Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library for FREE! You can copy and paste these 7 proven Facebook ad campaigns to create low-cost, high-converting ads on demand. Get them here.)

The post (REVEALED) Real Data from Actual Facebook Messenger Marketing Campaigns appeared first on DigitalMarketer.

0

17 Ways to Get More YouTube Views (Works GREAT In 2019)

sourced from: https://backlinko.com/get-youtube-views

In this post I’m going to show you how to get more views on YouTube.

In fact, these are the exact techniques that I used to grow my channel to 244.6K views per month.

Let’s dive right in.

1. Use “BOGY” Thumbnails
2. Copy This Proven Video Description Template
3. Alternate Playlist Layouts
4. Boost Your Video Title CTR
5. Get More “Suggested Video” Views
6. Use The “MVC Formula” For Video Tags
7. Share Videos On Quora, Reddit and Forums
8. Rank Your Videos in Google Search
9. Optimize Videos for Comments, Likes and Subscribes
10. Improve Your Channel’s “Session Time”
11. Optimize Your End Screen for Views
12. Master YouTube SEO Fundamentals
13. Use Eye-Catching Playlist Titles
14. Feature Your Videos On Your Blog
15. Share Video Clips On Social Media
16. Upload Videos When Your Audience is On YouTube
17. “The Card Bridge” Technique
Bonus #1: Get Featured On The YouTube Homepage
Bonus #2: Double Down On What Works
Bonus #3: The Community Tab Preview

1. Use “BOGY” Thumbnails

It’s no secret that your video thumbnail is HUGE.

In fact:

According to YouTube, 9 out of 10 of the most-viewed videos on YouTube use a custom thumbnail:

And YouTube themselves state that:

“Thumbnails are usually the first thing viewers see when they find one of your videos.”

The question is:

How do you create a thumbnail that stands out?

BOGY Thumbnails.

BOGY Thumbnails are thumbnails that use these four colors:

Blue
Orange
Green
Yellow

Why is this important?

Well, if you look around YouTube, you’ll notice that the site is mostly red, black and white.

And if your thumbnail also uses red, black and white… your video will blend in.

But when you use BOGY thumbnails, your videos stands out and grabs attention.

(Which makes people MUCH more likely to click)

For example, I use green as the main color in my thumbnails:

This is partly for branding reasons (green is the main color on my blog and YouTube channel).

But it’s also to stand out on the YouTube platform:

How about another example?

The Bright Side Channel (which has 19 million subscribers) uses yellow, orange, blue and purple in most of their thumbnails:

Of course, you can use a little bit of red, white and black in your thumbnail.

You just don’t want to make them your main thumbnail color.

For example, I use some black and white in this thumbnail.

But 80%+ of that thumbnail is green.

And now it’s time for…

2. Copy This Proven Video Description Template

YouTube has confirmed that your video descriptions “let YouTube’s algorithms know what your videos are all about”.

With that, I have some good news:

I recently developed a YouTube description template that works GREAT.

Here it is:

Now I’ll break down each section in detail.

First, you have the Strong Intro.

The first few lines of your description are SUPER important.

Specifically, you want to include your target keyword once in the first 1-2 sentences.

That’s because YouTube puts more weight on keywords early on in your description.

So make sure to mention your target keyword in the beginning of your description.

Here’s an example from my channel:

You also want to sell your video.

Why?

The first few lines of your description show up in YouTube search:

And if that snippet is super compelling, more people will click on your result:

Plus, some people even read your description after they land on your video page.

So it’s important that the content above “Show more” really sells your video.

Next, you have the 150-word outline.

All you need to do here is outline what someone will learn from your video.

And don’t be afraid to get into the nitty-gritty details here. In fact, I recommend writing AT LEAST 150 words here.

That way, YouTube can fully understand what your video covers.

For example, check out this description from one of my videos:

It’s 233 total words.

And that thorough description has helped my video rack up 299,173 views to date:

Finally, you have your description links.

I actually got this tip from YouTube themselves:

The goal here is to send people to your website and social media channels.

I’m most active on Twitter, so I only include a link to my Twitter profile:

But there’s nothing wrong with linking to several different sites that you’re active on.

And if you want to get more subscribers, I recommend adding a call-to-action to subscribe here too:

Which leads us to…

3. Alternate Playlist Layouts

If you’re like most people, you include a ton of playlists on your channel page.

(Which is smart)

Well, I recently discovered a simple way to get MORE people to watch your playlists:

Alternate vertical and horizontal playlist layouts.

Here’s an example from my channel:

Why is this important?

If you only use one playlist layout, your playlists don’t stand out from one another:

But when you alternate layouts, each playlist really stands out:

To change layouts, head over to your channel page. And hit “Customize Channel”.

Then, click on the little pencil icon next to one of your playlists:

And choose the layout:

Then, alternate between “vertical lists” and “horizontal layouts” for each playlist.

Simple. Yet effective.

4. Boost Your Video Title CTR

Your title is a BIG part of your video’s success.

In fact, YouTube’s internal data has confirmed that your title can make or break your entire video:

With that, here’s exactly how to write video titles that get tons of clicks:

First, add brackets and parentheses to the end of your title.

An industry study by HubSpot found that adding brackets to a title increased clicks by 33%:

To be fair:

This study looked at blog post titles.

But I’ve found that the same rule applies to YouTube videos.

For example, this video from my channel has 299,173 views:

And the “[New Checklist]” at the end of my title is a big part of that video’s success:

Next, use a number in your title.

This number can be:

The number of tips or strategies you’re going to cover
The current year
Number of steps in a how-to video
The amount of weight someone lost (or lifted)

Or pretty much any number that makes sense for your video.

For example, here’s a video on my channel about keyword research:

My original title was just “Advanced Keyword Research Tutorial”.

That title is pretty flat.

So I decided to add “5-Step Blueprint” to the end of my title:

Which has helped that video rack up over 100k views so far:

Finally, use titles that are between 40-50 characters:

A study by Justin Briggs discovered that videos with titles less than 50 characters ranked best in YouTube search:

5. Get More “Suggested Video” Views

Over the last few years I’ve studied dozens of YouTube channels.

And I’ve noticed one consistent pattern:

Successful channels get lots of views from Suggested Video.

As a reminder, “Suggested Videos” are videos that YouTube promotes next to the video you’re watching:

And as it turns out, Suggested Video can bring in MORE views than YouTube search.

For example, my channel gets 34.8% of its views from SEO…

…and 38.2% from Suggested Video:

So:

How can you get more views from Suggested Video?

Use the same tags as your competitors.

In fact, YouTube has stated that they use metadata (like your title, description and tags) for Suggested Video rankings.

So when your tags match the tags in a popular video, you have a good chance of showing up next to that video:

Here’s a video that walks you through this entire process in detail:

Speaking of tags…

6. Use The “MVC Formula” For Video Tags

You already know that tags are important for video SEO.

That’s because YouTube uses tags to understand your video’s topic.

In fact, when we analyzed 1+ million YouTube videos, we found that YouTube video tags correlated with rankings:

Question is:

How do you use tags the right way?

The MVC Formula.

Here’s how it looks:

The MVC stands for: “Main Keyword”, “Variations” and “Category”.

I’ll break this down with a real-life example…

First, you have “Main Keyword”.

This is self-explanatory.

You want to use your main keyword as your first or second tag.

For example, my target keyword for this video is: “link building”.

So I made that exact phrase my first tag:

Next, we’ve got “Variations”.

Here’s where you sprinkle in a few variations of your main keyword.

For example, in my link building video, I used a few variations of that term:

Finally, include 1-2 tags that describe your video’s overall category.

These broad tags are designed to help YouTube understand your video’s overall topic and category.

For example, in my video, I included three broad tags: “SEO”, “online marketing” and “digital marketing”.

7. Share Videos On Quora, Reddit and Forums

Online communities are GREAT places to promote your YouTube videos.

That’s because people on these communities have burning questions…

…questions that your video can answer.

For example, let’s say that you see someone asking this question on Reddit:

Well, if you had a video that talked about frozen Paleo meals, you could link to it in that thread.

In fact, I used this exact approach to promote one of my videos on Quora:

Which helped my brand new video get a handful of high-quality views.

8. Rank Your Videos in Google Search

Ranking your videos in Google can lead to LOTS of extra views.

In fact, Google sends my videos 8,396 views per month:

So:

How do you get your videos to show up in Google?

Well, it’s not all about ranking #1 in YouTube.

In fact, a study by Stone Temple Consulting found that 55.2% of YouTube videos ranking in Google were different than the top videos ranking in YouTube’s search results.

For example, if you search for “backhand drills” in YouTube, this video is shown at the top:

But when you search for that same keyword in Google, that video is nowhere to be found

With that, here’s how to boost your video’s chances of ranking in Google:

First, say your keyword out loud in your video.

For example, a while back I published this SEO tutorial video on my channel:

And I made sure to actually say the exact phrase “SEO Tutorial” four times in that video:

Which is one of the main reasons it ranks in the top 3 for that term:

Second, upload a transcript of your video to YouTube.

That way, Google can understand 100% of the content in your video.

Sure enough, I made sure to get a professional transcription for my SEO tutorial video.

9. Optimize Videos for Comments, Likes and Subscribes

YouTube wants to see that people ENGAGE with your video.

In fact, I recently conducted a YouTube search engine ranking factors study:

And we found a significant correlation between ranking in YouTube and user engagement.

Specifically, we found that comments:

Likes:

And subscribes:

All correlated with rankings in YouTube search.

What’s the best way to get more engagement on your videos?

It’s simple: ask people to engage with your video.

For example, let’s look at this video from my channel:

At the end of my video I ask people to leave a comment:

And subscribe:

Which has helped that video rack up 4,348 comments:

11,500 subscribers:

And 396,000 total views:

10. Improve Your Channel’s “Session Time”

Audience retention? Important.

Watch Time? VERY important.

But neither of these two metrics are close to session time.

I’ll explain…

Session Time (also known as “Session Watch Time”) is the total amount of time someone spends on YouTube after watching your video.

And it’s one metric that YouTube cares A LOT about. In fact, YouTube has said:

“The goals of YouTube’s search and discovery system are twofold: to help viewers find the videos they want to watch, and to maximize long-term viewer engagement…”

So if someone watches your video and then leaves YouTube, that’s going to hurt your channel’s Session Time:

But if that person stays on YouTube, your Session Time is going to increase:

And the best way to improve your Session Time?

Promote your BEST videos on your channel page.

That way, you’re showing people videos that will keep them watching.

For example, I show off my best videos at the top of my channel page (inside of playlists):

Evan Carmichael even replaced his traditional channel trailer with one of his popular videos:

As it turns out, there’s another easy way to boost your Session Time.

Which leads us to…

11. Optimize Your End Screen for Views

Here’s how to get extra views (and Session Watch Time) using your end screen:

First, pick a popular video from your channel.

To do this, head over to the YouTube Studio and find a video that generated lots of views over the last 90 days:

Next, find a video from your channel that someone would want to watch AFTER they finish watching your popular video.

For example, this video was one of my top 10 videos over the last 90 days:

So I asked myself:

“What does someone that just learned about keyword research want to learn about next?”

How to use those keywords in their content.

Luckily, I published a video on that exact topic a few months earlier:

Finally, link to that video in your End Screen:

And because your “Next Video” is EXACTLY what someone wants to see, they’re super likely to watch it.

12. Master YouTube SEO Fundamentals

If you want to get more views on YouTube, you need to learn as much as you can about YouTube SEO.

Specifically, you want to master SEO basics like:

Keyword research for videos
Optimizing titles, descriptions and tags
Improving Audience Retention and Watch Time
YouTube engagement signals

And if you want a crash course on SEO for YouTube, I recommend watching this entire video:

13. Use Eye-Catching Playlist Titles

I used to name my playlists with whatever word popped into my head first.

For example, one of my first playlists was called “Advanced SEO Strategies”:

Not a horrible name. But not super compelling either.

So I added “and Case Studies” to make the title more interesting:

And I’ve applied this same rule to all of my playlist titles.

For example, one of my most popular playlists is called “How to Get Higher Google Rankings”:

My original title for that playlist was: “SEO Tips and Strategies”.

But I knew that my audience wants to learn “how to get higher Google rankings”.

So I made my playlist title that exact outcome.

14. Feature Your Videos On Your Blog

You might have noticed that I’ve embedded quite a few of my YouTube videos in this post.

And there’s a good reason for that:

These embedded videos lead to a ton of high-quality views.

Not only do these embeds help you get more views, but they can also help your videos rank higher in YouTube’s search results.

An industry study found that #1 ranking videos have 78% more links and embeds than videos that rank #2 or below:

Pretty cool.

15. Share Video Clips On Social Media

Back in the day I’d share my entire YouTube video on social media:

And sure, this led to a handful of views.

But not as many as I wanted.

That’s when I realized something:

Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites want to keep people on their platforms.

(Yup, just like YouTube)

And when you post a link to your YouTube video, their algorithms are going to hide your post from your followers.

So:

What’s the solution?

Upload a clip from your YouTube video as native video.

Here’s an example:

Because my clip was native to Facebook, it was promoted around the platform like crazy.

(Which led to 23k views on my post)

And once you post the clip, link to the full video as the first comment:

That way, people that enjoyed your clip can easily find the full video on YouTube.

16. Upload Videos When Your Audience is On YouTube

What’s the best time to upload a video on YouTube?

Is it Tuesday at 3pm?

How about Saturday at 6am?

The real answer: when your subscribers are on YouTube.

Unfortunately, YouTube doesn’t tell you when most of your subscribers are online.

So I recommend testing a few different days and times to see what works best for your channel.

You can even use a tool like VidIQ to analyze your channel for the best times to post:

17. “The Card Bridge” Technique

This is an easy way to boost your Session Time and views.

Here’s how it works:

First, look at the audience retention report for one of your videos.

Here’s an example from my channel:

As you can see, this video has a massive retention drop at 6:16.

Next, have a card appear at that time.

(That’s “The Bridge”)

And that card sends people to another video on your channel at the exact moment they would have clicked away:

Nice.

Bonus #1: Get Featured On The YouTube Homepage

The YouTube homepage can be a GREAT source of views.

(Especially for new videos)

For example, look at the traffic sources to this video the week after it went live:

39.4% of all of my views came from “Browse Features”.

(Most of which are views from the YouTube homepage)

And getting on the homepage led to 3,097 views in my video’s first week.

Not bad.

As you probably know, your YouTube homepage is highly personalized.

So when I say “get featured on the homepage”, I’m talking about getting on the homepage for users that are signed in.

With that, here are two ways to boost the odds that your video will appear on people’s homepages:

First, promote your video in the first 48 hours after it goes live.

YouTube’s homepage algorithm tends to feature videos that have two things going for them:

They’re new
They’re popular

And when you get lots of eyeballs on your new video, YouTube will happily feature it on their homepage.

For example, I promote my new videos on social media:

And to my newsletter subscribers:

Which helps push lots of people to my brand new content on day 1:

Second, boost your total YouTube subscriber count.

I’ve noticed that YouTube’s homepage tends to feature content from channels that you’re already subscribed to.

(Which makes sense)

So the more subscribers you have, the more views you’ll get from the homepage.

Bonus #2: Double Down On What Works

In other words:

Find videos from your channel with above-average audience retention.
Use what worked in future videos.

How about an example?

This video from my channel was my first successful video:

(Most of my other early videos completely flopped)

So I decided to apply what worked in this video to my future videos.

And it worked!

Because I doubled down on what was already working, I was able to grow my channel in record time:

Specifically, I looked for spots in my video where my audience retention was higher than average:

For example, I noticed a big retention spike at 3:51:

3:51 laid out the steps for one of the strategies in my video:

So I decided to show steps in text form in all of my future videos:

Bonus #3: The Community Tab Preview

This is an easy way to get your subscribers PUMPED about your next video.

Here’s how to do it:

First, publish a post about your upcoming video in your community tab.

This can be a sneak preview shot:

A quiz:

Or anything that builds anticipation for your video:

Either way, your community post makes people look forward to your upcoming video.

(Which means they’ll be MUCH more likely to watch it when it goes live)

Now It’s Your Turn

Now I’d like to hear what you have to say:

Which strategy from today’s post are you ready to try first?

Are you going to use BOGY Thumbnails?

Or

Maybe you’re ready to preview videos in your Community Tab.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

The post 17 Ways to Get More YouTube Views (Works GREAT In 2019) appeared first on Backlinko.

0

How I Gain 1,260 Instagram Followers Per Week

sourced from: https://neilpatel.com/blog/instagram-followers/

Do you want to be instafamous?

Well, who doesn’t?

Over the last few months, I’ve been running numerous Instagram experiments and I’ve finally figured out how to grow my Instagram following.

My Neil Patel account has been growing by 1,260 followers per week.

And I know what you are thinking… Neil, you are already well known, this can’t be replicated by anyone else.

Right?

Well, not only did we test this strategy out on my profile, but we also did it on 2 other profiles.

It works no matter what industry you are in. Heck, it works even better if you aren’t in B2B like me.

Just look at Dhavalilama. His likes per image have been growing by just using the heart trick, which I will explain in a bit, and he isn’t using my whole strategy. :/

So, how do you gain more Instagram followers each week without spending money?

Tip #1: Instagram wants long videos

You’ve heard everyone say that you need to upload videos. Social networks like Instagram aren’t just competing with other social networks, they are competing with traditional media and even companies like Netflix for your attention.

If you upload videos, you’ll find that you’ll get more engagement than if you just upload images.

But the key isn’t to just upload any video… it ideally needs to be engaging and long.

By long I am not talking about a 60-second video, I’m talking minutes. You’ll have to leverage IGTV for this, but that’s what they want as not enough people are using that feature.

Hence, if you use IGTV, they’ll push your video more.

That way when someone is watching a 5-minute video you just posted, they’ll be able to watch the first 60 seconds on their feed and then they’ll be pushed over to IGTV.

All you have to do is upload the video to IGTV and select the “post a preview” option.

What this does is, it uploads the video to IGTV and then also promotes the video through your feed.

Just look at this video that I only posted on IGTV.

It had 236 views before writing this blog post.

When I posted that video, I had 9,078 followers, which means I had an engagement rate of 2.59%.

Now if you look at this video that I posted…

It had 2,971 views before writing this blog post.

When I posted that video I had 21,047 followers, which means I had an engagement rate of 14.11%.

What’s crazy is, that one simple change increased my video engagement by 444%.

Tip #2: Ask and you will receive

Instagram’s algorithm is simple… the more views and likes your videos and images receive, the more people will see them, which increases engagement and your follower count over time.

There’s not too much more to the algorithm.

Of course, they are looking at things like what percentage of your followers actually engage… but still, the algorithm from a conceptual standpoint is simple.

So, have you thought about asking for people to “like” your image?

Now with Instagram, people are using it via their cell phone so it’s more of a “double tap” than a like… but you get the point.

On average, when I post an image on Instagram I can generate 945.6 likes.

Here’s an example of one of those images:

And as you can see from the engagement, that one did better than most of my images as it has over 1,000 likes.

Plus, the messaging resonates with a lot of people.

But here is one that is simple…

I just asked people to “double tap” if they need to improve their video skills.

It didn’t take much creativity to come up with that image and it received 1,441 likes. In other words, it produced 51.96% more engagement.

You should give it a try… I tend to use this tactic a few times a month and it works really well.

Just be careful though, if you use it every day or every week, people will get sick of it and it will stop working. Hence, I only use it a few times a month max.

Tip #3: Go live

Did I already mention that Instagram is competing with television networks and Netflix?

Because of that, what kind of content do you think they want more of?

Well, yes they want more video content, but we already talked about that.

They want more live content.

Think… reality TV.

Now the live content you produce doesn’t have to be like Keeping up with the Kardashians… they just want live content that people are looking forward to viewing.

You know how you will tune into shows like American Idol or the latest soccer or football match because it’s live and you want to see what’s happening in real time? That’s the effect Instagram is hoping for with live content.

Now, when you go live, Instagram is promoting it heavily so you’ll get more viewers. It doesn’t matter what you talk about… they just want to see more people go live.

Every time I go live, I am able to get at least 1,000 views. Just look at the live I just did…

In the first 6 hours, it’s already received 718 views and I did this live session on a Sunday during non-peak hours. Within the first 24 hours, it will easily surpass 1000 views.

In other words, go live! It’s a simple and quick way to grow your following count. Ideally, you should be going live on a weekly basis.

Heck, you can’t go live too much… feel free to go live daily.

Tip #4: Respond to comments

This one is simple, but no one really does it.

Social networks are supposed to be social. That means you should participate.

And no, I am not talking about just liking other images and viewing videos. I’m talking about engaging with people and talking to them.

So, when you like something that someone else posts, leave a comment.

And when someone leaves a comment on one of your posts… what do you think you should do?

You should respond to them with a comment.

Now, let’s look at some of my posts for a minute. You’ll see decent engagement, but more so, you’ll see me being very active.

Just look at all of my responses.

By engaging with people, you’re more likely to build a relationship with these individuals, which makes it more likely that they will back and continually engage with your posts.

Tip #5: The heart trick

Alright, are you ready for the heart trick? You know, the one Dhavalilama has been using to boost his like count by 300%.

The concept is simple, but it will take a bit of finesse to implement.

A part of Instagram’s algorithm is how much engagement you get from other Instagram users within the first hour of you posting anything.

Now, I’ve done a lot of tests with this… if you can get Instagram users who have more followers than you to like your image or video when it first goes live you’ll find that your content is much more likely to show up on the discovery page.

From a lot of testing, here’s what seems to be the most effective:

Get people with larger following accounts to like your image or video within the first hour it comes out.
Ask them to not like anything else within that hour. We’ve found that if they like too many images or videos it doesn’t work.
And if they are feeling extra generous, have them leave a comment.

The heart trick isn’t that complex, but it is hard to implement because you have to convince users who are more popular than you to like your content right when you publish.

And ideally, you need 6 people who have large accounts (the bigger the better), for this to work extremely well.

Tip #6: Create multiple stories each day

What do Tai Lopez, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Grant Cardone have in common?

Well, other than the fact that they all have over a million Instagram followers…

They all post a ton of stories per day.

And when I mean a ton, sometimes they are posting over 20 stories a day… literally.

The more stories you post, the more engagement you’ll create, which will lead to more followers.

Just look at the stats from the stories I just posted:

I can generate over 1,000 views within 8 hours of posting a story and generally in the range of 1,600 to 2,000 views within 24 hours.

The same story 23 hours later received 1870 views.

Here are some things to keep in mind if you want to maximize stories:

Don’t post all of your stories at once, spread them out throughout the day. This will cause people to keep coming back and engaging with your profile.
Use a combination of both images and videos within your stories. Overall, you’ll find that videos create more engagement.
The more stories you publish, the better off you are.
Add polls to your stories, this also helps boost engagement.

Tip #7: Quality matters

Have you noticed that some images get more likes than others? Or certain videos get more engagement?

Instagram is a visual social network. So the visual part is important… you want your images and videos to look great no matter what.

Now, they don’t have to be perfect, but you do want to make sure you are posting images that people enjoy.

Here’s what I mean…

When you look at my profile, you’ll see a ton of images of me that contain quotes.

Some of those images perform really well, while others don’t. For example, every time I post a quote using this image template…

It gets 21.4% less engagement then when I use this template…

Keep track of what your followers like and don’t like. Post more of what they like and stop posting the stuff that has low engagement.

Tip #8: Test, test, test

Speaking of posting more of what your followers like and less of what they don’t, you need to constantly test.

Even though quality matters, when you are testing you shouldn’t aim for perfection. Just aim for speed.

Once you find something that people like, do more of it.

For example, I ask people to double tap as I talked about in tip number 2 because I learned it through testing.

Here are some other things I’ve learned through testing:

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication – people prefer clean images that are simple.
Use bright colors – images that are darker, such as night photography don’t perform as well.
Switch things up – if you do the same thing every week you’ll find your engagement starting to drop.
People want to get to know you – they don’t want to get to know the Photoshop version of you. Be realistic and personal. Connect with your followers.
Filters don’t matter – don’t waste too much time modifying or adjusting your images. Little things like filters don’t make the biggest difference.
Hashtags aren’t game changing – I know everyone says you have to use hashtags and you should here and there… but they aren’t game-changing. So don’t spam and use 20 hashtags per image you post. And when you do use them, pick relevant and popular ones. You can use Ubersuggest to figure out what keywords are popular.
Use Instagram analytics – it tells you when your followers are online so you know when to post. If you post when they are online you’ll get much more engagement.

A good example of a test I’ve run is when I post on my feed. As you can see from my stats…

My followers are most likely to be on Instagram at 9am. So I try to post around that time, which has helped me get 8.41% more likes per image.

Every little bit adds up!

Conclusion

You don’t have to spend money on ads to grow your Instagram following. If you follow the tips above, you’ll do well and find that you can grow your weekly following count by over 1,000 net new followers each week.

Now, I know you may not want to use Instagram because it doesn’t have your “ideal” audience, but you can drive conversions from Instagram.

For example, when I went live on Instagram and I told the audience to check out my ad agency Neil Patel Digital, I was able to generate 2 leads.

Neither of the leads were ideal customers, but it is a numbers game. If I continually do it I will be able to generate clients.

In the past, I have closed 3 deals from Instagram… one paid $120,000, the other paid $1,000,000, and the last paid $300,000.

They were all consulting arrangements, so I had substantial costs associated with the revenue, but it shows that Instagram does work.

Heck, if it didn’t, I wouldn’t be back on Instagram again (this is my 3rd profile, I no longer use the other 2).

You can also use the swipe up feature to drive people to your site and this will help you generate leads and sales.

So, what do you think about Instagram? Are you using it on a daily basis?

The post How I Gain 1,260 Instagram Followers Per Week appeared first on Neil Patel.

0

17 Charts That Show Where Social Media is Heading

sourced from: https://neilpatel.com/blog/social-media-trends/

You already know it’s harder to get traffic from the social web unless you spend money on ads.

There’s nothing new with that fact… just look at the graph above: It breaks down how the average number of social shares per blog post has been dying year over year.

But the reality is you can’t ignore platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube or any other new contender that comes out and gains traction.

These social sites command so much traffic, that we have no choice but to be on them.

Just look at the Similar Web numbers for Facebook… they get an estimated 19.2 billion visits a month.

That’s ridiculous! And it’s not just Facebook either… according to Similar Web, all of the big platforms get tons of traffic:

LinkedIn – 917 million visitors a month
Twitter – 3.62 billion visitors a month
YouTube – 22.77 billion visitors a month
Pinterest – 722 million visitors a month
Instagram – 2.86 billion visitors a month

In other words, whether you like their algorithm tweaks or not, you have no choice but to be on these platforms as they attract so many eyeballs.

So, what should you do with your organic social reach? How should you combat their algorithms so you can generate a positive ROI as their ad prices keep going up?

Well, I surveyed 183 companies that generate at least 5 million dollars in revenue a year all the way up to $1.7 billion to show you where social media is headed and what you should do to succeed in the landscape.

Let’s dive into the data…

Expect less traffic from the social web, even if you pay for it

Look at the graph below. What do you see?

Since 2015, the amount of shares a blog post receives from the social web has been declining. One of the large reasons for social sites to clamp down on organic reach is that that makes it so you need to spend money to get the reach that you were once used to and relied upon to generate traffic.

Now let’s look at the percentage of digital ad spend going towards social media sites.

Over time it has increased, and you’ll notice that things really started to ramp up in 2016.

An interesting fact is that in the United States during mid-2017, Facebook had more advertisers than inventory. In other words, the demand was higher than the supply which caused CPM and CPC rates to increase.

But similar to the game of cat and mouse SEOs play with Google, marketers also play that game with social networks. In recent years, marketers have figured out how to reverse the trend of their dying organic reach.

2017 was a low point, but since then marketers have figured out a way to boost organic social traffic.

It won’t last forever… but can you guess how?

Don’t expect your employees to help

Well, it’s not by asking your employees to share your content.

Roughly 74% of the companies we surveyed asked their employees to share their content. Might as well get those extra likes and comments, right?

I know I used to do it.

But then I stopped because the majority of my employees didn’t want to share the content. And it’s not just my companies, other companies experienced the same thing.

In other words, the first few times you ask your team members to share, they’ll do it. After a while, they’ll ignore you.

So how are marketers boosting their organic reach?

You have to use chatbots

Here’s how much time companies are spending on each form of social media content.

As you can see, everyone loves posting images and text-based updates because they are easy to post.

But they don’t produce the best engagement. It’s actually live video and other forms of video.

Social platforms are trying to compete with television networks and they are even competing with platforms like Netflix.

So, if you want the most engagement you have to feed into their goals. If you start producing live video or even recorded video, you’ll find that you can boost your engagement. What this will do is get more of your followers engaged so when you post other forms of content they’ll be a higher probability that the content will be seen.

The other reason videos work so well is because they keep people on these social platforms versus driving people back to your site.

But of course, you want your followers to go back to your site… and you can do that through chatbots.

As you can see, 41% of the companies reported that chatbots (also knowns as messenger bots for social sites) provided their biggest traffic gains.

In other words, if you want to drive people from social sites like Facebook, you’ll have to start using messenger bots like Mobile Monkey.

The chances are you aren’t using messenger bots yet, but they are super effective. Just follow this guide and it will walk you through setting them up.

Now, not every social network has messenger bots, but over time you’ll see this change.

You’ll have to start expanding globally

I’ve been blogging a lot about global expansion from an SEO perspective, but the same goes from a social media perspective as well.

The chart above clearly shows how people are now getting traffic from regions where English wasn’t the native language.

And as companies noticed that trend, they also started posting their social content in multiple languages.

You’ll see a trend of this continuing over the next few years in which companies will be leveraging globalization as social marketing campaigns in non-English speaking countries in most cases is more profitable.

If you want the most out of your organic social traffic and paid ads you should consider posting content in multiple languages.

Some social networks like Facebook give great targeting options where you can pick which regions you want to show your content in.

For other platforms like Twitter and Instagram, this doesn’t exist yet.

When you also look at it from an advertising perspective, ads are expensive in regions like the United States, Japan, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany… but they aren’t as costly in most parts of Latin America and Asia.

Now let’s look at social media from a sales perspective.

Here’s how to maximize your social media revenue

Similar to content marketing, don’t expect social media visitors to convert right when they land on your site.

On average, a social media visitor will convert after 3 visits.

That means you are going to have to focus on getting people to continue to come back to your site if you want more sales.

In other words, you’ll have to play the long game.

The simplest way to do this is to remarket your social visitors. But there are other solutions as well that you aren’t currently using.

You can use a combination of the methods above. You’ll find that one won’t be enough and you’ll have to combine a handful of methods, including SMS.

You’re probably not using SMS marketing yet, but did you know that when I send SMS messages my response rates are 68%?!

That’s crazy high!

I’m not talking about opens, I am talking about responses!

For email, you can use tools like Hello Bar and for push notifications, you can use tools like Subscribers.

But there are multiple ways to boost your sales from social media, including focusing on specific content types.

Did you know that if you leverage chatbots (messenger bots) and post video-based content you’ll generate more sales on average than if you just posted status updates?

I know that sounds counterintuitive as it is easier to drive people to your site using status updates than to create a video, but you have to consider that social algorithms favor video.

You can also optimize your sales by picking specific social networks

Sales is a complicated formula. There’s more to growing your revenue than just focusing on specific types of content social media sites love and optimizing your landing pages.

To get a full picture, you also have to look at the first touch and last touch sales.

First touch sales are the traffic source that people first found you from. They don’t necessarily convert right then and there, but it’s the way they first found you.

It’s no shocker, but Facebook is the leader when it comes to first touch sales.

Now let’s look at last touch sales, which is where a visitor comes from right before they convert. Remember, someone may have found your site from Facebook, but they may not convert right away.

Sure, Facebook is still the winner, but YouTube is a close second and, shockingly, WhatsApp is in 3rd place.

It makes sense as texting has an extremely high open and click rate. I know you aren’t using WhatsApp for your business yet because that’s what the data shows, but you should check out their business API.

Conclusion

Over the upcoming years, you can assume social algorithms are going to get tougher from both an organic and paid perspective.

Social media companies are facing heavy governmental pressure due to fake news, privacy concerns, and issues related to political campaigns.

But that doesn’t mean you can ignore the social web or stop using it. It’s not dying and it is here to stay.

The data shows social media is on the rise. Sure, these sites aren’t growing at a rapid pace anymore but that’s due to the majority of the world already being on one of these platforms if not a few of them.

They are effective because people trust what they see on these sites and that should continually increase as they fix issues like fake news.

As long as you follow the tips above, you’ll be able to maximize your social media traffic and revenue even when the algorithms change in ways that don’t favor you.

So how are you maximizing your social media traffic?

PS: If you want to know where content marketing is heading, check this out.

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