Ah YouTube, home to everything from shaky handed rock concert videos and funny kitten compilations to detailed explainer videos on how to stop that annoying leak in the washing machine.
While it is true that YouTube was initially designed with an emphasis on entertainment purposes in earlier years, its maturation has unleashed endless possibilities for B2C and B2B brands alike, almost like a reverse LinkedIn which now attempting to appeal to a broader non-business audience.
With its gradual maturation over the past decade, a shift has occurred within the overall influencer ecosystem. Traditional celebrity style aspirational influencers are still very much en vogue, when the need among brands is to pitch a product or service that has broad market appeal, but with an expanding overall pie we see the growth of expert, authoritative influencers.
What is authoritative influence?
Influencer marketing typically buckets influencers into three general areas: aspirational, authoritative, and peer.
Described briefly above, aspirational influencers are the most commonly thought of by those outside of the industry — these are the celebrities that sell us on what soft drink to imbibe, which car insurance to choose, or which phone carrier to pick. They are best suited for huge audiences where the buyer persona can be most anyone.
Peer influencers are your friends, your family, and your co-workers. They are the person that would sit next to you at industry conferences back when we could be within six feet of each other. Peer influence is highly trusted as a digital representation of what we used to refer to as word of mouth marketing. If a recommendation to see a movie comes from a friend with similar taste, the likelihood of you trusting that recommendation is high. Peer influence is used all throughout B2C and B2B industries; its limitation is primarily in audience size of the peers, which requires working with aggregate groups in many cases.
Finally, we have authoritative influencers. These are the recognized experts within narrowly defined industries. In the washing machine example from the introduction, an authoritative individual would be the mechanical genius explaining the art of machine repair to an all-thumbs novice consumer. However, the expertise is narrow — that same washing machine expert putting out material on ideal website architecture for SEO may fall flat. Brands hire authoritative influencers both for market trust as well as to help explain complicated concepts.
What type of content works best to convey authoritative influence?
When thinking of the type of content that would work best for experts, one needs to consider what is required for experts to prove themselves: time. It takes time and effort to explain difficult concepts, which means long format content is the preferred mechanism vs short bursts like a TikTok video or a singular image served up on Pinterest.
The two best content formats therefore are long-format blog posts and videos. For the sake of argument, blogs are too decentralized to act as the primarily point of kick off on deep explainer content, but we’ll come back to them later. The kickoff should be a deep, deep explanation video.
If one is looking to release video on the Internet, YouTube is usually the default option. Not only is it so normalized as for pre-roll ads to not be problematic, it comes with a gigantic baked in audience.
Further, it is designed a bit differently from other video platforms in that one can expectedly collaborate with non-owned channels in an influencer arrangement. This makes it the perfect medium for discovering the appropriate experts by their existing channel content and working with them on an authoritative influencer basis.
How can brands make the most use of YouTube’s authoritative influencers?
There are, of course, multiple ways to initially find the appropriate authority for a brand’s needs, whether via an influencer platform, a content research tool, or browsing YouTube itself. This is the first step though, when it comes to identifying the specific influencers to work with.
Once an agreement is in place, the video content will almost certainly need to be planned out to take into account who the expected buyer persona is that’s being targeted and how the expert can appropriately convey the required ‘how to’ content in a way that speaks to that persona. If the right influencer channel is selected based on its existing audience, the fit should be readily apparent based on immediate engagement from within description links and corresponding search queries.
Amplify video content with bloggers.
After the right videos exist we can explore working on amplification and enrichment, which means incorporating bloggers which we alluded to earlier. From a SEO perspective, it’s a recognition that bloggers are worth a lot more than just their links as they can send high quality traffic in an exciting way.
For this, step one will be looking for a combination of reaction posts to the original video content, acting as a secondary influencer layer. Obviously this works well for SEO purposes in posts that link to the brand, but further by embedding the YouTube videos, engagement is driven back to the initial content push, helping it to rank in both YouTube and Google.
Finally, lead capture.
As an end stage of this concept, the highest quality videos that receive a bit more branding can be used on a brand’s landing page. This landing page should be used in the video description links and as a destination from the bloggers.
This simple YouTube strategy has become my personal favorite in these cases. If your product requires explanation, YouTube is perfect for that via authoritative influencers.
If it has the right appeal, aspirational influencers from YouTube can act as both a great broadcast channel and a way to establish expertise by proxy.
12 Tools and Resources for Software Developers in Insurance
If a developer designs a system for Big Data analysis or creates programs for processing and analyzing application data for mobile gadgets, in any case he cannot do without analytics tools and services. Big Data is understood as the basis of the business of insurance companies that depend on information, that is, probabilities, statistical data, customer information, and so on.
Today, for programmers whose responsibilities include insurance software development, many useful tools have been created that are suitable for their needs and corresponding to their skills.
TOP-12 tools for programmers of insurance companies
Every developer who works on coding for insurance products will need the following 12 “helpers”:
- BitDeli. It is a startup that has been operating since November 2021. With its help, programmers are able to analyze various data using a variety of metrics through Python scripts. An important plus of it is that the scripts can be of different levels of complexity, which will depend on the needs of the developers. They can even be self-taught. Suitable for analytics. The solution is easy to use.
- Continuity. It is a platform that was created with the aim of pulling businesses to the same level as the companies of its creators – Yahoo and Facebook. The guys created a data structure to implement a new level of abstraction over complex connections in HBase and Hadoop. The main advantage of the platform is the facilitation of Big Data development processes for programs that are designed to work with external and internal audiences.
- Flurry. This application is in the “store” format, which is intended for the creation of mobile programs, as well as for the analysis of their data. This allows the application to be improved.
- Google Prediction API. Suitable for developers who have the necessary knowledge to work with the Prediction API. This interface will provide a wide range of diagrams and topics, and will also allow the application to give correct answers.
- Infochimps. We are talking about a platform, despite the fact that the brand today is trying to become a company and become even more successful. As for the platform for the programmer, he gets the Wukong framework, which has a key task – to interact with Hadoop and its data, while using Ruby scripts.
- Keen IO. In 2012, this tool was recognized as the best and most effective in its category, and it is used in analytics by mobile application developers. Its plus lies in its ease of use. You need to apply just one line, which is inserted into the source code to be able to track all the necessary information from the programs.
- Kontagent. A tool for processing huge amounts of information.
- Mortar Data. It is a cloud service that has managed to replace MapReduce with a combination of Python and Pig. It differs in simplicity and clarity in operation.
- Placed Analytics. A tool that provides programmers with ready-made products. With its help, it is possible to obtain complete information about the use of the application by customers: where, when and how long it lasted. The data is especially useful for app owners and advertisers.
- Precog. It is an interactive environment for developing insurance analytics products based on Quirrel, an open query language.
- Spring for Apache Hadoop. A tool that greatly simplifies the creation of programs that use Hadoop, and also provides integration with other Spring applications.
- StatsMix. It is a tool with which developers can collect and analyze data received from programs using only the languages they have learned.
Take a look at the Fireart site for more interesting and useful information. The main thing to remember is that analytics not only assesses the quality of traffic, looks for ways to increase conversion and reduces the cost of attracting customers, but also determines the most effective advertising channels, compiles portraits of visitors and their behavior patterns on sites, identifies site shortcomings up to technical errors.
From Creation to Stellar ROI
Reaching the right customers with your Google Ads campaigns is critical to increase conversions. While it’s possible that scattershot advertisements could catch the interest of Internet users, it’s far more likely that this general ad approach will result in a disconnect between dollars spent and sales made.
To help ensure your ads are reaching the people in the right place, it’s worth leveraging a function in the Google Display Network (GDN) known as affinity audiences. Using these audiences helps pinpoint customer segments that may be more likely to purchase your products, in turn driving more effective and efficient ad spend.
But what exactly is an affinity audience? How do they work, how can you create your own — and what can you expect once you dial in the ideal customer segment? Let’s find out.
What are Affinity Audiences?
Affinity audiences are used by the Google Display Network to deliver your ads to relevant locations online. Given that Google’s network reaches more than 90 percent of Internet users worldwide, it’s well worth the time and effort to understand and apply these audiences at scale.
But what is an affinity audience?
Let’s break the term down into its component parts. Audience is easy — it’s the group of people that will see your ad. Affinity, meanwhile, is defined as “a feeling of closeness and understanding that someone has for another person because of their similar qualities, ideas, or interests.” The result? An affinity audience is a group of potential customers that share similar interests or qualities (similar to a buyer persona).
Using affinity audiences allows your brand to better align ad campaigns to buyers who are interested in what you have to sell. For example, if you’re in the coffee-making business but also have a focus on reducing plastic waste, your affinity audience might contain both people who love coffee and those who love the environment. Groups with both of these qualities are far more likely to buy your product than either group individually.
Affinity targeting, meanwhile, is the process of identifying the ideal affinities that align with your product or service. Consider the coffee example above. While targeting buyers who love coffee helps improve your brand placement, it also puts you in direct competition with a host of other brands all producing similar products. Additional affinity modifiers that narrow your focus — such as sustainable growth processes, fair labor practices, or environmental priorities — can help set your brand apart.
Do note that it is possible to get too specific with your audience targeting. For example, if your coffee brand targets audiences that prefer beans from a specific region that are collected, packed, and shipped in a specific way, you may end up with a handful of very loyal customers but almost no broader appeal. As a result, targeting needs to narrow the focus without preventing you from reaching the greater public.
What are Custom Audiences?
GDN and the Google Ads platform contain a host of pre-built Google affinity audiences — also called segments — that you can use to focus your marketing and advertisements. These include everything from pet lovers to do-it-yourselfers, TV comedy fans and users with an interest in news and politics.
But they can’t cover everything. You may have a product or service that doesn’t dovetail with existing segments — here, custom affinity audiences can help.
Understanding Custom Affinity Audiences
Custom affinity audiences are those you create yourself in your Google Ads platform to align with the interests of your target customer base. While Google will suggest different potential segment tags depending on what you input, it’s worth taking the time to do some market research before diving into the custom affinity process. This lets you pinpoint the audience preferences that align best with your brand.
You can create custom affinity audiences related to four criteria: Interests, URLs, places, or applications. In general, places and applications are the least useful of the bunch. Here’s why. In our coffee example above, there aren’t a lot of coffee-related applications that would set your audience apart. And while geography has some impact on buying behavior, it’s usually not enough to justify an entire segment.
Interests and URLs, meanwhile, can help you dig down and identify potential affinity options that may be shared by your target market at large.
How to Create Affinity Audiences
Ready to create your own affinity audience? Follow these steps:
- Log into your Google Ads account.
- Select “Tools and Settings”, then “Audience manager.”
- Select “Custom Segments.”
- Enter segment name and interests.
- Save your new segment.
Let’s tackle each step in more detail.
1. Log Into Your Google Ads Account
First, log into your Google Ads account. Here, you can see any active campaigns along with the associated affinity audiences.
2. Select “Tools and Settings”, then “Audience Manager”
Next, head to “tools and settings” in the upper-right-hand corner and then find “Audience manager” in the drop-down menu.
3. Select “Custom Segments”
Now you’ll see a list of any data segments you’re currently using to target prospective buyers. To create an audience or segment, click on “Custom Segments” and then the blue “+” icon.
4. Enter Segment Name and Interests
Now, give your segment a name and add a few potential interests. For example, if you enter “coffee”, Google will return interests or purchase intention ideas such as “coffees to make with an espresso machine”, “how to make coffee with coffee beans” and “coffee makers that make different coffees.”
5. Save Your New Segment
Finally, save your new segment with use for ad campaigns. You can create as many segments as you like until you’ve covered all relevant market bases.
The Impact of Effective Affinity Audiences
Ideally, affinity audiences lead to a definitive result: Increased ROI.
Here’s why: When your ads are shown to audiences that are interested in what you’re selling, they’re more likely to click through and purchase your products. As a result, the money you spend on advertising is directly offset by the conversions driven by these ads, in turn creating positive ROI. More generic campaigns, meanwhile, may still increase overall sales but not enough to balance out the spend required to reach larger audiences.
The right audience makes all the difference. Targeted, customized affinity audiences help you reach the people that want to buy your products, in turn boosting conversions and making your overall ad spend more cost-effective. Custom affinity audiences further narrow your market targeting, increasing the likelihood of revenue and reducing the gap between what you spend on ads and what you get in return.
The HubSpot Blog’s 2022 Social Media Marketing Report: Data from 310 Marketers
In our recent Marketing Trends survey, we learned that social media is the most effective channel marketers leverage, as well as the channel they use most.
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