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The Ultimate Guide for Creating Diversity-Friendly Ads

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The Ultimate Guide for Creating Diversity-Friendly Ads

Introduction

We live in the most diverse and multicultural times in the history of the world. Technology has helped people migrate from different countries with much more ease than ever before. In the United States alone, it is estimated that by 2044 the sum population of all minorities will surpass the population of white Americans.

Any savvy businessman or marketer knows that this means their brand needs to adapt fast or be prepared to get left behind.

We hope, with this article, to help your business transition its online advertising into a more diversified one.

Diversity in Ad Campaigns is a No-brainer

Diversity in Population is Growing Fast

According to Maryville University, current data shows that growth among racial and ethnic minority groups is outpacing that of Caucasians, indicating that America is becoming more diverse.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2020, nearly four out of every ten Americans identify as belonging to a racial or ethnic group other than white, implying that the white population will have decreased for the first time in the country’s history during the 2010-2020 decade. Furthermore, another U.S. Census Bureau mentions that more than half of Americans will belong to minority groups by 2044.

Minority Consumers Relate With Brands That Understand Them

In a recent survey held among American Muslim consumers, 400 out of 400 respondents reacted to the statement “(a) I am a Muslim and (b) my choice of a brand or product is influenced by how Muslim-friendly it is”, with a “yes” for both “(a)” and “(b)”. Furthermore, in another survey, “Up to 83% of people pointed to better representing modern society as the reason marketing campaigns were impactful in a positive way”. Also, 70% of Gen Z consumers trust brands that show diversity in their advertisements.

Businesses have no choice but to update their promotional assets from a marketing standpoint. Since advertisements are at the forefront of brand efforts, diversity must be represented correctly in ad material. The only way for brands to remain relatable is to provide diverse content for diverse audiences in a way that accurately represents modern society.

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Diversity in Marketing Creates Significant New Revenue Streams

Entering new markets makes it easier to generate new revenue. More diversity and inclusion contribute to a more cohesive society and allow businesses to target new markets and increase response rates with relatable content, benefiting their bottom lines.

According to Heat, a Deloitte-owned research firm, brands with the most representative advertisements saw an average stock gain of 44% during the seven-quarter period that ended in 2018. Consumers preferred brands with the highest diversity ratings by an 83% margin.

Meanwhile, Microsoft Advertising has shown that more inclusive ads have seen 23% more “purchase intent” from Gen Z consumers. Alongside this, 64% of consumers, in a Think With Google poll, said they took action after seeing an advertisement they thought was inclusive or diverse.

How to Add Diversity and Inclusion to Your Marketing

In a very detailed article by Muslim Ad Network, you can read the step-by-step process of creating diversity and inclusion in your marketing campaign. We mention that it all starts with your internal environment: your team, your business culture, and your mentality. Before we go specifically into diversity in your ads, let’s look at some highlights from this article.

Adapting Your Message to the Market

For effective diversity marketing, you must adapt the message to the market rather than adapt the market to the message. So, if you want to communicate with minority consumers, make sure your message does not contradict their values.

Your inclusion marketing campaign must begin with a consideration of the multicultural context. You will need to research not only purchasing habits, but also values, ideals, perceptions, and communication methods.

The Right Knowledge and Combination of People in Your Team

Although your marketing team may not require members from every minority group, you should actively recruit talent from diverse backgrounds or work with external consultants and agencies.

If your marketing team is made up of like-minded individuals who decide that an ad campaign looks good to them without consulting members of the minority group you are targeting, your company is making a big mistake.

Even having members of a minority group on your marketing team may not be sufficient. Aside from soccer rivalries, Latin America, for example, is full of complex relationships. Consider Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. They compete over who makes the best plantain. Imagine making a campaign for Hispanics in general and then mentioning how Dominican plantains are the best in the world.

Connecting to minority consumer groups in real life will also help you gain more knowledge of their preferences. Even more importantly, your brand will gain a reputation and establish connections between your business and community leaders.

Diversity and Inclusion Marketing Audit

For the best results, you must audit your entire marketing infrastructure to see if there are sufficient elements of diversity and inclusion pertaining to:

  1. Marketing teams
  2. Marketing reach
  3. Website images and language
  4. Representation in collateral
  5. Decision-making processes
  6. Content approval
  7. Audience research
  8. Learnings from previous research
  9. Processes of challenging stereotypes
  10. The relatability of stories
  11. Working with communities
  12. Working with influencers

How to Create Diversity-Friendly Ads

Once you’ve optimized as much of your marketing infrastructure as possible for diversity and inclusion, you can begin creating ads that reflect this. Let us now look at how to create ads that promote diversity:

What Your Ads Must Avoid at All Costs

UNICEF Report

The information below is based on UNICEF’s Promoting diversity and inclusion in advertising: a
UNICEF playbook
.

Racial Stereotypes: Black people excel at sports and dance, while Asians excel in STEM subjects.

Ethnic Stereotypes: Jewish people are extremely knowledgeable about finance and Indigenous people dislike wearing clothes.

Cultural Stereotypes: Muslim girls are always oppressed and accents from Europe are appealing, while accents from other parts of the world are amusing.

Cultural Appropriation: In the above-mentioned publication UNICEF describes cultural appropriations as:

“Adoption of icons, rituals, aesthetic standards and behavior from one culture by another. Culture is often appropriated by a dominant group from a minority or subordinate group in terms of social, political, and/or economic status. In this process, significant artifacts and beliefs are
used/exploited without understanding or respecting their original meaning”.

ASA Report

In February 2022, the ASA summary report on tackling harmful racial and ethnic stereotyping in advertising came out. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) UK’s independent advertising regulator explains:

“We have published the findings of a major project which looked at the extent to which portrayal of race or ethnicity in UK ads might give rise to harm or serious offense, including by reinforcing adverse stereotypes”.

The following came to light:

Reinforcement of Existing Stereotypes: The repetition of certain portrayals has the potential to reinforce society’s perceptions of people from minority groups.

Creating new stereotypes: Portrayals of people from BAME (Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic) groups have emerged that can paint a one-dimensional picture of them, particularly in the depiction of family life, relationships, and appearance.

Perpetuating or reinforcing racist attitudes and behaviors: Past trauma related to race or ethnicity could be evoked by advertisements depicting racist behavior or other elements, even when the advertiser was contesting negative stereotypes.

How to Get Your Ads Right

Your ads must reflect what we talked about earlier in the article in the chapter “How to Add Diversity and Inclusion to Your Marketing”. Without the proper internal audit, proper knowledge, hiring the right mix of diverse individuals, and working with external agencies it is going to be very difficult to create ads that speak to minorities. However, once this is established you can use the below checklist to create diversity-friendly ads:

  1. List the minority groups that may relate to your products and those that don’t. It makes no sense to create an ad about your online gambling services and feature Native American characters when they 1) own independent casinos within their reservations and 2) have a higher rate of gambling addiction than the average rate in the general population.
  2. For the minority groups that relate to your products, study their subgroups thoroughly and understand what appeals to the majority of them as you cannot please everybody. For example, if you are a vegan or meat alternative business, find out what speaks to most of the Muslims within the different subgroups.
  3. Just the fact that your product is permissible (halal) for them to consume, may not be enough.
    Staying on the meat alternative example, you would create an ad that depicts family gatherings and cooking together for the Hispanic or Asian community, showing that a great extended family feast is also possible with meat alternatives. Don’t always just do a typical white family (mom, dad, and a kid) type of ad if you want to speak to the minority masses.
  4. Get real native actors and have them speak in their native language too. Whatever you do, don’t use actors from Pakistan, for example, to depict a family from India, even if there is no dialogue in the ad. It is incredible how people from minority groups instinctively know when they are being taken for a ride when it comes to misrepresentation.
  5. If you can afford it make sure you use authentic imagery. The risk of using stock images is that you will be inheriting stereotypes, misrepresentations, and other flaws from them. Original images make for better branding anyway.
  6. Set up an approval process that includes advertisement sensitivity readers. As part of the final process of approval, sensitivity readers – always people with lived experience of prejudice in a minority group – will help you tweak your ad so that it is ready to be published. In extreme cases, they will help you avoid backlashes from the very minority group you want to support and represent in your ads.
  7. If the concept of having a review committee is unrealistic for your company, at the very least have a panel every quarter to give their opinion on the type of ads you will be running for that quarter. Needless to say, it must be made up of enough people from minority groups.
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Conclusion

It’s crunch time for brands. We are in a historical moment of make or break. It’s quite simple, brands that embrace diversity and inclusion in their marketing and advertising will stay relevant and prosper, with all things equal. Brands that do not embrace diversity and inclusion in their marketing and advertising will have a hard time doing well, the stats don’t lie.

However, you can’t just start spitting out diversity and inclusion in your marketing and advertising. You need the right people, knowledge, frameworks, and infrastructure to do it right. Starting with diversity and inclusion in your marketing and advertising in the wrong way can be worse than not starting at all.

We hope that after reading this article you will be able to make the right choices when it comes to diversity and inclusion for your marketing and advertising campaigns.

BIO

Alwi Suleiman has been in marketing since 2006 and has helped several businesses build their marketing strategies. He is the Lead Marketer at Muslim Ad Network, co-author of the Muslim Consumer Guide, and the owner of Content Market King. He is passionate about helping small businesses thrive through online marketing strategies.


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Alternative Search Engines: Why They Matter and How to Rank on Them

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Alternative Search Engines: Why They Matter and How to Rank on Them

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.

12 billion, 3 billion, 1 billion. That’s the number of searches made in some of the top alternative search engines monthly.

While Google still holds more than 80% of the market share, ignoring search engines such as Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo can make you lose out on relevant traffic. So don’t limit yourself to Google’s algorithm as you plan the next year’s SEO strategy.

In order to grow in the digital economy, we have to diversify our efforts. What better way to do that than by making sure that you rank on all the top search engines relevant for your audience?

Generally, there’s two reasons why your audience would choose an alternative search engine over Google: geopolitical reasons and/or privacy concerns.

As such, I’ve categorized the search engines below by global market share and by data privacy.

Top alternative search engines by global market share

When analyzing the global desktop market share of search engines throughout the last decade, there are a few small but mighty search engines that stand out. These are:

1) Bing

2) Yahoo

3) Yandex

4) DuckDuckGo

5) Baidu

These are the engines you want to give extra consideration if you intend to expand internationally. They all have their own unique search algorithms that are in many ways as complex and developed as Google’s.

Why they matter and how to rank on them

If you’re like me a few years ago, a die-hard Apple fan remarkably repulsed by Microsoft’s products (I’ve now converted to the seamless team of PC), you might think prioritizing resources to optimize content for Bing or other engines is a waste of time. What I failed to consider then, and what you might be overlooking, is geographic segmentation.

Do you want to reach the American audience using voice search? Consider Bing.

Are you expanding into China? Check out Baidu.

Each search engine matters because of its unique user types. Regardless of how small that market share might look on a global scale, if there’s regional search volume from your target audience, it’s worth the optimization.

Let’s go through them one by one.

Bing and Yahoo

Screenshot of bing.com, November 2022

Since 2018, Yahoo is exclusively powered by Bing Search. So as long as you rank in Bing, you’ll rank in Yahoo.

Bing Search, in combination with Yahoo, is without a doubt the strongest player after Google. Together, they have more than 10% of the global market share for desktop.

Now, some say that Bing’s market share will increase due to mergers and acquisitions, while others argue for its decline due to the death of Internet Explorer.

Still, all Microsoft browsers, such as Microsoft Edge Legacy and Chromium-based Microsoft Edge, have Bing as the default search engine, making Bing Search the natural choice for Microsoft product users. Yahoo, which is powered by Bing Search, is the default search engine for Mozilla’s browser Firefox, adding billions of impressions to Bing’s search results each year.

If we look at the United States alone, Microsoft sites own over 18% of the market share.

This is much due to their partnership with Amazon, where all voice-activated searches on Amazon Echo and Alexa are made with Bing Search.

Microsoft also pushes Bing further by offering easy rewards for searches and more advanced image search capabilities than Google.

Although the algorithms differ, optimizing for Bing search results is not much different than optimizing for Google. With a bit of fine tuning, it’s more than possible to come up with a strategy that allows for high rankings on both.

To rank on Bing, and thus Yahoo, make sure to do the following:

Infographic by AS Marketing, December 2022


1. List your business on Bing Places

Bing Places is the equivalent of Google My Business and is the fastest way to get your business ranking for local seo. Many even consider Bing Places to favor small business owners as Bing puts their information more prominently on display.

2. Upload an XML Sitemap using Bing’s Webmaster Tools

While the debate on how much sitemaps really do matter for Google SEO continues, uploading one with Bing’s Webmaster Tool for XML Sitemaps allows the algorithm to better categorize and manage your content, making it more visible and relevant to the search audience.

3. Match keywords in your content

Check that the exact keyword match can be found in your page titles, meta descriptions and overall content. It’s known that the impact of on-page tactics as a ranking factor is much greater in Bing than Google.

4. Keep your social media profiles up to date

Go social! Bing considers your social media presence more than any other search engine. The Webmaster Guidelines specifically states that Bing considers social signals from third-party platforms to rank your content. Bing might even extract certain information directly from your Facebook company page to your Bing Places display.

5. Use high-quality images to enhance your content

Bing’s image search is much more advanced than Google’s. If you want your landing page to rank, add high-quality design assets to showcase your offerings. If you want your blog to rank, attach too-long-to-read infographics to highlight your points. Like the one above.

Yandex

Screenshot of yandex.com, November 2022

Second to Bing is Yandex, having a total of 1.5% of the market share in global desktop search.

While it looks a lot like Google, its algorithm is different in many ways. Most prominent is the way Yandex indexes pages. Unlike Google’s almost continuous indexation, Yandex indexes pages sporadically. That means that you might have to wait around for a while before your site shows up on Yandex.

Despite this, it is still possible to rank on Yandex. You just need to have a bit more patience.

While waiting for your site to be indexed, take a look at the following:

1. Focus on tags over internal site structure

According to The Ultimate Guide to Yandex SEO, your header tag, title tag and slug are way more important than your internal site structure. In fact, it was only recently that Yandex started to support hreflang tags. Before that, Yandex only allowed the <head> hreflang implementation.

2. Consider search intent to rank

Some argue that Yandex meets search intent better than Google. The modern ICS score, which replaced the Thematic Index Citation, is determined by how relevant a site is to the query. Yandex uses its own version of expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness (E-A-T) test to determine relevance.

3. Eliminate toxic links

Many do not know this, but Yandex was actually the first search engine to roll out a link-based algorithm. Already in 2005, 7 years before Google’s Penguin algorithm, Yandex introduced the Nepot filter, which specifically looked at the impact of toxic link exchanges and spam links.

Baidu

Screenshot of baidu.com, November 2022

With over 3 billion searches daily, Baidu is the Google of China. If you want to do business in China, it’s the place to be.

While the site is available worldwide, the site predominantly favors simplified Chinese. So before taking any other steps, hire a native speaker to help you along the way. To win at global, you have to ditch translations.

Here’s a few steps to get your content ranking.

1. Localize your keywords and content appropriately

As with all multilingual SEO, you need to work with a native language expert to ensure proper keyword localization and content optimization. If your site experiences high bounce rates, Baidu will tank your rankings immediately. As with any search experience, localization matters.

2. Position relevant content and keywords to the top of the page

Baidu favors a completely opposite layout than the Westernized one. The sooner you get to the point the better. Therefore, it is important to position your keywords as early as possible in the text and introduce all relevant content already in the top of the page to rank.

3. Obtain a verification level and get certified

By registering and paying a small fee you can obtain a verification level to improve your domain authority and rankings on Baidu. If you want to secure top ratings, you can get certified and obtain an ICP license, which is much more difficult than getting verified.

Top alternative search engines by data privacy

While most of the search engines mentioned above are tied to big corporations or political forces, global initiatives are setting the stage for more privacy-focused search engines. Among these is DuckDuckGo, the forefront runner with over 130 billion searches processed since launch.

Why they matter and how to rank on them

In many ways, the movement is a response to Google’s invasiveness on privacy. Many are fed up with how they are capitalizing on personal data and controlling the narrative with targeted search.

On a macro scale, the European Union continues to protect data privacy with strict GDPR regulations and the California Consumer Privacy Act indicates similar trends for Americans.

From a micro perspective, documentaries such as The Great Hack shine a light on how global companies monetize on personal data. As a result, privacy-safe search engines continue to rise.

If you’re working for an innovative SaaS startup, there’s a high chance your ideal customer persona is using one of these search engines.

Let’s go through how you rank on DuckDuckGo and two alternative equivalents.

DuckDuckGo

Screenshot of duckduckgo.com, November 2022

Screenshot of duckduckgo.com, November 2022

DuckDuckGo aims to make your search experience as simple and true to its cause as possible, i.e. no tracking for personalized search results and filter bubbles. Instead it uses semantic search to determine search intent for your queries from over 400 sources.

Consequently, this attracts tech-savvy experts with a lower bounce rate. Once they commit to a search, they stay.

Here’s how to optimize for it:

1. Sharpen Your User Experience

UX continues to make an impact on SEO, not to mention for DuckDuckGo. Make your content easily scannable and stay away from intrusive pop ups that harm your users’ experience and ease of navigation.

2. Focus on High-Quality Backlinks

As with any SEO, high-quality backlinks play a huge role for ranking. If you already have a solid backlink profile from your Google strategy, you should be good to go. If your backlink profile has a high level of toxicity, do some cleansing.

3. Rethink Local SEO

Since there’s no location tracking available for searches, location-specific searches such as “services near me” don’t work. If you like to rank for these types of searches, include a specific location in your keyword strategy. Otherwise, you won’t be able to optimize for local seo.

Startpage

Screenshot of startpage.com, November 2022

Startpage could be my personal favorite among the alternative search engines. It basically is Google without the tracking.

And while many consider DuckDuckGo to be the forefront runner of the privacy-focused search movement, many forget how Startpage ‘blazed the trail in 2006’. Offering a search experience without IP recording or tracking back when it was more or less unheard of. Now, it is the common denominator among all privacy-safe search engines.

So, how do you rank in Startpage? Simple. You rank in Google.

SwissCows

Screenshot of swisscows.com, November 2022

There are many more privacy-safe alternatives to search engines than the two mentioned above. Perhaps one without equal is SwissCows – a search engine that prides itself on being the only family-friendly, privacy-safe semantic search engine available on the web.

This means that any intrusive search results, like adult entertainment or offensive content, is naturally censored from the search results. At the same time, they never store any data nor track user specific information.

SwissCows SERPs bring up organic results and paid ads directly from Bing so in order to rank in SwissCows, you need to rank in Bing. Just make sure to omit any content that’s not PG-13.

What do they all have in common?

In the end, none of these alternative search engines can replace Google. As an SEO, I’ll never advise starting out with anything other than a Google strategy.

But when you are ready to branch out and extend your reach, give these alternatives a try. Analyze where your target audience hangs out and optimize thereafter.

Many of the privacy-focused search engines require little optimization as they pull their search results directly from other sources anyways. Simply do a quick check to see how you rank on each one.

And who knows, perhaps Microsoft will continue to steal more of the global search landscape. If that happens, you’ll be there — ranking in first position, ready to reap the rewards of your diversified efforts in an ever-changing search landscape.

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14 Best Screen Recorders to Use for Collaboration

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14 Best Screen Recorders to Use for Collaboration

For your team, screen recorders can be used for several reasons — from creating tutorials for your website to recording a recurring tech issue to sending your marketing team a quick note instead of an email.

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Master the CX trifecta: Data, content and tech

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Looking ahead to 2023 and beyond, businesses worldwide face lots of uncertainty.

One thing will remain constant throughout this period — customers expect excellent experiences when interacting with a brand. According to Acquia’s latest CX Report, businesses plan to prioritize customer retention over the next 12 months: 56% plan to improve customer experience, and 58% will focus more on customer service.

This should be a common goal. To weather a potential storm, businesses must keep customers by meeting and exceeding customer expectations.

Register today for “Master the CX Trifecta in 2023: Data, Content & Tech,” presented by Acquia,  and create the foundation for CX success this year and beyond.


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About the author

Cynthia Ramsaran

Cynthia Ramsaran is director of custom content at Third Door Media, publishers of Search Engine Land and MarTech. A multi-channel storyteller with over two decades of editorial/content marketing experience, Cynthia’s expertise spans the marketing, technology, finance, manufacturing and gaming industries. She was a writer/producer for CNBC.com and produced thought leadership for KPMG. Cynthia hails from Queens, NY and earned her Bachelor’s and MBA from St. John’s University.

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