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Content Marketing

TikTok Adds Photo Mode for Still Images and Longer Video Captions For Increased Discovery

By Content Marketing, Social Media No Comments

In an unusual turn of events, TikTok has borrowed from Instagram by adding a new ‘Photo Mode’ for still images in the app. The new feature allows users to post carousels of still images that can be scrolled.

TikTok Photo Mode

TikTok explains the new feature:

“Photo Mode allows you to share carousel posts of still images that automatically display one after another. You can add music to soundtrack the images, which viewers can swipe through at their own pace.”

We expect the addition of carousels will spark new trends, like before and after shots of DYI projects, makeovers, lawn and garden improvements, and other views into progressive change will provide another way for brands to reach an audience.

TikTok’s also added some new editing tools to make it easier to refine content before posting and launched longer captions, allowing creators to utilize up to 2,200 characters with each clip.

TikTok editing tools update

This represents a significant increase from the 300 characters previously allowed for video descriptions. This is no surprise given TikTok’s increasing role as a discovery platform.

In fact, Google itself recently noted that almost 40% of young people now use TikTok and Instagram for search, instead of the search engine. Allowing for longer descriptions will help users grow their reach and their “search engine” value within the app via more keywords.

If you need assistance leveraging TikTok or any social media platform, please contact us today. Our award-winning social media team is here to help.

The Digital Marketing Trends Shaping New Customer Experiences

By Brand Engagement, Content Marketing, Insights & News, Social Commerce, Uncategorized No Comments

It can be increasingly challenging to keep up with digital marketing trends as they change so quickly.

To help marketers and digital leaders navigate this new landscape, we’ve identified the key trends to help you improve engagement and drive conversions this year.

1. SOCIAL MEDIA TRENDS

TikTok Will Continue to Grow & Brands Need to Take it Seriously

The rapid rise of TikTok has seen the app reach 1 billion users and counting. The platform has enormous engagement (U.S. users spend up to 850 hours a month on the platform) and enables brands to create hyper-personalized content that truly connects with customers.

In terms of the platform’s revenue, TikTok was the top-earning non-game app in 2021 with more than $110 million spent by users. This just shows the earning potential of the app for marketers looking to drive sales amongst young consumers. 

The Next Big Digital Marketing Trends in 2022

Influencers have also played a role in TikTok’s rise with many earning huge amounts through sponsorship deals. Battisby believes that brands are now taking notice of influencer marketing on the platform.

In the platform’s early days, it seemed to be a place for kids and teens and the influencer who want to reach them. But, today, we are seeing influencers like Gordon Ramsey and financial influencers like @johnefinance and @breakyourbudget who help GenZers learn about planning for their financial futures.

Social Commerce Will Become Seamless

During the pandemic, social commerce took off and is expected to reach $1.2 trillion globally by 2025 according to an Accenture study – a growth that’s three times faster than traditional ecommerce, aided by hashtags like #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt.

2022 is set to see the experience of social shopping evolve as platforms work behind the scenes to enable customer payments without leaving social media apps, creating a seamless customer experience. Gen Z and Millennials are predicted to be the biggest spenders as they will account for 62 percent of global social ecommerce revenue by 2025.

The Next Big Digital Marketing Trends in 2022

The key to driving engagement is for brands to create compelling shop windows on Instagram. It’s no longer enough to rely on one great image, companies need to have multiple images per product and add keyword-rich descriptions. Video is also crucial as the popularity of the format  – as witnessed by TikTok’s growth and Instagram’s recent transition – is exploding across all audiences. 

YouTube Advertising Will Explode

YouTube is going to explode in terms of investment from advertising in 2022. As more people move away from linear TV, fragmentation with subscriptions, and streaming services all means that more advertising spend is going to move to YouTube.

Last year YouTube’s global revenue (through its parent company Alphabet) grew to nearly $29 billion, up almost 46 percent from 2020. This level of revenue puts the social media platform on par with Netflix and is a result of the rise in more traditional TV advertisers on the channel, direct response ads, and brand advertising.

The Next Big Digital Marketing Trends in 2022

2. DIGITAL MARKETING JOB TRENDS IN 2022

Marketers Need to Upskill in Digital

As brands clamor to engage, promote, and convert successfully online, the need for digital talent across industries is intense.

A recent whitepaper, ‘Perpetual Evolution’, from The Economist Group, revealed that securing talent with the right skill set is the number one challenge that the digital marketing industry faces, while the lack of training to upskill marketers ranks seventh.

The Next Big Digital Marketing Trends in 2022

This demand is great news for marketers but poses a challenge for many in the industry who lack digital know-how or experience in digital marketing. So what digital marketing skills will be in demand in 2022? Social media skills remain in high demand, along with SEO and SEM.

The Next Big Digital Marketing Trends in 2022

The Digital Gig Economy is on the Rise

Over the past decade, many workers are pursuing a more flexible ‘gig’ lifestyle for their professional lives. The emergence and rise of online services and apps such as Airbnb and Deliveroo have offered new ways of working for people rather than a 9 to 5 traditional job.

In fact, according to a recent Mastercard study, half of the U.S. population will do gig work by 2028.

This gig economy opens up the door for marketers with in-demand skills. We are seeing more creative or digital marketing professionals choosing the digital nomad route as this enables them to dictate their own working hours and have flexibility.

3. DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY TRENDS IN 2022

The Metaverse Will Become a Marketer’s Playground

While it has existed and evolved for years, the metaverse saw a boost in interest after Facebook changed its parent company’s name to Meta in October 2021.

This move, according to Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg is because “the metaverse is the next frontier in connecting people, just like social networking was when we got started. Over time, I hope we are seen as a metaverse company, and I want to anchor our work and our identity on what we’re building towards.”

So what is the metaverse? Basically, it’s virtual worlds in 3D that people can connect through Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). Imagine having an avatar that looks exactly like yourself with you exact measurements shopping in a virtual store. You would be able to try on clothes and see what they look like on your body from the comfort of your own sofa.

While we are still a few years away from reaching critical mass with the metaverse, brands are beginning to embrace it now to build on their customer experiences.

According to eMarketer research, there will be 65 million people that use VR and 110 million using AR every month in 2023. That’s a lot of potential young customers to have in one space.

The Next Big Digital Marketing Trends in 2022

Artificial Intelligence Will Hinder & Help Data Privacy

Privacy issues continue to plague brands as more customers demand transparency and control over their own data and we are seeing increasing concerns as AI continues to evolve the customer experience.

According to a Gartner study, 40% of privacy compliance technology will use AI by 2023 while global spending on privacy is expected to reach $8 billion by 2022.

However, companies can use AI in their data privacy initiatives to classify sensitive data and use it to search data to identify individuals that have asked to be forgotten (a specification covered under privacy regulations like GDPR).

The bottom line is the digital marketing space is changing rapidly and brands need to ensure they are testing new tactics and technologies while building the right presence across these new channels. If you need assistance taking a future-forward look at your brand’s digital presence and engagement, contact us today. Our experts are here to help.


Trust in Advertising is on the Decline – But Search, Social and Programmatic Still Deliver

By Content Marketing, Programmatic, SEO, Social Media No Comments

It’s no secret that consumer trust in advertising has been steadily declining in recent years. But, it’s not all bad news for brands as reports indicate consumers still trust some channels over others. For example, Nielsen’s Trust in Advertising study found that brand sponsorships are among the most trusted advertising sources among global consumers, yet most marketers don’t readily consider newer ad formats like brand integrations, sponsorships and product placements in their media planning. This is where programmatic strategies can help brands connect with customers by leveraging the built-in trust of these partner integrations.

The report also highlights how important digital channels have become from a marketing perspective, evidenced by significant increases in planned spending across search and social media.

Digital marketing channels are attractive because they drive sales in the current quarter, not the next and deliver real-time conversion metrics. Marketers surveyed by Nielsen believe search and social media are the most effective for their businesses.

Meanwhile, The Edelman Trust Barometer has shown that both trust and reputation are correlated with actual and intent to purchase, but that trust is in many ways the more powerful factor. For example, 61% of people globally say that a good reputation may get them to try a product; but unless they come to trust the company behind the product, they will soon stop buying it regardless of its reputation.

So, how can a brand improve its reputation and create the kinds of connections that convert?

According to Edelman, consumers most want Diversity, Authenticity, Transparency, Social Responsibility, Data Security, Valued Opinion and Purpose from brands.

Marketers can demonstrate these brand attributes through their message as well as the select channels and media outlets in which they place their programmatic ads. This can be amplified by additional content marketing through social media and search.

If you’d like assistance with your content strategy and how to best select the right channels in social, search and programmatic, give us a call. We are here to help.

The Rise of Cryptocurrency and Its Impact on Financial Brands

By Content Marketing, Uncategorized No Comments

With the rise of cryptocurrency, digital payments technology is forcing the financial system to change. Banks, which were once the biggest powerhouses that controlled the financial system and are starting to feel less powerful and want to regain control of valuable market share in an ecosystem that they once dominated. Crypto platforms like Coinbase and Crypto.com, to name a few are making billions from selling and managing Cryptocurrency, while banks and financial institution have been slow to adopt and left in the dust. 

It’s no surprise that the banks tried to regulate the cryptocurrency industry but failed. There are now more than 220 million global cryptocurrency users as of  June 2021 according to Crypto.com Research 

Things Have Changed

We live in a digital world. In years to come all assets are going to be in a digital format. With exponential growth of the number of people using cryptocurrency worldwide, if you can’t beat them join them. Banks are now scrambling to catch up and make a profit in this new financial ecosystem of digital currency, since more and more people and businesses around the world are embracing digital currencies at a rapid pace and even governments are getting involved because everyone knows there is serious money to be made. Even in the Caribbean, Jamaica is rolling out its central bank digital currency after a ‘successful pilot’ worth 230m Jamaican dollars, according to the Guardian,  the pilot for the country’s prototype central bank digital currency (CBDC) began in May 2021 and ended on 31 December 2021.

What Should Banks and Financial Institutions Do? 

The answer is simple. Get involved and get involved fast. Since we’re moving at a rapid pace, banks and financial institutions should get more involved in digital currency as quickly as they can. Currently, cryptocurrency is a threat to banks because it allows people to bypass banks for transfers, sales, and other purposes by connecting people instantly without an intermediary. If I wanted to transfer money to bank account using Coinbase or any other platform, the fee is much less than if I conducted the transaction with a bank. With Coinbase, you sell crypto instantly, pay a small fee and transfer money to PayPal for free – if you have connected your PayPal account.   

Some banks are starting to take Cryptocurrency seriously.

For example, look at what is happening with Bank of America, one of the largest US banks. Engineers at Bank of America filed the largest number of patent applications in the bank’s history, including hundreds involving digital payments technologies. This should serve as a wake-up call for other banks and financial institutions.

“The bank sees potential in blockchain, and we’re currently a leading patentholder in the space with more than 160 patents.”

Bank of America spokesman, Mark Pipitone, to the New York Times.

JP Morgan, also one of the largest banking institutions, introduced JPM coin which did not quite work out because it was tied to the dollar and now it is only used internally to transfer money and other assets between the banks.

Regulators, who were not ready for the surge in crypto currency are trying to create new rules that will control the use, which will probably be written to benefit them and give them a slight edge if regulation happens in the future.   

Now is the Time for Crypto Content

For banks and financial institutions that are curious about cryptocurrency, it may be worth testing the waters and spending time educating your employees, shareholders, and customers. Cryptocurrency can be volatile, especially during a pandemic and its reputation has been impacted by the rise and fall of Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency, as well as security concerns. However, there is great potential with Crypto, less red tape, and more transparency.

Now is the time to build out a strategy for your own cryptocurrency offering services and supporting content. Here are some of the crypto-driven initiatives financial institutions should consider:

  • Processing payments, loans, escrow service and facilitating international cash transactions via cryptocurrency.
  • Helping customers invest by developing online learning courses to advise on the types of crypto and earning potential.
  • Developing crypto-based growth assets and transactions. 

We recommend adding cryptocurrency to your content strategy to satisfy the information need and connect with customer searches. Another opportunity for banks is holding money i.e., digital wallets. There are some crypto whales that store a lot of money in different virtual wallets provided by non-banks. If the banking industry can figure out how they can offer a better, more secure service, there is an opportunity to surpass non-banks in this area.     

Additionally, banks could potentially invest in developing new tools that would help with the adoption of crypto by their current customers like ROI, etc., They could also offer interest-bearing crypto accounts, where customers could invest the crypto on the back end or through other financial tools.

Wrapping Up

Cryptocurrency is becoming an increasingly important trend for financial brands and payment processors, banks and financial institutions should continue to embrace cryptocurrency as most major retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot, and Costco will begin directly accepting cryptocurrencies as payment in the near future and major credit card companies, etc. Regulation will improve overtime and user adoption will continue to increase and banks should offer cryptocurrency services, including exchanges, savings accounts, and payment accounts which will become the new norm.

If you’d like assistance in developing a content plan that connects your brand to the cryptocurrency trend, let us know. We’re happy to help.

POV by Winston Burton, SVP, SEO.

Neuromarketing

How Neuromarketing Creates Connections and Conversions

By Brand Engagement, Content Marketing, Insights & News, Paid Media, Uncategorized No Comments

With customer data and AI driving digital engagement, brands need to take a human-first approach to create value through personalization and relevance. Enter neuromarketing.

What Is Neuromarketing?

Acronym’s VP, Integrated Media, Joanna Cohen is a neuroscientist and brand marketer. She explains,

“In its simplest sense, neuromarketing focuses on the psychology and brain physiology behind customer decision-making. Neuromarketing gives brands the ability to create more effective campaigns by understanding the way we perceive and process information. It helps us identify the emotional and perceptual triggers that are key to a customer’s decision-making and purchase process.”

How Does Understanding Neuromarketing Improve Brand Experiences?

The subconscious, specifically, emotion, plays a large role in influencing behavior. It can even change the way a certain brand, product or image is internalized in the brain. Most marketing strategies approach buying behaviors as a rational, conscious decision as illustrated below.

However, the human brain is much more motivated by emotions and the subconscious thought process, which is driven by the customer’s hopes and fears; their emotions and ego; their experiences and expectations; existing attitudes and beliefs (including social and political) and their behaviors. The process is actually more closely related to the below illustration.

Marketers and brands should take common emotional triggers into account when planning their digital campaigns. In fact, according to an IPA dataBank Study, marketing campaigns that focused on emotional drivers (the Feel, Think, Choose approach) were 31% effective as compared to campaigns that used the rational drivers (Think, Feel, Choose), which were only 16% effective.

How Can Brands Create an Emotional Connection with Customers?

So, if customers feel before they think and choose, how can brands tap into those emotions? The answer is visual imagery.

To begin with imagery is essential. Implicit memory, which is primarily visual, affects the way brands are perceived and this is encoded in our memories.

We’ve all heard the expression, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Consider that two-thirds of the stimuli reaching the brain are visual and about 80% of learning is visually based. In fact, facial signals are encoded in the brain and have a much more immediate effect on customers’ attitudes than words.

Brands can shape customer attitudes by tailoring perceptual cues through the use of color, image selection, wording – including font style and size – facial expressions seen in images, messaging sequence and storytelling. In other words, focusing on how the brain stores information and the psychology and physiology behind customer decision-making, brands can reach individuals across the customer journey with the right messaging.

The more brands understand how their customers make decisions, the better they can leverage insights about the brain and how it stores information to design memorable and effective marketing strategies that target both the conscious and the subconscious mind.

If you’d like to learn more about how neuromarketing can improve your digital marketing approach, contact us today.

POV by Joanna Cohen, VP, Integrated Media.

What is the Future of Social Media?

By Content Marketing, Insights & News, Social Media No Comments

Are hashtags as valuable as they once were? With all the endless noise in social media, can brands really get noticed online? What are future trends in the social media space?

On her live broadcast, Technology Revolution: The Future of Now, Bonnie D. Graham discusses these questions and more with:

blog on phone

Our Experts Explain How Instagram’s Algorithms Work So You Drive Better Engagement

By Content Marketing, Social Media No Comments

As part of its Creator Week event, Instagram provided insight into how its algorithms working, noting “they want to do a better job of explaining how Instagram works” so marketers can better engage with the right audiences online. The most significant takeaway shared is that there isn’t one universal algorithm, but, rather, separate algorithms for Feed & Stories, Explore and Reels.

Why is this important? 

Many people refer to “the Instagram algorithm” as one omniscient system. Insights like these help us understand how different parts of the platform work and how we can optimize to them: while the Feed/Story algorithm centers around contextual topic and interpersonal signals, the Explore algorithm centers more around topic clusters (they will show posts about a certain topic “without necessarily understanding what each post is about”); and the evolving Reels algorithm centers around content and creator popularity and heavily leverages surveys.

While leaning into key topics your brand may center around, (e.g. travel), will help you appear on the Explore feed of topic enthusiasts, this shows that brands need to think about their individual relationships with consumers to get on the coveted Feed and Stories placements.

It’s not enough for someone to follow you: they have to have a history of engagement with you. In fact, there are several key factors that drive the content visibility within Instagram.

#1: Interest

A customers’ Instagram feed isn’t only based on that customer follows, it’s also based on the accounts and types of posts that are of interest to that customer. When the Instagram algorithm thinks a person will “like” a certain type of post, that type of content will appear more often in that feed.

Basically, what your target audience sees in their Instagram feed is a combination of all of their Instagram behaviors, including their likes, tags, and – especially comments. This is why it is so important for brands to post consistently on Instagram.

#2: Relationship 

The Instagram algorithm prioritizes posts from the accounts your audience cares about. Thomas Dimson, a software engineer at Instagram, explains it this way, Instagram places a higher relevance on content from:

  • People whose content you like (possibly including stories and live videos)
  • People you direct message
  • People you search for
  • People you know in real life

#3: Timeliness

Not only does the algorithm pay attention to how much engagement your Instagram post gets, but it also looks at how long ago the photo was posted. Instagram’s algorithm cares about when you posted, because it always wants to serve you the latest, most interesting posts. This is a departure from the Facebook’s approach to timeliness in those feeds. You can find the best times to post on Instagram on another Acronym blog post here.

#4: Frequency 

This goes back to what we said about consistently posting on Instagram. Users who open the app more often will see a more chronological feed. Users who check the app less frequently will be served up content based on topic versus in chronological order. So, if you want to tell a specific brand story or connect with your customers around timely content, you should make sure you are posting often.

#5: Following

Instagram factors in each users’ following on the app. The more active your followers are, the more you will see their content and the more often your content will appear in their feeds. However, if you have inactive followers, Instagram will not rank your feed as high as brands with followers who regularly  engage with the app. So, you may want to conduct regular purges of your following to eliminate inactive accounts.

#6: Usage

If you spend a lot of time on Instagram, you’re going to see more posts as Instagram digs deeper into its analytics. If you spend enough time on Instagram, you can even run out of new content to see. Once this happens, the algorithm will serve you suggested content from new accounts — based on your previous usage.

What actions should brands take? 

Remember that engagement is king on the Feed, and think about how you can get someone to interact with your post, not just view it. So, post consistently with content that is of interest to your following and engage with your following through likes and comments. With social media, like everything else in life, you get out of it what you put into it.

If you’d like assistance in better leveraging Instagram or any social platform with paid and organic content, please contact us. We’re here to help.

The Potential Impact of Google Allowing Users to Opt-Out of Tracking

By Analytics, Content Marketing, Web Analytics No Comments

Ahead of an upcoming developer conference, Google announced it will let Android users opt out of being tracked by the apps they download from the Google Play Store. 

This move mirrors Apple’s roll-out of iOS 14, which gave consumers the option to opt out of tracking via the IDFA, or device identifier that tracks consumer behavior across apps. 

According to the announcement, this will be launched via a Google Play services update in “late 2021.” 

Why is this important?  

Since Apple’s iOS 14 announcement in 2020, advertisers have been waiting to hear how Google will respond to its competitor. With all three major smartphone players (iPhone, Android & Samsung) using either the Google Play Store or Apple Store, this means nearly all social media app users will have the option to disable tracking.  

Considering that more than half of all worldwide web traffic so far this year was generated via mobile devices, the option to disable tracking will significantly impact first-party data.  

What is the impact on brands? 

This update will further decrease audience size, bringing higher CPMs and less qualified targeting via website data, in the same way Apple’s iOS 14 does. However, the severity of this decrease will depend upon whether this switch will be automatically pushed to users, or if this switch is simply an option users will have to manually turn off in settings. 

What action should brands take? 

First party data will be the name of the game in this privacy-first era. We recommend brands continue to find ways to leverage and foster first-party audiences, whether by creating a newsletter that requires email, a Facebook Store where shoppers interact, or leveraging video ads that can track people who watch most of the video or engage with your ad. 

If you’d like help identifying the best approach for your brand and your specific audience, please contact us. Our experts are available to help.

 

POV by Acronym’s Paid Media Team

Learn how to stop selling and start helping with Acronym’s Mike Grehan & Emetrics Summit Founder Jim Sterne

By Content Marketing No Comments

If you’re looking to establish long-term relationships with your customers, tune in to SEMrush’s upcoming webinar, Understanding Intent: Stop Selling, Start Helping, with Acronym CMO Mike Grehan and eMetrics Summit Founder Jim Sterne.

Mike and Jim will discuss why the best advertising is emotional – not persuasive – and connects with consumers far earlier on the path to purchase. You’ll learn precisely how to identify and engage these consumers, as well as how to sustain the relationships. Hint: AI and machine learning are invaluable in helping map content to intent.

You’ll also have a chance to ask these industry heavyweights your own questions about brand building and making emotional connections.

It all takes place Wednesday, December 13 at 12 ET/9 PT.

Register for the event here.