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A Marketer’s Guide To Livestream Shopping

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A Marketer's Guide To Livestream Shopping

Retailers, brands, and digital platforms from around the world are leveraging the tremendous value that livestream shopping brings.

Who would’ve thought the intoxicating combination of social media, live entertainment, and instant purchasing would so significantly disrupt ecommerce?

While you may have heard rumblings of the marketing benefits of livestreaming commerce, this is nothing new for our counterparts in China.

They are leaning hard into the massive trend that is livestream shopping.

A 2021 survey cites that two-thirds of Chinese shoppers have purchased products via livestream in the past year.

That’s a considerable number.

Even though Western retailers are still lagging behind China in the pursuit of live commerce, early movers have begun to garner significant sales.

Here’s why: Our target audience wants it.

A recent global survey of 13,000 consumers and 4,000 businesses across 29 countries shows that 61% of customers prefer to shop via social media. This jumps to 63% when responses are filtered by Gen Zers.

So, What’s The Problem?

As a marketer in the B2C space, you know that retail has its limits.

Even ecommerce – the darling of the Covid-19 era due to many brick-and-mortar store closures and businesses moving online – now needs reimagining.

Campaigns you were certain would bring a high ROI (return on investment) are falling flat.

CPC (cost per click) might be consistent, but engagement and conversion rates are lower than ever.

We are seeing a trend in lower engagement rates via traditional ecommerce checkouts and an increase in abandoned carts.

While this is often because the ecommerce website owner has not done the due diligence required to stay relevant, in the end, it is likely due to a bad, or even worse – indifferent – user experience.

Add to that the reality that consumers are less brand loyal and more price sensitive than ever, and you find yourself, as a marketer, in a tricky position.

As our customers’ demands for “I want it now” increase, marketers must find a way through.

The proven secret to success is connecting your brand personally to your customers (or vice versa; your customers must feel that they connect with you).

This is important not only from a “successful campaign” perspective but also from a business longevity approach.

When comparing the current financial crisis with that of 2008, we see that organizations that championed customer experience saw very little downturn at that time.

They also rebounded faster and brought in three times more shareholder returns than the market average.

So, what is the solution?

While livestream shopping might not be the silver bullet marketers want, it is a turbocharger for revitalizing online revenue.

Here’s why.

When marketers combine ecommerce with livestream shopping, it suddenly makes online stores personal, entertaining, and relevant.

What Is Livestream Shopping?

Before I get ahead of myself, let me start with the basics.

Streaming shopping offers consumers an engaging experience that allows them to buy from home confidently by combining commerce with live video entertainment, often on social media.

Livestream viewers can interact with the host and buy products right then and there.

This might sound familiar to you if you grew up with old-school TV shopping shows.

Similar to online video shopping, the TV show host would talk about the product and its benefits and often demonstrate how to use it – all the while punting the “call now” number to buy.

It made it easy for home viewers to buy from their couches while watching TV.

It is not uncommon for live shopping videos to include new product launches, how-to’s, interviews, games, quizzes, or giveaways.

However, online video shopping must not be confused with the informercials of old.

This is real-time, hyper-engaging, fast, and super-relevant to the audience.

As For Popular Livestream Shopping Platforms, Here Are A Few

The biggest and easiest by far are the social media platforms.

Although shopping-specific platforms may assist you in reaching new consumers, you retain the most control via your website.

How Livestream Shopping Works

The basic concept that sees marketers incorporate livestream shopping remains the same.

Like live TV shows, livestream commerce exists on social media, where buyers watch as the influencer or host discusses, demonstrates, and reviews products in real-time.

Connection-Driven

The main draw card of live streaming commerce is how entertaining the host is.

Equally important is the connection the audience feels with the host.

All of this speaks to audience engagement.

You want to involve influencers who already strongly connect with your audience.

This not only improves trust metrics and credibility but is also typically what attracts people to watch in the first place.

Engagement-Rich

Many livestreams include chat functionality and reaction buttons to involve their audiences, which makes them more successful.

Getting the audience to participate in polls and comment on the stream is an effective strategy that successful consumer companies use to ramp up engagement and improve the event’s success.

Commercially Viable

When done well, online marketers can boost sales tremendously with livestreaming shopping.

Huang Wei, also known as Viya, is China’s biggest livestreaming star.

With astonishingly high audience numbers – sometimes as high as 37 million – she uses her channel to sell a huge variety of products.

We’re talking cars, makeup, houses, furniture, toothbrushes – even a rocket launcher for $5.6 million!

Some of the biggest brands in the U.S. have already sat up and taken note.

Tesla, P&G, and Kim Kardashian have already appeared on Viya’s show and sold products.

Kim Kardashian launched her new perfume to Chinese internet users on Viya’s livestream in 2019. She drew 13 million viewers and sold 15,000 bottles in a matter of minutes.

Does Your Target Audience Want Livestream Shopping?

Gen Z And Millennials

If you market an online brand or ecommerce store, and your customer demographics are Generation Z and Millennials, then livestream shopping is not an option – it is a given.

These demographics are the largest contributors to live shopping events.

However, this doesn’t mean you should exclude other audiences.

Surprisingly, this concept is familiar to generations accustomed to the home shopping network channels they grew up with.

Now is a great time to share the benefits and convenience of live shopping with them.

Generation X

Gen X embraces social media just as much as Millennials, indicating that usage will increase over the next few years.

In fact, a recent survey shows that 74% of Gen Xers consider social media – in particular, Facebook – to be an essential part of their life.

This puts them on the same playing field as Millennials and Gen Zers.

Baby Boomers

For Baby Boomers, only 40% consider social media an essential part of their lives, with the vast majority only using it to connect with family and friends.

However, they are not to be overlooked.

As many as 53% say they use social media, especially Facebook, to kill time, much like the other generations.

Plus, in the U.S., senior citizens are the fastest-growing demographic of Facebook users.

This could indicate their growing familiarity and comfort levels with online engagement.

The bottom line is that, as marketers, we need to use the platform our audience uses.

Regarding the industries benefiting from livestream shopping, McKinsey states that fashion has put its best foot forward and currently leads the way.

However, ecommerce brands that sell everything from cars to fresh foods are gaining traction.

How Marketers Can Use Live Commerce To Create Value

When you consider the current and future growth of live shopping, you quickly see how much potential there is to improve brand awareness, sales, and revenue.

Even greater benefits exist for marketers who embrace live commerce, including greater online efficacy and engagement, all at a much more affordable price tag.

Here are more benefits to marketing through live shopping events.

I have found that live commerce can help marketers reach their objectives in these ways.

Quicker Conversions

Live shopping is hugely entertaining and engaging.

As a result, viewers watch longer.

This helps accelerate the customer decision-making journey from awareness to conversion.

Seeing other like-minded viewers purchase the product in real-time can drive down objections and uncertainty.

Additionally, scarcity tactics like limited offers and coupons help create a sense of urgency in the viewer.

This massively increases conversion rates – with some reporting increases of up to 30%.

This is ten times more than traditional ecommerce metrics.

Greater Brand Appeal And Differentiation

Live commerce can increase a brand’s appeal and distinguishability when executed properly.

It can also push additional traffic to its website.

Better Discoverability And Website Traffic

Live selling is one of the easiest and fastest ways to increase website traffic and discoverability.

Whether you host the live stream event on your website or direct viewers to the site from a livestreaming platform, you ultimately increase your website traffic and the chances of completing a sale.

Your discoverability also determines visitors to your website; if they do not know you exist, they will not visit and buy.

You greatly increase your discoverability by opening up your content to potential buyers on those social platforms through livestreaming.

Heightened engagement through personalized marketing.

Making a sale isn’t the only reason to stream ecommerce; it’s also an opportunity to connect with your customers.

Considering that most marketers struggle to make big brands more approachable and engaging, this is a lifesaver.

Livestreams immediately inject the human touch into your product and offerings.

Suddenly there are trusted names, beloved personalities, and community input that endorses the product on the streaming event.

This brings welcome relief and credibility to your ongoing customer service or sales reps’ activities.

Top Tips For Hosting A Livestream Shopping Session

As a marketer, it is important to understand the fundamentals of livestreaming shopping before launching a campaign.

There are no shortcuts; you must map out a clear strategy before deploying tactics.

Identifying who your audience is, their demographics, points of pain, preferred platforms, and customer journey are all part and parcel of effective campaigns.

Your marketing strategy will also need to answer the following questions.

  • Will we do this in-house, or do we bring in livestreaming marketing experts?
  • What livestream platform are we using? Are we hosting the event on our website like Nordstrom? Or are we hosting our social media platform? Which one is our favorite?
  • Are we investing in the gear and technology ourselves, or are we using a SaaS solution?
  • Are we including an influencer, or are we going to bank on our own brand’s pulling power?
  • Is this a once-off test, or are we doing this regularly?
  • What product are we promoting?
  • What content are we producing?
  • Are we recording this for playback later? (The answer should be yes, as this is a powerful marketing tool.)

I know. These are hefty questions.

But if you attempt to go into this unprepared, you could do your brand more damage than good – and on a live stage.

If you want to test the waters, I recommend you partner with marketers who have done this before and use streaming platforms focused on this form of commerce.

That way, the time, money, and resource investment is relatively low in proportion to the risk exposure.

Once you have done this, you get to work marketing the event.

This is standard “Event Marketing 101,” and you do your due diligence: Google Ads, social paid media, free newsletter subscription, influencer marketing, you name it.

Conclusion

While livestream shopping is still relatively in its infancy in the retail industry, all metrics point in the same direction: Up!

For marketers who work for ecommerce brands who want the benefits of hosting a live selling feature or livestream event, this channel and tactic are the way to go.

Benefits are clear, measurable, and repeatable when done well.

For those new to live commerce, experimenting with an event might be the way to go.

In this case, it is well-advised to rope in external resources with experience in this area to minimize risk and maximize your return.

More resources:


Featured Image: aslysun/Shutterstock



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Microsoft Announces ChatGPT Capabilities Coming To Bing

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Microsoft Announces ChatGPT Capabilities Coming To Bing

Microsoft announced today that it is bringing cutting-edge AI capabilities to its Bing search engine, with the addition of a new ChatGPT-like feature.

Microsoft revealed its plans for integrating ChatGPT at a private event held at its Redmond headquarters today, which centered around its partnership with OpenAI.

Unlike recent virtual events, this particular press conference was held in person and not broadcast online.

During the event, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella highlighted the significance of this new feature and how it will revolutionize the way people interact with search engines.

“I think this technology is going to reshape pretty much every software category,” says Nadella.

Nadella proclaimed, “The race starts today,” and Microsoft is going to “move and move fast.”

The event attendees were given a sneak peek at the latest search experience, which Microsoft refers to as “your AI-powered copilot for the web.”

This new experience combines the all-new Bing search engine and Edge web browser, which are designed to complement each other.

Nadella explained that the new Bing would provide direct answers to questions and encourage users to be more creative.

He also stated that the current search experience is not working as efficiently as it should be, as 40% of the time, people click on search links and then immediately click back.

This clearly indicates that the search experience needs to be updated and improved. Nadella claims that the search engine user experience hasn’t changed in 20 years, and it’s time for Microsoft to adapt.

Introducing The New Bing

The new Bing is powered by a next-generation language model from OpenAI, which has been specifically customized for search purposes. It’s even more powerful than the ChatGPT model.

Microsoft has implemented a new way of working with OpenAI called the “prometheus model,” which enhances the relevancy of answers, annotates them, keeps them up to date, and more.

The search index has also been improved by applying the AI model to the core search algorithm, which Nadella calls the largest jump in relevance ever.

It runs on a new user experience with an expanded search box that accepts up to 1,000 characters. Examples shared during the event look exactly like recent leaks.

The new Bing includes a chatbot that behaves similarly to ChatGPT, allowing users to interact with Bing in a natural language.

Bing’s new ChatGPT-like feature will take it a step further by allowing users to have an actual conversation with the search engine, with the ability to follow up on previous questions and provide more context for their search.

The new Bing is now available for a limited preview on desktop, and anyone can try it out by visiting Bing.com and performing sample searches.

You can also sign up to be notified when it becomes more widely available.

The preview will be expanded to millions of users in the near future, and a mobile version will be available soon.

The New Edge Browser

The chat interface Microsoft demonstrated in Bing is available as a sidebar feature in Edge, allowing users to access it without navigating to the Bing website. The interface can run alongside any webpage and interact with it.

During a demonstration, the AI assistant in Edge could summarize a 15-page PDF with one click and even translate a code snippet from Stack Overflow into another programming language.

Another benefit of the Edge browser’s “AI co-pilot” is having it complete tasks for you, such as filling out forms and writing emails.

In Summary

Microsoft has made a substantial leap in search engine technology by integrating a ChatGPT-like feature in its Bing search engine.

The new Bing is powered by a next-generation language model from OpenAI, which takes key learnings and advancements from ChatGPT and GPT-3.5.

Bing with the AI co-pilot is now available for a limited preview on desktop, and a mobile version will be available soon.

Additionally, the chat interface will be available as a sidebar feature in the new Edge browser, which has the ability to summarize information, translate code, and even complete tasks.


Source: Microsoft

Featured Image: Poetra.RH/Shutterstock



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From Competitors To Partners: Conductor Acquires Searchmetrics

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From Competitors To Partners: Conductor Acquires Searchmetrics

Conductor, a leading enterprise organic marketing platform, has acquired European-based competitor, Searchmetrics, to accelerate its expansion in the European market.

After acquiring ContentKing in 2022, the acquisition of Searchmetrics continues to strengthen Conductor’s position in the industry.

Seth Besmertnik, Conductor’s CEO and co-founder, said that the acquisition would bring the best of what Searchmetrics does to Conductor and its shared customers:

“Searchmetrics has been a competitor almost since we started Conductor, with a strong data foundation and a powerful presence in the European market. We are excited to bring the best of what Searchmetrics does to Conductor and to our now shared customers. Our goal is for customers to greatly benefit from this acquisition through delivery of more product value on a global scale.”

 

Matt Colebourne, the CEO of Searchmetrics, expressed his excitement for the company to join Conductor, calling it the “definitive global leader”:

“Conductor is indisputably the SEO space market leader. For years, we’ve admired their commitment to innovation for customers and their efforts to foster a dynamic and rewarding workplace culture for employees. By joining Conductor, we bring the best of what we do along with a large European customer base—solidifying Conductor as the definitive global leader. We cannot wait to build more for customers going forward.”

 

Ken Ogenbratt, Searchmetrics’s Chief Financial Officer, said the acquisition is a “pivotal step” for the SEO industry as the two companies move forward as partners with the opportunity to drive even greater value to customers.

With this acquisition, Conductor continues its commitment to creating a single, global platform that integrates all parts of the SEO workflow.

With Searchmetrics’ strong European presence and solid customer base, the acquisition will significantly accelerate Conductor’s growth in Europe.

Conductor has completed its second acquisition in a year with the purchase of Searchmetrics, which follows the company’s significant funding round from Bregal Sagemount in 2021.

This acquisition is seen as a sign of Conductor’s recent growth. It is expected to solidify its position as a leading player in the SEO space by incorporating the strengths of both companies for their shared customers.


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How to Execute the Skyscraper Technique (And Get Results)

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How to Execute the Skyscraper Technique (And Get Results)

In 2015, Brian Dean revealed a brand-new link building strategy. He called it the Skyscraper Technique.

With over 10,000 backlinks since the post was published, it’s fair to say that the Skyscraper Technique took the world by storm in 2015. But what is it exactly, how can you implement it, and can you still get results with this technique in 2023?

Let’s get started.

What is the Skyscraper Technique?

The Skyscraper Technique is a link building strategy where you improve existing popular content and replicate the backlinks. 

Brian named it so because in his words, “It’s human nature to be attracted to the best. And what you’re doing here is finding the tallest ‘skyscraper’ in your space… and slapping 20 stories to the top of it.”

Here’s how the technique works:

Three steps of the Skyscraper Technique

How to implement the Skyscraper Technique

Follow these three steps to execute the Skyscraper Technique.

1. Find relevant content with lots of backlinks

There are three methods to find relevant pages with plenty of links:

Use Site Explorer

Enter a popular site into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer. Next, go to the Best by backlinks report.

Best pages by backlinks report, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

This report shows you a list of pages from the site with the highest number of referring domains. If there are content pieces with more than 50 referring domains, they’re likely to be good potential targets.

Sidenote.

Ignore homepages and other irrelevant content when eyeballing this report.

Use Content Explorer

Ahrefs’ Content Explorer is a searchable database of 10 billion pages. You can use it to find mentions of any word or phrase.

Let’s start by entering a broad topic related to your niche into Content Explorer. Next, set a Referring domains filter to a minimum of 50. 

We can also add:

  • Language filter to get only pages in our target language.
  • Exclude homepages to remove homepages from the results.
Ahrefs' Content Explorer search for "gardening," with filters

Eyeball the results to see if there are any potential pieces of content you could beat.

Use Keywords Explorer

Enter a broad keyword into Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer. Next, go to the Matching terms report and set a Keyword Difficulty (KD) filter to a minimum of 40.

Matching terms report, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Why filter for KD? 

The reason is due to the method we use at Ahrefs to calculate KD. Our KD score is calculated from a trimmed mean of referring domains (RDs) to the top 10 ranking pages. 

In other words, the top-ranking pages for keywords with high KD scores have lots of backlinks on average.

From here, you’ll want to go through the report to find potential topics you could build a better piece of content around. 

2. Make it better

The core idea (or assumption) behind the Skyscraper Technique is that people want to see the best. 

Once you’ve found the content you want to beat, the next step is to make something even better

According to Brian, there are four aspects worth improving:

  1. Length – If the post has 25 tips, list more.
  2. Freshness – Update any outdated parts of the original article with new images, screenshots, information, stats, etc.
  3. Design – Make it stand out with a custom design. You could even make it interactive.
  4. Depth – Don’t just list things. Fill in the details and make them actionable.

3. Reach out to the right people

The key to successfully executing the Skyscraper Technique is email outreach. But instead of spamming everyone you know, you reach out to those who have already linked to the specific content you have improved. 

The assumption: Since they’ve already linked to a similar article, they’re more likely to link to one that’s better.

You can find these people by pasting the URL of the original piece into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer and then going to the Backlinks report.

Backlinks report for ResumeGenius' how to write a resume, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

This report shows all the backlinks to the page. In this case, there are 441 groups of links.

But not all of these links will make good prospects. So you’ll likely need to add some filters to clean them up. For example, you can:

  • Add a Language filter for the language you’re targeting (e.g., English).
  • Switch the tab to Dofollow for equity-passing links.
Backlinks report, with filters, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Does the Skyscraper Technique still work?

It’s been roughly eight years since Brian shared this link building strategy. Honestly speaking, the technique has been oversaturated. Given its widespread use, its effectiveness may even be limited. 

Some SEOs even say they wouldn’t recommend it.

So we asked our Twitter and LinkedIn following this question and received 1,242 votes. Here are the results:

Pie chart showing 61% of respondents feel the Skyscraper Technique still works

Clearly, many SEOs and marketers still believe the technique works.

Sidenote.

According to Aira’s annual State of Link Building report, only 18% of SEOs still use the Skyscraper Technique. It’s not a go-to for many SEOs, as it ranks #20 among the list of tactics. I suspect its popularity has waned because (1) it’s old and SEOs are looking for newer stuff and (2) SEOs believe that content is more important than links these days.

Why the Skyscraper Technique fails and how to improve your chances of success

Fundamentally, it makes sense that the Skyscraper Technique still works. After all, the principles are the same behind (almost) any link building strategy:

  1. Create great content
  2. Reach out to people and promote it

But why do people think it’s no longer effective? There are a few reasons why and knowing them will help you improve your chances of success with the Skyscraper Technique.

Let’s start with:

1. Sending only Brian’s email template

In Brian’s original post, he suggested an email template for his readers to use:

Hey, I found your post: http://post1

<generic compliment>

It links to this post: http://post2

I made something better: http://post3

Please swap out the link for mine.

Unfortunately, many SEOs decided to use this exact template word for word. 

Link building doesn’t exist in a vacuum. If everyone in your niche decides to send this exact template to every possible website, it’ll burn out real fast. And that’s exactly what happened.

Now, if a website owner sees this template, chances are they’ll delete it right away. 

Sidenote.

Judging by my inbox, there are still people using this exact template. And, like everyone else, I delete the email immediately.

I’m not saying this to disparage templated emails. If you’re sending something at scale, templating is necessary. But move away from this template. Write your own, personalize it as much as possible, and follow the outreach principles here.

Even better, ask yourself:

What makes my content unique and link-worthy?”

2. Not segmenting your prospects

People link for different reasons, so you shouldn’t send everyone the same pitch. 

Consider dividing your list of prospects into segments according to the context in which they linked. You can do this by checking the Anchors report in Site Explorer.

Anchors report, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

You can clearly see people are linking to different statistics from our SEO statistics post. So, for example, if we were doing outreach for a hypothetical post, we might want to mention to the first group that we have a new statistic for “Over 90% of content gets no traffic from Google.”

Then, to the second group, we’ll mention that we have new statistics for “68% of online experiences.” And so on. 

In fact, that’s exactly what we did when we built links to this post. Check out the case study here:

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

3. Not reaching out to enough people

Ultimately, link building is still a numbers game. If you don’t reach out to enough people, you won’t get enough links. 

Simply put: You need to curate a larger list of link prospects.

So rather than limiting yourself to only replicating the backlinks of the original content, you should replicate the backlinks from other top-ranking pages covering the same topic too.

To find these pages, enter the target keyword into Keywords Explorer and scroll down to the SERP overview.

SERP overview for "how to write a resume," via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

In this example, most top-ranking pages have tons of links, and all of them (after filtering, of course) could be potential link prospects.

Pro tip

Looking for even more prospects? Use Content Explorer.

Search for your keyword, set a Referring domains filter, and you’ll see relevant pages where you can “mine” for more skyscraper prospects.

Referring domains filters selected in Ahrefs' Content Explorer

4. Thinking bigger equals better

Someone creates a list with 15 tools. The next person ups it to 30. Another “skyscrapers” it to 50, and the next increases it to 100.

Not only is it a never-ending arms race, there’s also no value for the reader. 

No one wants to skim through 5,000 words or hundreds of items just to find what they need. Curation is where the value is.

When considering the four aspects mentioned by Brian, don’t improve things for the sake of improving them. Adding 25 mediocre tips to an existing list of 25 doesn’t make it “better.” Likewise for changing the publish date or adding a few low-quality illustrations. 

Example: My colleague, Chris Haines, recently published a post on the best niche site ideas. Even though he only included 10, he has already outperformed the other “skyscraper” articles:

Our blog post ranking #3 for the query, "niche site ideas," via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

He differentiated himself through his knowledge and expertise. After all, Chris has 10 years of experience in SEO. 

So when you’re creating your article, always look at any improvement through the lens of value:

Are you giving more value to the reader? 

5. Not considering brand

As Ross Hudgens says, “Better does not occur in a branding vacuum.”

Most of the time, content isn’t judged solely on its quality. It’s also judged by who it comes from. We discovered this ourselves too when we tried to build links to our keyword research guide.

Most of the time, people didn’t read the article. They linked to us because of our brand and reputation—they knew we were publishing great content consistently, and they had confidence that the article we were pitching was great too.

In other words, there are times where no matter how hard you “skyscraper” your content, people just won’t link to it because they don’t know who you are. 

Having your own personal brand is important these days. But think about it: What is a “strong brand” if not a consistent output of high-quality work that people enjoy? One lone skyscraper doesn’t make a city; many of them together do.

What I’m saying is this: Don’t be discouraged if your “skyscraper” article gets no results. And don’t be discouraged just because you don’t have a brand right now—you can work on that over time.

Keep on making great content—skyscraper or not—and results will come if you trust the process.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were laying bricks every hour.” 

Final thoughts

The Skyscraper Technique is a legitimate link building tactic that works. But that can only happen if you:

Any questions or comments? Let me know on Twitter.



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