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6 Content Helpers That Encourage People To Read, Watch, or Listen

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6 Content Helpers That Encourage People To Read, Watch, or Listen

Without changing a word, you can make your content easier to consume.

Don’t expect a thank-you note. But do look for signs your audience appreciates the effort (more frequent visits, views, and listens, for example).

The six tactics in this article make content easier to consume by helping manage time expectations, offering shortcuts, and letting people choose the format they prefer or need.

1. Belly up to a reading bar

Many content destinations (including this website) show a reading time estimate at the beginning of each article. You can see the time estimate at the top of this article next to the byline and published date.

Here’s another recent CMI example showing a reading estimate of about 11 minutes:

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Estimating time to read helps people decide whether to read the article now or save it to read later. They also can use it to assess at a glance whether the piece covers the topic in detail or offers a brief overview.

Adding a reading time estimate helps people decide whether to read the article now or save for later, says @AnnGynn via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Other tools support the audience throughout the article. Epsilon, for example, includes a progress bar for its written content as well as the estimated reading time:

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Progress bars help audiences with long-form content. They let readers glance at the progress bar to see how much more time they need to finish the piece instead of scrolling to the top to remind themselves of the reading estimate. (This trick also works well to keep people taking surveys from giving up with only a question or two to go.)

I don’t know what specific tool Epsilon uses. But multiple plugins exist to provide this feature. For example, the WordPress plugin Read Meter analyzes text and images to calculate time and progress.

2. Create chapters for your videos and podcasts

Ever watch a how-to video where you wished you could skip over the sections you understand and easily find the steps you need to see? Or maybe you’ve listened to a podcast that recounts details you already know and found yourself wanting to skip to another section of the story.

Your audience likely feels a similar desire with some of your content. Timestamps and chapter markers put them in control of the viewing or listening experience.

YouTube lets you use timestamps and visuals to designate video chapters. For example, the YouTube Creators video explaining the feature includes three chapters:

  • 0:00 An intro to video chapters
  • 0:23 How to set up video chapters
  • 1:07 See video chapters in action

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The how to do time stamps video only lasts 80 seconds, but the chapters help viewers get to the exact spot they want:

If you publish videos on YouTube, it makes sense to help your audience by including chapters. To enable the optional feature, list the time stamp 0:00 (and a name for it) in your video description and time stamps for at least two other chapters that are each at least 10 seconds long.
If you publish videos on @YouTube, it makes sense to help your audience by including timestamps and chapter markers, says @AnnGynn via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

YouTube offers step-by-step instructions for automating chapters or doing them manually.

You can also use podcast time stamps to help listeners go directly to what they want to hear. Each hosting platform is slightly different, but most let you note the timestamps in your show notes or episode description. In some cases, the platform’s tool will let you link the time stamp to that moment in the episode.

This video shows how to do that with WordPress or Captivate podcast sites:

3. Create a linked table of contents

A table of contents at the top of text-based content lets you lead readers through your text, just as timestamps and chapters guide your video viewers and podcast listeners.

Create a linked table of contents to lead readers through your text, says @AnnGynn via @CMIContent.

This tactic works well for content that covers several tips or subject areas. You could create a traditional table of contents or publish the key points detailed in the article.

You don’t need a separate tool to create a linked table of contents. You can create one using HTML anchor links. Here’s an example of a linkable table of contents, giving readers the option to jump to sections in the article on the table of contents (yes, it’s a meta example), such as bullet styles and how to create a clickable link:

1647266220 509 6 Content Helpers That Encourage People To Read Watch or

Another approach is to list the article’s key points right at the start. For example, Atlassian’s award-winning Work Life blog includes a five-second summary box at the top of each article. (Each post includes a progress bar, too).

The summary for the 2,000-word article Could a Shorter Workweek Be in Your Future? offers these points:

  • The “four-day workweek” label has become shorthand for any effort to make the standard workweek shorter.
  • Companies, political parties, and labor unions are exploring shorter workweeks in several countries, mainly in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
  • But that Iceland experiment everyone got so excited about? Don’t believe the hype.

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HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: Content Readability: A Primer

4. Get specific with your links

Have you noticed that some Google search results take you directly to the relevant section of an article? That feature saves you from searching through the whole article to find what you’re looking for.

You can offer that same benefit to your audience using Link To Text Fragment. The Google Chrome extension lets you link directly to a highlighted or salient point on a page or site.

@GoogleChrome #LinkToTextFragment extension allows for linking to arbitrary text on a page so your readers don’t have to search through the entire article, says @AnnGynn via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

5. Let people listen

The Washington Post lets readers consume some of its content in audio form. A headset icon and text, “Listen to the article,” appears at the top of pages that include audio. The module also shows the estimated time to listen.

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You can do the same with your content. Sure, accessibility tools help those with hearing difficulties transform text into audio, but why not solve the problem for them? At the same time, you also can help your audience who might want to listen to your content on the go.

BeyondWords and Play.ht are two plugins that let you create an audio bar at the top of your content.

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6. Show me the text

You should provide transcripts to help your audience members who have hearing challenges consume your content in ways other than captions on screen. If you’re not doing so already, it’s time to start.

Companies such as Rev, Otter.ai, and Happy Scribe (freemium) offer transcription services. To use them, you upload the video or audio file. Then, depending on the service, you can select an AI-only transcription or a human-created version.

TIP: If you record a video on Zoom, make sure to save it to the Zoom cloud, not your computer. You can then request a free automated transcription.

If you record a video on @Zoom, make sure to save it to the Zoom so you can request a free automated transcription, says @AnnGynn via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Go easy on your audience

All these tactics make content consumption easier. As it turns out, each one is easy to implement through plugins, automated services, or simple HTML coding.

Best of all, they present big opportunities to attract and retain an audience with little additional effort.

Are you using any of these approaches? Let me know in the comments which ones work best for your audience.

Editor’s note: No one post can provide all relevant tools in the space. Feel free to include additional tools (from your company or ones you have used) 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 (May 31-June 2) 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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