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Competitive Analysis: A Comprehensive 9-Step Guide

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Competitive Analysis: A Comprehensive 9-Step Guide

A competitive analysis is one of the most important pieces of work you’ll do, especially if you’re starting with a new client or employer.

It’s a vital component of a successful SEO strategy.

As SEO pros, how can we do our jobs if we don’t understand the lay of the land?

The knowledge we gain from a competitor analysis makes us much better, more informed consultants. It helps us pinpoint areas of opportunities and threats.

These are some of the questions that competitor analysis can help us answer.

Gaining context on the competitive landscape:

  • What can we learn from our competitors?
  • Why do we believe competitors rank well?
  • What aren’t competitors doing that we can take advantage of?

Providing valuable business intelligence:

  • Who are the most visible competitors? Is there a distinction between ‘traditional competitors’ and ‘SEO competitors’?
  • Do they perform well for transactional or informational terms? Or both?
  • Are competitors growing their brand awareness?

Showing what a competitor is doing better than you is one of the best ways to get stakeholder buy-in.

Need help getting started with your competitive analysis? I created a checklist with everything you need  – and in this article, we’ll cover a comprehensive nine-step guide to conducting your own analysis.

Make sure you make a copy of the checklist to edit your own version.

How To Use The Checklist

I’ve split the checklist into two sections:

Domain-Wide Analysis

These sections focus on domain (or subdomain) level analysis and aim to uncover a domain’s relative strength or performance.

For example, backlink data.

Page Type Analysis

These sections focus on specific page type analysis. For instance, assessing the UX, design, and content of a page type.

Page types can include:

  • Homepage.
  • Category, product, or service pages.
  • Blog/guide pages.

When working through page type sections, view samples of different page types for your site and your competitors.

Additionally, ensure that you compare the same page types for a fair comparison.

For example, you wouldn’t want to compare a product page from one site against a category page on another site.

Task Notes

For some checklist items, task notes are provided to help with the analysis.

There are also “Opportunities” and “Threats” columns that you can use to brain dump things you notice during the analysis. I find it a great way to free up headspace and organize notes you might return to.

Now, let’s dive into the nine steps to conducting a competitive analysis.

1. Identifying The Search Landscape

This part of the analysis will show the competitive landscape based on estimated traffic share.

This will form the foundation of your analysis.

What You’ll Look At

  • Who are your search competitors?
  • Estimated traffic share (segmented by intent and topics).

Gathering Your Data

For this section, you’ll need:

Requirement 1: A relevant, non-branded keyword research list with associated search volumes.

Requirement 2: Keywords classified by intent and topics.

If you don’t have an extensive keyword research list and/or there isn’t intent classification, you can do a bit of quick and dirty research:

Enter your domain into a tool like Semrush or Ahrefs.

In Semrush, there is a “Main Organic Competitors” feature; in Ahrefs, the same feature is called “Competing domains.”

The video below demonstrates how to enter a domain into Semrush to see organic competitors:

 

  • Select the top performing competitors (2–5 competitors will do). You’ll be entering these domains into either Semrush or Ahrefs to extract the keywords they rank for.
  • To help speed up the intent classification, extract the keywords and ranking URLs that a blog subfolder, i.e., exampledomain.com/blog/ (or subdomain, i.e., blog.example.com), ranks for. You can then classify these keywords as “informational.”
  • Enter the domains again, but exclude the blog subfolders this time. These keywords can be classified as “transactional.”

I also recommend setting the tools to only extract keywords that rank between positions 1-20 to help avoid pulling through irrelevant keywords.

You may need to spend several hours refining that initial list to ensure it makes sense.

Semrush has a feature that defines the intent of keywords when you export them. This can also help speed up the eyeballing of your keyword list.

Unless you’re going to spend hours classifying keywords by topics, you might have to give topic classification a miss. It’s not the end of the world for this task.

Requirement 3: Click-through rates (CTRs) to get estimated traffic share. Advanced Web Ranking is my go-to choice for getting CTR values.

The formula you need to apply to get estimated traffic share is:

CTR * keyword search volume = estimated traffic share.

Your ‘search landscape’ data might look something like the below:

Screenshot from Ahrefs, August 2022
Only one domain is shown in the screenshot, but the tab should contain all ranks, ranking URLs, and estimated traffic for all domains analyzed, including your own domain.

Requirement 4: Finally, segment your data and create your visuals.

How To Use The Insights Gained From This Section

Some common takeaways include:

  • Outlining who the leaders are when it comes to estimated traffic. Do they perform well for both informational and transactional keywords?
  • Understanding what topics competitors perform well for.
  • Understanding whether competitors have invested in informational content.
  • Evaluating whether any of the insights should be considered a threat.

To bring some color to the outcomes, I worked with a client whose competitor had clearly invested in informational content.

The chart below illustrates that the content was estimated to generate significant monthly traffic.

A bar chart showing estimated traffic share for informational keywords.Screenshot from Ahrefs, August 2022

This was considered a threat (and opportunity) and helped advance the buy-in to develop a content strategy.

Remember that showcasing what competitors are doing better is often one of the best ways to get stakeholder buy-in.

2. Backlink Profile

This part of the analysis will outline the strength of competitor sites from a backlink perspective.

While backlinks aren’t as influential as they used to be, they’re still a core part of Google’s ranking algorithms.

What You’ll Look At

  • Overall domain link profile strength.
  • Homepage link profile strength.
  • Correlations between link quality and ranking in positions 1-3.
  • Who’s acquiring more linking domains over time?

Gathering Your Data

Majestic SEO is my go-to tool for backlink data and, therefore, will be the choice of tool for the metrics we want to analyze.

However, feel free to use comparative metrics from other tools.

For this section, you’ll need:

Requirement 1: Overall domain Trust Flow and referring domains for each domain you’re analyzing.

Requirement 2: Homepage Trust Flow and referring domains for each domain you’re analyzing.

Requirement 3: Average Trust Flow of URLs that have keywords ranking in positions 1–3 and the count of ranking keywords in positions 1–3.

You’ll need to return to your search landscape spreadsheet and pull through Trust Flow scores for each URL.

Majestic has a Bulk Backlink feature that will allow you to get Trust Flow URL data, or you could even use Screaming Frog to sync to the Majestic API.

And your search landscape tab should have the keyword ranks for each domain you’re analyzing. From that, you can pull through the count of ranking keywords in positions 1–3 for each domain.

Requirement 4: To view monthly referring domain link acquisition over time in Majestic, click Tools > Compare Domains > Backlink History.

The interface and selected options will look something like the below:

Majestic resultsScreenshot from Majestic, August 2022

I often select Cumulative for the View mode option, which shows ever-increasing link totals. This can help see clearer trends as to whether a particular domain is acquiring links at a faster pace.

Make sure you select Historic Index as well, as it will allow you to see historic link data trends going back years.

How To Use The Insights Gained From This Section

Some common takeaways include:

  • Identifying who might have a ranking edge due to stronger link profiles.
  • The need to invest in tactical link building if there’s a correlation between link quality and ranking in positions 1–3.
  • Evaluating the threat of competitors acquiring links faster than your site.

As illustrated by the chart below, a competitor (blue line) had acquired links faster than my client (purple line) for several years.

link acquisitionScreenshot from Majestic, August 2022

Over time, this could hurt SEO and potentially brand awareness.

Showcasing this data helped facilitate further investment in link building activities.

3. Brand Awareness

This section looks at how your brand awareness stacks up against competitors.

The importance of brand awareness is indisputable; Think of things like brand association and recall.

It can also indirectly benefit SEO.

For instance, the more people that are aware of your brand, the more likely they are to link to you or search for your brand, to begin with.

A more debatable theory is the direct link between brand awareness and rankings.

Regardless, given the impact brand awareness can have on a business, it’s useful to know how you stack up against competitors.

What You’ll Look At

  • Who has the strongest brand awareness?
  • Who has the strongest product/service association?

From this, you can get an idea of:

  • If you’re ahead of your competitors.
  • If your competitors are closing the gap or further increasing their brand awareness.
  • If competitors have a topical authority advantage.

Gathering Your Data

Google Trends is the tool of choice to use here.

For this section, you’ll need:

Requirement 1: To add {brand name} into Google Trends (e.g. “boohoo”).

Requirement 2: To add {brand name} {product / service} into Google Trends (e.g “boohoo dresses”).

You can manually use the Google Trends interface to get these insights, and the output will look like the below:

Google Trends interfaceScreenshot for Google Trends, August 2022

However, automating the process using Python and the Google Trends API is the way to go if you need to scale a large data set.

How To Use The Insights Gained From This Section

Some common takeaways include:

  • Identifying that competitors have a potential ranking advantage for certain topics.
  • The need to invest in brand-building activities to close (or increase) the gap on competitors.

4. Internal Linking

This section looks at how sites are using internal linking to their advantage.

We all know the importance of internal linking.

Whether it’s to pass on PageRank or to help Google better understand your content, it’s a vital part of SEO.

What You’ll Look At

  • Do competitors use the main navigation and footer to link to strategically important pages?
  • Do competitors link to topically relevant pages? For example, a TV category page would link to different types of TVs, different brands of TVs, etc.
  • Are there links to supporting informational content?
  • The use of descriptive anchor text.

Gathering Your Data

This will require a bit of manual digging and running crawls to scale insights.

How To Use The Insights Gained From This Section

Some common takeaways include:

  • Better internal linking to topically relevant pages.
  • Recommending linking to informational pages from transactional pages (and vice versa) to improve the perceived value of pages to users and Google.
  • Optimizing the top-level navigation to better support key pages through PageRank distribution. Particularly valid if users navigate to these pages in large numbers.

5. On-Page Optimization

On-page optimization has been a foundation of SEO since its inception and continues to be one of the most influential means of moving the needle.

This section will look at on-page elements such as title tags.

Internal linking and content have their own dedicated sections.

Gathering Your Data

This section falls under page type analysis.

You can use the search landscape tab to categorize different page types quickly, or you could use a crawler tool, such as Screaming Frog, to get a deeper view of the different page types a site has.

I recommend using a crawler tool (list mode or crawl) to extract on-page elements for efficiency.

How To Use The Insights Gained From This Section

Some common takeaways include:

  • Recommending to keep the title or headings tags shorter and/or descriptive of pages.
  • Testing CTAs in title tags and meta descriptions (e.g., “Free Delivery,” “Lowest Prices,” etc.)
  • The need for descriptive alt text to encourage image thumbnails in search results.

6. UX, Design, And Content

This section examines whether a site’s UX, design, and content make it easy to understand and navigate.

In essence, we want to know how useful and engaging the user experience of a site is.

Does the user experience make it easy for a user to complete an action?

Or is the site difficult to understand and navigate – and, therefore, more likely to lead to a bounce back to search results?

The link between user engagement metrics (think pogo-sticking and CTR) and the impact on SEO have long been debated.

At the very least, it’s fair to argue there’s an indirect link with SEO.

For instance, a site that provides a good user experience is more likely to get a backlink, return visits, and so on.

However, beyond SEO, we know a site with a good user experience has a better chance of affecting the bottom line.

Overall, it’s an important area to assess.

What You’ll Look At

  • Assessing if the content is useful for users.
  • Assessing if the content answers users’ questions and fulfills their needs.
  • Assessing if the content is easy to understand and read.

Gathering Your Data

Notably, this part of the analysis is qualitative heavy and incorporates elements of Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines (QRGs). This is a nice summary of the guidelines if you want to learn more.

This section falls under page type analysis, so you’ll want to look at and compare pages manually.

Avoid analyzing blog/guide content for this part. The importance of informational content means it’s worthy of its own dedicated section.

You can use the search landscape tab to categorize different page types quickly, or you could use a crawler tool, such as Screaming Frog, to get a deeper view of the different page types a site has.

How To Use The Insights Gained From This Section

Some common takeaways include:

  • Highlighting the need to make the proposition clear and easy to understand.
  • The need to break up large blocks of text and sections into digestible formats.
  • The need to use relevant, non-generic imagery.

One client had used a lot of stock images.

This is a poor practice in general, as people have to work harder to understand what is being offered, which can negatively impact the conversion rate.

This was compounded by competitors who used relevant, high-quality imagery.

When we updated imagery to be more relevant, we generated more thumbnail images in search results and took up more real estate.

7. Blog/Guide Content

In this section, you’ll review and compare informational content produced by competitors.

Informational content is important. It can have a range of benefits, including:

  • Diversifying traffic.
  • Brand building. The more people that land on a certain brand’s blog or see their blog ranking in search results, the more likely they are to search for the brand directly.
  • Passive link building.
  • Building retargeting lists for paid media.

What You’ll Look At

  • The UX and design of content.
  • Quality of content.
  • The credibility of authors.
  • How content is syndicated.
  • The effectiveness of the content in acquiring links.

Gathering Your Data

This section is largely qualitative-focused.

You’ll manually review blog homepages and a sample of different content pieces.

However, this section can be a great opportunity to combine qualitative and quantitative insights, which can be an impactful way to really hammer home the story you’re trying to tell.

I love data as much as the next SEO professional, but I think we can bury our heads in spreadsheets a little too deep sometimes.

How To Use The Insights Gained From This Section

Some common takeaways include:

  • Recommending using varied types of content (e.g., video, when it makes sense).
  • Improving the UX/design of the blog.
  • Showcasing how useful informational content can be in generating links.

The last takeaway can be an ideal chance to combine qualitative and quantitative insights.

For example, comparing the quality of UX and content (qualitative) with how many links competitor informational content generates relative to your own (quantitative)  can tell a compelling story.

While I can’t show the qualitative aspects, the chart below tells a story in its own right.

A bar chart showing the number of referring domains pointing to blog content.Screenshot from Majestic, August 2022

This further reinforced the need to invest in informational content for a client.

8. Core Web Vitals

In this section, you’ll review how performance stacks ups against competitors.

Improving Core Web Vitals (CWV) has been a priority for many sites since it became a core part of Google’s page experience update.

The relationship between performance and conversion is also well documented.

What You’ll Look At

CWV Chrome UX data for your site and competitors for the below metrics:

Gathering Your Data

There are many existing guides out there that detail the process of extracting CWV data, including this CWV auditing guide, so I won’t go into the details.

However, to clarify, you’ll need to extract CWV performance for both your competitors and your own site.

This is another page type section. If you’ve worked through the UX, design, and content sections, you should already have categorized pages by page type.

How To Use The Insights Gained From This Section

Some common takeaways include:

  • Opportunity sizing. If you perform relatively well (and better than your competitors), then happy days! You know it’s not an area of priority. Conversely, the opposite is also valid.
  • Highlighting the specific CWV metrics that require improvement, particularly if they fall within the ‘red’ range.
  • The need to perform a dedicated CWV audit to provide recommendations to improve performance.

Once again, it’s a lot easier to get stakeholder buy-in for further audits when you can showcase competitors are performing better for these metrics.

9. Structured Data

This section looks at the structured data markup competitors use to enhance their search result snippet.

Enhancing the way your listing stands out in search results is a great way to take up more real estate and increase your CTR.

What You’ll Look At

Structured data markup that enhances search result snippets, for example:

Gathering Your Data

Screaming Frog is your friend once again.

You can simply select some configurations that will extract structured data on pages when running a crawl of your competitors.

To configure Screaming Frog, click Configuration > Spider > Extraction > Click the Structured Data options:

How To Use The Insights Gained From This Section

Some common takeaways include:

  • Learning the different types of structured data markup types competitors use to enhance their search result snippet.
  • The different page types competitors implement structured data on.
  • The lack of structured data used by competitors.

The last takeaway is often an interesting insight.

It comes back to what I mentioned at the beginning of the article: What aren’t competitors doing that we can take advantage of?

In my experience, identifying a means to one-up competitors helped prioritize implementing structured data across key page types for a client.

This wouldn’t have been the case had I not shown a clear area of opportunity.

Conclusion

Competitor analysis is a fundamental task you must carry out if you want to create a truly impactful SEO strategy – and be the best consultant you can be for your client.

You can ascertain which challenges and threats need your immediate attention, which opportunities you can jump on for maximum value, and also provide clear business intelligence to help your team get buy-in from clients.

Now you can really get to work, start digging into areas of opportunity and create a real impact for your brand or team.

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Featured Image: Tero Vesalainen/Shutterstock



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Top YouTube Videos, Shorts, And Ads of 2022

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Top YouTube Videos, Shorts, And Ads of 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top 7 Trending Videos Of 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top 7 Shorts Of 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top 7 YouTube Ads Of 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The ad’s description says,

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

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

The ad’s description says,

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

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

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

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

The ad’s description says,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Important Lesson That Marketers Can Apply In 2023

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

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

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

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

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Meta Reinstates Trump to Facebook & Instagram

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Meta Reinstates Trump to Facebook & Instagram

Meta announced that the suspension of former president Trump from Facebook and Instagram will be lifted within a few weeks, with “guardrails” in place to discourage repeat offenses.

2021 Suspension of Trump

Meta indefinitely suspended the account of then-president Trump after he praised the people who engaged in anti-government violence that ended in several deaths.

The suspension was reviewed by the Meta Oversight Board who concluded that the indefinite suspension was inconsistent with rules in place for dealing with policy violations.

The Oversight Board wrote:

“…it was not appropriate for Facebook to impose the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension. Facebook’s normal penalties include removing the violating content, imposing a time-bound period of suspension, or permanently disabling the page and account.

The Board insists that Facebook review this matter to determine and justify a proportionate response that is consistent with the rules that are applied to other users of its platform.”

Facebook responded to the board that the suspension will last for two years beginning on January 7, 2021 after which the suspension would be reconsidered.

The indefinite suspension remained in place until the announcement that it will be lifted in the weeks following January 25, 2022, just over two years after the suspension.

Why the Suspension of Trump was Lifted

The review of the suspension was timed for two years after the imposition of the original suspension on January 7, 2021. This was by agreement with the Oversight Board.

Meta undertook a review of whether Trump continued to pose a risk to public safety and decided that enough had changed to lower the risk.

The explanation of the decision indicated that multiple factors were considered:

“To assess whether the serious risk to public safety that existed in January 2021 has sufficiently receded, we have evaluated the current environment according to our Crisis Policy Protocol, which included looking at the conduct of the US 2022 midterm elections, and expert assessments on the current security environment.

Our determination is that the risk has sufficiently receded, and that we should therefore adhere to the two-year timeline we set out.

As such, we will be reinstating Mr. Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts in the coming weeks. However, we are doing so with new guardrails in place to deter repeat offenses.”

Facebook Public Figure Penalty Guardrails

Meta published updated policies, Restricting accounts by public figures during civil unrest, that describe the new protocols for dealing with public figures who violate Meta guidelines.

The updated rules apply to both Facebook and Instagram.

The new policies outline tiered penalties increasing in severity depending on the content violations.

Meta explained that the goal of the penalties were to deter violations of their policies.

The penalties last from one to thirty days to as long as two years for especially egregious violations.

Three factors will be considered to determine the severity of the penalty:

  1. “The severity of the violation and the public figure’s history on Facebook or Instagram, including current and past violations.
  2. The public figure’s potential influence over, and relationship to, the individuals engaged in violence.
  3. The severity of the violence and any related physical harm.”

 

Heightened Penalties

Public figures who return after a suspension will face heightened penalties, including disabling the account of any public figure that fails to respond to repeated warnings.

Meta’s rules targets QAnon content and outlines specific measures they will take that will limit the reach of penalized public figures.

That means anyone who is following the restricted account of a public figure will not see content posted to those accounts, plus the removal of reshare buttons.

“Our updated protocol also addresses content that does not violate our Community Standards but that contributes to the sort of risk that materialized on January 6, such as content that delegitimizes an upcoming election or is related to QAnon.

We may limit the distribution of such posts, and for repeated instances, may temporarily restrict access to our advertising tools.

This step would mean that content would remain visible on Mr. Trump’s account but would not be distributed in people’s Feeds, even if they follow Mr. Trump.

We may also remove the reshare button from such posts, and may stop them being recommended or run as ads.”

Response to Reinstatement of Trump

Facebook’s announcement stated that they expect to be criticized but that the decision was guided by guidelines set down by the Oversight Board.

The response on social media was predictably passionate, with congressman Adam Schiff characterizing the reinstatement as Facebook having “caved.”

Others accused Facebook of having no rules or procedures even though Meta’s decision was based on rules and procedures.

Many of the top tweets commenting on the Trump reinstatement commented that Facebook’s decision was based on greed while others lamented the lack of consequences from Trump’s action, even though he was punished with a two year suspension.

Read Meta’s Announcement:

Ending Suspension of Trump’s Accounts With New Guardrails to Deter Repeat Offenses

 

 



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Wayback Machine: 5 Alternatives To Try

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Wayback Machine: 5 Alternatives To Try

Much of the web is ephemeral.

Web pages exist until they don’t. The content on them exists until it’s updated – and then it’s gone.

Unless you go digging in an archive.

Archiving the web is important for cultural and anthropological research. It’s also helpful for business reasons, like competitive analysis. It can even help document or monitor political processes.

Your particular reason for seeking archived content might determine which service works best.

The Wayback Machine is the most commonly known archive.

Screenshot, https://archive.org/web/, January 2023.

The Internet Archive is a nonprofit organization, and the Wayback Machine is the web version of its archive, containing an absolutely massive amount of data.

You can request that it save a webpage in its current state, as well as make use of tools, like an API.

As huge as the Wayback Machine archive is, it’s likely not 100% complete. If you’re having trouble finding something specific or wondering if there are alternatives with more features, these alternatives might help.

I won’t be going over paid SaaS subscriptions, as I don’t consider a paid service a true alternative to a free one provided by a nonprofit.

Let’s go!

1. The Memento Project

Memento is an exceptional alternative to the Wayback Machine because it aggregates several different sources, including the Wayback Machine itself.

On the website, you can access archives from several sources by using the Time Travel tool.

Wayback Machine: 5 Alternatives To TryScreenshot, http://timetravel.mementoweb.org/, January 2023.

This is the first distinction that makes Memento so cool, and it includes some of the other archives on this list, too. That means it’s a customizable experience and likely one of the most complete.

Memento’s other distinct feature is the Chrome extension that allows you to select the date on which you’d like to view your current page. This brings the tool to where you’re browsing instead of making you put a URL into a form.

You can also create a snapshot of a page and generate a link to it that won’t break. This is particularly useful for citation.

If you’re concerned a page might disappear, or the content might get updated, but you want to use the information, creating one of these links ensures that people will be able to see your original source.

2. Archive.today

Archive.today is another “snapshot” tool. It allows you to save a link to a page as it currently exists.

Following the link will send users to an unalterable version of the page.

Wayback Machine: 5 Alternatives To TryScreenshot, https://archive.ph/, January 2023.

It also features some relatively advanced search queries you can perform on domains and URLs to find snapshots that have been saved with the tool.

This tool also features a Chrome extension as well as an Android app.

Searches on Memento can include results from Archive.today.

3. WebCite

WebCite has powerful applications for authors, journalists, academics, and publishers.

It offers a variety of ways to build and present the archived pages and the URLs.

Wayback Machine: 5 Alternatives To TryScreenshot, rhttps://webcitation.org/, January 2023.

Unfortunately, at the time of publishing, it doesn’t appear to be taking new requests. But you can still access already archived pages. When and if it starts accepting requests again, it’s a very useful tool for that.

Its most powerful feature for authors and publishers is the ability to upload a manuscript directly to the website.

The tool will scan every link in an uploaded manuscript and automatically create archives of each of the pages linked to as they currently exist. This saves a lot of time if you’ve used a lot of website citations.

If you’ve created content that you want people to be able to create snapshots of, then you can add a specific WebCite link to your page that users can click on. This embeds archive functionality into your page, saving users time if they decide to use your work as a citation.

4. GitHub

GitHub is a development and collaboration platform that also prioritizes public projects and open-source code.

It documents and archives open-source code and programs, and is searchable by other archives such as the Wayback Machine.

Wayback Machine: 5 Alternatives To TryScreenshot, https://github.com/explore, January 2023.

But, if you’re looking for something related to code or software development, it might be easier to go straight to GitHub instead of using another archive service.

While it does have paid business plans, GitHub is free for the average user. It even offers 15GB of storage and some computing power in its cloud developer environment for free for your personal use.

5. Country-Specific Web Archives

Several countries run their own web archives.

These can be particularly helpful alternatives to the Wayback Machine if you’re looking for a website highly relevant to a specific location, or the culture of a country.

More focused archives might have more complete information if you’re having trouble finding it elsewhere, although again, I want to mention that the first alternative in this list, Memento, pulls from several different country-specific archives.

I should also note that many archives specific to a country, region, educational institution, or individual library are partnered with Archive-it, a service provider built by The Internet Archive (makers of the Wayback Machine).

They curate specific collections based on relevance, but all Archive-it partners leverage the same source: The Internet Archive.

These are a few of the country-specific web archives:

Conclusion

When you’re looking for alternatives to the Wayback Machine, you might not realize that a great many of them, in part or in whole, are powered by the same archive.

But there are other services out there you can use. Some have more helpful features, depending on what your goals are.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of alternative tools, but it’s most of the easily accessible tools for the average user.

Others require monthly payments, and some are free to academic and legal institutions, but not to individual users.

I chose to focus on the best of the tools that you could go and use right now with no fuss.

More resources:


Featured Image: Studio Romantic/Shutterstock



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