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10 Tips To Write Engaging Content Previews for Social Media

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10 Tips To Write Engaging Content Previews for Social Media

Social media users scan their feeds, so marketers fiddle with images to compel their target audience to stop scrolling. But bright pictures shouldn’t be the only hook for them to stop, click, and read.

Scrollers who catch sight of an image often go to the text to see what it’s all about. And if this content preview doesn’t motivate them to click to read more, the promotion endeavors are in vain.

These 10 tips can help ensure your social media content previews turns scrollers into readers of your full-length content.

1. Emphasize content’s popularity

This trick serves as social proof, an indicator that other readers found your content worthy of a click to read more. It also includes a component of FOMO – fear of missing out. Scrollers don’t want to miss content that others found truly informative and valuable.

By promoting a content piece as the best or most likable, shareable, or debatable resource offered, you’ll evoke curiosity and motivate them to see what all the fuss is about.

Use superlatives to promote #content on @SocialMedia. You’ll evoke curiosity and motivate them to click, says @LesleyVos via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

In this tweet, I promote an article, How To Deal With Cognitive Biases in Social Content, by introducing it as “one of my best writings of 2021.”

Honesty is critical here. Don’t use this tip to trick readers. After all, brand reputation matters far more than a few extra clicks on social media.

2. Mention a bonus inside the content

Tell your readers that a nice bonus awaits them in the article. These can be free templates, a list of the best blog posts of the year, or practical checklists on a topic.

Long story short, make them understand there’s an added value in your content. In this Instagram post, CoSchedule promotes an article about how to do a content audit. But it doesn’t stop there. It also mentions the inclusion of a template and checklist.

3. Add a humorous yet relevant picture

Technical or detailed content can be difficult to preview on social media. It’s challenging to convey terms and concepts in a brief format because of a few cognitive biases experienced when the brain sees too much information to explore or too much content to remember.

Appealing to humor and using picture-superiority effect can help. Complement the content’s meaning with a fun and attractive visual. You’ll smooth out its complexity and thwart those cognitive biases.

The example I shared in the first tip contains the funny giraffe visual to attract attention to the seemingly complex topic of cognitive biases.

If you don’t find the humorous route possible, an alternative to promote technical or detailed content is to use a bright illustration that will stand out in user feeds like this colorful rainbow and brightly dressed model to preview an article on social listening research.

4. Reveal the table of contents

Describe the main point of your article in a sentence followed by a table of contents. This writing trick works when simplified main point sounds too general or vague. It lets users see the details behind the topic to determine if it’s valuable and relevant to their needs.

Share a table of contents to promote your full-length asset on #SocialMedia, says @LesleyVos via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

In this social preview post, WordStream identifies the topic (types of emails to send in 2022), followed by a bulleted table of contents listing each type addressed in the full-length article.

5. Write as you would talk to a friend

Concerned about looking unprofessional and overly friendly, some writers make their previews too formal and impersonal. That type of content can make it difficult to attract social media users who scroll to find something interesting.

I’m not talking about being too personal, but you can take steps to be more conversational in your previews:

  • Don’t use professional jargon, complex words, massive grammar constructions, and long sentences. Further proofreading and slight editing also will help polish the preview.
  • Write as you talk. Imagine you are telling an interested friend about the content.

6. Use a citation from the content

You see this trick often because it works well. Write a preview for a piece by including a quote or citing a statistic from the full-length article. This social preview from the environmental company Jacobs includes a quote from the employee profiled in the article.

7. Answer the why-should-I-care question

This tip relates to the earlier ones, but I separated it for emphasis. In a preview, explain briefly why a person should invest their time reading your content. Maybe the author is a well-known expert whose opinion matters for the niche. Perhaps the information is structured in a convenient format. Perhaps it brings some extra freebies or other benefits. The point is to let the scroller know what’s in it for them.

In this example, Ahrefs promotes the reader-friendly structure (short and sweet) and mentions a new feature.

8. Tag well-known sources

If the author or sources are well known in your niche or globally, mention them in the preview. Make sure to tag them, too. The preview will grab your audience’s attention and may be shared by the author or source so their followers can see it, too. (It also indicates the content is authoritative.)

This preview from Digital Olympus identifies the participation of experts Winnie Sun and Jason Barnard for its weekly webinar.

9. Mention a mind-blowing fact

You have a moment to hook social media users. Create a wow effect in the first sentence of your preview by using:

  • Weird words or expressions
  • Extraordinary insights
  • Shocking information
  • Exclusive facts

In this example, Semrush highlights that 7,000-plus word articles drive almost four times more traffic than articles of 900 to 1,200 words. (Now, that’s a wow!)

10. Speak directly

You know your buyer persona inside out. With their character traits, motivations, fears, and frustrations in mind, craft content previews so the reader would exclaim, “Oh, that’s about me!” and click to continue reading.

In this example from Elna Cain, she writes in second person: “Stop saying sorry in your freelance business! Are you always apologizing for not having the right niche, the right rate or the right type of writing? Stop saying sorry and say these instead …”

Be ready for rewrites

Crafting effective social media previews for your content isn’t accomplished in a single draft. Use two or three of these tips to write several previews to publish on social media. Analyze the audience’s reaction to each to understand the most attractive preview structure and tone for this particular type of content promotion.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute




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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples [2024 Update]

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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples

Introduction

With billions of users each month, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and top website for video content. This makes it a great place for advertising. To succeed, advertisers need to follow the correct YouTube ad specifications. These rules help your ad reach more viewers, increasing the chance of gaining new customers and boosting brand awareness.

Types of YouTube Ads

Video Ads

  • Description: These play before, during, or after a YouTube video on computers or mobile devices.
  • Types:
    • In-stream ads: Can be skippable or non-skippable.
    • Bumper ads: Non-skippable, short ads that play before, during, or after a video.

Display Ads

  • Description: These appear in different spots on YouTube and usually use text or static images.
  • Note: YouTube does not support display image ads directly on its app, but these can be targeted to YouTube.com through Google Display Network (GDN).

Companion Banners

  • Description: Appears to the right of the YouTube player on desktop.
  • Requirement: Must be purchased alongside In-stream ads, Bumper ads, or In-feed ads.

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Resemble videos with images, headlines, and text. They link to a public or unlisted YouTube video.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that play outside of YouTube, on websites and apps within the Google video partner network.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: Premium, high-visibility banner ads displayed at the top of the YouTube homepage for both desktop and mobile users.

YouTube Ad Specs by Type

Skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Placement: Before, during, or after a YouTube video.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
    • Action: 15-20 seconds

Non-skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Description: Must be watched completely before the main video.
  • Length: 15 seconds (or 20 seconds in certain markets).
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1

Bumper Ads

  • Length: Maximum 6 seconds.
  • File Format: MP4, Quicktime, AVI, ASF, Windows Media, or MPEG.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 640 x 360px
    • Vertical: 480 x 360px

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Show alongside YouTube content, like search results or the Home feed.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
  • Headline/Description:
    • Headline: Up to 2 lines, 40 characters per line
    • Description: Up to 2 lines, 35 characters per line

Display Ads

  • Description: Static images or animated media that appear on YouTube next to video suggestions, in search results, or on the homepage.
  • Image Size: 300×60 pixels.
  • File Type: GIF, JPG, PNG.
  • File Size: Max 150KB.
  • Max Animation Length: 30 seconds.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that appear on websites and apps within the Google video partner network, not on YouTube itself.
  • Logo Specs:
    • Square: 1:1 (200 x 200px).
    • File Type: JPG, GIF, PNG.
    • Max Size: 200KB.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: High-visibility ads at the top of the YouTube homepage.
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 or higher.
  • File Type: JPG or PNG (without transparency).

Conclusion

YouTube offers a variety of ad formats to reach audiences effectively in 2024. Whether you want to build brand awareness, drive conversions, or target specific demographics, YouTube provides a dynamic platform for your advertising needs. Always follow Google’s advertising policies and the technical ad specs to ensure your ads perform their best. Ready to start using YouTube ads? Contact us today to get started!

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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