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13 Top Digital Marketing Tools (Incl. Tips on Using Them)

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13 Top Digital Marketing Tools (Incl. Tips on Using Them)

You can easily spend countless hours going through all the options and reviews of tools we have for digital marketing today. I’ve certainly tried too many of them throughout my career.

In this article, we’ll go through these 13 tried and tested digital marketing tools that I’ve used and liked over the years:

  1. Ahrefs
  2. Hunter
  3. Mailchimp
  4. SparkToro
  5. Brand24
  6. Smartlook
  7. Visualping
  8. Google
  9. Google Forms
  10. Google Analytics
  11. Google Search Console
  12. Google Sheets
  13. Google Data Studio

I’ll also include my favorite use case for every tool so you can apply that right away. Let’s dive in.

Most companies consider organic and paid search traffic to be some of their most important traffic sources. Having reliable and insightful data in this space is crucial—and that’s where Ahrefs comes into play.

Ahrefs is an all-in-one SEO toolset for optimizing your own website, analyzing competitors, doing keyword research, getting content ideas, building links, and more.

Favorite use case: Finding content gaps between you and your competitors

There are countless use cases of the toolset, so I’ll just explain one of my favorite features: the Content Gap tool within Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.

It shows keywords your competitors rank for but you don’t. These content gaps can quickly give you many new ideas for your content planning.

In Site Explorer, enter your own domain and then click “Content gap.” Your domain will automatically be prefilled in the “But the following target doesn’t rank for” field. All that’s left now is to list a few domains that are your organic traffic competitors:

Ahrefs' Content Gap tool

Hit “Show keywords”:

Content Gap report results

You’ll get a huge list of keywords. Now it’s all about playing with the provided filters.

To increase relevance, let’s choose the option where at least two competitor websites rank for every keyword. You can do so by selecting it in the intersection filter. Then filter for the best keyword opportunities by setting a minimal search volume and relatively low maximum KD score:

Content Gap report results with filters applied

I’m certain you’ll find some great keyword opportunities this way.

Pricing

Monthly plans start from $83 when you subscribe for a year. There’s also a free tier called Ahrefs Webmaster Tools that can be used for verified websites.

As a marketer, you’ll sometimes have to send cold emails. If you’re in PR or link building, it will be a huge part of your job.

But many people don’t willingly share their email addresses with the public, and there’s enough spam out there already. Finding the right email address can take quite a while, and you often have to try and guess too. Hunter is an “email address finding” tool that will make it much easier for you.

Favorite use case: Finding and verifying email addresses in Google Sheets

If outreach is something you often do, you need a more scalable solution than looking up email addresses one by one. Using Hunter’s Sheets add-on, you can run email searches for all your prospects with one click:

Hunter's Sheets add-on filling email addresses the tool can find

This won’t find a matching email address for every prospect, but it usually finds one for a decent percentage of them. You can then use these prospects as your initial “hit” list to test the viability of an outreach campaign. If successful, you can continue finding the remaining email addresses using other methods.

Pricing

Monthly plans start from $34 when you subscribe for a year. There’s also a free tier that allows you to perform 25 searches per month.

Mailchimp is a marketing platform that has tons of products and features—from audience management to marketing automation. But it’s best known for being a leader in email marketing, and that’s what I always use it for.

Favorite use case: Email marketing personalization through segmentation

If you’re growing a newsletter, then you know that not every email you send is a hit. Sometimes, people complain, unsubscribe, don’t take the action you want them to, or don’t even open the email at all.

There are two solutions to this: better emails and targeting. The first one is largely on you; the second is something Mailchimp can help tremendously with via audience segmentation.

Imagine that you’re running a sale, but you only want a certain customer segment to know about it. No problem. Take the customers’ email addresses from your CRM, tag them in your Mailchimp account, and select the tag as the receiver of that “sale” email. Done!

Pricing

Monthly plans start from $11. There’s also a free tier that allows you to send 10,000 emails per month.

Doing market research to understand your audience is essential to your marketing success. There are many methods to conduct it. While I’m a fan of traditional data gathering via surveys, interviews, etc., I also highly recommend using an online audience research tool like SparkToro.

SparkToro provides information about what any audience reads, watches, listens to, and follows. Those insights can be retrieved based on keywords, social media accounts, websites, or hashtags. All of those inputs can be used to better understand the audience in your niche.

Favorite use case: Discovering where competitors’ audience engages

SparkToro is easy to use and navigate. Let’s do an example analysis on the SparkToro audience by plugging in the company’s Twitter profile:

SparkToro text field to key in social account URL to acquire audience intelligence

The tool will return a lot of data regarding the demographics of the audience. But in this case, we’ll focus on social media accounts, websites, podcasts, and YouTube channels the audience follows and pays attention to.

Here’s an example of a report after filtering for personal social media accounts with fewer than 50K followers:

List of people and their social profiles, as well as data like SparkScore, no. of followers, etc

With data like this, you can easily spot new advertising and sponsorship opportunities across many different channels. Just put together all the insights by plugging in your competitors’ social profiles, websites, keywords, and any “owned” hashtags.

Pricing

Monthly plans start from $38 when you subscribe for a year. There’s also a free tier that allows you to perform five searches per month.

Brand24 tracks mentions of keywords that you want to monitor across the whole web with a focus on social media. You can use it to identify and analyze online conversations around your and your competitors’ brands and products.

Favorite use case: Spying on competitors’ brand mentions

Brand24 revolves around setting up a project with keywords you want to track. These keyword mentions can then be segmented, filtered, and analyzed to gain actionable insights. All of those keywords should be brands, products, and hashtags in your niche. I’ll show you why you want to do this for competitors too.

So set up a separate project (or projects) with the name of a competing brand and/or product. You’ll encounter keywords that also have other meanings. You can either leave them out or apply the required and excluded keyword filters along the way to keep the irrelevant ones out of your reports:

Page to set up new project—in this case about Ahrefs

This competitor mentions monitoring allows you to:

  • Adjust your communication based on what works best in your industry.
  • Get product insights based on how people react to the development of your competitors’ products.
  • Assess how people perceive your brand and your competitors’ via sentiment analysis.
  • Benchmark your media reach and share of voice against your competitors.

I’m sure there are even more use cases. Here’s an example of data from a summary dashboard:

Summary dashboard showing key data and line graphs about "Mentions" and "Social Media Reach"

Pricing

Monthly plans start from $49 when you subscribe for a year. There’s no free tier, but you can sign up for a 14-day free trial instead.

Smartlook is a user behavior analysis tool that may surprise you with its capabilities if you haven’t researched such tools yet.

It can show you recordings of what your website visitors do on your website or heatmaps of what they click on the most. Yes, it adheres to data protection and privacy regulations like GDPR.

Favorite use case: Analyzing leaks in your marketing funnel

A marketing funnel is a system designed to attract and convert customers (or clients).

Funnel with four sections. From top to bottom (Awareness, Interest, Consideration, Conversion)

As you can see in the diagram above, the funnel gets narrower the further you go. Well, duh, that’s what funnels look like.

In marketing, this means that what you put into the funnel at the beginning (people aware of your brand) is always a much, much bigger sample than what you get at the end (customers). Many marketing objectives revolve around minimizing the drop-off between different stages of the funnel.

Smartlook can help you with this on your website. It tracks what it takes for each visitor to convert and shows you recordings of those who dropped off in the process:

You can analyze the recordings of those visitors who dropped off, look for patterns, and optimize your website based on that.

Pricing

Monthly plans start from $39. There’s a free tier that allows you to record 1,500 sessions per month.

Website design and copywriting convey tons of information. They’re also constantly in development, being tested, and changing.

And whether you admit it or not, every website takes a bit (or a lot) of inspiration from competitors and other websites in the industry. So you need to know what’s going on in this area.

Visualping is a tool that keeps track of changes on any webpage. You plug in a competitor’s URL, set up alerts, and will be updated on any website changes.

Favorite use case: Getting inspired by UX and CRO tweaks on competitors’ websites

I’ve made a lot of decisions based on website monitoring. Generally, the most common use case for any marketer is getting inspired by how your competitors try to squeeze more out of every visitor to their website.

In other words, we’re looking for user experience (UX) and conversion rate optimization (CRO) tweaks that we can adopt on our website without having to do all the research and A/B testing.

All you need to do is to set up the tracking of your competitors’ websites, and you’ll get alerted whenever there is any noteworthy change. For this use, it’s enough to set up the checking frequency to occur daily or even weekly.

You can also opt in for “any change” or “tiny changes,” as those tweaks can range from small changes in copy to just changing CTA button positions and colors:

AWT page on left; on right, options to customize monitoring frequency of AWT's page

Keep in mind that you shouldn’t blindly copy whatever your competitors do and should always vet the ideas.

Pricing

Monthly plans start from $10 when you subscribe for a year. There’s a free tier that allows you to perform 150 checks per month.

This doesn’t need any introduction. We all use Google every day. It has the largest index of webpages on the planet and arguably the best search algorithm.

But marketers aren’t often utilizing its potential for their day-to-day work. It’s a great tool to find link building prospects but is even better for maximizing the power of internal linking on your website.

Favorite use case: Finding internal link opportunities after publishing new content

Every website has internal links (one page pointing to another on the same domain), but many sites neglect the power and impact they can have on SEO. Adding internal links to your newly published content can make Google discover and index it faster and, what’s more important, rank it on the SERPs.

To do this with the help of Google, we’ll have to use search operators, i.e., commands that help you refine and filter search engine results. It’s easy. All we need here is the site: operator that only shows you results from a certain domain (or a part of it) and “search term” for exact matches of the query.

Here’s what it would look like if I were working on updating internal links pointing to this exact article:

Site operator used to find term "digital marketing tools" on Ahrefs' blog

As you can see, I get three results this way. I’m sure there are more opportunities than these, as I’m only using the exact match of the main keyword I’m targeting here. Let’s broaden the results using the OR search operator:

OR search operator used to find terms "digital marketing tools" and "online marketing tools" on Ahrefs' blog

That’s much better. We’ll just have to decide when to link to which article, as we also wrote an “online marketing tools” article in the past. It’s a similar topic, so overlaps are expected.

Pricing

It “only” costs you your data. 🙂 Oh, and one more thing. As the rest of the article is focused on free Google products, I’ll leave out the “pricing” section from now on.

Google Forms is a useful, free tool for creating survey questions and distributing and analyzing your survey results.

Favorite use case: Conducting a simple market research

OK, let’s face it. Google Forms likely doesn’t have another use case in marketing. But it’s a really handy tool, given the importance of market research.

To make it work, you need a sizable audience whom you can distribute the survey to. Ideally, you can distribute via email, but social media can be used too.

Creating good surveys that provide the data you’re looking for can sometimes be tricky, but you shouldn’t try to do any rocket science here.

Below is an example of a recent survey we sent to our email subscribers:

Ahrefs' Digest survey on Google Forms

And this is what one of the results looks like:

Pie chart showing most respondents (around 90%) want brief summaries of each Ahrefs blog article

This clearly answered our questions about the usefulness of our updated newsletter format.

Google Analytics (GA) is a free powerful tool where you can find tons of insights and information about your website traffic, conversions, audience, etc.

However, using it properly and knowing what you should even want from it takes quite a bit of knowledge and experience.

If you haven’t used GA yet, the good news is that there’s a new version, Google Analytics 4 (GA4), that will soon replace the older GA most marketers of today are familiar with. You’ll be starting on a clean slate. (P.S. I tried to learn my way around GA4 recently and think this is actually an advantage.)

Favorite use case: Analyzing conversion paths

Knowing which marketing channels led to your customer conversions is invaluable. GA4 took a massive step forward in the way it interprets and displays the data (learn more here if you’re feeling nerdy), so here’s how to get it.

Go to Advertising > Attribution > Conversion paths, select the conversion event you want to analyze, and check the impact of your traffic source of choice. Here are some details of organic search traffic:

Conversion paths showing details about organic search traffic

Google Search Console (GSC) is one of the most powerful free SEO tools out there. It’s no wonder, given it provides the most accurate data you can get about your website and search traffic straight from Google. Everyone with a website should have a GSC account.

You can use it to find and fix technical errors, submit sitemaps, see what you rank for, learn how much traffic your pages get, and more.

Favorite use case: Understanding Google through URL Inspection tool

Diagnosing technical SEO issues can be tricky sometimes. The URL Inspection tool provides information about the way Google sees a specific page on your website.

You can look up any of your pages using the address bar at the top of the GSC interface:

URL Inspection report results

You can click through all the tabs. Here’s a snippet of the information you get from the Coverage report:

Snippet of Coverage report showing information on crawls and indexing

PRO TIP

Once you get the hang of GSC, install the Search Analytics for Sheets add-on that allows you to easily export the data to your Google Sheets. GSC itself isn’t very suitable for any in-depth analyses, and it has various limitations. So this add-on is a great workaround without having to use the GSC API directly.

Recommended reading: How to Use Google Search Console to Improve SEO (Beginner’s Guide)

Spreadsheets are a daily tool for many marketers. Google Sheets is my choice, given it’s cloud-based and integrated with other Google apps. I’ve always loved digging into data and interpreting it, but I guess most colleagues don’t share my sentiment.

Anyway…

Favorite use case: Gaining data insights from pivot tables

The official help page for pivot tables explains them perfectly: They help you summarize data, find patterns, and reorganize information. They’re especially useful when you have a bigger data set.

To create them, click on Insert > Pivot table, select the data you want to base the pivot table on, and then reorganize the data to your liking.

For example, here’s one of my latest uses of pivot tables for my Wirecutter SEO case study. I needed to have a simplified view of a bigger dataset with some filters applied to it:

Example of pivot table in a Google Sheet on left; pivot table editor on right

Creating reports can be a repetitive and time-consuming task. This calls for automation, and Google Data Studio (GDS) is here to help with that.

Creating reports in GDS is based on pulling data through connectors of the data sources. At the time of writing, there are 610 different connectors, so the reporting capabilities here are huge.

Favorite use case: Combining multiple data sources

The main use case is also my favorite one. You can combine data from most, if not all, of your marketing platforms into one neat report that gets updated with fresh numbers (or based on whatever time frame you choose).

Here’s an example of me putting together data from GSC and Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker into one report:

Data on the Ahrefs blog from GSC and Ahrefs' Rank Tracker, respectively, pulled onto one report

These are the basics of GDS. Once you get comfortable creating such reports, you can try to do more fancy stuff like blending data from different sources or whatever else pleases your reporting desires and needs.

Final thoughts

Is this it? The complete list of tools you’ll ever need to do digital marketing? Well, no. But it will cover a huge percentage of your potential needs.

That being said, there are digital marketing disciplines I’ve never been involved in much, such as organic social media or anything related to design. So, really, I can only recommend using MeetEdgar as a social media scheduling tool and Canva as a foolproof design tool based on the experience of my colleagues and friends.

Got any questions? Ping me on Twitter.



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How Do I Get A Job With A PPC Agency

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Conversion Tracking In PPC Campaigns

This month’s “Ask A PPC” question is particularly significant because the job market has been quite volatile.

“How do I get a job with a PPC agency when I have only worked in-house. What experience would they want?” – Karl Toronto

It’s understandable that people want to know which skills employers seek when hiring for a PPC team. There can be a disparity between what people think they need and what the market actually demands.

We’ll delve into some data and commentary to explain why various traits are valued.

It’s crucial to understand that the ideal candidates will be versatile and have an aptitude for all aspects of digital marketing.

However, no one can excel at everything, so leveraging your strengths or preferences is beneficial.

Ensure that you’re securing the best role for yourself while the company hiring you finds the best fit for them.

Here Are The Essential Skills

  • Analytics.
  • Creativity.
  • Ad network knowledge.
  • Willingness to test/learn.
  • Culture fit.

Discrepancy Between Market Demands And Perceived Needs

I conducted a poll on my LinkedIn to gauge the skills desired by current employers and practitioners.

Screenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Analytical skills emerged as the most sought-after trait. Employers seek individuals who can interpret numbers and discern the story behind them.

However, relying solely on analytical prowess may overlook the importance of creativity.

Creative skills are vital in today’s ad networks, especially emphasizing visual content like videos and campaign types that force visual content (Performace Max/Demand Gen). Neglecting creativity can hinder a company’s branding efforts.

Unexpectedly, ad network skills and cultural fit were deemed far less critical than analytical skills. Brands should prioritize team cohesion for long-term success, yet this aspect is often undervalued.

The disparity between job descriptions and actual skill requirements contributes to the difficulty in the job market.

Agencies that hire for how PPC used to work will be left wanting. Practitioners who only focus on popular skills instead of needed ones will be made obsolete by the privacy-first era obscuring data and AI owning creative.

Analytical Skills

Analytical abilities involve knowing where to find relevant data sources and understanding how they contribute to success.

While PPC historically relied on measurable outcomes, the landscape is evolving, necessitating adaptability in data analysis. Technical proficiency and strategic acumen are crucial for navigating different data sources.

These include:

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
  • Google Analytics 4 (GA4).
  • Ecommerce platforms.
  • Content management platforms (CMS).

Empathy for various ad channels improves your candidacy, and knowing how to work with post-click data will give you an edge over those who can only work with ad platform data.

While being highly technical isn’t required, having empathy for coding and scripts will give you a better chance to stay current with evolving data mechanics (especially as APIs become even more important for accessing data blocked by privacy-first regulations).

Here are some takes from PPC experts on why analytics is the most important:

A screenshot of a LinkedIn comment by Georgi Zayakov, who describes himself as analytical Screenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024
A LinkedIn post by Kathryn B., a paid media specialist at a PPC agencyScreenshot from LinkedIn, April 2024
Screenshot of a LinkedIn post by Nikolaos B., discussing how marketers must become data-savvyScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Creativity

Creativity is essential for crafting compelling ad content, yet many PPC agencies struggle in this area.

Clients are often tasked with providing creative materials due to cost or complexity constraints.

You’ll get a competitive edge if you have these skills:

  • Video Editing: With the rise of PMax, as well as many ad networks leaning heavily into connected TV, having video editing chops will be a huge asset for any team. If you’re not comfortable using conventional editing tools, AI tools like Descript are a great way to take on those tasks.
  • Graphic Design: No matter the ad network your potential employer is hiring for, you will need some ability to design static images. Whether you use stock photos or AI-generated images or come up with the creative yourself, the days of purely text ads are over. Tools like Canva can help bridge the gap for less technical designers, but don’t discount ad network AI.
  • Content Creation: While the first two categories leaned toward visual content, written content is still important (i.e., most ad formats include some text). Having the ability to understand how diverse audiences prefer to be addressed while respecting the specific requirements of each format is a great skill to hone.

While some roles may prioritize analytics or ad network knowledge, emphasizing creative abilities can distinguish you during the hiring process.

Here are some experts who value creativity:

A screenshot of a LinkedIn post by Erik PetersonScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024
A screenshot of a Linkedin post by Amy HebdonScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Ad Network Knowledge

Ad network expertise is valuable, but adaptability is paramount as platforms evolve rapidly.

Some agencies will have specialists, while others hire folks they expect to be passable at every network they service. It’s important to understand what workflow will enable you to succeed.

If you’re happy working with all platforms, then don’t shy away from it. However, if you do better in focusing on one aspect of PPC, that’s totally valid. Just know it might limit your ability to get hired into smaller “familyesque” agencies.

Understanding auction dynamics and bidding strategies is crucial.

Many of us who entered the industry when manual bidding was more popular have an unfair advantage over those who came in during the Smart Bidding era (i.e., anything from 2020).

This is because manual bidding requires you to think about the mechanics of each ad platform’s auction and how you could use those mechanics to your advantage in building account structure.

Knowing what to track and allocating appropriate budgets are key considerations.

Understanding that some networks require more conversions than others to run (e.g., Meta Ads’ 50 in a 7-day period vs. Google Ads’ 15 in a 30-day period) should influence what you choose to track, as well as how you report the data.

Additionally, if you are under or over budget, you’ll set yourself up to fail. Knowing which channels require a big investment upfront and what the breaking point for each network is (either on underspending or spending too much) is critical.

Awareness of potential pitfalls, such as false positives or negatives, enhances campaign effectiveness. For example, it’s important to know how to check if automatically applying recommendations is on and what tasks it’s on for.

It’s worth noting that none of the experts who chimed in on the poll made a clear case for ad network knowledge specifically.

Willingness To Test

Success in PPC requires openness to experimentation and a willingness to adapt. While this wasn’t one of the criteria in the poll, it was one of the most popular traits experts look for in hiring.

Perfectionism can hinder progress in a fast-changing environment. Testing new ideas and embracing failure as an opportunity for growth are essential.

While analytical skills aid in test design, empathy and creativity are equally vital for devising effective experiments.

Here is an expert who favors a willingness to test:

Screenshot of a social media post by Mike RhodesScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Cultural Fit

Cultural alignment with an agency fosters productivity and job satisfaction. However, you can only achieve that by being honest with yourself about what you want and the mechanics of how you work.

Agencies demand intense effort and collaboration, making compatibility with colleagues crucial.

Anyone looking to make the shift from in-house to agency needs to be prepared for a much faster pace of work and a lot more agency.

Open communication with leadership regarding preferred management and learning styles will ensure a positive working relationship.

Respect for peers and a supportive atmosphere contribute to a fulfilling work environment.

Here are a few thoughts on cultural fit from polled experts:

The image shows a LinkedIn post by David Zebrout containing text discussing the importance of integrating PPC network knowledge with intertimed optimizations in generating profitable growth.Screenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024
LinkedIn post by Lisa Erschbamer discussing the importance of cultural fit and individual personality in team dynamics for effective performance at a PPC Agency.Screenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024
A screenshot of a LinkedIn post by Aaron Davies discussing the importance of cultural fit, individual skills, and team communication in marketing for a PPC agency. The post has reactions and a question comment by NavahScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Final Thoughts

Navigating the current job market can be challenging, but understanding industry needs and honing relevant skills increases your chances of success.

Balancing technical proficiency with creativity and cultural fit is essential for thriving in a PPC role. By aligning with market demands and showcasing your strengths, you can secure rewarding opportunities in the field.

Have a question you’d like us to address? Fill out the form!

More resources:


Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

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Why Every Marketer Should Be On Reddit

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Why Every Marketer Should Be On Reddit

In its nearly 20 years of existence, Reddit has built a robust, dynamic, and highly engaged community.

It has cemented itself as not only one of the key influencers for the internet culture we have come to know today, but also as one of the top 10 social media sites in the world, with more than 500,000 monthly visitors across more than 100,000 active communities.

Despite its size and influence, marketers have long avoided, overlooked, and failed to establish a presence on what is arguably one of the most influential social media sites today.

To be fair, Reddit has always been known as one of the hardest communities to have marketing success with, requiring months (if not years) of dedicated commitment to actually being a part of the community and engaging with your audience through meaningful, genuine, and honest interactions.

To many, that is just too much risk and too much work, but let’s be honest – most amazing things take risk and hard work. And for all of you who put in that work to be successful on Reddit, you already see the payoff it brings.

Regardless of the reasons, marketers who continue to overlook Reddit’s potential are missing out on an extremely influential community with ideal targeted demographics, where authenticity and genuine connections lead to valuable information, positive branding, and marketing success.

Not convinced? Let’s take a closer look at Reddit!

Reddit Stats You Cannot Ignore

Reddit users are dedicated to their use of the platform, with a reported 82 million (16.4%) of its 500 million users visiting the site daily, sharing over 1 billion posts, with over 16 billion comments across 100,000+ active communities, making it easily one of the top visited and most active sites in the United States today.

The user base is so loyal that they spend, on average, 20 minutes on the platform each day (and over 45 minutes a day for long-time users of more than 7 years) and, in many cases, are inactive on other social platforms.

This makes Reddit one of the only places to actually get in front of this massive audience, with 32% being inactive on Facebook, 37% on Instagram, 41% on TikTok, and 53% on X.

When it comes to demographics, a 2019 survey concluded that the overall Reddit audience was majority male (59%), ranged in age (36% aged 18-29; 25% aged 30-49), and well educated (42% college degree; 31% some college) making them an ideal audience many businesses looking for success.

They also helped Reddit improve revenues by 21% to $804 million in 2023, with a global addressable market for advertising estimated at $1.4 trillion by 2027.

Thought by many to be mostly a North American audience, Reddit claims more than 50% of its traffic comes from international users, a rather impressive climb from its earlier years.

It is important to remember, though, that Reddit is a platform that allows communities to grow and thrive, so those demographics change from subreddit to subreddit.

If that isn’t enough to grab your attention, surveys have found that 75% of users find Reddit a trustworthy source for making purchasing decisions.

For years now, it has been included heavily and prominently in Google search results, which have become even more visible due to reports following their inclusion in SGE results and with Google’s recent $60 million a year deal with Reddit to have real-time access to Reddit content and to use its content to train Google’s future AI models.

Speaking of Reddit’s visibility in Google’s search results, let’s take a closer look at why that deal is so important, especially to search marketers.

Reddit In Google Search, SGE, And Google’s Reddit Deal

For years, Reddit results have been prominently displayed in Google’s search results – so much so that users have even started adding the term “reddit” to the end of their search queries.

So often, you will see Google suggest search lines with the term “reddit” prefilled at the end.

Screenshot by author from search for [are purple mattresses good], Google, May 2024

Even without selecting the query that includes “reddit,” you will notice Reddit’s prominent placement in two places: discussions and forums, and Reddit sitelinks, which are both just below the ads and the first organic result.

Reddit resultsScreenshot by author from search for [are purple mattresses good], Google, May 2024

This was amplified by Google’s recent Helpful Content Update (HCU), which allowed platforms like Reddit and other forums to show up more frequently in search results,

Reddit’s ability to be helpful in satisfying a user’s search for information is so successful – in combination with reported shortages in new content for AI models from all major platforms – it is not surprising Google struck a deal with Reddit to show its content faster in search results and to use the content in training future AI models.

Since news of the deal between Reddit and Google was reported, there has been a lot of additional focus on Reddit’s visibility in Google’s search results.

Experts throughout the search industry report an increase in not only the total visibility of Reddit going up within search but also the speed at which a Reddit post is indexed and shown to users.

Google responded to concerns about Reddit showing up more in search results, saying that “some of the SEO folks who tend to be vocal on this platform (X) really dislike seeing more forum content in our search results. But actual searchers seem to like it. They proactively seek it out. It makes sense for us to be showing it to keep the search results relevant and satisfying for everyone.”

Google responded to concerns of Reddit showing up more in search resultsScreenshot by author from X (Twitter), May 2024

Although disputed by Google, Roger Montii wrote about one report of Reddit content being indexed within five minutes.

ChatGPT to Surface Reddit Content

Adding to the deal Reddit made with Google, it was recently reported that OpenAI has partnered with Reddit to surface their content in ChatGPT, adding to the clear value that both OpenAI and Google see in Reddit’s content today and in the future.

Of course, this has sparked a lot of interest in companies of all sizes. They want to figure out how their brands can participate and succeed on Reddit in hopes of increasing their visibility in Google’s search results, SGE, and ChatGPT and building their brand’s visibility amongst one of the most influential audiences on the internet today.

**Quick warning: Reddit requires genuine, long-term engagement and a strategy for success. So, I would definitely advise individuals and businesses to avoid trying to game, spam, or blindly jump into marketing on Reddit and take the time to really understand the platform, its audience, and your place of value within its communities.

Let’s look at how some major brands have been successful on Reddit in the past.

noosa Yoghurt

Noosa Yoghurt’s 2021 back-to-school campaign on Reddit was a great example of tapping into niche audiences to create engaging, user-driven content.

To capitalize on Reddit’s community of vocal yogurt enthusiasts, noosa launched a Flavor Poll that invited Redditors to upvote their favorite noosa flavors in the comments. This created a sense of community and interactivity around what could have been a standard poll.

Noosa Yoghurt’s 2021 back-to-school campaign on Reddit.Screenshot by author from Reddit, May 2024

After tallying the upvotes, noosa published a Promoted Post that showcased the results using a sleek custom infographic, highlighting the community’s favorites while also giving the brand important insight into consumer preferences.

Noosa published a Promoted Post that showcased the results.Screenshot by author from Reddit, May 2024

The results:

  • 49% increase in brand recall among Reddit users who were exposed to the campaign.
  • 30% increase in brand favorability.
  • 39% increase in purchase intent (15X the typical lift observed in the food vertical).
  • 50+ billion monthly views.

Sony Pictures Germany

To drum up excitement around the release of “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” in Germany, Sony Pictures Germany crafted a Reddit campaign that combined organic and promoted content to engage the platform’s robust fan communities.

The brand created a Reddit account under the protagonist’s name, u/MilesMorales, and used it to share exclusive content directly within Spiderman-related subreddits.

It also organized an AMA with the German voice actor Miles Morales to create a more personal connection with fans and promoted video posts featuring the movie trailer to amplify the excitement.

Sony Pictures Germany crafted a Reddit campaign.Screenshot by author from Reddit, May 2024

The results:

  • Sony Pictures Germany achieved a click-through rate (CTR) that was 344% higher than that of its standard paid media.
  • 831 upvotes.
  • 618,000 impressions.
  • The film remained No. 1 on the German movie charts for three consecutive weeks.

It is important to note that promoting your content and your brand on Reddit is definitely not the only value Reddit can bring you and your business.

Reddit is an amazing place to get honest feedback.

Whether you are trying to figure out what your target audience wants from your brand, test out a new feature or concept before investing and launching it openly, or even just to have continued open communication with your customers to support them and keep them connected to your brand, Reddit can help you succeed in an amazing way.

Transamerica Helping Reddit Make Dollars Make Sense

Transamerica’s campaign on Reddit is a great example of a company identifying an opportunity to connect with its target audience on the subreddit /r/finance.

This allows the company to better understand its customers’ needs and focus on content creation and future marketing plans.

Transamerica’s campaign on RedditScreenshot by author from Reddit, May 2024

Aligning itself with its audience by demonstrating awareness of the topics around personal finance happening in the subreddit, as well as acknowledging the Redditors working at the company, it asked what topics it could create “specifically for the reddit community” around the topic of finance.

It stayed involved and engaged throughout the campaign, responding to threads and maintaining a lighthearted and sometimes humorous tone.

Transamerica’s campaign on RedditScreenshot by author from Reddit, May 2024

After getting all the feedback it needed, it created content around the more popular requests, going as far as branding and designing them similar to Reddit.

IRA vs 401K venn diagramScreenshot by author from Reddit, May 2024

It even took the time to individually comment a link to the published content on its site, bringing attention back to the overall campaign and the content it created.

This campaign was 10 years ago, and it is still referenced as a core example of engaging on Reddit as a brand in a respectful, thoughtful, and meaningful way.

Why You Should Be On Reddit Wrapup

TL;DR: If your brand has something meaningful to say and is interested in truly connecting with your audience, then yes, you should be on Reddit.

These successful brand campaign examples showcase Reddit’s power when used correctly. With research to understand the specific communities you want to reach, Reddit can have exceptional performance compared to other channels.

The stakes are high to get it right because Reddit communities can be highly negative toward self-serving promotion. But if you put in the effort and solve people’s needs and problems, Reddit has the potential to be a high-performance channel.

Edit: Updated daily active users figure based on Reddit’s Q1 Earnings Report

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SEO

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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