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MARKETING

Be Careful Where You Put the Emphasis on ‘Do More With Less’ [Rose-Colored Glasses]

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“Do more with less.”

That’s a phrase most in marketing have heard like a drumbeat over the last 20 years. Interestingly, it doesn’t matter whether budgets are going up or down, the message is still “let’s do more with less.”

The only question is which word to emphasize – more or less.

How do you switch the emphasis when economic or other headwinds are present?

Institutionalizing degraded experiences

I’ve noticed conflicting behavior encouraged by this recent unique combination of economic conditions and the transformational challenges coming out of the last two years of lockdown.

Talent is hard to come by, but it feels like we’re headed to recession. While business profits are at an all-time high, austerity exists in the delivery of customer experiences.

It’s almost as if instead of improving the customer experience, many brands are doing less. It’s almost as if companies are using this confusing time to see how much of a degraded experience their customers will tolerate.

I recently checked into a four-night stay at a brand-name hotel. Its prices had gone up markedly in the last 18 months. I was informed upon check-in (and in the app and on the website) that my room would not be cleaned during my stay unless I requested it, and only on the day that it was requested. Further, if I needed things normally replenished during a housekeeping visit (e.g., towels, soap), I should call housekeeping to make the request.

Now, I get it. The pandemic has left many hotels short-staffed and challenged with creating a more efficient operation. (I will note that this hotel chain had a 34% increase in revenue from 2020 to 2021 and a 103% increase in revenue in 2022. Yes, really. But let’s put that aside.)

My problem isn’t that they didn’t plan to clean my room. My problem is the redesigned customer experience. Why are they purposely institutionalizing a degraded experience? They put the onus on me – the consumer – to not only pay more but to deal with more hassle than I did earlier. Why don’t they use this opportunity to redesign a better communication (experience) to the check-in process?

“Hello, Mr. Rose. Thank you for your loyalty. We’re trying to do better for the environment and our natural resources. Can you tell me on which days of your four-day stay you would prefer your room cleaned? We can clean it once, twice, or not at all.”

Imagine if hotels communicated their no-housekeeping-unless-requested policy so as not to degrade the customer experience. Presentation matters, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

The hotel’s service model is unchanged, but the presentation of it to the customer is. Now, take that simple change and think about how the hotel could transform its content. This customer-focused messaging could be delivered on the website and incorporated into the content strategy. I can even see how it could play an important role in branded editorial.

So why isn’t the hotel chain doing this? Because it’s easier, that’s why. Instead of doing more with less, they are doing more with less.

It’s a subtle but important difference. Instead of moving toward more creativity and innovation in a reality where they have fewer resources to work with, they are more actively using much less energy or resources.

Content team follows do-more-with-less mandate

I’ve seen this same thing happen to content teams as well. I recently worked with a team at a company where it was in growth mode last year. At that time, the team was charged with building an innovative thought leadership program with no increase to their marketing budget. The plan was to work with select subject matter experts to produce a small number of high-quality e-books (one per subject matter expert). The plan worked brilliantly.

Despite that success, management changed and this year’s mandate to the team was to create the same or more assets with the same budget. Everything would be judged on whether they met the budget of assets produced vs. dollars spent. They also executed this perfectly.

But the business results this year have been much less inspiring.

What happened? Both years, the team was told to do “more with less.” But the difference was all in which word was emphasized. The team institutionalized a degraded set of experiences.

Measuring more or less?

If you are always told to do “more with less,” and your success isn’t necessarily correlated to having fewer resources, then how do you avoid institutionalizing a degraded experience?

One of the biggest indicators of where the emphasis is placed – more or less – is how frontline marketing and content teams are measured. In heady, growth-oriented times, marketers are often measured on their ability to provide differentiated experiences, draw more leads, create more highly engaged customers, and inspire more brand awareness. Metrics tend to influence manager behavior that favors more creativity, innovation, and content creation to create remarkable experiences. You do more with less.

On the other hand, in leaner – or more stressed – times, companies often switch measurement for marketing and content. The pendulum swings to efficiency: Do more with less. Metrics center on “how inexpensively we can achieve more activity or tasks” or “how we can perform the same function we did last time with fewer resources.”

If content teams are measured purely on efficiency, it’s only a matter of time before the content will fail the business, and a senior executive will ask, “Do we produce too much content?”

Followed by this reply: “Yup. We sure do. We continue to do more with less.”

If #content teams are measured purely on efficiency, it’s only a matter of time before the content will fail the business, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

In lean times, you often prioritize the “less” resources but still produce more content. You influence the behavior of your marketing and content practitioners to create more, cheaper, and less creative and innovative content.

Think of it this way. It’s as if you are a movie studio and have a budget of $100 million. In growth times, you hear “do more with less,” so you focus on quality, creativity, and innovation. You spend $100 million on the talent and marketing of 10 movies.

In lean times, you hear “do more with less,” so you focus on frugality and efficiency and spend $100 million on the talent and marketing of 20 movies.

It’s rare that the latter provides a better long-term business result.

Author and famous business strategist Eli Goldratt once said, “Tell me how you will measure me, and then I will tell you how I will behave. If you measure me in an illogical way, don’t complain about illogical behavior.”

As you enter what may be challenging times – you may see executives, colleagues, or even yourself tempted to transition from measuring your ability to create more value by doing more things as inexpensively as possible. This transition sometimes comes with a preface that says, “Don’t worry, it’s just transitory. We’ll be back to growth soon enough.”

If you don’t want to behave illogically and institutionalize bad content experiences, be wise to be aware and redouble your efforts on more innovation and more creativity in the reality of fewer resources to do those things.

You may actually get to a point where you learn it’s not about doing more with less but rather less is more.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:

Get Robert’s take on content marketing industry news in just three minutes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries
Watch previous episodes or read the lightly edited transcripts.

Subscribe to workday or weekly CMI emails to get Rose-Colored Glasses in your inbox each week. 

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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MARKETING

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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