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20 Marketing Tools for a Small Business & Their Best Feature

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There are thousands of marketing tools, but only a few fit the bill for small businesses. Some you may already know; others you should consider using.

We’ll outline how to use the best feature of each tool so that you can get started on delivering some real marketing success today.

Sounds good? Let’s get into it.

1. View monthly comparison reports with Google Analytics on your phone

Google Analytics is a free tool that provides a 360-degree view of the performance of your website.

It is suitable for tracking sales, conversions, the best source of visitor traffic, how people interact with your website, and insights into your audience.

The mobile app provides these reports instantly in the palm of your hand.

With Google sunsetting the old version of Google Analytics, here’s a beginner’s guide to setting up GA4.

Pricing

How to view monthly comparison reports with Google Analytics

Follow these steps:

  1. Download the app on App Store or Google Play
  2. Log in and select your property
  3. Select the date range in the upper left
  4. Select month > Last 30 days > Compare > Preceding period > Save

This view ensures you compare all metrics with the previous time period.

Google Analytics monthly comparison reports

2. Use Intercom’s convert feature to grow your sales funnel

Intercom is an all-in-one marketing platform that helps businesses build, automate, and scale customer relationships. It includes email marketing, chatbots, social media management, and CRM features.

Intercom is suitable if you’re looking to answer visitors’ questions via live chat, keep them interested in your products or services, and turn them into customers.

Pricing

  • Price range: from $74 per month
  • Free tier: yes

How to use it

  1. Select Operator
  2. Select Qualification
  3. Choose data fields
  4. Add response rules

https://youtu.be/a3x3uEHdGbE

3. Add visitor segmentation and CTA using ConvertFlow

ConvertFlow is an online marketing platform that helps you convert website visitors using CTAs, landing pages, forms, quizzes, surveys, and personalization.

It is suitable for most websites, including e-commerce, service, and software businesses.

According to Statista, e-commerce conversion rates vary between 0.6% and 5.5%—or expressed differently, around 94% of website visitors leave without taking any action.

You can use visitor segmentation to help you identify who visits your site, ask them one or two questions to determine what they’re interested in, and provide them with a CTA to encourage them to enter your sales funnel.

Pricing

  • Price range: $0–$300 per month
  • Free tier: yes

How to use visitor segmentation and a CTA

Before getting started, ensure the ConvertFlow script is added to your website’s <head> section.

  1. Add your website
  2. Go to Dashboard
  3. Create a CTA
  4. Choose a template, e.g., visitor segmentation, sticky bar, pop-up
  5. Preview and use template
  6. Name it and create CTA
  7. Customize
  8. Add a form to step #2
  9. Connect step #1 to step #2 using confirmation actions
  10. Save, publish, and preview
  11. Launch
ConvertFlow workspace and sidebar on rightConvertFlow workspace and sidebar on right

4. Build an email prospect list with ConvertKit’s landing page builder

ConvertKit is an easy-to-use online marketing platform that helps small businesses and individuals grow their audiences using email marketing, forms, and landing pages.

Its landing page feature works well for small creative businesses, such as those run by marketers, coaches, writers, etc.

Pricing

  • Price range: $15–$2,599 per month, depending on the number of subscribers
  • Free tier: yes

How to use it

To use the landing page feature, follow these steps:

  1. Grow > Landing Pages > Create New
  2. Landing Page
  3. Filter by Profile
  4. Choose any profile template
  5. Click each component and customize
  6. Click Publish and add to your social media profile or embed the page in your WordPress site

https://youtu.be/g6fy9ixlDAs?t=88

Calendly is an online scheduling tool that allows business owners to create appointments, meetings, and events, send invitations, and manage bookings.

Calendly is ideal for those who provide professional, IT, recruitment, beauty, and marketing services.

Pricing

  • Price range: $0–$20 per user, per month
  • Free tier: yes

How to use it

  1. Log in
  2. Create > Event Type
  3. Create a one-on-one or group event
  4. Provide event name, location, and instructions
  5. Set the event date, time, and schedule
  6. Set additional options such as invitee questions, workflows, notifications, and confirmation page
  7. Turn the event on
  8. Select Account > Share your links > Choose the option to email or embed on your website

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sd8qzy0UUXc

6. Grow an email prospect list on Twitter with Revue

Revue is an editorial newsletter service owned by Twitter itself.

Connecting Twitter with Revue is suitable for any business that wants to encourage users or followers to subscribe to its additional content by clicking its profile and the “subscribe” button.

Pricing

How to use it

  1. Sign in to Revue with your Twitter login
  2. Select Account Settings > Integrations > Connect Now (under the Twitter logo)
  3. Click Create and write out a subject line for your first newsletter
  4. Copy/paste or write the body copy of your email newsletter
  5. Preview it
  6. Schedule it
  7. Share it
  8. Repeat steps #4 to #8

7. Use TryInteract’s quizzes to grow your email list and prospects

TryInteract is an interactive marketing tool that helps you create online quizzes that generate new subscribers and leads, segment your audience, and drive website traffic.

TryInteract is best suited for those building brand awareness or have pages with less commercial inten­t that don’t get any conversions.

Pricing

  • Price range: $29–$209 per month
  • Free tier: no

How to use it

  1. Create New Quiz
  2. Select a category from the filter
  3. Hover over template > Preview > Use Template
  4. Customize the quiz color
  5. Change the quiz questions and answers
  6. Click the Lead Generation option to connect quiz respondents and answers with your CRM or marketing platform
  7. Choose Publish
  8. You can share the quiz link in an email campaign, in a social post, or as a website post or announcement bar

https://youtu.be/5d_QYhloWLg

8. Use Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer to find easy-to-rank keyword opportunities

Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer identifies millions of keywords and topics, their ranking difficulty, and their traffic potential.

It is suitable for small businesses that wish to find and target low-competition and easy-to-rank opportunities that drive more organic search traffic.

Pricing

  • Price range: $99–$999 per month
  • Free tier: no

How to use it

This involves quite a few steps and requires an understanding of some concepts and metrics. Your best bet is to follow this step-by-step video tutorial:

https://youtu.be/s7hR-i6Go4c

9. Build a calculator to collect leads with Calculoid

Calculoid lets you build and add calculators to your website with little technical know-how.

Its calculator templates suit businesses that require custom quote forms.

Pricing

  • Price range: $0–$99 per month
  • Free tier: yes

How to use it

  1. Open Keywords Explorer
  2. Search for “calculator”
  3. Go to the Matching terms report and apply filters (words related to your business, KD, etc)
  4. Matching terms report results for "calculator" Matching terms report results for "calculator"
  5. Get relevant ideas for calculators
  6. Sign in to Calculoid
  7. Create a new calculator
  8. Choose a relevant template
  9. Customize the fields and calculations
  10. Add submission form (if you wish to capture leads)
  11. Publish to your webpage using the embed code or WordPress plugin

https://youtu.be/C3_iYuUh5HM

10. Use Ahrefs’ Content Explorer to earn links naturally

Ahrefs’ Content Explorer is a search engine containing billions of pages, all with SEO and social metrics.

The Content Explorer feature is suitable for small businesses that wish to earn backlinks without investing in email outreach campaigns.

Pricing

  • Price range: $99–$999 per month
  • Free tier: no

How to use it

  1. Use this report link or go to Content Explorer, enter keyword AND (“statistics” OR “checklist”), and select “In title”; remember to replace “keyword” with a seed keyword
  2. Sort by Referring Domains
  3. Select Exclude Homepages
  4. Use any other filters, e.g., I filtered by DR 20–30 and found 111 referring domains to an “SEO checklist for lawyers”
  5. Identify a common theme among pages
  6. Create page content containing the most frequent statistics or checklist items (refer to Canva checklist instructions below)
Content Explorer search results Content Explorer search results

11. Use Trello to manage marketing campaigns

Trello is a project management platform similar to Basecamp or Asana. It lets you create boards with lists, add cards to those lists, assign tasks to other users, track progress, and collaborate with others.

It is suitable for anyone who manages or is involved in digital marketing or SEO campaigns.

Pricing

  • Price range: $0–$17.50 per user, per month
  • Free tier: yes

How to use it

  1. Register or log in
  2. Create a new board
  3. Customize the board
  4. Add colleagues or clients
  5. Build a workflow
  6. Add tasks and to-do items
  7. Set deadlines
  8. Repeat for the next project

https://youtu.be/l3F3l3psqXY

12. Schedule social media posts with Canva Calendar

Canva is an online tool where you can create images without being a graphic designer.

The Content Planner tool from Canva allows you to create and schedule posts ahead of time for your social channels from within its design platform.

This is ideal for companies that want to repur­pose their website content or simply grow their social media presence.

Pricing

  • Price range: $0–$12.99 per month
  • Free tier: yes

How to use it

  1. Go to Canva Content Planner
  2. Press “+” next to a date
  3. Select a graphic you have already created or create a design
  4. Choose a destination, e.g., Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc
  5. Write a caption
  6. Schedule post
  7. Repeat

https://youtu.be/ebqqPnMEZwk?t=328

13. Use Microsoft Clarity heatmaps for improved website and user experience

Microsoft Clarity, similar to Crazy Egg and Hotjar, is a free online tool that helps you analyze, understand, and improve your site performance and user experience using heatmaps and user recordings.

It helps website owners understand how users found their websites, what they did, what they did next, and why they left the website.

Pricing

How to use it

  1. Sign up or log in
  2. Go to settings, copy the code, and add it to your website’s <head> section
  3. Leave for a few days until data has been collected and return to Clarity
  4. Look at the heatmaps of top pages and see how far users scroll down the page or compare different page versions and see how users scroll and click
  5. Share with your web team or developers and ask them to implement solutions to any identified problems
Example of heatmap on ClarityExample of heatmap on Clarity

14. Use Grammarly to improve your existing content

Grammarly is an online grammar checker, spell checker, and plagiarism detector; it can also help with your writing style, sentence structure, and word choice.

Grammarly is useful for people who want their website copy to be clear and well written.

Pricing

  • Price range: $0–$12.50 per user, per month
  • Free tier: yes

How to use it

  1. Create a Grammarly account or log in
  2. Select Apps
  3. Click the Chrome Store link and install the extension
  4. Click the icon in your browser and change the settings to suit
  5. Go to the program where you have written your content
  6. Click the icon and action the suggestions
Grammarly extension in a Google DocGrammarly extension in a Google Doc

15. Use Wordable for WordPress to publish content faster

Wordable is a tool that allows you to export your content created in Google Docs to your WordPress or HubSpot website, which has saved Ahrefs a ton of time.

It is suitable for anyone who regularly produces and publishes blog posts and articles.

Pricing

  • Price range: $49–$999 per month
  • Free tier: no

How to use it

  1. Log in and connect to Google Docs
  2. Connect your website
  3. Import and export your documents

16. Interview customers to create better service page copy with Otter.ai

Otter.ai records and transcribes audio conversations and meetings on your desktop or mobile device by using artificial intelligence.

Interviewing and recording customer interviews have helped me write better copy for the customers’ service pages.

Otter.ai provides better playback and editing features than “voice typing” with Google Docs; you can press the “play” button to listen back and edit any copy errors.

Pricing

  • Price range: $12.99–$30 per month
  • Free tier: yes

How to use it

  1. Log in or register
  2. Select Record
  3. Press the “stop” button when you are finished
  4. When the conversation is processed, press the “play” button to listen back and edit any copy errors

https://youtu.be/mkF1cE7ARTE

17. Use Google Forms for market research

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

Pricing

How to use it

You’ll need a good-sized audience, such as your email list or social media following.

Let’s say you want to survey others about Google Ads. Here’s what to do:

  1. Create a Google Form with your questions
  2. Include fields for the respondent’s name, email address, website, social addresses, and questions you want to ask
  3. Send the Google Form to your social account or email list
  4. Analyze your responses
Excerpt of a Google FormExcerpt of a Google Form

18. Use Canva to design checklists for customers

Canva has hundreds of predesigned checklist templates you can customize for your customers (without being a design expert).

Pricing

  • Price range: $0–$12.99 per month
  • Free tier: yes

How to create a linkable asset with Canva

  1. Visit Canva templates here or here
  2. Use the filters to find a template and open it up
  3. Add your checklist items and descriptions
  4. Change the colors and fonts to match your brand
  5. Download, share with customers, or add to your webpage
Example of a Canva templateExample of a Canva template

19. Embed YouTube videos for training or educating customers

A large part of Ahrefs’ success has been attributed to our educational content.

Our training academy features courses on using Ahrefs, how to grow your traffic, SEO training, and the best of our YouTube videos.

In total, we have over 20 hours of educational content.

Pricing

How to do it

  1. Upload your video to your YouTube account
  2. Design and add your thumbnail to your video (use a Canva template)
  3. Press the “share” button underneath the video
  4. Copy the link or the embed code
  5. Add to your webpage
Ahrefs Academy's page with short write-ups on courses; above each write-up is a picture of SamAhrefs Academy's page with short write-ups on courses; above each write-up is a picture of Sam

20. Get more reviews with BrightLocal’s Reputation Manager

BrightLocal provides a suite of online marketing tools for local businesses that help them rank high on local search results, deliver accurate business information, and generate and manage customer reviews.

The reputation management feature is suitable for any business with a multi-channel presence that wants to generate more positive reviews of its products, services, and brand.

Pricing

  • Price range: $8–$79 per month
  • Free tier: no

How to use the reputation management feature

  1. Customize your template
  2. Set up email and SMS that go to customers asking for reviews
  3. Add review sites, e.g., Google My Business, Facebook, BBB, TripAdvisor, OpenTable, Yelp, Trustpilot, etc
  4. Import customer details and send email/SMS to ask for a review
  5. Create a list or carousel widget and add it to your website to display all reviews

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8G9BLDVAXHg&t=1200s

Final thoughts

We’ve chosen ways to help you improve your marketing game; pick the marketing tools that work for you and use our suggestions to implement their best features.

Got any questions about using these tools? Ping me on Twitter.

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Email Marketing: An In-Depth Guide

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Email Marketing: An In-Depth Guide

Email has revolutionized the way people communicate. From facilitating remote work to monitoring bank balances, it has become an integral part of everyday life.

It has also become a powerful tool for marketers. It has changed the way brands and customers interact with each other, providing incredible opportunities to target audiences at each stage of the buyer’s journey.

In other words, when it comes to getting the most bang for your marketing buck, nothing matches the power of email.

Providing an average return on investment of $36 for every $1 spent, email marketing is one of the most profitable and effective ways of reaching your targets.

Globally used by more than 4 billion people, it has unparalleled reach and is perfect for every step of the buyer’s journey, from generating awareness to encouraging brand loyalty.

If you’re not currently using email marketing to promote your business, you should be.

But to reap the biggest benefits, you need to do more than just dash off a message and sending it out to your contacts. You need a strategy that will help you nurture relationships and initiate conversations.

In this piece, we’ll take an in-depth look at the world of marketing via email and give you a step-by-step guide you can use to launch your own campaigns.

What Is Email Marketing?

If you have an email address of your own – and it’s probably safe to assume that you do – you’re likely already at least somewhat familiar with the concept of email marketing.

But just to avoid any potential confusion, let’s start with a definition: Email marketing is a type of direct marketing that uses customized emails to inform customers and potential customers about your product or services.

Why Should You Use Email Marketing?

If the eye-popping $36:1 ROI stat wasn’t enough to convince you to take the plunge, here are some other key reasons you should use email marketing to promote your business:

  • Email marketing drives traffic to your website, blog, social media account, or anywhere else you direct it.
  • It allows you to build a stronger relationship with your targets via personalization and auto-triggered campaigns.
  • You can segment your audience to target highly specific demographics, so you’re sending messages to the people they will resonate with most.
  • Email marketing is one of the easiest platforms to version test on, so you can determine exactly what subject lines and calls-to-action (CTAs) work best.

Even better, you own your email campaigns entirely.

With email, you own your marketing list and you can target your leads however you like (so long as you stay compliant with CAN-SPAM laws).

There is no question that you should be using email marketing as part of your overall marketing outreach strategy.

Now let’s look at some of the different ways you can do that.

What Are The Types Of Email Marketing?

For every stage of the sales funnel, there’s a corresponding type of email marketing. Here are some of the different types you can use to engage your audience and generate results.

Promotional Emails

When you think about email marketing, these types of messages are probably what you think of.

Used to promote sales, special offers, product releases, events, and more, these are usually one of the least personalized types of emails and tend to go out to a large list.

Usually, promotional campaigns consist of anywhere from 3 to 10 emails sent over a specified time frame. They have a clear CTA that encourages the recipient to take the next step of visiting your site, booking an appointment, or making a purchase.

Informational Emails

This type of email includes company announcements as well as weekly/monthly/quarterly newsletters.

They may include information about new products, company achievements, customer reviews, or blog posts.

The CTA is usually to visit your website or blog to learn more about what’s happening.

Welcome Emails

Sent to new customers or people who have filled out a form on your website, welcome emails encourage recipients to learn more about your company or offering.

These commonly include trial offers, requests to book a demo, or other offerings a new customer will find valuable.

Nurturing Emails

Any salesperson will tell you the importance of creating multiple touchpoints with potential customers.

Lead nurturing emails focus on building interest in people who are drawn to a particular offering.

The goal of these messages is to push them to the consideration stage of the buying journey.

Re-engagement Emails

Nurturing emails’ slightly more aggressive brother, re-engagement emails are used to warm up customers who haven’t been active lately.

These tend to be more personalized, as you’ll want to show the subscriber that you know and understand the challenges they’re facing.

Survey/Review Emails

User generated content (UGC) lends your brand an authenticity you simply can’t achieve on your own.

One of the best ways to generate this is via emails soliciting feedback from your customers.

This type of email also gives you insights into your brand’s relative strengths and weaknesses, so you can improve your offerings.

There are a number of other types of emails you can use as part of your marketing efforts, including seasonal emails designed to capitalize on holidays or events, confirmation emails to reassure recipients their purchase was completed or their information received, and co-marketing emails that are sent with a partner company.

In fact, it’s email marketing’s sheer versatility that makes it the cornerstone of any successful marketing strategy. You merely need to decide what you hope to accomplish, then create your campaign around it.

Now, let’s take a closer look at creating and managing your own email marketing.

How Do You Perform Email Marketing?

Step 1: Establish Your Goals

The section above should have made it clear that the type of email campaign you’ll run will depend on what you’re hoping to accomplish. Trying to do everything with one email will lead to confused recipients and a watered-down CTA.

Set one goal for your campaign, and make sure every email in the series works toward it.

Step 2: Build Your List

Now it’s time to determine who will be on the receiving end of your campaign. You do this by building your email marketing list – a process you can approach from several directions.

The most basic way to build an email list is by simply importing a list of your contacts into your chosen email marketing platform (more on that later).

One caveat: Before you add anyone to your list, make sure they have opted into receiving emails from you – otherwise you’ll run afoul of the CAN-SPAM Act guidelines mentioned above.

Other options for building a list from scratch via a lead generation campaign: provide potential customers with discounts, compelling content, or something else of value and make it easy for them to subscribe and you’ll generate high-quality leads.

Some marketers buy or rent email lists, but in general, this isn’t an effective way to perform email marketing.

The primary reason you don’t want to do this is because of lead quality. You’re not going after people who are interested in your brand but instead are blindly targeting leads of questionable quality with emails they haven’t opted in to.

In addition to violating consent laws, which could potentially hurt your IP reputation and email deliverability, you risk annoying your targets instead of encouraging them to try your offering.

Step 3: Create Your Email Campaign

Now that you know who you’re targeting and what you’re hoping to achieve, it’s time to build your campaign.

Email marketing tools like HubSpot, Constant Contact, and Mailchimp include drag-and-drop templates you can employ to create well-designed and effective email campaigns.

We’ll dive deeper into these platforms a bit later, but now, let’s talk about some fundamentals and best practices to help you get the best results:

  • Make your emails easy to read – No one wants to read a long wall of text. Structure your emails using strategically placed headers and bulleted lists for easy scanning.
  • Use images – Ideally, you want your emails to capture the reader’s eye and attention. Visuals are a great way to do this.
  • Write a compelling subject line – The best-written email in the world is useless if no one opens it. That makes a compelling, intriguing subject line paramount. Don’t be afraid to try different iterations, just be sure to keep it short.
  • Add personalization – Emails that are targeted to a specific person, including addressing them by name, are more likely to generate responses. Your email marketing platform should allow you to do this with relative ease.
  • Make conversion easy – If you want click-throughs, you need to make it easy for readers. Make sure your CTA is prominent and clear.
  • Consider your timing – As with most types of marketing, email campaigns tend to perform better when they’re properly timed. This could mean a specific time of day that generates more opens, a time of the week when purchases are more likely, or even a time of year when your content is most relevant. This will probably require some experimentation.

Step 4: Measure Your Results

You’re not going to get your email campaigns right the first time. Or the second. Or the fifth. In fact, there’s really no endpoint; even the best campaigns can be optimized to generate better results.

To track how yours are performing, you’ll want to use the reports section of your email marketing platform. This will help you understand how people are interacting with your campaigns.

Use A/B testing to drill down into what’s working best.

Generally, you’ll want to look at key metrics like:

  • Open rate and unique opens.
  • Click-through rate.
  • Shares.
  • Unsubscribe rate.
  • Spam complaints.
  • Bounces (the number of addresses your email couldn’t be delivered to).

Choosing An Email Marketing Platform

Manually sending out emails is fine if you’re only targeting three or four people. But if you’re trying to communicate with dozens, hundreds or even thousands of targets, you’re going to need some help.

But there are currently hundreds of email marketing platform on the market. How do you choose the right one for your unique needs?

Should you just go with one of the big names like HubSpot,  Klaviyo, or Mailjet? How do you know which one is right for you?

While it may initially feel overwhelming, by answering a few questions you can narrow down your options considerably.

The very first thing you need to determine is your budget. If you’re running a small business, the amount you’re willing to spend on an email service platform is probably considerably less than an enterprise-level company.

If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ll probably find that a lower-priced version of a platform like Sendinblue or Constant Contact provides you with all the functionality you need.

Larger companies with bigger marketing budgets may wish to go with an email marketing platform that provides higher levels of automation, more in-depth data analysis and is easier to use. In this case, you may prefer to go with a platform like Mailchimp or Salesforce’s Pardot.

The good thing is that most of these email service providers offered tiered pricing, so smaller businesses can opt for more inexpensive (or even free) versions that offer less functionality at a lower price.

The next thing to consider is the type of email you want to send.

If your primary send will be newsletters, a platform like SubStack is a great choice. If you’re planning on sending transactional emails, you may want to check out Netcore Email API or GetResponse.

For those of you planning on sending a variety of marketing emails, your best choice may be an option that covers multiple email types like ConvertKit or an omnichannel marketing tool like Iterable.

You can narrow down your options by determining your must-have features and internal capabilities.

Some things you’ll want to consider include:

  • The size of your lists.
  • Your technical skill level.
  • Your HTML editing requirements.
  • Template variety.
  • Your need for responses/workflows.
  • A/B testing needs.
  • Industry-specific features.

While there is significant overlap in functionality between email marketing platforms, each has some variation in capabilities.

Ideally, you want something that will integrate with your other marketing tools to help take the guesswork out of the equation.

You should request demos and trials of your finalists to find which is best for your needs. If you’re working with a team, be sure to loop them in and get their feedback.

Tips For Maximizing Your Results

Email marketing is a powerful tool for any business. But there’s both science and art to it.

Here are some additional tips to help you get the most from your campaigns:

  • Avoid being marked as spam – According to HubSpot, there are 394 words and phrases that can identify your email as junk mail. These include “free,” “lowest price,” “no catch” and “all new.” You should avoid these whenever possible. To be doubly safe, have your recipients add you to their safe senders list.
  • Run integrated campaigns – Email marketing serves to amplify the power of other marketing channels. If you’re running sales or promotions, you should include an email aspect.
  • Clean up your list regularly – Keep your email database up to date to ensure deliverability and higher engagement. If a subscriber hasn’t responded to your re-engagement efforts after six months, it’s probably safe to scrub them from your list.
  • Harness the power of automation – Autoresponders are a great way to follow up with customers and subscribers, or strategically target someone after a certain event or action. Learn how to set this up on your email marketing platform and it will save you lots of time while boosting returns.

Email Marketing Is A Powerful Tool

There’s a reason why email marketing is prevalent in the modern world – it works.

And that means you should be using it to promote your brand and drive sales.

Hopefully, by this point, you have a good idea of not only what email marketing can do for you, but how it works, and how to create and optimize your own campaigns.

There’s really no better way to connect with our audience and convey the value of your brand.

Now get to work – you have customers to attract.

More resources:


Featured Image: Africa Studio/Shutterstock



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Twitter Will Share Ad Revenue With Twitter Blue Verified Creators

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Twitter Will Share Ad Revenue With Twitter Blue Verified Creators

Elon Musk, owner and CEO of Twitter, announced that starting today, Twitter will share ad revenue with creators. The new policy applies only to ads that appear in a creator’s reply threads.

The move comes on the heels of YouTube launching ad revenue sharing for creators through the YouTube Partner Program in a bid to become the most rewarding social platform for creators.

Social networks like Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat have similar monetization options for creators who publish reels and video content. For example, Instagram’s Reels Play Bonus Program offers eligible creators up to $1,200 for Reel views.

The catch? Unlike other social platforms, creators on Twitter must have an active subscription to Twitter Blue and meet the eligibility requirements for the Blue Verified checkmark.

The following is an example of a Twitter ad in a reply thread (Promoted by @ASUBootcamps). It should generate revenue for the Twitter Blue Verified creator (@rowancheung), who created the thread.

Screenshot from Twitter, January 2023

To receive the ad revenue share, creators would have to pay $8 per month (or more) to maintain an active Twitter Blue subscription. Twitter Blue pricing varies based on location and is available in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Spain.

Eligibility for the Twitter Blue Verified checkmark includes having an active Twitter Blue subscription and meeting the following criteria.

  • Your account must have a display name, profile photo, and confirmed phone number.
  • Your account has to be older than 90 days and active within the last 30 days.
  • Recent changes to your account’s username, display name, or profile photo can affect eligibility. Modifications to those after verification can also result in a temporary loss of the blue checkmark until Twitter reviews your updated information.
  • Your account cannot appear to mislead or deceive.
  • Your account cannot spam or otherwise try to manipulate the platform for engagement or follows.

Did you receive a Blue Verified checkmark before the Twitter Blue subscription? That will not help creators who want a share of the ad revenue. The legacy Blue Verified checkmark does not make a creator account eligible for ad revenue sharing.

When asked about accounts with a legacy and Twitter Blue Verified checkmark, Musk tweeted that the legacy Blue Verified is “deeply corrupted” and will sunset in just a few months.

Regardless of how you gained your checkmark, it’s important to note that Twitter can remove a checkmark without notice.

In addition to ad revenue sharing for Twitter Blue Verified creators, Twitter Dev announced that the Twitter API would no longer be free in an ongoing effort to reduce the number of bots on the platform.

While speculation looms about a loss in Twitter ad revenue, the Wall Street Journal reported a “fire-sale” Super Bowl offer from Musk to win back advertisers.

The latest data from DataReportal shows a positive trend for Twitter advertisers. Ad reach has increased from 436.4 million users in January 2022 to 556 million in January 2023.

Twitter is also the third most popular social network based on monthly unique visitors and page views globally, according to SimilarWeb data through December 2022.


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AI Content Detection Software: Can They Detect ChatGPT?

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AI Content Detection Software: Can They Detect ChatGPT?

We live in an age when AI technologies are booming, and the world has been taken by storm with the introduction of ChatGPT.

ChatGPT is capable of accomplishing a wide range of tasks, but one that it does particularly well is writing articles. And while there are many obvious benefits to this, it also presents a number of challenges.

In my opinion, the biggest hurdle that AI-generated written content poses for the publishing industry is the spread of misinformation.

ChatGPT, or any other AI tool, may generate articles that may contain factual errors or are just flat-out incorrect.

Imagine someone who has no expertise in medicine starting a medical blog and using ChatGPT to write content for their articles.

Their content may contain errors that can only be identified by professional doctors. And if that blog content starts spreading over social media, or maybe even ranks in Search, it could cause harm to people who read it and take erroneous medical advice.

Another potential challenge ChatGPT poses is how students might leverage it within their written work.

If one can write an essay just by running a prompt (and without having to do any actual work), that greatly diminishes the quality of education – as learning about a subject and expressing your own ideas is key to essay writing.

Even before the introduction of ChatGPT, many publishers were already generating content using AI. And while some honestly disclose it, others may not.

Also, Google recently changed its wording regarding AI-generated content, so that it is not necessarily against the company’s guidelines.

Image from Twitter, November 2022

This is why I decided to try out existing tools to understand where the tech industry is when it comes to detecting content generated by ChatGPT, or AI generally.

I ran the following prompts in ChatGPT to generate written content and then ran those answers through different detection tools.

  • “What is local SEO? Why it is important? Best practices of Local SEO.”
  • “Write an essay about Napoleon Bonaparte invasion of Egypt.”
  • “What are the main differences between iPhone and Samsung galaxy?”

Here is how each tool performed.

1. Writer.com

For the first prompt’s answer, Writer.com fails, identifying ChatGPT’s content as 94% human-generated.

Writer.com resultsScreenshot from writer.com, January 2023

For the second prompt, it worked and detected it as AI-written content.

Writer.com test resultScreenshot from writer.com, January 2023

For the third prompt, it failed again.

Sample ResultScreenshot from writer.com, January 2023

However, when I tested real human-written text, Writer.com did identify it as 100% human-generated very accurately.

2. Copyleaks

Copyleaks did a great job in detecting all three prompts as AI-written.

Sample ResultScreenshot from Copyleaks, January 2023

3. Contentatscale.ai

Contentatscale.ai did a great job in detecting all three prompts as AI-written, even though the first prompt, it gave a 21% human score.

Contentscale.aiScreenshot from Contentscale.ai, January 2023

4. Originality.ai

Originality.ai did a great job on all three prompts, accurately detecting them as AI-written.

Also, when I checked with real human-written text, it did identify it as 100% human-generated, which is essential.

Originality.aiScreenshot from Originality.ai, January 2023

You will notice that Originality.ai doesn’t detect any plagiarism issues. This may change in the future.

Over time, people will use the same prompts to generate AI-written content, likely resulting in a number of very similar answers. When these articles are published, they will then be detected by plagiarism tools.

5. GPTZero

This non-commercial tool was built by Edward Tian, and specifically designed to detect ChatGPT-generated articles. And it did just that for all three prompts, recognizing them as AI-generated.

GPTZeroScreenshot from GPTZero, January 2023

Unlike other tools, it gives a more detailed analysis of detected issues, such as sentence-by-sentence analyses.

sentence by sentence text perplexityScreenshot from GPTZero, January 2023

OpenAI’s AI Text Classifier

And finally, let’s see how OpenAi detects its own generated answers.

For the 1st and 3rd prompts, it detected that there is an AI involved by classifying it as “possibly-AI generated”.

AI Text Classifier. Likely AI-generatedAI Text Classifier. Likely AI-generated

But surprisingly, it failed for the 2nd prompt and classified that as “unlikely AI-generated.” I did play with different prompts and found that, as of the moment, when checking it, few of the above tools detect AI content with higher accuracy than OpenAi’s own tool.

AI Text Classifier. Unlikely AI-generatedAI Text Classifier. Unlikely AI-generated

As of the time of this check, they had released it a day before. I think in the future, they will fine tune it, and it will work much better.

Conclusion

Current AI content generation tools are in good shape and are able to detect ChatGPT-generated content (with varying degrees of success).

It is still possible for someone to generate copy via ChatGPT and then paraphrase that to make it undetectable, but that might require almost as much work as writing from scratch – so the benefits aren’t as immediate.

If you think about ranking an article in Google written by ChatGPT, consider for a moment: If the tools we looked at above were able to recognize them as AI-generated, then for Google, detecting them should be a piece of cake.

On top of that, Google has quality raters who will train their system to recognize AI-written articles even better by manually marking them as they find them.

So, my advice would be not to build your content strategy on ChatGPT-generated content, but use it merely as an assistant tool.

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