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Duplicate Content Issues on Your Website? Easy Ways to Find and Fix Them

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Duplicate Content Issues on Your Website? Easy Ways to Find and Fix Them

It’s easy to be fooled into thinking SEO is just about link building or ranking first for specific keywords.

While those are important factors, and staying up on best practices is essential, resolving duplicate content issues should be your top priority.

Often, the hidden cause of lost rankings and decreasing traffic isn’t that someone else does better at link building or keyword optimization.

On the contrary, the problem lies in finding and fixing issues on our sites that prevent searchers from finding us.

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And when it comes to duplicate content, the devil is in the details — finding it and fixing the problem it causes on our sites. Luckily, you have control over your website, so you have the power to fix it. That’s precisely what I’m covering today.

Free Guide: How to Run a Technical SEO Audit

What is duplicate content?

Duplicate content simply refers to identical chunks of content on different web pages. If it’s a sentence or a phrase, it’s not usually an issue. After all, there are only so many ways to say, “Contact us about our services.”

What’s more, if you frequently write about similar topics, you most likely have some common phrases

For instance, on my blog, I talk extensively about brand messaging, my framework for copywriting and content creation, and marketing strategy.

And if you read several articles from me — whether on my blog or a guest post — you’ll find several places where I may repeat my explanations of my approach.

That’s not what has the potential to cause problems unless you use deceptive tactics and behaviors to move your site up in the search rankings, which can cause a red flag for Google and its spam policies.

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However, when you have entire articles, pages, or sections repeated word for word, or when multiple page versions are indexed, it can be challenging for Google and other search engines to know which articles to prioritize.

And because search engines rarely show duplicate pieces of content, they choose the best version for each search, which may differ from the page you most want to drive traffic to.

It’s important to note that people think of duplicate content in two ways — internal and external.

In this article, I’m primarily focusing on internal duplicate content, not content plagiarized elsewhere on the internet, which is a growing concern with the rise of AI.

However, in the tools section, I’ll also show you how to find and resolve duplicate content issues from across the web.

Why is duplicate content a problem?

In my experience, one of the biggest problems with duplicate content lies in even knowing that it exists on your site in the first place. When we create articles or products for our sites, it’s easy to hit publish and move on.

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Sure, I might come back and update the article or make an edit or two, but by and large, with everything else going on, it’s not always top of mind to regularly check for duplicate content. But it should be.

Because it’s a case of “you don’t know what you don’t know,” and as I always say, it’s what you don’t know that causes you the most significant problems. And if you’re unaware of a problem, it’s impossible to fix it.

Causes of Duplicate Content

If you start checking for duplicate content regularly, it’s essential to understand how to fix it and what causes it in the first place.

According to Beth Bovie from Revelo, “Duplicate content errors may come in the form of duplicate title tags and meta descriptions, as well as content within an article. After auditing one client’s site, I found they had over 800 duplicate content errors.”

With that in mind, let’s dive into some of the biggest offenders for causing duplicate content.

1. URL Parameters

URLs can often contain additional parameters because of how they are being tracked (marketing campaign IDs, analytics IDs), or the CMS a website uses adds its custom parameters.

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I see this a lot when email marketing software or social media posts appends tracking to links when people click out of platforms.

For example, the following URLs could all lead to the same page:

http://www.example.com/page1

http://www.example.com/page1?source=organic

http://www.example.com/page1?campaignid=3532

2. Printer-Friendly Pages

Often, a web page will have an option to produce a printer-friendly version of that page. I often see these links leading to duplicate content issues on websites I visit.

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For example, the following URLs would lead to the same page.

http://www.example.com/page1

http://www.example.com/printer/page1

3. Session IDs

Sites may often track a user’s session across their website so they can tailor content. While this happens across many different industries, I see this frequently in e-commerce sites like Amazon.

In the example below, Amazon personalizes content to remind me of my recent searches.

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And where Amazon stores my cart until I either buy, remove, or save items for later, other e-commerce stores remember what I added to my shopping cart the last time I visited.

When this happens, the site often appends session IDs to the URL, which causes duplicate versions of a page to exist. And although Amazon likely has solutions for this issue, smaller e-commerce businesses may not.

The example below illustrates what URLs leading to the same page might look like:

http://www.example.com/page1

http://www.example.com/page1?sessionid=12455

4. Repetitive Product Descriptions

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E-commerce sites, in particular, can have a lot of repetitive product descriptions, whether due to having similar products or products that live in multiple categories.

The example below illustrates something I’ve seen on many retail sites, where a specific product is often found in multiple groupings.

While the product page and its content remain the same, you find it with three different URLs—one featuring a collection, one featuring best sellers, and another featuring items on clearance.

http://www.example.com/collection/widgets/widget1

http://www.example.com/best-sellers/widget1

http://www.example.com/clearance/widget1

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Jarik Oosting of SmartRanking sees this often, agreeing that this type of duplicate content “jeopardizes SEO rankings and creates confusion among users.”

Duplicate Content Issues

While the most obvious duplicate content issues stem from decreased searchability, there are other repercussions for the same content.

1. Search Indexing

If a search engine doesn’t know what page to index, it might index all or none of the pages, creating problems for your searchability.

2. Domain or Page Authority

When search engines encounter multiple versions of a page, they might struggle to assign link authority accurately, which can decrease the authority of your content and entire site.

3. Searchability

When search engines don’t know what version of the page to rank for a relevant search query, not just one but all of your relevant pages might appear further in the results.

Additionally, if users go to the wrong link, they may not get the exact information they’re looking for.

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4. Diluted brand credibility

When search engines are confused by duplicate content, they may display older — possibly outdated — content to your audience, which can decrease consumer trust in your brand.

Of all the SEO experts I connected with, I found Anatolii Ulitovskyi of Unmiss had the best summary of these problems.

Ulitovskyi explained that duplicate content ultimately “confuses search engines and dilutes the authority of your website, leading to lower rankings, decreased organic traffic, and a negative impact on user experience.”

Tools for Finding Duplicate Content Internally

When I connected with Kyle Roof, founder of High Voltage SEO, he said, “I’ve found that a combination of automated tools and manual checks works best to identify and rectify duplicate content.

Being familiar with your CMS can also offer insights into potential sources of duplication.”

However, if you’re wondering how to check for duplicate content, there are several tools you can use for your site. Here are three of the best out there.

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1. Siteliner

1704306363 275 Duplicate Content Issues on Your Website Easy Ways to Find

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Siteliner scans entire websites to identify duplicate content, broken links, and other issues.

Using it is almost a no-brainer. It’s as easy as typing in your site URL, waiting a few minutes, and then getting a comprehensive report that highlights specific areas of your site to fix.

And I find it very affordable. The freemium version gives you up to 250 pages free, and additional credits are $0.01 each.

What we like:Siteliner is my go-to tool. It’s fast, offers a comparative analysis, and pinpoints the exact duplicated content segments,” says Ajay Porwal of DroidOwl.

In addition to affordability, I’ve found it incredibly easy to use. I love that Siteliner provides detailed information on duplicate content. It calls out your top issues and shows you how to fix them.

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Best for: It’s great for beginners and pros alike — and it’s so easy to identify areas on your sites to fix.

Pro tip: After identifying your duplicate content and determining which pieces to fix first, take a look at the other areas of your site. The better your site experience, the better your site will perform in search results.

2. Google Search Console

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While not specifically a duplicate content tool, Google Search Console is relatively easy to set up and gives you great insights into the health and performance of your site.

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By clicking on “Search Results” under “Performance,” you can see the most visited and clicked-on URLs. As you look through these, you can keep an eye out for any pages that have duplicate versions by watching for things like

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HTTP vs. HTTPS

http://www.example.com/page1
https://www.example.com/page1

WWW vs. no WWW

http://www.example.com/page1
http://example.com/page1

An end slash

http://www.example.com/page1
http://www.example.com/page1/

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Appended tracking

http://www.example.com/page1
http://www.example.com/page1?source=email

Additionally, Search Console gives you valuable data on site indexability, including if there are any reasons Google isn’t able to index pages.

What we like: I find it’s usable for people with even the most minimal tech understanding, making it one of my favorite tools for improving website searchability.

I also particularly love the ability to see what search terms people use the most to find your site so you can prioritize updating posts that are direct to them.

Best for: Google Search Console is great for people who likely have minimal duplicate content or don’t publish a ton of new content on a regular basis. It’s also fantastic for people who are tiptoeing into the world of duplicate content.

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Pro tip: Watch your email every month for Google Search Console updates on your site, and use this as a reminder to prioritize a few new site improvements.

3. Screaming Frog

1704306363 279 Duplicate Content Issues on Your Website Easy Ways to Find

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You can download the Screaming Frog web crawler and use it to crawl 500 pages for free. This application lets you do a lot of different things, including finding duplicate content problems.

Many of the SEO experts I connected with, including Janis Thies of SEOlutions, recommend Screaming Frog. Thies says,It’s by far the best tool for a complete crawl and overview of your technical data.”

What we like: Screaming Frog is incredibly comprehensive. Here are some of the ways it works.

Page Titles/Meta Descriptions

You can find duplicate page titles by simply clicking on the tab “Page Titles” or “Meta Description” and filtering for “Duplicate.”

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URLs

You can also find pages that have multiple URL versions by simply clicking on the “URL” tab and sorting by “Duplicate.”

1704306363 689 Duplicate Content Issues on Your Website Easy Ways to Find

Best for: This is probably one of the best solutions out there. It’s ideal for people with a little more technical know-how who know what to do with the duplicate content they find.

Pro tip: For a complete guide on all the different things you can do with Screaming Frog, check out this post from SeerInteractive.

Tools for Finding Duplicate Content Externally

Earlier, we touched on the difference between internal and external duplicate content. With that in mind, here are our favorite tools for checking for duplicate content outside of your site.

1. Grammarly Plagiarism Checker

Grammarly is known for helping people write clearly and concisely.

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Many people aren’t aware that their Business Plan (currently $12/month with an annual plan), also features a plagiarism checker to confirm that your content doesn’t appear elsewhere on the web.

Simply click the option on the bottom of the right-hand toolbar (if using the web version).

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What we love: If you’re already using Grammarly, it’s an easy way to make sure that content doesn’t appear elsewhere on the internet.

Best for: Grammarly’s plagiarism checker is great for content that you’re about to publish, but you can also go back to previously published content, paste it into the tracker, and get a sense of any outside duplications.

Pro tip: Their plagiarism detector sometimes flags things that aren’t actually duplicated content. So take it with a grain of salt and look for big-picture items.

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In the below example, the checker flagged one phrase in my article on brand messaging. The phrase? “Instead of forcing a square peg into a round hole.”

In addition to it being common, the site it referenced was one about a recently passed bill in Illinois.

1704306363 215 Duplicate Content Issues on Your Website Easy Ways to Find

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All in all, it’s good news. I know that the press release referenced is in no way duplicating my content (or vice versa).

2. CopyScape

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CopyScape is my favorite external duplicate content checker. It’s as easy as dropping your URLs into the search box and finding out if and where any duplicate content exists.

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But what it can do goes even deeper.

CopyScape Premium allows you to upload or paste entire articles to find out where else your content may have been shared (and indexed) for roughly $0.01/100 words.

Plus, they have a tool—CopySentry—that will check specific pages every week or day, depending on the options you choose.

What we love: CopyScape is easy to use, inexpensive, and up-to-date. It’s less likely to pull random phrases and more likely to identify social media shares.

Best for: I find that CopyScape is one of the best tools out there for ensuring that no one has lifted your content. The most technical knowledge you need is copy and paste to start checking your content.

Pro tip: Run anything you’re about to publish through CopyScape to ensure that you haven’t accidentally lifted a phrase in your research or excitement about a source!

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Fixing Duplicate Content

By now, I’ve shown you how duplicate content can impact your organic traffic and web rankings. But, as James Maxfield of Dark Horse explains, most “duplicate content work is just housekeeping, tidying up your site to improve how Google crawls and indexes it.”

With that in mind, now it’s time to show you that it’s also something that you can easily fix. Here are four ways you can start “tidying” things up.

1. Canonical Tag

Using the canonical tag, you can tell search engines what version of a page you want to return for relevant search queries. The canonical tag is found in the header of a web page.

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The canonical tag is the best approach when you want to have multiple versions of a page available to users. If you’re using the HubSpot COS, this will be taken care of automatically, so no manual labor is required.

If you’re not using HubSpot, you’ll need to go into the <head> section of the primary page and add <link rel=“canonical” href=”https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/https://www.example.com/main-url-goes-here”/>

Even though the URL in the browser bar might read https://www.example.com/main-url-goes-here?source=email-TN1.0-S-sendtosite, the canonical tag ensures that the primary page gets the authority.

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Get more information about canonical URLs here.

2. 301 Redirects

A 301 redirect will redirect all legacy pages to a new URL. It tells Google to pass all the link authority from these pages to the new URL and to rank that URL for relevant search queries.

The 301 redirect is the best option when you don’t have any need for multiple versions of a page to be available.

If you’re using WordPress, there are several plugins that can help you set up redirects.

1704306364 788 Duplicate Content Issues on Your Website Easy Ways to Find

My favorite is simply called 301 Redirects.

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Setting up a redirect with this plugin is as easy as typing in the URL you want to redirect away from and the one you want people to go to instead.

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3. Meta Tags

You can use meta tags to tell search engines not to index a particular page.

<html>

<head>

<title>…</title>

<Meta Name=”Robots” Content=”noindex, nofollow”>

</head>

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Meta tags work best when you want that page to be available to the user but not indexed, e.g., terms and conditions.

As a HubSpot user, it’s easy to add noindex tags. Here’s a quick overview.

4. Google Search Console

If the page with duplicate content is causing you massive headaches and you can’t resolve it easily or quickly enough using the other methods, you can use Google Search Console to request that Google remove content from its search.

Go into Console > Indexing > Removals and make a new request. 1704306364 311 Duplicate Content Issues on Your Website Easy Ways to Find

From there, click New Request, and choose “Temporarily Remove URL” if you want something to be removed for around six months.

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Alternatively, if you’re changing the content on a page and want to be sure that the current snippet is cleared until the next crawl, choose the “Clear Cached URL” option.

1704306364 480 Duplicate Content Issues on Your Website Easy Ways to Find

Generally speaking, most people and businesses won’t need this.

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That said, there may be times when you need to make sure content isn’t appearing in search any longer, and I find that people gain peace of mind knowing that there’s an option in their back pockets.

Solving Duplicate Content Means Implementing Solid SEO Processes

When resolving my duplicate content issues, I’ve found that the best offense is a good defense.

George Bates of Limelight Digital agrees, saying, “We’ve found that by adopting a holistic approach that combines automated tools with manual audits, we can more effectively locate and resolve duplicate content issues.”

How often should you check in on your website health, including duplicate content? Every SEO and web expert will likely give you a different answer.

My response is that it depends — where your site is hosted, how much content you have, and how frequently you publish new content.

At a minimum, I’d recommend reviewing any automated reports at least once a month and then doing a more detailed analysis periodically.

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That can include:

And, if you find that other sites are regularly lifting your content, it’s possible to disable the “Copy text” function when people right-click on your site, which can make it significantly more difficult for them to plagiarize your content.

The bottom line is that duplicate content is a real problem for sites, but one that can be easily solved using the advice above.

If you want to learn more about duplicate content, watch this video series from the SEO experts at Dejan SEO on how you can fix it for your site.

And if you’re looking for more SEO tips, check out this article from Hubspot’s own SEO experts.

seo audit

 

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MARKETING

How to Use AI For a More Effective Social Media Strategy, According to Ross Simmonds

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How to Use AI For a More Effective Social Media Strategy, According to Ross Simmonds

Welcome to Creator Columns, where we bring expert HubSpot Creator voices to the Blogs that inspire and help you grow better.

It’s the age of AI, and our job as marketers is to keep up.

My team at Foundation Marketing recently conducted an AI Marketing study surveying hundreds of marketers, and more than 84% of all leaders, managers, SEO experts, and specialists confirmed that they used AI in the workplace.

AI in the workplace data graphic, Foundation Labs

If you can overlook the fear-inducing headlines, this technology is making social media marketers more efficient and effective than ever. Translation: AI is good news for social media marketers.

Download Now: The 2024 State of Social Media Trends [Free Report]

In fact, I predict that the marketers not using AI in their workplace will be using it before the end of this year, and that number will move closer and closer to 100%.

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Social media and AI are two of the most revolutionizing technologies of the last few decades. Social media has changed the way we live, and AI is changing the way we work.

So, I’m going to condense and share the data, research, tools, and strategies that the Foundation Marketing Team and I have been working on over the last year to help you better wield the collective power of AI and social media.

Let’s jump into it.

What’s the role of AI in social marketing strategy?

In a recent episode of my podcast, Create Like The Greats, we dove into some fascinating findings about the impact of AI on marketers and social media professionals. Take a listen here:

Let’s dive a bit deeper into the benefits of this technology:

Benefits of AI in Social Media Strategy

AI is to social media what a conductor is to an orchestra — it brings everything together with precision and purpose. The applications of AI in a social media strategy are vast, but the virtuosos are few who can wield its potential to its fullest.

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AI to Conduct Customer Research

Imagine you’re a modern-day Indiana Jones, not dodging boulders or battling snakes, but rather navigating the vast, wild terrain of consumer preferences, trends, and feedback.

This is where AI thrives.

Using social media data, from posts on X to comments and shares, AI can take this information and turn it into insights surrounding your business and industry. Let’s say for example you’re a business that has 2,000 customer reviews on Google, Yelp, or a software review site like Capterra.

Leveraging AI you can now have all 2,000 of these customer reviews analyzed and summarized into an insightful report in a matter of minutes. You simply need to download all of them into a doc and then upload them to your favorite Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT) to get the insights and data you need.

But that’s not all.

You can become a Prompt Engineer and write ChatGPT asking it to help you better understand your audience. For example, if you’re trying to come up with a persona for people who enjoy marathons but also love kombucha you could write a prompt like this to ChatGPT:

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ChatGPT prompt example

The response that ChatGPT provided back is quite good:

GPT response example

Below this it went even deeper by including a lot of valuable customer research data:

  • Demographics
  • Psychographics
  • Consumer behaviors
  • Needs and preferences

And best of all…

It also included marketing recommendations.

The power of AI is unbelievable.

Social Media Content Using AI

AI’s helping hand can be unburdening for the creative spirit.

Instead of marketers having to come up with new copy every single month for posts, AI Social Caption generators are making it easier than ever to craft catchy status updates in the matter of seconds.

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Tools like HubSpot make it as easy as clicking a button and telling the AI tool what you’re looking to create a post about:

AI social media caption generator step 1

The best part of these AI tools is that they’re not limited to one channel.

Your AI social media content assistant can help you with LinkedIn content, X content, Facebook content, and even the captions that support your post on Instagram.

It can also help you navigate hashtags:

AI social media hashtags generator example, HubSpot

With AI social media tools that generate content ideas or even write posts, it’s not about robots replacing humans. It’s about making sure that the human creators on your team are focused on what really matters — adding that irreplaceable human touch.

Enhanced Personalization

You know that feeling when a brand gets you, like, really gets you?

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AI makes that possible through targeted content that’s tailored with a level of personalization you’d think was fortune-telling if the data didn’t paint a starker, more rational picture.

What do I mean?

Brands can engage more quickly with AI than ever before. In the early 2000s, a lot of brands spent millions of dollars to create social media listening rooms where they would hire social media managers to find and engage with any conversation happening online.

Thanks to AI, brands now have the ability to do this at scale with much fewer people all while still delivering quality engagement with the recipient.

Analytics and Insights

Tapping into AI to dissect the data gives you a CSI-like precision to figure out what works, what doesn’t, and what makes your audience tick. It’s the difference between guessing and knowing.

The best part about AI is that it can give you almost any expert at your fingertips.

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If you run a report surrounding the results of your social media content strategy directly from a site like LinkedIn, AI can review the top posts you’ve shared and give you clear feedback on what type of content is performing, why you should create more of it, and what days of the week your content is performing best.

This type of insight that would typically take hours to understand.

Now …

Thanks to the power of AI you can upload a spreadsheet filled with rows and columns of data just to be met with a handful of valuable insights a few minutes later.

Improved Customer Service

Want 24/7 support for your customers?

It’s now possible without human touch.

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Chatbots powered by AI are taking the lead on direct messaging experiences for brands on Facebook and other Meta properties to offer round-the-clock assistance.

The fact that AI can be trained on past customer queries and data to inform future queries and problems is a powerful development for social media managers.

Advertising on Social Media with AI

The majority of ad networks have used some variation of AI to manage their bidding system for years. Now, thanks to AI and its ability to be incorporated in more tools, brands are now able to use AI to create better and more interesting ad campaigns than ever before.

Brands can use AI to create images using tools like Midjourney and DALL-E in seconds.

Brands can use AI to create better copy for their social media ads.

Brands can use AI tools to support their bidding strategies.

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The power of AI and social media is continuing to evolve daily and it’s not exclusively found in the organic side of the coin. Paid media on social media is being shaken up due to AI just the same.

How to Implement AI into Your Social Media Strategy

Ready to hit “Go” on your AI-powered social media revolution?

Don’t just start the engine and hope for the best. Remember the importance of building a strategy first. In this video, you can learn some of the most important factors ranging from (but not limited to) SMART goals and leveraging influencers in your day-to-day work:

The following seven steps are crucial to building a social media strategy:

  1. Identify Your AI and Social Media Goals
  2. Validate Your AI-Related Assumptions
  3. Conduct Persona and Audience Research
  4. Select the Right Social Channels
  5. Identify Key Metrics and KPIs
  6. Choose the Right AI Tools
  7. Evaluate and Refine Your Social Media and AI Strategy

Keep reading, roll up your sleeves, and follow this roadmap:

1. Identify Your AI and Social Media Goals

If you’re just dipping your toes into the AI sea, start by defining clear objectives.

Is it to boost engagement? Streamline your content creation? Or simply understand your audience better? It’s important that you spend time understanding what you want to achieve.

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For example, say you’re a content marketing agency like Foundation and you’re trying to increase your presence on LinkedIn. The specificity of this goal will help you understand the initiatives you want to achieve and determine which AI tools could help you make that happen.

Are there AI tools that will help you create content more efficiently? Are there AI tools that will help you optimize LinkedIn Ads? Are there AI tools that can help with content repurposing? All of these things are possible and having a goal clearly identified will help maximize the impact. Learn more in this Foundation Marketing piece on incorporating AI into your content workflow.

Once you have identified your goals, it’s time to get your team on board and assess what tools are available in the market.

Recommended Resources:

2. Validate Your AI-Related Assumptions

Assumptions are dangerous — especially when it comes to implementing new tech.

Don’t assume AI is going to fix all your problems.

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Instead, start with small experiments and track their progress carefully.

3. Conduct Persona and Audience Research

Social media isn’t something that you can just jump into.

You need to understand your audience and ideal customers. AI can help with this, but you’ll need to be familiar with best practices. If you need a primer, this will help:

Once you understand the basics, consider ways in which AI can augment your approach.

4. Select the Right Social Channels

Not every social media channel is the same.

It’s important that you understand what channel is right for you and embrace it.

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The way you use AI for X is going to be different from the way you use AI for LinkedIn. On X, you might use AI to help you develop a long-form thread that is filled with facts and figures. On LinkedIn however, you might use AI to repurpose a blog post and turn it into a carousel PDF. The content that works on X and that AI can facilitate creating is different from the content that you can create and use on LinkedIn.

The audiences are different.

The content formats are different.

So operate and create a plan accordingly.

Recommended Tools and Resources:

5. Identify Key Metrics and KPIs

What metrics are you trying to influence the most?

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Spend time understanding the social media metrics that matter to your business and make sure that they’re prioritized as you think about the ways in which you use AI.

These are a few that matter most:

  • Reach: Post reach signifies the count of unique users who viewed your post. How much of your content truly makes its way to users’ feeds?
  • Clicks: This refers to the number of clicks on your content or account. Monitoring clicks per campaign is crucial for grasping what sparks curiosity or motivates people to make a purchase.
  • Engagement: The total social interactions divided by the number of impressions. This metric reveals how effectively your audience perceives you and their readiness to engage.

Of course, it’s going to depend greatly on your business.

But with this information, you can ensure that your AI social media strategy is rooted in goals.

6. Choose the Right AI Tools

The AI landscape is filled with trash and treasure.

Pick AI tools that are most likely to align with your needs and your level of tech-savviness.

For example, if you’re a blogger creating content about pizza recipes, you can use HubSpot’s AI social caption generator to write the message on your behalf:

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AI social media generator example

The benefit of an AI tool like HubSpot and the caption generator is that what at one point took 30-40 minutes to come up with — you can now have it at your fingertips in seconds. The HubSpot AI caption generator is trained on tons of data around social media content and makes it easy for you to get inspiration or final drafts on what can be used to create great content.

Consider your budget, the learning curve, and what kind of support the tool offers.

7. Evaluate and Refine Your Social Media and AI Strategy

AI isn’t a magic wand; it’s a set of complex tools and technology.

You need to be willing to pivot as things come to fruition.

If you notice that a certain activity is falling flat, consider how AI can support that process.

Did you notice that your engagement isn’t where you want it to be? Consider using an AI tool to assist with crafting more engaging social media posts.

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Make AI Work for You — Now and in the Future

AI has the power to revolutionize your social media strategy in ways you may have never thought possible. With its ability to conduct customer research, create personalized content, and so much more, thinking about the future of social media is fascinating.

We’re going through one of the most interesting times in history.

Stay equipped to ride the way of AI and ensure that you’re embracing the best practices outlined in this piece to get the most out of the technology.

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Advertising in local markets: A playbook for success

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Advertising in local markets: A playbook for success

Many brands, such as those in the home services industry or a local grocery chain, market to specific locations, cities or regions. There are also national brands that want to expand in specific local markets. 

Regardless of the company or purpose, advertising on a local scale has different tactics than on a national scale. Brands need to connect their messaging directly with the specific communities they serve and media to their target demo. Here’s a playbook to help your company succeed when marketing on a local scale.  

1. Understand local vs. national campaigns

Local advertising differs from national campaigns in several ways: 

  • Audience specificity: By zooming in on precise geographic areas, brands can tailor messaging to align with local communities’ customs, preferences and nuances. This precision targeting ensures that your message resonates with the right target audience.
  • Budget friendliness: Local advertising is often more accessible for small businesses. Local campaign costs are lower, enabling brands to invest strategically within targeted locales. This budget-friendly nature does not diminish the need for strategic planning; instead, it emphasizes allocating resources wisely to maximize returns. As a result, testing budgets can be allocated across multiple markets to maximize learnings for further market expansion.
  • Channel selection: Selecting the correct channels is vital for effective local advertising. Local newspapers, radio stations, digital platforms and community events each offer advantages. The key lies in understanding where your target audience spends time and focusing efforts to ensure optimal engagement.
  • Flexibility and agility: Local campaigns can be adjusted more swiftly in response to market feedback or changes, allowing brands to stay relevant and responsive. 

Maintaining brand consistency across local touchpoints reinforces brand identity and builds a strong, recognizable brand across markets. 

2. Leverage customized audience segmentation 

Customized audience segmentation is the process of dividing a market into distinct groups based on specific demographic criteria. This marketing segmentation supports the development of targeted messaging and media plans for local markets. 

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For example, a coffee chain might cater to two distinct segments: young professionals and retirees. After identifying these segments, the chain can craft messages, offers and media strategies relating to each group’s preferences and lifestyle.

To reach young professionals in downtown areas, the chain might focus on convenience, quality coffee and a vibrant atmosphere that is conducive to work and socializing. Targeted advertising on Facebook, Instagram or Connected TV, along with digital signage near office complexes, could capture the attention of this demographic, emphasizing quick service and premium blends.

Conversely, for retirees in residential areas, the chain could highlight a cozy ambiance, friendly service and promotions such as senior discounts. Advertisements in local print publications, community newsletters, radio stations and events like senior coffee mornings would foster a sense of community and belonging.

Dig deeper: Niche advertising: 7 actionable tactics for targeted marketing

3. Adapt to local market dynamics

Various factors influence local market dynamics. Brands that navigate changes effectively maintain a strong audience connection and stay ahead in the market. Here’s how consumer sentiment and behavior may evolve within a local market and the corresponding adjustments brands can make. 

  • Cultural shifts, such as changes in demographics or societal norms, can alter consumer preferences within a local community. For example, a neighborhood experiencing gentrification may see demand rise for specific products or services.
    • Respond by updating your messaging to reflect the evolving cultural landscape, ensuring it resonates with the new demographic profile.
  • Economic conditions are crucial. For example, during downturns, consumers often prioritize value and practicality.
    • Highlight affordable options or emphasize the practical benefits of your offerings to ensure messaging aligns with consumers’ financial priorities. The impact is unique to each market and the marketing message must also be dynamic.
  • Seasonal trends impact consumer behavior.
    • Align your promotions and creative content with changing seasons or local events to make your offerings timely and relevant.
  • New competitors. The competitive landscape demands vigilance because new entrants or innovative competitor campaigns can shift consumer preferences.
    • Differentiate by focusing on your unique selling propositions, such as quality, customer service or community involvement, to retain consumer interest and loyalty.

4. Apply data and predictive analytics 

Data and predictive analytics are indispensable tools for successfully reaching local target markets. These technologies provide consumer behavior insights, enabling you to anticipate market trends and adjust strategies proactively. 

  • Price optimization: By analyzing consumer demand, competitor pricing and market conditions, data analytics enables you to set prices that attract customers while ensuring profitability.
  • Competitor analysis: Through analysis, brands can understand their positioning within the local market landscape and identify opportunities and threats. Predictive analytics offer foresight into competitors’ potential moves, allowing you to strategize effectively to maintain a competitive edge.
  • Consumer behavior: Forecasting consumer behavior allows your brand to tailor offerings and marketing messages to meet evolving consumer needs and enhance engagement.
  • Marketing effectiveness: Analytics track the success of advertising campaigns, providing insights into which strategies drive conversions and sales. This feedback loop enables continuous optimization of marketing efforts for maximum impact.
  • Inventory management: In supply chain management, data analytics predict demand fluctuations, ensuring inventory levels align with market needs. This efficiency prevents stockouts or excess inventory, optimizing operational costs and meeting consumer expectations.

Dig deeper: Why you should add predictive modeling to your marketing mix

5. Counter external market influences

Consider a clothing retailer preparing for a spring collection launch. By analyzing historical weather data and using predictive analytics, the brand forecasts an unseasonably cool start to spring. Anticipating this, the retailer adjusts its campaign to highlight transitional pieces suitable for cooler weather, ensuring relevance despite an unexpected chill.

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Simultaneously, predictive models signal an upcoming spike in local media advertising rates due to increased market demand. Retailers respond by reallocating a portion of advertising budgets to digital channels, which offer more flexibility and lower costs than traditional media. This shift enables brands to maintain visibility and engagement without exceeding budget, mitigating the impact of external forces on advertising.

6. Build consumer confidence with messaging

Localized messaging and tailored customer service enhance consumer confidence by demonstrating your brand’s understanding of the community. For instance, a grocery store that curates cooking classes featuring local cuisine or sponsors community events shows commitment to local culture and consumer interests. 

Similarly, a bookstore highlighting local authors or topics relevant to the community resonates with local customers. Additionally, providing service that addresses local needs — such as bilingual service and local event support — reinforces the brand’s values and response to the community. 

Through these localized approaches, brands can build trust and loyalty, bridging the gap between corporate presence and local relevance.

7. Dominate with local advertising 

To dominate local markets, brands must:

  • Harness hyper-targeted segmentation and geo-targeted advertising to reach and engage precise audiences.
  • Create localized content that reflects community values, engage in community events, optimize campaigns for mobile and track results.
  • Fine-tune strategies, outperform competitors and foster lasting relationships with customers.

These strategies will enable your message to resonate with local consumers, differentiate you in competitive markets and ensure you become a major player in your specific area. 



Dig deeper: The 5 critical elements for local marketing success

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

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Battling for Attention in the 2024 Election Year Media Frenzy

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Battling for Attention in the 2024 Election Year Media Frenzy

Battling for Attention in the 2024 Election Year Media Frenzy

As we march closer to the 2024 U.S. presidential election, CMOs and marketing leaders need to prepare for a significant shift in the digital advertising landscape. Election years have always posed unique challenges for advertisers, but the growing dominance of digital media has made the impact more profound than ever before.

In this article, we’ll explore the key factors that will shape the advertising environment in the coming months and provide actionable insights to help you navigate these turbulent waters.

The Digital Battleground

The rise of cord-cutting and the shift towards digital media consumption have fundamentally altered the advertising landscape in recent years. As traditional TV viewership declines, political campaigns have had to adapt their strategies to reach voters where they are spending their time: on digital platforms.

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According to a recent report by eMarketer, the number of cord-cutters in the U.S. is expected to reach 65.1 million by the end of 2023, representing a 6.9% increase from 2022. This trend is projected to continue, with the number of cord-cutters reaching 72.2 million by 2025.

Moreover, a survey conducted by Pew Research Center in 2023 found that 62% of U.S. adults do not have a cable or satellite TV subscription, up from 61% in 2022 and 50% in 2019. This data further underscores the accelerating shift away from traditional TV and towards streaming and digital media platforms.

As these trends continue, political advertisers will have no choice but to follow their audiences to digital channels. In the 2022 midterm elections, digital ad spending by political campaigns reached $1.2 billion, a 50% increase from the 2018 midterms. With the 2024 presidential election on the horizon, this figure is expected to grow exponentially, as campaigns compete for the attention of an increasingly digital-first electorate.

For brands and advertisers, this means that the competition for digital ad space will be fiercer than ever before. As political ad spending continues to migrate to platforms like Meta, YouTube, and connected TV, the cost of advertising will likely surge, making it more challenging for non-political advertisers to reach their target audiences.

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To navigate this complex and constantly evolving landscape, CMOs and their teams will need to be proactive, data-driven, and willing to experiment with new strategies and channels. By staying ahead of the curve and adapting to the changing media consumption habits of their audiences, brands can position themselves for success in the face of the electoral advertising onslaught.

Rising Costs and Limited Inventory

As political advertisers flood the digital market, the cost of advertising is expected to skyrocket. CPMs (cost per thousand impressions) will likely experience a steady climb throughout the year, with significant spikes anticipated in May, as college students come home from school and become more engaged in political conversations, and around major campaign events like presidential debates.

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For media buyers and their teams, this means that the tried-and-true strategies of years past may no longer be sufficient. Brands will need to be nimble, adaptable, and willing to explore new tactics to stay ahead of the game.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday: A Perfect Storm

The challenges of election year advertising will be particularly acute during the critical holiday shopping season. Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which have historically been goldmines for advertisers, will be more expensive and competitive than ever in 2024, as they coincide with the final weeks of the presidential campaign.

To avoid being drowned out by the political noise, brands will need to start planning their holiday campaigns earlier than usual. Building up audiences and crafting compelling creative assets well in advance will be essential to success, as will a willingness to explore alternative channels and tactics. Relying on cold audiences come Q4 will lead to exceptionally high costs that may be detrimental to many businesses.

Navigating the Chaos

While the challenges of election year advertising can seem daunting, there are steps that media buyers and their teams can take to mitigate the impact and even thrive in this environment. Here are a few key strategies to keep in mind:

Start early and plan for contingencies: Begin planning your Q3 and Q4 campaigns as early as possible, with a focus on building up your target audiences and developing a robust library of creative assets.

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Be sure to build in contingency budgets to account for potential cost increases, and be prepared to pivot your strategy as the landscape evolves.

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Embrace alternative channels: Consider diversifying your media mix to include channels that may be less impacted by political ad spending, such as influencer marketing, podcast advertising, or sponsored content. Investing in owned media channels, like email marketing and mobile apps, can also provide a direct line to your customers without the need to compete for ad space.

Owned channels will be more important than ever. Use cheaper months leading up to the election to build your email lists and existing customer base so that your BF/CM can leverage your owned channels and warm audiences.

Craft compelling, shareable content: In a crowded and noisy advertising environment, creating content that resonates with your target audience will be more important than ever. Focus on developing authentic, engaging content that aligns with your brand values and speaks directly to your customers’ needs and desires.

By tapping into the power of emotional triggers and social proof, you can create content that not only cuts through the clutter but also inspires organic sharing and amplification.

Reflections

The 2024 election year will undoubtedly bring new challenges and complexities to the world of digital advertising. But by staying informed, adaptable, and strategic in your approach, you can navigate this landscape successfully and even find new opportunities for growth and engagement.

As a media buyer or agnecy, your role in steering your brand through these uncharted waters will be critical. By starting your planning early, embracing alternative channels and tactics, and focusing on creating authentic, resonant content, you can not only survive but thrive in the face of election year disruptions.

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So while the road ahead may be uncertain, one thing is clear: the brands that approach this challenge with creativity, agility, and a steadfast commitment to their customers will be the ones that emerge stronger on the other side.


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