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A Crash Course on Proper Messaging

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A Crash Course on Proper Messaging

Great marketing copy doesn’t just sell a product, it builds a connection with the audience. The beauty of proper messaging is that by communicating either the benefits or features of your product or service, you can tell customers what they need to know in a clever, concise way.

Without knowing when you should use benefits versus features in your content (and the difference between the two), you could run into poor, or ineffective messaging. We’ll dig into when it’s best to use each of these options below.

The difference between features and benefits

Both terms are useful and give customers important information they’ll need during their buyer’s journey, such as design, price, and real-world relevance. Ultimately, the benefits of having a product or service are what make consumers purchase, which means it is often best to highlight benefits over features when writing marketing copy. This paints a picture of what life will look like after the customer purchases the product or service. If you do decide to highlight features, you’ll want to make sure consumers understand how they’ll benefit from those features.

Take this ad from Qordoba, an IT company that utilizes AI to help organizations manage communication.

Qordoba marketing messaging benefits example

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The company’s ad caught my eye by communicating the benefits reading the report will have when it comes to customer-facing content, which does interest me.

‘How are tech companies managing their voice, tone, & writing style guides across their various types of customer-facing content?’

After reading this caption, I knew exactly what I would gain from this product, and why it was worth my time.

Let’s look at another example of features and benefits at work. This is a marketing email I got this morning from Marriott hotels:

Marriott benefits messaging example

This ad starts with the benefits of becoming a Marriott member — ‘yes to vacation views’ — while the rest of it explains the features of the program, including ‘no annual fees’ and ‘3X points per $1 spent at more than 7,000 Marriott locations.

Emphasizing that Marriott members enjoy free perks, then expanding on how this is done (by earning rewards points), is a really effective way to explain the benefits and features of the rewards membership.

This is relatively straightforward — but what if you have multiple products being sold at once?

If you’re working with more than one campaign, the answer to whether you should use features versus benefits ” can change depending on the product or service being marketed.

How to Tell When it’s Best to Use Features or Benefits

If you’re unsure whether you should list features or benefits for a given product, consider this — features are an optimal choice in a saturated market. For instance, a small business making a meal-delivery kit would have some competition (such as HelloFresh or Home Chef), meaning they would have to communicate their service’s competitive advantage by naming one-of-a-kind features. This would include price, dietary restrictions, menu configuration, etc.

Benefits, on the other hand, are the way to go if your brand exists within a niche market or a “drier” topic. You’ll want to answer the following questions with your benefits:

  • How does it work?
  • How does it make a consumer’s life easier?

To resonate well with an audience who perhaps haven’t heard of your product or service before, try to include benefits in your demos, ebooks, and other marketing content.

Now that we’re more clear on features vs. benefits, let’s explore some examples to see both in-action.

Examples of Features and Benefits

For the visual learners like myself, below are some real-world examples of how to work features or benefits into ads, product pages, email, or any other marketing materials:

1. Calm (features)

 

Calm feature messaging example

Why This Is a Feature: Calm used singer Lindsey Stirling’s material as an exclusive offer only available to app users. It’s a unique attribute the audience can’t get anywhere else.

This email about an exclusive deal made me excited, which is another way highlighting features in your marketing material can be beneficial — to build excitement. Here’s how sleep meditation company Calm did it:

Framing singer/songwriter Lindsey Stirling‘s work as an exclusive feature improves customer relationships and makes them feel special. Opening this email made me think about how glad I am to be an email subscriber (especially since I grew up watching Stirling on YouTube) because of cool offers like this.

If you’re running a promotion or want to improve customer relationships, consider sending them an offer that reminds customers of your product or service’s unique features.

2. HubSpot Academy (benefits)

hubspot academy messaging example

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Why these are benefits: HubSpot Academy gives customers the opportunity to invest in themselves by learning new skills and getting certifications they can display on LinkedIn – all things that will help them grow their business and individual careers.

In this product page for HubSpot Academy’s social media course, three benefits are listed at the bottom, so prospects can see how completing this course will be worth their time.

Benefits don’t always have to be short phrases – in fact, on product pages, more is often better. On web pages, it’s critical you give your customers the helpful information they need — including cost, structure, time required to complete, and a description on how your products or services’ benefits outweigh the benefits of competitors’.

3. OrganiGrowHairCo (benefits)

Organigrow benefits example

Why these are benefits: This ad effectively communicates the reasons why OrganiGro’s co-wash product is better than typical conditioners. It alleviates dandruff, decreases breakage, and cleanses – all things that will aid a buyer’s hair health.

If you’re team natural hair, you’ve more than likely stumbled upon the heaps of content stressing the benefits of co-washing (using conditioner only) as a way to avoid overwashing your hair with regular shampoo. Since shampoo often strips the hair as it cleanses, co-washing is seen as a method to replenish moisture between washes.

In the Instagram ad above, OrganiGrow clearly makes the case for why its co-wash formula is superior to the competition as it’s designed to cleanse while moisturizing, aiding the customer’s overall hair health.

4. Arcadia (benefits)

Arcadia benefits messaging example

Why this is a benefit: The ad draws the audience in immediately with the potential to save on their utility bill. Who doesn’t want to save money? The promotion also throws in a Google Home mini, which further incentivizes the customer to buy.

Can you spot the benefits energy company Arcadia used in this promoted tweet?

If you chose the entire tweet, you’re right!

Almost every word helps describe to the reader why they should open the linked website. As a consumer, I would think, “Well, what is the easiest way to save on my energy bill at no cost? That thing is sky high!”

Words that help the consumer are going to resonate with those who are just mindlessly scrolling and not necessarily looking to buy anything. To build interest in their promotion, Arcadia’s use of benefits to entice prospective customers was a good choice on Twitter.

Impress a scroller by using benefits in marketing messages. You have just a few seconds to leave a mark.

5. Airtable (features)

airtable features messaging example

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Why this is a feature: By playing up its fun colors and project management attributes, Airtable entices viewers to switch from boring spreadsheets. All of its sleek features are on full display in this Facebook ad. How is it better than traditional spreadsheets? It’s ‘flexible, beautiful, and fun.’

Beautiful, descriptive features in this Facebook ad told me exactly what Airtable is and what their software does, despite having no previous knowledge. In less than thirty words, I know that Airtable must be a product or service that makes dull spreadsheets a thing of the past — for free.

6. KeVita (benefits)

Kevita Drinks benefit messaging example

Why this is a benefit: This scenario-based ad positions KeVita kombucha as the perfect natural energy drink, giving customers a boost for whatever activity they partake in, no matter the location.

Kombucha is a fermented tea drink with probiotics, which aid in helping digestion and improving energy levels. So, when marketing their kombucha on Instagram, the KeVita brand wanted to show that kombucha isn’t just a summer drink, contrary to popular belief.

Aesthetically pleasing, benefit-enforcing GIFs like this make visual platforms like Instagram a perfect canvas for an ad that displays benefits.

Animation often stops scrollers — especially animation paired with bright pink text. The backdrop, a ski lift covered in fresh snow, (“powder” to skiers), shows the accessibility of the drink, while the caption alludes to kombucha-fueled energy to get through a long ski trip.

Two benefits that instantly stuck out to me about this post are accessibility and energy. On snowy mountains, those two functions are going to be essential when thinking about snacks. Consider a scenario-based ad if your product is like KeVita, commonly perceived as a summer drink.

7. Dyson (benefits)

Dyson benefits exampleWhy this is a benefit: This animated ad focuses on how Dyson’s humidifier removes pollutants from your home to improve air quality. It’s an all-in-one solution for customers combining the perks of a humidifier, air purifier, and fan.

Our homes are full of contaminants, or at least that is what this ad will have you believe. With this ad for its air purification system, Dyson really drives home the “why” for customers using some pretty convincing animation. Microscopic pollutants like dust, pet dander, and others are in our home, wreaking havoc on sensitive respiratory systems. This device will remove them, enabling customers to breathe better. It addresses the problem and clearly explains how their product is a solution to that problem.

Applying Benefits and Features to Your Marketing Strategy

From phones to shampoo, the features or benefits marketing method can be applied to almost anything. When creating copy:

  • Determine what you want to say, and which messaging method will be best for that.
  • Ask “Does this ad convey features or benefits?”

It’s important to know the distinction between the two so the audience receives clear messaging that explains why they should choose your product or service over the rest.

This article was originally published February 27, 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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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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