Video is fast-becoming the preferred tool for most marketers to connect with and reach new audiences.
Video marketing is undeniably effective, too — in fact, including a video on a landing page is capable of increasing conversion rates by over 80%, and the mere mention of the word “video” in your email subject line increases open rates by 19%.
But, even if you already know about the importance of video, I’m willing to bet you aren’t completely aware of how other brand’s are using video … or, more importantly, why.
Each business will use video for a completely different goal — ranging from increasing brand awareness, to boosting SEO.
Here, we dove into new research from Wave.video to explore the top five reasons brands use video. Hopefully, these statistics will inspire you to use video in new, unique ways in 2021 and beyond. Let’s dive in.
1. Brands use videos to increase brand awareness.
Video can help your business reach new audiences and attract new viewers to your social media pages and website, which is likely why “increase brand awareness” is the number one reason brands use video.
Take this video from Tasty, a Buzzfeed brand:
Ultimately, Tasty’s video isn’t meant to sell any products (at least, not directly) — instead, it’s simply meant to entertain new audiences and, ultimately, increase awareness of Tasty’s brand.
2. Brands use video for new sales.
Consider how you might create entertaining or informative videos with the sole purpose of increasing brand exposure. Ultimately, brand awareness can foster trust and increase brand equity, so it plays a critical role in your company’s bottom line.
To highlight this point, let’s start with an example. Take a look at this video, highlighting Kate Hudson’s company, Fabletics, below:
While at first glance it might look like a somewhat-random video of Kate Hudson running through the Aspen wilderness, it’s actually an effective example of a video with the purpose of increasing sales — without appearing like, well, an ad.
For instance, while the video portrays Hudson in a range of workout gear from her October Fabletics collection, it also incorporates an exclusive interview with the celebrity to discuss family, nature, and growing up in the mountains. Add in a gorgeous Aspen backdrop, and viewers might be fooled by the true purpose of the video: to sell Fabletics clothing.
Consider how you might also create a unique, compelling video to attract new prospects and even close sales deals.
3. Brands use video to grow a social media community.
Did you know that four of the top six channels on which global consumers watch video are social channels?
Ultimately, many marketers use video to attract visitors to a company’s social pages.
Consider, for instance, this #ShaveItOff video by Gillette partner The McFarlands:
While the video is undoubtedly entertaining to watch, it also serves a powerful purpose: to send some of The McFarlands’ 2 million followers back to Gillette’s own social channels. Best of all, the hashtag #ShaveItOff can be found on Gillette’s Instagram page as well, ensuring viewers can find the brand regardless of which social channel they prefer.
4. Brands use videos to educate customers.
Video can be an incredibly effective tool for education.
HubSpot Academy, for instance, often uses YouTube as a platform to educate its viewers. Oftentimes, HubSpot will even collaborate with thought leaders like Seth Godin to add a new perspective on a topic:
Many people learn best through visuals, which is why video can be a phenomenal tool for educating prospects and even customers.
Consider how you might incorporate educational videos into your own content strategy in unique ways – for instance, perhaps you include video demos for interested prospects, or how-to tutorials for new users of your product.
5. Brands use video to build brand authority.
Similar to the reason listed above, the fifth reason brands use video is to build brand authority on a subject, and demonstrate expertise.
Ideally, this means when people are searching for help on a certain topic, your brand will show up. After watching your videos, if viewers feel they’ve gained unique insight, they’ll trust your brand more and explore other offerings.
Consider what happens when I search “How to run a vlookup” in Google. When I click on the video section (since I prefer learning about vlookups through visuals like video), Microsoft is the first two video results:
In this example, Microsoft is demonstrating its brand expertise when it comes to its Excel product — and, more widely, anything related to technology and data. This provides Microsoft with a good opportunity to showcase its brand authority while attracting new visitors to its website.
And that’s it! The top five reasons brands make videos. Take a look at The Ultimate Guide to Video Marketing to learn more about how you can create a powerful video marketing strategy for your own brand in 2021.
A great way to share more about your background is to have a prepared document, like a professional bio.
A professional bio can be shared with prospective employers, your colleagues, included in your social media profiles, used for speaking engagement announcements, or used as an author bio on a blog.
Writing about your professional background for the first time may feel challenging or awkward, but it doesn’t have to be.
Here, we’ll explore some tips to help you feel more comfortable when writing your own professional bio. Let’s dive in.
What is a professional background?
A professional background is a summary of your professional experiences —coupled with any relevant personal information, including interests or passions — that you’ll use throughout your career as you network with industry peers, apply for new roles, or seek out thought leadership opportunities.
This includes previous jobs you’ve had, successful projects you’ve worked on, significant accomplishments like promotions or awards, professional networking organizations you belong to, and anything else you’d share with someone who wants to know more about you professionally.
Not only is sharing more about your background a great way to tell more about yourself to others, it’s also an opportunity to wholly reflect on your professional journey and the goals you’ve achieved — plus, what you hope to achieve in the future.
Next, let’s dive into how you can get started.
How to Write About Yourself
1. Don’t start from scratch.
If you’re having trouble figuring out where to start, try using a professional bio template to guide you. Templates, like the ones featured below, make it easier for you to focus on your personal information and accomplishments, without having to worry as much about the structure.
Featured Resource: Professional Bio Templates and Examples
2. Know your audience.
Take into consideration who will be reading your professional bio and cater to your reader.
You may also want to draft different versions of your document to best fit specific audiences. For example, the version you post on your LinkedIn may not be as detailed as the version you post on your personal website, and if your reader is a potential employer, it would help to include details that specifically highlight why you’re the best candidate for the role for which you’re applying.
HubSpot Founder Dharmesh Shah uses different bios for different platforms. On Twitter, for instance, Dharmesh’s bio is short and sweet, which is perfect for Twitter’s character limit.
Alternatively, on INBOUND’s website, Dharmesh’s bio is written in third-person for attendees. This bio makes Dharmesh’s current role clear while providing some key background information.
Finally, in his OnStartups bio, Dharmesh’s voice is personable since he’s speaking directly to the reader. This gives readers more insight into Dharmesh’s background directly from his perspective.
The best part about this approach is that you can create as many versions of your bio as you’d like, or simply recycle a general version whenever you need it.
3. Show professional progression.
As you’re writing, think about structuring your professional bio in a way that creates a timeline to show your progression. Explain what your different roles were like, and emphasize responsibilities that set you up for success in your latter roles.
It’s important to note that your timeline doesn’t have to be linear.
“Look for a theme that runs throughout several of the jobs you’ve held, and present your choices in a way that shows common threads running through each of your career decisions,” explains career strategist Jenny Foss.
The goal is to clearly show your audience the different roles you’ve had, and how all of your experiences have contributed to your overall professional development.
4. Highlight your accomplishments.
One of the best things about writing about your professional background is that it’s the perfect opportunity to brag about yourself — and I don’t mean humble brag.
Think of the most successful projects you’ve been part of, the strategies you’ve helped develop and execute, the deals you’ve closed, the revenue you’ve generated, and anything else that stands out as a major accomplishment.
“A former manager once told me to keep a ‘brag sheet’ in a document on my computer. The idea was to create a running list of noteworthy accomplishments, media mentions, awards, and letters of recommendation that I could reference to make it easier to write about myself. It also doesn’t hurt to open up this document whenever you’re having a tough day to remind yourself what you’re capable of,” Carly Stec, HubSpot’s Manager of Channel Monetization, told me.
It’s also important to consider how success was measured in your previous roles — and how that might shape the way you write about it.
If success for you tends to be measured in quantifiable metrics include strong statistics, it might look something like this:
- “In my first six months I was able to sign up X amount of customers that generated an average monthly recurring revenue of $X.”
- “I helped boost customer retention by X percentage.”
- “With the strategy I developed my team was able to lower customer acquisition costs by X percentage.”
If your role is primarily measured through qualitative goals, share a highlight that speaks to skills you excel at:
- “I successfully managed executing a major project with strong time management skills and excellent communication with several stakeholders.”
- “I was able to complete a project that was projected to take an entire quarter in half the time because of my organizational skills.”
- “I was selected to lead a database cleanup project due to my attention to detail and strong team collaboration skills.”
5. Be personable.
Timelines and accomplishments are great, but being personable is even better.
Readers should feel like they’re getting some sense of who you are from your professional bio. This gives readers the opportunity to know more about you beyond a professional scope. If you have any cool niche hobbies that you enjoy outside of work, this would be the time to share.
Here’s a list of prompts to help you brainstorm the right “fun facts” to highlight:
- What TV show are you currently binging?
- Do you have any pets?
- What’s something most people don’t know about you?
- What languages do you speak?
- What are you most proud of yourself for?
- Share something you’ve done that bucket-list worthy
- What do you do to relax?
- What are three of your must have apps?
- What would your favorite colleague say about you?
- What’s the best advice you’ve ever received and how do you apply it to your life?
Being personable is also a great opportunity to address any unconventional moments in your professional background. For example, maybe you’ve made a drastic shift in your career path, or you took a sabbatical at some point.
These types of stories can really help make you more relatable to your audience, and you never know who you may end up connecting with over one of your hobbies or more personal moments.
6. Ask for feedback.
Constructive feedback is key when you’re writing about yourself. While many choose to source feedback after completing a draft of their bio, it’s just as beneficial to get feedback from your peers at earlier stages of your drafting process.
Oftentimes, our peers can help identify our strengths and where we have opportunities to improve. If you’re having trouble developing a clear timeline or pinpointing which highlights you should mention, get together with a peer to brainstorm ideas.
Reflect on successful assignments that you’ve collaborated on and ask your peer to provide honest feedback about what you did best — and include that feedback in your bio.
If you need help getting started, here’s a list of discussion questions to use with your peers to uncover professional strengths you might be overlooking in your own self-assessment:
- What role do you think I tend to play in group work?
- How have I helped you be more successful?
- What do you think my most impressive project has been?
- What was your first impression of me?
- What do you think my strengths are?
Ready to start writing?
Keep these tips in mind as you’re writing about your professional bio. Your final product should be a written statement that boasts your most notable skills and achievements. As you continue to progress in your career, take time to update your bio like you would your resume, and continue to impress your readers.
And remember, if you’re feeling stuck, don’t be afraid to leverage our free professional bio templates to help you get started.
As we near the end of 2020, one thing is certain: We’ve spent a lot of time on social media this year.
But, our increased connection to social media isn’t at all shocking.
In March, as countries implemented stay-at-home orders due to the global pandemic, Statista reported a 21% uptick in monthly social media usage.
Throughout the year, consumers have not only continued to use social channels to catch up with loved ones, but they’ve also embraced them for product research, the latest news coverage, and hours of mindless entertainment.
Now, as the world hits 3.6 billion social media users and continues to deal with the pandemic, brands aren’t just wondering how they’ll engage huge social media audiences next year. They’re also asking, “What social media trends should I expect in this constantly changing landscape?”
To learn more about what brands can expect next year, I spoke with HubSpot’s Social Media Manager Kelly Hendrickson and dug through research including HubSpot and Talkwalker’s Social Media Trends Report.
Below, I’ve compiled nine expert or research-backed trends social media marketers should watch or leverage in 2021.
1. Brands will continue to take a “less is more” posting approach.
This year, many brands spent less time churning out social media posts and more time producing only content that felt thoughtful, valuable, and in-touch with the world around them.
According to Hendrickson, the trend of “less is more” is likely to continue in 2021.
“COVID-19 had brands starting to ask a question they may have never asked themselves before: ‘Does my audience even want to hear from me right now?’,” Hendrickson says.
“I expect we’ll see brands being more thoughtful about when they post. This may even mean posting less — regardless of algorithms — because it’s the right thing to do,” Hendrickson explains. “There will also be more thoughtful ad buys and partnerships.”
“Never before has ensuring your audience obtains true value from your brand meant so much,” Hendrickson adds.
2. Content value will beat production quality.
When many businesses were forced to go completely remote in 2020, social media and video marketing teams needed develop scalable production processes that could be done from home.
When consumers still continued to engage with videos, live streams, and other social media content that was clearly made from home offices, marketers realized that content with lower production quality can still be engaging — if it provides value.
“COVID19 forced many brands to get scrappy when it came to producing content, especially video work,” Hendrickson explains. “Without a production studio or tons of equipment available, production value became a bit more lo-fi and in the end, but also a bit more human.”
“The exciting thing for brands is that — generally — audiences loved it. If anything, they saw themselves more in the work,” Hendrickson adds. “They too were on Zoom, filming things with their phones, or stuck in their homes.”
Hendricks predicts that “we’ll see bare bones productions in 2021. But, audiences will continue to appreciate it.”
3. Conversational marketing will change its tone.
Conversational marketing isn’t new. In fact, most of the big brands we know and love allow you to connect with them via social media messaging channels at any time.
But, in 2021, with more messaging channels than ever — and consumers needing more information to make a worthy investment — the tone of digital conversations might change.
For example, while past conversational marketing tactics centered around promotions and making sales as quickly as possible, 2021’s conversational marketers might be more focused on helping a user with something, educating them about a product, and nurturing them to conversion with a more thoughtful or empathic tone.
“Brands need to be more human on social media, inviting the world to your dinner table for a meaningful and engaging conversation,” says Aaron Kaufman, Director of Social Media at Square Enix in our Social Media Trends Report. “You are your fan’s greatest fans and need to embody that no matter what social media channel you live on. Emote, respond, recognize, relate, be engaging. We’re not robots.
So, how will brands deal with more demand for thoughtful conversational marketing? A mix of AI tools and human interaction could help.
A healthy combination of AI and human interaction could enable brands to run efficiently on social media while still giving consumers the authenticity they need to see to trust a brand and make a purchase. For example, a bot could handle quick message queries, while sales, service, or community management reps could respond to more complex questions and concerns.
To learn more about scaling up your conversational marketing strategy, check out this guide to building a chatbot or learn how HubSpot increased qualified leads with by mixing human and bots in our conversational marketing.
4. Consumers will crave snackable content.
In 2020, we saw the rise of TikTok and Instagram Reels, continued engagement on Stories content from Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, and brands creating other short-form or “snackable” pieces content to educate consumers about their brand.
As social media attention spans continue to shrink and more people scroll endlessly through feeds while bored at home, don’t expect snackable content to lose steam anytime soon.
To learn more about four types of snackable content your brand should leverage next year, check out this helpful post.
4. Video will continue to take center stage.
Early in 2020, HubSpot’s Not Another State of Marketing Report found that video was the most commonly used marketing content — and the second most engaging content type on social media.
As major platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and LinkedIn increasingly amp up their video capabilities, marketers can expect high video consumption to continue and grow in coming years.
5. More brands will go live.
In 2020, as many brands were forced to take conferences, events, and other marketing experiences online, it’s not shocking to think that 2020 live stream numbers could be higher.
At the moment, many brands are using Facebook, Instagram, Twitch, and Twitter to live stream events, Q&As, tutorials and other types of content. These types of content keep your followers engaged with your brand by bringing an event they otherwise might not be able to attend directly to their screens.
For example, each year, INBOUND interviews some of its noteworthy speakers and guests in live INBOUND Studio episodes on Facebook. This allows followers who can’t join us to get live tips from experts. It also allows followers of interviewed experts to learn more about INBOUND and HubSpot.
6. Social media platforms could double as shopping channels.
As many brands learned how to do business completely online, platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and TikTok raced to develop more online business marketing solutions.
While TikTok and Snapchat expanded business marketing offerings in 2020, Facebook and Instagram actually brought shopping capabilities directly to their apps.
With Facebook Shops, Instagram Shoppable posts, consumers can buy a product seen in a post without even leaving the app they’re on.
For consumers, this adds convenience. For brands that couldn’t build their own ecommerce store, the online shopping tools noted above are providing new opportunities to effectively sell products online.
8. Social media users will embrace gaming and VR.
In the last year, the number of social media users who identify as “gamers” increased by more than 10 million — or 32%. Our Social Media Trends Report reveals that the highest uptick in gamer identification happened in COVID-19’s heaviest lockdown months.
Now, with Facebook’s company, Oculus, launching new VR products, Twitch continuing to expand online game-streaming capabilities, and platforms like Snapchat launching mini-game apps, it’s clear that gamification and social media will continue to go hand in hand in 2021.
As a small to medium-business marketer, gaming-related promotions might be inaccessible now, but with Facebook and other major platforms continuing to launch brand tools around their newest features — it’s not shocking to think that more social media in-game advertising opportunities could be possible in the future.
Brands should keep an eye out for game-related promotions in 2021.
Even if advertorial game content becomes available to big brands but not smaller companies, marketers can still watch what bigger companies are doing and hit the ground running with fresh ideas if gamified promotion become more scalable.
9. Authenticity will be vital.
This year, consumers and brands faced a global pandemic, uncertain financial times, and a number of major events that paused nations in front of news channels.
Now, consumers need more than just great deals to trust, identify with, and invest in a brand. At this point, many brands have taken notice by embracing authenticity and their human side on social media.
While some brands have spoken directly about their thoughts related to COVID-19 or other news items, others have shown authenticity by zoning on their customers through user-generated content or customer testimonials.
When done authentically, both strategies can help brands gain trust from their audiences while boosting awareness as a company that cares about people.
“We will continue to see the growth in creators in
the social media space. Influencers will continue
to be present, but accountability, authenticity,
and transparency will be the areas brands and
companies will use to determine who to partner
with, and who to pass on,” says Karen Freberg in our Social Media Trends Report. “Empathy and advocacy will be elements that will be integrated within messages and purposes for creator campaigns. The days of ‘faking it till you make it’ without any experience other than having lots of followers are over.”
In 2021, expect authenticity to take center stage on social media as successful brands continue to build trust from their audiences.
Navigating Social Media in 2021
Today, the world around us is constantly changing. And, although we think we know what to expect with social media, this list of trends is likely not exhaustive of what we’ll see in 2021.
As a social media marketer, the best thing you can do is to continue to research trends, online consumer behaviors, and your team’s social media data to determine which trends or strategies to lean into or how to navigate unprecedented online scenarios.
One great place to start doing this research could be our HubSpot and Talkwalker’s recent Social Media Trends Report.
Along with insights and quotes from social media experts, our Social Media Trends Report walks through all the major 2021 trend predictions to know about and data on how COVID-19 could impact social media marketing. to see the free report, click here or the banner below.
Every day, over one billion YouTube videos are watched around the world.
And they’re not just being watched — they’re being devoured. In fact, the average YouTube mobile viewing session by any one viewer is roughly 40 minutes.
If only there was a way to make money off of a website people spend so much time on … As a matter of fact, there is! A few ways, actually, and the proof is in the people (and businesses) who’ve cashed in on their video strategy.
Who’s making content worthy of a nearly hour-long visit to YouTube? Well, YouTube isn’t just for amateur filmmakers and people videotaping their zainy housepets anymore. Musicians, TV networks, small businesses, and the self-employed all find monetary value in posting their own amazing content on a YouTube channel.
An active, entertaining YouTube channel — which is free to make through a Google+ account (also free) — strengthens these users’ brands and extends their reach to new audiences. It can also build a base of subscribers that other companies using YouTube will actually pay to advertise their products to.
Before launching a YouTube channel for the purposes of making money, you need to decide what kind of profit you’re interested in. Are you looking to use YouTube as a promotional outlet for your own products and services? Or, do you want your video content to generate ad revenue right from YouTube?
Here, we’ll dive into the step-by-step process you’ll need to follow to set up a YouTube account that is both ready and optimized for monetization. After that, we’ll dive into some specific methods you can try to make money on YouTube — and examples of successful brands who’ve tried those same strategies.
Feel free to skip directly to the section Different Ways to Earn Money on YouTube.
Otherwise, let’s dive in.
1. Set up an adSense account.
To begin earning money on YouTube, you’ll need to start with an AdSense account. An AdSense account is the platform in which you’ll receive payments from YouTube, so this is a critical step.
It’s important to note — you can monetize more than one YouTube channel with the same AdSense account, so if your brand has multiple YouTube accounts and you’re hoping to set up monetization features on each one, you only need one AdSense account.
Once you’ve done that, proceed to the next steps.
2. Become a YouTube partner.
Along with an adSense account, you now need to be accepted into the YouTube Partner Program (YPP). There are a few requirements for joining YPP, including:
- You must live in a country or region where the YouTube Partner Program is available.
- You must have more than 4,000 valid public watch hours in the last year.
- You must have more than 1,000 subscribers.
- You must comply with all YouTube monetization policies.
- You must have a linked AdSense account.
If you meet all those requirements, you’re eligible to sign up for the YouTube Partner Program. Here’s how to sign up:
- Sign into your YouTube account (and make sure this account has a linked AdSense account).
- Click “YouTube Studio” in the top right (by clicking on your profile picture).
- If you don’t currently meet the requirements, you can select “Notify me when I’m eligible” and you’ll receive an email once you’ve surpassed 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours.
- If you meet the requirements, click “Start” on the “Review Partner Program terms” card.
- Once you’ve signed the term, you’ll see a green “Done” sign on the card.
Once you’ve completed these steps, you’ll be placed in a queue to be reviewed. You can check your application status here at anytime. Once you’ve been accepted, you can proceed to the next step.
Note: If you’re accepted into the YPP, take a look a FAQs from creators who’ve just joined the program.
If you’ve been rejected, take a look at these FAQs for tips on how to strengthen your application. You can re-apply 30 days after rejection.
3. Identify viewer personas.
While your buyer persona will undoubtedly look similar to the same buyer persona you use for other marketing materials, there are slight variations you might need to make for the YouTube-version of your buyer persona.
As Nelson Chacon, HubSpot’s Principal Content Strategist for YouTube, told me: “For instance, you might have two buyer personas: Margaret and Sam. However, on YouTube, you have a better opportunity of reaching Sam than Margaret.”
Chacon continues: “Sam is interested in personal growth and probably has some existing tasks from Margaret on finding ways to reduce costs or find efficiencies for their business. The Sam we see outside of YouTube can have certain things he likes. However, inside of YouTube, he probably has other interests, so for this, you might look into creating a YouTube Sam 2.0 persona.”
“Ultimately, you’ll want to tailor your digital content towards your ‘YouTube 2.0’ buyer persona. Consider what types of content that buyer persona would be most interested in, watch more, like and comment on, and share with peers. This will help you increase chances of conversion on YouTube.”
Ultimately, YouTube is a search engine, so you’ll want to treat the platform similarly to how you’d treat any other search engine. This means, by identifying your buyer persona, you can begin to target keywords that appeal most to that persona — and ensure you’re avoiding content that attracts “negative” personas, or people you don’t believe would be a good match for your brand.
(To learn more about how to create buyer personas, take a look at this post.)
4. Establish a product conversion path.
If you want to make money on YouTube, you’ll want to establish a strong conversion path — i.e. which YouTube content will attract the most viewers, and of those pieces of content, how can you leverage conversion opportunities to turn leads into customers?
We’ve identified 8 types of CTAs you can consider using in your YouTube videos. Among those are beginning-of-the-video CTA, description CTA, and drive-to-website CTA. Ultimately, you’ll want to outline a clear conversion path to understand how to turn your YouTube visitors into product leads.
For instance, let’s say you want to use YouTube as a channel to drive leads to your company’s new email marketing software. For starters, you’ll want to create a compelling YouTube video that attracts your email marketing buyer persona, and then you’ll want to drive those viewers to a dedicated landing page or e-book to learn more about email marketing. Once those leads are further down the pipeline, you can introduce them to your product.
Your conversion path, then, will look similar to strategies you’ve outlined in other lead generation channels, such as blog posts and social media — however, you’ll want to ensure you’re tailoring the content you produce on YouTube to YouTube’s demographic and the type of content YouTube viewers enjoy the most.
This might look slightly different from the content that performs well on your blog, but it’s worth the extra effort to ensure you’re creating content that fits each platform’s strengths.
5. Optimize your page for conversions.
There are tons of strategies specific to optimizing your YouTube account for SEO — which can ultimately lead to more visitors, and an increase in revenue.
A few quick tips: Consider inserting your intended keyword in your video title; optimize your video description; tag your video with popular keywords that relate to your topic; upload a customer thumbnail image; and add End Screens to increase your YouTube channel’s viewership.
It’s important to remember, when making money on YouTube, you want to play the long game. Sure, SEO-optimization may not put money in your pocket tomorrow, but it’s a good opportunity to increase viewership, establish your brand as an influencer in the space, and ultimately have the leverage needed to turn those thousands of viewers into paying customers.
6. Choose your monetization preferences.
There are a variety of monetization features you might explore on YouTube. Ultimately, you’ll want to choose the path that best suits your business’ goals.
Take a look at these five YouTube features in particular on which you can make money:
- Advertising Revenue: Ad revenue from display, overlay, or video ads.
- Channel Memberships: Your members would make monthly payments for special perks or exclusive content.
- Merchandise Shelf: Your followers can purchase official branded merchandise that you display on your watch pages.
- Super Chat and Super Stickers: Your fans can pay you to get their messages highlighted in chat streams.
- YouTube Premium Revenue: Subscribers can pay a fee to get access to premium content, and if you sign up for this program, you’ll get a portion of that subscription fee.
Learn more about these features, and each feature’s eligibility requirements, on this page.
Additionally, let’s dive deeper into advertising revenue for a moment. There are three separate advertising options on YouTube: TrueView ads, Video Discovery Ads, and In-Stream Ads.
Ultimately, the ad option you choose will depend on your advertising goals. Ultimately, YouTube advertising can be one of the most effective opportunities for driving conversions for brands and influencers alike.
Take a look at YouTube Ads for Beginners: How to Launch & Optimize a YouTube Video Advertising Campaign to learn more.
7. Create sponsored content.
One other opportunity to make money on YouTube comes in the form of sponsored content.
If you’re a YouTube influencer, you might naturally incorporate a brand or product mention into your content, create an entire video featuring a brand’s product or service, or even include a brief shout-out to a brand with whom you’ve partnered.
There are plenty of small and large opportunities to partner with brands and receive payment, either for every individual referral you send to their website, or simply for including a brand mention in your content at all.
Best of all, you don’t need to pay YouTube a portion of your earnings for any sponsorships — instead, you can negotiate directly with the brand.
Alternatively, if you’re a brand, this could be a good opportunity to reach new audiences and, ultimately, drive revenue to your company.
Feel free to take a look at What Will Influencer Marketing Look Like in 2020? to learn more.
1. TrueView Ads
YouTube revenue: $2,600 – $41,600 per month
Got a great story to tell that also has a connection to your product? TrueView is for you. TrueView ads are your opportunity to create high-quality, longer creative spots that appear adjacent to the YouTube videos your target audience is already watching. These ads come in two forms: In-Stream and Discovery.
In-Stream videos play right before the YouTube user’s selected video, “in the stream” of that chosen video. Users can opt to skip this video after five seconds of it playing, as shown below, and jump to their content. In-Stream ads can be between 12 seconds and six minutes in length.
Discovery ads appear on the right sidebar of a selected video, just below the “Up Next” video as a suggested result. See how this one looks, below:
Because of the time you’re allotted with this ad format, it’s suggested that you create this type of ad with the goal of views and brand development, rather than just clicks into your website. This ad ideally generates revenue from the long-term brand awareness that comes out of a story people don’t want to skip, and one viewers remember the next time they approach your product or service.
Both In-Stream and Discovery are pay-per-view — you pay YouTube a fixed rate for every view the ad receives — and their return on investment (ROI) can be measured in Google AdWords. YouTube tallies one new “view” after 30 seconds of watching, or a click on the video as it’s playing. If the video is less than 30 seconds, views are tallied from people who watch the entire ad. (We’ll explain how AdWords manages all three ad formats in a minute.)
Clash Royale, a popular game app for mobile devices, has produced TrueView ads that are consistently in YouTube’s top 10 most highly watched ads of the year. The company’s 2017 ad, “The Last Second” (shown below), garnered more than 110 million views by the end of that year. This campaign contributed to a YouTube marketing strategy that makes the app developer no less than $4,000 per month, as estimated by SocialBlade.
2. Preroll Ads
Like In-Stream ads, Preroll ads play in the stream immediately before a user’s selected video. The difference is this ad type can’t be skipped after five seconds. These videos also run a maximum of 30 seconds, though YouTube recently confirmed it will limit advertisers to 15- and 20-second options starting this year.
Because viewing is required in this ad format, advertisers pay per click, so make the click worth it. A preroll ad with an enticing call-to-action that directs viewers to an appropriate landing or purchasing page on your website can be an enormous lead-generator for the sales team.
You can also leverage YouTube’s remarketing options, which enable you to send new videos back to users who’ve already engaged with your YouTube channel. If you’re a HubSpot user, and you’ve built smart forms for capturing new information on returning visitors, remarketing can be a terrific addition to an inbound marketing campaign.
This remarketing option helps you learn more about a person’s background and interests when they receive new videos that bring them to new landing pages.
3. Bumper Ads
Bumpers are the shortest ads you can buy. These six-second spots play just before a viewer’s selected video (like the above two options) but are best for brand awareness in the short breaks between long videos, or a YouTube playlist a user might be listening to in the background.
While they might be brief, YouTube found 90% of their bumper ads were remembered later by viewers. Bumpers are sold through cost-per-minute (CPM) bidding, which means you pay for every 1,000 plays of your ad on YouTube. They’re best used as a compliment to a TrueView ad campaign.
So how do you track the performance of these three video ad formats? Once you’ve created a YouTube channel and uploaded your video content, you can open a Google AdWords account and link it to your video campaign. In AdWords, select the campaign type, ad format, your budget, and to whom and where to show each video on YouTube.
You can target very specific audiences, and track the conversion rate of each video individually to see how much business (and revenue) you’re driving. See this blog post to learn more about this process.
4. YouTube Partner Program
YouTube revenue: $723,500 – 11.6 million per month
The YouTube Partner Program (YPP) allows the website’s most successful YouTube channels to monetize their content by serving ads made and paid for by other YouTube users.
The criteria for this program — which changed in 2018 — requires that your channel has reached 4,000 watch hours and 1,000 channel subscribers in the last 12 months. Once you have passed these two milestones, you can apply to join the program through the following steps:
- At the top-right of the YouTube homepage, click your account icon and select “Creator Studio.”
- On the left-hand side, click “Channel” and select “Status and features.”
- Under the box, “Monetization,” click “Enable.” Don’t be fooled if it says you’re already “Eligible” to the left; this just indicates there are no restrictions against you from trying to become a Partner.
- You’ll be asked to agree to the YPP Terms. Do so, and you’ll then sign up for an AdSense account so you can receive revenue through your monetized YouTube account.
- Set your ad hosting preferences and follow the prompts to submit your channel for review.
YouTube typically emails you a decision on whether they’ve accepted you into the YPP within a week of applying, so sit tight. Still trying to hit the right watch hours and channel subscribers? Keep in mind you should be posting prolifically — having just one or two videos on your channel that you’re personally proud of won’t cut it.
T-Series is a prime example of how volume and consistency can make you a sought-after channel by advertisers on YouTube. This India-based record company posts numerous music videos for songs written and performed in Bollywood, India. And although the company was founded in 1984 and has been on YouTube for nearly 10 years, keeping with this music video strategy has finally put them a position to dethrone PewDiePie (the famous video game-focused YouTube user) as the most popular YouTube channel in the world — with a whopping 83 million subscribers.
T-Series makes no less than $724 thousand per month from its YouTube channel, according to SocialBlade, much of which comes from advertisers through the YouTube Partner Program.
“Bollywood music is like Russian roulette. You keep on betting, but you don’t know what will be a hit.” -Nerraj Kalyan, President of T-Series
By publishing multiple videos a week, you can build your viewership, qualify for YPP, and make decent cash. YouTube splits ad revenue 55-45 with its partners — 45% to Google, 55% to you. That means an advertiser who invests $200 in serving ads on your channel can bring you $110 for your videos’ real estate.
T-Series’s president attributes their success on YouTube to the fact that the business doesn’t go into any one project thinking it will make money. Rather, the regular “bets” they place on YouTube increase their chances of capturing its audience, and increasing their following as a result.
5. Affiliate Links
YouTube revenue: $6,900 – $109,800 per month
As an affiliate, there is no eligibility requirement — you’re taking advertising into your own hands. This is a great option for YouTube channels that offer reviews and how-to’s, and frequently recommend new products to its viewers.
Turn those suggestions into paid (but natural) product placements in the description section of your video, as shown below:
Image via Authority Hacker
Working as an affiliate of various brands can make you money — albeit usually less than a YouTube Partner campaign — each time that company makes a sale off a link you post on one of your videos. In this case, you’re earning revenue from the company of which you are an affiliate, rather than from YouTube and its advertisers.
Start by joining an affiliate network through sites like Click Bank or Amazon’s Affiliate Program, and follow the signup instructions. Keep in mind that each program takes a different percentage of a sale as commission, and your success is still tied to the popularity of your YouTube channel.
Travel vloggers can also join Travelpayouts. It is a travel affiliate program, that allows you to make money on flight tickets, hotels, tours and other travel services. The affiliate commission (percentage) depends on the service you choose and your sales volume.
YouTube personality Marques Brownlee, whose YouTube channel is shown promoting affiliate links in the screenshot above, is a consumer electronics reviewer on YouTube. This makes affiliate advertising the perfect revenue stream for his channel because his advertisers are effectively paying for Marques to review — and, assuming it’s a positive review, promote — their products to his viewers. Marques says he also generates revenue through the YouTube Partner Program, according to Recode.
“There’s little things you can do to get people to watch your videos more, but none of it will make as drastic of a difference as the video itself. The video itself has to be what makes people watch it and share it and watch it again.” -Marques Brownlee, tech reviewer on YouTube
In the example above, Marques reviews a pair of headphones by Bose, suggesting they might be the best noise-cancelling headphones on the market. This made him an affiliate of Bose — just one piece of a YouTube marketing strategy that makes Marques no less than $6,900 per month, according to SocialBlade.
6. YouTube Super Chats and Super Stickers
What exactly is fan-funding? It’s exactly what it sounds like: viewers donate money to your channel if they find your content enjoyable.
It’s the perfect option for videos managed by charities and nonprofits, but even for-profit businesses and independent creatives can publish videos and YouTube Live streams that encourage contributions from their audience. Streaming platforms such as Twitch.tv, which webcasts video games and general interest content, sees accounts that are two years or older make $80 in “tips” per year on average.
Twitch.tv’s most popular users make thousands.
Obviously YouTube and Twitch have different users, but YouTube has just as many loyal channel subscribers who would likely pay for exclusive rewards and content. On YouTube, sign up for Fan Funding to allow viewers of a live stream to tip through a chat window associated with the video.
You can also sign up for Patreon, which allows you to launch membership-only video channels through YouTube at a small fee per month for regular rewards. Just imagine how much a YouTube channel could generate if it has the 1,000 subscribers required by the YPP. Charge $1 for a new channel with new content, and you could be looking at a solid monthly revenue stream.
7. Channel Membership
If you’re eligible, channel memberships is a powerful opportunity to offer exclusive perks to fans who are willing to pay a low monthly fee to become a member of your brand’s YouTube channel.
Channel memberships provide members with perks like loyalty badges, custom emojis, and other goods unique to the channel — for instance, comedian Mike Falzone offers a digital copy of his book and an exclusive coupon code to use on merchandise:
Take a look at YouTube’s Channel memberships eligibility, policies, & guidelines to see if this is a good fit for your brand. Ultimately, community membership could be a powerful opportunity for you to build a larger following on YouTube and make loyal fans feel valued by releasing exclusive, membership-only content.
8. Merchandise Shelf
Similar to the power of a good gift shop at the end of a museum tour, the Merchandise Shelf is a good option for influencers and brands alike to sell products or services to spread brand awareness and increase sales.
This is an especially good option for influencers. For instance, consider Ryan Higa, a Japanese American Youtube creator and personality, who has over 21 million subscribers on his YouTube channel. To earn money, Higa now has a full merchandise website he links to directly from his YouTube account. Devoted Higa fans will love purchasing a branded t-shirt or sweatshirt, and it earns Higa some hard-earned money on his already successful channel.
Take a look at YouTube’s merchandise page to learn more.
There’s no shortcut to well-earned cash money, even on YouTube. The good news is video is taking up an increasingly wide slice of global internet bandwidth, and there are numerous ways to produce video content that’s good enough for people to pay for.
2020 has presented unprecedented challenges for businesses. COVID-19 has forced most to pivot their strategies online and adapt to a growing digital landscape. While some have been able to stay afloat, others haven’t been as successful and many have had to close their doors permanently as a result.
Black-owned businesses have been disproportionately impacted by the global pandemic. In the United States, 26% of Black-owned businesses closed their doors permanently between February and May of 2020, compared to 11% of white-owned businesses.
That’s why, this holiday season, HubSpot is joining Google, the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., and other companies participating in Black-owned Fridays — an initiative to drive visibility and support for Black-owned businesses.
I spoke with Gianne Doherty, Founder of Organic Bath Co., to learn more about what businesses, and consumers, can do to support Black-owned businesses during this holiday season. Below are a few thoughts she offered during our conversation.
How to Support Black-Owned Businesses
1. Tell someone about a business or product.
Doherty started by saying that the simplest way to support Black-owned businesses during the holiday season is to tell people about their products. When you buy something cool or get a good deal, tell a friend. Online customer reviews are great, but a one-on-one interaction is usually the best way to convince someone to check out a business or product you love.
If you don’t know of any Black-owned businesses in your area, Doherty recommends heading to Google and doing a quick search. There are plenty of resources that can direct you to a Black-owned business in your area — one of which is the Official Black Wall Street Directory.
She also proposed searching social media sites to find Black-owned businesses online. For instance, if you search “#BlackOwnedBusiness” on Twitter, you can find plenty of accounts managed by Black business owners — liking, reposting, and sharing their content is also a great way to support these businesses.
2. Refer customers to Black-owned businesses.
Word-of-mouth marketing is incredibly important for small businesses, especially if you’re operating in a B2B setting. Doherty noted that customer referrals make a huge impact on buying decisions, because customers will trust each other’s recommendations more than they’ll trust your brand’s advertisements. If you have the opportunity this holiday season, refer a Black-owned business to your customers or peers and help promote their brand.
Doherty also emphasized the importance of focusing on the value of the products and services you’re referring — and not just the fact that they’re Black-owned. After all, “shopping Black or shopping small doesn’t mean lower quality,” as she put it. When making a referral, Doherty encouraged people to highlight the benefits of the product or service along with the fact that they have been created by individuals who have been historically underfunded.
3. Shop early during the holidays.
The holidays are already a busy time for small businesses, and COVID-19 has made it even more difficult to keep pace with customer demand. In the United States, 99% of minority-owned businesses are small businesses, which means that many don’t have their own shipping operations like Amazon or Walmart.
Most small businesses in the United States use the United States Postal Service (USPS) when shipping their products, which can lead to delays as orders pile up around the holidays. Doherty recommends that customers try to buy their products early in the holiday season to avoid any potential problems that might occur with shipping.
4. Be patient with small businesses.
Alongside shopping early, Doherty also noted that customers will need to be a little more patient with small businesses this year. The holidays are already busy as it is and now, with COVID-19, many businesses are still learning how to adapt their marketing, sales, and customer service strategies. There are likely to be some new roadblocks to tackle this year, and customers need to be patient with small businesses as they work to overcome those challenges.
Black-owned businesses have already saw an increase in customer demand this year when searches for Black-owned businesses increased by over 7,000% between May and July. Unfortunately, this growth has declined since, creating a greater need for buyers to support Black-owned businesses during the holidays. While it’s wonderful to see a sudden spark of interest over the summer, Doherty encouraged buyers to continually support Black-owned businesses year-round and not just when it’s trendy.
5. Partner with Black-owned companies.
If you’re a business owner, one way you can partner with black-owned businesses is on promotional campaigns. Doherty, for example, has been partnering with other Black-owned businesses to hold giveaways. She’ll give away another brand’s product while that brand will give away one of hers. This is a great way for each company to raise awareness for the other among their customer bases.
Here’s one example from her company’s Instagram page, where she partnered with two other Black-owned beauty brands to give away products.
6. Buy from Black-owned businesses.
At the end of the day, the best way to support Black-owned businesses is to buy their products. Doherty said, “We’re voting with our dollars.” The businesses where we spend our money will be the ones that grow and thrive. If we don’t consciously shop at Black-owned businesses, we will continue to lose them at a disproportionate rate. If you really want to support Black-owned businesses this year, go out and purchase one of their products and tell a friend about them, too.
These are just a few of the ideas that Gianne Doherty wanted to share for Black-owned Friday. We hope it brings some attention to Black-owned businesses, especially those that have been significantly impacted by COVID-19.
If you’re a Black business owner and are looking for ways to optimize your visibility this season, below are a few resources from Google that can help you reach new customers.
How to Get Support If You’re a Black Business Owner
Here are three things that Google recommends doing if you’re a Black business owner.
- Add your business to the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc.’s ByBlack directory. You can add your listing and become a part of the community for free.
- Highlight that your business is Black-owned on your Business Profile on Google. By adding the Black-owned attribute, you’ll stand out to customers looking for your business on Google Search and Maps. Here’s how to get started.
- Get free coaching to help your business reach new customers, thrive online, and grow. Grow with Google Digital coaches provided dedicated support for Black and Latinx small businesses.
Online advertising is booming.
But, when you’re launching digital campaigns, you want to be sure you’re maximizing your efforts — and your profits — by boosting your ad’s impression share. Your impression share tells you how well your ad is performing compared to its total potential audience, and boosting it can help increase engagement as well as profit.
If you’re only engaging a small portion of your target audience, then analyzing your impression share is usually a good place to start. Increasing this value will help you propel ads to the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) — and ultimately generate more engagement for your campaigns.
In this post, we’ll explain what impression share is as well as the different types that your marketing team can track during your online ad campaigns.
Each time your ad is displayed on a webpage, that’s counted as an impression. Ads have the potential for more impressions for different reasons, especially when they’re keyword-savvy, attractive, and relevant.
When you track impression share, you have a clear representation of how well your ad is performing and how you can improve it over time — particularly through keywords. While there are plenty of metrics that can track how well your ads are doing, impression share helps you identify the shortcomings of your ad so you can fix it and make it more engaging to your audience.
Read on to learn about the different types of impression share that your business can track to generate more engagement for its ad campaigns.
Types of Impression Share
Search Impression Share
Search impression share is your ad’s impression share on a search network. According to Google, a search network is “a group of search-related websites where your ads can appear,” including Google search results, Google apps such as Maps and Shopping, and on Google search partners’ websites. This metric divides the impressions that your ad receives by the number of impressions it could receive on the search network.
This metric is greatly impacted by budget. If you have a low daily budget on Google, your ad will no longer be shown once you hit your budget. This means your ad might be getting impressions, but it’s still missing out on more engagement because of this daily limit.
If you’re not looking to spend more on your campaign, another way to improve search impression share is to focus on the quality score, target, bid, and conversion rate of your ads. These metrics gauge the effectiveness of your ad and improving them will lead to more engagement.
Display Impression Share
Google defines its Display Network as a group of over two million websites, videos, and apps where ads can appear. Display Network sites reach up to 90% of internet users and can show your ads in a particular context, or to a specific audience.
With display campaigns, you can increase your ad placements to improve impression share, but you’ll need to adjust your budget to accommodate this increase as well. Or, you can decrease your number of placements to make your campaign more cost-effective, but this will reduce the frequency of your ad’s display. The best approach is testing the number of placements until you’ve reached a point where you’ve optimized impression share without going over your campaign’s budget.
Target Impression Share
Target impression share provides an automatic approach to bidding on ads. With this tool, you can set automated bids for your campaign, which gives your ad a better chance of reaching the top of the SERP. And, with a more prominent position on a search results page, your ad is likely to gain more impressions over time.
Although impression share is only available per campaign, you can track target impression share for all of your campaigns at once. There are plenty of options for customizing it, too. For example, you can set it to bid for a certain section of the page — like the top half — or for certain times and places.
Adwords Impression Share
Wondering how to access your impression share data in Google Ads?
Once you’ve logged into your Ads account, just go to Campaigns > Columns > Modify Columns > Competitive Metrics > Impression Share, then click Save.
Now, your impression share will appear in a table that you can download.
Exact Match Impression Share
Exact match impression share is just as it sounds. This metric compares the impressions your ad received compared to how many it was eligible to receive for searches that exactly match your keywords. You can use exact match impression share to hone in on your keywords and improve your ads.
Search Lost Impression Share
The “Search Lost Impression Share (budge)” column shows you the percentage of impressions that you’re missing out on because of your budget. A high percentage here may mean that investing in a larger budget could boost your advertising efforts and sales in the long-run.
The “Search Lost Impression Share (rank)” column shows you the number of impressions you’re losing based on a low rank. If this percentage is high, advertisers should consider how to boost rank through quality score and cost-per-click rates. Quality score evaluates your keywords’ past performances, ad relevance, landing page experience, and expected clickthrough rate.
Consider making adjustments to your campaign’s keywords and creative assets if your search lost impression share (rank) is high. A relevant ad with great keywords will rank higher on the SERP, which can lead to more impressions, clicks, and sales.
If you want to manually determine the impression share for an ad, below is a formula that can help you calculate it.
As Google explains, “Eligible impressions are estimated using many factors, including targeting settings, approval statuses, and quality.” Once the maximum number of impressions is determined, all you have to do is divide the number of impressions that the ad receives by the maximum number of impressions that Google decides it’s eligible for.
We can see how this formula is written in the example below.
We can also modify this formula to find the total number of impressions that our ad is eligible for. For instance, if we already know our impression share, we can reformat the formula to look more like this.
Impression Share Formula Example
Let’s say we created an ad and Google says there are 5,000 potential impressions available. After monitoring our ad’s performance for a month, we recorded about 4,000 impressions. This would mean that our impression share is 80% (4,000 recorded impressions / 5,000 available impressions = 80% impression share).
Impression share is a handy metric for determining how well an ad campaign is doing and what your team can do to help it reach its full potential. By tracking impression share, you can automate bids, fine-tune your budget, and track keywords and quality score to reach your targeted audiences more often and generate greater brand awareness and profits.
For more ways to boost online ad engagement, read this list of helpful SEO tips.
From blog titles to URL slugs, you might not realize how frequently you use SEO stop words. But, to be fair, if Google doesn’t pay much attention to them, why should you?
Research shows that 25% of blog posts are made up of stop words. However, these words have little to no relevance to the topic of the post. These are words that help you compose sentences and connect ideas together, and they don’t have much impact on Google’s search results.
But, excessive use of stop words can impact your brand in the long run. They make content harder for search engines to process which can end up negatively affecting how they index your pages.
In this post, we’ll walk you through exactly what SEO stop words are, how they can hurt — or help — your online presence, and which words are considered stop words by Google and other search engines.
What Are Stop Words in SEO?
We use stop words all the time, whether we’re online or in our everyday lives. These are the articles, prepositions, and phrases that connect keywords together and help us form complete, coherent sentences.
Common words like its, an, the, for, and that, are all considered stop words. While they’re important for communicating verbally, stop words typically carry little importance to SEO and are often ignored by search engines.
Let’s review some of the most common stop words in the section below.
Common SEO Stop Words
The most common SEO stop words are pronouns, articles, prepositions, and conjunctions. This includes words like a, an, the, and, it, for, or, but, in, my, your, our, and their.
When people search for something online, search engines like Google omit these words in their results because they don’t relate to the keywords in the search. So, rather than looking up content that’s related to these words, Google removes them altogether and prioritizes the keywords.
So, the next time you’re trying to hit a word count when writing a blog post, try filling that open space with keywords rather than filler copy that doesn’t improve your SEO.
While it would be great to load up your content with only meaningful keywords, the reality is that stop words are needed for every type of copy. After all, even if you rank highly on Google, it won’t mean much if your content is incomprehensible or doesn’t resonate with your audience.
Are Stop Words Beneficial for SEO?
There’s a time and place for SEO stop words. First and foremost, stop words help the reader understand the content. It can be confusing to read titles and subheaders without stop words.
You also might find instances where stop words help you differentiate between two topics. For example, you can search ‘flamingos’ and you’ll see information about beautiful, bright pink birds. Add ‘the’ to the front, and you’ll be directed to YouTube to listen to the band, The Flamingos. This tiny, three-letter stop word makes a world of a difference in this case.
In the next section, let’s look at some other times when you should be paying attention to stop words to optimize your content’s search ranking.
Removing Stop Words
Should you be removing stop words from all of your content?
Like anything else, it depends on how you’re using them. If your titles, headings, URL slugs, and keywords make sense without them, then it can be beneficial to remove them.
SEO Stop Words in Titles
If your titles don’t make sense when you take out those articles or prepositions, then it’s best to leave them be. After all, you want your audience to actually click and read your content. If the most prominent parts — including the title — don’t make sense, the website could come off as unprofessional or even spammy.
It usually makes the most sense to leave stop words in titles and headings, as these are wayfinding elements for users navigating your content. Just keep in mind that the optimal character count for titles is 50-60 characters, as search engines cut off longer titles, which could omit important information for the visitor. If you have lengthy stop words in your title, consider rewriting them to balance brevity and clarity.
Stop Words in URL Slugs
When it comes to URL slugs, stop words typically don’t have much significance in SEO. They’re relevant, however, if they make your URL slug particularly long. Google ranks URLs based on their length, and longer URLs typically rank lower than shorter ones — as outlined by the chart below.
Stop Words as Keywords
As we touched on in the last section, there are some times when stop words are crucial to keywording because they differentiate a proper noun from something else. For example, if you searched “Jets New York” you’d probably get a list of flights coming in and out of New York City. But, if you searched, “The New York Jets,” you would get content about the professional football team instead.
Now that we’re familiar with what stop words are and when we should use them, let’s look at a broader list of stopwords that you should be aware of when creating and optimizing content.
75 Stop Words in SEO
There are many, many more stop words out there, but here’s a list of some of the most common stop words to be mindful of when creating content online.
Using SEO Stop Words
SEO stop words are important if you want to create a strong SEO strategy and rank highly on search engines like Google. Overusing them can hinder your ranking, but avoiding them altogether will make your content confusing and unclear. By understanding what stop words are and which words qualify as stop words, you can craft content that works to your brand’s advantage.
For more ways to rank higher on search engines, read these SEO tips.
In 2020, B2C businesses all over the world pivoted their strategies as consumers dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Not only did the pandemic force people to live and work strictly from home, but it also put a financial burden on many households and businesses.
Now, as the holidays approach, both physical and online business owners are wondering if they’ll still get the same level of booming business they saw last year.
Because we (unfortunately) can’t predict the future, we decided to survey a sample of nearly 300 general consumers about their holiday shopping plans.
Specifically, we asked, “Compared to last year, how will COVID-19 impact your holiday shopping plans?”
As part of the Lucid survey, participants could check all the boxes related to how their holiday shopping would be impacted.
While you’ll see that some of the responses align with research-backed shopping predictions, the overall results of the survey might surprise you:
While you might not be shocked that many respondents are planning more online shopping than last year, you might be surprised that nearly one-third of them still plan to go to physical stores.
Additionally, with 41% of respondents planning to spend less money or buy fewer gifts this year, you might wonder if budget-conscious consumers will still spend money on your products.
Remember, this is just one small poll of general consumers. Had we zoned in on a specific audience target or location, the results might have been very different.
However, these responses are still worth keeping in mind as you navigate the holiday season. It also hints at potential trends that could continue in 2021.
Below, I’ll walk you through the three biggest holiday shopping pivots consumers plan to make this year, as well as a few business takeaways for handling each shift.
3 Pivots Holiday Shoppers are Making in 2020
1. Despite online growth, physical stores won’t be vacant.
As you might expect, the number one holiday shopping change, cited by 47% of survey respondents, was, “I plan to do more online shopping.”
This makes sense. In 2020, consumers who weren’t tech-savvy learned how to buy almost everything they needed online. Meanwhile, those who already made purchases regularly online embraced it more heavily. Additionally, with holiday shopping seasons known for closely packed quarters stores, some consumers might opt to stay at home this year to avoid the crowds.
However, it doesn’t seem like foot-traffic will cease completely.
To learn more about how abundant ecommerce would be this season, we asked, “Where do you plan to do your holiday shopping this year?”
As it turns out, lots of people still plan to shop in-person this season:
While 33% of consumers plan to shop “mostly” or “completely” online, 34% plan to do an “even mix of both online and in-store shopping.”
On the other hand, 33% percent plan to shop “mostly” or “completely” in-store this year.
Although this survey is just one small piece of data, and these results might vary by location, the responses hint that physical stores might still get business despite increased online shopping.
Takeaways for Business Owners
Ultimately, online shopping is growing — and we see more online purchase revenue with each new holiday season.
Even if our survey results show that people still plan to shop at least partially in stores, you should consider building an online presence and — potentially — an ecommerce strategy.
When it comes to building an online presence, you could start with a business page on Facebook or Instagram, or a Google My Business listing to help internet users learn more about your brand and where you’re located.
For example, if you already promote your brand with a Facebook Business Page or Instagram Business profile, you could highlight and sell a few of your most popular products in a Facebook Shop. This will allow you to test the waters with ecommerce by selling a few select products online. Then, once you feel confident in your shipping and supply chain, you can launch a full ecommerce site with one of these tools.
2. Shoppers might not splurge — even on gifts.
Due to the uncertain financial times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, shoppers were already tightening their budgets and protecting their assets. Now, with plans for in-person holiday gatherings uncertain for many folks, there are also fewer reasons to purchase gifts and other holiday items.
However, since holidays have been known to encourage people to splurge more than usual, you might think that this time of year could be an exception to current shopping trends.
When polling general consumers, 26% percent said, “I plan to spend less money.” while 15% said, “I plan to buy fewer gifts due to limited holiday gatherings.” In total, 41% of consumers indicated that they plan to spend less or buy fewer products this year.
The data above, although unsurprising, still reaffirms consumer predictions that might be concerning to business owners.
Takeaways for Businesses
By now, brands have already seen consumers tighten budgets and limit non-essential purchases. Not to mention, studies from McKinsey and other organizations predict that consumers will continue to spend more frugally through 2021.
But, even if you’re up to date on the current market research trends, you might not be sure how to grapple with these consumer behavior shifts.
Right now, buyers need extra motivation to buy expensive or non-essential products. While the holidays might give them a reason to splurge a bit more than they have throughout the year, consumers will still want to invest in products with the best value — whether they’re buying for themselves or their families.
Because people are looking for essential products they need or items that offer the best bang for their buck, focus your messaging on answering questions like:
- “Why does the consumer need this product?”
- “How does this product or service solve one of their problems?”
- “Why is the product worth its price?”
Aside from adjusting your messaging, you can also adjust your content to help you answer the questions above. For example, you can post content that highlights sales, deals, and promo codes that people with more stringent budgets might use.
If you can’t offer a sale or deal, you could alternatively use testimonials, reviews, or user-generated content from your current customers in your marketing. When you share a happy customer’s review or testimonial, you allow prospects to hear stories of people who benefited from your products. This can build a sense of authenticity and brand trust that ultimately leads to purchases.
3. Shoppers will take social distancing seriously.
Above, we noted that our respondents still want to shop at least partially in stores this year. But, many of them might also want to avoid bustling crowds that have historically been seen during holiday shopping seasons.
Because of this, the third biggest holiday shopping change — which 33% of respondents cited — was, “I still plan to shop in stores but will be more cautious of social distancing.”
Takeaways for Businesses
While small business owners would love to see crowds line up to enter their stores during the holiday season, it’s clear that things will be very different this year. Not only will customers be mindful about social distancing, but other research shows that they might be more concerned about their health and safety when shopping than ever.
If you want to embrace in-person foot-traffic opportunities this holiday season, it’s important to know that people might be fearful of crowds or getting too close to others. Because of this, you should invest in PPE for your staff, while also considering protective barriers, one-way aisles, and other solutions to keep people far apart.
While this will not only make customers feel safer in your store, it could give you a competitive advantage over shops that take fewer precautions. After all, customers trust brands that care about them and their safety.
Navigating a Unique Holiday Season
While we can offer suggestions and basic data on how holiday shopping will change this year, it’s important to keep in mind that results could be different for every business — whether physical or online.
Although planning a holiday strategy in a pandemic can feel daunting or nearly impossible, keeping a few tips in mind could still help you get sales and intrigue consumers who are ready and able to shop.
- Market your product’s value: Now — and in the near future — consumers will need to be persuaded that your product is valuable, better than a cheaper option, and worth investing in. If your messaging, reviews, or online content fail to convey those things, a budget-minded shopper might very well buy something from a competitor — or avoid buying any product in your industry at all.
- Build an online presence: Even if you plan to rely on foot-traffic this year, you’ll still want to develop an online presence so people can learn about your store, where you’re located, and any deals you offer. If you’re ready to step into the world of ecommerce, many easy-to-use tools can help you launch a scalable online store.
- Care about your customer: This year, customers are paying extra attention to how brands treat them. When a brand makes an effort to ensure a pleasant and safe experience, shoppers will remember and trust them more. Even if your business is mostly online, you can still show customers you care through helpful and responsive customer service, answering customer questions on social media, and offering deals or content that solve for your ideal customer.
To learn more about how COVID-19 has impacted the overall business landscape, check out our six-month retrospective fueled by data from thousands of HubSpot users.
Traffic matters. The more traffic your website generates, the greater your chances of capturing visitor interest, encouraging user action and generating sales.
So it’s no surprise that traffic remains a top priority no matter what kind of site you run. As noted by a recent Forbes piece, everything from specific search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to contextually-relevant content can help boost traffic volumes and increase key metrics, while more technical traffic attractions such as reducing page load delays and improving user experience on mobile devices can also enhance your website impact.
The potential downside? These traffic-boosting tactics aren’t quick fixes. They require time and effort to deliver ongoing results — and they’re not guaranteed.
Website traffic exchange sites offer a supposedly speedy solution to deliver increased impressions and help your click-throughs climb the charts, but as noted by Google, they also come with significant risk “because they may lead to invalid clicks or impressions and result in your account being disabled.”
Here’s what you need to know about website traffic exchange sites, how they work — and the red flags that make them a non-starter for sustained traffic over time.
What is a Website Traffic Exchange?
The idea behind a website traffic exchange is simple: Quid pro quo — you do something, and you get something in return.
In this case, what you’re doing is visiting other business owners’ websites, and they’re visiting yours in return. The theory holds that with enough visits your site will start to climb relevant search rankings and eventually drive more organic traffic your way.
At face value, this doesn’t seem like a bad idea: Since website owners all want the same thing — traffic — why not band together and use the power of the Web at large for collective gain?
But problems crop up as traffic trends away from the organic views and user engagements that search engines are now built to detect. Since you’re visiting sites as quickly as possible to generate their traffic and get the same in return, your website impressions are feather-light and fleeting; there’s no engagement with content and no context for the visit.
As search engines become more sophisticated, meanwhile they can detect this lack of legitimacy — and penalize your site for it.
Understanding Website Traffic Exchange Sites
The most common form factor for these traffic exchange options is as traffic exchange websites. Do a quick Google search and dozens will pop up, all offering high-volume, low-risk services.
These websites are simply groups of website owners who all agree to visit the other sites on the list and in return have their own sites visited. Some are free to join and have hundreds or thousands of sites listed; others come with a fee and may support millions of sites worldwide.
While smaller sites typically operate on a one-for-one model — you visit one website and get a visit in return — larger operations may impose a site-viewing ratio, especially if your site is just starting. For example, if your ratio is 0.5 you must visit two sites before getting one visit in return.
To help smaller companies boost their profile more quickly, many of these website traffic exchange sites now offer for-pay options that promise to deliver a certain quantity of digital visitors in a specific time frame. They may also run contests or promotions that group members can enter (for free or for pay) which will boost their traffic multiplier and supposedly get them closer to the top of relevant, front-page searches.
Red Flags: Why You Shouldn’t Use Traffic Exchange Services
So far, these traffic exchange sites don’t sound like a terrible idea: You get traffic for free or for pay and provide traffic for other sites.
But here’s the problem: As noted by Google, their AdSense program specifically prohibits any artificial means of generating impressions or clicks — if your website is found to be using these methods, your AdSense profile may be suspended and your search ranking will drop. Although website traffic exchange sites use a slightly different model to deliver click-throughs and visitor impressions, they may create similar red flags for popular search engines in turn causing your site’s search ranking to crash.
There’s also the larger problem of organic and contextual traffic. Your ultimate goal is to attract visitors with relevant website content that drives specific action — such as signing up for a newsletter, filling out a contact form or making a purchase. Achieving this goal requires two things: Organic searches that return your website as a top result and contextual, value-driven content that creates consumer engagement
Traffic exchange sites provide the first part of this equation, since group members may be given specific keywords to enter which return your site and boost search rankings. But they fall short on the second half, since these aren’t real visitors but other group members clicking through and then bouncing away while waiting for you to return the favor. This creates an issue for intelligent search engine algorithms that notice your traffic increase — and commensurate lack of engagement, in turn red-flagging your site and potentially damaging your search ranking.
Green-light Options for Increasing Your Website Traffic
If website traffic exchange services are a non-starter, what can site owners do to increase traffic, drive more leads and deliver ROI?
Some of the most effective options include:
- Creating relevant content
- Buying targeted ads
- Writing guest posts
- Capturing better backlinks
- Repurposing old assets
Curated, context-aware content matters to improve traffic metrics. This means creating website layouts and resources that are relevant to your target audience and provide actionable information about your products, unique market position or pricing.
Free press is great, but it’s not always easy to find. As a result, it’s worth doing your research and purchasing targeted ad space on the social platforms preferred by your buyer personas. For example, if you find significant group numbers of Facebook dedicated to discussions of products or services in your industry, it’s worth considering some targeted ad spend to attract specific user interest.
Many website owners are experts in their field, making them ideal authors for guest posts on more popular blogs or sites. Start by reaching out to site admins about writing a guest post with the caveat that they’ll include a link to your site. This lets you capitalize on larger traffic pools without paying for traffic exchange sites.
Speaking of backlinks, it’s worth trying to generate as many great backlinks as possible. Start with a quick search of your brand, product and service names — if you see them mentioned in search results but unlinked, reach out to the author and ask for a backlink. It’s also worth checking the most-searched terms in your market vertical; if you can capture these searches with on-site content, there’s potential to secure backlinks on popular “best of” articles and listicles.
You’ve got content you’re no longer using, but that doesn’t mean it’s useless. While simply reposting it won’t generate new traffic, you can repurpose popular resources into something else. For example, a well-performing blog post could be turned into a video or serve as the jumping-off point for a discussion, while a whitepaper could see new life as an infographic with updated statistics.
The bottom line? More traffic means better search rankings and improved user engagement on your website.
But not all traffic is created equal. While traffic exchange websites promise high volume and velocity, the value of this tactic comes with risk — and can’t compare to value-driven, user-focused traffic building that steadily boosts your search ranking and helps turn first-page curiosity into a functional sales conversion.
All humans — including your customers — are emotional creatures.
That’s why it’s so important to make sure every interaction customers have with your company a memorable one — so memorable that they’ll want to recommend your business to a friend, family member, or colleague.
That connection between your business and customers is exactly what customer experience is all about — providing the support that your customers seek throughout all stages of the buyer’s journey.
You can think of the whole customer journey as a (very important) and complete transaction between your brand and customer, — what happens throughout that transaction and the way your customers feel define the customer experience.
For instance, you visit your local ice cream shop; the waitress welcomes you with your name and immediately asks if you’d like your regular treat, a chocolate sundae with extra chocolate chips, or if you’d prefer to look at a menu.
Wouldn’t this personalized and positive experience make you want to continue returning to that ice cream shop? Sometimes it hardly matters how the food tastes — the unique and delightful customer experience is what keeps you going back.
This doesn’t just apply to brick-and-mortar stores either. For example, when a prospect visits your website, why would they want to stick around to learn about your products or what your brand stands for if they don’t feel valued, understood, and heard? In this case, it won’t matter how beautiful your site isor how well you’ve optimized your site — what matters is CX.
Understanding Customer Experience (CX): How to See the World Through Your Customer’s Eyes
There are a number of ways a customer may interact with your business. For example, when they visit your website, engage with your social posts, click on your ads, purchase your product or service, or provide feedback. Customer experience includes all of these interactions and more.
A recent study by Oracle reveals maximizing customer satisfaction across the buyer journey increases total customer satisfaction by 20%, and drives revenue growth by up to 15%.
You need to see the world through customer-colored glasses. Understand their challenges and needs. They want to be heard and expect quick responses and speedy reactions from your team members.
Focus on client-centricity — put your customers first by searching for opportunities to create products and services that resolve the challenges of your customers. You can also identify your best customers with smart segmentation. There are a lot of benefits of customer segmentation including a better understanding of your customer’s behaviors, interests, and pain points.
Here are some great examples of how brands are enhancing their customer experience.
- When Tony started Zappos (now a billion-dollar brand), he rewarded his team for spending long hours over the phone to create a splendid customer experience.
- Apple added a human element to their customer interaction by installing experts at the Genius bar.
- FedEx ensured a better customer experience by answering every customer support call on the first ring.
Now that you know what CX is, let’s take a moment to review what it is not.
Customer experience is not user experience (UX).
Customer experience and user experience are separate strategies businesses deploy to help them grow.
User experience is a subset of customer experience. It revolves around your products. It’s all about how your customers interact with your products and what experience they have with them. User experience is a blend of design and architecture, usability, functionality, user-hierarchy, and understanding.
Whereas customer experience is a summary of the complete customer journey map. It starts when a visitor hears about you and exists throughout every interaction with Sales,Marketing, Customer Service, as well as with the product you sell.
Next, let’s review the ways in which CX impacts your conversions and why you may not be seeing the impact you’re hoping for on your bottom line just yet — and don’t worry, we’ll work through some ways to resolve those challenges too.
5 Reasons Why Your Customer Experience is Not Converting Prospects (Yet)
You don’t know your customers well.
The first reason for the low conversion rates is you don’t know who you are targeting. When you are not aware of your target audience, how would you guarantee their conversions?
How to fix it?
- Determine what your customers want, where their interests lie, what they like, and other common characteristics — everything that helps you reach your audience. (Make buyer personas to help you with this.)
- Run customer surveys and polls; they are the best way to collect customer information. The feedback you receive from there is filtered and gives you a quick view of your user requirements.
- Analyze your customers’ behavior with marketing analytics with HubSpot CRM.
- Segment your buyers based on their buying frequency, recency, and monetary metrics (RFM segmentation).
- Filter your best customers by separating them into categories with HubSpot’s Smart Lists, and send personalized emails to them.
2. Your products are not grabbing your user’s attention.
It’s an age-old saying that the first impression is the last impression. It’s very critical that the visitor’s first impression on viewing your products and your website as a whole is a pleasant one.
The buying decision of the vast majority of your website visitors is impacted by this first impression. If your products are visually appealing, the visitor is bound to take more interest and there is a good chance of conversion.
How to fix it?
When it comes to your eCommerce store, it’s important to keep in mind that your customers are buying products without necessarily ever having the ability to test them out and/or feel them first. So, you need to create an environment where they can make easy purchasing decisions that are virtual from start to finish.
There are a variety of ways through which you can enhance the customer experience and boost conversions.
- Use high-quality photographs and captivating videos to showcase your product and tell stories about your brand and product or service.
- Keep your products organized on your website and implement easy-to-use navigation.
- Leading fashion brands like L’oreal and Rayban allow users to try virtual makeover tools and provide a 360-degree view of their products. Such innovative leaps in presenting online products help these brands to stand out from others and attract huge audiences.
- Use augmented reality (AR) — this is a popular trend in the beauty and fashion industries because customers can try your products on virtually (e.g. a pair of sunglasses).
- Create an omnichannel experience for your online shoppers by augmenting product visualization.
- Be clear about your pricing strategy. According to Quicksprout, 56% of shoppers abandon their carts at checkout because of unexpected costs.
3. Your website isn’t ready for shoppers.
Did you know that 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive?
Also, 75% of consumers admit to making judgements on a company’s credibility based on the company’s website design.
If you are experiencing a solid amount of traffic but few conversions and a high bounce rate, your website design likely has issues.
How to fix it?
- If your website is suffering from low traffic, that may be because your audience isn’t getting what they are looking for. Make sure you are keeping everything on your website accessible for your users.
- Secondly, when a user visits your website, try to enhance the hero section (the header part) as beautiful, clean, and direct as possible. This section can contain your product, service, and offers too.
- Add clear call-to-actions (CTAs) throughout your webpage. Add a “view cart” option as well to heighten the chances of successful checkouts.
- Keep your website design conversion-focused. Put your menu bars (in the header and footer) organized. This will allow your users to navigate to find their goals quickly.
- Statista says there will be a total of 4.78 billion smartphone users in 2020. So if your website isn’t mobile-optimized, then you may lose conversions.
- Capitalize on your social media — use it to help you boost your top-performing content such as blog posts, customer reviews, and testimonials. Respond to feedback and answer customer questions through social media, too.
4. You’re unable to win your customer’s trust.
One reason for lower conversion rates is that you are incapable of winning your customer’s trust.
81% of online shoppers feel concerned when shopping on a website with which they are not familiar. Trust cannot be forced; let’s see how you can win your customers’ trust naturally without a push.
How to fix it?
- Choose the right trust seal to improve security on your websites. Trust seals verify your website to be legal and lawful.
- Add customer reviews to your website to increase the chances of conversions and enhance your customer experience. According to BrightLocal, the average consumer reads 10 reviews before feeling able to trust a business.
- Be socially active, entertain, communicate, engage, educate, and run campaigns around your brand. Be real and stick to your niche and brand values.
- Engage your customers and earn their trust by establishing excellent communication practices.
- Add high-converting and relevant CTAs to your website above the fold. Use phrases and words like Learn More, Shop Now, Download, Sign-up, and Book Now.
5. You have not planned your customer onboarding.
Remember, there are two kinds of customer onboarding: on-site, and off-site. The fundamental difference between on-site and off-site onboarding is that, when a shopper lands on your website, it means they’re looking for your products or services. In off-site, the customer has already been introduced to your products and services, before he/she needs them.
How to fix it?
- Offer a real-time product demo for your audience to help them explore your product and it’s features quickly. According to Wyzowl, 84% of people say that they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video. Video demos impact purchasing decisions significantly and boost engagement as well.
- For a frictionless customer experience, it is crucial how you handle users who leave your website or intend to leave it.
- Use an immediate exit-intent pop-up.
- Set up an email marketing campaign and select time-slots to send interactive abandoned cart emails to lost users.
- Keep your cart visible to users.
- Use retargeting or remarketing ads to target users who have visited your website before.
- Be different — offer a dynamic free trial period for your products and services. Then, a user can extend the trial period and if they choose to. This provides a sense of flexibility and freedom for users.
Remember: Customers are humans, not your contact to close in the CRM.
Customer experience brings your customers closer to your brand. Humanize your brand and design, and analyze your customer journey map.
Light up your brand with a customer-centric approach and capture your shopper’s attention using the strategies mentioned above. For more information, check out the latest customer experience statistics & trends 2020 here.
Author Bio: Himanshu Rauthan is an entrepreneur and co-founder at MakeWebBetter, an eCommerce digital marketing agency, HubSpot Premier Integration and Gold Solutions Partner. He is a digital marketing and inbound expert, passionate about building and scaling eCommerce customer experiences.
HubSpot marketing teams reserves the right to use guest blog author’s likeness across our content as we see fit, including but not limited to HubSpot’s social media channels.