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Outstanding Local SEO Takeaways from MozCon 2022

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The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

It would be hard to overstate the value of the education offered at MozCon. From the impressive accreditation of seasoned speakers to the novel thinking of newcomers, MozCon 2022’s presenters delivered a level of actionable advice and inspiration that resoundingly reaffirmed why this event is one of the best-loved in the SEO world.

As a local SEO, it’s my practice to attend the livestream with ears pricked to catch any takeaway that could be useful to local businesses and their marketers. Local was the core focus of a few presentations, but while the majority of MozCon talks are not local-specific, nearly all of them featured applicable expert advice that we can turn to our advantage. Today, I’ll provide my personal rundown of the best tips I gleaned for local businesses from MozCon 2022, I highly recommend pre-purchasing the video bundle to go beyond my recap to a detailed understanding of how to excel in your marketing.

1. Let’s really talk about landing pages

The SEO industry has zoomed in on the critical role both location and product landing pages are now playing in marketing. The former will come as no surprise to local SEOs, and the latter has become an increasing part of our world as the pandemic has driven local businesses to incorporate shopping into their websites. Some of the brightest ideas shared at MozCon 2022 surrounded what belongs on these landing pages.

Recently, you may have read my column encouraging local businesses to emulate actionable Google Business Profile features on their website homepages, and I was gratified to see this strategy echoed and expanded upon by both Amanda Jordan and Emily Brady in regards to location landing pages.

Ross Simmonds made a very strong point that content does not equal blogs, and Amanda Jordan emphasized that it isn’t copywriting that makes a landing page great — it’s features, like:

  • Booking buttons

  • Reviews

  • Social proofs

  • Customer UGC, like photos

  • Original stats that are strong enough to earn backlinks

  • Polls and surveys

  • Awards and recognitions

Emily Brady added to this list by encouraging the inclusion of Google Business Profile attributes on location landing pages. She further urged local SEOs to use the 145 types of local business schema to actually inform content strategy for these pages – a suggestion I don’t believe I’ve ever heard before. She noted that SMBs have few enough landing pages to make it feasible to manually create best-in-market, unique content as a competitive advantage.

Amanda Jordan did a study of the top 10 location landing pages across 50 cities and noted the high percentage of them that emphasized these features:

Presentation slide going over the features of the most popular location landing pages including reviews, coupons or conversion apps, unique value propositions, and awards and recognition.

By focusing on features that customers really want, local businesses can solve the longstanding issues Amanda cited as being associated with location landing pages, namely, duplicate and thin content, low user engagement, and lack of conversions.

On the topic of product landing pages, I’ll quote Areej AbuAli who emphasized that, “Filters can make or break an e-commerce website.” Anyone who has ever shopped online knows the truth of this. Her presentation was a deep dive into the care that must be taken to build a strategy for commerce architecture and indexing that takes details like these and more into account:

Presentation slide reading:

Meanwhile, Miracle Inameti-Archibong’s presentation on web accessibility was highly applicable to any business that publishes a shopping website and her talk was filled with moments that honestly shocked me. I’ve never used a screen reader before, and I had no idea what terrible UX websites lacking accessibility best practices provide for the 12 million Internet users who have visual disabilities. I also didn’t know that 80% of what we all learn is done through the medium of vision. These facts should be a wake-up call for all website publishers:

  • 1 in 8 Americans have a disability.

  • People with vision loss consistently report having advanced internet proficiency.

  • Working-age people with disabilities cumulatively possess $490 billion in after-tax disposable income.

  • 83% of people with accessibility needs shop on sites with accessibility standards, even if prices are higher.

  • 97.4% of homepages have accessibility errors.

  • Missing alt text accounts for 61% of all homepage accessibility errors.

Miracle Inameti-Archibong had us sit with her though the terrible experience of trying to use a screen reader in this environment and imagine what it is like to try to shop, manage personal finances, or perform other essential day to day activities online, and I was especially moved by her reminder that all of us have causes we care about, but that implementing accessibility is one SEOs actually have the hands-on opportunity to do something about!

Presentation slide reading:

In addition to encouraging everyone to download a screen reader to experience their websites in a new way, she extended this Colab resource to help us all begin tackling alt text issues at scale. With a commitment to supporting the agency of all people, we can ensure that both our product and location landing pages are accessible to everybody.

2. Let’s be part of big trends in thought and tech

Local business owners and marketers will benefit from understanding the evolution of both perceptions and possibilities happening in the wider industry.

On keyword research

Wil Reynolds noted that keyword research is how we gain empathy for our customers and Dr. Peter J. Meyers’ presentation of why we need to stop fixating on the bottom of the sales funnel and embrace the messy middle was, in my opinion, some of the best storytelling of the conference.

Presentation slide showing the exploration and evaluation that takes place between a search trigger and a purchase.

Both Dr. Pete and Tom Capper urged us to think not in terms of massive keyword volumes but of groupings by human intent, weaving around and about the complex loops of evaluation and exploration. Indeed, an overall theme at MozCon 2022 was that SEOs are rethinking old views of keywords and reenvisioning them in terms of entities, intent, and topics. If we stop trying to continuously sell and focus, instead, on being there in the messy middle, we will be getting so much closer to real journeys than what we see in familiar funnel structures. Tom Capper further advised us to stop thinking of keyword research as grunt work suitable for junior staff and to employ the skillful art of understanding intent so that we end up actually knowing our customers. He also mentioned that this type of research, done well, can help local businesses discover which of their locations are deserving of the most investment.

On content and content marketing

“Google is capable of recognizing first-person expertise,” was a quote from Lily Ray that underpinned her outstanding presentation on why E-A-T should be moving us all to:

  • Write in the first person on our websites

  • Provide step-by-step instructions and objective advice without selling

  • Offer honest pros and cons

  • Use first-hand experience to back up claims

  • Publish unique images

  • Explain why we are qualified to author our content

In her talk on why E-A-T is the most important ranking factor, Lily Ray shared this persuasive screenshot from one of her clients who had been hit by the Medic update and then re-launched a site that emphasized their expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness:

Screenshot showing traffic growth after website began focusing on E-A-T.

E-A-T is, in my opinion, a gift to local business owners because so many of them possess the kind of expertise that only comes from a lifetime of working in their field. Our role, as local SEOs, is to capture and promote that expertise in a way Google understands.

Meanwhile, Ross Simmonds reminded us all that the phrase “content marketing” includes the word “marketing”. Hitting “publish” is not the end of the journey. Instead, we’ve got to:

Presentation slide showing a content growth framework with four pillars: Research, Creation, Contribution, Optimization.

I particularly latched on to his suggestion to give out awards and found myself imagining the local links that could flow in if something like a local grocery store formalized giving out awards for “best of county” foods, or a bookstore did the same for best regional authors, or an environmental organization recognized the greenest local businesses. Take this idea and run with it.

Speaking of earning links and publicity, Amanda Milligan told the story of beleaguered local newspapers who are actively seeking content featuring trends in employment and real estate, ways to avoid scams, and “news you can use” articles. She highlighted how some 2,200 local papers have folded since 2005 and explained how those struggling to keep going could be very interested in your contributions to their sections on lifestyle, money, entertainment, sports and news. Gather some original data and offer it to your local and regional newspapers for some highly-relevant press.

And, finally, Crystal Carter’s presentation on visual search re-emphasized the message that content does not equal text. As she noted, “Visual search makes the camera a primary tool for understanding the world.” Crystal is a Level 6 Google Guide and, reminding us that Google can definitely parse images, she encouraged businesses to strategize for solid, consistent, well-lit, unobscured real-world branding, like this:

Screenshot of a Peet's Coffee visual search with several image results of the coffee company branding.

She also proffered an excellent tip of auditing the photos your customers have uploaded to Instagram and Yelp. Is your branding on the dinner plates of your restaurant? On the uniforms of your staff? On banners at events you sponsor? What is the “that pic” for your business, where customers pose to photograph themselves? Are you uploading great owner photos to your citations so that customers are encouraged not just to shop with you, but to photograph your aesthetics themselves? All of it belongs on your website and Google Business Profile as we enter a multisearch reality and find new opportunities in an environment in which photos have become, not just great content, but queries.

3. Let’s be aware of trends on our periphery

Pretty much anything SEO-related is also part of our local SEO playbook, but sometimes the things SEOs prioritize for remote businesses may exist on the edges of our strategy, rather than at the center, and yet can still be important for us to consider.

A prime example of this is link building. Most truly small local SMBs will not likely have to invest heavily in earning links because our markets are typically finite with a limited number of direct nearby competitors. Nevertheless, more competitive local brands should pay attention to Paddy Moogan’s mention of the fact that 21 of 35 link building tips he presented at MozCon 10 years ago are still good-to-go in 2022, but that he’s observed four trends that have him worried:

  1. Asking for links isn’t sustainable — more than half of SEOs spend 1-5 hours trying to build a single link

  2. Questionable link relevance — who believes that Google wants to reward a business that builds up a massive, but irrelevant, volume of links?

  3. Too much reliance on campaigns — it’s a mistake to focus on big, shiny link building campaigns instead of on actual business impact

  4. Unintegrated link building — for agency and in-house link builders, if your work is happening independently of other departments, you face the risk of being squeezed out in times of economic downturns.

Paddy called on SEOs to solve these problems by reframing links as the outcome of an effective content strategy, using the actual and very messy customer journey to spot link building ideas, focusing on evergreen projects instead of one-off campaigns, and being integrated in multi-department work from the get-go. All of this advice is applicable even to small local businesses and their marketers who want to get the most out of smaller budgets of time and money.

Wrapping up, there was one other talk given by Ruth Burr Reedy on remote workplace culture which might not have seemed laser-focused on local SEOs and their clients, but which really stood out to me as having universal wisdom. Whether your local business staff is still fully in-office or has become a hybrid or fully-remote workplace due to the pandemic, the development of an atmosphere of “psychological safety” is valuable for every kind of team.

Presentation slide with a quote stating: A sense of confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject, or punish someone for speaking up. This confidence stems from mutual respect and trust among team members."

I’ve been a strong advocate for many years here in my column of the reputational benefits that result from employers trusting employees enough to use their own initiative to support and delight customers. Ruth’s presentation depicting a working environment that encourages staff to be able to ask anything without risk made me think more deeply about the hard work local business owners need to put into developing a full and healthy culture behind the scenes that is felt by every customer who walks in the door.

MozCon 2022 was absolutely replete with deeply technical, practical, and cultural tips that I’ve only been able to touch on briefly today. For the full experience, you’ll need to watch the videos, with their speaker enthusiasm, beautiful decks, and bountiful guidance. Pre-purchase today!



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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

You ask the head of marketing how the team is doing and get a giant thumbs up. 👍

“Our MQLs are up!”

“Website conversion rates are at an all-time high!”

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

But when you ask the head of sales the same question, you get the response that echoes across sales desks worldwide — the leads from marketing suck. 

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. The issue of “leads from marketing suck” is a common situation in most organizations. In a HubSpot survey, only 9.1% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were of very high quality.

Why do sales teams hate marketing-generated leads? And how can marketers help their sales peers fall in love with their leads? 

Let’s dive into the answers to these questions. Then, I’ll give you my secret lead gen kung-fu to ensure your sales team loves their marketing leads. 

Marketers Must Take Ownership

“I’ve hit the lead goal. If sales can’t close them, it’s their problem.”

How many times have you heard one of your marketers say something like this? When your teams are heavily siloed, it’s not hard to see how they get to this mindset — after all, if your marketing metrics look strong, they’ve done their part, right?

Not necessarily. 

The job of a marketer is not to drive traffic or even leads. The job of the marketer is to create messaging and offers that lead to revenue. Marketing is not a 100-meter sprint — it’s a relay race. The marketing team runs the first leg and hands the baton to sales to sprint to the finish.

​​

via GIPHY

To make leads valuable beyond the vanity metric of watching your MQLs tick up, you need to segment and nurture them. Screen the leads to see if they meet the parameters of your ideal customer profile. If yes, nurture them to find out how close their intent is to a sale. Only then should you pass the leads to sales. 

Lead Quality Control is a Bitter Pill that Works

Tighter quality control might reduce your overall MQLs. Still, it will ensure only the relevant leads go to sales, which is a win for your team and your organization.

This shift will require a mindset shift for your marketing team: instead of living and dying by the sheer number of MQLs, you need to create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing. Reinforce that “strong” marketing metrics that result in poor leads going to sales aren’t really strong at all.  

When you foster this culture of collaboration and accountability, it will be easier for the marketing team to receive feedback from sales about lead quality without getting defensive. 

Remember, the sales team is only holding marketing accountable so the entire organization can achieve the right results. It’s not sales vs marketing — it’s sales and marketing working together to get a great result. Nothing more, nothing less. 

We’ve identified the problem and where we need to go. So, how you do you get there?

Fix #1: Focus On High ROI Marketing Activities First

What is more valuable to you:

  • One more blog post for a few more views? 
  • One great review that prospective buyers strongly relate to?

Hopefully, you’ll choose the latter. After all, talking to customers and getting a solid testimonial can help your sales team close leads today.  Current customers talking about their previous issues, the other solutions they tried, why they chose you, and the results you helped them achieve is marketing gold.

On the other hand, even the best blog content will take months to gain enough traction to impact your revenue.

Still, many marketers who say they want to prioritize customer reviews focus all their efforts on blog content and other “top of the funnel” (Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation) efforts. 

The bottom half of the growth marketing funnel (Retention, Reputation, and Revenue) often gets ignored, even though it’s where you’ll find some of the highest ROI activities.

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Most marketers know retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But knowing this and working with sales on retention and account expansion are two different things. 

When you start focusing on retention, upselling, and expansion, your entire organization will feel it, from sales to customer success. These happier customers will increase your average account value and drive awareness through strong word of mouth, giving you one heck of a win/win.

Winning the Retention, Reputation, and Referral game also helps feed your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities:

  • Increasing customer retention means more dollars stay within your organization to help achieve revenue goals and fund lead gen initiatives.
  • A fully functioning referral system lowers your customer acquisition cost (CAC) because these leads are already warm coming in the door.
  • Case studies and reviews are powerful marketing assets for lead gen and nurture activities as they demonstrate how you’ve solved identical issues for other companies.

Remember that the bottom half of your marketing and sales funnel is just as important as the top half. After all, there’s no point pouring leads into a leaky funnel. Instead, you want to build a frictionless, powerful growth engine that brings in the right leads, nurtures them into customers, and then delights those customers to the point that they can’t help but rave about you.

So, build a strong foundation and start from the bottom up. You’ll find a better return on your investment. 

Fix #2: Join Sales Calls to Better Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t market well what you don’t know how to sell.

Your sales team speaks directly to customers, understands their pain points, and knows the language they use to talk about those pains. Your marketing team needs this information to craft the perfect marketing messaging your target audience will identify with.

When marketers join sales calls or speak to existing customers, they get firsthand introductions to these pain points. Often, marketers realize that customers’ pain points and reservations are very different from those they address in their messaging. 

Once you understand your ideal customers’ objections, anxieties, and pressing questions, you can create content and messaging to remove some of these reservations before the sales call. This effort removes a barrier for your sales team, resulting in more SQLs.

Fix #3: Create Collateral That Closes Deals

One-pagers, landing pages, PDFs, decks — sales collateral could be anything that helps increase the chance of closing a deal. Let me share an example from Lean Labs. 

Our webinar page has a CTA form that allows visitors to talk to our team. Instead of a simple “get in touch” form, we created a drop-down segmentation based on the user’s challenge and need. This step helps the reader feel seen, gives them hope that they’ll receive real value from the interaction, and provides unique content to users based on their selection.

1716755163 298 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 298 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

So, if they select I need help with crushing it on HubSpot, they’ll get a landing page with HubSpot-specific content (including a video) and a meeting scheduler. 

Speaking directly to your audience’s needs and pain points through these steps dramatically increases the chances of them booking a call. Why? Because instead of trusting that a generic “expert” will be able to help them with their highly specific problem, they can see through our content and our form design that Lean Labs can solve their most pressing pain point. 

Fix #4: Focus On Reviews and Create an Impact Loop

A lot of people think good marketing is expensive. You know what’s even more expensive? Bad marketing

To get the best ROI on your marketing efforts, you need to create a marketing machine that pays for itself. When you create this machine, you need to think about two loops: the growth loop and the impact loop.

1716755163 789 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 789 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To
  • Growth loop — Awareness ➡ Acquisition ➡ Activation ➡ Revenue ➡ Awareness: This is where most marketers start. 
  • Impact loop — Results ➡ Reviews ➡ Retention ➡ Referrals ➡ Results: This is where great marketers start. 

Most marketers start with their growth loop and then hope that traction feeds into their impact loop. However, the reality is that starting with your impact loop is going to be far more likely to set your marketing engine up for success

Let me share a client story to show you what this looks like in real life.

Client Story: 4X Website Leads In A Single Quarter

We partnered with a health tech startup looking to grow their website leads. One way to grow website leads is to boost organic traffic, of course, but any organic play is going to take time. If you’re playing the SEO game alone, quadrupling conversions can take up to a year or longer.

But we did it in a single quarter. Here’s how.

We realized that the startup’s demos were converting lower than industry standards. A little more digging showed us why: our client was new enough to the market that the average person didn’t trust them enough yet to want to invest in checking out a demo. So, what did we do?

We prioritized the last part of the funnel: reputation.

We ran a 5-star reputation campaign to collect reviews. Once we had the reviews we needed, we showcased them at critical parts of the website and then made sure those same reviews were posted and shown on other third-party review platforms. 

Remember that reputation plays are vital, and they’re one of the plays startups often neglect at best and ignore at worst. What others say about your business is ten times more important than what you say about yourself

By providing customer validation at critical points in the buyer journey, we were able to 4X the website leads in a single quarter!

1716755164 910 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755164 910 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

So, when you talk to customers, always look for opportunities to drive review/referral conversations and use them in marketing collateral throughout the buyer journey. 

Fix #5: Launch Phantom Offers for Higher Quality Leads 

You may be reading this post thinking, okay, my lead magnets and offers might be way off the mark, but how will I get the budget to create a new one that might not even work?

It’s an age-old issue: marketing teams invest way too much time and resources into creating lead magnets that fail to generate quality leads

One way to improve your chances of success, remain nimble, and stay aligned with your audience without breaking the bank is to create phantom offers, i.e., gauge the audience interest in your lead magnet before you create them.

For example, if you want to create a “World Security Report” for Chief Security Officers, don’t do all the research and complete the report as Step One. Instead, tease the offer to your audience before you spend time making it. Put an offer on your site asking visitors to join the waitlist for this report. Then wait and see how that phantom offer converts. 

This is precisely what we did for a report by Allied Universal that ended up generating 80 conversions before its release.

1716755164 348 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755164 348 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

The best thing about a phantom offer is that it’s a win/win scenario: 

  • Best case: You get conversions even before you create your lead magnet.
  • Worst case: You save resources by not creating a lead magnet no one wants.  

Remember, You’re On The Same Team 

We’ve talked a lot about the reasons your marketing leads might suck. However, remember that it’s not all on marketers, either. At the end of the day, marketing and sales professionals are on the same team. They are not in competition with each other. They are allies working together toward a common goal. 

Smaller companies — or anyone under $10M in net new revenue — shouldn’t even separate sales and marketing into different departments. These teams need to be so in sync with one another that your best bet is to align them into a single growth team, one cohesive front with a single goal: profitable customer acquisition.

Interested in learning more about the growth marketing mindset? Check out the Lean Labs Growth Playbook that’s helped 25+ B2B SaaS marketing teams plan, budget, and accelerate growth.


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How to Buy Ads on Netflix: Specs & Tactics for Marketers

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How to Buy Ads on Netflix: Specs & Tactics for Marketers

Streaming


By Emily Sullivan

Netflix, the streaming giant known for binge-watching and award-winning originals, sent shockwaves through the industry in 2022 by announcing an ad-supported tier. This move was likely fueled by a desire to reach new audiences, combat rising subscription costs, and potentially even fend off competition from other OTT platforms. These ads could lead to strong growth potential with advertisers eager to tap into Netflix’s massive user base. 

If you’re unfamiliar with how Netflix works, it’s important to know that Netflix is an OTT (Over-the-Top) platform, meaning it delivers streaming content directly over the internet, bypassing traditional cable or satellite providers. It’s one of the most popular OTT platforms globally, but in the ad supported video on demand (AVOD) space, Netflix is a relative newcomer. Understanding this new facet of Netflix is crucial for marketers looking to capitalize on this advertising opportunity.

Interested in learning more about Netflix and its advertising offerings? You came to the right place. In this post, we’ll cover the foundational elements of Netflix ads including ad types, specs, advertising best practices, and more. 

Why Did Netflix Start Offering Ads?

In November 2022, Netflix introduced an ad-supported tier. This move marked a significant shift, as Netflix was previously known for its commitment to an ad-free experience. The decision likely stemmed from a desire to tap into new revenue streams. With consumers increasingly cost-conscious, an ad-supported tier provided a way to attract budget-minded viewers while still offering a premium ad-free option, similar to established AVOD providers like Hulu and Peacock.

Initially, the launch was off to a slower start, with few people signing up for the ad supported tier and Netflix failing to meet guarantees, but things are quickly turning around and savvy advertisers are taking notice. Netflix boasts a massive user base, with roughly 270 million paid subscribers – a household name with immense reach. In fact, 40% of new Netflix sign-ups are choosing the ad-supported tier, translating to a total of 40 million users. Netflix’s ad platform presents a unique opportunity for marketers looking to reach a large and engaged audience.

“Our goal isn’t just to offer the same products and tools the industry has come to expect — although we’ve made a lot of progress on that front over the last year. It’s to build something bigger and better than what exists today. We want to shape the future of advertising on Netflix and help marketers tap into the amazing fandom generated by our must-watch shows and movies.”

Amy ReinhardPresident, Advertising at Netflix

How to Start Advertising on Netflix

So, you’re interested in capitalizing on Netflix’s massive audience? Here’s a breakdown of the three main ways to buy ads on their platform:

1. Netflix Ads Manager

This platform, powered by Microsoft, allows you to directly purchase ad space on Netflix. However, be prepared to meet their minimum spending requirements, which can be substantial and offer little room for negotiation.

2. Partnering with an Agency

While the minimum spend might be high for direct buys, streaming agencies like Tinuiti can be a valuable asset. They can not only help you navigate the intricacies of Netflix advertising, but also:

  • Consolidate Streaming Data: The streaming landscape is fragmented, with viewers spread across multiple platforms. Agencies can collect data from these various platforms and turn it into a unified, actionable strategy for your advertising campaign.
  • Expertise and Negotiation: Agencies bring a wealth of experience to the table. They can leverage their knowledge of the advertising landscape and potentially negotiate more favorable terms on your behalf.

3. Ad Tech Partners

Companies like Microsoft offer ad tech solutions that provide technical capabilities to streamline your advertising efforts. These partners typically take a more hands-off approach compared to agencies, focusing on the technical aspects of ad delivery and optimization.

The best option depends on your budget, experience level, and campaign goals. If you’re a large brand with a significant budget and an in-house marketing team, going directly through Netflix Ads Manager might be a good fit. However, for most businesses, partnering with an agency or ad tech provider can offer valuable support and expertise.

Ad Types & Specs for Netflix Ads

Now that you understand the different avenues for buying ads on Netflix, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of ad formats and specifications:

Netflix Ad Types

Example of a Netflix Ad Featuring Smartfood and Love is Blind

Currently, Netflix offers two main ad types, pre-roll ads and mid-roll ads. Netflix notes that users can expect to see a few short ads per hour and that they aim to place ads during natural plot breaks for a more seamless experience.   

Let’s take a look at each option… 

  • Pre-roll Ads: These commercials play before a program or movie begins, similar to traditional linear TV advertising.
  • Mid-roll Ads: These ads appear in the middle of a program, typically inserted during natural breaks in the content.

During paused playback, ad breaks are displayed on the progress bar. As an ad break begins, the upper-right corner reveals the number of ads included in that break.

While Netflix advertising is fairly new, the platform has made a few important announcements to look out for in 2024. Netflix plans to introduce a new binge ad format for global advertisers, offering viewers an ad-free fourth episode after watching three consecutive episodes. Additionally, QR code integration in U.S. advertising will launch early in the year. Sponsorship opportunities, including Title, Moment, and Live Sponsorships, are also now available in the U.S. and will expand globally in 2024.

Netflix also offers live opportunities including WWE Raw (launching January 2025), which will air live on Netflix 52 weeks of the year, and the NFL Christmas games which Netflix just secured the rights to. These live events provide advertisers the opportunity to reach ad and ad-free members of Netflix in a live environment with traditional ad formats.

Last but not least, Netflix recently announced they are adding Pause Ads to their suite of custom ad units. This is currently in beta and is expected to be rolled out to the general marketplace in H2 2024.

Netflix Ad Specs

When it comes to advertising specs, it’s important to follow Netflix’s guidelines which include the following… 

  • Supported Lengths: Netflix accepts ads in 10, 15, 20, 30, and 60-second durations.
  • File Format: Ads must be submitted in MP4 or MOV format.
  • Aspect Ratio & Resolution: Maintain a 16:9 aspect ratio and a resolution of either 1920×1080 HD or 1280×720 HD.
  • QR Codes on the Horizon: Netflix is preparing to support QR code integration within commercials, allowing viewers to seamlessly access additional information or promotions.

Hot Tip: Stay tuned for updates, as Netflix is constantly evolving its ad platform.

Why Advertise on Netflix?

Advertising on Netflix offers several unique advantages for advertisers including… 

  • Massive Reach – Netflix boasts a massive subscriber base worldwide (globally, there were around 270 million Netflix subscribers in Q1 2024), providing advertisers with access to a vast and diverse audience. These viewers are often highly engaged, spending significant time on the platform consuming content. In fact, Over 70% of Netflix’s ad-supported members watch for more than 10 hours a month – which is 15 percentage points higher than the nearest competitor according to Nielsen.
  • Targeting – Netflix collects extensive data on user preferences and behavior, enabling precise targeting of advertisements based on demographics, interests, viewing history, and more. This targeted approach increases the relevance and effectiveness of ads, maximizing ROI for advertisers (more on this below).
  • Global Reach and Localization – With a presence in numerous countries around the world, Netflix offers advertisers the opportunity to reach audiences on a global scale. Additionally, the platform’s localization capabilities enable tailored advertising campaigns to resonate with specific regional or cultural audiences.
  • Unskippable Ads – Unlike some streaming advertising platforms, Netflix ads are unskippable, guaranteeing your message reaches viewers.
  • Positive User Experience – Netflix prioritizes a positive user experience, so it’s unlikely viewers will see the same ad twice in a single episode. However, there’s a chance you might encounter the same ad later during your viewing session. It’s also important to note that children’s profiles maintain their ad-free experience.
  • Ad Delivery & Blocking – Since ads are delivered server-side, ad blockers are ineffective on Netflix. Additionally, playback automatically pauses if you minimize the window while an ad is playing, ensuring your message is seen.

Best Practices When Advertising on Netflix

When advertising on Netflix, it’s essential to understand the platform’s unique capabilities and audience targeting options to maximize the effectiveness of your campaigns. Check out a few best practices you need to consider… 

Explore Audience Targeting Capabilities

Netflix offers several audience targeting capabilities for advertisers on their ad-supported tier. These capabilities focus on three main areas: demographics, viewing habits, and content context. Here’s a breakdown:

Demographics:

  • Age: Advertisers can target users by age groups, like 18-34, 35+, etc.
  • Gender: Ads can be shown to specific genders (male or female).
  • Location: Targeting can be set by country or even state (in the U.S.).

Viewing Habits:

  • Genre: This lets advertisers target users based on the genres they watch, like comedy, drama, action, etc.

Content Context:

  • Top 10: Ads can be placed before or after shows and movies on Netflix’s daily Top 10 list, ensuring high visibility.

Advertisers also have the option to choose where they don’t want their ads to appear. For example, they can avoid showing ads on programs with mature themes or content that may not align with their brand values.

By using a combination of these targeting options, advertisers can reach a more precise audience interested in their product or service. This increases the ad’s relevance to viewers and potentially improves the ad campaign’s effectiveness.

It’s also important to note that Netflix now has the ability to target advertiser first party data. The platform currently has two approved DMPs: Liveramp or Adobe. Advertisers who work with either of these DMPs can upload first party data for targeting or suppression.

It’s important to note that Netflix’s ad targeting is still evolving. While it doesn’t offer some of the more advanced options found on other platforms, they are working on expanding their capabilities.

Test Your Ad Creative

Just like any other marketing campaign, testing your ad creative on Netflix is vital for optimizing performance. Here are some key reasons to test your ads:

  • Discover What Works: Testing allows you to compare different ad variations and identify which elements resonate most with your target audience. This could involve testing variations in messaging, visuals, calls to action, or even ad length.
  • Data-Driven Decisions: Testing provides valuable data and insights. You can track metrics like click-through rates, completion rates, and brand recall to see which ad versions generate the best results. Don’t rely on guesswork. Testing helps you move beyond assumptions and identify what truly connects with viewers.
  • Meet Audience Expectations: Netflix viewers anticipate premium content, including ads. Testing ad creative ensures that your commercials meet these expectations by delivering high-quality, engaging content that resonates with the audience.
  • Optimize Performance: Testing allows you to refine your ad creative to achieve optimal performance. By experimenting with different elements such as messaging, visuals, and calls to action, you can identify the most effective combinations that drive engagement and conversion.
  • Enhance Relevance: Testing helps ensure that your ad creative remains relevant to your target audience. By continuously testing and refining your approach, you can adapt to changing consumer preferences and market trends, ensuring that your ads stay impactful and resonant.
  • Maximize ROI: Effective testing enables you to make data-driven decisions that maximize ROI. By identifying and scaling the best-performing ad creative, you can allocate your advertising budget more efficiently and achieve greater results.

Measure and Analyze Your Results

Netflix doesn’t offer 1:1 conversion measurement for ad buyers (yet) – but they do have brand awareness and lift studies they offer advertisers so keep this in mind when measuring and analyzing your results. 

The platform did recently announce that this summer, Netflix will expand its buying capabilities to include The Trade Desk, Google’s Display & Video 360, and Magnite who will join Microsoft as the main programmatic partners for advertisers.

Starting in the second half of 2024, Netflix just announced that the following third party measurement partners (partnering to measure and verify the impact of advertiser campaigns) will also be added: Affinity Solutions, iSpotTV, NCSolutions, Videoamp, DCM and TVision.

They also announced Netflix will launch an in-house advertising technology platform, by the end of 2025. This will give advertisers new ways to buy, new insights to leverage, and new ways to measure impact. 

Is Netflix Advertising Right For Your Brand?

Overall, Netflix advertising offers the unparalleled reach of a massive, highly-engaged audience. This can be a strategic choice for brands seeking broad awareness and brand association with premium content.

If you’re interested in exploring advertising opportunities on Netflix for your brand, consider reaching out to the Tinuiti team. Our expertise can provide guidance and assistance in navigating the complexities of advertising on the platform, maximizing your campaign’s effectiveness and ROI. 

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to showcase your brand on one of the world’s largest streaming platforms—connect with Tinuiti today to get started.

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Xngage and HawkSearch join forces with a powerful connector

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Xngage and HawkSearch join forces with a powerful connector

The bar has been set by the industry leaders in UX and Merchandising, and our customers have stated their claim clearly – “to grow our market share, we must have an enterprise search experience that drives conversions.

Optimizely offers baseline search experiences within our commerce platform, which are designed to help companies get started with organizing and delivering SKUs to customers. These experiences utilize out-of-the-box algorithms and methods for sorting, categorizing, and customizing.

While Optimizely provides a foundation for search experiences, we knew there were users ready to take their search capabilities to the next level. This is where the Xngage and HawkSearch partnership promises to redefine how you approach search-driven experiences within Optimizely Configured Commerce. Our highly experienced partner Xngage has developed a seamless integration connector, a best-in-class accelerator for harnessing the power of HawkSearch.

The powerful partner in search

HawkSearch is known for its expertise in search-driven engagement, AI-powered product discovery, and no-code customizations. With a strong history of serving B2B customers with enterprise-level search solutions, it was a perfect choice to make HawkSearch directly available within Optimizely’s platform.

The expertise of Xngage made this connector a reality enabling Optimizely’s Configured Commerce customers to:

  • Easily plug directly into the HawkSearch service to share your products and their relevant data.
  • Utilize powerful unit of measure conversions, ensuring your customers can find exactly what they’re looking for.
  • Customize sorting and facets to deliver highly relevant results to customers.
  • Craft a personalized user experience with features like auto-complete and the new ‘instant engage’.

Customers can further explore HawkSearch’s capabilities in this on demand webinar and recap, which highlights the benefits and use cases of the Xngage connector for HawkSearch.

A powerful partner in digital growth

Xngage complements Optimizely perfectly, as they deliver robust solutions in the realm of digital content and commerce experiences. The development of the Xngage connector to HawkSearch is a part of their broader mission to empower manufacturers and distributors to serve their customers digitally. This alignment seamlessly fits with Optimizely, making our partnership with Xngage an ideal choice. 

Furthering their goal of digital growth, Xngage offers a range of holistic and complementary professional services, including:

  • User research & user experience design (UX)
  • Enterprise architecture & ERP integration
  • Product information management (PIM)
  • Ecommerce Implementations, and digital growth services.

To learn more about this highly experienced digital commerce partner visit Xngage.com.

The future of the partnership

This partnership is just the beginning. Xngage and HawkSearch are committed to working hand in hand to empower you with the tools and insights you need to elevate your ecommerce site. Stay tuned for future blogs, webinars, and resources that will help you make the most of this transformative alliance.

The future of ecommerce search has never looked more promising, and we’re excited to have you on this journey with us.

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