- Content that provides genuine answers to people also ask (PAA) questions attracts consumers to a brand’s owned media
- Be an early adopter that considers experimenting with the ever-changing social media features
- Creating thought leadership content is key to your organic SEO initiatives
- International content marketing requires an in-depth discussion of the brand’s business plan in each region
In today’s digital-first world, the connection between a consumer and a brand is continually changing, mostly due to the rise of search engines and, most recently, user-generated content (UGC) on social media. Search engines and social platforms make virtually all of the world’s information readily available to users.
Now, recovering from a global pandemic and being on the verge of another probable recession are hardly the ideal economic conditions imagined. Advertisers are still eager to expand their reach through paid media but the inflated prices are not delivering the same results as they did, say a year ago, even if they increase investment.
A more sustainable alternative to combat the situation brands currently find themselves in is to invest in organic assets, including organic social, and consider initiatives that generate long-term gains. This can help alleviate the need to spend high amounts of money on paid media. Brands may reap long-term benefits by capturing increased traffic online and will be in a far better position when things get back to normal. In a nutshell, consolidating your brand in overall organic assets is always a smart idea.
And while investing in organic means you can’t control every Google search or every time that your name is mentioned on social media, you can start building your brand and earning a positive reputation by sticking to some organic best practices.
Consider what ‘People also ask’ (PAA)
In order to get the most out of their content, brands should create copy that answers the most frequently asked questions online. The PAA in a Google search or frequently asked questions on other websites are excellent places to get ideas. Content that answers these questions in a real way not only attracts consumers to a brand’s owned media (website, blog, social media, ecommerce site), but also offers them valuable information, and that’s a great way to build brand loyalty.
As an example, consider how a brand selling summer dresses may approach this. They would be smart to explore the PAA questions that show when searching for “beautiful summer dresses,” such as “what makes a summer dress flattering?” or “what are the latest trends in summer dresses?” This brand should put time and money into creating content such as articles that answer these questions directly. That will make it easier for people to find you on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Make the most of the latest social media features
Social media is always evolving, so being open to making adjustments before moving forward is critical for success in organic reach. Finding out what works best for you and your audience can be done in many ways, from varying the length of your posts to experimenting with different types of imagery.
And with every new update comes a tremendous opportunity to be an early adopter and establish yourself as the brand that embraced the changes first.
Organic social media may seem like shouting into space at times, so doing something unique to stand out is more important than ever. Consider testing and experimenting with the ever-changing social features, from Instagram Reels and Twitter’s new “Notes” option, this will allow your audience to interact with your brand in new ways and increase social reach.
Thought leadership can accomplish what paid cannot
Thought leadership pieces, especially article writing, are key to these organic initiatives. The trustworthiness of the content impacts the SEO visibility of a business. As a result, companies should arm themselves with a diverse set of thought leaders and focus on increasing their online inventory of useful content.
This is particularly true when inflation is high, as it is right now. Provide your consumers and followers with helpful information that can help them make the best use of your goods or services in their everyday lives. Help your consumers spend their money wisely. This will strengthen your relationship with them in the long run.
Organic and international markets
A greater number of opportunities may be available to brands with a presence in multiple markets. For example, fashion retail brands find Italy and the Netherlands to be especially attractive markets with greater market revenue per capita but smaller total audience sizes. This means less competition but higher overall spending. Even though the market share in these regions is likely to be small, the potential for development using approaches that may be overused in more established markets is considerable. It’s possible to get an advantage over the competition by being the first to identify untapped markets with a high volume of generic traffic.
A brand’s content strategy must be comprehensive and adaptable if it wants to expand its reach throughout the globe. International content marketing requires a more in-depth discussion of the brand’s entire business plan in each international region in addition to the normal organic tactics. For example, it’s critical to create localized content since every region has its own unique set of idioms, dialects, and subtleties.
It is possible that these initiatives may not have returns that can be measured right away. But it’s wise to invest in long-term initiatives that will help brands emerge from this time of financial difficulties when consumer spend is ready to rebound.
Tom Mansell is Director of Organic Performance at the global, award-winning agency, Croud. Tom is responsible for the UK SEO team and overarching strategy, delivering bespoke, collaborative organic search campaigns for a range of clients. Tom has over 10 years of client and agency-side experience, working across verticals including automotive, finance, retail, and FMCG.
B2B PPC Experts Give Their Take On Google Search On Announcements
Google hosted its 3rd annual Search On event on September 28th.
The event announced numerous Search updates revolving around these key areas:
After the event, Google’s Ad Liason, Ginny Marvin, hosted a roundtable of PPC experts specifically in the B2B industry to give their thoughts on the announcements, as well as how they may affect B2B. I was able to participate in the roundtable and gained valuable feedback from the industry.
The roundtable of experts comprised of Brad Geddes, Melissa Mackey, Michelle Morgan, Greg Finn, Steph Bin, Michael Henderson, Andrea Cruz Lopez, and myself (Brooke Osmundson).
The Struggle With Images
Some of the updates in Search include browsable search results, larger image assets, and business messages for conversational search.
Brad Geddes, Co-Founder of Adalysis, mentioned “Desktop was never mentioned once.” Others echoed the same sentiment, that many of their B2B clients rely on desktop searches and traffic. With images showing mainly on mobile devices, their B2B clients won’t benefit as much.
Another great point came up about the context of images. While images are great for a user experience, the question reiterated by multiple roundtable members:
- How is a B2B product or B2B service supposed to portray what they do in an image?
Images in search are certainly valuable for verticals such as apparel, automotive, and general eCommerce businesses. But for B2B, they may be left at a disadvantage.
More Uses Cases, Please
Ginny asked the group what they’d like to change or add to an event like Search On.
The overall consensus: both Search On and Google Marketing Live (GML) have become more consumer-focused.
Greg Finn said that the Search On event was about what he expected, but Google Marketing Live feels too broad now and that Google isn’t speaking to advertisers anymore.
Marvin acknowledged and then revealed that Google received feedback that after this year’s GML, the vision felt like it was geared towards a high-level investor.
The group gave a few potential solutions to help fill the current gap of what was announced, and then later how advertisers can take action.
- 30-minute follow-up session on how these relate to advertisers
- Focus less on verticals
- Provide more use cases
Michelle Morgan and Melissa Mackey said that “even just screenshots of a B2B SaaS example” would help them immensely. Providing tangible action items on how to bring this information to clients is key.
Google Product Managers Weigh In
The second half of the roundtable included input from multiple Google Search Product Managers. I started off with a more broad question to Google:
- It seems that Google is becoming a one-stop shop for a user to gather information and make purchases. How should advertisers prepare for this? Will we expect to see lower traffic, higher CPCs to compete for that coveted space?
Cecilia Wong, Global Product Lead of Search Formats, Google, mentioned that while they can’t comment directly on the overall direction, they do focus on Search. Their recommendation:
- Manage assets and images and optimize for best user experience
- For B2B, align your images as a sneak peek of what users can expect on the landing page
However, image assets have tight restrictions on what’s allowed. I followed up by asking if they would be loosening asset restrictions for B2B to use creativity in its image assets.
Google could not comment directly but acknowledged that looser restrictions on image content is a need for B2B advertisers.
Is Value-Based Bidding Worth The Hassle?
The topic of value-based bidding came up after Carlo Buchmann, Product Manager of Smart Bidding, said that they want advertisers to embrace and move towards value-based bidding. While the feedback seemed grim, it opened up for candid conversation.
Melissa Mackey said that while she’s talked to her clients about values-based bidding, none of her clients want to pull the trigger. For B2B, it’s difficult to assess the value on different conversion points.
Further, she stated that clients become fixated on their pipeline information and can end up making it too complicated. To sum up, they’re struggling to translate the value number input to what a sale is actually worth.
Geddes mentioned that some of his more sophisticated clients have moved back to manual bidding because Google doesn’t take all the values and signals to pass back and forth.
Finn closed the conversation with his experience. He emphasized that Google has not brought forth anything about best practices for value-based bidding. By having only one value, it seems like CPA bidding. And when a client has multiple value inputs, Google tends to optimize towards the lower-value conversions – ultimately affecting lead quality.
The Google Search Product Managers closed by providing additional resources to dig into overall best practices to leverage search in the world of automation.
Google made it clear that the future of search is visual. For B2B companies, it may require extra creativity to succeed and compete with the visualization updates.
However, the PPC roundtable experts weighed in that if Google wants advertisers to adopt these features, they need to support advertisers more – especially B2B marketers. With limited time and resources, advertisers big and small are trying to do more with less.
Marketers are relying on Google to make these Search updates relevant to not only the user but the advertisers. Having clearer guides, use cases, and conversations is a great step to bringing back the Google and advertiser collaboration.
A special thank you to Ginny Marvin of Google for making space to hear B2B advertiser feedback, as well as all the PPC experts for weighing in.
Featured image: Shutterstock/T-K-M
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