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Start With Content To Deliver a Successful Integrated Marketing Strategy

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Start With Content To Deliver a Successful Integrated Marketing Strategy

Are your content and marketing integrated?

No one can argue content marketing is an increasingly important part of marketing. Content teams routinely take more and more responsibility. You take on thought leadership and the many assets necessary to support marketing and communications. But what doesn’t come along as quickly is the integration to make a more strategic approach.

In our consulting work, I see increasing confusion across marketing teams (well, it may have been there all the time, but awareness is on the rise now). They wonder what should come first, the content or the campaign.

In other words, when defining a campaign, do you build the promotion around the content assets to be created? Or do you design the promotion and then assemble a bill of content assets to support it?

Wait a minute. Does it matter which comes first?

It does, actually, but I’ll come back to that. The more pressing challenge arises from a fundamental lack of process or definition about campaigns and content – how they are used and whether content leads or follows the strategy. Put simply: No integrated marketing communication exists.

If you don’t have an integrated #marketing strategy, it doesn’t matter whether the campaign or #content comes first, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Product marketing campaign or thought leadership content?

We work with an enterprise consulting firm where the content team struggles to keep up with the work, and measurement is almost impossible to gauge. The product managers for the various services design multichannel promotional marketing campaigns that need content assets. The challenge comes when product managers change the campaign plans – submitted at the beginning of the fiscal year – four or five times in the months before the launch. Even if the content team knew (and they don’t) on Jan. 1 all the content assets required for the year, they can’t create them until they are needed because they know the requirements will change, and much of any early efforts would be wasted.

Likewise, outside of those product promotional campaign contributions, the content team builds strategic thought leadership, such as e-books, white papers, and webinars. They work (or attempt to) with other teams to design thought leadership campaigns that give these assets proper distribution and promotion. While these campaigns change less because they only focus on one asset, they are often siloed or launched in a way that conflicts with another major promotion. Therefore, these thought leadership pieces don’t get nearly the traction or share of attention that the content team wants.

The result: The organization sees high-quality (and expensive) e-books and white papers as distractions from product marketing campaigns. It just doesn’t see the return. And the content team often rushes through the assets to support the product team’s marketing campaigns based on thinking, “what can we do in time to meet the deadline” vs. “what should be done.” As a result, product marketing campaigns often are of lower quality but get a lot of promotion.

Nobody is happy.


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What the heck is a campaign anyway

When businesses experience this challenge, two immediate reactions happen. First, they say the product marketing teams shouldn’t change their campaigns, which would give the content team more time.

Or they want to make the content team responsible only for creating content assets that support the product marketing teams’ campaigns. Then, the separate thought leadership content campaigns wouldn’t distract them, and those great thought leadership assets could support the product campaign.

Funny how neither of those reactions ever seems to work out.

The better – and more effective – reaction redefines what campaigns are and how they are planned and prioritized.

First, you must agree on the definitions of a “campaign.” They can be unique to your organization and cover different types or classes of campaigns, but you must all use common definitions.

Your organization must have common definitions of “campaign” to better plan and prioritize the integrated #marketing strategy, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Is a campaign a series of messages distributed over time that share a single idea and theme which make up your integrated marketing? In other words, is a campaign like when you have a new product launch, construct multiple ads, events, content assets, and a media plan, and distribute them on multiple channels over two quarters? Or is a campaign when you have a white paper and do a series of email blasts and promotions on social media for a month? Or is it something in between? You can see how one definition can differ significantly from another.

Most likely, you will account for different classes of campaigns. This is good. Do that. Do you have a tiered system of campaigns (gold, silver, bronze)? Or is it just more descriptive (fully integrated campaign vs. thought leadership campaign vs. brand campaign)? The key is to determine the clear – and company-wide understood – definitions of these things.

Integrated communication starts with content

More importantly, if you have this challenge, you need to change how the content and campaign planning process starts. It should begin at one shared point rather than in service to one team or the other.

In other words, as product marketers or demand generation teams plot the themes and campaigns for the next quarter or fiscal year, the content team should participate in the discussion and planning process – and vice versa.

Put simply: You need to relearn the lessons of integrated marketing communications.

We lost a great thinker in 2020. Don E. Schultz, professor emeritus of service at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, was considered the father of the practice of integrated marketing communications (IMC). I was proud to get to know him a little when he spoke at Content Marketing World in 2013.

He spoke about IMC in a way you won’t find today. If you search for integrated marketing communications, you’re likely to find most definitions speak to the process of getting a unified message across multiple channels – “unifying brand messages.”

Those results aren’t wrong, but they miss the most critical components of how Professor Schultz defined it:

Integrated marketing communication is a strategic business process used to plan, develop, execute, and evaluate coordinated, measurable, persuasive brand communication programs over time.

In other words, it’s easy enough to align your messages so that everybody says the same thing. Simply dig through that shared folder on the server for the “brand messaging” presentation. It’s quite another to create a process where you can develop, execute, and coordinate your messaging in the same way.

It’s easy to align your brand message so that everybody says the same thing. It’s harder – and necessary – to develop, execute, and coordinate your messaging, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Planning starts with content. The story. The message. To realize an integrated communications strategy, pull everyone forward to plan and align on the content to create. Then, you can coordinate that content into well-coordinated packages. You may call them campaigns, content efforts, or initiatives, but as long as you agree, you can align them.

If you do that well, campaigns can change at the 11th hour. It’s not that there won’t be implications to that change. But they will be for all of you, not just the teams downstream of the change. The alignment allows for agreement and designates the relative importance of a simple effort to distribute a white paper well (It might be the keystone to the entire integrated campaign) and the expensive, integrated product marketing campaign that follows it.

In IMC, The Next Generation: Five Steps for Delivering Value and Measuring Returns Using Marketing Communications, Professor Shultz begins the last chapter by talking about the future of IMC and the barriers to advancing it. In order, they include resistance to change, organizational structures, capabilities and control, and marketing planning systems.

He knew for integration to happen, the planning needed to come from one common place – a place where content and marketing integrate into one communications strategy.

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries

Watch previous episodes or read the lightly edited transcripts.

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

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples [2024 Update]

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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples

Introduction

With billions of users each month, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and top website for video content. This makes it a great place for advertising. To succeed, advertisers need to follow the correct YouTube ad specifications. These rules help your ad reach more viewers, increasing the chance of gaining new customers and boosting brand awareness.

Types of YouTube Ads

Video Ads

  • Description: These play before, during, or after a YouTube video on computers or mobile devices.
  • Types:
    • In-stream ads: Can be skippable or non-skippable.
    • Bumper ads: Non-skippable, short ads that play before, during, or after a video.

Display Ads

  • Description: These appear in different spots on YouTube and usually use text or static images.
  • Note: YouTube does not support display image ads directly on its app, but these can be targeted to YouTube.com through Google Display Network (GDN).

Companion Banners

  • Description: Appears to the right of the YouTube player on desktop.
  • Requirement: Must be purchased alongside In-stream ads, Bumper ads, or In-feed ads.

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Resemble videos with images, headlines, and text. They link to a public or unlisted YouTube video.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that play outside of YouTube, on websites and apps within the Google video partner network.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: Premium, high-visibility banner ads displayed at the top of the YouTube homepage for both desktop and mobile users.

YouTube Ad Specs by Type

Skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Placement: Before, during, or after a YouTube video.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
    • Action: 15-20 seconds

Non-skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Description: Must be watched completely before the main video.
  • Length: 15 seconds (or 20 seconds in certain markets).
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1

Bumper Ads

  • Length: Maximum 6 seconds.
  • File Format: MP4, Quicktime, AVI, ASF, Windows Media, or MPEG.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 640 x 360px
    • Vertical: 480 x 360px

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Show alongside YouTube content, like search results or the Home feed.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
  • Headline/Description:
    • Headline: Up to 2 lines, 40 characters per line
    • Description: Up to 2 lines, 35 characters per line

Display Ads

  • Description: Static images or animated media that appear on YouTube next to video suggestions, in search results, or on the homepage.
  • Image Size: 300×60 pixels.
  • File Type: GIF, JPG, PNG.
  • File Size: Max 150KB.
  • Max Animation Length: 30 seconds.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that appear on websites and apps within the Google video partner network, not on YouTube itself.
  • Logo Specs:
    • Square: 1:1 (200 x 200px).
    • File Type: JPG, GIF, PNG.
    • Max Size: 200KB.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: High-visibility ads at the top of the YouTube homepage.
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 or higher.
  • File Type: JPG or PNG (without transparency).

Conclusion

YouTube offers a variety of ad formats to reach audiences effectively in 2024. Whether you want to build brand awareness, drive conversions, or target specific demographics, YouTube provides a dynamic platform for your advertising needs. Always follow Google’s advertising policies and the technical ad specs to ensure your ads perform their best. Ready to start using YouTube ads? Contact us today to get started!

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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