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20 Awesome Examples Of Social Media Marketing

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20 Awesome Examples Of Social Media Marketing

Technology makes the world seem a lot smaller.

Keeping up with friends and family on the other side of the country or across the globe no longer requires an expensive telephone call or slow, one-way snail mail.

Instead, thanks to the power of social media, we can bridge distances in the blink of an eye. In just seconds, you can share updates about your life or check in with anyone with internet access.

Social media has changed how we communicate and how we consume information and entertainment.

These platforms unlock a treasure trove of opportunities for savvy marketers, transforming how brands engage with their audience and share their stories on a global stage.

Why Is Social Media Marketing Important For Brands?

Social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, X (Twitter), and Facebook – among others – present businesses with an opportunity to engage with a massive audience.

They are not just digital spaces for socializing; they are vibrant marketplaces.

As of 2024, the global social media user base had soared to over 4.8 billion people, representing an ever-expanding audience for brands – and a whole lot of potential customers.

Social media provides the opportunity for marketers to humanize their brand through compelling storytelling that showcases their identity and values.

With social media marketing, brands can weave their narratives, engage vast audiences without hefty budgets, and raise awareness and consideration for their company with a broader audience.

It’s also a powerful tool for building authentic relationships with your target consumer.

You can conduct real-time customer service, gather feedback (both positive and negative), and build brand trust over time by interacting and engaging with your social community across specific platforms.

In addition:

  • 68% of consumers follow brands on social media to stay updated about products and services.
  • The average time spent on social media daily is 2 hours and 24 minutes.

The landscape of social media marketing is also shifting towards more engaging content formats such as short videos, live streams, and interactive stories.

From viral organic posts to paid display ads that allow you to target a highly specific demographic, social media presents an unrivaled opportunity to boost your brand visibility and find new customers.

That said, these platforms are not just about placing ads in front of consumers; they’re about creating conversations, building communities, and driving genuine brand engagement through content that resonates with audiences.

So, what separates the companies who are killing it on social media from the thousands of others who never quite seem to gain any traction?

In this piece, we’ll look at some outstanding ways brands have leveraged popular social platforms to inspire your campaigns.

How To Measure Social Media Marketing Effectiveness

Before we dive into the fun stuff, let’s take a moment to discuss how you can gauge the impact of your social media marketing efforts.

The key to assessing the effectiveness of your social media activities lies in measuring your key performance indicators (KPIs).

Some KPIs you might want to consider tracking include:

  • Reach: The number of unique users who see your content. This helps you understand the overall scale of content distribution.
  • Impressions: How many times your content was viewed (regardless of clicks or engagements). This can help you gauge how frequently people are looking at your content.
  • Engagements: Interactions with your content (e.g., how many likes, shares, comments, saves, etc., it received). This helps you understand how engaging users are finding your content.
  • Conversions: How effective your content is at driving actions (e.g., link clicks, follows, form fills, sales, sign-ups, etc.) This helps you understand whether your content is driving towards your goal-related activity.

The KPIs you choose should closely align with your strategic goals.

If you’re looking to boost awareness, reach, impressions, and engagement, offer valuable insights into how widely your message is seen and whether it’s resonating with users.

If you’re focused on lead generation or direct sales, focusing on conversion rates will provide a clearer measure of success.

Each brand is different, which means they will not only measure success differently but will also vary in which platforms are most effective for their social media marketing efforts.

With this in mind, we’ve broken down our examples and inspiration by platform. So, with no further ado, let’s jump in.


YouTube

1. Dove: Project #ShowUs

When: 2019

Campaign Outline:

To highlight that beauty comes in many forms, Dove launched Project #ShowUs, a campaign intended to challenge stereotypes of what is and isn’t considered beautiful.

In collaboration with Getty Images and Girlgaze Photographers, Project #ShowUs created the largest stock photo library in the world created by women – featuring all female-identifying and non-binary individuals.

The library featured over 5,000 photographs of women from around the globe. Dove took to social media to introduce it to the world, creating video content for YouTube and partnering with influencers to gain traction.

The Numbers:

  • The YouTube video has generated over 33.5 million views.
  • More than 100,000 women pledged to create a more inclusive vision of beauty.
  • 900+ companies in 40 countries downloaded 7,500+ images from the collection
  • The hashtag #ShowUs saw thousands of engagements across YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

Why Did It Work?

For generations, media and advertising have presented an image of what beauty is. However, this has left so many women feeling like they are not represented by media and advertising.

Dove spoke directly to the feelings of its target audience, engaging with them about the brand’s value and encouraging them to take pride in being themselves.

Strategic delivery helped reach women worldwide.

2. BuzzFeed x Friskies: Dear Kitten

When: 2016

Campaign Outline:

If there’s one thing the internet loves, it’s cat videos.

Buzzfeed and Friskies tapped into this sentiment with their “Dear Kitten” videos, in which an older house cat teaches a kitten how to be a cat.

The Numbers:

  • The launch video has been viewed on YouTube more than 34 million times.
  • Twelve follow-up videos have been viewed millions of times each.
  • The campaign led to viral TikTok parodies, with the hashtag #DearKitten receiving more than 3.6 million views.

Why Did It Work?

You don’t have to have genius-level insight into the human psyche to understand why this campaign was so successful.

It has cute cats and a funny script.

3. Apple: “Study With Me”

Screenshot from YouTube, Study With Me feat. Storm Reid x Apple, Apple, February 202420 Awesome Examples Of Social Media Marketing

When: 2023

Campaign Outline:

Apple tried its hand at the popular “Study With Me” video trend in 2023 by creating a 90-minute feature starring actress and college junior Storm Reid.

In the video, Reid uses the Pomodoro Technique – which focuses on 25-minute study sessions followed by 5-minute breaks – to showcase a productive study routine.

The video serves as a virtual study companion for viewers who are looking for that type of content while also highlighting the capabilities of Apple’s MacBook Air product.

The Numbers:

  • The video has generated over 18 million views on YouTube.

Why Did It Work:

Apple did what great social media marketing often does: It tapped into a trending format to reach its ideal audience.

By tapping into a burgeoning trend among students seeking virtual companionship and motivation – and pairing that with Storm Reid, a recognizable figure who is also relatable for the target audience – the campaign struck a chord of being both authentic and helpful to viewers.

On top of that, incorporating a tried-and-true study technique gave the audience a practical takeaway to enhance their own study habits.

4. eBay: Modathon

When: 2023

Campaign Outline:

eBay wanted to shift perceptions of its brand and drive excitement with an audience of auto enthusiasts.

So, the brand created a social media campaign to tap into the subculture of offroading by leveraging the huge inventory of eBay Motors.

In a YouTube series called “Modathon,” the company partnered with YouTube creators on a mission to transform a 1979 Bronco into an offroading powerhouse using only parts and accessories from eBay Motors.

Across several longform episodes, creators customized the Bronco with parts for challenging trails.

The Numbers:

The series generated:

  • 35,000 new YouTube channel subscribers.
  • Over 8.4 million views on YouTube to date.
  • More than 100 million minutes watched.
  • 6:28 minute average episode watch time.

Why Did It Work:

The Modathon challenge succeeded by tapping into what drives the offroading community: a passion for adventure, customization, and modification.

By partnering with YouTube creators who embody the spirit and enthusiasm of its target audience, eBay positioned itself as not just a marketplace but a hub for inspiration and community.

The narrative series format catered to the audience’s preference for immersive, detailed content, which then helped foster a stronger connection with the brand.


Instagram

5. Apple: The Shot on iPhone Challenge

When: Ongoing (Launched in 2015)

Campaign Outline:

The world’s most popular smartphone manufacturer, Apple, takes great pride in the quality of images that can be captured on its devices.

To highlight the great photos that it can take, it launched a competition in 2015 that asked iPhone users to “capture the little things in a big way.”

Photographers were then invited to share their images on Instagram and other social media sites using the hashtag #ShotOniPhone.

A panel of judges then selected 10 winners from tens of thousands of entries, which were then featured on Apple’s website, the company’s Instagram, and on 10,000+ billboards in 25 countries.

It has since become an annual campaign for the brand.

The Numbers:

  • The first round of the campaign had more than 6.5 billion impressions.
  • It was mentioned by 24,000 influencers, with a 95% positive comment rating.

Why Did It Work?

User-generated content (UGC) is a low-investment way for companies to promote their brand on social media, but this isn’t the reason for this campaign’s success.

Instead, Shot on iPhone encourages people to discuss the campaign, which closely aligns with Apple’s reputation for creativity, lifestyle, and innovation.

It encouraged existing users to participate in product launches and builds a sense of excitement about being part of the iPhone community.

Additionally, it gives iPhone users a sense of being part of something cool, which everyone likes.

6. Spotify: Spotify Wrapped

Spotify WrappedScreenshot from newsroom.spotify.com, February 2024Spotify Wrapped

When: Ongoing (Launched in 2019)

Campaign Outline:

In 2019, Spotify launched a campaign where users received a year-end round-up of their listening habits on the platform.

Using personalized in-app data, Spotify Wrapped gives you access to an exclusive, interactive story (or, in the past, a webpage) that shows you details like:

  • Your most listened to artists, genres, and songs.
  • Your top podcasts.
  • The total time you spent listening for the year.
  • New artists you discovered.
  • And more.

The data is presented in a visually appealing way that is formatted specifically for sharing to Instagram Stories (and elsewhere) – and Spotify encourages users to share far and wide.

Now, several years later, Spotify Wrapped has become an event that users anticipate and talk about even ahead of time.

It has evolved to serve users with new tidbits of information – such as what international city you’re aligned with based on your listening habits – and has succeeded at creating a tentpole social media marketing moment.

The Numbers:

  • In 2022, 156 million users engaged with Wrapped.
  • In 2021, that number was reportedly 120 million.
  • There were 425 million Tweets about Spotify Wrapped in the first three days after its launch in 2022.

Why Did It Work?

Spotify combines two big psychological triggers in this campaign: personalization and fear of missing out (FOMO).

The app provides a personalized story for each user. You can see how your music taste developed through the years and what songs accompanied you in your life. The visualizations and gamification make it super engaging and capture people’s attention.

By enabling and encouraging sharing on social media, Spotify amplifies the campaign’s reach. It creates a sense of community in which users want to share their results with others – and see where they differ from their friends.

People naturally wanted to show off their highlights to their friends, thus making more people eager to try this experience.

7.  Freeform: Cruel Summer Influencer Nostalgia Campaign

When: 2023

Campaign Outline:

After record-breaking viewership of season one of “Cruel Summer,” Freeform needed to reignite interest in the show’s second season.

So, the brand put together a social media campaign built around a classic tactic: nostalgia.

Collaborating with six popular Instagram meme accounts and throwback influencers like Lance Bass and Mario Lopez, the network leveraged ’90s nostalgia to create buzz around the new anthology format of Cruel Summer.

The Numbers:

  • The campaign garnered a total reach of over 22 million and 3.7 million organic impressions.
  • A top post by ThirtyAF achieved a 6.5% engagement rate.
  • The brand saw a unanimously positive sentiment from fans who expressed excitement for the new season.

Why Did It Work?

Nostalgia has proven itself to be an extremely powerful marketing tactic – and that’s especially true on social media.

Freeform’s campaign leveraged the power of nostalgia marketing – and its audience’s love for the ’90s – to drive impressive social media engagement.

Additionally, partnering with trusted social media influencers further amplified the impact of the campaign.

This innovative approach – combined with the excitement for new stories – led to a universally positive reception, proving that a well-curated throwback theme can effectively drum up anticipation and broaden viewer interest.

8. Hulu Originals: Only Murders In The Building

When: 2021

Campaign Outline:

In a strategic move to captivate audiences and announce the first season of “Only Murders in the Building,” Hulu partnered with Home Brew Agency to craft an Instagram campaign that reflected the mysterious tones of the show itself.

The strategy centered around transforming the Instagram feed into an extension of the show’s universe, complete with a detailed mosaic of the fictional Arconia building.

The campaign also highlighted the star-studded cast of Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez through character spotlights that introduced and teased the evolving dynamics between the main characters to interactively immerse followers in the series’ murder mystery.

Original videos and games were designed to spark curiosity and speculation among fans without revealing too much, maintaining the suspense that is the lifeblood of any whodunit.

The Numbers:

  • The @onlymurdershulu Instagram account quickly grew to 116,000 followers.
  • As a result, the show launched as Hulu’s “Most-Watched Comedy Premiere in Hulu History” and the most-watched Hulu Original comedy on premiere day.

Why Did It Work?

Hulu Originals did a number of things right here.

Firstly, it leveraged Instagram to extend the story world of the series and engage fans on a platform where they’re already active and invested.

The brand made use of the show’s considerable star power to activate a broad fan base across different demographics and generate excitement and curiosity.

By introducing an immersive social media experience that focused on mystery and teasing elements of the show piece-by-piece, Hulu Originals expanded the show’s narrative beyond the screen, heightened anticipation, and invited social media fans to join in on the fun.

This holistic approach not only solidified the show’s online presence but also played a crucial role in driving its record-breaking viewership on Hulu, demonstrating the power of social media in amplifying television narratives

9.  Bobbie: @Bobbie Instagram Handle

When: 2023

Campaign Outline:

Bobbie, a baby formula brand, is on a mission to reshape societal perceptions around infant nutrition.

In 2023, the brand set out with an objective to leverage Instagram to cultivate a supportive, diverse community for modern parents.

Central to the brand’s mission was to make the tumultuous first year of parenting less daunting by using Instagram to bond over shared experiences within the first year of parenthood and help parents feel less alone.

To do so, the brand focused on showing the real, parent-driven team behind the scenes at Bobbie, telling the powerful stories of challenges real Bobbie parents face (such as infertility and systemic injustices in maternal care). It even responded with real-time support, such as Uber-delivered formula to Instagram followers experiencing emergencies.

The Numbers:

  • Total engagements increased to 307,000 – a 338% jump from the previous year.
  • Increased total impressions to 162 million – a 334% jump from the previous year.
  • Followers grew to 113,000 – a 37% rise from the year beforehand.

Why Did It Work?

Bobbie’s strategy resonated deeply with its audience by focusing on authenticity.

By openly addressing the complexities of parenting, offering tangible support, and spotlighting real stories, Bobbie not only fostered a community but also positioned itself as a brand that truly understands and advocates for its customers’ needs.

In addition to enhancing its social metrics, the hands-on approach and commitment to addressing systemic challenges in parenthood – coupled with strategic storytelling and community engagement – also solidified the brand as a leader in championing the well-being of parents and children alike.


Facebook

10. BuzzFeed: Tasty

When: 2016

Campaign Outline:

You’ve probably seen these quick and easy recipe videos popping up all over your Facebook news feed.

BuzzFeed’s Tasty videos are essentially cooking shows for the social media generation.

These videos, typically lasting less than two minutes, deliver on-trend recipes to a highly engaged audience.

The Numbers:

  • Nearly 15 months after launching, Tasty published 2,000 recipe videos, giving the brand a steady stream of new content.
  • Videos reached around 500 million users monthly.
  • The brand has over 105 million Facebook fans.

Why Did It Work?

For starters, there’s the content.

Tasty tapped into the inherent shareability of food content and the fact that almost everyone can relate to food – it has a place in all of our lives.

But more importantly, Tasty and Proper Tasty have exploded on Facebook because the content is tailor-made for that platform.

The team at BuzzFeed clearly observed video trends on Facebook and jumped while the time was ripe.

By producing high-quality, visually appealing videos that users could easily replicate at home, Tasty not only entertained but also provided value, making it a go-to resource for culinary inspiration.

The videos are optimized for Facebook’s autoplay feature, which starts playing videos without the sound on.

You don’t need sound to see, for example, a 45-second guide to making a cheese-stuffed pizza pretzel.

11.  Planet Fitness: Home Work-Ins

When: 2020

Campaign Outline:

In 2020, with the world grappling with lockdowns and gym closures, Planet Fitness set out to leverage Facebook to revolutionize home fitness.

As many of us scaled back our physical activity in order to shelter in place, Planet Fitness launched “The Home Work-In” series.

This innovative campaign transformed Facebook Live into a virtual gym, offering free, daily live workouts to motivate people globally.

To make it happen, the company equipped trainers across the country with the necessary tech to broadcast from their homes. These sessions featured professional trainers, celebrities, and athletes, ensuring variety and broad appeal.

The Numbers:

  • Over 373 million total campaign impressions.
  • Viewed by over 208 million people across 37 countries.
  • Increase the average watch time of Planet Fitness video content by 200%.
  • Drove over 4.3 million new Facebook followers.

Why Did It Work?

Planet Fitness’s Home Work-In campaign brilliantly tapped into the needs of a global audience confined to their homes, craving movement and community.

By leveraging Facebook Live, it provided real-time, interactive fitness solutions that were accessible and free, breaking down barriers to exercise.

The strategic use of celebrities and athletes added star power, while the quick launch just days after widespread closures highlighted the brand’s agility and commitment to its members.


X (Formerly Twitter)

12. Nickelodeon: A Message From Steve – Blue’s Clues 25th Anniversary

Message from SteveScreenshot from X (Twitter), February 2024Message from Steve

When: 2021

Campaign Outline:

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of “Blue’s Clues,” Nickelodeon decided to use X (Twitter) to reconnect with the now-adult audience who had cherished the show as children.

The strategy was to evoke nostalgia and warmth by reminding them of the timeless bond they shared with the show, using a special message from the original host, Steve.

The centerpiece of the celebration was a “Message From Steve,” a video where Steve directly addressed the audience after decades.

The script, developed in close collaboration with Steve, touched on universal themes of adulthood, such as jobs, families, and student loans, while also acknowledging the growth and journeys of the audience since they last met Steve.

By using X (Twitter) as the distribution platform, Nickelodeon strategically featured Steve’s message in an area where it knew the conversation would flourish.

The Numbers:

  • Steve’s messaging became a viral sensation, garnering:
    • Over 40 million views.
    • Close to 800,000 retweets.
    • 2 million likes.
    • Over 222 million impressions and 18 million engagements.
  • It was the most engaging tweet of all time for any ViacomCBS account.
  • Blue’s Clues and Steve were a trending topic on social media for several days, with fans sharing their emotional reactions, memories, and more.
  • Celebrities, such as Seth Rogen and Blake Lively, and brands like XBOX and JCPenney engaged with the tweet.

Why Did It Work?

Steve’s return tapped into a deep well of nostalgia, which (as we’ve discussed above) is a powerful tool for engaging social media content.

It encouraged and allowed people to reconnect with childhood memories, and the sincerity of the message resonated with social media audiences all over the world.

By addressing the shared experiences of growing up and acknowledging the challenges of adulthood, the campaign fostered a powerful sense of community among viewers.

13. Busch: #PassMeABusch

When: 2022

Campaign Outline:

Busch Light had an ambitious goal: to dominate social media conversations on National Beer Day by making Busch Light the most talked-about beer brand.

In order to do that, it mobilized its passionate fanbase on X (Twitter) by turning April 7, 2022 into a celebration of beer, which was fueled by generous beer money giveaways.

The brand asked fans to share why they deserved to celebrate National Beer Day with Busch Light, promising $10,000 in beer money via CashApp for the most compelling reasons.

Throughout the day, it offered various giveaway amounts and “power hours” to maintain excitement and participation.

This led to fans sharing their unique, humorous, and sometimes poignant reasons for deserving a share of the beer money, generating widespread buzz and engagement.

The Numbers:

  • Bush Light became the No. 1 topic on X (Twitter) for National Beer Day.
  • The brand achieved:
    • Over 40,000 social mentions.
    • 1.7 million impressions.
    • Nearly 3,000 new followers.
  • The #PassMeABusch hashtag gained the company thousands of new followers.
  • One of the biggest growth days Anheuser-Busch ever saw on Twitter.

Why Did It Work?

The campaign’s genius lay in its simplicity and direct appeal to the audience’s love for beer and the brand.

By offering tangible rewards to fans, Busch Light created a sense of excitement that resonated across X (Twitter), and provided strong incentive for engagement.

After all, people are much more likely to engage if they believe they might get something out of it!

The mix of humor, relatability, and the thrill of potentially winning beer money incentivized people to celebrate and engage, propelling Busch Light to unprecedented social media prominence on National Beer Day.

14. Planters: The Death Of Mr. Peanut – #RIPPeanut

When: 2020

Campaign Outline:

Perhaps one of the most bizarre social media campaigns: the beloved mascot of Planters snack food company died at the beginning of January 2020.

His death was announced with a tweet and later explained in a video ad posted to YouTube. The brand explained that Mr. Peanut had sacrificed his life to save his commercial co-stars, Matt Walsh and Wesley Snipes.

Planters invited fans to mourn the loss using the #RIPPeanut hashtag (which could also win them snacks).

The brands and regular social media users alike played along with the campaign, and it even got a mention on SNL.

The campaign was inspired by the reaction to celebrity deaths on social media. It aimed to repeat the same level of engagement that Tony Stark’s death caused in “Avengers: Endgame.”

Later, Mr. Peanut was reborn as a Baby Nut and now happily tweets from the Peanut Jr. account.

The Numbers:

  • The tweet announcing the death of Mr. Peanut has gathered 42,000 retweets.
  • It generated an increase of 24,000 followers for the @MrPeanut Twitter account.

Why Did It Work?

The campaign’s success hinged on its sheer audacity and the playful engagement with a topic as somber as death, presented in a way that was both humorous and captivating.

The premise was so unexpected and so wild that it immediately piqued the interest of users across X (Twitter) and quickly became a meme.

By tapping into meme culture and encouraging the participation of other users and brands, Planters created a viral phenomenon that transcended traditional marketing campaigns.

Many comedians and funny Twitter personalities jumped into the conversation, making jokes about Mr Peanut’s death – and other brands like Snickers, Crocs, and more joined in.

Planters did an exceptional job of taking the strange humor of the platform at the time, and putting that to use in an interactive and emotional rollercoaster that demonstrated the power of creative storytelling and community engagement.


TikTok

15. P&G: #DistanceDance

When: 2020

Campaign Outline:

Created during the pandemic (seeing a trend here?), Proctor and Gamble took to TikTok with a campaign designed to encourage social distancing.

Under the hashtag #DistanceDance, the company teamed up with social media and former competitive dancer Charli D’Amelio to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

For the first 3 million videos posted to the short-form video apps, P&G donated to Feeding America and Matthew 25 Ministries.

The Numbers:

  • The hashtag has inspired more than 2.3 million posts to date.
  • Charli D’Amelio’s video received almost 7 million likes and had more than 135,000 comments.

Why Did It Work?

Recognizing that to reach a younger audience, it needed to reach them on their platform of choice, P&G jumped fully into this TikTok campaign.

Partnering with an established influencer helped the company reach an audience it would otherwise have struggled to connect with.

The give-back component also created a feel-good reason to participate in the hashtag challenge.

16. Chipotle Mexican Grill: Chipotle x Corn Kid

When: 2023

Campaign Outline:

When an interview featuring 7-year-old Tariq (a.k.a. Corn Kid) expressing his love for corn captured TikTok’s heart and went viral, Chipotle saw an opportunity to jump into the conversation – and highlight its roasted chili-corn salsa.

Seemingly overnight, Chipotle jumped on the trend and orchestrated a collaboration with Corn Kid, creating a video of him enjoying his favorite corn salsa burrito bowl at Chipotle.

The Numbers:

  • The TikTok generated:
    • Over 59.6 million views.
    • Over 266,500 shares.
    • Over 9.3 million likes.
  • Nearly 13 million engagements across platforms.
  • Over 110 million video views across platforms.
  • Over 1.1 billion PR impressions from 768 stories.

Why Did It Work?

The partnership allowed Chipotle to enter a cultural TikTok conversation as it was unfolding in a way that felt authentic and memorable.

By being the first brand to partner with Corn Kid, Chipotle set itself apart from the competition and found a unique way to highlight its product.

The campaign’s success also stemmed from its rapid response to a fleeting cultural moment, showcasing Chipotle’s agility in content creation and ability to authentically engage with Gen Z.

The clever use of real-time culture mixed with Chipotle’s narrative around fresh ingredients resonated well with audiences, as it showed the brand really walks the walk.

17.  State Farm: Jake Gets Social

When: 2022

Campaign Outline:

In order to reach the next generation of consumers, State Farm launched a TikTok campaign around its iconic “Jake from State Farm” character.

To do so, it made Jake a content creator on TikTok, having him participate in popular challenges and trends, and partner with recognizable influencers and celebrities on the platform.

The Numbers:

  • Grew the Jake from State Farm TikTok page to 640,000 followers in 2022.
  • The profile generated 1.75 million likes and 11.7 million organic views.
  • Achieved a 14.5% average engagement rate on owned videos.

Why Did It Work?

State Farm successfully integrated Jake into the TikTok environment in an authentic way by creating engaging, community-driven content.

By focusing on creative challenges, partnerships with popular TikTok creators and celebrities, and genuine interactions with other TikTok users, State Farm went beyond the typical corporate presence on social and built real connections with people.

On a platform that values novelty and authenticity, State Farm’s adaptability and attention to trends enabled it to lay a solid foundation for future engagement with Gen Z consumers.

18.  FOX Entertainment: Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test TikTok Challenge

When: 2022

Campaign Outline:

Here’s a fun one.

In this example, FOX Entertainment introduced a brand new augmented reality (AR) obstacle course challenge on TikTok to promote the upcoming season of “Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test.”

Designed to reflect the show’s focus on overcoming physical and mental barriers, users participated in the challenge by trying to complete a 2-minute AR course using push-ups and planks.

The Numbers:

  • The AR experience collected over half a billion views.
  • It also generated 42 million likes and 2 million shares, putting FOX Entertainment in the top 1% of effect creators on TikTok.

Why Did It Work?

The AR challenge leveraged a unique capability of the TikTok platform to create something that was both interactive and immersive for users.

It also made sense for the brand to produce, as it aligned closely with the show’s themes.

Whether or not you knew about the show beforehand, you could enjoy the exciting AR challenge – and develop an awareness of the show in the meantime.

The success of this campaign underscores the power of creative content strategies that leverage emerging technologies to connect with audiences in meaningful and memorable ways.


LinkedIn

19. Harvard Business Review: Special Coverage: Coronavirus

When: 2020

Campaign Outline:

Because it’s so commonly used as a professional networking site, it’s easy to forget that LinkedIn is a social media platform just like Facebook or YouTube.

Harvard Business Review recognized it could fill a valuable role during the height of the pandemic by offering resources about the coronavirus.

Gathering many resources in one convenient place, it provided a credible source of information at a time when misinformation was running rampant.

The special coverage included information about developing work-from-home policies, responding to new variants, and helping find a new normal.

The Numbers

  • The HBR has over 14 million followers, many of whom benefited from this information.

Why Did It Work?

From fears of microchipping to governmental conspiracies, the sheer amount of outright false information about COVID-19 was staggering.

On top of this, this was uncharted territory for businesses of all types.

Leveraging the credibility of its parent institution, HBR provided quality, factual advice for dealing with a wide variety of pandemic-related issues.

20.  Verizon: #NotDone

Verizon #NotDone CampaignScreenshot from YouTube, #NotDone, Verizon, February 2024Verizon #NotDone Campaign

When: 2020

Campaign Outline:

In 2020, we saw the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote.

To mark the occasion, Verizon launched the Future Fund, dedicating $5 million to nurture emerging female talent in technology and entertainment.

Then, the brand leveraged LinkedIn to creatively start a conversation about the historical underrepresentation of women and the roots of gender bias by creating posthumous LinkedIn profiles for pioneering women from history – such as Ada Lovelace, Dorothy Lavinia Brown, Chien-Shiung Wu, and more.

The campaign was designed to remind others that – until there are more women in tech and entertainment – we are #NotDone.

The Numbers:

  • Created posthumous LinkedIn profiles for the first time ever.
  • Engaged over 7 million users without any paid promotion.

Why Did It Work?

By leveraging LinkedIn to reintroduce historical figures to the modern job market, Verizon not only paid homage to their contributions but also starkly highlighted the brand’s messaging and values around the ongoing struggle for gender equality.

The platform was an effective choice for reaching professionals in decision-making roles within tech and entertainment, and the format Verizon chose was inherently buzzy, engaging, and never seen before.


Key Takeaway

Reflecting on the examples we’ve covered here, it’s worth noting how different they all are; they run the gamut of platforms, audiences, tactics, and messaging.

But one thing that does tie these brands together is this: They all found innovative ways to appeal to their targets and provide real value to people.

From Instagram to TikTok, these campaigns demonstrate the power of connecting with audiences in meaningful and unexpected ways.

The lesson for brands is to keep pushing the boundaries of engagement by offering value and relevance that resonates with their audience.

Embrace the challenge, and perhaps your campaign will be the next to inspire and captivate – and next year, you might even be featured on this list.

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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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International SEO For 2024: 9-Point Checklist For Success

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International SEO For 2024: 9-Point Checklist For Success

Getting your international SEO strategy right can be an elusive feat.

There are a lot more factors at play than people give credit for, and it’s often a thankless job.

A successful international SEO strategy requires a deep knowledge of your company’s commercial strategy as well as technical SEO knowledge, cultural sensitivity, and excellent data skills.

Yet the industry often regards international SEO as just your hreflang setup.

In this article, I will distill the complexities of international SEO success into an actionable step-by-step list that will take you from beginner to advanced practitioner. Let’s begin!

Part I: Be Commercially Aware

1. Understand Why Your Company Is Going International

Companies can grow by expanding their products and services, focusing on gaining market penetration or expanding into new markets.

While your team’s goal might be traffic, leads, or revenue, the leadership team is likely working under a different set of parameters. Most of the time, leadership’s ultimate goal is to maximize shareholder value.

  • In founder-owned companies, growth goals might be slower and more sustainable, usually aimed at maintaining and growing profitability.
  • VC-owned companies have high growth goals because they must provide their investors with a return that’s higher than the stock market. This is what is known as the alpha, or your company’s ability to beat the market in growth.
  • Publicly traded companies are likely aiming to grow their share value.
  • Startups, depending on their maturity stage, are likely looking to prove product-market fit or expand their reach fast to show that their operations are scalable and have the potential to be profitable in the future. The goal of this is to aid in raising further capital from investors.

Understanding why businesses go international is essential for informing your SEO decisions. What’s best practice for SEO isn’t always what’s best for business.

You must adapt your strategy to your company’s growth model.

  • Companies choosing to grow sustainably and maintain profitability will likely expand more slowly to a market that resembles their core market.
  • VC-owned companies will be able to invest in a wider range of countries, with a smaller concern for providing their users with an experience on par with that of their core markets.
  • Startups can try to beat their competitors to market by expanding quickly and throwing a lot of money at the project, or they might be concerned with cash flow and try to expand fast but cut corners by using automatic translation.

2. Stack Rank Your Target Markets To Prioritize Your Investment

I promise I’ll get to hreflang implementation soon, but so much about international SEO has to do with commercial awareness – so bear with me; this will make you a better professional.

Many companies have different market tiers to reflect how much of a priority each market is. Market prioritization can happen using many different metrics, such as:

  • Average order value or lifetime customer value.
  • Amount of investment required.
  • Market size.
  • And market similarity.

American companies often prioritize developed English-speaking countries such as the UK, Canada, or Australia. These are most similar to their core market, and most of their market knowledge will be transferable.

After that, companies are likely to target large European economies, such as Germany and France. They might also target the LatAm market and Spain in the same effort.

The last prioritization tier can vary widely among companies, with a focus on the Nordic, Brazilian, or Asian markets.

Part II: Know Your Tech

3. Define Your International URL Structure

When doing international SEO, there are 4 different possible URL structures, each with its pros and cons.

ccTLD Structure

A ccTLD structure is set up to target different countries based on the domain type.

This structure is not ideal for companies that target different languages rather than different countries. For example, a .es website is targeting Spain, not the Spanish language.

An advantage to this kind of structure is that the ccTLD sends a very strong localization signal to search engines as to what market they are targeting, and they can lead to improved trust and CTR in your core country.

On the other hand, ccTLDs can dilute your site’s authority, as links will be spread across domains rather than concentrated on the .com.

gTLD With Subdirectories

This is my personal favorite when it comes to international SEO.

These URL structures can look like website.com/en if they’re targeting languages or website.com/en-gb if they’re targeting countries.

This configuration aggregates the authority you gain across your different territories into a single domain, it’s cheaper to maintain, and the .com TLD is widely recognizable by users worldwide.

On the other hand, this setup can look less personalized to people outside the US, who might wonder if you can service their markets.

gTLD With Subdomains

This setup involves placing international content on a subdomain like us.website.com. While once popular, it’s slipping in favor because it doesn’t bring anything unique to the table anymore.

This setup offers a clear signal to users and search engines about the intended audience of a specific subdomain.

However, subdomains often face issues with SEO, as Google tends to view them as separate entities. This separation can dilute link, similar to the ccTLD approach but without the geo-targeting advantages.

gTLD With Parameters

This is the setup where you add parameters at the end of the URL to indicate the language of the page, such as website.com/?lang=en.

I strongly advise against this setup, as it can present multiple technical SEO challenges and trust issues.

4. Understand Your Hreflang Setup

In the words of John Mueller: hreflang can be one of the most complex aspects of SEO.

Screenshot from Twitter, May 2024

Hreflang reminds me of a multilingual form of a canonical tag, where we tell search engines that one document is a version of the other and explain the relationship between them.

I find hreflang implementation very interesting from a technical point of view. Because development teams mostly manage it, and it can be very much hit or miss.

Often, hreflang is constructed from existing fields in your content management system (CMS) or content database.

You might find that your development team is pulling the HTML lang tag, which follows a different ISO standard than hreflang, leading to a broken implementation.

Other times, there is a field in your CMS that your development team pulls from to build your hreflang setup.

Finding out how your hreflang tags are generated can be extremely helpful in identifying the sources of different issues or mitigating potential risks.

So speak to your engineering team and ask them how you’re currently generating hreflang.

5. Implement Hreflang Without Errors

There are three ways to implement hreflang on your site:

  • On your sitemap.
  • Through your HTTP header.
  • On your HTML head.

The method most of us are most familiar with is the HTML head. And while you can use more than one method, they should match each other perfectly. Otherwise, you risk confusing search engines.

Here are some basic rules for getting it done correctly:

  • In your hreflang implementation, the URL must include domain and protocol.
  • You must follow the ISO 639-1 language codes – don’t go around making up your own.
  • Hreflang tags must be reciprocal. If the page you’re listing as a language alternative does not list you back, your implementation won’t work.
  • Audit your hreflang regularly. My favorite tool for this, since it added the hreflang cluster analysis and link graphs, is Ahrefs. For the record, Ahrefs is not paying me to say this; it’s a genuine recommendation and has helped me a lot in my work.
  • You should only have one page per language.
  • Your hreflang URLs should be self-canonicalizing and respond with a 200 code.

Follow the above rules, and you’ll avoid the most common hreflang mistakes that SEO pros make.

And if you’re interested in the technical SEO aspect beyond hreflang, I recommend reading Mind your language by Rob Owen.

Part III: Invest In Content Incrementally

6. Translate Your Top-performing Content Topics

Now that you have the basic commercial and technical knowledge covered, you’re ready to start creating a content strategy.

You likely have a wealth of content in your core market that can be recycled. But you want to focus on translating high-converting topics, not just any topic; otherwise, you might be wasting your budget!

Let’s go step by step.

Cluster Your Website’s Content By Topic

  • Crawl your site using your favorite SEO tool and extract the URL and H1.
  • Use ChatGPT to classify that list of URLs into topics. You might already know what you usually write about, so include those topics in your prompt. You don’t want to have a classification that’s too granular, so you can prompt chatGPT to only create groups with a minimum of 10 URLs (adjust this to reflect the size of your website) and class everything else as other. This is an example of what your prompt might look like: “I will provide you with a list of article titles and their corresponding URL. Classify this list into the following topics: survey best practices, research and analysis, employee surveys, market research and others. Return this in a table format with the URL, title and group name.”
  • Start a spreadsheet with all your URLs in the first column, titles in the second column, and the group they belong to in the third column.

Measure Your Performance By Topic

  • Export your GSC data and use a =VLOOKUP formula to match your clicks to your URLs.
  • Export your conversion data and use a =VLOOKUP formula to match your conversions (leads, sales, sign-ups, or revenue) to the right URL.
  • You can then copy your topics column onto a new sheet. Remove duplicates and use the =SUMIF formula to aggregate your click data and conversion data by topic.

Choose What Topics You’ll Be Translating First

Using this data, you can now choose what topics are most likely to drive conversions based on your core market data. Choose how many topics or pieces of content you’ll be translating based on your budget.

Personally, I like translating one topic at a time because I’ve found that generating topical authority on one specific topic makes it easier for me to rank on an adjacent topic that I write about next.

7. Localize Your English Content

Once you’re set up with all your key pages and a few content topics, it’s time to evaluate your investment and see where you could be getting a bigger return.

At this stage, many companies have translated their content into a few different languages and likely copied the US content into their UK and Australian sites. Now that you’ve done some translation, it’s time to work on localization.

If you’ve just copied your US content into your UK and Australian sites, your Google Search Console indexing report might be screaming at you, “Duplicate, Google selected a different canonical than the user.”

A very easy fix that could yield great returns is to localize your English content to the nuances of those English-speaking markets.

You will want to instruct your translation and localization providers to adapt the spellings of certain words, change the choice of words, introduce local expressions, and update any cited statistic for the US with their local equivalent.

For example, if I’m targeting a British audience, “analyze” becomes “analyse,” a “stroller” becomes a “pram,” and “soccer” becomes “football.”

8. Invest In In-market Content

Once you’ve got the basics in place, you can start tackling the specific needs of other markets. This strategy is expensive, and you should only use it in your priority markets, but it can really set you apart from your competitors.

For this, you will need to work with a local linguist to identify pain points, use cases, or needs exclusive to your target market.

For example, if France suddenly made it mandatory to run a diversity and inclusion study for companies with over 250 employees, I’d want to know this and create some content on DEI surveys at SurveyMonkey.

9. Integrate With Other Content Workflows

In step six, we evaluated our top-performing content, chose the best articles to translate, and got it all down. But wait. Some of these source articles have been updated. And there is even more content now!

To run a successful international SEO campaign you must integrate with all the other teams publishing content within your organization.

Usually, the teams creating content in an organization are SEO, content, PR, product marketing, demand generation, customer marketing, customer service, customer education, or solutions engineering.

That’s a lot, and you won’t be able to integrate with everyone all at once. Prioritize the teams that create the most revenue-generating content, such as SEO, content, or product marketing.

Working with these teams, you will have to establish a process for what happens when they create a new piece, update some content, or remove an existing piece.

These processes can differ for everyone, but I can tell you what I do with my team and hope it inspires you.

  • When a piece of content that’s already been localized into international markets is updated, we get the content in a queue to be re-localized the next quarter.
  • When they create a new piece of content, we evaluate its performance, and if it’s performing above average, we add it to a localization queue for the next quarter.
  • When they change the URL of a piece of content or delete it, all international sites must follow suit at the same time, since due to some technical limitations, not making the change globally would create some hreflang issues.

Wrapping Up

International SEO is vast and complex, and no article can cover it all, but many interesting resources have been created by SEO pros across the community for those who want to learn more.

Navigating the complexities of international SEO is no small feat. It’s an intricate dance of aligning commercial strategies with technical precision, cultural insights, and data-driven decisions.

From understanding your company’s core motives for global expansion to meticulously implementing hreflang tags and localizing content, every step plays a crucial role in building a successful international presence.

More resources: 


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Google’s AI Vision Driven By Panic, Not Users: Former Product Manager

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Hand pressing the red button. vector illustration

A 16-year Google veteran is raising concerns about the company’s current focus on AI, labeling it a “panic reaction” driven by fear of falling behind competitors.

Scott Jenson, who left Google last month, took to LinkedIn to critique the tech giant’s AI projects as “poorly motivated and driven by this mindless panic that as long as it had ‘AI’ in it, it would be great.”

Veteran’s Criticism Of Google’s AI Focus

Jenson stated that Google’s vision of creating an AI assistant for its ecosystem is “pure catnip” fueled by the fear of letting someone else get there first.

He parallels the ill-fated Google+ product, which he calls a “similar hysterical reaction” to Facebook’s rise.

Jenson wrote:

“This exact thing happened 13 years ago with Google+ (I was there for that fiasco as well). That was a similar hysterical reaction but to Facebook.”

Lack Of User-Driven Motivation

Jenson argues that Google’s strategy lacks motivation driven by genuine user needs, a sentiment echoed by a recent Gizmodo article that described this year’s Google I/O developer conference as “the most boring ever.”

The article, which Jenson linked to in his post, criticized Google for failing to clarify how Gemini’s new AI technology would integrate into its existing products and enhance the user experience.

See Jenson’s full post below:

Can You Turn Off Google’s AI Overviews?

One prime example of Google’s AI overreach is the AI overviews feature, which generates summaries to directly answer search queries by ingesting information from across the web.

This controversial move has sparked legal battles, with publishers accusing Google of violating intellectual property rights and unfairly profiting from their content without permission.

Related: Google’s AI Overviews Documentation: Key SEO Insights

Turning Off AI Overviews

While Google doesn’t provide an official setting to turn off AI overviews, a viral article from Tom’s Hardware suggests using browser extensions.

Alternatively, you can configure Chrome to go directly to web search results, bypassing the AI-generated overviews.

Here are the steps:

  • Open Chrome settings by clicking the three dots in the top-right corner and selecting “Settings” from the menu.
  • In the Settings window, click on the “Search Engine” tab on the left side.
  • Under the “Search Engine” section, click “Manage search engines and site search.”
  • Scroll down to the “Site search” area and click “Add” to create a new entry.

In the new entry, enter the following details:

  • Name: Google (Web)
  • Shortcut: www.google.com
  • URL: {google:baseURL}/search?udm=14&q=%s
  • Click “Add
Screenshot from: chrome://settings/searchEngines, May 2024.

Lastly, click the three dots next to the new “Google (Web)” entry and select “Make default.”

1716224163 590 Googles AI Vision Driven By Panic Not Users Former ProductScreenshot from: chrome://settings/searchEngines, May 2024.

After following these steps, Chrome will now default to showing regular web search results instead of the AI overview summaries when you perform searches from the address bar.

Tensions Over Data Usage

The controversy surrounding AI overviews creates tension between tech companies and content creators over using online data for AI training.

Publishers argue that Google’s AI summaries could siphon website traffic, threatening independent creators’ revenue streams, which rely on search referrals.

The debate reflects the need for updated frameworks to balance innovation and fair compensation for content creators, maintaining a sustainable open internet ecosystem.


FAQ

What concerns has Scott Jenson raised about Google’s AI focus?

Scott Jenson, a former Google product manager, has expressed concerns that Google’s current AI focus is more of a “panic reaction” to stay ahead of competitors rather than addressing user needs. He critiques Google’s AI initiatives as poorly motivated and driven by a fear of letting others get ahead.

How does Scott Jenson compare Google’s AI strategy to past projects?

Jenson parallels Google’s current AI focus and the company’s response to Facebook years ago with Google+. He describes both as “hysterical reactions” driven by competition, which, in the case of Google+, resulted in a product that failed to meet its objectives.

Why are content creators concerned about Google’s AI overviews?

Content creators worry that Google’s AI overviews, which generate summaries by ingesting web content, could reduce site traffic. They argue that this practice is unfair as it uses their content without permission and impacts their revenue streams that rely on search referrals.

How can users turn off Google’s AI overviews in Chrome?

Although no official setting exists to disable AI overviews, users can use a workaround by enabling a specific Chrome setting or using a browser extension.

Here are the steps:

  • Open Chrome settings by clicking the three dots in the top-right corner and selecting “Settings” from the menu.
  • In the Settings window, click on the “Search Engine” tab on the left side.
  • Under the “Search Engine” section, click “Manage search engines and site search.”
  • Scroll down to the “Site search” area and click “Add” to create a new entry.

In the new entry, enter the following details:

    • Name: Google (Web)
    • Shortcut: www.google.com
    • URL: {google:baseURL}/search?udm=14&q=%s
    • Click “Add

This will force Chrome to skip AI-generated overviews and show the classic list of web links.


Featured Image: Sira Anamwong/Shutterstock

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