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Why (and How To) Write a Strategy for Your Cause-Related Marketing

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Why (and How To) Write a Strategy for Your Cause-Related Marketing

When brands decide to support a social cause or initiative, they too often take a Band-Aid approach.

They add a rainbow logo or frame to their social media profile. They publish a blog article explaining why the brand is committed to combatting climate change. They air a short video to announce new benefits for employees after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

And then …

Nothing. The hot topic of the moment cools off – and so does the brand’s public conversation about it. In some cases, the brand’s commitment goes cold too.

What if the content marketing team could change that? What if you could lead the ongoing effort around those important topics?

By ensuring the brand stays hot on the initiative, you’ll elevate content marketing’s role within the organization (and maybe even get that much-coveted seat at the top leadership table.)

#ContentMarketing leaders: Keep your brand’s cause-related initiatives alive. You’ll help it succeed and elevate your team’s role, says @AnnGynn via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

But how do you replace the Band-Aid with a healthy, sustainable approach?

You write down a cause-related content marketing strategy.

Let’s talk about how to do this. I’ll use an example based on a brand committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). But this formula can work for almost any cause or initiative.

Start building your cause-related marketing strategy by going straight to the top

I’ve written about tactics to take to cultivate diverse, equitable, and inclusive content marketing. Brands are making progress on that front. But many struggle to sustain their efforts.

Why? At many brands, the conversation never hits on what needs to happen to ensure the organization keeps its public face focused on those topics.

A documented content-marketing strategy around a DEI (or other cause) commitment, for example, enables all the teams that create content across the brand to operate from the same page. Its development also can serve as a jumping-off point for other departments or the whole organization to develop a long-term strategy around their contribution to the brand’s DEI mission.

A documented #ContentMarketing strategy to support cause commitments helps all teams creating brand content operate from the same page, says @AnnGynn via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Your strategy preparation starts not with content marketing but with the organization’s business operations:

That first step will likely take the most time – and it involves a lot you likely don’t have control over. But doing this research, including interviews with key stakeholders, will inform everything you do next.

Your investigation will help people in your organization realize the depth of the brand’s commitment and understand the goals for its DEI efforts.

It also communicates to leadership that your priority is to ensure content marketing aligns with business objectives.

With this research finished, you’ll likely find yourself with one of two conclusions:

  1. Clear DEI business goals and metrics
  2. A fuzzy picture of what leadership would like to happen (though they haven’t fully formulated a plan or set goals)

You can still progress to the next step no matter which conclusion you reach. It just might be harder if you’re in the fuzzy picture crowd.

Bring in the audience

Now that you’ve thought about the business, it’s time to consider your audience.

In most cause-related initiatives, marketers forget they have a target audience and simply decide to create the content for the greater good. That’s a positive step, but it’s only the beginning.

Ask audience-specific questions, such as:

  • Who in the target audience is most interested in this content?
  • Why?
  • What do they want from this content?

With this information, you can likely narrow down your larger target audience or renew your commitment to an existing persona or niche. This is the group to target with your DEI content marketing strategy.

Align cause-focused objectives with business and audience

With your business goals and audience understanding, you’re ready to figure out your content marketing objectives.

What content marketing goals align with both business goals and audience interests? Are they concrete and measurable?

At this stage in a DEI content marketing strategy, some may suggest setting benchmarks for such things as inclusive imagery, accessible content, diverse voice representation in content, etc. These goals are important. But they’re focused on tactics and don’t properly incorporate the audience.

What do you want from your readers, viewers, and listeners? Your answer will likely fall into these three broad objectives:

The three goals function together as stages or a funnel. Brand awareness leads an audience to act, and that action ultimately contributes to brand loyalty.

An election-season analogy might help:

  1. A voter learns about a candidate (awareness).
  2. The voter decides to support the candidate (action).
  3. The voter puts the candidate’s sign in their yard (loyalty).

In cause-oriented content, most marketers do the brand awareness stage well. You might change the social profile image to represent the designated month. You publish an article from the CEO explaining the brand’s commitment to the cause and review metrics around social media engagement, increased traffic, or time on page.

But you also should get to the second stage – action. This is where many brands falter. To prompt action, you might invite readers to subscribe to a series of articles around your brand’s DEI commitment/activities. You could ask them to register for a webinar to learn more. Success metrics would include sign-ups.

Keep pushing to get to the third goal in the sequence – loyalty. Publish regular and authentic content around the DEI mission (or your specific cause). You’ll convince the audience that your brand walks the talk.

They’ll continue to consume your content. They might buy your products. And they might tell others about why they like your brand (whether they buy from you or not). Success metrics might include returning visitors, number of pages visited, purchase activity, and brand mentions.

TIP: As you determine your initiative-specific content marketing goals, you need to discuss the content plans, too. What formats will you use? How frequently will you publish? Those two factors need to be determined to set relevant and realistic goals.

Set #ContentMarketing objectives that align with both your brand’s goals and audience interest to support your cause-related initiatives, says @AnnGynn via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:

Commit to showing ongoing commitment

Move beyond the Band-Aids and adopt a long-term content marketing strategy for your cause commitments. Your audience will realize that your brand isn’t jumping on the bandwagon – it’s truly committed. That differentiation will lead them to get more involved with your content and ultimately develop a stronger bond with your brand.

And that’s a great way to elevate your content team’s role in meeting business objectives.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

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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