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The Marketer’s Ultimate Guide to Link Bait

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The Marketer's Ultimate Guide to Link Bait

Can we please come up with some better terminology for the concept of “link bait”? For me, it conjures up thoughts of those evil bait-and-switch advertising schemes.

But I’m going to say it loud and proud — “Not all link bait is bad!” There is a right and wrong way to use link bait, and, when done correctly, marketers can drive more traffic to their content without alienating their audience

Here, we’ll cover what link baiting entails, its benefits, and how to do it the right way. Let’s dive in.

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Table of Contents

What is link bait?

The Benefits of Link Baiting

How to Do Link Bait Correctly

Whether link baiting is good or bad depends on how it’s executed, along with the intentions behind it. For instance, it can quickly go awry when marketers use deceptive tactics to drive clicks to content that lacks genuine value.

For Matt Cutts, former Engineer at Google, link bait is “something interesting enough to catch people’s attention, and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.”

Again, the key is to combine link baiting with high-quality, valuable, and credible content. You want people to click on your blog and read until the last sentence.

Brian Clark of Copyblogger believes that link bait is “just a sexy term for high-quality content that benefits the reader,” even if he does admit that the term is pretty “inelegant.” And I’m sure most experts would agree.

Let’s talk about why link bait is so effective, how it can benefit your marketing, and how you can approach creating top-notch link bait content that your readers love and value.

The Benefits of Link Baiting

Link bait content can be extremely beneficial to your marketing. Here are three powerful reasons why:

1. Increased search rankings.

Because link bait content is so interesting, it’s usually very effective for generating inbound links (remember, it’s called link bait for a reason). After all, people are way more likely to link back to something if they find it interesting.

As a result, link bait content is extremely powerful for boosting your website’s off-page SEO, which we know is the most influential way to increase your organic search rankings.

As you’re creating content you predict will make great link bait, be sure you’re optimizing it using the keywords you want to rank for in search. This will help you leverage your link bait content to boost your rankings for the keywords you want to get found for in search.

2. More traffic and conversion opportunities.

Because link bait content is interesting, there’s usually a level of virality to it. As a result, link bait content is also usually a major traffic driver.

The more traffic you generate to your blog or website, the more visitors you have the opportunity to convert into leads and customers. So, make sure your blog is optimized for conversion: use calls-to-action for your top marketing offers on every blog post as well as in your blog’s top/sidebar(s). 

As a bonus, because link bait content has the tendency to rank well in search, the traffic it generates is usually very sustainable. Searchers will continue to stumble upon your link bait content long after it was originally published. 

3. Exposure to new audiences.

Remember how we talked about how link-bait content is usually very sharable? Because this is so, link bait has a lot of potential to expose your business and your content to entirely new audiences you might not have reached otherwise. Thus, it helps you grow the top of your funnel, expanding your reach and attracting new blog readers.

How to Do Link Bait Correctly

As we mentioned earlier, what any given marketer considers to be link bait is going to vary from business to business, industry to industry, and audience to audience.

The key is to experiment with ideas you suspect will be successful for your particular blog, regularly conduct analyses like the one I did above, and learn from what tends to work as link bait for you.

And just like setting out to create something that will definitely absolutely “go viral” is unrealistic, setting out to create link bait is never a given. The best you can do is emulate the qualities of content that have typically led to tons of inbound links and traffic for you in the past.

Here are some ideas to get you going, each accompanied by successful link bait examples from the HubSpot blog:

1. Original, Striking Data

Publishing original data is not only a great tactic for earning media coverage – it can also make great link bait fodder.

If you’re a business that has access to original data that you can analyze to expose, add to, or refute an industry topic or trend, take advantage of it! If not, maybe there’s an opportunity to partner with a research firm instead.

HubSpot examples:

2. Controversial Content

Who doesn’t love a little heated debate? Controversial content usually garners a lot of attention, so if you have an opinion on a controversial issue, you might have some link bait fodder on your hands.

Your content doesn’t even have to be centered around a radical opinion to leverage the power of controversy, either; it could just present a bit of data that refutes a common assumption your audience might have.

Just don’t go overboard with the controversy (you do still want to be likeable, right?), and don’t be controversial just for the sake of being controversial. Make sure you’re passionate about the stance you’re taking, and always try to lean on data to back up your claims, like the post below does.

HubSpot examples:

3. Being the Most Comprehensive (Or First) Resource on a Popular Topic

Taking a topic you know performs well on your blog and publishing the most comprehensive post about it on the web (or at least attempting to) can make for a great link bait win.

Is there a popular topic in your industry that few have written about (or written about well) where you see an opportunity? Jump on it! Even better if you can be one of the first to produce comprehensive content on a trending topic.

HubSpot examples:

4. Visual Content

Visual content is all the rage in marketing these days, especially when it comes to social media marketing. It’s no wonder why it makes excellent link bait content.

Visual content doesn’t have to take the form of infographics to be link bait-friendly. Sometimes posts that compile a list of awesome visuals (like the example below) can work out just as well. Other types of visual link-bait content you can create include cartoons or content/concept visualizations .

HubSpot examples:

5. Content That’s Creative, Entertaining, or Fun

This content goes far because it’s usually easy to consume, great fodder for sharing, quick to scan, requires little thought (on your readers’ end), and well … it’s FUN! Think music videos or just content that leverages pop culture references or emerging, mainstreamed trends, like our example below.

HubSpot examples:

6. A Title People Simply Can’t Help Themselves From Clicking (Accompanied by Awesome Content)

Don’t gloss over the text within those parentheses. The important thing to remember is that your content must live up to its title; otherwise, it won’t achieve link bait status. If your title is overly sensational and hyperbolic, yet the content it alludes to is barely average, you’ll undermine your credibility and lose readers’ interest in your content altogether.

HubSpot examples:

Back to You

By now, you should be pretty convinced that link bait isn’t always some evil, black-hat marketing tactic you need to avoid like the plague. But that doesn’t mean all link bait is high quality, or that you can’t abuse it. After all, link bait had to get its bad rap from somewhere, right?

Before you set off to create a piece of content you think will make great link bait, make sure your answer to the question, “Will my audience still find this valuable?” is “Absolutely!” And remember, there is such a thing as ‘entertainment value,’ too.

Furthermore, think of your blog as a well-balanced diet. If you feed your blog readers the same diet of lean meat, hearty grains, and nutritious vegetables all the time and deny them any sort of dessert (or variety), they might also start looking for a new chef.

So go ahead — give your readers some candy every once in a while. Just don’t give them too much, or their teeth will rot.

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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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