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11 Retail Content Marketing Trends To Inspire Your Next Campaign

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11 Retail Content Marketing Trends To Inspire Your Next Campaign

No matter what digital platform you use to promote your business, continually coming up with fresh content ideas to capture your audience’s attention can be a real challenge.

Popular content comes and goes before you’ve even hit “publish” on your latest post, so how do you plan effectively for your next big marketing campaign?

If you’re feeling stuck and looking for some ideas, take a look at these 11 trends that you can adapt for your retail brand.

1. Provide Value To Stay Relevant

With every piece of content you create, you should always be thinking, “what will a viewer get out of this?”

Fitbit does a great job here, posting tips and advice for their followers to improve their mental and physical health.

Cocokind balances its aesthetic content in the beauty space with informational posts on building a skincare routine and walkthroughs of how to incorporate their products into your existing regime.

There are plenty of other brands to distract your audience with their own content, so focusing on the value you provide will help keep your brand top-of-mind and relevant to your customers.

2. Get Your Customers Involved

No one wants to see a constant barrage of sales content from any brand. But when you have a product you need to push, how do you keep people interested and engaged?

You tap into your existing customer base to harness the power of word-of-mouth marketing.

And that’s exactly what Vacation Inc. did.

In April 2021, Vacation Inc. launched their now Nordstrom and Ulta-partnered screen with an 80s beach vibe campaign.

Customers could generate honorary job titles and share their new business cards on their own social channels.

Within days of launching the presale, over 10,000 people had “changed careers,” with roles like “Emergency Tequila Shot Salt Secretary” and “Catamaran Fly Fishing Specialist” (my personal role).

Vacation Inc.’s success came from capitalizing on an already-growing fanbase across social media.

The fun, interactive content quickly spread with little effort on the brand’s part post-launch, leaving their customers to do the work and brand evangelizing for them.

3. Double-Down On Short-Form Video

It’s no secret that video content is becoming a major component of any good content marketing campaign.

As of 2021, Wyzowl reports that users spend an average of 18 hours a week watching video content across different platforms and, specifically, shorter videos.

This is hardly surprising given the rapid rise of TikTok.

But if you’re not using this kind of content, now is the time to start thinking about it.

Luxury Italian fashion house Gucci is an excellent example of making video content work as a retail brand.

Balancing behind-the-scenes content for new collections with famous faces wearing their pieces, Gucci has continued to adapt its marketing strategy to fit the needs of a more video-focused audience.

4. Make Content That’s Actually Entertaining

We all know that the purpose of marketing is to sell more products and win more customers.

But nothing is stopping you from having fun while you’re doing that!

With so much competition and audiences looking for instant gratification, entertaining content should be a top priority for any retail brand.

No one does this better than Aviation Gin.

Leaning heavily on the wit of its owner, actor Ryan Reynolds, the company continually uses humor and satire to entertain their audience.

Their “alternative” to the Peloton Girl ad instantly built connections with viewers, thanks to its cheeky overtones and reminders of why the original went viral for all the wrong reasons.

Creating funny marketing content is one of the most difficult approaches to get right.

When you do, it can really pay off.

5. Highlight What Matters Most To Your Brand

In a consumer environment now highly concerned with environmental and social issues, relatability when it comes to brand values has never been more important.

One of the best performers in this space is DTC beauty brand, Jones Road.

Founded by makeup veteran Bobbi Brown, Jones Road has quickly developed a fan base thanks to its cruelty-free products and body-positive content.

The brand’s TikTok account is a good place to look for inspiration if you’re hoping to promote your company values more clearly.

How-to and tutorial videos serve an educational and informative purpose while weaving narratives around self-empowerment to create emotional connections to their audience.

The brand has also grabbed the attention of non-traditional audiences on its social platforms, thanks to videos aimed at customers over 50 on Instagram and TikTok.

By embracing who they are and what they believe in, Jones Road has quickly become a standout brand for successful video content.

6. Use Influencer Partnerships To Educate Your Audience

Partnering with influencers isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Strategically working with people your customers already follow is a good way to get your brand in front of new audiences and remind existing customers about what you offer.

Wine expert and sommelier Amanda McCrossin’s educational TikTok content has quickly seen her become a go-to resource for wine drinkers around the world.

From her product recommendations for different occasions to winery tours to interest vacationers, this channel is a good example of how to partner with influencers to create interesting, educational content that viewers want to see.

7. Hop On The Audio Bandwagon

For video-first channels like TikTok, or even Instagram Reels, finding the right audio to set the tone for your content is essential.

It doesn’t take much for a soundbite to go viral these days.

Having a catalog of video ideas that you can quickly film and publish is a great way to jump on these trends as soon as they appear.

Trending sounds can come up out of nowhere, so you need to be prepared if you want to use these audio clips in your own videos.

Wine bottle brand Partner in Wine does a great job with this, staying up-to-date with all the popular TikTok and Instagram sounds and posting their own content using these.

This makes them searchable within the apps via these sound clips, opening up a whole new potential audience.

8. Build Trust With Subject Matter Experts

It’s one thing to create educational and informative content for your audience.

But if they’re new to your brand, how do they know they can trust what you’re saying?

One of the best ways to build your credibility here is through partnering with subject matter experts.

This is a tactic commonly used in B2B marketing, but retail B2C brands are also starting to see success here.

Interior design brand Studio McGee uses their frequently-updated blog to provide lifestyle and design tips from both their in-house experts and guests.

Whether it’s organizational tips and tricks or design inspiration, the company clearly shows why they’re the people to trust when it comes to home decor.

9. Jump On Pop Culture Moments

Just like trending sounds, you never know when a moment will arrive in the cultural consciousness, you can use to promote your products.

Take beauty company Lemonhead LA.

Already a hit with notable celebrities like Beyonce and Lady Gaga, the brand cemented its place as the go-to glitter makeup company thanks to its products appearing in season one of the HBO show “Euphoria.”

The brand went on to release a limited-edition collection inspired by the show, which quickly became a hit with their customers.

Bloomingdale’s has also been successful with this approach, creating a pop-up collection of Regency-inspired products following the success of Netflix’s Bridgerton.

There’s no telling what pop culture can inspire, so stay on top of what’s happening.

10. Branch Out Of Your Comfort Zone

When you’re working with a limited marketing budget, trying out new platforms or channels is a risky move.

For the most successful brands, though, it can really be worth it.

Whether starting a new social media account or embracing an entirely different content format, experimenting with something a little different can quickly put you ahead of your competitors.

Trader Joe’s gave podcasting a go in 2018, expecting to run a five-part series to give customers a behind-the-scenes look at the brand and its story.

You may not think many people would be interested in an audio deep-dive into a grocery store.

But the podcast became so successful that they’re continuing to put out new episodes to this day.

Thinking outside the box is the tell-tale sign of a great marketer.

But don’t forget to do your research before you pitch any big strategy shifts like this.

11. Think Beyond Single-Platform Silos

With technology so firmly integrated into our daily lives, retail experiences are no longer strictly online or offline experiences.

Customers want and need an omnichannel experience, taking them from their phones to the store and back again.

Plenty of studies have shown the benefits of omnichannel marketing, from greater customer reach and satisfaction to higher profits across all company sectors.

Target is one of the best for this type of marketing, foregoing their individual channel focus and thinking across multiple platforms.

One of their most successful partnerships recently has been with Pinterest, specifically the Pinterest Lens feature.

Within the Pinterest app, users can take a photo on their smartphone of products they like and the Target app will show them similar products in their own collections.

While your retail brand may not have the budget and customer reach of a multi-billion dollar company like Target, the same idea still applies.

Instead of creating content strategies solely around one marketing platform, think about how you can integrate all of your efforts to provide a memorable and unique experience for your customers.

In Conclusion

There are hundreds of possible options for creating engaging marketing content.

(And we’re certainly not advocating that you try all these at once!)

But with some strategic thinking, your brand can make any of these trends a success.

Promoting your retail brand effectively through content marketing is possible, so if you feel inspired, it’s time to start working on your new content marketing plan.

More resources:


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No Algorithmic Actions For Site Reputation Abuse Yet

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Looking up at an angle at the Google sign on the Head Office for Canada

Google’s Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan, has confirmed that the search engine hasn’t launched algorithmic actions targeting site reputation abuse.

This clarification addresses speculation within the SEO community that recent traffic drops are related to Google’s previously announced policy update.

Sullivan Says No Update Rolled Out

Lily Ray, an SEO professional, shared a screenshot on Twitter showing a significant drop in traffic for the website Groupon starting on May 6.

Ray suggested this was evidence that Google had begun rolling out algorithmic penalties for sites violating the company’s site reputation abuse policy.

However, Sullivan quickly stepped in, stating:

“We have not gone live with algorithmic actions on site reputation abuse. I well imagine when we do, we’ll be very clear about that. Publishers seeing changes and thinking it’s this — it’s not — results change all the time for all types of reasons.”

Sullivan added that when the actions are rolled out, they will only impact specific content, not entire websites.

This is an important distinction, as it suggests that even if a site has some pages manually penalized, the rest of the domain can rank normally.

Background On Google’s Site Reputation Abuse Policy

Earlier this year, Google announced a new policy to combat what it calls “site reputation abuse.”

This refers to situations where third-party content is published on authoritative domains with little oversight or involvement from the host site.

Examples include sponsored posts, advertorials, and partner content that is loosely related to or unrelated to a site’s primary purpose.

Under the new policy, Google is taking manual action against offending pages and plans to incorporate algorithmic detection.

What This Means For Publishers & SEOs

While Google hasn’t launched any algorithmic updates related to site reputation abuse, the manual actions have publishers on high alert.

Those who rely heavily on sponsored content or partner posts to drive traffic should audit their sites and remove any potential policy violations.

Sullivan’s confirmation that algorithmic changes haven’t occurred may provide temporary relief.

Additionally, his statements also serve as a reminder that significant ranking fluctuations can happen at any time due to various factors, not just specific policy rollouts.


FAQ

Will Google’s future algorithmic actions impact entire websites or specific content?

When Google eventually rolls out algorithmic actions for site reputation abuse, these actions will target specific content rather than the entire website.

This means that if certain pages are found to be in violation, only those pages will be affected, allowing other parts of the site to continue ranking normally.

What should publishers and SEOs do in light of Google’s site reputation abuse policy?

Publishers and SEO professionals should audit their sites to identify and remove any content that may violate Google’s site reputation abuse policy.

This includes sponsored posts and partner content that doesn’t align with the site’s primary purpose. Taking these steps can mitigate the risk of manual penalties from Google.

What is the context of the recent traffic drops seen in the SEO community?

Google claims the recent drops for coupon sites aren’t linked to any algorithmic actions for site reputation abuse. Traffic fluctuations can occur for various reasons and aren’t always linked to a specific algorithm update.


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WP Rocket WordPress Plugin Now Optimizes LCP Core Web Vitals Metric

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WP Rocket WordPress Plugin Now Optimizes LCP Core Web Vitals Metric

WP Rocket, the WordPress page speed performance plugin, just announced the release of a new version that will help publishers optimize for Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), an important Core Web Vitals metric.

Large Contentful Paint (LCP)

LCP is a page speed metric that’s designed to show how fast it takes for a user to perceive that the page is loaded and read to be interacted with. This metric measures the time it takes for the main content elements has fully loaded. This gives an idea of how usable a webpage is. The faster the LCP the better the user experience will be.

WP Rocket 3.16

WP Rocket is a caching plugin that helps a site perform faster. The way page caching generally works is that the website will store frequently accessed webpages and resources so that when someone visits the page the website doesn’t have to fetch the data from the database, which takes time, but instead will serve the webpage from the cache. This is super important when a website has a lot of site visitors because that can use a lot of server resources to fetch and build the same website over and over for every visitor.

The lastest version of WP Rocket (3.16) now contains Automatic LCP optimization, which means that it will optimize the on-page elements from the main content so that they are served first thereby raising the LCP scores and providing a better user experience.

Because it’s automatic there’s really nothing to fiddle around with or fine tune.

According to WP Rocket:

  • Automatic LCP Optimization: Optimizes the Largest Contentful Paint, a critical metric for website speed, automatically enhancing overall PageSpeed scores.
  • Smart Management of Above-the-Fold Images: Automatically detects and prioritizes critical above-the-fold images, loading them immediately to improve user experience and performance metrics.

All new functionalities operate seamlessly in the background, requiring no direct intervention from the user. Upon installing or upgrading to WP Rocket 3.16, these optimizations are automatically enabled, though customization options remain accessible for those who prefer manual control.”

Read the official announcement:

WP Rocket 3.16: Improving LCP and PageSpeed Score Automatically

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Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint: A Step-By-Step Guide

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Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint: A Step-By-Step Guide

This post was sponsored by DebugBear. The opinions expressed in this article are the sponsor’s own.

Keeping your website fast is important for user experience and SEO.

The Core Web Vitals initiative by Google provides a set of metrics to help you understand the performance of your website.

The three Core Web Vitals metrics are:

This post focuses on the recently introduced INP metric and what you can do to improve it.

How Is Interaction To Next Paint Measured?

INP measures how quickly your website responds to user interactions – for example, a click on a button. More specifically, INP measures the time in milliseconds between the user input and when the browser has finished processing the interaction and is ready to display any visual updates on the page.

Your website needs to complete this process in under 200 milliseconds to get a “Good” score. Values over half a second are considered “Poor”. A poor score in a Core Web Vitals metric can negatively impact your search engine rankings.

Google collects INP data from real visitors on your website as part of the Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX). This CrUX data is what ultimately impacts rankings.

Image created by DebugBear, May 2024

How To Identify & Fix Slow INP Times

The factors causing poor Interaction to Next Paint can often be complex and hard to figure out. Follow this step-by-step guide to understand slow interactions on your website and find potential optimizations.

1. How To Identify A Page With Slow INP Times

Different pages on your website will have different Core Web Vitals scores. So you need to identify a slow page and then investigate what’s causing it to be slow.

Using Google Search Console

One easy way to check your INP scores is using the Core Web Vitals section in Google Search Console, which reports data based on the Google CrUX data we’ve discussed before.

By default, page URLs are grouped into URL groups that cover many different pages. Be careful here – not all pages might have the problem that Google is reporting. Instead, click on each URL group to see if URL-specific data is available for some pages and then focus on those.

1716368164 358 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of Google Search Console, May 2024

Using A Real-User Monitoring (RUM) Service

Google won’t report Core Web Vitals data for every page on your website, and it only provides the raw measurements without any details to help you understand and fix the issues. To get that you can use a real-user monitoring tool like DebugBear.

Real-user monitoring works by installing an analytics snippet on your website that measures how fast your website is for your visitors. Once that’s set up you’ll have access to an Interaction to Next Paint dashboard like this:

1716368164 404 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of the DebugBear Interaction to Next Paint dashboard, May 2024

You can identify pages you want to optimize in the list, hover over the URL, and click the funnel icon to look at data for that specific page only.

1716368164 975 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideImage created by DebugBear, May 2024

2. Figure Out What Element Interactions Are Slow

Different visitors on the same page will have different experiences. A lot of that depends on how they interact with the page: if they click on a background image there’s no risk of the page suddenly freezing, but if they click on a button that starts some heavy processing then that’s more likely. And users in that second scenario will experience much higher INP.

To help with that, RUM data provides a breakdown of what page elements users interacted with and how big the interaction delays were.

1716368164 348 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of the DebugBear INP Elements view, May 2024

The screenshot above shows different INP interactions sorted by how frequent these user interactions are. To make optimizations as easy as possible you’ll want to focus on a slow interaction that affects many users.

In DebugBear, you can click on the page element to add it to your filters and continue your investigation.

3. Identify What INP Component Contributes The Most To Slow Interactions

INP delays can be broken down into three different components:

  • Input Delay: Background code that blocks the interaction from being processed.
  • Processing Time: The time spent directly handling the interaction.
  • Presentation Delay: Displaying the visual updates to the screen.

You should focus on which INP component is the biggest contributor to the slow INP time, and ensure you keep that in mind during your investigation.

1716368164 193 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of the DebugBear INP Components, May 2024

In this scenario, Processing Time is the biggest contributor to the slow INP time for the set of pages you’re looking at, but you need to dig deeper to understand why.

High processing time indicates that there is code intercepting the user interaction and running slow performing code. If instead you saw a high input delay, that suggests that there are background tasks blocking the interaction from being processed, for example due to third-party scripts.

4. Check Which Scripts Are Contributing To Slow INP

Sometimes browsers report specific scripts that are contributing to a slow interaction. Your website likely contains both first-party and third-party scripts, both of which can contribute to slow INP times.

A RUM tool like DebugBear can collect and surface this data. The main thing you want to look at is whether you mostly see your own website code or code from third parties.

1716368164 369 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of the INP Primary Script Domain Grouping in DebugBear, May 2024

Tip: When you see a script, or source code function marked as “N/A”, this can indicate that the script comes from a different origin and has additional security restrictions that prevent RUM tools from capturing more detailed information.

This now begins to tell a story: it appears that analytics/third-party scripts are the biggest contributors to the slow INP times.

5. Identify Why Those Scripts Are Running

At this point, you now have a strong suspicion that most of the INP delay, at least on the pages and elements you’re looking at, is due to third-party scripts. But how can you tell whether those are general tracking scripts or if they actually have a role in handling the interaction?

DebugBear offers a breakdown that helps see why the code is running, called the INP Primary Script Invoker breakdown. That’s a bit of a mouthful – multiple different scripts can be involved in slowing down an interaction, and here you just see the biggest contributor. The “Invoker” is just a value that the browser reports about what caused this code to run.

1716368165 263 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of the INP Primary Script Invoker Grouping in DebugBear, May 2024

The following invoker names are examples of page-wide event handlers:

  • onclick
  • onmousedown
  • onpointerup

You can see those a lot in the screenshot above, which tells you that the analytics script is tracking clicks anywhere on the page.

In contrast, if you saw invoker names like these that would indicate event handlers for a specific element on the page:

  • .load_more.onclick
  • #logo.onclick

6. Review Specific Page Views

A lot of the data you’ve seen so far is aggregated. It’s now time to look at the individual INP events, to form a definitive conclusion about what’s causing slow INP in this example.

Real user monitoring tools like DebugBear generally offer a way to review specific user experiences. For example, you can see what browser they used, how big their screen is, and what element led to the slowest interaction.

1716368165 545 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of a Page View in DebugBear Real User Monitoring, May 2024

As mentioned before, multiple scripts can contribute to overall slow INP. The INP Scripts section shows you the scripts that were run during the INP interaction:

1716368165 981 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of the DebugBear INP script breakdown, May 2024

You can review each of these scripts in more detail to understand why they run and what’s causing them to take longer to finish.

7. Use The DevTools Profiler For More Information

Real user monitoring tools have access to a lot of data, but for performance and security reasons they can access nowhere near all the available data. That’s why it’s a good idea to also use Chrome DevTools to measure your page performance.

To debug INP in DevTools you can measure how the browser processes one of the slow interactions you’ve identified before. DevTools then shows you exactly how the browser is spending its time handling the interaction.

1716368165 526 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of a performance profile in Chrome DevTools, May 2024

How You Might Resolve This Issue

In this example, you or your development team could resolve this issue by:

  • Working with the third-party script provider to optimize their script.
  • Removing the script if it is not essential to the website, or finding an alternative provider.
  • Adjusting how your own code interacts with the script

How To Investigate High Input Delay

In the previous example most of the INP time was spent running code in response to the interaction. But often the browser is already busy running other code when a user interaction happens. When investigating the INP components you’ll then see a high input delay value.

This can happen for various reasons, for example:

  • The user interacted with the website while it was still loading.
  • A scheduled task is running on the page, for example an ongoing animation.
  • The page is loading and rendering new content.

To understand what’s happening, you can review the invoker name and the INP scripts section of individual user experiences.

1716368165 86 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of the INP Component breakdown within DebugBear, May 2024

In this screenshot, you can see that a timer is running code that coincides with the start of a user interaction.

The script can be opened to reveal the exact code that is run:

1716368165 114 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of INP script details in DebugBear, May 2024

The source code shown in the previous screenshot comes from a third-party user tracking script that is running on the page.

At this stage, you and your development team can continue with the INP workflow presented earlier in this article. For example, debugging with browser DevTools or contacting the third-party provider for support.

How To Investigate High Presentation Delay

Presentation delay tends to be more difficult to debug than input delay or processing time. Often it’s caused by browser behavior rather than a specific script. But as before, you still start by identifying a specific page and a specific interaction.

You can see an example interaction with high presentation delay here:

1716368165 665 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of the an interaction with high presentation delay, May 2024

You see that this happens when the user enters text into a form field. In this example, many visitors pasted large amounts of text that the browser had to process.

Here the fix was to delay the processing, show a “Waiting…” message to the user, and then complete the processing later on. You can see how the INP score improves from May 3:

1716368165 845 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of an Interaction to Next Paint timeline in DebugBear, May 2024

Get The Data You Need To Improve Interaction To Next Paint

Setting up real user monitoring helps you understand how users experience your website and what you can do to improve it. Try DebugBear now by signing up for a free 14-day trial.

1716368165 494 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of the DebugBear Core Web Vitals dashboard, May 2024

Google’s CrUX data is aggregated over a 28-day period, which means that it’ll take a while before you notice a regression. With real-user monitoring you can see the impact of website changes right away and get alerted automatically when there’s a big change.

DebugBear monitors lab data, CrUX data, and real user data. That way you have all the data you need to optimize your Core Web Vitals in one place.

This article has been sponsored by DebugBear, and the views presented herein represent the sponsor’s perspective.

Ready to start optimizing your website? Sign up for DebugBear and get the data you need to deliver great user experiences.


Image Credits

Featured Image: Image by Redesign.co. Used with permission.

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