A monthly round-up of digital marketing, SEO, and social media updates, summarized for you.
Oh, hi there. Welcome to the twelfth edition of Rally the Trends! Thanks for visiting this highlight reel of digital marketing news and social media updates. We’re so glad you stopped by.
Vitally Important: It’s pretty clear that Google uses engagement signals (think clicks and interaction data) for webpage ranking. The eternal question is how those are used. Are they direct signals or only used for machine learning? While Google is always going to be vague about its exact ranking process and algorithm, there are metrics with a proven track record that could take your SEO game to the next level. Think of it as first, long, and last. First is about being the first click, which is indicative of higher traffic and a high Click-through Rate (CTR). Long is the time spent on a webpage. Longer dwell times usually means the information is relevant to the user. Last is the SEO gold medal. Being the last search means the user is satisfied and doesn’t have to return to Google for additional queries. In this case, being last could actually end up putting you first in the long run.
SEO DelUXe: Is really just becoming the standard. We’re not talking about a certain edition of SEO, but rather the growing importance of UX and SEO. Old keyword tactics like stuffing keywords and backlinking are no longer viable. Search engines and users expect a website to provide stellar user experience. And the nice thing is, these two things go hand-in-hand. We know that a fast page load time is important for SEO rankings, but it also provides a smoother, less frustrating user experience. The same is true for mobile-friendly design, easy navigation, and relevant, understandable content. These best practices will help your site be user-friendly and search friendly. You can make your site visitors and Google happy, and that is truly living deluxe.
Model of a Modern Content Marketer: Content marketing is a very buzzy term right now, with reports saying that 70% of marketers are actively investing in it. Content marketing is all about inspiring and educating your audience with relevant and strategic information. If you are a content marketer or are looking to jump into that space, these are helpful stats. For example, did you know that business video content is consumed the most on Thursdays? Or that 83% of marketing blog traffic is from desktops? With that, did you know that companies that blog have
- 55% more website visitors
- 67% more monthly leads
- 97% more inbound leads
- 434% more indexed pages
Blogging and content marketing go together like peanut butter and jelly, and blog writing is a simple and easy way to grow your content marketing efforts.
Making Media Moves: Reddit and YouTube. In the recent 2021 social media usage survey from Pew Research Center, over 1500 US adults were asked about their social media use. While Facebook still tops the chart as most used on a daily basis, other services, like Reddit, YouTube, and TikTok, are seeing statistically significant growth. This is not the case for Facebook. The report shows that while people check into Facebook frequently (for events, groups they participate in, birthday notifications, etc.), they spend more time interacting with apps like Instagram and TikTok. Younger people (ages 18-29) are the main users of Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. Those platforms are the best place to connect with a young adult audience in an impactful way What social media platforms are you looking to expand into?
Data of Days Gone By: In a same song, second (or seventh) verse scenario for Facebook, it has come to light that data from over 500 million Facebook accounts was posted on a hacking forum. This data, which was mostly phone numbers, included information from about 11 million users in the UK and was collected using scraping. Scraping was a technique that could be used prior to 2019 to collect private data. Facebook has since fixed the error that allowed the hacking to happen, but there was no apology offered by the Social Network when this leak came to light. This harsh and unapologetic response from Facebook, along with a long history of data breaches and questionable transparency practices, could cause users to say farewell to the platform.
In other Facebook data news, Facebook Analytics will not be available after June 30. A definitive reason has not been given for this decision, but when announcing its closure, Facebook directed Analytics users to its other platforms, such as Business Suite, Ads Manager, and Events Manager. Facebook Analytics was primarily used to sync data from a page with data from a Facebook pixel. Moving forward, Facebook wants to make its Business Suite the only tool needed to manage content across Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. The problem with that right now, however, is that Business Suite is only available for small businesses. It remains to be seen if the company will roll out an update to include larger businesses before June 30.
Audio Killed the Video Star: Facebook is fully embracing the audio social trend and has announced several new audio offerings. Through its experimental NPE branch, the company has launched Hotline. This is a web-based app that is similar to Clubhouse. Hotline, however, records each session and provides both video and audio files to the host after the event has ended. While some of the attraction of audio chat rooms is their spontaneity and “happening right now” feel, this feature could be used to create multiple forms of content (YouTube videos, podcasts, etc.).
Facebook itself is launching a test of audio-only Rooms. Creators and hosts will have the option to create content behind a paywall using Facebook’s Stars donation system. There is also potential to charge for a subscription or a one-time live audio event. Creators could also take this audio and use it for a podcast later. Audio Rooms will be tested first in Facebook Groups, which are used by over 1.8 billion people on a monthly basis. While Facebook is often criticized or satirized (with good reason) for copying social media trends, it’s also just good business. The reach and resources that the Social Network has makes it relatively easy to test and grow into these emerging platforms. It makes sense that they are always trying to compete and stay relevant, because giants can fall too. However, even with its issues, it does not seem that Facebook is headed that way any time soon.
We Like to See It: Or we don’t. But with Instagram now giving a test group of users the option to see and/or hide Like counts, you get to choose. Unlike the bug in March that hid an unanticipated number of Like counts, Instagram is now putting the choice in the hands of its users. For those that are part of the test, they can choose to see or hide Likes on other accounts. They can also choose to hide Likes on their own account on a per-post basis. This idea has received a wide range of responses in testing. It began as a way to reduce anxiety and emphasis surrounding Likes, especially for younger users who can look to the metric for affirmation or approval. Influencers and creators, however, want Likes to be visible for all users because many of their partnerships and brand collab opportunities are based on that metric. This is a small test right now and Instagram has not revealed if they plan to widen the test anytime soon.
The Story of Stickers: While that could be the title to a great kids’ book, the story we’re talking about here is the Instagram variety and its recent test of new stickers. Most notably, the platform has a new link sticker. Few details have been shared, but it’s possible that this feature would allow those with linking capabilities (10,000 or more followers) to place a link anywhere in the actual Story frame. Right now, the swipe-up link is the only option for putting links in Stories. This update would give some other link presentation options for accounts with 10,000+ followers. At first glance, this update seems like it might bring linking capabilities to everyone, but that is probably not the case.
Strictly Business: After announcing the upcoming Twitter Professional Profiles during Analyst Day last month, the platform has begun a live test of this new feature. As seen in the example below, this will allow creators and businesses to share more information directly in their profiles. The format is similar to a Google Knowledge Panel. Right now, the test only includes a small group of US businesses. It will be interesting to see where this development goes and how they will use it to drive advertisement and revenue. Ecommerce is an obvious choice for Twitter, especially as Facebook and Instagram are continuing to build out their capabilities in that area.
Dissecting the Bird: Or at least its algorithm anyway. A new study from Computational Journalism Lab showed some marked shifts from the old chronological timeline to the current algorithmic timeline. Fewer external links were displayed, which has wide-reaching affects for news outlets and businesses. It’s also worth noting that suggested tweets (from accounts not followed by the user) made up 55% of the algorithmic timeline in this sample. So, less than half of the feed was actually content from followed accounts. With that, though, comes significantly more source diversity for content. There is still a lot that is unknown about Twitter’s algorithm, but these observations provide helpful insight.
Into the Audio: LinkedIn is jumping into the audio rooms trend and creating its own Clubhouse copy. Given that LinkedIn is a professional network and a place where people connect over unique industries, the audio trend is a natural progression for the platform. LinkedIn has released a statement saying it is in early stages of testing with this feature.
Cover Letter Video: You can now add a video cover story on LinkedIn. People can view this introduction video when they visit your profile. This is a great way to make a memorable impression, especially with recruiters and hiring managers. LinkedIn is also adding an option to include gender pronouns in your profile. One of the biggest updates is the new Creator Mode. This setting allows a user to show posts and LinkedIn interaction in a new way. Creator Mode is a big part of the platform’s efforts to support creators. In the future, this could even include revenue sharing with top creators, similar to what TikTok and other platforms have done.
The Atlanta Film Festival is going on right now! It is the largest and longest-running film festival in the Southeast. The festival includes 230 feature films and a bunch of other content. Whether you choose to watch from home, The Plaza Theatre, or at one of the drive-in locations, it’s sure to be a thrilling cinematic feast.
Be safe. Make time to take care of yourself and your mental health. There is so much hurt, but there is also hope. Take a deep breath. Thanks so much for reading to the end. See you next month. 👋🏼👋🏾👋🏿