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13 Expert Tips for Choosing Tech That Makes Your Content Strategy Work

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13 Expert Tips for Choosing Tech That Makes Your Content Strategy Work

If you plan to acquire new technology to support your content strategy, don’t look at the eye-popping Marketing Technology Landscape Super Graphic from Chief Martec.

The most recent version (from 2020) details 8,000 products categorized into advertising and promotion, content and experience, social and relationships, commerce and sales, data, and management.

Whether you viewed this intimidating graphic or chose to skip it, here’s the takeaway: You have a lot of options. How do you choose the technology that’s right for your needs?

We asked the experts presenting at ContentTECH Summit in March for their best advice. They came up with insights into the tech selection process – and pointed out ways to tackle the hurdles you’ll face in successfully integrating new tech into your content and brand operations.

Take tech for a test drive and visit other drivers

When possible, take the technology for a test drive and speak to people who are actually using the product in their companies. Seeing what the technology looks like in everyday usage is vital. Don’t be afraid to reach out to other marketers in groups on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Reddit: The community is here to support each other. – Zontee Hou, director of strategy, Convince & Convert

Test drive any #Content tech and talk to people who use it now through LinkedIn, Facebook, or Reddit groups. The community is here to support you, @ZonteeHou via @CMIContent. #ContentTECH Click To Tweet

Ask fellow employees

Talk to everyone and anyone, inside and outside of your organization. You may find other content teams in your organization need similar technology. Or they may have already explored the technology you’re considering buying and can save you time or frustration. Find out if there’s an opportunity to sync up with other teams to reduce costs, redundancies, and situations where content can’t connect across silos. – Gavin Austin, principal tech writer, Salesforce

Talk to coworkers in other groups about #Content technology. They might have explored the options you’re considering or need something similar, says @GavinAustinSays via @CMIContent. #ContentTECH Click To Tweet

Begin with a workshop and a technology audit

Start with what you want the new technology to do for your content strategy. Identify those needs in a cross-functional workshop. Invite representatives from around the organization. Map what “good” looks like and what is needed to automate and personalize those content experiences at scale.

Before you buy anything, audit your existing tech stack to see if it can fill some of the gaps. If not, create a scorecard with the top 10 benefits you expect and rate your vendors against them. Read reviews, draw up a short list of solutions, meet vendors, run through demos, and speak to existing users of the technology if you can.

It may sound like a long process, but no one wants to re-platform after a tech investment does not deliver on its promise. And finally, make sure you have a robust technology onboarding plan for your team and map your processes and ways of working. – Karen Hesse, founder and CEO, 256

Start your #Content technology search with a workshop to define your needs and an audit of your existing tech stack, says @256media via @CMIContent. #ContentTECH Click To Tweet

Secure blessing from users

Get buy-in from all stakeholders upfront, especially from frontline contributors who are expected to use the technology. – Jeff Coyle, co-founder and chief strategy officer, MarketMuse

Get buy-in for #Content tech from the people who will use it, says @jeffrey_coyle via @CMIContent. #ContentTECH Click To Tweet

Look into the future

Ask, “How will I use this technology to future-proof my content for at least the next 10 years?” As cool as new technology can be, it is only half the equation. Future-proofed content is componentized and written in a way that it can stand alone no matter the context.

New technology can help you with the componentization, but the writing? That’s still on you. Alongside your new technology, what new processes will ensure your writing team creates accurate and engaging content even if it were to appear on a platform that no one has envisioned yet?”– Josh Anderson, associate information architect, Precision Content Authoring Solutions

Think about how to use #Content technology to future-proof your content. But also consider how to create content for platforms that don’t exist yet, says #JoshAnderson via @CMIContent. #ContentTECH Click To Tweet

Take control and ask ‘what if?’

The conventional wisdom says that technology should support your goals. Implementation of new technology is not an IT project. It’s your project, and it must be driven by your needs. You must have a clear understanding of where you are going and why. Based on your vision, you can compile use cases and write scenarios that will be the foundation of your requirements for the technology. That’s true, and it works in many cases.

However, new technologies are emerging. They can offer you fundamentally new opportunities that you haven’t had until now and maybe haven’t ever thought about. These opportunities were not part of your vision and goals. In this case, technology may inspire some new ideas and a new vision of your goals. For example, what if pharma companies could use technology to tailor information in drug leaflets to a patient’s profile – age, personal medical conditions, chronic diseases, etc.? How would that change the way these companies create and deliver content? How would that change the way patients engage with the content? – Alex Masycheff, CEO, Intuillion

A #Content tech search can inspire new ideas and goals, says @DITAToo1 via @CMIContent. #ContentTECH Click To Tweet


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Think fresh, not refresh

Don’t select new technology using old methods. Apply “design thinking” to create an agile, empirical selection process, as I explained in detail in the book The Right Way to Select Technology. – Jarrod Gingras, managing director and analyst, Real Story Group

Don’t select new #Content technology using old methods. Use design thinking for an agile, empirical selection process, says @jarrodgingras via @CMIContent. #ContentTECH Click To Tweet

Invest in people and process before tech

Tech should always be the last thing you invest in. Using the triangle of people, process, and tech, I believe that is the order. Great people are the core to getting things done. Then those people need process, so we’re not taking on non-scalable ideas. Once we’ve proven success, tech allows that true scale to happen. – Randy Frisch, CEO and co-founder, Uberflip

Invest in #Content tech last – after people and processes, says @randyfrisch via @CMIContent. #ContentTECH Click To Tweet

Go beyond the demo

My best advice for any content marketing team is don’t believe the demo. Make the provider set it up as a real account using your data, content, use cases, etc. Then, you can really see if the product will perform as you expect. Every time that I’ve failed to do this, the software purchased has failed to deliver on the promise. – Tom Martin, president, Converse Digital

Don’t believe the #content tech demo – make vendors set up a real account using your real data, says @TomMartin via @CMIContent. #ContentTECH Click To Tweet

Know what you need it to do

Ask what problem it solves. Not if the tech is shinny or flashy, but what specific problems will this purchase solve? – Rob Walch, vice president of Libsyn enterprise and platform partnerships, Libsyn

Ask what specific problems will this tech purchase solve, advises @podcast411 via @CMIContent. #ContentTECH Click To Tweet

Match to your business goals

Consider your business goals and what you want your content to do for the business, now and in the future. Look for technology that supports those goals. Let your business needs and content strategy guide your selection and use of technology. Also, think about where you can adopt new ways of working. Too many teams end up customizing the new technology to match current processes rather than modernizing how they work. – Regina Lynn Preciado, senior content strategist, Content Rules

Look for technology that supports your business goals now and in the future, says @contentrulesinc via @CMIContent. #ContentTECH Click To Tweet

Streamline across organization

Make sure it talks to your other systems. The tech stack will only get more confusing and burdensome when systems become redundant and disconnected. – Ali Orlando Wert, director, marketing strategy, SmartBug Media

If you are planning to acquire new technology to support your #ContentStrategy, make sure it talks to your other systems, says @aliorlandowert via @CMIContent. #ContentTECH Click To Tweet

Answer these questions first

Triple check if you really need the new tech. All new tech asks for transition and change: Are you up for it? Is it worth it? Can the same be achieved with a different approach?    – Tim Hanse, principal consultant, Crossphase

Triple check to see if you really need the new tech, says #TimHanse via @CMIContent. #ContentTECH Click To Tweet

Don’t forget the big picture

Selecting the right technology is only a part of the challenge in a successful strategy that combines content and tech. Make plans to tackle the bigger picture, too.

The tools themselves won’t unify content creation across various outputs or content teams, says Salesforce’s Gavin Austin. That unity only comes when you provide resources, examples, or justifications to help everyone learn and understand the strategy.

As Regina Lynn Preciado of Content Rules says: “Organizations try to do too much at once and end up giving up – they lack a phased plan. People don’t all understand and commit to the vision (if there is a vision), so the efforts become scattered.”

Of course, tech won’t be helpful if it extracts trustworthy data about your customers’ behaviors, says 256’s Karen Hesse. You also need a written content strategy that details where your customers’ needs intersect with your company’s expertise. Only then can “martech innovations can really help to personalize and scale the customer content experience,” Karen says.

Before you start

Combining content and tech to execute your strategy won’t happen in one week, month, or quarter.

The overarching lesson in selecting the right technology for your content strategy is this: It’s OK to feel overwhelmed. Just take a breath (or two) and get started.

Create a step-by-step plan – with the helpful advice from these experts – to make it more manageable and more likely to be successful.

What tech investments are you considering this year? How are you approaching the search? Let us know in the comments.

Want to learn how to balance, manage, and scale great content experiences across all your essential platforms and channels? Join us at ContentTECH Summit this March in San Diego. Browse the schedule or register today. Use the code BLOG100 to save $100.

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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