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Here’s What We Learned From TikTok, Meta, Snap & Twitter At IAB NewFronts

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Here's What We Learned From TikTok, Meta, Snap & Twitter At IAB NewFronts

Days 2 and 3 of the 2022 IAB NewFronts featured announcements from TikTok, Meta, Snapchat, and Twitter.

Here are the top takeaways and tips from these social video companies – ranked by importance instead of listed chronologically.

TikTok Introduces TikTok Pulse

Last Wednesday, TikTok introduced TikTok Pulse, a new contextual advertising option that enables advertisers to place their brand next to the top content in the For You Feed.

Alongside that announcement came the news that the social video platform will begin exploring its first advertising revenue-sharing program with creators, publishers, and even public figures.

Image from TikTok, May 2022categories of TikTok

Since Sandie Hawkins, TikTok’s General Manager of North America Global Business Solutions, and Sofia Hernandez, Global Head of Business Marketing, were speaking to media buyers, they provided more details about how marketers will benefit from TikTok Pulse.

This includes:

  • Boost brand exposure by appearing next to the most engaging content: TikTok Pulse will put brands where they really want and need to be – among the top 4% of all the videos on TikTok.
  • Drive engagement and action with diverse communities: TikTok will offer 12 categories of Pulse where brands can place their ads next to the most “culturally relevant” content. These categories include beauty, fashion, cooking, and gaming, as well as many other verticals that the TikTok community loves and brands want to engage with.
  • Feel “brand safe” with suitability measurements: TikTok says their proprietary inventory filter ensures that TikTok Pulse ads are running adjacent to verified content with their “highest level of brand suitability.” If you buy that, then I have a bridge to Brooklyn for sale. But, third-party tools will be available to provide advertisers with the ability to analyze and understand brand suitability, verify viewability, and measure the impact of campaigns.
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What about the advertising rev share program for creators?

Well, TikTok said in a press release,

“Creators and publishers with at least 100k followers will be eligible in the initial stage of this program.

So, other creators will need to grow their audiences to “feel valued and rewarded on TikTok.”

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Storytelling Goes Here: Building Your Brand On Meta

Meta had promised to unveil “its multiplatform video ecosystem that’s designed to help all kinds of brands tell their stories” on Tuesday evening, but the 70–80 people at the NewFronts event held at 281 Park Avenue only remember hearing that over 45% of Instagram accounts like, comment on, or share Reels at least once a week.

Big Blue had also indicated that Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, would be there, but Nada Stirratt, Meta’s Vice President of The Americas, seemed to be the top executive in the room.

Hey, plans change.

At least actress Keke Palmer, author Samah Dada, Grammy award winner Spencer Ludwig, and actress Daphnique Springs were there in case anyone wanted to ask them how they used Meta platforms.

And Bianca Bradford, Meta’s Head of NA Agency, told everyone at the smallish event that almost 60% of TV viewers turn to their phones during their commercial breaks.

In addition, Wendy’s CMO Carl Loredo talked about the brand’s first virtual restaurant Wendyverse, which can be found in Meta’s Horizon Worlds.

Hey, his campaign, which included in-stream ads, Reels, Instagram Stories, and AR ads, drove people to Wendyverse and saw a 9.1 lift in ad recall.

Burgers and Basketball in VR: Wendy's Teams Up with Meta for Grand Opening of the WendyverseImage from Wendy’s, May 2022Burgers and Basketball in VR: Wendy's Teams Up with Meta for Grand Opening of the Wendyverse

People recalled your ads.

That’s great – if you sell ads.

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But, the last time I checked, Wendy’s sells old-fashioned hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, and salads.

And, you shouldn’t assume that just because people recall your ad, they’re more likely to recall your brand, buy your product, or recommend it to another individual.

So, next time you use a Facebook Brand Lift test, ask questions like:

  • “When it comes to fast food, what brands come to mind?”
  • “When was the last time you purchased from Wendy’s?
  • “How likely is it that you would recommend Wendy’s to a friend or colleague?”

Snapchat: There’s More To The Story

On Tuesday afternoon, Snap announced a partnership with Cameo to help brands connect with influencers to make ads.

In addition, the social media company announced several new and returning Snap Originals.

They also revealed that more than 80% of the US Gen Z Population had watched one of over 150 Snap Originals last year.

featured Snap OriginalsImage from Snap, May 2022featured Snap Originals

The featured Snap Originals include:

  • Reclaim(ed) – Snap’s first Canadian Snap Original explores today’s Indigenous culture with hosts Marika Sila and Kairyn Potts, who reframe and reclaim cultural traditions and social issues from a Gen Z point of view.
  • Daring Simone Biles – This show stars the winner of 32 Olympic and World Championship medals, who takes all-new risks trying things she’s never done before, from beekeeping to being a DJ.
  • Charli Vs. Dixie – After Season 1 of this made-for-mobile show garnered over 20 million viewers, the D’Amelio sisters will go head-to-head again to win money for charity in Season 2.
  • Run For Office – This documentary series follows eight Gen Z and millennial political candidates – from across America, across the aisle, and across the spectrum of local offices – as they seek elected office in the 2022 Primary and General Elections.

Snap also announced multi-year content deals with the NFL, WNBA, and NBA.

They also disclosed that 205 million people watched sports content on Snapchat in 2021, and among people aged 18–34, Snap provides almost 40% incremental reach to sports events on TV, sports websites, and apps.

In fact, if you closed your eyes, Snap sounded more like a traditional media company than “a fast and fun way to share the moment with your friends and family.”

Twitter: “Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain”

Twitter had encouraged media buyers to attend their IAB NewFronts presentation on Wednesday evening to “learn what’s happening and what’s next for premium content on the timeline.”

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As I’ve already mentioned, plans change.

And Twitter did announce video and audio programming deals with Condé Nast, ESSENCE, E! News, REVOLT, NBCUniversal, and the WNBA.

The microblogging and social networking service also announced Twitter Amplify, which promises to give brands a chance to put their ads right next to video content from Twitter’s content partners.

This is, of course, if Elon Musk doesn’t change those plans.

Oh, it’s also worth noting that Twitter’s NewFronts presentation lasted about 20 minutes, less than the 30 minutes the schedule had indicated it would last.

Hey, everything has to come to an end sometime.

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Featured Image: Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock

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How Should You Optimize Your Content?

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How Should You Optimize Your Content?

People turn to Google for just about everything these days.

Whether it’s to buy something, learn about something in-depth, get a quick answer, or simply pass the time, Google is the primary stream of information for the vast majority of people living with an internet connection.

To be precise, Google makes up 92.19% of the search engine market share.

The constant quest of SEO professionals is to get their content matched up with the search queries it answers.

But how has this task changed over time?

While there can be books written on this subject, the general consensus is that search queries are becoming longer, more specific, and conversational.

In many cases, a portion of this shift can likely be attributed to the rise of voice search.

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A lot of what we are seeing is a growing importance on optimizing for questions and semantically related keywords.

So what exactly does this all mean?

And what are the best strategies when you’re down in the trenches of SEO?

Let’s discuss.

Questions & Semantic Search

Since the Google Hummingbird Update in 2013, Google has been on a steady path toward providing more personalized and useful search results.

You know when you enter a super vague query into Google and it somehow understands exactly what you’re getting at? Like when you are speaking to a close friend or family member?

This is semantic search.

A big aspect of Google’s semantic search capability is to pinpoint concepts and entities presented in question-based queries.

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When someone enters a question into Google – whether it be by text or voice – the semantic search capabilities work to understand the user’s intent with four key factors:

  • The user context.
  • Natural language processing (NLP).
  • Query stream context.
  • Entity identification.

What Types of Questions Does Google Answer?

Thanks to semantic search, Google has taken many steps toward a near-flawless ability to answer a plethora of questions. This is largely due to the developments in artificial intelligence, voice search, schema, NLP, etc.

Google generally answers three types of questions – as opposed to just providing links to the sites with the answers.

  • Direct answers
  • Short answers
  • Long answers

These answers are commonly placed in the Featured Snippet – also known as the “Google Answer Box” or “Position Zero.”

Let’s breakdown the specifics of each.

Direct Answer

Direct answer questions typically start with Who, What, Where, When, Best, Top, and sometimes Why.

These types of questions normally result in quick answers and are oftentimes linked to voice queries.

For example, if you enter a query like [When was Apple founded?], Google will use Hummingbird and semantic search to recognize the user intent to provide a direct answer. This answer would be April 1, 1976.

When was Apple Founded

Based on what Google’s algorithms decide is the most reliable source of information, the search engine will pull the answer from the content and display it in the Featured Snippet.

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Short Answer

Short answer questions generally start with words like Why and Can. But, given the context, they can also apply to What, Where, Who, etc.

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These types of questions can generally be answered in a paragraph, of which is shown on the Featured Snippet.

Let’s ask Google [Why does the sun follow a circular path?]

Why does the sun follow a circular path?

Again, Google’s algorithms will decide which content has the most credible answer here (based on numerous factors), and provide the answer in the Featured Snippet accordingly.

Let’s do another one.

Here’s a query for “Can fish feel pain?”

Can fish feel pain?

As you can see, Google has provided a 4-5-line answer – drawing from the content it sees as the most credible.

Long Answer

The long answer queries typically get more into the weeds of procedures and processes.

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Most commonly, these long answers are matched up with How and Why queries.

Google only has so much space to work with in the Featured Snippet; it can’t list out an entire procedure from A to Z. Instead, it has to abbreviate with an outline.

For example, let’s search for [How to build a treehouse].

How to build a treehouse?

The intent of this question is to get a better understanding of what all factors into the process of building a treehouse. The intent is more or less surface level.

As a result, Google’s algorithms serve up the step-by-step process involved in this project. To get more in-depth, the user needs to click on the link.

Other common examples of long answer snippets relate to how-to guides, recipes, workout routines, etc.

Which Types of Answers Do You Provide?

Everyone wants to get their content proudly placed in the Featured Snippet (or somewhere prominent on Page 1).

Given how much real estate this answer box takes up on Google searches, the potential benefits of taking the spotlight here are huge!

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In order to get placed in the Google Answer Box, you first need to have a strong idea of which type of answer your particular piece of content provides, and which keywords attribute to it.

For instance, this online tire store recently published an article around the keyword “best tire brands” – optimized for the question, “what are the best tire brands?”

Best tire brands

If we look at the Featured Snippet for this query, we see a list of tire brands outlined in the content under H2 tags.

In addition to drawing traffic, the content provides avenues for the user to actually purchase the products.

With each piece of content you create, you should be asking, “what types of questions does this content answer?”

This should be an integral part of how you formulate the outline, as well as how it will funnel into the bigger picture (like generating conversions).

How to Pinpoint Trending Questions & Keywords

In the process of figuring out which type of answer(s) is ideal for your content, you need to identify the trending questions being asked and the search volumes behind them.

One tool you could use is the Ahrefs Questions feature in the keyword explorer.

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By entering in your focus keyword, you can get a big list of related questions to be factored into how you create the content.

In this hypothetical scenario, let’s say you are creating a piece of content for a CRM software.

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Let’s look at the questions related to the keyword “CRM Software.”

CRM Software

Given what we found here, there are all kinds of questions to frame a piece of content around.

Now, a long, comprehensive piece of content could potentially work to answer all three major question types. However, for our purposes, we are going to focus on one.

Let’s say we want to create a piece of content that answers the short answer question [What does CRM software do].

What does CRM software do?

Now that we have the question, let’s look into the keywords that funnel into this answer.

What does CRM software do?

Think about it from a user’s standpoint who is at the beginning of the buyer’s journey.

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If someone wants to simply learn more about CRM software and what it does, what informational keywords and phrases would factor into the search?

Based on the keyword research above, this would likely involve terms and phrases like:

  • What is CRM
  • Customer relationship management
  • CRM meaning
  • CRM definition
  • CRM examples
  • Customer relationship
  • Relationship management

These are just a handful of the informational keywords and phrases that would ideally work to answer the overarching question.

Now, if there is transactional intent within this content, you are wise to include the following terms/phrases:

  • Best CRM
  • Best CRM tools
  • Best CRM for small business
  • CRM solutions
  • CRM pricing

When it comes to optimizing for questions and keywords, you need to have an idea of the users’ knowledge prior to looking at the content, what answers they want, and what they should do after consuming the content.

Ultimately, this forms the basis for how you conduct SEO research.

Ranking for Direct Answer Questions

Getting ranked for direct answer questions can be tough.

As with most SEO tactics, there are no laws, just theories.

Based on what we’ve found, getting ranked highly for direct answer questions involves the following common threads:

Get to the Point

Answer the question as early as possible within the content. If you can, try to do this in the first paragraph.

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List the Question Right out of the Gate

This helps Google tag your content appropriately.

Elaborate

After you answer the question bluntly, elaborate on it in the subsequent paragraphs. This helps to show Google that you are answering the question comprehensively.

Go the Extra Mile

This would commonly involve answering typical follow-up questions.

For instance, if you answered the question, “What is a lunar eclipse?” you could also include answers to questions like, “How often do lunar eclipses happen?” or “What is the difference between a lunar eclipse and a solar eclipse?”

You want to show Google that you know the answer in as much detail as possible so you are seen as an expert source of information.

Ranking for Short Answer Questions

Getting ranked for short answer questions has a lot of similarities to the process of getting ranked for direct answer questions.

Much of what we’ve observed comes down to the formatting of the content.

Here are a couple of the biggest patterns we’ve noticed:

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Make the Language Super Easy to Read

Don’t produce a wall of text; break it up into paragraphs no more than 3-4 lines long. Also, try not to use an extensive amount of business jargon.

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Keep in mind, a lot of short answer questions are from people at the beginning of the customer journey – they are simply looking for more information, not to be overwhelmed.

Integrate Questions into Your Header Tags

This should ideally look like a Q&A format.

For instance, the question, “What does a CRM software do?” could be an H2 tag near the beginning of the post which the subsequent content would then answer.

Ranking for Long Answer Questions

Ranking for long answer questions normally requires quite a few factors based on the depth of the content.

On a side note: If a topic could be better answered with a more visual piece of content, Google will probably serve a video. For example, if you search Google for [How to wash pillows] you are going to be met with a video.

How to wash pillows?

So, if you answer these types of long answer questions, you are smart to focus on a video strategy.

Back to getting ranked highly on long answer queries, we have found several patterns in how content ranks.

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Keep the Main Title Focused on the Question

You want your content to appear to be the most relevant to Google.

If you are working to answer the question of “how to create a content plan,” your content should (in some capacity) reflect this in the title.

How to create a content plan?

Provide a Step-By-Step Format

Headings in content created for these types of queries often times have certain steps outlined.

Here’s what comes up for the question, [how to do SEO audit].

How to do SEO audit?

If you look at the content written by Ahrefs, you’ll notice the header tags in the piece correspond directly with the steps listed in the Featured Snippet.

Use Images

Images make your content more user-friendly and engaging – two things that Google loves!

We’ve found that the best-performing content uses imagery to supplement the points being made and provide a more complete answer.

Link out to Reputable Sites

Google wants to reward sites that provide the most credible information, based on the search query.

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What makes credible information?

Credible sources.

For example, if you are writing a post on “how to buy a used car,” linking out to reputable auto websites like Consumer Reports, Edmonds, Cars.com, etc. would (ideally) add credibility to your piece.

Wrapping Up

It’s important to note that every situation is a little bit different and the process of optimizing content is not always apples-to-apples.

However, it’s clear that the SEO landscape has been shifting towards long-tail keywords and questions for some time now.

If you want to get your content ranked well (and stand a chance at getting placed in the featured snippet), you need to factor these into your content strategy.

Hopefully, this post has given you a good idea of where to start.

More Resources:

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Image Credits

Featured Image: Created by author, August 2019
In-Post Image: SEMrush

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