5 Ways to Convert Organic Traffic Into Qualified Leads

Are you optimizing your content for Google AND for conversions. Here are 5 ways you can turn organic traffic into qualified leads.

So you doubled the organic traffic to your site?

Awesome! 👏👏🏽👏🏿

But also, so what?

Let me explain.

We’re all in business.

Visitors are nice, but paying customers are better.

With all the attention SEO professionals give to optimizing for search, it’s easy to neglect the other really big, important piece of the puzzle: conversion.

Don’t Hunt Without Eating

Brand awareness is golden, but only if you can translate it into actual business.

All your keyword research, site optimization, and link building efforts are a waste if they don’t result in revenue.

Getting folks onto your site is hard enough, but it’s only the beginning of the battle.

Those visitors need to convert.

And they should be converting – 16% of organic leads should turn into paying customers.

To keep your leads moving down the funnel, you need to make sure that they’re landing on the right pages, getting the content they’re looking for, and can easily buy, subscribe, request a quote, or sign up.

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The good news: you have the tools in your arsenal to turn organic traffic into qualified leads.

So let’s dive into how to use them properly.

1. Match Content to User Intent

Understanding user intent is fundamental to SEO, so this isn’t necessarily a revolutionary idea.

The problem is, the concept isn’t always executed well for a number of reasons:

  • Prioritizing keywords solely by volume without organizing by intent.
  • Failing to communicate intent to the people developing content.
  • Choosing the type of content before performing keyword research.

Improve Existing Pages

The first step to addressing issues with intent is to look at your current pages.

Some of them may have been created before you had an SEO strategy.

So there’s potential for a quick win by improving existing pages.

Also, who doesn’t love to cringe at their old content?!

Look at the queries you’re ranking for that contain transactional terms, like “buy, “pricing,” “reviews,” or “testimonials.”

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  • Are the pages that rank for those queries serving up content that will drive your audience to convert?
  • Is the content easy to read, with easily accessible calls-to-action?

The past year, I’ve been working through a content audit I started in August for Leadfeeder’s blog.

Before I joined the team, they were working with a content marketing agency that focused solely on content creation, not driven from an SEO mindset. I identified 82 blog posts to rewrite.

convert organic leads content audit 5ef3bcea314b3 - 5 Ways to Convert Organic Traffic Into Qualified Leads

In less than 8 months, I managed to double organic traffic and increase conversions by 20% by improving their existing blog posts.

If a page doesn’t align with user intent, it may perform well for a short time, but eventually, Google will catch on.

Create a Framework for Existing Pages

Whether you’re doing all the work yourself or working with a large team, set standards for your content updates.

It’s the best way to streamline the process and make sure you’re following best practices.

Their content framework included a target word count, UX tactics, and guidelines on how to push lead magnets and calls-to-action more effectively.

Optimizing for Intent for New Pages

Moving forward, here’s how you can use intent more effectively:

  • Include user intent as part of your content plan and creative briefs. Writers are often given a set of keywords and told to “go.” Everyone involved in content creation should be talking about intent, not just SEO pros. The person who develops the copy needs to have a clear understanding of the question they’re answering with the content they write.
  • Talk about intent before you determine the content type. This means that SEO needs a seat at the table before decisions are made on content. Otherwise, you end up with a blog about accounting software pricing when what you need is a landing page.
  • Use intent to maneuver leads down the funnel. In fact, let’s address that in more detail in its own section.

Target Keywords Related to Buying Journey Pain Points

Even an intent-focused SEO strategy can fall short.

How?

Because your audience’s needs are increasingly nuanced.

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B2B buyers spend 27% of their time researching online before making a purchase.

And the buying journey is more like what my teeth looked like in 6th grade, crooked, rather than a straight, braces-enhanced, path down the funnel.

All that online research can’t easily fit into either “transactional” or “informational” boxes.

You can help guide your users through the process with content that helps them navigate that maze.

This is the pain point-first approach that Growth and Convert advocates.

For one client, they found that the highest conversions came from pages that addressed pain points in the buying process.

For example, pages like this are high converting because they address a pain point by comparing products.

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The pages that targeted high-volume search terms drew in users but converted at much lower levels.

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Moral of the story: Include content that speaks to your audience’s questions about the buying process itself.

Dig deeper into search queries to learn what your audience wants at different stages of the funnel.

Leads who want buyer’s guides, comparisons, product reviews, etc. may not be ready to buy today, but they may be ready to become a qualified lead.

2. Optimize for Branded Search Terms

Targeting branded search terms is another way to grab leads that are lower in the funnel.

When someone searches for “[your company] ebooks” or “[your company] webinars,” that’s a high-value lead that you want to satisfy. They’re aware of your brand and they’re asking for more.

Optimized pages that meet their needs are low-hanging fruit.

This is one of the tactics Gaetano DiNardi used to help drive a 400% increase in growth at Sales Hacker.

He found that there was search volume for “Sales Hacker webinar,” but no pages on their site where someone could easily find their webinars.

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The solution was a quick fix: a landing page that contained all of Sales Hacker’s webinar content.

The search volume on branded terms may be low, but these are valuable leads who are requesting your content by name.

Serving them the content they want pays off.

3. Nurture, Nurture, Nurture

Everyone who visits your site isn’t ready to convert right away.

It’s not you, I promise.

They’re just not ready for anything serious. But they’re open to a little content here and there. It’s like a coffee date with no commitment.

Lead nurturing – the process of engaging with leads across channels over a period of time – is an art and science in and of itself.

Since email is the primary, and most effective, channel for lead nurturing, I’ll focus on that in this section.

Segmentation

51% of email marketers say email list segmentation is the most effective way to personalize lead nurturing.

Automation tools like Active Campaign and MailChimp make it pretty easy to create audience segments.

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What are they based on? Any data you have:

  • Pages visited
  • Form capture data – title, industry, purchase cycle, etc.
  • Cart abandonment
  • Location

For instance, I’ve set-up automation nurture campaigns in Active Campaign after someone visits a product page, then an email is triggered to send them with a case study to help drive them further down the funnel.

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Segmentation is the gateway to personalization.

And with inboxes flooded with content, tailoring your message helps you break through the noise.

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Content

What should your message be?

Since these leads aren’t quite ready to buy, you should continue to offer useful, non-salesy content to endear them to your brand.

Anne Fairfield-Sonn of CiBO Technologies told Databox:

“Marketers should be creating and targeting leads with persona specific content. When a lead comes through, figure out what piece of content resonated with them and make sure to move them into that sales funnel. Understanding the content that appeals to your ideal audience is critical to helping your sales team to close the deal more quickly.”

Develop a cadence that balances promotion with education. You want to be a helpful, unobtrusive resource to your audience.

They signed up for content that helps them be smarter, better, or faster.

Offer that before getting to the sales pitch.

4. Make Double Opt-Ins Super Simple

Double opt-ins help keep your email database free of bots and bad actors.

The danger is in the possibility that users won’t bother to confirm their subscription.

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I Will Teach You To Be Rich added a three-step graphic to their double confirmation page to nudge subscribers along.

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The prominent CTA button goes to the user’s inbox and pulls up a search for the email address sending the confirmation email.

This version of the page gets an 82% conversion rate, up from 63%.

Every lead went through that page, so the nearly 20% increase had a major impact on their lead total.

5. Promote Your Content Upgrades

Ideally, the leads you attract with organic traffic will be drawn to your content upgrades.

But that depends on you communicating the value of those upgrades effectively.

Sleeknote was able to increase conversions by 177.78% on one of their blog posts by taking a few measures:

  • Making the blog introduction more enticing.
  • Moving lead forms higher up on the page.
  • Adding images and pithy copy to content call-out-boxes.

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Once someone’s on the page, you’ve got to sell them on a reason to stay. And then give them a reason to stay engaged before they leave.

With all the attention that goes to page copy itself, content upgrades can be an afterthought. To drive lead generation, it should become more of a priority.

Conclusion

Organic leads are valuable.

The challenge is that SEO can cast a wide net.

That’s why it’s important to remember that you don’t just need to optimize your content for Google; you need to optimize it for conversion.

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Image Credits

Featured Image: Created by author, June 2020

All screenshots taken by author, June 2020

How to Set Up and Measure a TikTok Influencer Marketing Campaign

Want to get your product in front of TikTok’s growing audience? Wondering how to partner with influential creators on TikTok?

In this article, you’ll discover tips and tools to set up and analyze a TikTok influencer marketing campaign.

Want to get your product in front of TikTok’s growing audience? Wondering how to partner with influential creators on TikTok?

In this article, you’ll discover tips and tools to set up and analyze a TikTok influencer marketing campaign.

tiktok influencer campaign how to set up measure 800 - How to Set Up and Measure a TikTok Influencer Marketing Campaign

How TikTok Influencer Campaigns Work

While still in its infancy, TikTok has become ripe for businesses interested in partnering with influencers. With tools like the TikTok Creator Marketplace, you can easily source suitable influencer partnerships to promote sponsored content.

Although content on TikTok has the potential to reach millions of users, the dynamic of building a successful influencer campaign requires a higher level of strategic planning in comparison to platforms like Instagram or Facebook.

When partnering with an influencer on Instagram, a content strategy could often include publishing photos of a product, some additional stories, or perhaps a video of a creator using the product.

On TikTok, however, the objective of a sponsored partnership is to partner with one influencer, then drive more engagement from the community of creators as a whole. TikTok influencer posts will often promote a product while also encouraging the rest of the community to join in the experience.

To visualize this, when retail stores closed in early 2020, Levi’s turned to TikTok as a way to drive traffic to their eCommerce site. By partnering with popular creators, they successfully promoted their new line of customized denim products. As a result of this creator collaboration, the brand doubled their website traffic to these product pages.

@callenschaubIn my Montreal studio putting my spin on the Levi’s® Future Finish jeans – Shop online from home! ##stayhome ##oddlysatisfying ##levishausmiami ##ad♬ original sound – callenschaub

When the audience of an influencer actively participates in a promoted challenge, they too become a part of the influencer campaign, promoting this content to their own audiences. No other platform has the framework to create viral engagement like TikTok does.

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Now we’ll look at how to set up a TikTok influencer campaign.

#1: Choose a TikTok Influencer Campaign Type

Before your business begins sourcing TikTok influencer partnerships, it’s important to understand the different TikTok campaigns you can create through these collaborations.

TikTok Challenges

Some of the most popular videos across TikTok are user-generated challenges. TikTok challenges are a fast way to gain viral traction as millions of users actively participate by recreating an original video.

When an influencer creates a branded challenge, it should include a dedicated hashtag, allowing users to label and follow each submission. TikTok displays a list of trending hashtags on the Discover page so these challenges are organically promoted within the community.

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Dances

Similar to hashtag challenges, dance routines are structured to be recreated by each user. These types of posts are powered by a consistent theme song with a catchy hook or rhythm.

@jasminetxoMood when you reunite with your friends! (Don’t forget to social distance!) 💛🙏🏾 || ft. @livpats || ##YeahWeBack ##Dance ##Australia @optus♬ Move – Baker Boy

Duets

Duets encourage any TikTok user to directly collaborate with an existing post by creating a side-by-side video with an original piece of content. You can think of these like reaction videos on YouTube, only they can be used in all sorts of creative ways.

@charlidamelio##duet with @gemmah_ i miss my baby gem gem!! 🙁 dc @noahschnapp♬ Do It Again – Pia Mia

Like all influencer marketing campaigns, it’s important to work closely with creators to develop a content strategy that’s consistent with their existing profile. When a TikTok influencer’s content resonates with their audience, the post will often result in higher engagement rates.

#2: Use TikTok’s Creator Marketplace to Identify Possible Influencer Partners

Once you’ve developed an initial content strategy for your branded TikTok influencer campaign, it’s time to start searching for suitable influencers to partner with.

With TikTok’s Creator Marketplace now available in early access, you can seamlessly search for and collaborate with suitable influencers for your business. If you’re interested in sourcing influencers for a campaign, you can request access to the platform.

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Once you’re granted access to the marketplace, it’s time to begin searching through the catalog of potential TikTok creators. Using the available search filters, you can uncover data about a creator’s profile and the demographics of their audience.

When starting your search, there are myriad filters to help you find the most suitable creator for your needs.

Creator Data

These filters will help you refine your search based on the creator’s profile.

Country: This is the country in which the influencer is based.

Topic: This is the category of content that a creator publishes. Because TikTok’s platform is capable of identifying the context and objects within a video, it allows the Creator Marketplace to accurately segment creators into content categories.

Reach: The reach measurement is a representation of a creator’s total follower count. Remember that unlike existing social platforms, the true potential reach of a creator’s content is often far beyond their own audience. If a piece of content is featured on the For You page, the content can quickly be distributed to an audience of millions.

Average Views: This is a useful metric to understand a historical benchmark of a creator’s previous content. Because follower count is often not the best representation of a creator’s potential reach, this data point can help forecast the future performance of a piece of content.

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Audience Data

Selecting a TikTok influencer whose audience is best aligned to your target users can yield the highest performance results throughout an influencer campaign.

You can use these filters to refine your creator search based on available audience data.

Country or region: Filter your search based on where the majority of a creator’s audience is based. Although a creator might live in the U.S., their audience could be based in the UK. So if your business is only interested in targeting users in the U.S., this creator wouldn’t be suitable.

Gender and age: These filters allow you to refine your search based on the average demographics of the creator’s audience. This is important for ensuring your brand reaches the users who are most likely to engage with your sponsored product.

Pro Tip: You can add a filter to this gender search field to customize what percentage of an audience is a specific gender. This would be useful if you’d like to partner with a creator whose audience is greater than 50% female, for instance.

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Devices: This filter allows you to search by audiences that use a specific operating system (Android or iOS). This would be helpful if you’re promoting an ad for app downloads or even a podcast. Again, you can add minimum and maximum filters to this search criterion.

eCommerce anchor: As TikTok continues to introduce eCommerce features for sponsored content, this filter allows you to identify which creators have access to these shoppable features. These features will be essential for eCommerce brands looking to drive product purchases through their influencer partnerships.

tiktok creator marketplace e commerce anchor filter - How to Set Up and Measure a TikTok Influencer Marketing Campaign

#3: Evaluate Individual TikTok Influencers in the Creator Marketplace

Once you’ve created an initial search using the available filters, the marketplace will display a list of creators who meet your selected criteria.

At first glance, each creator tile will display a view of their top-line metrics, including their country, reach, average views, and audience breakdown by gender.

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When you click through to an individual creator’s profile, you’ll see a full dashboard of their core metrics, allowing you to glean more insights from their profile performance data. It’s important to note that these metrics are an average of the creator’s last 30 videos.

This data includes:

  • Total views
  • Likes
  • Comments
  • Shares
  • Average engagement rate

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Below these core metrics, the creator’s profile displays a grid of sample videos from their most recent uploads. You can filter these videos to display any previous sponsored videos the creator has published. As a business, this allows you to review the quality of those sponsored videos.

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Below this list of videos, you can see a full breakdown of the creator’s audience insights. This data is displayed through a series of engaging visualizations, making it easy to uncover meaningful insights.

tiktok creator marketplace audience demographics - How to Set Up and Measure a TikTok Influencer Marketing Campaign

One of the core data points that I strongly recommend analyzing is the measurement of an audience’s usage. The usage metric identifies what total percentage of a creator’s audience is currently active on the platform. If a creator has a reach of 1 million followers, but the usage of their audience is only 55% active, the potential reach is in fact 550,000.

As a business, it’s obviously in your best interest to find influencers with the lowest level of inactive users, allowing your promoted content to reach as many people as possible. This metric also influences the cost of creators throughout any paid partnerships.

tiktok creator marketplace tiktok usage - How to Set Up and Measure a TikTok Influencer Marketing Campaign

Another key visualization is the breakdown of the creator’s audience by geographic location. The Creator Marketplace provides two visualizations on each profile—one for a country-level breakdown and another for the top-performing states.

This data can be useful in determining which cities you’d like to target. To illustrate, if your brand owns brick-and-mortar stores in California, Texas, and Florida, it’d be essential to partner with creators who have the largest distribution of their audience across those states.

tiktok creator marketplace country data - How to Set Up and Measure a TikTok Influencer Marketing Campaign

The last key data point I recommend analyzing is the historical view, displaying performance trends across the creator’s profile. This data will visualize a graph of the creator’s follower count, video views, and engagement rate on a day-by-day timeline.

tiktok creator marketplace performance trends - How to Set Up and Measure a TikTok Influencer Marketing Campaign

Viewing this data will help you identify creators who have consistently grown their audience over time. Because newly established creators can amass large audiences after publishing a handful of TikTok videos, this data identifies those who have shown long-term engagement.

When a creator has an established profile over a longer period, an audience is more likely to trust them as a thought leader. From a brand perspective, partnering with established creators can result in higher engagement rates because their audience will be more receptive to their sponsored content.

Once you’ve discovered the perfect influencer for your campaign, you can add that person to a custom shortlist so you can bookmark their profiles for later use.

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Note: The Creator Marketplace is still in its infancy, so as of this writing, it features some of the most renowned creators across the platform. Because these influencers are often the most popular accounts, some businesses with a smaller budget might have difficulty finding a partnership. If your business is interested in partnering with micro-influencers, the Creator Marketplace may not be the best solution.

#4: Set Up and Run Your TikTok Influencer Campaign With Your Chosen Influencer Partners

Once you’ve discovered an influencer you’d like to collaborate with, you can create a shortlist and bookmark their profile within this group.

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Next, click the New Campaign button to set up the campaign framework itself.

From here, you’re required to add the details about your brand and an outline of the campaign including the campaign objective, dates, and a custom message to send to creators. You can even add a custom file to showcase the full campaign summary.

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Pro Tip: When outlining a custom message for your campaign outreach, you can use one of TikTok’s templates to streamline the onboarding process.

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After building the framework of your campaign, select influencers from your saved lists on the right-hand section of the page.

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Once you’ve finalized the details of your campaign and added a complete list of the creators you’d like to partner with, you can submit your campaign. At this point, the shortlisted creators will receive your campaign invite and can choose whether to accept the partnership.

#5: Measure the Performance of Your TikTok Influencer Campaign

If you’ve discovered a smaller-sized TikTok influencer you’d like to partner with, but they’re not yet featured in the Creator Marketplace, it can be difficult to glean any insights about the performance of their account.

As influencer marketing becomes more data-driven, understanding the metrics of an influencer’s account will help determine the success of your overall campaign. A third-party tool like Pentos will help you track and measure the performance of any TikTok profile, as well as individual videos, hashtags, and songs.

As a social media marketer, I use Pentos not only to measure the performance of my clients’ TikTok content but also monitor the content published by their competitors.

A Pentos pro account starts at €29/month but you can sign up for a 14-day free trial to start monitoring potential influencers right away.

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Measure the Performance of Influencer Profiles

Although TikTok’s Creator Marketplace is an effective platform for discovering influencers, it still has room for improvement when it comes to the post-campaign performance data it reports. Without direct access to a creator’s profile analytics, businesses are restricted to the few insights available under the Reporting tab.

After launching a campaign, I rely on Pentos to aggregate insights from a creator’s profile, their videos, and any related music or hashtags associated with the campaign.

After adding any TikTok handle into your Pentos dashboard, you can start recording data on core account metrics, including:

  • Total followers and new followers
  • Total account likes and new likes
  • Total number of video views and new views
  • Total of accounts the creator follows
  • Total number of videos published and videos published within the past 7 days

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It’s also possible to view a breakdown of each account to uncover more useful data, including their:

  • Average engagement rate
  • Average comments per post
  • Average likes
  • Total comments across their posts
  • Total shares
  • Most frequently used hashtags

pentos tiktok account metrics 800 - How to Set Up and Measure a TikTok Influencer Marketing Campaign

As TikTok’s Creator Marketplace only displays core metrics over the most recent 30-day period, I’ve found Pentos to be more effective at benchmarking averages for metrics across creator accounts.

Measure the Performance of TikTok Influencer Content

Another key benefit of Pentos is its ability to measure data from individual videos. This is perfect for identifying the performance of your sponsored piece of content. By submitting the URL of any TikTok video, you can review all of the same core metrics listed above.

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Pentos will even visualize this data in a historical graph, allowing you to identify key dates when a video went viral or started to lose momentum.

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Whenever I stumble across a competitor’s TikTok influencer post, I’ll always add the URL to my Pentos dashboard. By monitoring these videos, I can start to benchmark any common performance trends. This data becomes helpful when I create a new influencer campaign. At this point, I can analyze what previous videos have performed well and then try to replicate a similar strategy.

Monitor Your Sponsored Hashtag

With hashtag challenges being one of the most powerful ways to gain viral engagement across TikTok, businesses are beginning to partner with influencers to kickstart viral challenges of their own.

Traditionally, it’s been difficult to measure the impact of a TikTok influencer’s post on an overall hashtag. Because the measurement of success for a hashtag doesn’t rely on just one video, it’s important to understand how well the whole campaign performed as a result.

The hashtag analytics tool within Pentos empowers you to monitor any sponsored hashtags you follow or create.

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Once again, you can dive into each individual hashtag and review the performance data as a timeline series. This will allow you to identify the tangible impact your sponsored influencer posts had on your overall TikTok campaign.

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In the past, this data has helped me maintain the overall performance of an influencer campaign, allowing me to identify when additional resources should be allocated.

When I start to see a decline in the performance of a hashtag, I know to start collaborating with another influencer to reboot engagement. This ability to remain agile throughout your TikTok influencer campaign will help you outperform your competitors.

Pro Tip: Pentos lets you export any data into a CSV file. This feature is useful when reporting the performance of an influencer campaign to a client. Whether you’re using Data Studio or manual pivot tables, you can easily import this data to create your own branded visualizations.

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Conclusion

With the average TikTok engagement rate surpassing Instagram, brands are beginning to prioritize the platform as a valuable tool for building their own audience. Some of the world’s most popular brands like Chipotle, Calvin Klein, and Levi’s are using TikTok in creative ways to drive viral engagement. While brands are finding success in publishing native content to the platform, they’ve also found value in partnering with popular creators to leverage their audiences.

There’s no denying that TikTok is here to stay, so if your brand is working with influencers, it’s more important than ever to start diversifying your strategy to include TikTok. With unprecedented reach, TikTok can be a powerful way not only to drive engagement for your business but also to convert users into customers through its new eCommerce features.

Using both of the tools mentioned in this article, you can easily start sourcing suitable influencers for your brand and then properly attribute the performance of these campaigns.

Like all influencer marketing campaigns, it’s essential to build meaningful relationships with creators and include them throughout the campaign process. No one understands the nuances of their audience more than the creators themselves.

What do you think? Have you started working with TikTok influencers? What strategies and tools have worked well for you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Toronto Raptors getting accustomed to new normal in Florida – TSN

TORONTO – Next week, 22 teams and nearly 375 players will converge on Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando with the hopes of completing the NBA season amid a global pandemic and at the centre of a COVID-19 hot spot. You can understand why some remain skeptical. The league’s restart plan, finalized last week, is…

AssetImage?seoId=josh lewenberg 539522&width=165 - Toronto Raptors getting accustomed to new normal in Florida - TSN

TORONTO – Next week, 22 teams and nearly 375 players will converge on Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando with the hopes of completing the NBA season amid a global pandemic and at the centre of a COVID-19 hot spot.

You can understand why some remain skeptical.

The league’s restart plan, finalized last week, is thorough and includes pages upon pages of health and safety measures intended to minimize risk on site. But there’s only so much that can be controlled.

Living conditions will be unusual, the situation unprecedented and with cases surging throughout the state of Florida – and Disney employees coming and going from the NBA campus – the threat of exposure is unavoidable.

These will be unchartered waters for everybody involved, though the defending champion Toronto Raptors are already getting acclimated to them.

While the 21 other teams participating in the restart reconvened in their home cities to prepare for training camp last week, Canada’s only NBA club was the first to fly south. With more than half of their players scattered across the United States – and facing a 14-day quarantine period if they had to cross the border – the Raptors were granted permission to hold pre-camp workouts in Fort Myers, Fla., roughly a three-hour drive from where the season will resume next month.

If they’re fortunate enough to make it back to The Finals – scheduled for October – it will mean spending almost four months away from home. However, it’s also given them a two-week head start at familiarizing themselves with the NBA’s new normal.

“It’s been different,” said guard Fred VanVleet, via videoconference after his Monday morning workout. “I think that is the word I will keep using. It’s just different from the norm, from what we are used to.”

“I think I’m going into it trying to get ready for Orlando, so I haven’t really noticed how weird it’s been. It’s just been different and not ideal. But these are the times that we’re in. I think us getting here was a good thing. Hopefully going forward we’ll be ready.”

About 45 members of the Raptors organization traveled to Fort Myers last week, including all 17 roster players. The hotel they’re staying at had been closed to the public and was re-opened exclusively for the team.

“You have to set things in motion and we decided that this was what we were going to do and [that] it was a safe environment,” said team president Masai Ujiri. “We continue to think that it’s a safe environment for us, and it has been so far.”

Players and staff are tested for COVID-19 each morning. It’s become part of their daily routine. According to the NBA, 16 of the 302 player tests from June 23 – the first day of mandatory testing – came back positive, but Ujiri declined to comment on whether any of those players were members of the Raptors, leaving it up to the league to share results.

A private shuttle takes Toronto players and coaches to and from Florida Gulf Coast University, where the team is holding voluntary, individual workouts. Everybody is expected to wear a mask when they’re not in their room or on the court, and remain at the hotel, leaving only for workouts and “essential activities”.

“My routine has been pretty simple,” VanVleet said. “I wake up really early and get tested and check all [my] vitals and then go workout. Then I have the rest of the day to do whatever. I have been catching up on some sleep. Being a stay at home dad over the last three and a half months, I haven’t been sleeping too much, so catching up on that, playing some video games. There’s not really a whole lot to do.”

Their exposure to the outside world is minimal. Still, it’s impossible to ignore what’s going on in their backyard, as the record number of coronavirus cases continues to rise throughout the state. VanVleet – who’s spent the last few months in his hometown of Rockford, Ill., – admitted he was “pretty concerned” about flying to Florida last week.

“It sounded good a month or two ago, not so much right before we got ready to leave,” he said. “I think for the most part I just put the trust in the organization and understand that I don’t think they would put us in extreme risk. [I] trust the NBA. That’s where my trust lies right now. Hopefully they prove me right and not wrong.”

“I’m trying to be optimistic about it. It’s not the most ideal situation but it’s kind of the times we are in. It hasn’t been an ideal year for anyone.”

The shoes VanVleet wore to his workout Monday morning, which he shared on Instagram, had the names and birthdates of his two young children printed on the insoles. He already misses his family but says he’s relieved that he can assess the level of risk on the NBA campus before deciding whether they should join him in August, when players are permitted to have guests at Disney.

Several NBA players have already opted out of participating in the restart, most of them for reasons related to family. While a few of them have taken some heat, even from fellow players, VanVleet says he understands why somebody would make that choice, even if his decision was different.

“I definitely respect guys that took the stand to sit out for whatever reason,” VanVleet said. “But my choice was to come play. I’m not right and they’re not wrong. It’s just a personal choice for everybody.”

Ujiri didn’t have to sell anybody on playing or reassure them about the early trip to Florida. He doesn’t envision a scenario in which the NBA is forced to re-cancel the season, but he’s an optimist, to his own admission.

“I think everybody is geared up towards this and excited,” the Raptors’ president said. “I think [commissioner] Adam Silver, the NBA, the players association have done an incredible job honestly. [I] have been humbled to be in a couple of the committees during this whole process and the NBA is a seriously well-oiled machine. They try their best to do everything to the best way, for the safety of the players, and they’re going to try and make this whole event [and] the campus a great experience for everybody that has the opportunity to experience it. And then for people outside, everybody wants to see the game come back. We all miss sports. Sports have just been something missing in our lives. [They] make us happy [and] bring people together. I think it will help [restore] maybe some sort of happiness or some sort of joy in seeing the game back again.”​

Germany’s Henkel joins Facebook advertising boycott – Reuters

FILE PHOTO: A logo of consumer goods group Henkel is pictured before its annual news conference in Duesseldorf March 8, 2012. REUTERS/Ina FassbenderBERLIN (Reuters) – German consumer goods group Henkel (HNKG_p.DE) will join a boycott of advertising on Facebook (FB.O), a spokesman said on Monday. Henkel, which makes Dial soap, Persil detergent, and Schwarzkopf shampoo,…

?m=02&d=20200629&t=2&i=1524022303&r=LYNXMPEG5S1V0&w=20 - Germany's Henkel joins Facebook advertising boycott - Reuters

FILE PHOTO: A logo of consumer goods group Henkel is pictured before its annual news conference in Duesseldorf March 8, 2012. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender

BERLIN (Reuters) – German consumer goods group Henkel (HNKG_p.DE) will join a boycott of advertising on Facebook (FB.O), a spokesman said on Monday.

Henkel, which makes Dial soap, Persil detergent, and Schwarzkopf shampoo, “will not advertise on Facebook’s services in July with all its brands”, the spokesman said.

Henkel joins a long list of companies that have pulled advertising from Facebook in support of a campaign that called out the social media giant for not doing enough to stop hate speech on its platforms.

Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Writing by Tom Sims; Editing by Giles Elgood

Germany’s Henkel joins Facebook advertising boycott – Reuters UK

FILE PHOTO: A logo of consumer goods group Henkel is pictured before its annual news conference in Duesseldorf March 8, 2012. REUTERS/Ina FassbenderBERLIN (Reuters) – German consumer goods group Henkel (HNKG_p.DE) will join a boycott of advertising on Facebook (FB.O), a spokesman said on Monday. Henkel, which makes Dial soap, Persil detergent, and Schwarzkopf shampoo,…

?m=02&d=20200629&t=2&i=1524022303&r=LYNXMPEG5S1V0&w=20 - Germany's Henkel joins Facebook advertising boycott - Reuters UK

FILE PHOTO: A logo of consumer goods group Henkel is pictured before its annual news conference in Duesseldorf March 8, 2012. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender

BERLIN (Reuters) – German consumer goods group Henkel (HNKG_p.DE) will join a boycott of advertising on Facebook (FB.O), a spokesman said on Monday.

Henkel, which makes Dial soap, Persil detergent, and Schwarzkopf shampoo, “will not advertise on Facebook’s services in July with all its brands”, the spokesman said.

Henkel joins a long list of companies that have pulled advertising from Facebook in support of a campaign that called out the social media giant for not doing enough to stop hate speech on its platforms.

Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Writing by Tom Sims; Editing by Giles Elgood

Facebook will prioritize original reporting in its News Feed

Publishers probably won’t see significant changes in traffic, either, Facebook says. For now, these changes only apply to stories written in English, but Facebook will expand the approach to other languages.Facebook’s plan to demote stories without a byline or transparent info about the publisher’s editorial staff is meant to promote credibility.“We’ve found that publishers who…

Publishers probably won’t see significant changes in traffic, either, Facebook says. For now, these changes only apply to stories written in English, but Facebook will expand the approach to other languages.

Facebook’s plan to demote stories without a byline or transparent info about the publisher’s editorial staff is meant to promote credibility.

“We’ve found that publishers who do not include this information often lack credibility to readers and produce content with clickbait or ad farms, all content people tell us they don’t want to see on Facebook,” Brown and Levin wrote.

Companies like Facebook, Google and Apple are still figuring out the best ways to work with news publishers and promote quality journalism. There’s even more pressure to get that right now, with the 2020 election approaching and increased scrutiny (and a boycott) over the way Facebook handles posts by politicians, misinformation and hate speech.

Facebook isn’t the only tech company making changes. Yesterday, Google announced that it’s working with regional publishers to share local news stories related to COVID-19, and The New York Times pulled its stories from the Apple News app. Google also recently invested $6.5 million to fight coronavirus misinformation.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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One week only: score 4th of July discounts on Disrupt 2020 passes

Here’s a Fourth of July event that doesn’t require a mask or social distancing. This week only you can save an extra $50 when you buy Disrupt Digital Pro passes or a Disrupt Digital Startup Alley Package for Disrupt 2020. Buy the pass or package you want and save $50 at checkout when you use…

GettyImages 187869847 - One week only: score 4th of July discounts on Disrupt 2020 passes

Here’s a Fourth of July event that doesn’t require a mask or social distancing. This week only you can save an extra $50 when you buy Disrupt Digital Pro passes or a Disrupt Digital Startup Alley Package for Disrupt 2020.

Buy the pass or package you want and save $50 at checkout when you use this promo code: 50JULY4. The discount remains in play until Sunday, July 5 at 11:59 p.m. (PDT).

Our first virtual Disrupt spans five programming-packed days from Sept 14-18. Both types of Digital Pro pass holders enjoy live and on-demand access to the full breadth of content across all Disrupt stages. For starters, don’t miss TechCrunch editors interviewing some of the biggest names in tech and watch the always-epic Startup Battlefield pitch competition on the Disrupt Stage.

The Extra Crunch Stage features interactive, moderated discussions with top experts — growth marketers, lawyers, investors, technologists, recruiters — on topics critical to founders’ success. Submit questions and get answers in real time.

Check out early-stage startups in Digital Startup Alley. Browse hundreds of exhibiting startups, organized by category, and watch their product demos on demand. See something you like? Arrange a 1:1 video conference right then and there with the founders.

And that brings us to the Disrupt Digital Startup Alley Package. You get all the access benefits of a Digital Pro pass for up to three people in your company and will be able to exhibit and promote your product from wherever you are in the world. It includes a custom landing page to collect leads, post a marketing video or promote your pitch deck among several other benefits and tools to help you get in front of the right audience.

Whether you buy an individual pass or a package, CrunchMatch will keep your networking organized and on track. The AI-powered platform features a new-and-improved algorithm for faster and more precise matching, and it makes connecting with people who can help grow your business easier than ever. Schedule 1:1 video meetings with prospective investors, customers, collaborators — or recruit talent. CrunchMatch launches weeks before Disrupt begins so you can disrupt longer.

There’s so much more to do at Disrupt 2020, and all of it’s designed to help you keep your business moving forward. Take advantage of the July Fourth discount. Buy a Disrupt Digital Pro pass or a Disrupt Digital Startup Alley Package and plug in promo code 50JULY4 — before July 6 at 11:59 p.m. (PDT), save an extra $50 and disrupt for less. No mask or social distancing required.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt 2020? Contact the sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

The growing list of companies pulling ads from Facebook

(CNN Business)A growing list of companies say they’ll join an advertiser boycott on Facebook in protest of what they say are the site’s failures to stop the spread of hate. A civil rights coalition…

(CNN Business)A growing list of companies say they’ll join an advertiser boycott on Facebook in protest of what they say are the site’s failures to stop the spread of hate.
A civil rights coalition…

Facebook expands its fan subscription program

Facebook is expanding the availability of the tools it offers to help game streamers and other online creators make money. The social network first launched fan subscriptions in early 2018, giving a small group of creators in the United States and the United Kingdom the ability to charge their fans a $4.99 monthly fee for…

facebook getty - Facebook expands its fan subscription program

Facebook is expanding the availability of the tools it offers to help game streamers and other online creators make money.

The social network first launched fan subscriptions in early 2018, giving a small group of creators in the United States and the United Kingdom the ability to charge their fans a $4.99 monthly fee for exclusive content and a fan badge for their profiles.

Participation in the subscription program was limited until today. In a blog post, Facebook now says that any creator in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States that meets the subscription eligibility criteria (having 10,000 followers or more than 250 return viewers, and either 50,000 post engagements or 180,000 watch minutes in the last 60 days, as well as abiding by Facebook’s general monetization policies) should be able to sign up to participate.

The company monetizes these subscriptions by taking up to 30% of subscription revenue. (It only collects revenue on subscribers acquired after January 1, 2020.)

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Image Credits: Facebook

Facebook is also expanding the availability of Stars, a virtual currency that fans can use to tip their favorite creators. Creators in Australia, Canada, Columbia, India, Indonesia, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States can now participate.

“We’re seeing the traditional notion of a creator evolve as comedians, artists, fitness instructors, athletes, small businesses and sports organizations use video and online events to connect with their audience,” wrote Product Marketing Director Yoav Arnstein, and Product Marketing Director and Head of Creator & Publisher Experience Jeff Birkeland. “To better support our partners, we’re improving the tools that help creators earn money and manage their presence on Facebook.”

Beyond subscriptions and virtual currencies, the company says it’s giving creators new ways to make money through advertising, including image and post-roll ads in short-form videos (60 to 180 seconds), as well as ads in live videos.

Lastly, Facebook says it’s improving the Creator Studio tool with features like Comment Insights (which show how comments on posts can affect engagement and audience size) and the ability to log in using Instagram credentials.

Starbucks pauses all social media ads over hate speech concerns

However long the pause lasts, Starbucks is adding to a list of major brands pulling their ads (largely from Facebook) to press for change, including Coca-Cola, Honda, Hershey and Engadget’s parent company Verizon. Facebook said it wouldn’t make policy changes in response to financial pressure, but nonetheless said it would label politicians’ posts when they…

However long the pause lasts, Starbucks is adding to a list of major brands pulling their ads (largely from Facebook) to press for change, including Coca-Cola, Honda, Hershey and Engadget’s parent company Verizon. Facebook said it wouldn’t make policy changes in response to financial pressure, but nonetheless said it would label politicians’ posts when they break the rules.

Starbucks isn’t committing as deeply as some of its peers. Unlike other brands, the company hasn’t joined the Facebook-focused “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign against Facebook run by the Anti-Defamation League and NAACP. It may be willing to withhold money, but it’s stopping short of directly criticizing specific social networks.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Want to thrive as a freelancer? This online guide is 98% off.

Products featured here are selected by our partners at StackCommerce.If you buy something through links on our site, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission. Learn how to stand out from the pack with these courses. Image: pexels By StackCommerceMashable Shopping2020-05-29 09:00:00 UTC TL;DR: Kickstart your freelance career with this course bundle for $29.99, a 98%…

MashableShop StackCommerce - Want to thrive as a freelancer? This online guide is 98% off.

Products featured here are selected by our partners at StackCommerce.If you buy something through links on our site, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission.

lead img may 29 freelance career course bundle sale - Want to thrive as a freelancer? This online guide is 98% off.
Learn how to stand out from the pack with these courses.

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By StackCommerceMashable Shopping

TL;DR: Kickstart your freelance career with this course bundle for $29.99, a 98% savings as of May 29.


Not to alarm you or anything, but it’s a rough moment to be looking for a new gig. If you’re struggling to find work or searching for an additional stream of income, you may want to look into kickstarting a side hustle or pivoting to a freelance role and working for yourself.

If you have a marketable skill perfect for freelancing (think copywriting, web design, digital marketing, and coding) but don’t want to enter the freelance world blind, the Kickstart Your Freelance Career Course Bundle will show you the ropes. For just $29.99, you’ll receive eight courses, all of which are designed to help your freelance career thrive. Here’s a sneak peek:

Kickstart a Freelance Editor and Proofreader Career on Upwork

Upwork is pretty much the Facebook of freelancing — it’s the biggest platform there is. If editing and proofreading is your thing, this course will teach you how to create an effective cover letter for editing gigs. You’ll learn the most effective bidding principles, and how much to bid to score as many contracts as possible. To hone your skill, it also offers bonus tips for editing and proofreading that can result in a 97% client satisfaction rating for your profile.

Fiverr: Start a Profitable Fiverr Freelance Business Today

Another renowned freelancing platform is Fiverr, and with this course, you’ll get an insider view of the site. Think of it as a roadmap for gaining a competitive edge against other freelancers bidding for the same jobs. You’ll receive tips on how to identify skills that you can sell, create Fiverr gigs that match your interests and values, as well as gain access to resources that will make you profitable on the platform. 

Freelance Success For Artists: A Quick and Easy Guide

Whether you’re a designer, illustrator, multimedia artist, or filmmaker, this course will fill you in on the tried-and-true best practices for clinching repeat clients. You’ll learn how to deliver your best work and excellent customer service to make any client want to hire you over and over again. You’ll also get tips on how to best build your portfolio, create a stellar reputation, set your prices so you can rake in more profit, piece together rock-solid contracts, and so much more.

The Complete Freelance Writing Course

Word wranglers out there will benefit from this course, which offers a step-by-step actionable roadmap that teaches you how to build a freelance writing business and secure your first paid writing gig ASAP. You’ll get help on finding a freelance writing niche that you’ll thrive in, and receive instruction on how to build a portfolio that clients will find a hard time saying no to. You’ll also learn how to craft a compelling pitch that will help you stand out against other writers. 

Freelance Kickstart: Start a Successful Business You Love

Working for yourself and starting a business that capitalizes on your skillset may seem daunting, but this course takes all the guesswork out of freelancing, so you can maintain a business you love. You’ll learn how to build an effective website from scratch, discover the best moonlighting best practices, gain valuable business and tax tips, and more. 

Sales and Marketing for Freelancers

For newbie freelancers, this course will teach you how to find your first clients. It will train you on how to win contracts with better quality clients over time by imparting with you actionable tips on marketing yourself not only as a freelancer but also as a full-blown entrepreneur. 

Freelance Wealth Kit: Get Started Freelancing

This course is designed to give you a bird’s eye view of the freelancing business as a whole. It will teach you why thinking in terms of $/hour will only limit your growth, fill you in on internet marketing strategies that can secure sustainable leads and clients, dispense tips on streamlining your sales and operations process, and impart with you the steps to acquiring passive income assets.

How to Win Jobs Freelancing on UpWork

With so many freelancers fighting for the same jobs as you do, it can be hard to stand out from the pack and win contracts. This course aims to teach you how to create a profile that potential clients will love, how to make your skills shine with Upwork tests, and how to apply for gigs in a way that will make you an instant hire.

When bought separately, the courses in this bundle would set you back about $1,500, but for a limited time, you can get everything on sale for only $29.99.

uploads%252Fcard%252Fimage%252F1326165%252Fbbb6a397 f015 4cc8 9c66 b639c06fc3e7.jpeg%252Ffull fit in  950x534.jpeg?signature=Jw1xtTwaJFrfK9U0UWkBPgUA9Hs=&source=https%3A%2F%2Fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws - Want to thrive as a freelancer? This online guide is 98% off.

Edtech is surging, and parents have some notes

Unlike most sectors, edtech has been booming over the last few months. Flashcards startup Quizlet is now a unicorn, digital textbook company Top Hat is finding unprecedented surges in usage and student success business Edsights raised nearly $2 million from high-profile investors, all from inbound interest. Investors are so confident that homeschooling might become a…

Unlike most sectors, edtech has been booming over the last few months. Flashcards startup Quizlet is now a unicorn, digital textbook company Top Hat is finding unprecedented surges in usage and student success business Edsights raised nearly $2 million from high-profile investors, all from inbound interest. Investors are so confident that homeschooling might become a trend that they just invested $3.7 million in Primer, which creates a “full-stack infrastructure” to help parents get started.

But as tired parents juggle work, family and sanity all day, nearly every day, they say edtech is not a remedy for all education gaps right now.

Parents across all income groups are struggling with homeschooling.

“Our mental health is like whack-a-mole,” said Lisa Walker, the vice president of brand and corporate marketing at Fuze. Walker, who lives in Boston but has relocated to Vermont for the pandemic, has two kids, ages 10 and 13. “One person is having a good day. One person is having a bad day, and we’re just going throughout the family to see who needs help.”

Socioeconomically disadvantaged families have it even worse because resources are strapped and parents often have to work multiple jobs to afford food to put on the table.

One major issue for parents is balancing a decrease in live learning with an uptick in “do it at your own pace” learning.

Walker says she is frustrated by the limited amount of live interaction that her 10-year-old has with teachers and classmates each day. Once the one hour of live learning is done, the rest of the school day looks like him sitting in front of a computer. Think pre-recorded videos, followed up by an online quiz, capped with doing homework on a Google doc.

Asynchronous learning is complicated because, while it is not interactive, it is more inclusive of all socioeconomic backgrounds, Walker said. If all learning material is pre-recorded, households that have more kids than computers are less stressed to make the 8 a.m. science class, and can fit in lessons by taking turns.

“Even though I know there’s a lot of video fatigue out there, I would love there to be more live learning,” Walker said. “Tech is both part of the problem and part of the solution.”

TraLiza King, a single mother living in Atlanta who works full time as a senior tax manager for PWC, points out the downside of live video instruction when it comes to working with younger children.

One challenge is overseeing her four-year-old’s Zoom calls. King needs to be available to help her daughter, Zoe, use the platform, which isn’t intuitive for kids at that age. She helps Zoe log on and off and mute when appropriate so instruction can go on interrupted, ironically enough.

Her 18-year-old college freshman could supervise the four-year-old’s learning, but King doesn’t want her older daughter to feel responsible for teaching. It leaves King to play the role of Zoom tech support, and teacher, in addition to mom and full-time employee.

“This has been a double-edged sword; there’s beauty in it that I get to see what my girls are learning and be a part of their everyday,” she said. “But I am not a preschool teacher.”

Some parents are finding success in pretending it is business as normal. The moment that Roger Roman, the founder of Los Angeles-based Rythm Labs, and his wife saw that there was a shutdown, they scrambled to create a schedule for the children. Breakfast at 6 a.m., physical education right after, and then workbook time and homework time. If their five-year-old checks all the boxes, he can “earn” 30 minutes of screen time.

Screen Shot 2020 05 28 at 7.54.54 AM - Edtech is surging, and parents have some notes

The Roman family’s schedule for their child.

Technology definitely helps. Roman says he relies on a few apps like Khan Academy Kids and Leapfrog to give him some time to take work calls or meetings. But he says those have been more like supplements instead of replacements. In fact, he says one big solution he found is a bit more low-tech.

“Printers have been a godsend,” he said

The kids being at home has also given the Roman family an opportunity to address the racial violence and police brutality in our country. The existing school curriculums around history have been scrutinized for lacking a comprehensive and accurate account of slavery and Black leaders. Now, with parents at home, those disparities are even more clear. Depending on the household, the gaps around education on slavery can either inspire a difficult conversation on inequality in the country, or leave the talk tabled for schools to reopen.

Roman says he doesn’t remember a time where he wasn’t aware of racism and injustice, and assumes the same will be true for his sons.

“The murders of Ahmaud, Breonna, and George have forced my wife and me to be brutally honest with my five-year-old about this country’s long, dark history of white supremacy and racial oppression,” he said. “We didn’t expect to have these discussions so soon with him, but he’s had a lot of questions about the images he’s been seeing, and we’ve confronted them head-on.”

Roman used books to help illustrate racism to his sons. Edtech platforms have largely been silent on how they’re addressing anti-racism in their platforms, but Quizlet says it is “pulling together programming that can make a real impact.”

What’s next for remote learning?

In light of the struggles parents and educators alike are seeing with the current set of online learning tools and their inability to inspire young learners, new edtech startups are thinking about how the future of remote learning might look.

Zak Ringelstein, the co-founder of Zigazoo, is launching a platform he describes as a “TikTok for kids.” The app is for children from preschool to middle school, and invites users to post short-form videos in response to project-based prompts. Exercises could look like science experiments — like building a baking soda volcano or recreating the solar system from household items — and the app is controlled by parents.

The first users are Ringlestein’s kids. He says they became disengaged with learning when it was just blind staring at screens, leading him to conclude that interaction is key. Down the road, Zigazoo plans to forge partnerships with entertainment companies to have characters act as “brand ambassadors” and feature in the short-form video content. Think “Sesame Street” characters starting a TikTok trend to help kids learn what photosynthesis is all about.Zigazoo Prompts - Edtech is surging, and parents have some notes

A preview of Zigazoo, a “TikTok for kids” and its video-based prompts“As an educator, I’ve been surprised at how little content exists for parents that is not just entertaining but is actually educational,” he said.

Lingumi is a platform that teaches toddlers critical skills, like learning English. The company began because preschool classes are packed with so many students that teachers can’t give one on one feedback during the “sponge-like years.” Lingumi uses another startup, SoapBox, and its voice tech to listen and understand children, assess how they are pronouncing words and judge fluency.

“Edtech products were designed to work in the classroom and a teacher was supposed to be in the mix somewhere,” said Dr. Patricia Scanlon, the CEO of SoapBox. “Now, the teacher can’t be with the kids individually and this is a technology that gives updates on children’s progress.”

Another app, Make Music Count, was started by Marcus Blackwell to help students use a digital keyboard to solve math equations. It serves 50,000 students in more than 200 schools, and recently landed a partnership with Cartoon Network and Motown records to use content as lessons for followers. If you log onto the app, you are presented with a math problem that, once solved, tells you which key to play. Once you solve all the math problems in the set, the keys you played line up to play popular songs from artists like Ariana Grande and Rihanna.

The app is using a well-known strategy called gamification to engage its younger users. Gamification of learning has long been effective in engaging and contextualizing studies for students, especially younger ones. Add a sense of accomplishment, like a song or a final product, and kids get the positive feedback they’re looking for. The strategy is found in the underpinnings of some of the most successful education companies we see today, from Quizlet to Duolingo.

But in Make Music Count’s case, it’s forgoing gamification’s usual trappings, like points, badges and other in-app rewards to instead deliver something far more fun than virtual items: music that kids enjoy and often seek out on their own.

Gamification, much like technology more broadly, is not all-encompassing of the deeply personal and hands-on aspects of school. Yet that is what parents need right now. We’re left with a reminder that technology can only help so much in a remote-only world, and that education has always been more than just comprehension and test-taking.

The missing piece to edtech: School isn’t just learning, it’s childcare

At the end of the day, if the future of work is remote, parents will need more support with childcare assistants. Some startups trying to help that include Cleo, a parenting benefits startup that recently partnered with on-demand childcare service UrbanSitter.

“As working moms desperate for a solution to the crisis facing parents today, we were focused on developing a solution that didn’t just work for our members and enterprise clients, but also one that we’d use ourselves. After experimenting and trying everything from virtual care to scheduling shifts to looking for new caregivers ourselves, we realized the only solution that would work for families would require a new model of childcare designed for the unique issues COVID-19 has created,” Cleo CEO Sarahjane Sacchetti told TechCrunch in May.

Sara Mauskopf, the co-founder of childcare marketplace Winnie, said that tech companies trying to help remote learning need to remember that “it’s not just the education aspect that has to be solved for.”

“School is a form of childcare,” she said.

“The thing that irks me is that I see these tweets all the time that ‘more people are going to homeschool than ever before,” Mauskopf said. “But no one is going to feed my toddler mac and cheese or change their diaper.”

Sure Seems Like Apple TV+ Wants to Be the New HBO

Photo: GizmodoAs HBO pivots to whatever it’s trying to achieve with its messy new streaming service Max, Apple. appears to be shopping for content and talent to help make it a standout giant in quality streaming—a new HBO Now if you will. You know since AT&T seems intent on killing the real one.Apple always wanted…

gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw== - Sure Seems Like Apple TV+ Wants to Be the New HBO

Photo: Gizmodo

As HBO pivots to whatever it’s trying to achieve with its messy new streaming service Max, Apple. appears to be shopping for content and talent to help make it a standout giant in quality streaming—a new HBO Now if you will. You know since AT&T seems intent on killing the real one.

Apple always wanted its service Apple TV+ to be great, focusing on quality rather than churning out a ton of so-so content to varying levels of success. And while its launch day lineup of originals was not especially mind-blowing, Apple has in recent weeks signaled that it’s trying to make itself a streaming service worth paying for. This week, multiple outlets reported that Apple is set to take on Martin Scorsese’s Killers Of The Flower Moon starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro—a deal that reportedly cost the company somewhere in the ballpark of $180 million to $200 million, according to Deadline, which cited sources familiar with the matter.

The film is based on David Grann’s non-fiction book Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI. According to Deadline, Apple plans to finance and be the creative studio behind the film, but Paramount will handle distribution for a worldwide theatrical release. Paramount reportedly still has to sign off on the deal.

This is the second major deal in recent weeks that indicates Apple is looking to do more to diversify its content outside of its own originals. Earlier this month, Apple snapped up the WWII naval ship drama Greyhound, which was written by and stars Tom Hanks. For the 15-year licensing contract, Apple is rumored to have paid roughly $70 million. There are also reports Apple is looking to buy older content to beef up its service too.

Right now, Apple’s in a strange place where TV+ hasn’t caught on to the extent it probably should have for myriad reasons that probably could have been avoided, like tight-lipped marketing for the service’s shows that doesn’t really help sell films and series in the same way that it does help sell phones. But Apple also simply doesn’t have a lot to show even months after its launch, making the content that is currently available far easier to criticize for being underwhelming—especially because Apple made such a big deal about its service prior to launch. Apple has historically wanted to tell big stories without taking many risks, to its detriment. If it wants to start luring people to its streaming service in earnest, it has to stop trying to be everything for everyone. And it’s likely that even Apple knows this is the case.

G/O Media may get a commission

If there’s any poker tell that Apple wants to do what HBO’s streaming service did incredibly well before the arrival of Max, it’s hiring the guy who helped make HBO an award-winning property. Back in January, Apple hired former HBO chief Richard Plepler in a 5-year agreement that will put Plepler behind the wheel as a producer for Apple TV+ projects.

In other words, if AT&T plans to wring HBO’s zombie streaming service dry, at least we have one possibility for a service willing to try to capt

How to create an email template to help your social media followers flood politicians with messages about the protests

Cory Booker greets supporters at Mother Emanuel AME Church Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019, in Charleston, S.C. AP Photo/Mic Smith Nick Wolny is a writer and messaging strategist for entrepreneurs.Right now, millions of people are looking for ways to take action online — and that’s something you can easily provide your followers.You can create a link…

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Cory Booker greets supporters at Mother Emanuel AME Church Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019, in Charleston, S.C.

AP Photo/Mic Smith


  • Nick Wolny is a writer and messaging strategist for entrepreneurs.
  • Right now, millions of people are looking for ways to take action online — and that’s something you can easily provide your followers.
  • You can create a link that will automatically draft an email template for your followers to send, helping them send out emails to public officials and to other relevant causes.
  •  Here’s how to create that template.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

In our current social landscape, one-click activism is red-hot. Millions of consumers are now actively sharing and retweeting resources, influencer commentary, and ways to contact local politicians and public servants.

Urging your followers to take action is important. But why not go a step further and create a plug-and-play experience? Good content marketing solves problems; when you take away the friction and and help consumers act on something they care about, you’ll win their allegiance and help forward an important cause.

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Nick Wolny.

Courtesy of Nick Wolny


Many entrepreneurs now interface with their audiences entirely online. That’s why activism efforts in your email and social media marketing should consider incorporating a snippet of HTML called “mailto” that will automatically upload a recipient email address, subject line, and prewritten email template with a single click.

Create a link that automatically drafts an email template

We’ll go through the elements of the mailto HTML below; If you know you’re completely allergic to code, RapidTables.com has a user-friendly mailto code generator here. You just want the hyperlink for use in email and social campaigns, so take the finished generator code, highlight just the section that is in quotation marks, and you’ll be good to go.

The mailto HTML will activate a user’s default email client, which will vary depending on the device being used and user settings, and we can create parameters for the recipient email address, carbon copy and blind carbon copy recipients, a subject line, and the body text.

Let’s start with just a URL that populates the recipient’s email address into a draft email for our user. Your hyperlink URL will look like this: mailto:name@website.com. See that link in action here. 

After typing your recipient email address or addresses, you’ll add a question mark as your first parameter delimiter; for all other sections, we’ll be separating with an ampersand. To send to multiple email addresses in any section, separate with a comma and do not leave space between addresses. If you want to send a carbon copy or blind carbon copy, however, you need to indicate those parameters separately. 

Let’s show this to make it easy. Here’s the same URL that was shared above, but addressed now to two recipients, two carbon copy recipients, and two blind carbon copy recipients:

mailto:name1@website.com,name2@website.com?cc=name3@website.com,name4@website.com&bcc=name5@website.com,name6@website.com

Try it out here.

The subject line and body text are where things start to look crazy if you’re new to code, but it’s more grunt work and you’ll get the hang of it quickly. Use this cheat sheet to create spaces and formatting in your text:

  • %20 represents the space character and needs to go between each word.
  • %0D%0A will give you a line break (Keep in mind you’ll need to put it in twice in a row to double-space).
  • When using a comma in your text, your HTML will need to use %2C. A semicolon is represented by %3B, a colon is represented by %3A, and a quotation mark is %22.

Don’t want to remember any of that? Me either! Here’s a page that has the ASCII shortcodes for all the most common symbols for easy reference. Let’s use the same code above addressed to six recipients, add the subject line “An Important Message,” and add body text that reads “To Whom It May Concern:”. Our URL now reads as:

mailto:name1@website.com,name2@website.com?cc=name3@website.com,name4@website.com&bcc=name5@website.com,name6@website.com&subject=An%20Important%20Message&body=To%20Whom%20It%20May%20Concern%3A

See how this link looks in practice by clicking here. You now have everything you need to create a plug-and-play, one-click email template that will wow your audience.

If you became allergic to code after reading the section above, just bookmark the RapidTables.com generator page instead, and remember to copy only the section of the generated code that rests between the quotation marks. 

With just a few quick clicks, you can empower your audience to leverage pre-written templates, send far more written correspondence to public officials, and help move the needle on important social issues that matter to you.

Nick Wolny is a writer and messaging strategist for entrepreneurs. He’s given over 40 live TV interviews for NBC and FOX commenting on marketing and technology, writes articles for Business Insider, and Social Media Examiner, and has been featured with Reader’s Digest, Mens’ Health, VICE, the Houston Chronicle, and USA Today. LeadPages describes him as “a creative thinker whose marketing strategy converts big,” and the Houston Business Journal declared him a top LGBTQ-owned business personality in 2019. Grab his free article template he uses to rapidly write articles at nickwolny.com/template.

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New ways to put your customers first and achieve your marketing objectives

David Mitby Director, Product Management Published Jun 24, 2020 Life looks very different now for my family than it did earlier this year. From juggling work priorities to managing distance learning for my kids, there never seems to be enough hours in the day. As we adapt, we’re relying on our phones to get things…

David Mitby

Director, Product Management

Published Jun 24, 2020

Life looks very different now for my family than it did earlier this year. From juggling work priorities to managing distance learning for my kids, there never seems to be enough hours in the day. As we adapt, we’re relying on our phones to get things done.

How can brands lend a hand? We believe there are three key ways to put consumers at the core of your strategy: help people quickly get what they want, deliver relevant information and make it easy for your customers to take action.

Today, we’re sharing new ways to put your customers first and achieve your marketing objectives.

Help people get what they want, faster

The stakes are high on mobile. If you don’t give people what they want quickly, they’ll take their business elsewhere. In fact, we recently found that for retail sites, improving your site load time by 0.1s can help you improve conversion rates by 8 percent.

Test My Site has been an important tool for helping diagnose site speed and providing custom tips on how to make it faster. Today, we updated the tool to provide specific recommendations on how you can improve your mobile site—beyond speed—and deliver more personalized and seamless experiences. Key updates include:

  • Aligning speed metrics with Web Vitals, an initiative by Google to provide unified guidance for quality signals that, we believe, are essential to delivering a great user experience on the web. When marketers and developers share the same definition of success, it’s easier to agree on what’s driving results.

  • Customized tips on how to make your site experience relevant and easy to use. For example, learn how to build a one-step checkout and keep customers coming back with relevant push notifications. 

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Improve your mobile site to boost your business

To get started, visit Test My Site to see how your site is doing and download your customized report—with sections for both marketers and developers—that you can share with your team.

Deliver more engaging and helpful ad experiences 

Many marketers already use feeds in Display, Shopping and Local campaigns to quickly upload and showcase products in your ads. With more product images directly in your ad, consumers are able to easily and seamlessly find what they’re shopping for. In the coming months, we’ll roll out feeds in App campaigns globally to all customers. According to beta testing, advertisers using feeds saw, on average, 6 percent more installs from Google.com and 17 percent more in-app actions (like log-ins and purchases) on sites and apps in our network.

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Surface relevant information about what your app offers

Wish, an e-commerce company, used feeds to display diverse products from its marketplace. Wish also enabled deferred deep linking, which gave new app users a smoother onboarding experience—from app install straight to the item they saw in the ad.

Here’s how it works: if a new user taps on a Wish ad for running shoes, she will be directed to her app store to install the Wish app. After installing and opening the app for the first time, she would automatically land on the running shoes’ product page to learn more or make a purchase.

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Take new app users directly to the products they want to see with deferred deep linking

Since adopting feeds and deferred deep linking, Wish has seen a 105 percent increase in purchases from its app at a similar CPA. “These features have made our app more discoverable and appealing to customers,” says Krishanth Kathiresan, Wish’s Head of Growth Marketing. “It’s a scalable way for us to drive more lower-funnel user engagement and, most importantly, mobile orders.”

To get started, you can reach out to your account manager to join our beta or learn more.

Make it easier for your customers to take action

Loyal customers stick with brands that make it easy for them to get things done. For customers who already have your app installed, deep linking lets them get to the relevant page in the app without having to log in or re-enter information. 

Last year at Google Marketing Live, we announced app deep linking from Search, Display and Shopping ads. In the coming months, we’ll be rolling out deep linking from YouTube, Hotel, Gmail and Discovery ads. On average, deep linked ad experiences drive 2X the conversion rates.

Let’s say, your customer is watching a cooking video on YouTube and sees a discount for “2-hour grocery delivery.” Once she taps on the ad, she’s taken directly to a page in the store’s app to place an order.  

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Direct customers from your YouTube ad to your app

Rakuten Ichiba, a Japanese e-commerce company, found that enabling deep linking helped its loyal customers take action on ads directly in the brand’s app, resulting in 4X mobile purchases and 3X conversions. 

App deep linking introduces an important and seamless path to conversion. To give you better insight into where consumers are landing and converting from your ads, you can start to use ad destination reporting in Google Ads—available globally starting today.

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See where consumers are landing and converting from your ads

For example, let’s say you’re a retailer with both a website and app. With the ad destination report, you can see in the “App deep link” row that these ads drive a higher conversion rate at a lower cost per conversion.

To get started with reporting for your app, use Google Analytics for Firebase or work with one of our App Attribution Program partners

Learn more

To learn more about how you can be there for your customers while achieving your app and mobile marketing objectives, visit our Advertising Solutions Center.

How to Use Instagram Branded Content Ads With Influencers

Do you partner with Instagram influencers? Want to easily turn influencer content into ads? In this article, you’ll discover how to use Instagram Branded Content Ads to amplify the reach of your influencer campaigns.

Do you partner with Instagram influencers? Want to easily turn influencer content into ads?

In this article, you’ll discover how to use Instagram Branded Content Ads to amplify the reach of your influencer campaigns.

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Why Use Instagram Branded Content Ads?

According to Instagram, branded content is defined as “a creator or publisher’s content that features or is influenced by a business partner for an exchange of value (for example, where the business partner has paid the creator or publisher).” Instagram branded content posts are created by influencers to promote a particular brand or business in return for some sort of compensation like money, products, or services.

All branded content posts have a “Paid Partnership with [name of company/brand]” label under the influencer’s Instagram handle, making them easily recognizable. This ensures better transparency of paid collaborations and clears up any confusion in the viewer’s mind.

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People engage with a lot of branded content on Instagram. According to a Facebook for Business survey of Instagram users:

  • 42% of respondents said that branded content helps them discover products or services.
  • 44% of respondents said that branded content helps them find out about a product or service.
  • 41% of respondents said that a brand’s content helps them research a product or service.

To reach a wider audience with Instagram branded content posts, you can now turn them into ads. Currently, there are two types of Instagram branded content ads: feed ads and stories ads. You must be tagged as a business partner in the post to be able to promote that post as a branded content ad.

Here are a few reasons why you should consider running Instagram branded content ads for your business:

  • Amplify the reach and engagement of branded content. These ads are presented to Instagram users just like any other Instagram ad type, ensuring more eyeballs on the content beyond just the influencer’s following.
  • Provide transparency to Instagram users. Social media users care about ad transparency, and Instagram branded content ads make it easy for people to recognize your brand collaborations with influencers. Every branded content ad contains a “Paid Partnership” tag along with the brand name. This builds credibility and brands don’t have to rely on their influencers to use transparent hashtags.

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  • Offer a seamless shopping experience. With shopping tags and branded content ads at your service, audiences can easily purchase your products without leaving the Instagram app.
  • Allow for optimization. You’ll be able to see all of the results and ad metrics for your Instagram branded content ads in Facebook Ads Manager. With meaningful insights for your campaign, you can optimize your ads for better results.

Now that you know about the benefits of Instagram branded content ads, here’s how to set up a campaign.

#1: Approve and Manage Instagram Influencer Partnership Requests

Before you start collaborating with influencers on Instagram branded content, you need to set up branded content approvals.

To do this, tap the three-lines icon at the top right of your Instagram business profile and choose Settings from the pop-up menu.

When your account settings open, tap the Business option and then select Branded Content.

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The next screen will show your branded content approval settings. The option to manually approve tags is selected by default, which makes a lot of sense. If you were to toggle this option off, anyone would be able to tag you as a business partner in branded content.

The Tag Requests section is where you view and approve requests from influencers to tag your brand as a business partner. When you approve a request, that influencer shows up in the Approved Business Partners section.

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How Instagram Influencers Tag Your Brand and Make Their Content Eligible for Ads

Your influencer partner must be a registered creator on Instagram and must have access to branded content tools. Creators must comply with some Instagram policies to become eligible for branded content tools.

When influencers create branded content posts, here’s how they send tag requests to your brand and make their content eligible for ads.

For Instagram Branded Content Posts in the Feed

When creating a feed post, the influencer taps Advanced Settings and then Tag Business Partner. From there, they search for your business partner account and send you a tag request. Once your brand approves the influencer as a business partner, they’ll be able to directly tag your brand in their posts.

Influencers also need to take one additional step to make their organic Instagram posts eligible for branded content ads. In the Branded Content section, they must select the Allow Business Partner to Promote option.

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For Instagram Branded Content Posts in Stories

When the influencer creates a branded Instagram story, they tap the link icon at the top of the screen and then select Tag Business Partner.

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From here, the influencer can either send you a tag request or directly tag you as a business partner. Additionally, they’ll see the option to allow your brand to promote the content as an ad.

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Pro Tip: For your Instagram branded content to be successful, you need to clearly communicate with your influencer partner. Discuss your plan and objectives with them so there’s no confusion about what you want to achieve with your partnership.

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#2: Choose an Instagram Branded Content Post to Promote

After your influencer partner has successfully shared a post organically, tagged you as a business partner, and allowed you to promote it, you can create a branded content ad on Instagram.

Note: Influencers can publish branded content ads in Ads Manager without posting the content organically first. However, your brand can only promote branded content that was first posted organically from the influencer’s account.

Choose the organic branded content post you want to promote carefully. This is a vital step. You should be familiar with the type of content the influencer posts on their account and the type of response they get from such posts. Depending on your ad objective or goal such as increased app installs or sales, determine which influencer post is best suited to achieve that goal.

To view insights for organic branded content you’ve been tagged in, you can look in your Facebook Page Insights or Facebook Brands Collabs Manager.

Set Up Brand Collabs Manager

Brand Collabs Manager is a dedicated tool provided by Facebook that takes content partnerships between brands and influencers on both Facebook and Instagram to the next level.

As a brand, Brand Collabs Manager will help you find Instagram influencers who have similar audiences to yours and show insights for organic Instagram branded content posts.

To sign up for Brand Collabs Manager, go to https://www.facebook.com/collabsmanager/signup/brand. Select the Facebook page that’s connected to your Instagram account, type in your email address, and accept the Terms of Service. Click Submit when you’re done.

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Once you’ve been approved, you’ll see the Brand Collabs Manager dashboard.

On the Insights tab, you’ll be able to see the reach and engagement data for any organic branded content posts from influencers you’ve partnered with.

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View Instagram Branded Content Insights in Facebook Page Insights

You can also view data for organic branded content posts in your Facebook Page Insights. To access this data, click the Insights tab on your page and select Branded Content in the left navigation.

Click the Posts tab to see reach and engagement for your branded content feed posts. On the Stories tab, you’ll find reach and engagement for branded content Stories posts.

#3: Create an Instagram Branded Content Ad to Promote Your Influencer’s Post

Before setting up your Instagram branded content campaign, define the campaign goal you want to achieve. Then based on this goal, determine the metrics involved in achieving it. For example, if your goal is to increase app installations, the number of clicks on your application download button matter more than the reach of the post. You’ll then be able to calculate campaign performance more effectively.

Once you’ve decided what you want to achieve and what content to promote, go to Facebook Ads Manager, create a new ad campaign, and select your campaign objective. You can choose App Installs, Brand Awareness, Reach, Traffic, Video Views, Conversions, and Page Post Engagement (feed only) as objectives for Instagram branded content ads.

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Next, set up your ad set. Define the audience you want to target and choose your ad placements. Instead of automatic placements, go with Manual Placements and choose only those that apply to Instagram such as Instagram Feed, Explore, or Stories.

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When you reach the ad level, click on Use Existing Post. Then under Creative, click Select Post.

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In the Select Post window, click on the Branded Content tab and select the branded content post you want to promote as an ad. When you’re done, click Continue.

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You can now see a final preview of your ad. If everything looks okay, click Confirm to finish the ad creation. The ad will then be reviewed and approved or disapproved for publishing. You’ll be notified in both cases.

Note: Your influencer partner won’t be able to make any changes to their post while you’re promoting it as an ad. They also won’t be able to see the ad performance, just the metrics of their organic post.

#4: Remove Your Tag From an Instagram Branded Content Post

As a brand, you may want to be removed or untagged from an Instagram branded content post at some point. You can remove the tag from either Facebook or Instagram.

From Facebook

To remove your tag via Facebook, go to your Facebook Page Insights and click on the Branded Content tab. Then find the branded content post and click on it, or click on Review Post.

Select Remove Tag and then click Confirm on the Remove Tag confirmation screen.

From Instagram

For an Instagram feed post, tap on the three dots at the top-right corner of the tagged post and select Remove Me From Post.

For an Instagram story post, tap on the three dots in the bottom-right corner of the tagged story post and select Remove Me From Post.

Conclusion

One effective way for brands to boost their social media engagement is with influencer marketing. Brands partner with Instagram influencers to boost the credibility of their content by association and reach the influencer’s audience on the platform. With Instagram branded content ads, you can expand the reach of the content beyond the influencer’s following and improve the chances of reaching your target audience.

What do you think? What features of Instagram branded content ads do you find the most advantageous? Have you run an Instagram branded content ad campaign yet? Do you plan to use these ads in the near future? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

More articles on influencer marketing:

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Pepsi joining Facebook ad boycott, Fox Business News reports – Reuters Africa

June 28 (Reuters) – PepsiCo Inc will stop advertising on Facebook Inc, Fox Business News reported here on Sunday, citing sources. The halt on advertising will run through July and August, the report said. Sources described the move as a “global boycott” on placing Facebook ads, the report said. PepsiCo did not immediately respond to…

June 28 (Reuters) – PepsiCo Inc will stop advertising on Facebook Inc, Fox Business News reported here on Sunday, citing sources.

The halt on advertising will run through July and August, the report said. Sources described the move as a “global boycott” on placing Facebook ads, the report said.

PepsiCo did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

The food and beverage company joins a growing number of companies pulling ad dollars from Facebook, including ice-cream maker Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever PLC. (Reporting by Juby Babu in Bengaluru; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

The What, Why and How of Programmatic Advertising (and 5 Tips on Using It)

Effectively target specific groups across a wide swath of the internet with this marketing tool. Free Book Preview No BS Guide to Direct Response Social Media Marketing The ultimate guide to – producing measurable, monetizable results with social media marketing. May 28, 2020 7 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. As…

Effectively target specific groups across a wide swath of the internet with this marketing tool.

Free Book Preview No BS Guide to Direct Response Social Media Marketing

The ultimate guide to – producing measurable, monetizable results with social media marketing.


7 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As any digital marketing pro can tell you, programmatic advertising is one of the most critical — and least understood — concepts in the industry today. It’s a strategy made more difficult by the fact that individual platforms and vendors in the space use a confusing array of redundant and overlapping terms to describe the process. For the average business, though, understanding and making use of programmatic advertising is essential in today’s multichannel environment.

In reality, programmatic advertising is a pretty simple thing to grasp, once you drop all of the jargon and boil it down to its essentials. That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s an easy strategy to use correctly. To help, here’s an easy to understand overview of what programmatic advertising is, how it works, and 5 specific tips on how to use it to get the biggest bang for your marketing buck.

Related: Reprogramming Digital Engagement with Programmatic Advertising

What is programmatic advertising?

Put simply, programmatic advertising refers to the practice of using an automated bidding and placement platform to buy and sell digital ad space in real time. What makes it so effective, though, is that the bidding decisions are made using data that indicates the user’s interests, geographic location and specific consumer profile. That makes it possible for businesses to create hypertargeted ad campaigns that make the best possible use of their budget and that self-adjust based on available advertising inventory. In short, it’s one of the most effective, efficient and valuable types of marketing automation out there.

How it works

Although the specifics of each platform can vary, the way programmatic advertising works is always the same. The advertiser creates a campaign with a set budget that includes specific targets and goals, and uses KPIs as a measure of how well the campaign meets them. The platform then uses an algorithm to automate the process of selecting the right advertising opportunities on the right platforms as they become available. Then, the platform carries out an auction to determine which advertiser gets which placement. Critically, all of the action takes place in the time between when a user requests a web page and when it appears on their screen.

For businesses, this means having the ability to target specific groups across a wide swath of the internet landscape, all within the same campaign. In practice, it helps ensure that the business’s message is seen by the exact audience for which it’s intended, no matter where they surf. So if it makes the most sense to advertise on Facebook to reach the right audience, that’s what’ll happen. If the algorithm decides that the most effective use of the campaign’s funds is to run the ad on a niche website where a small subset of the desired demographic congregates, the ad goes there instead.

Related: Podcast Advertising: Is Programmatic the Next Big Thing?

How to use it effectively

One of the biggest issues that businesses tend to have when trying to figure out how to best use programmatic advertising is that they see it as a set-it-and-forget-it solution. They hear the term “automation” and believe that the machine will have all of the answers from day one. In reality, the opposite is true. Crafting a programmatic advertising campaign takes plenty of forethought and continuous tweaking to get right. To encapsulate what has to be done, here are five tips to make such a campaign a success.

1. Don’t arbitrarily pick a platform

Before beginning the process of building a programmatic advertising campaign, it’s first essential to choose a platform that has everything needed to make it a success. With so many to choose from, it’s best to ask plenty of questions before committing to a single platform.

For example, it’s important to understand their reach, so finding out which ad exchanges are included and if they contain the sites most relevant to the campaign’s likely target audiences is critical. It’s also worth finding out if the platform relies on demand-side platforms (DSP) as middlemen to reach those exchanges. Last, getting to know the platform’s pricing structure and how they’ll invoice for their services (dynamic vs. fixed CPMs) can determine if a platform’s a good fit for a given campaign.

2. Communicate with your representative

One thing that all programmatic advertising platforms have in common is that they assign advertisers to a representative who’s there to help make every campaign a success. They have access to all kinds of historical data about other advertisers’ campaigns and can offer insight that can increase the odds of success. So, the best advice is to communicate with the platform representative early and often throughout the process. It’s their job to help, and with broad experience under their belts, they are better equipped to provide it than the average first-time user of the platform could ever be.

3. Use iterative optimization

When putting a campaign together, the best approach is to target it as generally as it is possible to get started, then revise it as performance data becomes available. This process should be repeated, gradually narrowing down the campaign’s targeting with each pass. It’s the same kind of iterative optimization that’s used in other forms of digital marketing, and it’s the surest way to develop a high-performance programmatic advertising campaign over time.

4. Choose channels wisely

Because programmatic advertising is, by default, a multichannel affair, it’s important to choose from what’s available to make sure the right messaging reaches the right platforms to meet the stated goals. For example, there’s a wide variance in the target demographics that the various social media platforms reach, but that’s not the only thing to worry about. It’s also necessary to choose channels based on what the campaign’s trying to accomplish. If the goal is to drive traffic to a landing page, for instance, the campaign should target channels that allow for direct traffic, which means eliminating things like ads on connected media devices (TVs, set-top boxes, gaming hardware). Getting this choice right will have a direct effect on the efficiency of the campaign.

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5. Experiment wherever possible

Once a campaign’s delivering solid results through a specific set of channels, it doesn’t mean there’s nothing left to do. Since digital marketing always involves making certain assumptions about a target demographic and the best way to reach it, it’s always a good idea to test those assumptions by trying other approaches that may not be obvious ones. That often means making limited runs of advertising on channels that seem like they aren’t a good fit to make sure that the campaign’s not missing out on a channel where there might be less competition.

To get this right, however, it’s crucial to have a solid analytics solution in place to connect the individual channel results back to conversion behavior. That makes it possible to conduct cost/benefit analyses and try to identify “diamond in the rough” opportunities that can amplify the effect of a campaign.

Related: 5 Ways Brands Can Reinvent Their Digital Marketing Strategy

Time to get started

It should be clear by now that programmatic advertising isn’t anywhere near as complex as it may seem from the outside looking in. In fact, using it well isn’t all that much different from any other digital marketing approach. It’s still necessary to use the same judgment and optimization strategies as you would for a manually executed advertising campaign. In effect, the only real difference is that there’s a sophisticated algorithm helping to turn the campaign’s parameters into results at the lowest possible expense. So, for any business that hasn’t added programmatic advertising to its marketing arsenal, the only question that should remain is: Now that you know what it can do for you, what are you waiting for?