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How To Ensure Optimal Visual Experiences Across Devices

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How To Ensure Optimal Visual Experiences Across Devices

Updated Aug. 22, 2022

Open the best-converting page on your website on three devices – mobile, tablet, and desktop.

Really, do it. I’ll wait.

Does your content display as well as you expected it to?

Many marketers will find it doesn’t. The user experience and messaging consistency are unsatisfactory. Sometimes, it is downright awful.

How did you get here? After all, your company invests a lot of resources to publish content. You even maximize those content resources by adopting the COPE method – create once, publish everywhere.

And that may be the mistake.

Cheer up, fellow content marketer. I’m here to help with a slight adjustment – COPE-M.

A create once, publish everywhere strategy can be a mistake when it comes to visuals, says @BuddyScalera via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Understand why COPE-M is necessary

Using a traditional COPE strategy, you upload a chunk of content once (definition, image, description, etc.), and the CMS pulls (not pastes) that chunk into multiple deliverables. When you update the original content, the update ripples through your repository.

As a content strategy, COPE content is elegant. It’s efficient. It’s logical. It increases the reuse of your content and amortizes your investments in original content. It works with text, audio, and video.

But COPE is not a panacea for your content publishing. Modern browsers reflow your text, but images scale down for your devices. An image that looks great on a desktop may be unrecognizable on a mobile device. (Your audience doesn’t like that and neither does Google, which can hurt your content’s rankings.)

COPE is a great starting point, but a more layered approach to image control is necessary. I call it COPE-M – create once, publish everywhere mostly. COPE-M can be the bridge between a good user experience and a great one.

Create Once, Publish Everywhere Mostly (COPE-M) is a bridge between a good user experience and a great one, says @BuddyScalera via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Adopting a COPE-M approach to your content publishing strategy can spiff up your user experience, increase consistency, and improve your search engine optimization (SEO) with refreshed content.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: 9 Steps to Optimize Images for SEO

Images aren’t necessarily best friends with COPE

A lot has changed since 2009 when Daniel Jacobson outlined the concept and technical approach to this content reuse strategy. COPE remains a solid concept, but today content is distributed through multiple device types. Audiences also consume the content in more formats.

Single-sourced text viewed in multiple browsers still works, but it’s a problem for images. Text can be separated from its appearance. Cascading style sheets enable the appearance of text, such as font sizes and column widths, to change without changing the original source.

Images are not as malleable. Rendered graphics (e.g., JPEG, PNG files) can’t be separated from their appearance. One size from a single source doesn’t always fit all. An infographic that looks good on a desktop may be unreadable on an iPhone. It leaves the viewer pinching, zooming, squinting, and grumbling trying to see it.

Images aren’t as malleable as text in coding, so a single-source visual doesn’t always look good across devices, says @BuddyScalera via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Pick the images to multisource

Until content management systems get smart enough to automatically give ideal viewing experiences for every image on every device, you must consider when to COPE and when not to COPE with your images.

Go back to my original request – open your best converting page to see how it appears on multiple devices. Do that with the other important pages and images on your website. You probably already tagged them in your analytics software.

TIP: Narrow your page selection to those that get significant traffic from mobile devices.

To identify which images to multisource, test the selected pages on multiple devices. Grab a stack of devices and a designer, content strategist, or UX person. Load your content the way your customer would. If an image looks squished, add it to an images-to-be-multisource list.

TIP: Don’t just look to see if the image displays. Take a hard look at how it displays. If the user must pinch and zoom to view all of an image, COPE likely isn’t the best method.

Share the results with all content-related teams, including content strategy, design, content engineering, and user experience, who should know how your website’s images load.

Design for the multiple screens

With an image compromised on the high and low ends to fit a mobile device screen, it can be worthwhile to upload multiple images and tell the system at which breakpoint to use each one.

A breakpoint is a point at which the system stops pulling one image and pulls a version that’s a better fit for the viewing device. Breakpoints are determined by the device width because users can scroll vertically infinitely but can’t widen the screen.

This illustration shows three possible breakpoints: 320 pixels for a cell phone, 720 pixels for a tablet or large phone, and 1,024 pixels for a laptop:

In this example, the original image of my two daughters and our dog is 800 pixels wide. It looks great on a desktop rendered at full size (left side of image). On a tablet-size screen, the original image loses detail, which diminishes its impact.

If this image were a chart or infographic, it might become illegible on a smaller screen. That’s why you should put extra effort into sourcing multiple images. This approach is called “responsive art direction.” It’s a browser trick that gives you a bit more control over the way images display to your users.

Here’s how that works with the original example. This time, I took different photos for each size – 800, 400, and 200 pixels wide. When published, their faces are approximately the same size in each.

In the 800-pixel horizontal version, one daughter sits on the stairs with our dog, while the other stands along the railing with a glimpse of the neighborhood in the background. In the 400-pixel vertical version, both daughters sit on the steps with the dog next to one of them with both railings visible. In the 200-pixel vertical version, each daughter and the dog have their own step, and only one railing is visible.

This approach isn’t COPE. It’s the not-mostly part of COPE-M. I created three times more work for myself. That’s why you should limit this time-intensive work to only the essential converting content.

See how multisource images get coded

While this article isn’t a tutorial on how to write this kind of code, you might find it useful to see what it looks like:

Between the “picture” tags, I specified the three source images, which are named based on the image width:

Now, each image will kick in when it reaches its breakpoint:

  • 499 pixels (max) for smartphones
  • 799 pixels (max) for tablets
  • 800 pixels (minimum) for desktop

Make COPE-M work for your brand

Most digital asset management (DAM) systems can create multiple outputs of a single image in different sizes and ratios. If you can’t reshoot the photos, crop them to ensure the best experience on all screen sizes. It can be a lot of work, so don’t ask your designers or developers to redesign every image on your website. Focus on impact.

If SEO is a top priority, check with your SEO specialists before implementing the multi-image approach. Google’s algorithm may penalize web pages that do not provide the exact same experience on desktop and mobile. Even though you are providing a better experience for humans, a Google crawler may not yet know this. Of course, if more people find your page worthy of their time because of a better image experience, Google will like that.

How about your team? Do you sometimes create multiple versions of your important images to accommodate a range of screen sizes? What have you learned from testing your images across multiple devices? Let me know in the comments.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:

 Register to attend Content Marketing World in Cleveland, Ohio. Use the code BLOG100 to save $100. 

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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45 Free Content Writing Tools to Love [for Writing, Editing & Content Creation]

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45 Free Content Writing Tools to Love [for Writing, Editing & Content Creation]

Creating content isn’t always a walk in the park. (In fact, it can sometimes feel more like trying to swim against the current.)

While other parts of business and marketing are becoming increasingly automated, content creation is still a very manual job. (more…)

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How data clean rooms might help keep the internet open

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How data clean rooms might help keep the internet open

Are data clean rooms the solution to what IAB CEO David Cohen has called the “slow-motion train wreck” of addressability? Voices at the IAB will tell you that they have a big role to play.

“The issue with addressability is that once cookies go away, and with the loss of identifiers, about 80% of the addressable market will become unknown audiences which is why there is a need for privacy-centric consent and a better consent-value exchange,” said Jeffrey Bustos, VP, measurement, addressability and data at the IAB.

“Everyone’s talking about first-party data, and it is very valuable,” he explained, “but most publishers who don’t have sign-on, they have about 3 to 10% of their readership’s first-party data.” First-party data, from the perspective of advertisers who want to reach relevant and audiences, and publishers who want to offer valuable inventory, just isn’t enough.

Why we care. Two years ago, who was talking about data clean rooms? The surge of interest is recent and significant, according to the IAB. DCRs have the potential, at least, to keep brands in touch with their audiences on the open internet; to maintain viability for publishers’ inventories; and to provide sophisticated measurement capabilities.

How data clean rooms can help. DCRs are a type of privacy-enhancing technology that allows data owners (including brands and publishers) to share customer first-party data in a privacy-compliant way. Clean rooms are secure spaces where first-party data from a number of sources can be resolved to the same customer’s profile while that profile remains anonymized.

In other words, a DCR is a kind of Switzerland — a space where a truce is called on competition while first-party data is enriched without compromising privacy.

“The value of a data clean room is that a publisher is able to collaborate with a brand across both their data sources and the brand is able to understand audience behavior,” said Bestos. For example, a brand selling eye-glasses might know nothing about their customers except basic transactional data — and that they wear glasses. Matching profiles with a publisher’s behavioral data provides enrichment.

“If you’re able to understand behavioral context, you’re able to understand what your customers are reading, what they’re interested in, what their hobbies are,” said Bustos. Armed with those insights, a brand has a better idea of what kind of content they want to advertise against.

The publisher does need to have a certain level of first-party data for the matching to take place, even if it doesn’t have a universal requirement for sign-ins like The New York Times. A publisher may be able to match only a small percentage of the eye-glass vendor’s customers, but if they like reading the sports and arts sections, at least that gives some directional guidance as to what audience the vendor should target.

Dig deeper: Why we care about data clean rooms

What counts as good matching? In its “State of Data 2023” report, which focuses almost exclusively on data clean rooms, concern is expressed that DCR efficacy might be threatened by poor match rates. Average match rates hover around 50% (less for some types of DCR).

Bustos is keen to put this into context. “When you are matching data from a cookie perspective, match rates are usually about 70-ish percent,” he said, so 50% isn’t terrible, although there’s room for improvement.

One obstacle is a persistent lack of interoperability between identity solutions — although it does exist; LiveRamp’s RampID is interoperable, for example, with The Trade Desk’s UID2.

Nevertheless, said Bustos, “it’s incredibly difficult for publishers. They have a bunch of identity pixels firing for all these different things. You don’t know which identity provider to use. Definitely a long road ahead to make sure there’s interoperability.”

Maintaining an open internet. If DCRs can contribute to solving the addressability problem they will also contribute to the challenge of keeping the internet open. Walled gardens like Facebook do have rich troves of first-party and behavioral data; brands can access those audiences, but with very limited visibility into them.

“The reason CTV is a really valuable proposition for advertisers is that you are able to identify the user 1:1 which is really powerful,” Bustos said. “Your standard news or editorial publisher doesn’t have that. I mean, the New York Times has moved to that and it’s been incredibly successful for them.” In order to compete with the walled gardens and streaming services, publishers need to offer some degree of addressability — and without relying on cookies.

But DCRs are a heavy lift. Data maturity is an important qualification for getting the most out of a DCR. The IAB report shows that, of the brands evaluating or using DCRs, over 70% have other data-related technologies like CDPs and DMPs.

“If you want a data clean room,” Bustos explained, “there are a lot of other technological solutions you have to have in place before. You need to make sure you have strong data assets.” He also recommends starting out by asking what you want to achieve, not what technology would be nice to have. “The first question is, what do you want to accomplish? You may not need a DCR. ‘I want to do this,’ then see what tools would get you to that.”

Understand also that implementation is going to require talent. “It is a demanding project in terms of the set-up,” said Bustos, “and there’s been significant growth in consulting companies and agencies helping set up these data clean rooms. You do need a lot of people, so it’s more efficient to hire outside help for the set up, and then just have a maintenance crew in-house.”

Underuse of measurement capabilities. One key finding in the IAB’s research is that DCR users are exploiting the audience matching capabilities much more than realizing the potential for measurement and attribution. “You need very strong data scientists and engineers to build advanced models,” Bustos said.

“A lot of brands that look into this say, ‘I want to be able to do a predictive analysis of my high lifetime value customers that are going to buy in the next 90 days.’ Or ‘I want to be able to measure which channels are driving the most incremental lift.’ It’s very complex analyses they want to do; but they don’t really have a reason as to why. What is the point? Understand your outcome and develop a sequential data strategy.”

Trying to understand incremental lift from your marketing can take a long time, he warned. “But you can easily do a reach and frequency and overlap analysis.” That will identify wasted investment in channels and as a by-product suggest where incremental lift is occurring. “There’s a need for companies to know what they want, identify what the outcome is, and then there are steps that are going to get you there. That’s also going to help to prove out ROI.”

Dig deeper: Failure to get the most out of data clean rooms is costing marketers money


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Ascend | DigitalMarketer

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Ascend | DigitalMarketer

At this stage, your goal is to generate repeat buys and real profits. While your entry-point offer was designed for conversions, your ascension offers should be geared for profits—because if you’re serving your customers well, they’ll want to buy again and again.

Ascension offers may be simple upsells made after that initial purchase… bigger, better solutions… or “done for you” add-ons.

So now we must ask ourselves, what is our core flagship offer and how do we continue to deliver value after the first sale is made? What is the thing that we are selling? 

How we continue to deliver value after the first sale is really important, because having upsells and cross sales gives you the ability to sell to customers you already have. It will give you higher Average Customer values, which is going to give you higher margins. Which means you can spend more to acquire new customers. 

Why does this matter? It matters because of this universal law of marketing and customer acquisition, he or she who is able and willing to spend the most to acquire a customer wins.

Very often the business with the best product messaging very often is the business that can throw the most into customer acquisition. Now there are two ways to do that.

The first way is to just raise a lot of money. The problem is if you have a lot of money, that doesn’t last forever. At some point you need economics. 

The second way, and the most timeless and predictable approach, is to simply have the highest value customers of anyone in your market. If your customers are worth more to you than they are to your competitors, you can spend more to acquire them at the same margin. 

If a customer is worth twice as much to you than it is to your competitor, you can spend twice as much trying to acquire them to make the same margin. You can invest in your customer acquisition, because your customers are investing in your business. You can invest in your customer experiences, and when we invest more into the customer we build brands that have greater value. Meaning, people are more likely to choose you over someone else, which can actually lower acquisition costs. 

Happy customers refer others to us, which is called zero dollar customer acquisition, and generally just ensures you’re making a bigger impact. You can invest more in the customer experience and customer acquisition process if you don’t have high margins. 

If you deliver a preview experience, you can utilize revenue maximizers like up sells, cross sales, and bundles. These are things that would follow up the initial sale or are combined with the initial sale to increase the Average Customer Value.

The best example of an immediate upsell is the classic McDonalds, “would you like fries with that?” You got just a burger, do you also want fries with that? 

What distinguishes an upsell from other types of follow up offers is the upsell promise, the same end result for a bigger and better end result. 

What’s your desired result when you go to McDonalds? It’s not to eat healthy food, and it’s not even to eat a small amount of food. When you go to McDonalds your job is to have a tasty, greasy, predictable inexpensive meal. No one is going there because it’s healthy, you’re going there because you want to eat good. 

It’s predictable. It’s not going to break the bank for a hamburger, neither will adding fries or a Coke. It’s the same experience, but it’s BIGGER and BETTER. 

Amazon does this all of the time with their “Customers Who Bought This Also Bought …” But this one is algorithmic. The point of a cross sell is that it is relevant to the consumer, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be aligned with the original purchase. What you don’t want to do is start someone down one path and confuse them.

You can make this process easy with Bundles and Kits. With a bundle or a kit you’re essentially saying to someone, “you can buy just one piece, or you can get this bundle that does all of these other things for a little bit more. And it’s a higher value.”

The idea behind bundles and kits is that we are adding to the primary offer, not offering them something different. We’re simply promising to get them this desired result in higher definition. 

The Elements of High-Converting Revenue Maximizers (like our bundles and kits) are:

  1. Speed

If you’re an e-Commerce business, selling a physical product, this can look like: offering free shipping for orders $X or more. We’re looking to get your customers the same desired result, but with less work for them.

  1. Automation

If you’re a furniture business, and you want to add a Revenue Maximizer, this can look like: Right now for an extra $X our highly trained employees will come and put this together for you. 

  1. Access 

People will pay for speed, they’ll pay for less work, but they will also pay for a look behind the curtain. Think about the people who pay for Backstage Passes. Your customers will pay for a VIP experience just so they can kind of see how everything works. 

Remember, the ascension stage doesn’t have to stop. Once you have a customer, you should do your best to make them a customer for life. You should continue serving them. Continue asking them, “what needs are we still not meeting” and seek to meet those needs. 

It is your job as a marketer to seek out to discover these needs, to bring these back to the product team, because that’s what’s going to enable you to fully maximize the average customer value. Which is going to enable you to have a whole lot more to spend to acquire those customers and make your job a whole lot easier. 

Now that you understand the importance of the ascend stage, let’s apply it to our examples.

Hazel & Hem could have free priority shipping over $150, a “Boutique Points” reward program with exclusive “double point” days to encourage spending, and an exclusive “Stylist Package” that includes a full outfit custom selected for the customer. 

Cyrus & Clark can retain current clients by offering an annual strategic plan, “Done for You” Marketing services that execute on the strategic plan, and the top tier would allow customers to be the exclusive company that Cyrus & Clark services in specific geographical territories.



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