Wednesday, February 20, 2019

4 Ways to Build Transparency as a Leader

Trust and transparency are fundamental to business success. A recent survey by Ernst & Young found that less than half of global professionals trust their employer, boss, team or colleagues. A host of factors improve trust in the workplace -- from diversity and inclusion to individual leaders being more open and transparent with their teams.

To discuss trust in the workplace, I spoke with best-selling author Marcus Buckingham, who recently finished his latest book Nine Lies About Work (co-authored with Ashley Goodall).

Our conversation, coupled with my own experience, solidified 4 keys to help leaders build trust and transparency with their team, while also reinforcing why it matters in the workplace:

1. Build connection through swift and focused frequency.

One of the biggest takeaways from my conversation with Marcus is the importance of holding quick and frequent check-ins or 1:1s with your team. Trust starts with honest, open dialogue, and the frequency of that dialogue matters just as much as the content itself.

“Building trust isn’t just about intent, but also frequency and detail,” shares Buckingham. “Employees need to know that you have their back and that only happens through regular check-ins or light touch, individualized communications. If you meet with employees once a week for 10-15 minutes and simply ask, ‘what are you working on and how can I help?’, it goes a long way toward building trust.”

Create a foundation of trust through regular communication and engagement. “People want to know where they stand with you as a manager, and every employee knows that’s a moveable feast,” notes Buckingham. “When you take time to hear from each team member on their near-term priorities, while also letting them know ‘we don’t need to solve everything this week’, you move the relationship forward, and see stronger engagement and performance as a result.”

2.  Build transparency into culture.

Employees want to work for leaders who are authentic and transparent -- who openly seek new solutions and ideas. However, many leaders struggle with consistency in this area. Trust takes commitment. Embracing transparency requires leaders to openly share both good and bad news. Effective communication, listening, and clear and quality feedback go a long way in creating a positive and open dialogue.

Many leaders hesitate to be transparent because they worry they’ll be viewed as less authoritative or directional as a leader. This is completely false. People want to connect with their leaders.

Leaders have to exhibit behavior they want their team to imitate, and openly share problems they’re facing and lessons they’ve learned. They should take stock of how the team is performing and what issues need to be addressed and what areas will require change. When leaders do this in an open and constructive way with their team, it builds trust.

When leaders aren’t open to discussing challenges facing their business, or the picture they paint doesn’t match the team’s day-to-day experience, the gap can create a loss of trust. Once trust is lost, it is extremely difficult to rebuild.

3.  Activate experimentation.

Building a foundation of trust with employees requires leaders to create a positive environment, where everyone on the team feels empowered to openly speak and problem-solve. Great leaders give team members the space, autonomy and feedback they need to be successful with specific projects they are owning.

Fear of failure prompts behaviors that can diminish the effectiveness of a team. In absence of trust, employees are guarded, less engaged and less likely to stretch themselves beyond their comfort zones. Empower employees to experiment. This flexibility demonstrates your trust in your team and in turn their trust in their leader.

Focus on creating an environment that empowers employees to succeed. This means providing a safe place for exploration, experimentation and risk-taking, which translates into success for the organization, increased profitability and talent attraction.

4. Encourage and empower.

Enthusiasm is contagious and it’s a force multiplier. Negativity impacts energy and optimism with decreases motivation and productivity by creating stress and pressure.

Maximize every opportunity you can find to provide positive encouragement. Doing so requires some effort, but the results are impactful. In my experience, employees will find ways to deliver results beyond expectation, when leaders express encouragement and sincere appreciation for their accomplishments.

By recognizing employees for their performance, you give them the opportunity to shine through projects, which increases motivation and confidence.

Empower your team and amplify their strengths. Organizations that put people first and allow team members to leverage their individual strengths will see stronger results, better employee engagement and lower turnover.  

Why This Matters

With transparency and trust, comes higher levels of performance. When leaders and teams focus on transparent and frequent communications, authentic relationships develop naturally. With a foundation of trust, people work better together and develop faster as a team – making it much easier to build momentum, retain high performing employees and attract new talent.

Ultimately leaders who focus on each of these areas position themselves to succeed in motivating their teams to do their best work, while building relationships that are vital to the success of their business in the future.

The Ultimate Guide to Amazon Advertising

In 2018, the advertising duopoly of Google and Facebook seemed to dominate the market once again, owning 37% and 20% of the pie, respectively, while Amazon owned a measly 7%. However, if you dig a little deeper into the numbers, Amazon isn’t actually the third wheel in this equation.

While they own significantly less market share than Google and Facebook, Amazon’s advertising revenue skyrocketed by 250% in the third quarter of 2018 compared to the third quarter of 2017. And some industry experts predict that the long-standing advertising duopoly of Google and Facebook will turn into a triopoly as soon as next year, with Amazon charging right behind these established incumbents.

One of the biggest reasons brands are dedicating more advertising spend to Amazon is because it has become the central hub for online shopping. In fact, 44% of shoppers start their online shopping sessions on Amazon (which is 11% more than Google) and 40% of Americans buy products on the website at least once every month.

If you’re in the ecommerce industry, advertising on Amazon is your best bet for maximizing your revenue. So to help you start advertising on Amazon, we’ve created this simplified guide that fleshes out each type of ad you can run on Amazon and some of their best practices. Read on to learn how to advertise on the eCommerce platform in 2019.

Amazon Advertising Strategy

Even though we’ll be describing five unique types of Amazon advertisements that all have different best practices, here are three general tips for shaping a successful Amazon advertising strategy.

1. Determine your goals.

Whether you want to drive more sales or boost brand awareness, Amazon allows you to align your targets with your goals. For instance, you can deem your Advertising Cost of Sales (ACoS) as your metric of success if you’re focusing on driving more sales. Alternatively, you can deem impressions as your metric of success if you’re focusing on boosting brand awareness.

2. Choose the right products to advertise.

Advertising your most popular products gives you the best chance to convert clicks into purchases. You should also make sure these products are in stock and priced competitively.

3. Craft clear, concise, and compelling product detail pages.

Amazon ads can entice shoppers to visit your product detail pages, but the product detail page is what will ultimately turn those shoppers into customers. To craft a persuasive product detail page, consider including accurate and descriptive titles, high-quality images, and relevant and useful product information.

Amazon Sponsored Ads

Image Credit: Shopify

Amazon Sponsored Product Ads are pay-per-click, keyword-targeted display ads for individual products that appear on search results and product detail pages. With Sponsored Product Ads, there are three types of keywords you can bid on if you decide to leverage manual targeting: broad, phrase, and exact.

Broad keywords can include words before and after the target keyword, like “white hand mixers”, if you sell hand mixers. Targeting these keywords will expose your ads to the greatest amount of traffic.

Phrase keywords focus on how the sequence of the words you use changes the context of a query. For example, “stainless steel hand mixer” indicates you sell hand mixers. But “hand stainless steel mixer” indicates you sell stainless steel mixers, but not necessarily stainless steel hand mixers.

Exact keywords are the most constraining type of targeted keyword -- a shopper’s search query must contain the exact keyword for your ad to show up and no words can come before or after the keyword. For example, if you choose to target exact keywords, you can target an ad for “hand mixer”, but it won’t show up for the query “electric hand mixer”.

Using Sponsored Product Ads, you can also use automatic keyword targeting, which leverages an algorithm to target the most relevant keywords for your product ads.

To gauge the performance of your ads, Sponsored Product Ads offers a reporting tool that displays your ads’ clicks, spend, sales, and advertising cost of sales (ACoS).

Amazon Sponsored Ads Best Practices

Targeting

With Amazon Sponsored Product Ads, you can find keywords that have low conversion rates and flag them as negative. This way, Amazon will stop showing your ad to shoppers who search for those queries. Ensuring you flag certain keywords as negative is critical -- even if these keywords have a high click-through-rate, their low conversion rate means they’re probably not reaching the right type of shoppers.

Bidding

Available in Manual Targeting ad campaigns, you can leverage Bid+ to boost the odds of your ad appearing at the top of search results. You can only use Bid+ on ads that are eligible to appear at the top of search results, but when you do, you can increase your default bid by up to 50%, keeping your top performing campaigns competitive, without having to constantly adjust your bids manually.

Amazon Headline Search Ads (Now Known as Sponsored Brand Campaigns)

Image Credit: Amazon Advertising

Currently known as Sponsored Brand Campaigns, this type of Amazon advertising allows you to promote keyword-targeted ads of multiple products above, below, and alongside search results. Using Sponsored Brand Campaigns, you can target three types of keywords: branded product keywords, complimentary product keywords, and sponsored products automatic targeting keywords.

Branded product keywords are a combination of your brand name and a product you sell.

Complimentary product keywords are a bundle of two individual products that influence the demand for each other and can be sold together (like ketchup and mustard).

Sponsored products automatic targeting keywords are search queries that you’ve already experienced success with while running automatic targeted sponsored product campaigns.

Sponsored Brand Campaigns also lets you feature up to three unique products in your ads, customize your ads’ image, headline, and landing page, and even tests these elements.

To determine how much you pay for Sponsored Brand Campaigns, Amazon uses a pay-per-click, auction-based pricing model, so you’ll never pay more than you bid per click. In addition to manual bidding, you can choose automated bidding, which will optimize your ads for conversion.

If you want to know how well your advertisements are performing, Sponsored Brand Campaigns offers a reporting feature that displays your ads’ clicks, spend, sales, estimated win rate for keywords, and ACoS (Advertising Cost of Sales).

Sponsored Brand Campaigns Best Practices

Ad Creative

It's a good idea to feature three top-performing products in your Sponsored Brands Campaign to increase the amount of clicks and sales your ads generate.

Amazon also recommends including your product’s top benefit in your ad’s headline because mobile shoppers can only see the ad’s main image and headline.

Additionally, when describing your product, try not to claim your product is “#1” or a “Best Seller” -- your ad won’t get approved.

Testing

To run the most accurate and fruitful tests, consider only changing one variable at a time, run them for at least two weeks, and anchor the success of your tests to business goals.

Landing Page Design

With Sponsored Brands, you can direct shoppers to your Amazon store or a customized product page. Consider testing how different product pages convert visitors into customers, as well as the order in which your products appear.

Amazon Product Display Ads

amazon-Product-Display-AdsImage Credit: CrazyLister

Product display ads are pay-per-click ads that appear on product detail pages, customer review pages, on top of the offer listing page, and below search results. You can also place these ads on abandoned cart emails, follow-up emails, and recommendations emails. Their main objective is to cross-sell or upsell your customers.

Using product display ads, you can use two types of campaign targeting: product and interest. Product targeting is a contextual form of targeting, so you can target specific products and related categories. Interest targeting is a behavioral form of targeting, so you can target shopper interest and reach a larger audience.

Product display ads also let you choose which in-category detail pages you want to advertise on, customize your creative, and offers a reporting tool that displays your campaigns’ clicks, spend, sales, advertising cost of sales (ACoS), detail page views, spend, units sold, total sales, and average cost-per-click (ACPC).

Amazon Product Display Ads Best Practices

Targeting

Use product targeting on competitor pages, complimentary product detail pages, and your own product detail pages to cross-sell and upsell similar products. Using product targeting on related categories also extends your reach to sections of Amazon’s catalog that are related to your products.

Ad Creative

When crafting your headlines, Amazon allows you to include phrases like “Exclusive”, “New”, “Buy Now”, and “Save Now”, but making claims like “#1” or “Beat Seller” will get your ad rejected.

Amazon Native Ads

Amazon Native Ads are ads that you can place on your brand’s own website. There are three types of native ads: recommendation ads, search ads, and custom ads.

Recommendation ads are ads you can place in product article pages on your website. These ads are dynamic, so Amazon will populate your most relevant product recommendation based on your web page’s content and visitors.

Image Credit: Amazon Associates

Search ads are ads that populate on your website based off keywords that your customers search for on Amazon or on your website.

Image Credit: Amazon Associates

Custom ads allow you to select your own assortment of products you’d like to promote and place them on your product article posts.

Image Credit: Amazon Associates

Amazon Native Ads Best Practice

Just like a call-to-action on a blog post, make sure your native shopping ads are extremely relevant to the pages you place them on. This way, when your website visitors finish reading your post, the ads are a natural next step and can lead to more conversions.

Amazon Video Ads

Amazon Video Ads are ads that you can place on Amazon-owned sites like Amazon.com and IMDb, Amazon devices like Fire TV, and various properties across the web. You can buy Amazon video ads regardless of whether you sell products on Amazon or not, and you can set your ad’s landing page as an Amazon product page, your own website, or any other web page on the internet.

Image Credit: Amazon Advertising

If you want to work with Amazon’s video ad consultants, you can sign up for their managed-service option, but to be eligible, you usually need to spend a minimum of $35,000 on video ads.

Twitter vs. Facebook: Which Platform Should Your Business Be On?

When you begin implementing a social media strategy for your business, one of the first questions you'll ask yourself is this one -- Should my business be on Twitter, or Facebook?

Both social media sites offer considerable opportunities to connect and engage with a network, increase brand awareness, and drive traffic to your site. But they're also incredibly different in terms of purpose.

Ultimately, Facebook's purpose is to connect people with their friends and family. People use Facebook to share photos, videos, and general updates on their lives.

Twitter, on the other hand, is used to share ideas, real-time information, and trending news. While people may also use Twitter to connect with friends and family, they largely use it for a bigger purpose -- to connect to the wider world as a whole, and hear what's happening (in 140 characters or less).

Of course, this still begs the question -- where does your business fit into all this? To explore the pros and cons of Twitter vs Facebook, we've created a comprehensive breakdown of both.

Keep reading to figure out which platform is a better business investment for your company.

Click here to access a free Twitter for Businesses kit.

Twitter vs Facebook Users

Twitter vs Facebook Demographics

To start, let's consider the potential demographic your business could reach on each platform.

The total number of U.S. adults who use Twitter is 24%. By comparison, Facebook undoubtedly reaches a wider demographic, with nearly 70% of U.S. adults on the platform.

Twitter typically appeals to a younger demographic -- 40% of Twitter users are between the ages of 18-29, while less than 20% of people ages 50 and up use the platform.

While Facebook also appeals to the 18-29 age group (attracting over 80%), it proves more popular for an older demographic, as well. 65% of people ages 50 and up use Facebook.

In terms of mass appeal, then, Facebook wins by a landslide.

Twitter vs Facebook Engagement

It's equally critical you determine quality over quantity -- how long does each site's audience stay on the platform? Or, alternatively, how many minutes per day do they spend on each?

Here's a quick breakdown -- roughly 46% of Twitter users are on the platform daily, and 81% of millennials check Twitter at least once per day.

Since Twitter is popular with journalists, politicians, and celebrities, many users turn to Twitter for trending news. In fact, 74% of Twitter users say they use Twitter to get their news.

Additionally, Twitter accounts for 16% of referrals to longer articles from social sites and 14% for shorter news articles.

With all this in mind, you might ask yourself -- does your business have content that aligns well with Twitter's fast-paced community? If you have quick, easily digestible business tips or news articles you're eager to share with your audience, Twitter might be a better bet.

However, it's important to note, Twitter is meant for quick, compelling 140-character statements that can quickly get buried under new Tweets. To build brand awareness, Twitter might be a good platform. However, its fast-paced nature might make it difficult for you to gain traction on a post for long.

In terms of long-term engagement, then, Facebook is a superior alternative. For instance, for every one million Facebook followers, brands can expect to receive about 700 likes, comments, and shares. Alternatively, for every one million Twitter followers, brands can expect about 300 interactions.

Additionally, people tend to check their Facebook an average of eight times per day, compared to just five for Twitter. If Facebook is more addictive by nature, it makes sense you might consider putting more effort into appealing to a Facebook audience, instead of Twitter.

Image courtesy of Smart Insights.

Twitter vs Facebook Usage

With less than 140 characters to convey your brand's message, you might think of Twitter as your business' "elevator pitch". What do you want to get across to your audience quickly and succinctly?

While this might feel stressful, think of it this way -- today, many of your consumers are oversaturated with content, and easily distracted. This attention-deficit lends itself well to Twitter's platform, where you're able to quickly engage with your consumers with less risk of losing their attention halfway through.

Alternatively, Facebook is your opportunity to engage more in-depth with an audience. You can create full business pages, share videos and images, and further incentivize prospects to engage with your brand by offering 10% off if they "like" your business page, for instance.

When you consider their vastly different purposes, then, it makes sense to try both. Twitter can be seen as your initial handshake, while Facebook is that first full-length conversation.

Twitter Ads vs Facebook Ads

In general, advertising on Facebook allows you to reach a larger audience. Additionally, Facebook ads comes with some impressive targeting tools, so you're able to narrow down salary, purchase behavior, hobbies, Facebook communities, and more.

Facebook advertising's interface is relatively easy and intuitive for the user. Facebook ads can be relatively cheap, as well -- in fact, Facebook boasts "Some people spend more on coffee each day than they do on their ad campaigns". While it depends on the campaign you're running, you can often set a budget as little as $2 to $3 per day.

Twitter also offers targeting capabilities, including purchase behavior, language, interest, and followers. However, Twitter advertising is typically more expensive than Facebook.

It may be worth the extra money, though -- according to AdWeek, engagement rates for Twitter ads can be as high as 1-3%, much higher than Facebook’s average CTR of 0.119%.

Ultimately, it's likely best to try both Twitter and Facebook for a while if you're unsure which one works better for your brand. Over time, you'll gain valuable insights into how well your posts perform on either site, enabling you to dedicate more time to one over the other. Since they're both free to use, there's no harm in initially trying both.

Once you see true, valuable engagement on one, you might then consider implementing an advertising strategy to turn that traffic into conversions.

Alternatively, try researching which platform most of your competitors use. If you work for a PR agency and most PR professionals use Twitter to promote their clients, it's critical you also appear on the tool. Alternatively, if you work for a retail store and you find Facebook is often used for promoting retail products, it's probably best to put effort behind Facebook.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

How to Create a Twitter Moment: A Step-by-Step Guide

Sometimes an event is so big, it completely takes over social media -- often for days. Think back to the last awards show, sporting event, or viral meme: How many tweets about it popped onto your Twitter timeline?

When more than 6,000 tweets are published per second, it can be hard to find great content on the platform. So, in 2015, Twitter rolled out Twitter Moments -- curated tweets revolving around a single topic or story, all in one place.

In this blog post, we'll give you the 4-1-1 on Twitter Moments, how to create them, and how businesses can use them to grow their list of followers and capture more branded experiences when a few tweets just won't suffice.

Click here to access a free Twitter for Businesses kit.

Initially, Twitter and its editorial partners, such as BuzzFeed and The New York Times, were the only ones who could curate Twitter Moments. But in 2016, Twitter opened up Moments for all Twitter users. Now, all content creators on the platform can compile groups of tweets. Whether it's about an event, a campaign, or a pop culture moment, marketers can take advantage of this feature and potentially get discovered by new followers.

Moments are categorized under the following interest areas: News, Sports, Entertainment, and Fun. Additionally, there is a Today tab that shares the biggest moments of the day on Twitter. Here's how to access Twitter Moments:

Twitter Moments on Desktop

Twitter Moments are available via desktop and your mobile device. On desktop, you can find Twitter Moments by tapping the lightning bolt icon -- it's in the top-left corner of Twitter on your browser, as shown below.

Twitter Moments button shown on desktop from HubSpot's Twitter profile

The button highlighted in red above will bring you to your Twitter Moments feed, where you can shuffle between five Moments categories across the top: News, Sports, Entertainment, Fun, and Today. Here's what a single Twitter Moment looks like when you open it up to read on a desktop:

Twitter Moment about the 2019 NBA All Star Game shown on desktop

Twitter Moments on Mobile

On your mobile device, you can access Twitter Moments by tapping the magnifying glass icon. This will take you to the Explore tab, where you can shuffle between Twitter Moments sorted into News, Sports, Fun, or Entertainment across the top -- as shown below.

twitter-moments-mobile-feed

When you tap on a Moment to read more, scroll down to begin reading tweets about the topic. On mobile, the tweets belonging to a single Twitter Moment are sorted into two categories: Recap and Latest. You'll see these options in the screenshot below. These categories allow you to read the most recent tweets related to a Moment or all of the most popular tweets related to that Moment.

twitter-moment-mobile-recap

Ultimately, Twitter Moments help Twitter users find more quality content about topics they're interested in. Moments also help brands and content creators get discovered in a different way than relying on the Twitter timeline and retweets alone.

Now, let's dive into how to make Moments across all platforms and devices. We'll focus primarily on desktop in the steps below, as Twitter's desktop client is easiest and most customizable for creating a Twitter Moment for the first time. 

Then, we'll go over how to make a Twitter moment via mobile and how to add individual tweets to the Moments you've created.

1. Click "Create new Moment" on the top-righthand side of your Twitter Moments feed.

To start, click the "Moments" icon on the top-lefthand side of your Twitter dashboard. Then, click "Create new Moment" on the far-righthand side, as shown below.

Button to create a twitter moment

2. Choose a title, description, and cover photo for your Moment.

These will appear as a preview of your Moment on the Moments tab and on the Twitter timeline.

Fields to choose a title, description, and cover photo for a new Twitter Moment

3. Add tweets you want to include in your Moment.

Once you've described your Twitter Moment using the fields shown above, it's time to seed your Moment with the first few tweets related to your topic. You can choose from tweets you've liked, review different Twitter accounts to select tweets from a certain brand or individual, or search for tweets by specific keywords and hashtags. You can also enter the URL of a tweet you want to include.

You can add tweets to your Moment by tapping the grayed-out check mark next to the tweet, as shown below.

add-tweets-to-moment

4. Remove or reorder your Twitter Moment content using the icons to the right of each added tweet.

As you add more tweets to your Twitter Moment, you'll see them appear above the "Add Tweets to your Moment" section. Here, you can reorder your tweets by clicking the up and down arrows or remove those you no longer want to include in your Moment by clicking the "X" symbol. See these options in the screenshot, below.

remove-reorder-tweets

5. Click "Finish later" to save a draft of your Moment or "Publish" to push it live on Twitter.

Got everything you want, right where you want it? The only thing left to do is to publish your Twitter Moment. Do so using the "Publish" button on the top-righthand corner of your screen. You can also save your Moment as a draft by clicking the "Finish later" button to the left of "Publish."

Once your Moment is published, you can share it in a tweet, embed it on your website, or share a link to your Moment.

How to Add a Tweet to a Moment

You can also using individual tweets you find while browsing Twitter to create a new Moment, or add these newly discovered tweets to an existing Moment.

To create a new Twitter Moment from a tweet you find on Twitter, start by tapping the downward-facing arrow next to a tweet and selecting "Add to new Moment." This will direct you to the Moment creation dashboard described in step 2 in the section above. See how this looks below.

add-tweet-to-new-moment

To add a tweet to an existing Twitter moment, on the other hand, you'll follow the exact same steps as you would in the above paragraph, but click "Add the other moment," right before the highlighted option in the screenshot above. This will open a window where you can choose from every Twitter moment you've created, whether it's published or saved as a draft. See what this window looks like below.

add-tweet-to-other-moment

How to Create a Twitter Moment on a Mobile Device

1. Tap the gear icon next to your profile picture (or your actual profile photo on Android devices) and select "Moments."

Creating a twitter moment on a mobile device is a fairly easy process. Start by tapping the "Me" silhouette icon on the lower-righthand side of your screen. Then, tap the gear icon next to your profile picture and select "Moments."

moment_IOS_step1.png

create_moments_step2.png

To create a Twitter Moment on Android devices, the process is virtually the same -- except you access the Moments menu by tapping on your profile picture when you open up Twitter:

android-twitter-moments.png

Source: Addictive Tips

2. Tap "+" in your "My Moments" screen to customize your Moment.

To add a title, description, and cover photo for your Twitter Moment, tap the "+" symbol in the top-righthand corner of the "My Moments" screen. From there, you'll reach a dashboard where you can customize your Moment's title, description and cover photo.

ios_twitter_moment_step3.png

3. Add tweets to your Moment by tapping the "Add Tweets" button in the bottom center of your screen.

You can choose from your tweets, tweets you've liked, and by searching for tweets. Add them by tapping the tweets and then tapping the green "Add 1 Tweet" button.

ios_add_tweets_step4.png

4. Tap the "Reorder" button in the bottom-lefthand corner of your Moments dashboard to customize your Moment.

reorder_ios_step5.png

5. When you're done, tap "Finish later" to save a draft, or "Publish" to share your Moment on Twitter.

ios_finishlater_step6.png

You can also create a new Moment by tapping the downward-facing arrow next to a tweet and selecting "Add to Moment." This will direct you to the Moment dashboard in step 2, above.

addtomoment_ios.png

How Brands Can Use Twitter Moments

1. Events

Create a Twitter Moment that showcases what's going on at an event your brand is hosting or participating in. You can share what others are saying about your brand and keep followers up-to-date about what's going on if they can't attend the event themselves.

Here's a Twitter moment published by INBOUND at the kickoff of INBOUND 2016, when Gary Vaynerchuk kicked off the weeklong marketing and sales event with a keynote speech. The Moment compiled various tweets about the speech from different attendees and influencers and provided an inside look at the event for those following along at home.

2. Tweetstorms

For those times when live-tweeting a series of related tweets is necessary, a Moment can serve to showcase a tweetstorm after it's happened to bring attention to what a brand or individual is tweeting about.

Here's an example from Persil UK & Ireland, a laundry detergent brand that created a Twitter Moment tweetstorm to promote its social media conversation, #DirtIsGood, about the importance of kids getting outside:

3. Breaking News

Another great use case for Twitter Moments is breaking news. Journalists and publications can produce Twitter Moments to group together tons of tweets about an emerging story. Whether the tweets are all originals from the brand's account or are a compilation of different voices, the Moment serves to provide Twitter users with as much information as possible.

Here's a breaking news Twitter Moment from Bloomberg about the World Economic Forum in Davos:

4. Behind-the-scenes

One of the great things about social media is it gives customers a window into brands they love that they wouldn't otherwise have. Brands can use Moments to create behind-the-scenes looks at products, employees, and events on Twitter.

Here's Allure's Moment featuring a behind-the-scenes look at ringing the New York Stock Exchange opening bell:

5. Content Promotion

A multi-channel strategy is key to successfully promoting content you publish on your blog and website, and social media channels are no exception. Try publishing insights and data from your latest blog post or research report in the form of a Twitter Moment.

Here's an example from the team here at HubSpot. We published a Moment about our annual State of Inbound survey results back in 2016:

(Want to see our 2018 State of Inbound report? Get it here.)

Now that you're a pro at creating Twitter Moments, try publishing one today to see how it impacts your Twitter engagement. Don't let your clever tweets and hashtags go to waste -- create a Moment and share content with your audience year-round.

How do you use Twitter Moments? Share with us in the comments below.

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Does Vertical Video Make a Difference? We Spent $6,000 on Tests to Find Out

There has been much discussion recently on industry-leading publications about the effectiveness of video on social media.

For example, did you know that video posts on Facebook receive at least 59 percent more engagement than other post types?

Since our 2017 research with Animoto comparing square vs. landscape video, little has been published around the impact of video format on overall video engagement.

Specifically, vertical video vs. square video.

Vertical Video vs. Square Video

While we know that square video (1:1) results in 30-35 percent more video views and an 80-100 percent increase in engagement compared to landscape video (16:9), we wanted to know how vertical video stacks up on Instagram and Facebook (both within the News Feed and Stories).

Which is why we teamed up with our friends at Animoto once again to test (and test again) the hypothesis that vertical video would perform better than square video on social media.

We were shocked by the results!

Today we’re excited to share our research with you along with several actionable takeaways for marketers looking to improve their social media video marketing results in 2019.

Author’s Note: We’ll be talking a lot about great video marketing tools in this post. Our must-haves are Animoto’s iPhone app for vertical videos, Animoto’s web app for square videos, and Buffer for sharing. Feel free to grab a subscription from each before we get started.

Table of Contents

Below are the full details from our study on everything from our vertical video hypothesis to the surprising results! Here’s a quick look at what we’ll cover:

Let’s do this!

The vertical video and mobile hypothesis

This research idea with Animoto all came from one simple statistic: square video takes up 78% more real estate in a person’s mobile newsfeed than does landscape video – making square video more engaging, more effective, and easier to watch.

And since square video outperformed landscape video in almost every category, we hypothesized that vertical video would eclipse square in a brand new study.

But why is video – particularly mobile video – such an important part of your social media strategy?

According to a recent report from Nielsen, U.S. adults are spending 10 hours and 24 minutes per day interacting with media, whether that be watching, listening to, or reading content across all of their devices.

And shockingly, mobile phones (smartphones) alone accounted for 65% of total digital usage, up from 62% in Q1 2018:

Nielsen Media Usage 2019

As mobile usage continues to increase year-over-year, our social media and video marketing strategies must evolve along with the expanded use to focus on mobile-first experiences.

Sometimes that’s as simple as formatting the video to fit natively within the platform.

3 important video marketing takeaways

Video is leading the way with social media marketing and so we’re super excited to share this actionable research with you.

By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with data-backed ideas and insights that you can apply to your own videos today.

But first, a few key takeaways to set the study up!

1. Facebook News Feed: Use vertical video to drive traffic

In all of the experiments we conducted, we consistently found that vertical video outperformed square video within the Facebook News Feed. First let’s look at the cost per click (CPC) comparison:

  • Buffer: Cost per click (CPCs) 26 percent less expensive with vertical video
  • Animoto: Cost per click (CPCs) 38 percent less expensive with vertical video

Square vs. Vertical Video Cost Per CLick

Next, let’s take a look at the cost per view (CPV) comparison:

  • Buffer: Cost per view (CPVs) 68 percent less expensive with vertical video
  • Animoto: Cost per view (CPVs) 26 percent less expensive with vertical video

Square vs. Vertical Video - Cost Per View

Since the video tests (vertical vs. square) were identical in content, theme, length, headline, caption, and more, it came as quite the surprise that vertical video outperformed square by such a significant margin (as much as 68 percent less expensive in cost per view).

It’s also interesting to note that not only did vertical video outperform square in the Facebook News Feed, but Facebook outperformed Instagram in overall cost per click (CPC) within the feed. An important takeaway for advertisers.

Buffer averaged $0.29 CPC on Facebook and $0.51 CPC on Instagram. Animoto averaged $0.32 CPC on Facebook and $1.31 CPC on Instagram.

2. Instagram Feed vs. Stories: Stories are a great way to inspire action

When looking at the Instagram Feed vs. Stories, it became immediately clear that Instagram Stories are a great way to inspire people to take action. In both the case of Buffer and Animoto, Stories consistently reduced advertising costs in regards to cost per thousand impressions (CPM) and cost per view (CPV):

  • Animoto: Stories 57 percent less expensive for CPMs and CPCs than the feed
  • Buffer: Stories 50 percent less expensive for CPMs and 30 percent for CPCs than the feed

Cost per click (CPC) data:

Instagram Feed vs. Instagram Stories - Vertical Video

Cost per one thousand impressions (CPM) data:

Instagram Stories Vertical Video CPM

However, it’s important to note that costs actually increased with Stories compared to the feed when measuring cost per view (CPV):

  • Animoto: 108 percent more expensive on 3-second CPV and 65 percent more expensive on 50% total watch time CPV
  • Buffer: 71 percent more expensive on CPV 3 seconds and 21 percent more expensive on 50% total watch time CPV

Instagram Stories Vertical Video - Cost Per View

As many of you savvy marketers might have guessed at this point, we witnessed a rise in cost per view as cost per click decreased.

We believe that this is largely due to the fact that it is hard to get people to watch your entire video or when they’re too busy taking action such as “swiping up” or clicking on a link.

Overall, Instagram Stories are a great way to get people to take action and a big opportunity for brands to utilize in 2019.

3. Instagram News Feed: Use vertical video to generate engagement

The final big takeaway from our research is that the Instagram Feed is a powerful platform for driving engagement when compared to Facebook (News Feed & Stories) and Instagram Stories… almost too good!

Reversing the Instagram Feed data from takeaway #2, you’ll notice that 3-second CPVs were 91 percent less expensive on average for Buffer and Animoto. In addition, 50 percent total watch time CPVs were 43 percent less expensive on average.

But which format drives more engagement within the Instagram Feed? Turns out it’s vertical video!

  • Animoto: Vertical video resulted in 13 percent more 3-second video views and 157 percent more 50% total watch time views
  • Buffer: Vertical video resulted in 6 percent more 3-second video views and 187 percent more 50% total watch time views

Instagram News Feed - Video View Stats

The practical takeaway here is that the Instagram Feed is a great way to boost awareness around your product and generate engagement.

Other key video marketing learnings

In addition to the three key learnings above, our research pointed to some other unexpected takeaways that you might be able to apply to your video marketing strategy.

1. Facebook marketing is alive and well

We’ve discussed the power of Facebook marketing (here and in previous studies) and found that it remains a viable way for brands and businesses to reach target audiences. Particularly, if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to drive traffic to your website.

In all of our tests, we found that Facebook consistently generated a lower CPC than its Instagram counterpart.

While Instagram was the most effective way to generate interactions and engagement in our tests, Facebook emerged as an extremely reliable way to drive traffic.

We’ve seen this hold true over the past two years at Buffer as well. Our most successful social media advertising campaign of all time – a campaign that is still running today – runs on the Facebook News Feed:

Facebook Advertising Results

This campaign has generated more than 169,000 link clicks and reached more than 1,500,000 people since launching in April 2017.

The best part is that it’s a super simple ad concept:

Buffer Facebook Ad Example

While brands and businesses flock to Instagram in 2019 in search of a new promising advertising platform, look for Facebook to continue to offer a low-cost, action-based alternative.

In terms of what type of content to create for Facebook, remember that, on average, video posts receive at least 59 percent more engagement than other post types.

2. Highly-produced “polished” video content doesn’t always win

One of the more interesting portions of our experiment revolved around testing what we called “organic” vs. “polished” video content.

  • Organic videos are what you would imagine as DIY-style. These videos didn’t include any B-roll, special effects, transitions, or other more produced elements. In other words, they looked like they were made by an amateur.
  • Polished videos are much more produced. These videos included studio lighting, B-roll, special effects, transitions, and other elements that give them a professional feel.

With our research, we wanted to know if spending more time, resources, and money on producing polished videos actually resulted in greater results than organic DIY videos.

We found that there was no statistically significant difference in the results.

In fact, in many cases, organic DIY videos outperformed polished videos on both Facebook and Instagram.

In collaboration with Animoto, Smarties ran their own experiments to test whether or not highly-produced video ads outperformed organic DIY video ads on Instagram Stories:

Their team found that organic DIY videos resulted in a 50 percent decrease in cost per 10-second video view on their highest performing ad. In their case, unpolished smartphone imagery was up to 2x more effective at capturing their viewer’s attention.

All of this to say that it’s more important to experiment with a variety of video types and formats than it is to work on perfecting a single video. The more video content you publish, the more feedback you’ll receive from your audience, and the quicker you’ll improve.

3. Instagram Stories ads one of the biggest opportunities in 2019

As a result of this experiment, we see Instagram Stories as one of the biggest opportunities for brands and businesses in 2019. It’s why we built a tool called Stories Creator dedicated to helping brands create thumb-stopping Stories content.

And though Instagram Stories now has an incredible 500 million people around the world using the channel on a daily basis, it remains a relatively untapped advertising resource.

“Right now, one of the interesting things about Stories is there’s a benefit to being an early adopter… the pricing is really attractive. And so we think the mix shift to Stories is a big opportunity for us. And it’s going to take time to continue to get advertisers in, but we’re very happy with demand to date,” explained Sheryl Sandberg in Facebook’s recent Q4 earnings call.

We discussed the impact of Stories in this research above, but other big brands such as Bustle, Nike, Square, and more have experienced similar results as a part of their strategies.

Blenders Eyewear, for example, has generated thousands in revenue for their products using Stories ads – leveraging special announcements like a much anticipated restock, flash sale, giveaway and any limited time promos:

Blenders Eyewear Instagram Stories Examples

We’ve seen similar results when we use Instagram Stories ads to promote our blog posts and podcast as well. Our Instagram Stories ads cost just $0.06 – $0.12 per click when a typical Facebook feed ad usually costs around $0.30 – $0.60 per click.

Multiply that cost savings by thousands of dollars in ad spend and it’s a no-brainer in choosing Instagram Stories as our primary social media advertising channel in 2019.

Overall vertical video research conclusion

If we were to boil down this research to one key point, it would be that businesses and brands must keep up with mobile-centric video trends if they want to succeed on social media in 2019. A mobile-centric strategy relies heavily on vertical video and creating content that feels native to each platform.

As we mentioned in the beginning, mobile phones alone accounted for 65% of total digital usage in Q2 2018 (up from 62% in Q1 2018) – with that number growing by the day.

Everything from your website to the content you create for social media must focus on the mobile experience. Sheryl Sandberg puts it perfectly when she mentions:

One of the challenges that marketers have is keeping up where consumers are. If you think about our history, people made the shift to mobile before marketers did. And I think one of the successes we’ve had is we made it easier for advertisers to move into a mobile environment.

For marketers, the constant challenge is making it easier for your audience and customers to consume content when and where they want it. Not when and where it’s convenient for you, but when and where it’s convenient for them.

Luckily for us, Facebook and Instagram are making it easier than ever for marketers to provide a mobile-first experience.

It all comes down to whether or not you are willing to be an early adopter, experiment with vertical and square video, try new things, and always be looking to the future of social media.

What’s next for video marketing?

We’re in the midst of a video revolution. The traditional 16:9, landscape format is being replaced by a new, 9:16, vertical format that has fast become the default for video creation and consumption.

Vertical video used to be seen as a mistake —something people do when they forget to turn their phone horizontally while filming — but since the rise of platforms like Instagram Stories, vertical video has taken over and become an innovative way for individuals and businesses to tell stories.

Over one billion people use the vertical video format on Facebook-owned properties like Instagram and WhatsApp alone — and even YouTube has now embraced vertical video on the web and mobile.

Vertical video has changed video production. Anyone can now create incredible video content from a smartphone — no need for cameras, expensive editing suites, it can all be done in the palm of your hand.

Interested in creating  your own vertical videos? Check out Animoto’s Social Video Maker iPhone app designed for just that. Their web app is great for mobile-friendly square videos. We used Animoto to help generate more than 2,000,000 video views on social media in 2018.

The Non-Techie's Guide to Adding Music to Videos

As a video marketer, choosing the right music can be the difference between crafting a video that grips your audience from start to finish and one that they can barely get halfway through. Play a fitting soundtrack, and you’ll be able to evoke the exact emotions you want your audience to experience while watching your video. Neglect the musical aspect of your video, and it might not even be able to hold your parents’ full attention.

Music can make your videos much more captivating, impactful, and, in turn, convincing. Whether you’re creating fun social media videos, persuasive product videos, or even serious training videos, music can separate your video from the rest of the pack.

If you need a refresher on how to add music to your videos or you want to learn how to do it, we’ve got you covered. Check out our quick and easy rundown of adding music to videos in Adobe Premiere Pro. 

How to Add Music to Videos

1. Download music onto your computer.

If you don’t have any music saved on your computer, check out our roundup of the best royalty-free music sites. By signing up for their services, you pay a monthly fee to get access to thousands of songs rather than paying an individual fee for each song you download.

2. Import the music into Premiere.

Once you’re in Premiere, select “Window”, “Workspaces”, and then “Audio”. After you do that, open the Media Browser panel by choosing “Window” and then ”Media Browser”.

In the Media Browser panel, right click on your audio file and press “Import”.

Import music into Premiere

Image Credit: Adobe

3. Add the music to your Timeline panel and edit accordingly.

After you import your music into Premiere, open up the Project panel by selecting “Window” and then “Project”. You will see your imported audio files stored there. Next, drag your audio clips under the video clips in the Timeline panel. You can trim your audio clips and adjust their volume just like you can with a video clip.

Edit music in PremiereImage Credit: Adobe

Everything Our Paid Team Learned From Attempting a Reddit Advertising Strategy

With 69,000 subscribers and a ranking as one of the top ten most popular sites on the internet, Reddit is undoubtedly an intriguing channel for advertising purposes.

However, the site can often seem intimidating, and perhaps even too random to create a cohesive advertising strategy. Plus, since its primary purpose is to expose viewers to the top-trending content of the moment, Reddit users are notoriously anti-marketing.

Regardless of its challenges, its potential advantages proved too good an opportunity to pass up. At HubSpot, we decided to implement a strategy to see for ourselves whether Reddit can serve as a promising channel for the future.

Here, learn what our team figured out about advertising on Reddit, and whether it's worth the attempt for your own company.

The Strategy Behind Reddit Advertising

1. Identify subreddit topics which are well-aligned with your target audience.

To investigate the benefits of advertising on Reddit, I first spoke with Josh Chang, a Senior Marketing Manager at HubSpot. He told me HubSpot's initial strategy on Reddit involved highly targeted campaigns on specific subreddits, including r/entrepreneur and r/sales.

"The goal of the campaign," Chang explained, "was to drive awareness and conversion for our products. In terms of results, we saw cost-per-acquisition similar to what we've achieved on Facebook in North America, although we did notice a lower activation rate from Reddit -- suggesting lower-quality conversions."

If you're interested in testing out a campaign for yourself, then, you'll want to start by identifying subreddits which can likely help foster genuine connections between your brand and your ideal audience. Consider topics your target audience is most interested in, and make a list. Then, narrow your list by investigating how many subscribers each subreddit topic has, whether it's relatively active, and whether self-promotion or sharing content is allowed on the subreddit topic.

Chang told me, "One of the main things we learned was targeting subreddits specifically was much more effective than broader interest targeting. However, this strategy requires a lot of research, and getting to know which subreddits are most relevant to your audience."

Additionally, Chang said, "We noticed tailoring our ad creative for individual subreddits helped improve our conversion rates."

2. Begin engaging with your subreddit communities.

Once you've cultivated a list of subreddits that are likely of interest to your target audience, it's time to start engaging with those subreddit communities.

However, it's critical you don't begin by promoting your own content.

To build a level of trust and authentic connection, begin by upvoting other submissions you find interesting and that align well with your brand. Next, share valuable content -- but not your own. Instead, post interesting content produced by other media outlets or blogs that you believe will be useful to your subreddit community.

It's vital you genuinely use the Reddit platform as an opportunity to get to know your target audience before you offer them your own content. Not only will this show your community you're not simply joining the site to self-promote, but it will also help you tailor your content more accurately down-the-road.

3. Begin promoting your own content, paid or otherwise, on the subreddit platforms.

At this point, you might consider simply posting valuable content from your company that you feel will benefit your community -- for free.

However, you might alternatively try spending money on a paid sponsored post, which essentially guarantees your post will be pinned to the top of the subreddit. Here's what a sponsored post looks like, for context:

In many ways, this post looks similar to all other Reddit content. However, there's a blue "Promoted" tag in the top left, signifying it's a paid ad.

In HubSpot's case, we decided to test out the power of paid advertising on the site. However, it's still critical you follow the steps listed above to cultivate authentic relationships with your subreddit communities.

Think of it this way -- if I begin engaging with a brand on one of the subreddit groups I've joined, and notice they typically post helpful content (including content from other publications), then I'm much more likely to take notice when they pay for a sponsored post. If they appear out of nowhere, I have no sense of brand awareness and probably won't trust the advertisement.

Reddit Advertising Cost

As of right now, the minimum daily spend for an ad on Reddit is $5.

Additionally, Reddit FAQ states, "The Reddit Ads platform uses a second price auction based system, which means you pay a cent higher than the next highest bidder. Because we are using an auction based system, there is a risk of 20% over-delivery when setting up an individual campaign."

However, as of January 2019, Reddit changed their pricing model from CPM (cost-per-impression) bidding to CPC (cost-per-click). The CPC model will likely make it easier for brands to track conversion or traffic goals, and could result in changes in prices over time.

Advertising on Reddit: Worth it?

When I asked Chang whether he felt advertising on Reddit is a worthwhile investment, he offered a candid response, admitting HubSpot has temporarily halted its efforts on Reddit.

"We saw promising results," Chang told me, "But because we were targeting specific subreddits, it wasn’t crazy volume that could really move the needle. However, we have on our docket to re-test Reddit to see if we can improve performance and scalability in the future."

It's important to note, there have been success stories -- Findlay Hats, for instance, drove $28,000 in sales from one viral Reddit post.

However, most brands see better results simply by relying on Reddit for community engagement and brand awareness. Alex Berman found one of his free, unpromoted videos got 25,000 views when it hit the top of a subreddit -- but, when he put $250 behind his Reddit posts, he acquired zero leads.

Ultimately, it's worth considering using Reddit as a platform for sharing content for the sake of helpfulness and audience engagement, rather than as a cost-effective advertising strategy.