10 of the Best Ads from June: Boomerang, Bugs, and a Perfectly Useless Chatbot

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It’s finally, finally summer.

To celebrate the sun emerging (and the temperature in our offices dropping to subarctic extremes), I attempted to find some summery ads to feature in this month’s roundup. Instead, I ended up with a weird chatbot, a novelty phone, and several ways to kill bugs. 

Regardless of seasonal appropriateness, this month’s ad roundup showcases some inventive ad formats and new concepts from agencies around the world. Check them all out below. 

10 of the Best Ads from June

1) Bufdir (The Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs)

This heartwarming ad from Oslo-based agency Kitchen (Leo Burnett/Publicis) racked up 120 million views in just one week — and the hype is completely deserved.

To emphasize the importance of community in raising a child, “The Lunchbox” tells the story of a young boy who finds himself without a lunch at school. After wandering the halls of his school to kill time, he returns to his desk to discover each of his classmates have pitched in an item for a complete meal. 

 

2) Arby’s

Chatbots are shaping up to be an inescapable trend in 2017, and it seems like every brand is jumping on the wagon — regardless of industry. 

With the ad world fawning over Domino’s pizza tracking tool, Arby’s teamed up with Minneapolis-based agency Fallon to create a high-tech chatbot of their own: The Arby’s Pizza Slider Chatbot. Despite the name, this little Facebook Messenger bot will not actually help you order a pizza slider (or anything) from Arby’s. In fact, it’s designed to do absolutely nothing helpful. 

Check out my conversation with the bot below. (Unsurprisingly, the Arby’s Pizza Slider bot has no time for vegetarians.)

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3) Howler Magazine

Back in the late 80’s, Sports Illustrated released an exciting new offer: Buy a subscription to the magazine, and you got a free football shaped phone. If this ad was any indication, people were psyched. The kitschy little device convinced literally millions of people to shell out $55 for an SI subscription.

Fast forward to 2017, and the folks at Howler, an American soccer magazine, teamed up with Kovert Creative to produce a delightful, celebrity-studded spoof on the classic campaign. Their version features — what else? — a soccer ball phone, and includes appearances from comedians Sarah Silverman, Will Arnett, and Jack Black, among others.

Unfortunately for novelty phone aficionados, Howler only made one soccer phone. And according to their website, it’s already taken.

 

4) Showtime – Ray Donovan

The copywriting shines in this ingenious promo spot for Showtime’s crime drama, Ray Donovan, now entering its fifth season. The first half of the ad features an ominous, threatening voice over from series star Liev Schreiber. In the second half, Schreiber’s phrases are repeated in reverse order, taking on a completely different tone: reassuring and protective. The ad — created in-house at Showtime — perfectly captures the title character’s duality.

 

5) Nutella

Using a special randomizing algorithm, Ogilvy & Mather Italy developed seven million unique jar designs for Nutella. Each colorful package is 100% one-of-a-kind, but if you’re looking to pick one up, you’re late to the game: According to the agency, all seven million of the limited-edition jars sold out in one month at Italian supermarkets. 

 

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6) SM Supermalls

This Father’s Day ad from the Phillipines went viral for its heartwarming (and hilarious) twist ending.

Created by Tribal Worldwide Philippines for SM Supermalls, the ad follows a family as they prepare for the daughter’s extravagant birthday bash. Throughout preparations leading up to the event, the father looks like he’d rather be anywhere else. We soon find out he’s not quite as unemotional as he seems. 

 

7) Delta

According to research from Wieden + Kennedy New York, singles who feature travel pictures on their Tinder profiles are more likely to be swiped right. But if you can’t afford to travel to an exotic locale for the selfie opportunities, Delta has you covered. 

The airline worked with W+K to create the #DeltaDatingWall, a mural in Brooklyn that features perfectly Instagram-sized selfie backgrounds of cities around the world. So if you want to trick your future husband into thinking you visited Honolulu and Zurich in the same day, this is the ideal place to do it. 

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8) Nature Conservancy Brazil

To bring attention to the not-so-distant consequences of climate change and inspire some environmental urgency, the Nature Conservancy Brazil launched a line of apocalypse supplies called The Products of Tomorrow.

Presented in slick, futuristic packaging, the products seem innocuous at first: an apple wrapped in a silver bag, a canister of sunscreen, a bottle of water. But on closer inspection, the details paint a scary vision of our future: the apple is only 3% fruit, the sunscreen is SPF 350+, and the bottled water is “low-acidic rain water.”

 

9) Bacardi

In this colorful, BBDO New York-produced ad for Bacardi, the residents of a idyllic Caribbean town are quite literally caught in a repetitive loop. Inspired by Instagram’s Boomerang effect, the summery spot features a catchy beat from Major Lazer. 

 

10) Flora

Who says print ads can’t break some new ground? This Brazilian magazine ad for Mat Inset insecticide from WMcCann invites consumers to “Discover two ways to kill insects.” One is the product, and the other is this delightfully low-tech innovation:

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Onboarding Checklist: A 90-Day Framework for Content Teams

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Houston, we have a turnover problem.

As the years pass, there seem to be a growing number of studies on employers struggling to retain their people — and the high costs associated with the resulting turnover. What’s at the bottom of it? Is it workplace culture? Is it missed salary expectations? Or can it all be lumped under the crucial umbrella of communication?

It’s that last point that’s often at the root of employee dissatisfaction — and good communication starts before new hires even begin work. Many times, the key is providing the foundation of a formal onboarding program. It’s something that 98% of executives say is crucial to employee retention, as it can help bring new hires up to speed quickly and accurately, as well as establish mutually realistic expectations between employees and managers. Download our free guide here for more interviewing and screening tips to build your team.

But onboarding new content team members — both full-time and freelance — can be challenging. Sure, it’s an important part of talent retention, but how can it be efficiently and effectively carried out, especially with limited time and resources? Below, we’ve outlined a process you can put into practice for a new content team member’s first 90 days on the job — a period of time when 20% of turnover can occur — as well as listing specific considerations for onboarding freelance content team members.

90-Day Content Team Onboarding Checklist

Before Day 1

You don’t need to wait for your new hire to arrive for her first day at work before you start integrating her into the company. In fact, you can start the onboarding process as soon as she accepts your job offer — and here are a few of the ways how.

Prepare Essential Documents

First, ensure that you have all the relevant administrative forms ready for when your new hire arrives. In the U.S., these include forms like a W-4 and an I-9, depending on the employee’s work authorization. A checklist can be especially helpful here, as there are a number of registrations and laws that might apply to any hiring you do, depending on the size and type of your company. Details are available through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website. Also keep in mind any internal documents you need your employees to sign or complete, like non-disclosure agreements (NDA).

It might also be helpful to prepare something that employees can read to get a sense of your company’s history, values, objectives, environment, and culture. Many employers create a handbook for this purpose, but feel free to look outside the box here — HubSpot, for example, uses a Culture Code.

Some of this material should include information about buyer personas, especially for new content team members — it’s essential that they know exactly who your organization’s ideal customer is. That can be part of a style guide that specifies the tone of voice for all official content — with specifics like that in mind, it’ll help your new hire ramp up on writing content that resonates effectively.

Once your new hires start to include designers, add things like iconography, fonts, color scheme, and ideal logo specifications within your style guide. That can help to ensure your brand is reflected with integrity, regardless of who is producing your content.

Assign Mentors

No matter how thorough your handbook or culture code might be, new hires will most likely have more questions that they only think to ask once they’re in their new work environments. That’s one reason why mentors can be so helpful — so that new employees have someone, or a group of people, to show them the ropes and help them assimilate.

Assign each new hire a mentor — this should be someone different from the employee’s manager and can be either higher or lower-ranking — and schedule bi-weekly meetings for the next 90 days. Group mentoring and peer mentoring are both viable options.

Days 1-30

The first 30 days of a new employee’s tenure are all about learning. Avoid rushing her to start contributing to high-level business objectives within this period — remember, these initial days of exposure can make or break your new hire’s retention, so allow for a learning curve.

Arrange the first meeting between your new hire and her mentor within the first week of starting — that serves as a great opportunity for the new hire to ask any questions about the company, products and services, culture, customer base, and facilities. During this meeting, it’s a good idea to collaboratively develop a 90-day plan for the new hire, with key milestones that she should aim to reach by certain intervals during this time period. That way, your new hire can keep pace with what’s expected of her, which allows her to seek out specific advice and ask the right questions about targets.

Add Context to Introductory Materials

As the new hire progresses through her first month of work, new opportunities will arise that will provide context to some of the introductory materials she received, like a culture code or handbook. It’s around this time when the new hire should observe things like client presentations, brainstorming sessions, and other team meetings to help bring her up to speed about the specific projects to which the organization’s products and services are applied.

Even more important, however, is the new hire learning not only about the company’s objectives — but also, the content team’s specific role in achieving these goals. Discussing the parameters around these objectives can clarify her responsibilities and show how her work has an impact on the company’s enterprise value. Documentation can help, as well as a visual that illustrates these workflows. Here’s one that shows, for example, the steps involved in creating an infographic, clearly depicting which content team member is responsible for each stage of the process:

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Visual aids that clarify roles — like workflow diagrams — can be especially helpful when you’re working with freelancers who might “come and go” on the team for short-term projects. Plus, visuals can help with memory — people remember 55% more information when a relevant image is paired with it — which is important for new hires who are absorbing a lot of material in a short period of time.

Learning Core Tools

Finally, if there are any core tools or new software that the new hire needs to use for her job, this is the time for her to develop those competencies. Schedule any necessary trainings on how to use internal databases, content management systems, or other resources that have a learning curve.

Days 31-60

In days 1-30, your new hire was focused on learning, and on gleaning the context of how her work fit into the company’s goals, products, and services. Now, it’s time to begin acting on that context and becoming well-versed in those tasks that make a contribution to the organization.

Adding Collaboration and Context to Processes

During this period, new hires should become accustomed to routine processes and can start contributing to the content team’s projects. And while it might be too soon to have them play a major role in mission critical projects, they can still observe the tasks carried out around it, while contributing to it on a smaller scale.

Let’s say your new hire is a copywriter. One effective way to have him scale up his workflow — so he can get to the point of writing copy for high-stakes properties like product pages or downloadable content — is to assign one or two in-depth blog posts that require similar research and cross-team collaboration as higher-level initiatives, but on a smaller scale. Be sure to offer constructive feedback on all tasks in this phase, celebrating small wins while also identifying areas of improvement, so that the employee can continue to grow and improve.

Given this introduction to cross-team collaboration, this stage is a good time for new hires to have conversations with the folks from other teams that they might be working with in the future, like sales and PR. Set up a plan for your new hire to schedule informal lunches or coffee meetings with these other employees, to help facilitate an understanding of how each department works together to fulfill the company’s objectives.

Continue the Feedback Loop

Keep in mind that as new hires progress through their first several weeks, milestones and benchmarks may shift or need to be tweaked. Continue regular employee-manager meetings during this period to modify and finalize the 90-day plan as necessary with concrete performance goals. That type of thing can help to boost motivation — 38% of workers whose managers set clear priorities and goals are engaged in their work, compared to 4% of those whose managers don’t.

By Day 90

Independence and More Collaboration

In the final 30 days of this onboarding framework, the focus should be on fostering independence and autonomy for your new hire. With a thorough understanding of the company, its offerings, interdepartmental relations, and processes, new hires should be ready to start holding themselves accountable and playing a bigger role on significant projects.

For writers, tasks within this period that involve required assets from other teams — like design — are ideal, as they serve as a test of collaboration skills.

Assess and Move Forward

At the end of 90 days, assess the success of this framework, identifying areas of success and improvement for the future. It’s important to note that the employee-manager relationship doesn’t end here, so continue to meet on a regular basis — perhaps weekly — to continue to assess skills and interest as the new hire progresses in her career.

Wherever possible, use data to verify success. If your employee has written copy for new product pages, for example, examine its impact on factors like conversion rates. Blog posts can be assessed based on traffic.

Onboarding Freelancers

Scaling a content team often requires the addition of freelance professionals, like writers and designers. Because freelancers often work remotely, documenting work duties and maintaining frequent communication is crucial.

If you anticipate taking on a large number of freelancers, it might be helpful to create introductory assets — like videos — that cover policies, guidelines, and processes that freelancers will need to follow. This way, you only have to explain the process once and you can share the same video with every new freelancer that joins your team.

Remember when we covered the introductory materials that are helpful to full-time new hires? Keep your freelancers in mind as you create those, as even though they might only join your team on a project-by-project basis, understanding the style and culture of your organization can help them to add a more authentic voice to the work they do for you.

If you want to onboard your freelancers successfully, remember that they’re real team members — not just replaceable labor. Include them in relevant strategic discussions, just as you would regular employees and communicate frequently. We recommend platforms like Slack for staying in touch, as it allows you to communicate using direct messages, audio calls and video calls.

Communication is Vital

Even when the first 90 days concludes, maintain communication that emphasizes how invested you are in your new hire’s future. Listen to concerns, identifying gaps whenever possible, and when new interests are expressed, formulate a plan for how those things can be incorporated into the employee’s main responsibilities in a way that has a positive impact on the company.

How do you ensure a smooth onboarding process for content team members? Let us know in the comments.

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We Asked Our Audience What They Really Think of PDF Ebooks: A HubSpot Experiment

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I don’t know about you, but I barely print anything anymore.

Seriously, think about it — when’s the last time you had to type Command + P and print out a document? Between e-tickets, virtual payment options, and online signature tools, I think the last thing I printed out was the lease for my apartment.

So you can imagine my surprise when HubSpot’s audience started telling us they still like to print out our ebooks — which are often 20 or 30 pages in length — instead of viewing them on a web page.

In 2017 — during the era of self-driving cars, augmented and virtual reality, and artificial intelligence — our team here at HubSpot is constantly striving to test and implement the most modern techniques for content creation to provide cool, useful resources for our audience. But as it turns out, our perceptions of what our audience actually values when they download out content were a little … off.

In this post, I’ll dive into our hypothesis, how we tested it, and what we’re learning about our audience — and how they actually like to consume our content.

What We Do

I work on HubSpot’s Marketing Acquisition team creating content offers — such as our downloadable ebooks, guides, and templates — that our audience exchanges their contact information for in order to download them.

If you’re familiar with the inbound marketing methodology we’ve been teaching here at HubSpot for more than 10 years, I operate in the “Convert” stage of the process of helping new people discover and learn about HubSpot:

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When a person happens upon HubSpot for the first time online — via a blog post like this one, through social media, or by conducting a Google search — they might see a bold, brightly-colored call-to-action (CTA) encouraging them to learn more about a particular topic or product.

And in order to get that information — from an ebook, a guide, a template, a webinar, or an event — the person has to hand over their contact information. This ensures they can receive an emailed version of the content offer or event registration, and it also converts them from a visitor into a lead.

My job is to create content that visitors are so interested in learning more about that they exchange their phone number, email address, and professional background information. And to make sure we keep converting visitors into leads for the health of HubSpot’s business, I make sure that ebooks, guides, and events are helpful, fascinating, and ultimately educate our audience on how to do inbound marketing.

What We Wondered

For the most part, my team’s job has entailed creating PDFs that visitors can download once they submit a form with their contact information.

More specifically, this has meant creating a lot of PDFs.

And although people were filling out forms and downloading our content offers, we started wondering if we should offer them something different — something more cutting-edge — than a file format created back in 1993. And we wondered if changing the format of our content offers would change conversion rates, too.

We decided to run a survey — and a little test.

We wanted to know if our core persona who we marketed these content offers to still liked PDFs and found them useful. So, how else would we find out than by creating an offer?

I created two different version of the same content offer — one in PDF format, and one in web page format. Then, once someone downloaded the offer, we sent them a thank-you email, and we asked them which format they preferred, and why.

What We Learned

More than 3,000 individuals submitted their information to access the offer, and roughly 9% responded to our question, which gave us more than 300 responses to learn from.

And much to our surprise, 90% of the respondents preferred downloading a PDF to reading our content on a web page.

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We gleaned a ton of valuable information about our core audience from this survey, and the qualitative feedback was incredibly helpful, too. Our key takeaways about format preferences were:

  1. Our core persona likes to print offers.

  2. People viewing our content want to be able to download it and come back to it later.

  3. People don’t think our web page offers look as good as PDFs.

  4. Some people are potentially defaulting to the format they know best.

  5. People liked having both print and online versions.

It’s incredibly helpful to learn what’s going on behind the decisions and choices our audience makes to inform future strategy when it comes to content creation. But this information leaves us with a challenge, too: How do we get our audience excited about content living on interactive web pages, too?

Content living on web pages can be crawled by Google to improve websites’ domain authority (and SEO superpowers) — and PDFs can’t be. So we’re making it our mission to keep offering our audience different options for consuming content the way they want to — while innovating and testing new ways to offer content our core persona is just as excited about in a web-based format.

I’ll be back with more details about that next experiment, but in the meantime, download one of our latest content offers, and let us know if you like the format in the comments.

What’s your opinion? PDF or web page? Share with us what you learned in the comments below.

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Which Fictional Boss Are You? [Flowchart]

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I know I’m literally ten years late to this, but I just started watching Mad Men on Netflix. And guys — newsflash — it’s a really good show

The old school ad strategies, the fun outfits, the drama — I love it all. Except Don Draper’s management style. That, in my humble opinion, could use a little work.

I know my stance might be colored by several generation gaps. I’m a millennial, and according to some reports, we need to be told we’re smart and wonderful every two seconds or we turn to avocado toast dust — but it seems to me that Draper could afford to encourage his team a little bit more. Or at the very least, not rely so heavily on cryptic one-liners and mysterious stares to drive the direction of major projects. 

I probably won’t ever relate to Don Draper’s unconventional leadership style on Mad Men, but there are plenty of other fictional bosses from TV and film to aspire to — or avoid becoming. 

To help you discover your fictional boss alter ego, the folks at GetVoIP spun up this clever flowchart. So go ahead: Take a break from your morning grind, and answer the questions below to figure out which beloved (or notorious) fictional boss your leadership style most aligns with. It’s still kind of work related, right?

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Which fictional boss did you get? Let us know in the comments!

Featured Image Credit: AMC 

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How to Incorporate Video into Your Content Marketing

For many of us in the online marketing industry, each year we wait with bated breath for Mary Meeker to release her annual Internet Trends report. We can’t wait to see what’s on the horizon, what new trends we need to be aware of, and of course, what’s old news. And each year, the report grows larger and new stats arise to surprise us. One of the most important trends concerns video content marketing.

This year, one of the other areas that stood out to me was around user-generated content and specifically, how big brands are finally figuring out how to utilize images and videos to drive engagement. As a big believer in the customer experience, it’s cool to see some of these brands jumping in:

The report also looked at interactive video, image recognition, path to purchase tracking, and much more. I highly suggest taking a look at the full deck.

Anyway, what I really wanted to see was where video stood in this year’s report following the 2015 takeaway that by 2017, online video will account for 74 percent of all online traffic. Did we do it? Are we there yet?

I’ll be honest—I couldn’t find an update in the report. But a more recent Cisco report puts it at 82 percent of all traffic by 2020, so it seems we are on our way.

For marketers, these gigantic numbers mean it’s time to step up our own efforts around video and take advantage of this channel. Let’s look at how.

Start With Product Videos

According to Wyzowl’s 2017 State of Video Marketing report, 97 percent of businesses using explainer videos say it helps users understand their business better. And 73 percent of consumers say they’ve bought a product after watching a video.

//play.vidyard.com/FjNidEMfw3FML2QD9VtFwM.html?v=3.1.1Explainer video for Curata’s content marketing software

It makes sense. With the continued evolution of technology and new acronyms like IoT (the Internet of Things) taking over our lives, it can be hard for consumers to really understand what a product does, especially if that product is software. On top of that, we often to want to see how something works versus just read about it.

What’s important to note here is product videos don’t have to be boring. And you don’t have to become the next BlendTec or Dollar Shave Club to make it interesting. Take Coleman for example. They make things like grills, coolers, campaign equipment, and of course, tents.

Tent buying isn’t something many people do often. If you’re in the market, you just want to figure out which tent best fits your needs, budget, and style. Coleman does a nice job showcasing videos of tents—particularly their pop-up tents, which are much cooler to see on video.

Whether you sell tents or software, product videos help show potential customers what your product actually does. This helps them to take the next step in the buyer journey. (Read The Secret Behind Content That Attracts, Converts, and Nurtures at Each Stage of the Sales Funnel for more.)

Take Your Webinars Further

For anyone who’s ever attended a webinar, you know how it usually goes. You receive 10+ emails leading up to the webinar, and then you never hear about it again. What a waste! Especially when you consider how much time and effort goes into organization and promotion. (Check out Content Promotion, Distribution, and You: A Marketer’s Guide.)

As a company, don’t just set it and forget it. Take your webinars a step further.

Evariant, a leading healthcare CRM solution, runs webinars on a monthly basis. Their webinars are then cut up into clips and added into YouTube playlists, turned into blog posts, and added to emails and social.

One video asset allows the company to create a unified campaign across multiple channels and gives customers another way to get information about the company.

Does your company offer webinars? Don’t let them fall to the wayside. Turn them into snackable video content marketing your audience can enjoy elsewhere.

Capitalize on Social Trends

I like to tell people I’m “Not very hip to what the kids are doing these days.” So when the whole mannequin challenge came about, I thought it was pretty pointless. But sure enough, star after star and brand after brand hopped on board, and now there are over 4.5 million YouTube results. My employer KoMarketing’s mannequin challenge also happens to be one of their top Facebook posts of all time. Who would’ve thought?

The mannequin challenge in itself was nothing groundbreaking. But like the Harlem Shake that preceded it, these social trends allow brands to show a different side of themselves. It’s an easy way to make a video that can be shared across a variety of channels.

The other thing to consider? It’s cheap! This type of video content marketing is typically made on phones and therefore doesn’t require a budget. It simply requires buy-in from key stakeholders and a few employees willing to look silly.

Give Your Email a Voice

I attend a number of conferences throughout the year and as a result, I get a lot of email. (Read The Ultimate List of Content Marketing Conferences for the top conferences to attend.) From the conference organizers, from the sponsors, from the exhibitors, and even from people I didn’t meet but who still want to “connect.” It can be overwhelming. And do you know where 99 percent of those emails go? The trash. Don’t be the trash email.

According to Syndacast, using the word “video” in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19 percent. Even better, eMarketer says half of the marketers who used video in email campaigns saw increased click-through rates, increased time spent reading the email, and increased sharing and forwarding.

When I returned from the SMX Advanced conference in June, I was greeted by an email thanking me for attending. It featured a video from one of the company’s Senior VPs.

video content marketing in an email

The video isn’t long but it stood out among the rest of the emails. I not only read the email but also watched the video.

Is your brand engaging in email marketing? Think about how you can integrate video content marketing into your efforts and better capture your audience’s attention.

Answer Questions Your Customers Are Asking

When I moved out of my parents’ house I had to learn a whole lot about life, including where to take my car to get fixed and have the oil changed. Growing up, my dad took care of the car when issues occurred. So the idea of taking it somewhere to have the oil changed was preposterous. Imagine my surprise when he told me a few months ago he had to take his RV in to get the oil changed. His explanation—an RV is different. And more importantly, he couldn’t find out how to do it on YouTube.

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Like my dad, many of us turn to YouTube to learn how to do things. In 2015, according to Google, searches related to “how to” on YouTube grew at 70 percent year over year. More than 100 million hours of how-to content had been watched in North America alone. That number has only grown as people continually turn to the web, and YouTube in particular, to give them answers.

Give your customers the answers to the questions they are asking. Not sure where to find those questions? Check out tools like Answer the Public, Keywordtool.io, and Bloomberry. Each of these tools scour the web to find the most common questions around specific keyword themes. (Read Content Marketing Tools: The Ultimate List for all the tools you’ll ever need.) Identify top questions related to your business, and instead of answering in writing, make a video.

Lowes does a really nice job of video content marketing. They’ve created a series of videos to answer questions like “How To Build a Deck” or “How to Build a Christmas Tree Stand.”

Example of Lowe's video content marketing: How to build a Christmas tree stand

These videos not only address the needs of buyers, but also help them make their home a better place. The next time someone needs a tool, gardening equipment, paint, or anything else, they’ll likely think of Lowes.

Video Content Marketing: Final Thoughts

Video isn’t new and isn’t going away. As Mary Meeker’s report showed, more brands than ever are engaging with video content marketing, and buyers are consuming it at a significant rate.

Not sure your brand is ready? The good news is you don’t have to jump in head first, and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Start small and go from there. There are plenty of free tools that make video editing easy. And if you can prove success with one video, you open the door to company buy-in and increased budgets. You might even become (or create) a video star.

Once you’ve started with video, measure how well your efforts are working. Download The Comprehensive Guide to Content Marketing Analytics and Metrics eBook for everything you need to assess the effectiveness of all your content marketing efforts.

The post How to Incorporate Video into Your Content Marketing appeared first on Curata Blog.

What We Learned From Spending $100k On Facebook Ads

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For a three-person digital marketing team like ours, the prospect of having a big ad budget seemed like a distant dream. So when we were suddenly given $100K to spend on Facebook ads, we were positively giddy.

And unbelievably nervous.

As a lean SaaS startup, we have to be very wise with our marketing investments. Couple that with our low cost-per-sale ($24/monthly for our starter plan), and you can see that being cost-effective while still spending on ads is a challenge.

In May of 2016, we had the honor of working with Facebook Canada. We received a small grant to kickstart our advertising initiatives, and had the opportunity to spend two full days with one of their ad reps.

Other than working with the Facebook team, we are completely in-house. On one hand this was an advantage — since we could make changes to the program in seconds rather than days — on the other hand, we were on our own for creative, landing pages, and analytics.

We ran an early prototype campaign with some decent success. In fact, it performed in the same neighbourhood as our other digital advertising initiatives. Cool beans.

But that was just the start. We’d tasted success, and knew that we were only scratching the surface. So, naturally, we made a pitch to our company’s executive team to increase our digital marketing budget so we could prove that Facebook was a viable avenue for growth. Our commitment to the business: generate trials at a cost-effective rate of $50/trial.

Our pitch was a success, and we found ourselves with a considerable ad budget. Now it was real — it was time to build out an end-to-end Facebook Ads strategy.

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Admittedly, we were quite nervous. Our credibility was on the line.

Here’s what we ended up learning from that process, wrinkles and all. Read on to the end to see our results.

Lesson 1: Fully commit resources or your cost-per-acquisition (CPA) will rise swiftly.

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We received our first lesson early on. We had become complacent with the success of our ad creative in May 2016, and tried to replicate that again. Using the same ad creative from AdWords, we launched on Facebook Ads. Initially, it worked. We generated trials at an acceptable rate.

But we mistakenly saw this initial success as a sign that we could set it and forget it. We went back to focusing on our other digital marketing strategies, like creating organic content, while our CPAs gradually rose.

Facebook CPAs have a nasty habit of rising suddenly — I mean, literally blowing up overnight. One morning, we logged into our marketing dashboard and saw that we were generating trials at twice our target CPA of $50/trial. This was crazy business, and we needed to act fast.

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Fixing this problem took a lot of time and resources, and a few calls with our dedicated Facebook Ads guru (shout-out to the brilliant Mike Empey). The problem was Ad Frequency

What happened was that our Facebook ad frequency had risen so high that our addressable market was seeing ads 3-5 times a day. Ugh. So of course CPAs rose accordingly — we were irritating people to no end.

We resolved to take two actions: first, we swapped in new creative. In fact, we created 5 new ads to push into market. This had an immediate impact, and gave us a deep understanding of how detrimental ad fatigue can be.

Second, and more importantly, we committed to a new process for our creative. We call it “the conveyor belt.” Here’s how it works:

  • Week 1: Design and launch new ad creative in 1-3 ad sets. Test and analyze results.
  • Week 2: Push all variations to all ad sets. Turn off old ads. Analyze initial results.
  • Week 3: Pick winning variations from ad sets. Analyze and deconstruct results.
  • Week 4: Assess week 1-3 learnings. Apply those learning to new ad creative.

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The side benefit of this process is that we’ve tested so many ad variants that we now have a repository of “winning variants” that we can quickly call out of retirement if our CPAs rise.

Lesson 2: Segment your audiences to effectively manage ad set CPAs.

Initially, I think we underestimated the amount of ad sets we’d need to manage. Looking back, I cringe to think we only launched our prospecting campaign with three ad sets: USA, Canada, and Europe (today we manage between 50 and 70 ad sets, depending on ad performance).

We weren’t even going beyond some basic audience targeting.

No age specification. No regional targeting. No device targeting. Just a giant ad campaign.

We were confident in our ad creative and landing page conversion rates, but forgot the importance of audience profiling. 

It’s no wonder that our results were really hard to interpret. I remember naively saying to Valerie Hamilton, our digital marketing specialist, “Europe is performing well today. What’s the story?”

We didn’t know. Were women converting better than men? Was a certain age bracket doing better than another one? We had no clue.

And at this point our CPAs were still floating about 25% higher than our target. It would have been a dramatic understatement to say we had some optimization work to do.

We started to analyze our lead generation activities across demographic lines. We used a combination of Facebook Ads, Google Analytics, Mixpanel, and Salesforce data. What we found out was that we did remarkably better with people aged between 24-45. This totally makes sense, too.

Folks older than 45 are typically in a more senior role, and rarely the ones actually building or trialing our product. Instead, they are often the ones marshaling their team to demo our software.

Our first action was to split out this age range and only focus on where we saw the most success. By cutting more expensive CPA audiences, we were able to reduce our CPA.

Since then, we’ve adjusted our messaging to the >45 crowd by including more language about “their team” and “data transparency.” We’ve also focused a lot more of our ad buys on video assets instead of advertising our free trial.

It’s worth mentioning that we had good reasons for avoiding audience segmentation. First, we didn’t have the capacity to manage dozens of ad sets. Second, we wanted to keep our addressable market as large as possible and let our learnings help us figure out where to whittle down.

Lesson 3: Geographic bidding makes sense when you know regional lifetime values (LTVs).

The other side of the demographic coin for us was splitting out geographies. Treating Europe as a homogeneous advertising market just didn’t make sense for our business at the time (see Lesson 8, where we experimented with world-wide delivery).

While our European campaign was performing well enough, it was clear that we were missing an opportunity. For instance, we knew that leads from specific geographies often convert to customers at a much higher rate, and that their LTV was much higher on average.

In broad outreach campaigns, for example, we saw that we were attracting a high number of leads at $15/trial from Greece and Hungary. But while we have great customers in that part of the world, we’ve run a number of internal reports that show paid leads from that region convert at a much lower rate.

Despite paying such a low CPA, these leads were not converting and we were paying far too much for them. Internal reports (plus complaints from our sales team) had us digging deep into the data.

This is when the lesson clicked for us; we realized it was okay to spend a lot more on leads from, say, the Netherlands, because their LTV and conversion rates were much, much higher.

By splitting out different geographies, we enhanced our ability to match CPA targets to an appropriate LTV.

Lesson 4: Matching ad creative and landing pages.

This is textbook digital marketing, true. But it was a challenge for our scrappy digital marketing team to prioritize this while managing a $100K budget and driving all the day-to-day campaigns required for a fast-growing startup.

Plus, we could rationalize pushing this aside because our landing page was performing reasonably well.

But when you’re spending $100K and your CPAs continue to fluctuate, every conversion opportunity is magnified ten-fold.

With our small team and only one dedicated designer, we needed to call in the big guns. We went with Unbounce, and it’s had a measureable impact on our landing page conversion rates, helping us grab an 18% conversion rate for Facebook Ads leads. 

As we design ad creative, we create its sister landing page. From there, we can make tweaks to the page to improve conversion rates. Little things like form position, who we featured in our testimonials, and even which button colours we chose amounted to some big improvements.

Lesson 5: The one-two punch of video advertisement.

We’ve always been huge users of video to demo the product and create awareness. We’ve created explainer videos that talk about our primary unique selling proposition and give a glimpse into the product, and these videos have been quite successful in garnering views, holding attention spans, and increasing conversions.

As we launched on Facebook, we put ad dollars behind one particular video. Again, good success, but we felt like we could do better. 

This decision was more on gut feel (it still counts!) that video had a big role to play. I mean, just scroll through your Facebook feed right now. The challenge for us was that we’d committed to the business that we’d generate trials at or below our target CPA for that entire $100K. 

Video doesn’t have that wonderful direct line to trial that a prospecting campaign does. So, we took a chance, and our product marketing manager, Chris Wolski, called up an Ottawa video production company we now affectionately call “The Rascals.”

We created a fun, 35-second explainer video that we thought would play well on Facebook and Instagram. The fact is that we generated a hundred thousand views before we could blink.

How? People were actually sharing the video with friends and family, even tagging others in the comments section. We noticed lively conversations taking place directly on the posts themselves, as if the videos weren’t advertisements at all. Here’s that video:

Facebook makes it easy to create remarketing programs by creating lists of users that engage with your video. We set up a list for anyone that watched more than 10 seconds of the video. This was a new cost-effective avenue for generating leads well within our target CPA. Video remarketing leads typically come in at about $30/trial, including the initial video buy.

More importantly, it expanded our reach on Facebook and Instagram exponentially. And we’ve seen traffic to our site go up as a direct result of these ads.

Lesson 6: Create video specifically for Facebook Ads.

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When we launched on video, we didn’t really know what to expect. Lots of views? Engagement? Shares?

As a metrics-obsessed company, we knew we needed to establish a KPI. After doing some research and chatting with peers and the account team at Facebook, we decided on Cost-Per-10-second view.

We chose this KPI to help us drive better video engagement and brand recognition. If someone was interested enough to pass over cat videos and baby pictures to watch 10 seconds of our B2B software video, then we were doing something right.

This KPI has fed directly into our production process, too. We’ve worked with The Rascals to ensure that each video includes text to account for the fact that Facebook’s default setting is to mute video. We’ve also added captions to the mix because videos on Facebook autoplay with the sound off; a whopping 85% of Facebook videos are played with no sound. We would have had disastrous results if we’d relied entirely on the audio within the video to tell our story.

The overall result has been slashing our Cost-Per-10-second view by 50%. This is huge because it means for the same dollar of spend, we’re effectively doubling our reach. And you can bet this metric is front and center on our internal social media dashboards.

Lesson 7: Ask for advice and trade ideas.

I could rant for days about how much we learned from Facebook— they were truly fantastic, and the attention we received ensured we’d be successful. That said, there are no special or secret tricks. You can find everything through a Google search for “Facebook Ads Tips.”

Putting all those tips and best practices together into a single campaign, however, is where the real challenge lies.

Throughout the process we sought advice from those who’ve been there before us, who have been learning from others years before we even thought of going this route. It probably comes as no surprise that our team now pays close attention to what other advertisers do on Facebook. In particular, I think Shopify is a leader in this respect. They do a great job of integrating video.

We’ve also struck up a friendship with the team over at PageCloud , and have enjoyed freely sharing ideas. Many of those conversations have spawned new ad campaigns and experiments. Which leads me to …

Lesson 8: Boldly experiment.

We allocated a percentage of our budget towards experimentation. When we heard about a new product from Facebook called World-Wide Delivery (WWD) we sort of rolled our eyes and remembered what we had learned about geographic bidding from Lesson 3.

But our friend Mike Empey at Facebook persuaded us to give it a try. So we did. What did we have to lose?

The experiment was a huge success and with just a small percentage of our daily budget we were able to practically double lead volume. In fact, this contributed to us setting daily trial record numbers for 3 days in a row.

When the dust had settled, we analyzed the lead quality, made adjustments to our copy and landing pages, and added WWD campaigns to our arsenal of ads.

Lesson 9: Advertising is still top of the funnel.

Asking someone to start a trial of your software is a lot like calling a friend and asking them to catch up with you over coffee in an hour. The message is out of the blue and entails a time commitment. No matter what their interest level is, they simply may not be able to do it right then.

As we stressed about hitting our trial CPA numbers, we started to lose sight of what we were really trying to do, which was raise awareness and leave our audience with positive first impressions.

In chasing those numbers, we ended up making a series of small decisions that led to us making a big mistake: we’d cut so much content from our landing page that it had basically become just an image with a signup form.

Sure, that page converted well. But it also pissed people off. Some people were getting so upset that they were commenting on the ads themselves.

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At this point, we’d driven down CPAs to about $10 under our target CPA. Our hands were sore from the amount of high-fives we’d collected and shoulders we’d patted. But in that process we committed an egregious error: we forgot about the customer.

We were so caught up in the metrics that we forgot that leads are people.

So, we did the only reasonable thing. We added essential content back into our landing pages (including video content from Vidyard into every landing page), and worked on optimizing that content so the customer could wring as much value from it as possible.

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Of course, CPAs rose. But our ad relevance and positive scores rose along with it.

That was the kind of customer-centric tradeoff we were willing to take.

Editor’s Note: Editor’s Note: a version of this post first appeared on Inbound.org, HubSpot’s community for inbound marketers. 

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25 Days, 25 Expert Social Media Growth Strategies [New Email Course for Marketers]

What’s working for you social media these days?

One of our goals at Buffer is to always be iterating and experimenting with what we do on social media and in marketing. Whether it’s cutting our posting frequency, curating content, or creating square videos, we’re always up for trying new strategies! Lots of times these experiments fail (and we learn valuable lessons) and other times they end up revealing great opportunities to grow.

So what are you experimenting with on social media this week? This month? This year?

We’d love to help with some ideas!

We’ve collected our 25 most effective social media growth strategies that have helped us move the needle over the past year. These tips and strategies are straight from our Buffer playbook and have helped people (including us) find great success on social media! We’re excited to deliver these strategies to you in a free daily email.

Social Media Strategies email course
Buffer Email Course: Social Media Growth Strategies

Join us for 25 days of social media growth strategies!

We’d count it an amazing privilege to share with you these strategies over the next several days. You can join for free by visiting the landing page below.

Join this course — 25 unique, social media growth strategies, delivered a day-at-a-time, for free!

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We’ll send you one email per day, Monday through Friday, for the next 25 days.

All of the lessons contain detailed knowledge-packed information on how you can get started with that specific strategy immediately. These are real strategies, resources, and tips that we’re currently using here Buffer or that we have used in the recent past.

A huge shoutout to the amazing folks who are blazing trails on social media marketing and inspired many of the strategies that you will read about in this email course. Lots of them have been guests on the Buffer Podcast – The Science of Social Media!

Bonus: Many of the social media growth strategies include a short video tutorial!

Course preview

Here’s a quick look at what’s in store for our social media growth strategies course in the first 15 lessons:

  1. The “Why” and the “How” behind social media marketing
  2. The web’s top (free) social media content curation tool
  3. Tools for creating videos on a budget
  4. 5 hidden Instagram marketing features
  5. Must-have image creation tools for savvy marketers
  6. The power of resharing content on Facebook
  7. 10 incredible stock photo websites to bookmark
  8. Building your brand through content curation
  9. Sell your product through educational screen recordings
  10. Less is more with Facebook posting (preview below)
  11. Understanding social media algorithms
  12. 6 time-saving social media tools
  13. Social media analytics and benchmarking
  14. 5 secrets of successful video marketing
  15. Strategies for sharing content across social media

Join our 25-day social media growth strategies course to see these lessons in detail and receive the remaining 10 lessons! 

A sample lesson

We’re excited to make sure that you get all of the information and takeaways you want from these emails and so I’m happy to share here a sample of one of the lessons from the course. Here’s lesson #10 (in-full) – Less is more with Facebook posting: (View full email in browser)

Less is more with Facebook posting
In October of 2016 we dramatically changed our Facebook posting strategy.

A gradual, but noticeable shift in many social media algorithms and an influx of brand advertising on Facebook meant that it was important for us to either start experimenting or we’d continue to see a decline in organic reach and engagement.

We needed to make a change.

We cut our posting frequency by more than 50% on Facebook and began to truly focus on quality over quantity. What happened next, even the most optimistic social media manager couldn’t have expected:

Our Facebook reach and engagement began to increase even though we were posting less!

Facebook Engagement Videos

We’ve written a detailed breakdown on the impact this change has had on our Facebook results – But in the meantime, here’s a quick overview of our current Facebook strategy that we hope will help to spark some inspiration:

One or two posts per day maximum
The main reason why I believe we’re seeing such a dramatic increase in reach and engagement is that we’re only posting one or two pieces of content per day on Facebook.

This serves two valuable purposes:

1. It forces us to only share the best of the best content because we literally have limited space
2. It allows the Facebook algorithm to focus on delivering one piece of content (vs. multiple) to our audience

Curated content
Previously, we used to shy away from curated content because it didn’t directly affect the bottom-line: traffic, subscriptions, sales, etc.

However, sorting our Facebook posts by “Most Reach” shows exactly the impact it has had on our Page and growth: 7 of 11 of our most successful posts throughout the last 14 months are curated (not created by Buffer). These posts have combined to reach more than 750,000 people, averaging to about 107,000 people per post.

Curated content may not “directly” affect our bottom line, but it plays a significant role in reach, engagement (likes, comments, shares) and page growth.

Focusing on brand awareness and engagement
Focusing on brand awareness and engagement vs. driving traffic to our website has become a staple of our strategy as well.

We’ve witnessed a shift in many social media networks over the last year. It used to be that brands and businesses could post links to their blog posts and watch the traffic flow in. And while that’s still the case for many publishers, savvy marketers can benefit from thinking about their content strategy as a whole – focusing on both direct traffic as well as engagement.

Posting content that aims to drive engagement only helps to build an activate Facebook audience. Then, right when you need them most, you can deliver a piece of brand content that will help move the bottom line.

Boosted Posts
Last, but not least, I’d love to address how important Facebook boosted posts have been in increasing reach and engagement on our Page.

Currently, we spend roughly $40 per day boosting our best-performing content on Facebook.

Boosting posts takes content that’s already performing well and amplifies it on a huge scale. As that implies, the key is to focus on boosting great content, not necessarily posts that aren’t doing well and “forcing” them with advertising dollars.

You Can Do It
Head over to your Facebook Analytics and calculate your average post engagement for the previous 7 days (total number of engagements / total number of posts).

Then, cut the number of times you post over the next 7 days by 50% and really focus on only posting your best content. Once 7 days is up, calculate your average post engagement again.

Did your engagement rate and total engagements go up or down? We’d love to hear!

Thanks for joining us,
Brian & the Buffer Team

F.A.Q. – Frequently Asked Questions about this course

Does the course cost anything?

It’s 100% free!

We’re excited to give these strategies away in hopes that might be helpful for you and your social media marketing efforts.

Who is it for?

Everyone! It’s not tied to Buffer accounts at all, so both current Buffer users and yet-to-be Buffer users can join.

What happens at the end of the 25 days?

At the end of the 25-day course, we’d love to send you a congratulatory email (on a job well done!) plus details on where you can continue your education and connect with peers online. I’ll also be around to answer any follow-up questions you might have about the emails and subjects included in this course.

Will you be signing me up for other newsletters or lists, too?

Nope, we will not sign you up for other email lists without your express permission. Your email’s safe with us. 🙂

Help! I haven’t received my confirmation email yet!

If you can let us know the email you signed up with, I’d be happy to look you up in our system to see if all’s in working order. The first email should be headed your way shortly after signup, or first thing on Monday if you’ve signed up on the weekend. If you’re yet to see anything, I’d be very happy to investigate for you!

(Often times, some folks experience a bit more of a delay than others, depending on email service provider)

We’d love to invite you to join this course!

It would be awesome to have the opportunity to share these social media growth strategies and connect with you over the next 25 days.

If this course interests you at all, you can sign up directly online here!

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We’re excited for the chance to share with you!

Feel free to leave any thoughts, questions, or comments here on the article, and I’ll hop right on them!

10 YouTube Pre-Roll Ads You’ll Actually Enjoy

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You technically can’t skip these ads. But you wouldn’t want to anyway.

Last year at Sundance, YouTube unveiled a new ad format to brands: the unskippable, six second “bumper” ad. To prove it was possible to cram a compelling story into such a short window, they recruited a handful of creative agencies to test drive the format — and the results were pretty convincing. 

After that, huge brands like Under Armour and Anheuser-Busch adopted the new six second ad format to tell quick but gripping stories that actually stuck with audiences.

In fact, according to Google, 90% of bumper ad campaigns boosted global ad recall by an average of 30%. That’s pretty impressive for taking up only six seconds of someone’s day.

It might seem like you can’t accomplish much in that amount of time, but with a little creativity, brands can use it to forge an emotional connection with their audience and implant a vivid memory of those feelings in their minds.

Why Six Second Pre-Roll Ads Work

Suffering through 15, 30, or even 60 second pre-roll ads prompted so many head shakes and back button clicks that eventually YouTube added a skip button to their ads in 2009. In theory, though, an ad’s first five seconds are enough to hook viewers and hold their attention for the rest of its duration.

But we all know this rarely happens. Whenever a YouTube ad pops up and shields you from your favorite video, what do you usually do? You immediately glue your eyes to the skip button’s countdown clock and wait … until those lingering seconds finally slug by.

Fortunately, the six second pre-roll ad better engages viewers. When YouTube plays such a short ad for them, it’s not as annoying as a full length ad. And when brands craft these ads into fast, captivating stories, they can resonate well with audiences.

This lets YouTube sustain their ad business while helping brands create a more enjoyable and memorable user experience for its viewers.

So if you’re leveraging YouTube’s six second pre-roll ads right now, then hats off to you. If you’re not, here are 10 examples you can reference to inspire YouTube viewers faster than a Vine could in 2013.

10 Exceptional Examples of Six Second Pre-Roll Ads on YouTube

1) YouTube

To further promote their new ad format’s creative potential, YouTube challenged filmmakers and ad agencies to retell classic pieces of literature in just six seconds.

These are some of the most complex novels ever written. So creatives needed to convey each story’s core in a simple yet spellbinding way.

Rethink, a Canadian agency, did just that. Their rendition of Hamlet is clear and concise (we all know that everyone dies when modern day Claudius spams the buy button). But it’s also unexpected and funny because it gives us a glimpse of how Hamlet could’ve transpired in today’s digital age.

2) Old Spice

You’re probably not surprised that this is an Old Spice ad. But you’re also probably laughing so hard you’re crying like that guy’s armpit.

When you watch this ad, you’re so amused that you forget Old Spice is trying to sell you deodorant. And while you’re still mid-chuckle, your favorite video begins. It’s a seamless transition. And viewers crave that. All advertisers should strive to satisfy their audience, and Wieden & Kennedy, Old Spice’s agency, know exactly how to indulge theirs.

3) Chipsmore

I know you fell for it too.

When I first saw the red face of doom, disappointment started spilling over me. But, luckily for us, the Chipsmore’s Cookie Guy saved the day.

The thing is, we just wanted to watch the ad. Imagine how someone who wanted to watch a video after it must’ve felt.

They were probably frustrated at the initial sight of the “broken” video link, then surprised when the Cookie Guy appears, which grabbed their attention. And, finally, delighted when their favorite video starts.

This ad takes its viewers on an emotional roller coaster. And, honestly, who doesn’t have fun on those?

4) Road Lodge

This is a prime example of insanely honest marketing.

Road Lodge sets the expectation that their hotel is best suited for relaxation. And not so much for partying.

You might think they’re deterring potential customers from their hotel — and you’re right — they are. But it’s actually a good thing because these people would never stay at their hotel in the first place. 

And since their honesty signals confidence, builds trust, and shows that they value their customers’ experience more than short-term profits, their target market becomes more attracted to them.

Road Lodge knows that if you’re brutally honest about your product or service, then you won’t disappoint your customers. This makes it a lot easier to maintain their loyalty.

5) Under Armour

When you play baseball, nothing matters more than your stats. They’re a direct measurement of your performance and can even define your value as a person.

Under Armour sought to uproot this belief.

In six short seconds, Droga5, Under Armour’s agency, injects purpose into ball players everywhere, motivating them to place their value in their character instead of their numbers.

6) Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes uses swift video cuts and a roaring engine to engage their viewers’ senses. This way, their audience can actually see and hear the intensity of reaching 60 MPH in only 3.8 seconds.

7) Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures used this pre-roll ad to promote the full Jason Bourne trailer, which garnered over 14 million views.

And since the ad is chock full of non-stop action, it piqued viewers’ interest and generated tremendous hype around its trailer release.

8) Burn

Burn’s pre-roll ad is so effective because it’s snappy and visually engaging. And since you can process visuals 60,000 times faster than text, a flaming fist across the face will definitely catch your eye.

The slow-mo effect also makes the ad seem longer, intensifying your viewing experience.

9) Airbnb

Family vacations are the best.

You get to explore incredible places and create timeless memories with your loved ones. Is there any other way you would want to bond with your family?

Airbnb agrees too. So their agency, TWBA, produced a charming ad that showcases the benefits of a family vacation: loads of fun and connection.

10) Geico

The Martin Agency, Geico’s creative partner, deserves a lifetime supply of car insurance for this masterpiece.

“Unskippable” was so refreshingly original, it won AdAge’s 2016 Campaign of the Year. And for good reason too. It sympathizes with your annoyance of pre-roll ads, so it ends before you can skip it. But it’s also so unique and witty that you’ll actually watch the entire ad.

Geico says this ad is impossible to skip because it’s already over. But really, this ad is impossible to skip because it’s so clever.

Seen any ads that top these? Share them in the comments below!

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14 Essential Tips for an Engaging Facebook Business Page

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Whether you’re setting up a brand new Facebook Page for your brand, or you just want to make the most of your existing one, it’s probably a smart move — Facebook is home to nearly 2 billion monthly active users.

It should be easy enough, right? Just slap together a photo, a couple of posts, and expect the leads and customers to roll on in, right?

Wrong.

If you’re not creating a Facebook Page with a comprehensive strategy to get noticed, Liked, and engaged with, the chances of actually generating leads and customers from it are pretty slim. For example, you can’t just choose any picture — you have to choose one that’s the right dimensions, high-resolution, and properly represents your brand. New Call-to-action

But it doesn’t end there — so we compiled the tips below to make sure you’re creating an engaging page that takes full advantage of everything Facebook marketing has to offer.

14 Facebook Business Page Tips

1) Don’t create a personal profile for your business.

We’ve come across many well-meaning marketers and entrepreneurs who create personal profiles for their brands, instead of an actual Facebook Business Page. That puts you at a huge disadvantage — you’re missing out on all of the content creation tools, paid promotional opportunities, and analytics/insights that come with a Facebook Business Page. Plus, a personal profile would require people to send you a friend request in order to engage with you, and the last thing you want to do is make that more difficult for customers.

And while you’re at it — don’t create an additional public, “professional” profile associated with your business. For example, I already have a personal profile on Facebook that I largely keep private; the practice I’m talking about would be if I created a second, public one under the name “AmandaZW HubSpot,” or something along those lines. People usually do that to connect with professional contacts on Facebook, without letting them see personal photos or other posts. But the fact of the matter is that creating more than one personal account goes against Facebook’s terms of service.

2) Avoid publishing mishaps with Page roles.

We’ve all heard those horror stories about folks who accidentally published personal content to their employers’ social media channels — a marketer’s worst nightmare. So to avoid publishing mishaps like those, assign Facebook Business Page roles only to the employees who absolutely need it for the work they do each day. And before you do that, be sure to provide adequate training to those who are new to social media management, so they aren’t confused about when they should be hitting “publish,” what they should be posting, if something should be scheduled first, and who they should be posting it as.

To assign these, on your business page, click “Settings,” then click “Page Roles.”

Also, when sharing content on behalf of your brand, make sure you’re posting it as your brand, and not as yourself. You can check that by going into your settings and clicking “Page Attribution.”

3) Add a recognizable profile picture.

You’ll want to pick a profile picture that’s easy for your audience to recognize — anything from a company logo for a big brand, to a headshot of yourself if you’re a freelancer or consultant. Being recognizable is important to getting found and Liked, especially in Facebook Search. It’s what shows up in search results, pictured at the top of your Facebook Page, the thumbnail image that gets displayed next to your posts in people’s feeds … so choose wisely.

When choosing a photo, keep in mind that Facebook frequently changes its picture dimensions, which you can find at any given time here. As of publication, Page profile pictures display at 170×170 pixels on desktop, and 128×128 pixels on smartphones.

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4) Choose an engaging cover photo.

Next, you’ll need to pick an attractive cover photo. Since your cover photo takes up the most real estate above the fold on your Facebook Page, make sure you’re choosing one that’s high-quality and engaging to your visitors, like this one from MYOB’s Facebook Page:

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Keep in mind that, like profile images, Facebook Page cover photo dimensions also frequently change, so we advise keeping an eye on the official guidelines. As of publication, Page cover photos display at 820×312 pixels on computers, and 640×360 pixels on smartphones.

5) Add a call-to-action (CTA) button.

Since Facebook first launched the feature in December 2014, the options for brands to add call-to-action buttons to their Facebook Page’s have vastly expanded. These are things like “Watch Video,” “Sign Up,” or “Book Now” — and each can be customized with a destination URL or piece of content of their choosing.

It’s a great way for marketers to drive more traffic to their websites, or to get more eyeballs on the Facebook content they want to promote. This is a great way for marketers to drive traffic from their Facebook Business Page back to their website. Check out how Mandarin Oriental uses the “Book Now” button in this way, to make it easier for viewers to make reservations.

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To add a call-to-action to your Page, click the blue “Add a Button” box.

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You’ll then be able to choose which type of CTA you want to create, and which URL or existing content on your Facebook Page you want it to direct visitors to. To get data on how many people are clicking it, simply click the drop-down arrow on your button and select “View Insights.”

6) Fill out your ‘About’ section with basic information, and add company milestones.

We’ve arrived at one of the most important sections of your Facebook Page: the ‘About’ section.

Although visitors no longer see a preview of your “About” text when they land on your page — instead, they have to click on the “About” option on the left-hand column next to your content — it’s still one of the first places they’ll look when trying to get more information about your page.

Even within the “About” section, however, there are many options for copy to add. Consider optimizing the section that best aligns with your brand — a general description, a mission, company information, or your story — with brief, yet descriptive copy. By doing so, your audience can get a sense of what your Page represents before they decide to Like it.

You might also want to populate sections that allow you to record milestones and awards — like when you launched popular products and services — as well as the day/year your company was founded, or when you hosted major events.

7) Post photos and videos to your Timeline.

Visual content has pretty much become a requirement of any online presence, including social media channels. After all, it’s 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content.

And while photos are a wonderful way to capture moments and an actual look at your brand, you should probably invest a good amount of time and other resources into video. The 2017 State of Inbound report cited video as the “main disruptor,” with 24% of marketers naming it as a top priority.

“Watch video” is one of the CTAs that Facebook allows brands to add to their Pages for a reason — because it’s becoming one of the most popular ways to consume content. But it’s not just pre-recording videos. According to the social media channel’s newsroom, “People spend more than 3x more time watching a Facebook Live video on average compared to a video that’s no longer live.” So don’t be afraid to give viewers an in-the-moment look at what your organization does, but do make sure you’re prepared.

Not sure what your videos should look like? Here’s a fun one that we put together on business lingo.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fhubspot%2Fvideos%2F10155380512289394%2F&show_text=1&width=560

8) Determine the ideal timing and frequency for your posts.

An important consideration in your Facebook content strategy should be how frequently you post, and when. If you don’t post frequently enough, you won’t look as reliable or authentic — after all, how much faith do you put in a brand that hasn’t updated its Facebook Page for several months? Post too often, however, and people might get sick of having their feeds flooded with your content.

Here’s where a social media editorial calendar can be particularly helpful. Like any other online content, it can help you establish a schedule for when you share particular posts according to season or general popularity. You’ll probably have to adjust your calendar several times, especially in the earliest stages of setting up your Page, since you’ll want to check the performance of your updates in your Facebook Insights (which you can navigate to via the tab at the very top of your page). Once you’ve observed popular times and other analytics for your first several posts, you can tailor your posting frequency and strategy accordingly.

Wondering how to schedule posts? You can either use an external publishing tool like the Social Inbox within HubSpot software, or the Facebook interface itself. For the latter, click the arrow next to the “Publish” button and click “Schedule Post.”

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9) Leverage Facebook’s targeting tools.

Facebook allows you to target certain audiences with specific updates — be it gender, relationship or educational status, age, location, language, or interests, you can segment individual page posts by these criteria.

Just click the small bullseye symbol on the bottom of the post you want to publish, and you can set metrics for both a preferred audience, and one you think might not want to see your content.

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10) Pin important posts to the top of your page.

When you post new content to your Facebook Page, older posts get pushed farther down your Timeline. But sometimes, you might want a specific post to stay at the top of your page for longer — even after you publish new updates.

To solve for this, Facebook offers the ability to “pin” one post at a time to the top of your page. You can use pinned posts as a way to promote things like new lead-gen offers, upcoming events, or important product announcements.

To pin a post, click on the drop-down arrow in the top-right corner of a post on your page, and click ‘Pin to Top.’ It will then appear at the top of your page, flagged with a little bookmark. Just keep in mind that you can only have one pinned post at any given time.

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11) Decide whether you want Facebook fans to message you privately.

If you want your Facebook fans to be able to privately message you directly through your page, definitely enable the messages feature. You can do so by going to your settings, clicking on “General” on the left-hand column, and then looking for “Messages” on the list of results.

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We recommend enabling messaging on your page to make it as easy as possible for your fans to reach out to you — but only do so if you have the time to monitor and respond to your messages. Facebook Pages now have a section that indicates how quickly a brand responds to messages, so if you don’t want that section saying that you’re slow to answer, you might just want to skip enabling that feature.

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12) Monitor and respond to comments on your page.

Speaking of monitoring the interactions your fans have with your page, don’t forget about comments. You can monitor and respond to comments via the ‘Notifications’ tab at the very top of your page. While it may not be necessary to respond to every single comment you receive, you should definitely monitor the conversations happening there (especially to stay on top of potential social media crises.

13) Promote your page to generate more followers.

Now that you’ve filled your page with content, it’s time to promote the heck out of it.

One of the first things you can do is to create an ad promoting your Page. To do that, click the three dots at the top menu bar above your posts and select “Create Ad.” From there, Facebook will let you start creating an ad from scratch based on your goals — things like reach, traffic, or general brand awareness. Choose yours, then scroll down and click “continue.”

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After that, you can choose your targeted audience (similar to what you did with your promoted posts above), where on Facebook you want it to be placed, and your budget — you can learn more about paying for Facebook Ads here.

You’ll probably also be asked to add some creative assets or copy. Remember, you’re paying for this, so choose something that’s going to grab attention, but also has high quality and represents your brand well.

14) Finally, measure the success of your Facebook efforts.

There are a couple of ways to execute this step. You can use something like the social media reports tool in your HubSpot software, and you can dig into your Page’s Insights, which allow you to track Facebook-specific engagement metrics. Here, you’ll be able to analyze things like the demographics of your Page audience and, if you reach a certain threshold, the demographics of people engaging with your page and posts. As we mentioned earlier, the latter is especially helpful to modify your Facebook content strategy to publish more of what works, and less of what doesn’t. You can access your Facebook Page Insights via the tab at the top of your page.

How have you set up top-notch Facebook Pages? Let us know in the comments.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2013 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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