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4 Metrics Not To Be Missed in Your Next Content Audit

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Deciding which metrics to focus on while auditing your content for SEO performance can be a challenge. You can’t use all the available analytics, but ignoring some can be harmful to your SEO efforts.

These are some of my favorite metrics that should not be missed in an assessment. But first, let’s have a quick recap on what content audits are and why you should be doing them.

How does a content audit work?

A content audit allows you to create a holistic view of what’s working and what isn’t. It can help you decide what content to remove, improve, or combine. It also gives a clear idea of what content your audience responds to.

A #content audit gives a holistic view of what’s working and what isn’t, says Claire Brain of @boomweb via @CMIContent @pageonepower. #SEO Click To Tweet

To audit your content, collect a list of URLs. Focus on the content-heavy pages or formats. It also may be helpful to pick a timeframe since you likely don’t care about what your audience did five years ago.

The comparison will help you define successful content at your brand – your goal posts. For example, the top pieces of content have thousands of visits, and others only have a hundred or so. You might look to improve or remove those ones in the hundreds of visits. But if your top piece of content only has 100 visits, you certainly wouldn’t get rid of those.

Some general data points like overall traffic and organic visits should always be measured. Now, here are four more metrics to evaluate. (Some of which you can even use on your content proactively to minimize the effort in future audits.)

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1. Page load time

Search engines use page speed as a ranking metric. They are more likely to guide users to pages that load more quickly because they allow a better user experience. Aside from search engines, slow loading will leave your audience frustrated and increase bounce rates and reduce conversions.

Evaluate the load time for underperforming pages first because changes to words or further optimization won’t be helpful if that’s a possible problem.

Before you spend time editing or removing underperforming #content, check out its page load time, says Claire Brain of @boomweb via @CMIContent @pageonepower. #SEO Click To Tweet

To assess average page load time metrics from Google Analytics. Navigate to behavior > site speed > page timings.

PageSpeed Insights can assess any load-time problems with the simple input of the URL. Some solutions may need support from a web developer to resolve, but if the page has large images, videos, or other media files, that’s a fix you can make. Consider removing the big files or at least compressing them to minimize load time.

You might also be calling on media from other sources that struggle to load. For example, embedded content can require additional HTTP requests and data loading, which takes time. If this embedded media is key to your content, you’ll have to find a way to strike a balance. Assess whether you can reduce the number of embedded items or serve them in a different way.

2. Readability

Keeping content straightforward and easy to read is important for both readers and search engines. If writing is too complex, Google’s web crawlers might struggle to understand the meaning as well as the links inside the text. When the meaning can’t be extracted, Google won’t rank your content well. Simplicity is becoming more important as Google uses natural language processing (NLP) and continues to move towards semantic search.

If your audience is struggling to understand your content, they might leave your website and look for another alternative. This can increase your bounce rate.

Readability metrics can help you identify content that might perform better if simplified. Assess the readability score for each URL in the content audit to understand specific pieces of content as well as gain an overview of your site.

The Flesch reading ease score scores a piece of content from zero to 100 based on the average length of sentences and the number of syllables per word. The higher the number, the easier the content is to read. A score between 50 to 60 equates to a college level – fairly difficult to read.

To improve your score, consider editing the content by shortening sentences, using simpler words, and removing unnecessary words. Keeping content both readable and engaging is an art form. It requires practice and patience. If you simplify your content too much, it can lose pace and interest. Tools like the Hemmingway editor can provide some useful pointers for making your content more readable.


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3. Backlinks

While a piece of content might not perform well on your site, see if it’s providing value of another kind – attracting valuable backlinks to your website. External backlinks from relevant and authoritative sources provide vital trust signals to search engines.

Some URLs may not bring big traffic, but they may have great external backlinks, says Claire Brain of @boomweb via @CMIContent @pageonepower. #SEO Click To Tweet

This traditionally underperforming content also might earn higher traffic if it’s linked to relevant content and pages elsewhere on your site. This internal linking also can help the other pages where it’s included become more attractive to search engine rankings.

You can get backlink data for your site within Google Search Console. Navigate to links > external links > top linked pages. (Use the internal links section to explore your on-site link structure.)

A whole host of SEO tools are available that provide external backlink data: Moz, Majestic SEO, Semrush, and Ahrefs are some of the most popular tools.

Crawling your site with an SEO tool like Screaming Frog can also give you detailed internal linking data to add to your content audit metrics.

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4. Assisted conversions

You probably consider direct conversions as part of your standard audit, but what about assisted conversions? Assisted conversion data can reveal the true value of a content piece. Perhaps it isn’t converting directly, but it might be playing a vital part in the customer journey.

Changing or removing this content without taking assisted conversions into account might result in a downturn in conversions. It’s a hidden metric that can be important.

Changing or removing #content without taking assisted conversions into account might result in a downturn in conversions, says Claire Brain of @boomweb via @CMIContent @pageonepower. #SEO Click To Tweet

In Google Analytics, visit Multi-Channel Funnels > Assisted Conversions. Select ‘Landing Page URL’ as the secondary dimension to see which pages are assisting conversions.

Make your audit metrics matter

Before you start your content audit, consider your measure of success carefully. Making decisions without the full picture can be detrimental. While this isn’t an exhaustive list, it’s helped point me in the right direction, and I hope it will for your next content, too.

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All tools in this article are identified by the author. If you have a tool to suggest, please add it in the comments.

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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