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12 Ways To Use Content Marketing To Build Brand Awareness

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12 Ways To Use Content Marketing To Build Brand Awareness


Content marketing continues to be one of the most powerful methods for driving targeted traffic and winning over new customers – and it shows no signs of slowing down in 2022.

In fact, new strategies seem to emerge every year, empowering more content producers to create more compelling and engaging content.

Traffic generation is only one of the many perks of content marketing, though. For new and growing brands, content can be a way to put themselves on the map. We’re talking about brand awareness.

Here’s how to use content marketing to drum up visibility for your brand and even attract new customers in the process.

What Is Brand Awareness, Really?

Brand awareness refers to the level at which consumers are familiar with your brand, goods, or services.

There are varying degrees of brand awareness, from simply having encountered a brand’s product to knowing and remembering a brand by name.

For new brands, simply getting their “foot in the door” is a starting point to acquiring more customers and increasing their visibility over time.

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Brand Awareness Influences Search

I’ve worked with many clients who have launched new brands and aren’t sure where to start when it comes to their brand awareness strategy. I always relay that brand awareness plays a role in search (meaning, Google search) and vice versa.

In that way, brand awareness is not at all removed from SEO.

Think about how social media trends influence users’ awareness of certain brands. We saw this with fidget spinners, which made their debut on social. Then, users flocked to Google in search of these toys.

Thus, we saw searches for “fidget spinners” increase… and then quickly decrease once fidget spinners fell out of vogue.

With this in mind, adopting a holistic content marketing strategy has the potential to increase Search visibility and drive organic traffic to your site. The more users are aware of your brand, the more they will search for you on Google.

Search Influences Brand Visibility

Likewise, using SEO to your advantage is one way to drive brand awareness. You may not yet have name recognition, but you can use non-branded search terms to drive users to your website.

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For example, say you just launched a new invoicing SaaS for business owners. Even though your brand name may not have Google searches yet, you can target terms like “small business invoicing software” or “how to create a business invoice” to attract users to your website.

Then, they will have their first encounter with your new brand.

What This Means For Your Brand

All of the above means that content marketing is essential to influence your organic traffic and drum up brand awareness.

Your content strategy should be at least two-fold in terms of creating content that gets your brand name out across platforms and in driving organic traffic to your site.

Content marketing can help your brand:

  • Attract more followers on social media
  • Generate social/referral traffic to your website
  • Form strategic brand partnerships
  • Improve the organic ranking of your website
  • Earn high-authority backlinks to your site
  • Improve customer retention over time

These are just a few of the many benefits of content marketing for brand visibility.

Now, let’s dive into how to make your content work for you – and turn your brand into a household name.

12 Content Marketing Tactics For Brand Awareness

As an SEO content strategist, I’m a huge fan of creating content that serves multiple purposes. With this in mind, the following strategies will not only help your brand awareness efforts but potentially increase your visibility and traffic on other platforms.

1. Research Your Target Market And Audience

Before you ever type a word of content, you should determine your target market and the ideal audience you want to reach with your brand.

Without this step, you risk creating the wrong type of content on the wrong platforms for the wrong audience – and wasting your time in the process.

Fortunately, market research has become far easier now that we have many tools at our disposal. My favorite is Google Forms, which you can use to survey potential audiences and gauge their interest in brands like yours.

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Here’s how to conduct quick and easy market research:

Create Google Form with the following questions:

  • What is your #1 struggle when it comes to [primary topic of brand]?
  • What solutions have you tried already to solve this problem?
  • What issues did you have with those solutions?
  • If you were to define your ideal solution, what would it be?
  • What are you hoping to accomplish by [solution]?

Then, use your social channels, existing email list, network, and other communities you have access to.

Survey people in your potential audience. Aim to get 10+ responses.

Tally up the most common responses from your survey.

Finally, use the insights to inform your brand message and who your ideal customers may be.

Over time, I recommend using tools like Google Analytics to track real performance and better hone in on who is engaging with your content.

In the meantime, however, an initial survey will help ensure you are operating based on audience input, not your own assumptions.

2. Define Your Brand’s Unique Selling Proposition

In order to stand out in your market, you need to define something unique that your brand brings to the marketplace.

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This may be a more efficient way to solve a customer problem, a more affordable solution, better customer service, or a range of what we call unique selling points.

Your unique selling proposition (USP) is a statement that highlights your brand’s key selling points and frames them in a way that communicates value to your target audience.

For example, it’s too general to say you are a marketer who offers marketing services. A USP such as, “X Agency offers bespoke digital marketing services to help brands grow with scale, precision, and confidence.” This is where the real gold is.

Your USP will become the foundation of all of your marketing efforts. It will be what sets you apart in the marketplace, attracts your ideal customer, and defines why consumers should buy from you.

3. Create Non-Branded, Searchable Web Content

At this stage, very few people may know about your brand, particularly on a brand-name basis. This is where you can use non-branded search to your advantage in order to drive traffic to your website.

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Maybe you have a local clothing boutique that just opened in Seattle. While people may not be aware of your storefront yet – unless they happen to walk by – you can still use SEO to drive traffic both online and off. In this case, some terms to target may be:

  • [downtown seattle clothing store] which has around 320 searches per month.
  • [vintage clothing store seattle]  which has around 260 searches per month.
  • [womens clothing seattle] which has around 20 searches per month.

You can then optimize your website content – web pages, primarily – according to these search terms. If done well, you can drive new users to your website and even your local listings (like Google Business Profiles).

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4. Forge Strategic Industry Partnerships

Getting your foot in the door as a new startup or business often requires forming close partnerships with other business owners. Never underestimate the power of referrals and word-of-mouth marketing.

While in-person networking will certainly serve these interests, your content marketing can as well. Here are a few ways to use content to build industry partnerships:

  • Publish thought leadership content on LinkedIn and form new connections.
  • Join Facebook groups and share insights with other industry professionals.
  • Host a Facebook Live or other live chat to grow your following.
  • Post informative video content and engage with other business owners in the comments.
  • Conduct email outreach to form third-party publishing opportunities.
  • Invite business owners to contribute to or be interviewed on your blog.

The benefits of forging these partnerships are plenty. For one, you can create a wide network of referrals for your business. Second, you can bank on the authority and reach of other businesses to share your content.

This is an activity that should be ongoing as long as you want to drive more brand awareness.

5. Publish On Third-Party Websites

If you have a new business, chances are your website lacks the authority to really push your content to the top of the Google search results.

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This has much to do with the age of your domain, your backlink history, and how much optimized content you have on your site.

Fortunately, you can use other websites’ authority and influence to boost your own. Here’s how this works:

  1. Create a list of industry-related websites which may be likely to publish your content (think: small businesses, not Forbes).
  2. Reach out to the publisher or business owner via email asking if you can contribute blog content on a periodic basis. Specify that this is not for linking purposes, but to share your industry experience.
  3. Once accepted, write content on topics that your audience would find valuable (again, keep your USP in mind). However, avoid being self-promotional.
  4. Share this content with your growing audience. See the results of publishing your content on larger platforms.

Guest posting”, as this is called, is particularly helpful if you have a very small audience. With guest posting, you can get more eyes on your experience, content, and, eventually, brand.

6. Capitalize On Influencer Marketing

Similar to the above, you can use influencer marketing to reach a wider audience. This is particularly common for ecommerce brands, which engage with influencers to share and promote their products.

Find influencers in your industry who may be interested in shouting out your brand. This may be in exchange for free products or other incentives. If they accept, this can be a good way to grow your following.

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7. Let Data Drive Your Content

The success of your content marketing relies on using data to drive your content. The “publish and pray” method hardly works as a true strategy. Hence why we begin your content plan with audience research.

There are many tools you can use to help you interpret user data and use this to inform your content strategy. Some of these tools include:

  • Google Analytics – for performance insights, user demographics, and user behavior.
  • Google Search Console – for keyword performance, click-through rate, and positioning.
  • SEMRush – for keyword research, competitor analysis, content analysis, and backlinks reports.
  • Hootsuite – for social media engagement, impressions, and brand awareness.

I suggest monitoring these tools on a weekly basis to see how your platforms are currently performing, what content is driving the most awareness of your brand, and how users are engaging with content on your website.

8. Diversify Your Content Strategy

When you are first starting out, it’s nearly impossible to know which platforms and which types of content will resonate most with your target audience.

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Truly, you will need to diversify your content strategy to see which strategies have the most impact on your particular brand.

Really, your content should serve the purpose of communicating your values as a business. This relates back to your USP, as defined in Step 2.

Then, you can use different types of content to engage your audience:

  • Videos.
  • Blog articles.
  • Podcasts.
  • Infographics.
  • Social media posts.
  • Live videos.
  • Guest posts.
  • Interviews.
  • Tutorials.
  • Email campaigns.
  • Paid ads.
  • Hosted events.

Over time, your analytics will reflect which types of content users engage with most. This will give you direction on what content to publish most often, and which types to nix from your content strategy.

9. Utilize Social Listening Tools

Sentiment analysis uses machine learning to essentially “listen” to conversations users are having online and determine how people are talking about your brand. This can be highly valuable, as it allows you to see whether your brand is being portrayed in a positive light (or not).

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More than that, it gives you the opportunity to own the narrative. Tools like Brandwatch may empower you to see what has people buzzing, but your content will be what shapes the conversation over time.

The new age of consumer intelligence has allowed many brands to get ahead of the curve, shift the perspective, and drum up more awareness online.

10. Establish A Content Publishing Strategy

Based on your audience research, data analytics, and social listening insights, you may now know what to publish – but actually getting the content out there is a different story. Building brand awareness is often a fragile time where messaging and consistency really make the difference.

If you are lax on your publishing schedule, you may miss out on opportunities to drum up brand awareness. If you are inconsistent in your messaging, you may confuse your audience about what your brand is about.

Establishing a publishing schedule – with outlined topics and dates – will help keep you accountable for creating content on a regular basis. Plus, you will have a record of what you’ve published already so you don’t duplicate your efforts in the future.

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11. Own Branded And Non-Branded Conversations

It’s tempting to try and be the sole voice regarding your brand, but you should be present in non-branded conversations as well.

  • Are you sharing your knowledge on certain industry topics?
  • Are you asking users what they are interested in or what they are struggling with?
  • Are you weighing in on recent trends?

The goal here is to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in your industry, not just your business. The more you’re able to “talk shop” with your audience, the more chances you give them to encounter your brand.

12. Don’t Forget The Follow-up

Once your content is out there, you give your audience many opportunities to come across your brand. But you can just as easily fall off their radar. This is where the follow-up matters.

This may include:

  • Following up with email subscribers via email.
  • Running retargeting ads to website visitors.
  • Initiating conversations with your social media followers.
  • Following up with existing customers.
  • Responding to comments and messages.
  • Checking in with your professional contacts and partners.

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Don’t let users encounter your brand once and then never see you again. A robust content marketing strategy engages users at multiple touchpoints and grows this engagement into a relationship that can evolve into a paying customer.

Content Marketing Insights To Grow Your Brand

When many business owners think of “brand awareness”, they think of publishing content on social media and hoping users take notice. But your content strategy can be much more, well, strategic, when you use insights to your advantage.

Audience research, keyword research, competitor analysis, and website analytics can all be used to inform your content strategy. That way, you are sure to reach the right users with the right content at the right time – and keep your brand top of mind until they are ready to buy.

More resources:

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Featured Image: Natasa Adzic/Shutterstock





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Google Updates Discover Follow Feed Guidelines

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Google Updates Discover Follow Feed Guidelines

Google updated their Google Discover feed guidelines to emphasize the most important elements to include in the feed in order for it to be properly optimized.

Google Discover Feed

The Google Discover follow feed feature offers relevant content to Chrome Android users and represents an importance source of traffic that is matched to user interests.

The Google Discover Follow feature is a component of Google Discover, a way to capture a steady stream of traffic apart from Google News and Google Search.

Google’s Discover Follow feature works by allowing users to choose to receive updates about the latest content on a site they are interested in.

The way to do participate in Discover Follow is through an optimized RSS or Atom feed.

If the feed is properly optimized on a website, users can choose to follow a website or a specific category of a website, depending on how the publisher configures their RSS/Atom feeds.

Audiences that follow a website will see the new content populate their Discover Follow feed which in turn brings fresh waves of traffic to participating websites that are properly optimized.

According to Google:

“The Follow feature lets people follow a website and get the latest updates from that website in the Following tab within Discover in Chrome.

Currently, the Follow button is a feature that’s available to signed-in users in English in the US, New Zealand, South Africa, UK, Canada, and Australia that are using Chrome Android.”

Receiving traffic from the Discover Follow feature only happens for sites with properly optimized feeds that follow the Discover Follow feature guidelines.

Updated Guidance for Google Discover Follow Feature

Google updated their guidelines for the Discover Feed feature to emphasize the importance of the feed <title> and <link> elements, emphasizing that the feed contains these elements.

The new guidance states:

“The most important content for the Follow feature is your feed <title> element and your per item <link> elements. Make sure your feed includes these elements.”

Presumably the absence of these two elements may result in Google being unable to understand the feed and display it for users, resulting in a loss of traffic.

Site publishers who participate in the Google Discover Follow feature should verify that their RSS or Atom feeds properly display the <title> and <link> elements.

Google Discover Optimization

Publishers and SEOs are familiar with optimizing for Google Search.

But many content publishers may be unaware of how to optimize for Google Discover in order to enjoy the loads of traffic that results from properly optimizing for Google Discover and the Google Discover Follow feature.

The Follow Feed feature, a component of Google Discover, is a way to help ensure that the website obtains a steady stream of relevant traffic beyond organic search.

This is why it’s important to make sure that your RSS/Atom feeds are properly optimized.

Read Google’s announcement of the updated guidance and read the complete Follow Feature feed guidelines here.

Featured image by Shutterstock/fizkes



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Is Wix Good for SEO? Here’s Everything to Know About Wix SEO

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Is Wix Good for SEO? Here's Everything to Know About Wix SEO

As of 2023, Wix provides solid options for a basic SEO setup that will cover most needs but still lacks the flexibility of more advanced and granular settings.

In this article, I go through all the nooks and crannies of Wix SEO options so you can decide if Wix is right for your needs. I’ll also share some tips on how to make your Wix website more search-friendly if you’re already a Wix user.

Does Wix have everything you need for SEO?

Wix has a bit of a bad reputation for SEO. This is because from its launch in 2006 until its first big update in 2016, it lacked many basic SEO functionalities like adding alt text and being able to change URL structures.

However, that is no longer the case. You can now do virtually every on-page SEO task using the Wix platform. It even hired expert SEOs, such as Mordy Oberstein and Crystal Carter, who have pushed for more SEO features and better communication.

Back in 2019, we ran a study comparing Wix SEO to WordPress SEO analyzing over 6.4M websites. We found that, on average, far more WordPress websites get organic traffic than Wix websites. 

WordPress vs. Wix organic traffic

However, we believe that this is due to the website owners, not the platforms themselves. On average, Wix website owners are less tech-savvy (and less educated on SEO) than WordPress users, simply because of the extra learning curve that comes with using WordPress.

Editor’s Note

The study and its methodology weren’t great. Given that there are so many variables involved, we didn’t see a way to rerun it properly. We decided to replace the study with this guide, providing more value to readers and being more fair to Wix.

That said, we had the Wix’s SEO team provide feedback on this article as part of the editing process to ensure accuracy and increase objectivity.

Michal Pecánek

Let’s also see what Googlers have to say about Wix.

Here’s a quote by John Mueller, Google’s senior search analyst, on the topic of Wix SEO:

Wix is fine for SEO. A few years back it was pretty bad in terms of SEO, but they’ve made fantastic progress, and are now a fine platform for businesses. The reputation from back then lingers on, but don’t be swayed by it.

What they’ve done in recent years is really good stuff, including making it trivial to have a really fast site (as you see in the Lighthouse scores — admittedly, speed is only a tiny part of SEO).

If Wix works for them, and they don’t need more, there’s no reason to switch.

John Mueller

So overall, Wix has the majority of features most website users would need to manage SEO. But there’s more to the story…

While Wix has no major SEO issues, it does have three minor issues that may stop you from wanting to use it if you’re serious about search:

  1. Website builders will typically load slower than custom code – Wix inevitably has code bloat from features you will never use. This is true even if you use WordPress and install a theme builder like Elementor or Thrive Architect, so this isn’t exclusive to Wix. That said, it’s only a minor issue, and it already has great Core Web Vitals compared to other CMS types.
  2. Less-than-ideal multilingual support – If you plan on publishing your blog posts in multiple languages, you may want to skip Wix. For example, you don’t have full control over the URLs for different language versions of your site. However, some of these aspects are in its feature requests and may be available soon.
  3. Limited advanced SEO control – Wix lacks some advanced SEO features. For example, it’s difficult to edit the auto-generated sitemap. Additionally, Wix generates cryptic file names for images (e.g., 09a0ab7~mv2.jpg/), which is not good for ranking on Google Images. 

Ultimately, Wix’s SEO features will work for most website owners out there. 

If you are a business owner who wants to focus more time on running your business and less time on learning how to build the perfect website with the best features, Wix is an excellent choice.

To help you decide if Wix is right for you, we made this helpful table of who should and shouldn’t use Wix to build their website:

Type of website Is Wix a great solution? Explanation
Personal website Yes Wix provides all you need for small websites.
Local business Yes Wix provides all you need to create a quick and easy local business website and rank in local search results.
Affiliate website Maybe Wix can handle your needs for affiliate marketing and SEO well. But if you’re aiming to create a big, complex website, it may be worth your time to learn WordPress instead.
Content website Maybe Wix can handle your needs for content used to show display ads. But if you’re aiming to create a big, complex website, it may be worth your time to learn WordPress instead.
Services website Maybe If you offer a service such as SaaS, banking, etc., then Wix may be a good choice depending on the specific features needed. You’ll have to do your own research.
E-commerce website Maybe There’s no perfect out-of-the-box CMS for this. The most common choices are Shopify or WooCommerce, but Wix is a solid option for e-commerce SMBs too. It can handle even some of the more complex e-commerce SEO stuff.

I personally would never build a website on Wix over WordPress for myself. That’s because WordPress has more features and customizability. And even though it comes with a much steeper learning curve, that is something I’ve overcome. (I’ve been building WordPress websites for over a decade.)

That said, I built my dad a website for his remodeling business using Wix. I did this because it’s much easier for him to go in and edit things himself than it is with WordPress. And he’s able to rank for local keywords just fine on the Wix platform. The website is fairly new, and I will come back in a few months to update this page with the progress of his rankings.

One last thing to keep in mind is that switching your content management system (CMS) can be a massive pain. So whichever tool you choose, be ready to stick to it for a long time.

Five tips to make your Wix website SEO-friendly

Deciding to stick with Wix? Here are five Wix-specific tips to help you make sure your website is search-optimized:

1. Complete the Wix SEO Setup Checklist

Wix has a really easy-to-use SEO Setup Checklist built in its platform. To use it, navigate to the Marketing & SEO page, then click Get Found on Google.

Wix SEO Setup Checklist

From there, you’ll be asked a few questions to get started, such as your business name and the top three to five keywords you want your website to rank for. If you’re not sure which keywords to target, I highly recommend reading our guide to keyword research.

Once you answer the questions, you’ll see a screen with steps you can take to optimize your website for search engines, starting with your homepage.

Wix's steps to optimize site for search engines

SEO Setup Checklist will guide you through the process of updating your pages’ meta tags, making your website mobile-friendly, and more.

Go through each of these steps, and you’ll be well on your way to a search-optimized website.

2. Set up Google Search Console and Analytics

You’ll notice one of the steps is to connect your site to Google Search Console (GSC). This is Google’s suite of tools designed for website owners like you to more easily monitor your search rankings and find issues preventing your pages from being indexed by Googlebot

Performance report, via GSC

You can set up GSC with the click of a button using the SEO Setup Checklist. If you want to learn more, check out our complete guide to Google Search Console.

Wix SEO Wiz connecting Google Search Console

Once GSC is set up, you can connect Google Analytics (GA) to your website to get more insights into where your traffic is coming from and which pages your visitors are going to.

To connect GA, navigate to the Marketing Integrations tab under Marketing & SEO. It’s the first box that appears—click Connect.

Wix marketing integration with Google Analytics

Wix will instruct you on how to create a Google Analytics Property ID and connect that ID with your Wix website. If you need more help, we also have a guide on Google Analytics 4.

Once it’s set up and your website starts getting traffic, you’ll be able to see traffic and webpage reports. This can help you identify which pages may need improvements or how many conversions you get from organic traffic.

Google Analytics traffic report

That’s it—you’re done with step #2.

3. Create search-optimized content

If your website just has the basic homepage, as well as “about” and “contact” pages, chances are you won’t be able to rank well for much (if anything).

A crucial step in SEO is creating content that can be crawled and indexed by Googlebot. That means creating service pages if you’re a local business and possibly also creating blog content targeting relevant keywords to your industry.

Rather than making this whole article about content, I will leave you with a resource. Go check out our guide to SEO content to learn more.

4. Add internal links

Backlinks—links from another website pointing to your website—are one of the most important ranking factors in Google’s algorithm. However, they can be difficult to obtain.

Internal links from one page on your site to another on your site are almost as important as backlinks. But they are much easier to add. You just highlight some text and add the link in.

If you have pages on your website that you want to rank better, simply add more internal links to that page and you’re already on the path to higher rankings. Obviously, just adding some internal links won’t suddenly make you rank #1 for a keyword. But it’s an important—and often overlooked—step on the road to better rankings. 

To add an internal link with Wix, simply highlight the text you want to add a link to, click the “chain link” icon, then choose the page you want the link to point to.

Wix internal link settings

Check out our internal linking guide to learn more about this important SEO task.

5. Schedule regular SEO audits

Once your Wix website is set up and optimized, it’s important to schedule regular SEO audits to keep tabs on your rankings and make sure nothing gets broken.

While you can do this manually, it is time consuming and easy to overlook something. 

For example, you may not realize one of your pages broke and is now a 404 page, or that a certain blog post isn’t showing up in your sitemap, or that you’re missing metadata on a certain page… the list goes on.

Instead, you can use Ahrefs Webmaster Tools to automatically run weekly or monthly audits of your website. This free tool will give you a health score from 0 to 100 on how “healthy” your website is from an SEO perspective.

Health Score overview, via Ahrefs' Site Audit

You can then see specific tasks you need to do in order to fix these issues on your site. Go to the All issues report and check the issues we found while crawling your website.

All issues report, via Ahrefs' Site Audit

You can click the error and see exactly what it means and how to fix it.

Issue details, via Ahrefs' Site Audit

From there, you can click “View affected URLs” and go to those pages to fix the issues. Easy peasy.

Final thoughts

Overall, Wix is a perfectly capable website builder for SEO. While it isn’t as advanced and capable as more complex CMSs like WordPress, it’s plenty good for people who just want to build a website and don’t have the time for or interest in a giant learning curve.

I still use Wix for certain client sites and to build sites for friends and family who want a website where they can still make small edits themselves. It’s my favorite website builder compared to other tools like Squarespace or WordPress.com (not to be confused with WordPress.org, which I use all the time).

One more benefit to using a website builder like Wix is that it’s a complete solution and takes care of the hosting and security. In fact, John doesn’t recommend self-hosting your websites. 

That said, if you want more advanced features and to dive deeper in SEO, I suggest learning WordPress.

Ready to keep learning? Here are some other helpful guides:



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Top YouTube Videos, Shorts, And Ads of 2022

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Top YouTube Videos, Shorts, And Ads of 2022

Examining YouTube’s list of the top trending videos and top Shorts of 2022, as well as the YouTube Ads Leaderboard: 2022 year-end-wrap-up can teach content marketers, content creators, and digital advertisers some important lessons that they can apply in 2023.

But, it helps if you have a secret decoder ring to decipher why there are three lists – and why each one uses a different methodology to come up with the rankings.

YouTube unveiled its first list of the 10 most-watched YouTube videos back in December 2010. Unfortunately, that list taught many marketers that “view count” was the only metric that mattered.

But, I got my secret decoder ring back in October 2012, when YouTube started adjusting the ranking of videos in YouTube search results to reward engaging videos that kept viewers watching.

In other words, YouTube replaced “view count” with “watch time.”

This was a significant shift, because “watch time” gives you a sense of what content viewers actually watch, as opposed to videos that they click on and then abandon.

In December 2012, YouTube shifted from unveiling its 10 “most-watched” videos of the year to unveiling its “top trending videos,” based on time spent watching, sharing, commenting, liking, and other factors.

In other words, “watch time” and “engagements” were now the metrics that mattered.

Today, YouTube’s algorithm rewards “viewer satisfaction.”

In other words, YouTube doesn’t pay attention to videos; it pays attention to viewers.

So, rather than trying to make videos that’ll make an algorithm happy, focus on making videos that make your viewers happy.

This brings us to YouTube’s lists of “trending videos” and “top Shorts” for 2022.

To learn important lessons that can be applied in 2023, we need to realize that YouTube’s discovery system uses both absolute and relative watch time as signals when deciding audience engagement.

Ultimately, YouTube wants both short and long videos to succeed, so relative watch time is more important for short videos, and absolute watch time is more important for longer videos.

Top 7 Trending Videos Of 2022

1. “So Long Nerds“ By Technoblade (6:32 long, 88.3 million Views, 10.2 million engagements)

In this moving tribute, the father of beloved Minecraft creator Technoblade reads a farewell letter from his son.

The gamer lost his battle with cancer in June, but his legacy remains on YouTube.

2. “Watch The Uncensored Moment Will Smith Smacks Chris Rock On Stage At The Oscars, Drops F-bomb” By Guardian News (1:24 long, 104 million Views, and 1.8 million engagements)

It was the smack heard ‘round the world: Academy Award winner Will Smith went off-script and slapped Chris Rock, live on-stage, at the film industry’s most prestigious event.

3. “Hi, I’m Dream” By Dream (5:42 long, 48.5 million Views, and 4.7 million engagements)

Dream’s ingenuity within Minecraft has led him to become a top creator with a devoted fanbase.

But no one knew what he looked like IRL, until now.

4. “ Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar & 50 Cent Full Pepsi Sb Lvi Halftime Show” By NFL (14:41 long, 146 million Views, and 3.5 million engagements)

Lose yourself in this epic Super Bowl halftime show packed with some of the biggest artists in hip-hop history: Dr. Dre, Snoop, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lama, and 50 Cent.

5. “I Built Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory!” By Mrbeast (17:01 long, 132 million Views, and 5.1 million engagements)

In a “Willy Wonka” inspired warehouse, MrBeast challenges contestants to traverse a chocolate river, climb a candy wall, compete in confection-themed games, and indulge in their sweetest fantasies.

6. “Pranks Destroy Scam Callers- Glitterbomb Payback” By Mark Rober (26:41 long, 55.9 million Views, and 2.2 million engagements).

Engineer Mark Rober exacts dazzling revenge on a scam call center in the latest version of his glitterbomb series.

7. “Being Not Straight” By Jaiden Animations (15:22 long, 17.8 million Views, and 1.7 million engagements)

In this coming-out video, Jaiden Animations depicts a personal journey from adolescence to adulthood, sharing how they discovered their sexual identity along the way.

Top 7 Shorts Of 2022

1. “Diver Cracks Egg At 45 Ft Deep #Shorts” By Shangerdanger (0:56 long, 251 million Views, and 12.3 million engagements)

The ocean floor is a mysterious place. It’s full of unknown sea creatures, strange plants, and…chicken eggs?!

Join Shangerdanger as he cracks up the internet and dives egg-first into the blue depths.

2. “Sarah Trust Challenges” By Hingaflips (0:31 long, 142 million Views, and 6.5 million engagements)

Better than parkour? This is Trampwall: an epic sport where acrobats defy gravity and leap off a wall, onto a trampoline, to pull off mind-blowing aerial stunts.

3. “Come With Me To Shave My Fluffy Dog! #Doggrooming #Grooming #Goldendoodle” By Brodie That Dood (0:52 long, 108 million Views, and 6.8 million engagements)

For years, his long fluffy fur has made Brodie one of the most iconic dogs on YouTube. So, the heartbreak was real when it was decided that he needed a close trim.

4. “Dave and Busters Bet Me 1000 Tickets I Couldn’t Do This…” By Chris Ivan (0:59 long, 83.6 million Views, and 6.3 million engagements).

No one does trick shots like creator Chris Ivan. In this Short, he attempts to land a plunger on a Dave & Buster’s sign.

The prize? 1,000 tickets … if he can pull it off.

5. “That Gap Between Your Car Seat and Center Console” By Jay & Sharon (0:58 long, 182 million Views, and 6.4 million engagements)

We’ve all lost something in the dreaded gap between the car seat and the center console.

In this comedic sketch, creators Jay & Sharon show us what’s really going on down there.

6. “Welcome To The Stomach #Shorts” By Adrian Bliss (0:34 long, 118 million Views, and 7.0 million engagements)

In this bite-sized skit, witty creator Adrian Bliss brings to life all the characters trying to gain entrance – and party in – his space-limited stomach.

7. “This Magic Trick Explained (America’s Got Talent)” By Zack D. Films (0:34 long, 97.4 million Views, and 5.6 million engagements).

How did he do it? The judges of “America’s Got Talent” were confounded by this magic trick.

But not internet-sleuth Zack D., who unveils its clever secret.

Top 7 YouTube Ads Of 2022

Meanwhile, YouTube uses an entirely different methodology to determine the top YouTube ad for its 2022 year-end wrap-up Leaderboard. This makes sense.

The top ads are generally the ones with the biggest budgets, which drive up view counts, but not always engagements.

1. “Amazon’s Big Game Commercial: Mind Reader” By Amazon (1:31 long, 69.7 million Views, and 25,700 engagements)

The creative agency for this ad was Lucky Generals and the media agency was IPG – Rufus.

The ad’s description asks, “Is Alexa reading minds a good idea? No. No, it is not.”

2. “Welcome To Clan Capital! Clash Of Clans New Update!” By Clash Of Clans (1:20 long, 52.9 million Views, and 212,000 engagements)

The creative agency was Psyop, and the media agency was in-house.

The ad’s description says,

“Welcome to the ultimate clan destination! A place where you and your clan can BUILD and BATTLE together! A place called CLAN CAPITAL!”

3. “Goal Of The Century X BTS | Yet To Come (Hyundai Ver.) Official Music Video” By Hyundaiworldwide (4:08 long, 40.5 million Views, and 886,000 engagements)

The ad’s description says,

“Our ‘Goal of the Century’ can’t be achieved by one individual alone, but we can achieve it if we all join forces and unite.

Just like football players come together as a team to score goals, we aim to use the power of football to go forward together in pursuit of the greatest goal – ‘A united world for sustainability.’”

4. “Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return To Hogwarts | Official Trailer | HBO Max” By HBO Max (1:58 long, 27.3 million Views, and 739,000 engagements)

The creative agency was in-house, and the media agency was Hearts & Science.

The ad’s description says,

“Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts invites fans on a magical first-person journey through one of the most beloved film franchises of all time as it reunites Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, and other esteemed cast members and filmmakers across all eight Harry Potter films for the first time to celebrate the anniversary of the franchise’s first film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”

5. “Introducing iPhone 14 Pro | Apple” by Apple (4:20 long, 23.8 million views, and 571,000 engagements)

The ad’s description asks, “What lies beyond a traditional smartphone? Let’s find out. This is iPhone 14 Pro.”

6. All of Us Are Dead | Official Trailer | Netflix” by Netflix (2:35 long, 22.6 million views, and 518,000 engagements)

The creative agency was The Refinery, and the media agency was in-house. The ad’s description says,

“All of us will die. There is no hope.” The school turned into a bloody battleground and our friends into worst enemies. Who will make it out alive?”

7. Sally’s Seashells (Extended) | Big Game Commercial 2022“ by Squarespace (1:07 long, 21.6 million views, and 67,600 engagements)

The media agency was in-house. The ad’s description says,

“See everything that Sally sells in this extended cut of our 2022 Big Game commercial. Starring Zendaya as Sally and narrated by andré 3000.”

Most Important Lesson That Marketers Can Apply In 2023

Looking back at YouTube’s lists of top trending videos, top Shorts, and top ads for 2022, there is a meta-lesson that marketers can learn: one size does not fit all.

Different metrics matter when measuring different types of video, and different types of ads are better for different marketing objectives.

Or, as the British say, “There are horses for courses.”

Now, that’s a lesson that all of us can apply in 2023, and beyond.

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