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Reddit for SEO: Why user-generated content dominates search results

Is it just me, or DAE wonder why Reddit has become such a significant holder of SERP real estate? As a user and consumer, I’ve increasingly noticed that Reddit forums dominate the results I see for product and service-based queries, and as an ever-curious SEO and content strategist, I need to know why.

So, what’s happening here? Why has Reddit emerged as a force to be reckoned with in the SEO game? And what does this mean for us as marketers? Brace yourselves: we’re about to explore the complex and evolving world of Reddit and SEO, as well as the profound impact “the front page of the Internet” has on how users seek and interact with information.

ELI5: What even is Reddit?

Before we delve into the “why,” let’s quickly recap what Reddit is for those unfamiliar with this online behemoth.

Think of Reddit as a massive, decentralized forum where users create and share content on a wide range of topics. These communities, called subreddits, cover everything from news and technology to niche hobbies and local interests. Personally, I’ve used Reddit to discuss SEO news and trends with my professional cohorts, find volunteer opportunities in my community, and, most recently, connect with a fellow “elder emo” music fan to snag a ticket to a very much sold-out show for a “bucket list” band. Simply put, there’s something for everyone (YMMV on concert tickets).

Reddit’s diverse user base has more than 267.5 million weekly active users, solidifying its position online as a veritable melting pot of voices and perspectives. This rich and varied audience actively engages with all kinds of content, creating a dynamic platform where discussions and user-generated content (UGC) reign supreme.

Why is Reddit taking over search results?

Now, onto the juicy part: why is Reddit suddenly showing up everywhere in search results? Here are a few key factors contributing to its rise:

The power of user-generated content

In its relentless pursuit of providing the best user experience, Google’s algorithm increasingly values authentic, unbiased, and people-first content. Reddit thrives on UGC, offering a treasure trove of real-world opinions, experiences, and insights that traditional websites often lack. This authenticity resonates with search engines, making Reddit a valuable source of information.

Diversity and depth of content

Reddit covers a mind-boggling range of topics, with in-depth discussions and detailed information on virtually anything you can imagine. This depth allows Reddit to address long-tail keywords and niche queries with a level of specificity that traditional websites might struggle to match.

Community-driven authority

Reddit thrives on user engagement. Upvotes, downvotes, and discussions within subreddits organically signal the value and relevance of content. This community-driven authority system likely helps Google identify high-quality, trustworthy information.

The Reddit IPO effect

While maybe not a direct cause, Reddit’s recent IPO may have contributed to its increased visibility in search results. With heightened public interest and media attention, Google might be placing a greater emphasis on crawling and indexing Reddit content.

TIL why Reddit matters for marketers and SEOs

So, what does this Reddit SEO phenomenon mean for us as marketers and SEO professionals? A lot. In fact, you might think of Reddit’s rise in SEO and SERP positioning as both an opportunity and a challenge:

  • Opportunity: Reddit offers a powerful platform to connect with real users, gather valuable insights, and build brand awareness. Engaging with relevant subreddits allows you to participate in organic conversations, address customer concerns, and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
  • Challenge: Reddit is a community-driven platform with strict guidelines and Reddiquette, not a marketing playground. Spammy tactics or self-promotion will be met with swift backlash. Building trust and providing genuine value are required for a visibility victory on Reddit.

Case in point: How brands are rocking Reddit

Is your brand up for the challenge? You’ll find success stories from brands like Nordstrom, Toyota, and Xbox One that have implemented effective Reddit engagement strategies.

Spotify was a pioneer on the platform. In 2014, the music streaming service created a branded account and sparked a virtual thread asking users to share the most emotionally impactful songs in their lives, and ended up with more than 10,000 responses. Leveraging this user-generated content, Spotify made a unique playlist, demonstrating their understanding of their audience and building trust within the Reddit community. 

Other examples of brands taking on the Reddit challenge:

  • Toyota: They’ve tapped into Reddit communities like r/forumla1, r/cars, and r/trucks, providing helpful content and insights from their engineers, fostering trust and brand loyalty among car enthusiasts.
  • Xbox One: By actively participating in gaming subreddits, hosting AMA (ask me anything) sessions with game developers, and addressing user concerns directly, Xbox One has built a strong community around its brand.

But wait, there’s more. Reddit’s presence at CES 2024 walked marketers through how their platform is an essential touchpoint on the customer journey with an activation called “Key to Context.” The hands-on walk-through experience showed how instrumental the platform was in a car-buying experience and unlocked opportunities for brands to engage with consumers through UGC and strategically promoted posts.

Who owns brand Reddit strategy? It’s a team effort

While Reddit engagement might fall outside typical job descriptions, brands can create a “Reddit village” for success. This village includes passionate brand advocates (including employees, partners, and even consumers), community managers who curate content, and SEO/content teams who translate Reddit insights into broader strategies.

LPT: 5 ways to use Reddit for SEO and online visibility

Now, the million-dollar question: how can we leverage Reddit’s SEO potential within the spirit of the platform’s core values? I’ve got a few pro tips and ideas from my experience and research, as well as those collected from the SEO hivemind.

  1. Find your niche: Identify relevant subreddits where your target audience actively engages. Research their interests, common discussions, the language they are using (linguistic profiling), and the overall tone of the community.
  2. Become a valuable contributor: Don’t just drop in and promote your brand. Actively participate in discussions, share your expertise, and answer user questions genuinely. Provide insightful comments and contribute valuable content that benefits the community.
  3. Focus on long-tail keywords: Reddit excels at long-tail queries due to its in-depth discussions. Optimize your content for these specific keywords to increase your chances of appearing in relevant search results.
  4. Embrace UGC: Encourage users to share their experiences with your products or services within relevant subreddits. This organic UGC can be incredibly powerful for building trust and brand sentiment.
  5. Track and analyze: Monitor your Reddit activity and track the impact on your SEO metrics. Use tools like Semrush and Google Analytics 4 to measure organic traffic and identify which subreddits and posts drive the most engagement.

TL;DR: Reddit and SEO success requires a long-term, user-centric approach

Reddit’s growing prominence in search results is a testament to the power of user-generated content and authentic online communities. As marketers and SEOs, we must adapt our strategies to embrace this shift. Success on Reddit comes from building genuine relationships, providing value, and becoming a trusted member of the community.

Leveraging Reddit in your online footprint is a long-term integrated digital marketing game, not a quick SEO win. But by approaching Reddit with a user-centric mindset and focusing on providing value, you can tap into its immense potential and elevate your brand to new heights.

Ready to talk about Reddit and SEO? We are. Let’s connect.

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News Reaching New Customers SEO Strategy

Let’s talk about voice search optimization

Picture this voice search scenario: you’re elbow-deep in flour and cocoa powder, trying to satisfy a late-night chocolate craving by testing out a new recipe for killer brownies. However, as you’re about to mix up the wet ingredients, you realize there’s only one egg left in the carton when the recipe calls for two. If you’re like me and many others, your next move is to call out and ask a smart speaker for help. 

And depending on your intent and your preferred device, your pleas might sound like any of the following:

  • “Hey Siri, what’s a good substitute for eggs in a brownie recipe?”
  • “Alexa, can I order some eggs online for same-day delivery?”
  • “Hey Google, how do I get to the nearest bakery with brownies?”
  • “Hey Bixby, what are the top-rated brownie places closest to me?”
  • “Cortana, are any grocery stores near me open right now?”

In this moment of utter desperation, you’ve just proven the value of voice search optimization for queries with all kinds of search intents: informational, transactional, navigational, commercial, and even local. Data from Juniper Research suggests that consumers will interact with voice search on more than 8.4 billion devices by the end of 2024, doubled from just 4.2 billion devices in 2020. 

With so many devices in use and consumers seeking answers, voice search optimization is an increasingly important consideration in a robust digital marketing strategy.

Why should voice search optimization be part of your digital strategy?

It’s a scary truth: ignoring voice search will leave a giant chunk of potential customers on the table. Here are a few of the reasons why you should jump on the voice search optimization bandwagon.

Voice search is everywhere

More than a quarter of all searches in the Google App are conducted by voice. This presents a massive opportunity to reach new audiences who are actively seeking information and making purchases through voice commands on their smartphones and mobile devices.

Voice searches are high-intent and convert

Voice search queries tend to be more specific and have higher conversion rates compared to traditional text searches. It’s estimated that voice search generated over $40 billion in 2023, and that number is still on the rise in 2024. People using voice search are often closer to making a purchase decision, making it an important part of the sales funnel.

Voice search optimization improves brand awareness

Optimizing for voice search can help your brand appear in those coveted “featured snippets” displayed at the top of search results. This increases brand visibility and establishes you as a trusted source of information.

Voice search is rapidly becoming the preferred method of search, especially for mobile users. By optimizing now, you’ll be ahead of the curve and ready to capitalize on this growing trend.

What factors impact voice search rankings?

Remember our late-night brownie crisis? Imagine how many other people ask similar questions with their voice assistants every day. Optimizing your website for voice search boils down to understanding how people speak, not just how they type.

Here’s some of the secret sauce behind how voice search optimization works:

Keywords vs. natural language

Forget stuffing your website with generic keywords. Voice search users ask questions in a natural, conversational way. Think “How do I…?” or “What are the best…?” Optimizing for long-tail keywords and natural language phrases is key.

Local optimization

“Hey Siri, find a bakery near me” are powerful words for local businesses, especially those who cater to consumers on the go. Voice search in cars is rapidly replacing the center touch screen in our cars, with Volkswagen even integrating ChatGPT into its vehicles for the 2024 model year.

Mobile-first indexing

Because most voice searches happen on mobile devices, prioritizing a mobile-friendly website is crucial. Fast loading times, a user-friendly interface, and clear click-to-call buttons are all essential elements.

Structured data markup

Think of this as labeling your website’s content for search engines. Structured data and schema markup help search engines understand what your website is about and can improve your chances of appearing in rich voice search results. For example, a recipe website could use structured data to highlight ingredients, cooking times, and nutritional information.

How is voice search optimization different from traditional SEO?

We all know that SEO is here to stay. It remains the foundation of a strong online presence, ensuring your website is crawlable, indexable, and relevant for search terms. However, voice search optimization takes SEO a step further and into the future. 

Here’s a tasty analogy: traditional SEO is like your brownie base. You focus on high-quality ingredients (relevant keywords), precise measurements (on-page optimization), and a solid baking technique (website structure). This ensures a delicious foundation for your brownies. Voice search optimization is like adding the finishing touches to your brownies. You sprinkle on user intent with long-tail keywords and natural language phrases. You might then add a layer of conversational content, ensuring it’s clear and answers user questions directly. Finally, you can even consider adding some “voice search sprinkles” like schema markup for extra flavor and improved search ranking.

How to optimize a website for voice search

Are you ready to start a conversation with your customers and stand out in voice search results? 

Here are some actionable tips to get you started with voice search optimization, building on the strong foundation of your existing SEO strategy:

  • Focus on conversational AI: As voice search technology continues to evolve, consider how conversational AI can enhance your website’s user experience and inform voice search responses.
  • Conduct keyword research with a twist: Look at all kinds of keywords in your research but focus on long-tail and natural language phrases people might use in questions.
  • Consider content a conversation: Think of your website content as a conversation with a real person. Use natural language, answer questions directly, and address user intent.
  • Embrace long-form content: In-depth content that provides comprehensive answers to user queries is valuable for voice search.
  • Optimize for featured snippets: Aim to get your website featured in the coveted answer box at the top of search results. Focus on concise answers to frequently asked questions.
  • Prioritize local SEO: Since many voice searches have local intent (“find a restaurant near me”), optimizing your local SEO strategy is crucial. Ensure a consistent brand voice and accurate information across local listings like Google Business Profile, Yelp, and Apple Maps.
  • Implement schema markup: Structured data markup helps search engines understand your content and can improve your chances of appearing in rich voice search results.

By implementing these tactics and building on your ongoing SEO strategy, you can optimize your website for voice search and capture conversational users with a variety of search intents at varying positions in the conversion funnel.

Remember, the goal is to be there when those late-night brownie cravings (or any other search queries) strike, providing users with the information and resources they need through the power of their voice.

Is voice search optimization on the tip of your tongue? We’ve got ideas to keep the conversation rolling. See how Tallwave can support your digital endeavors with integrated marketing services and more. Let’s chat.

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CRO Customer Engagement News Paid Media Reaching New Customers SEO Uncategorized

The rise of social shopping: How your feed becomes your marketplace

The way consumers interact with brands has undergone a significant transformation with the growing popularity of social ecommerce. This emerging form of shopping allows consumers to explore products and complete transactions through social media while creating a more engaging consumer journey and presenting new opportunities for brands to capture consumer interest. What once served as platforms for sharing photos, connecting with friends, and staying updated on the latest trends have now transformed into dynamic marketplaces where users can seamlessly transition from liking a product to making a purchase, all within the same app.

The emergence of social ecommerce

Online shopping has seen substantial growth thanks to the swift expansion of social ecommerce.  Global regions like China are setting the social ecommerce bar high for all brands by hosting 2-hour live shopping experiences on Tik Tok, and by creating augmented reality (AR) lenses on Snapchat that allow social shoppers to “try-on” items and share with friends. These sales-generating trends have illuminated a social shopping opportunity that the US has begun to emulate, leading to an increase of social shopping. McKinsey estimates that by 2025, social commerce in the US will have generated about $80 billion in sales (up from $37 billion in 2021) and global sales will have exceeded $2 trillion.

Social platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter, and Snapchat have integrated social ecommerce capabilities into their user experiences. Instagram’s ecommerce shop feature is essentially a storefront housed inside of the platform, making it easier for consumers to find and buy things featured in their feeds by enabling businesses to tag products in their posts and stories. In a similar vein, TikTok has debuted shoppable livestreams, which enable brands to showcase their goods in real time and enable instant transactions. This in turn allows customers to communicate with content creators directly during the live streams so they can ask questions about the featured products. This convenience creates a better customer experience that drives incremental sales. 

Customer behavior and mobile-first shopping 

The popularity of mobile shopping is another element fueling the expansion of social ecommerce. Through the use of mobile phones, consumers can link directly and immediately to brands, which in turn enables personalized recommendations as well as targeted ads and real-time promotions. Social media platforms are internet marketplaces where users can explore products, read reviews, or even interact with different brands in a single interface. Basically, social media apps have made it very easy for people to browse, share, and buy products, making shopping more accessible and convenient than ever before thereby completely changing the retail landscape. With social media platforms evolving to become more mobile-friendly and creating mobile-first experiences through their apps, the influence of mobile shopping is expected to further accelerate, shaping the future of ecommerce.

Blurring boundaries: Content and social ecommerce strategy 

In the contemporary digital world, remarkable social media content is critical in creating interest, user engagement, and subsequent purchases. Top-tier content incorporates helpful visuals, enlightening videos, and captivating product stories that go beyond basic product descriptions and feature lists to forge emotional bonds with customers. This blend is crucial for grabbing user attention and fostering trust. Leveraging targeted messaging, product tagging, and in-app showcases, brands can bring their offerings to life, highlighting their distinctive value propositions while tackling consumer concerns head-on. Additionally, user-generated content, plus real-life testimonials, helps boost credibility and influence purchasing choices made by consumers. Great social media contents enable brands to develop close relationships with customers, thus enhancing brand loyalty as well as conversion rates all through the immersive world of social ecommerce.

Know your customers: Social shopping by generation 

It is important to note that each generation views and utilizes social media shopping differently. Hubspot compiled data on generational shopping habits over a three-month period and unveiled how each generation shops on social media platforms, which can be used to inform marketing strategies. According to Hubspot, Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen X exhibit more enthusiasm for shopping via social media platforms compared to Baby Boomers. Gen Z takes the lead with 23%, closely followed by Millennials at 21%. In contrast, Gen X accounts for 13%, while Baby Boomers lag significantly behind at 3%. Among those interested in online shopping, 28% of Gen Z and Millennials have made direct purchases through social media, with 18% of Gen X also participating, whereas only 4% of Boomers engage in social shopping.

Gen Z is dominating the realm of social shopping. This is probably in part because they grew up in such a technologically advanced era. This generation is using social media platforms as search engines in order to discover brands and their shopping behavior indicates that though they are buying fewer items, they are buying items with a high value. For all generations, posting high quality content on organic and paid social media channels, setting up social media storefronts, and tagging products are great ways to build trust, especially with the Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers who browse but do not always commit to making a purchase on social platforms. It’s important to remember that even if social ecommerce isn’t the preferred channel for transacting purchases, it can be an important part of the path to purchase in other channels. So a good social ecommerce strategy is cross-generational.

Challenges and considerations for brands

Social ecommerce, the amalgamation of social media and ecommerce, represents a dynamic frontier for brands seeking innovative ways to connect with consumers and optimize their marketing strategies. As with any new frontier, there will be both opportunities and bumpy roads ahead. 

Through data analytics and tracking tools embedded in social platforms, social ecommerce provides valuable insights into consumer behavior and preferences for brands. This information includes user interactions and engagement patterns as well as purchasing history that can help companies identify opportunities for improvement. Effective businesses will often use this data to segment their target audience so they can deliver content that has been personalized to meet individual tastes and wants. As a result, businesses develop stronger customer relationships resulting in brand loyalty.

However, despite its promises, social ecommerce also presents a range of challenges. One significant hurdle is the saturation and competitiveness of social media platforms, which makes it difficult for brands to cut through noise and attract consumer attention. One way for brands to do this is by doubling down on personalization to ensure relevance and increase the likelihood of grabbing consumers’ attention. Additionally, ever-changing algorithms adopted by different networks together with rules governing advertising create another, requiring companies to continuously realign their tactics. One potential solution is for brands to focus on building a strong foundation for their marketing strategy. This may include: 

  • Diversifying advertising on social platforms: This can help mitigate the impact of sudden algorithm changes on any single platform.
  • Audience engagement: Actively engaging with the audience on social media can help brands build a strong community that will continue to engage with their content regardless of algorithm changes, mitigating the impact.
  • Analytics and data: Regularly analyze advertising data and performance by conducting A/B testing to understand what strategies are most effective. This data-driven approach can help you optimize your tactics in response to algorithm changes.

Moreover, privacy concerns and data security issues are paramount considerations in the realm of social ecommerce. When collecting consumer information for personalization purposes, transparency, consent, and data protection must be observed to maintain consumer trust and compliance with regulatory requirements. If not properly addressed, these issues can not only damage the reputation of a brand but also lead to legal implications. Brands that wish to use social ecommerce should therefore put in place strong data governance practices and ethical principles so that they may protect consumer privacy while enhancing trust with consumers. 

Read more: Is SEO the secret to social media success? It could be.

Even though there are numerous opportunities for brands to foster engagement and sales through social ecommerce, marketers must exercise strategic, holistic approaches that consider both opportunities and potential obstacles.

Embrace the social media shopping revolution

The emergence of social ecommerce signifies a paradigm change in the way companies interact with customers and conduct online sales. Marketers can turn their feeds into dynamic markets that increase engagement, encourage loyalty, and increase revenue by utilizing social media’s power and embracing social shopping technologies. With the boundaries between social media and ecommerce becoming increasingly hazy, the future of shopping is in our hands as our feeds transform into virtual marketplaces.

Are you ready to grow your strategy for marketing? Get in contact with us, and together, we can begin converting your social feed into a dynamic marketplace that drives results. 

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The future is now: Leveraging AI prompt engineering

Ever felt like you’ve squeezed every creative drop out of your content calendar? Struggling to brainstorm fresh campaign ideas? Need help turning numbers into actionable insight? Welcome to the age of AI prompt engineering, a technique that empowers you to unlock the potential of powerful generative AI tools.

Think of tools like ChatGPT, Bard, or Copilot as the next evolution of search engines. Instead of simply returning relevant web pages, they can generate creative text formats, translate languages, write different kinds of creative content, complete complex math equations, and even assist with coding tasks — all based on the prompts you provide.

What is prompt engineering?

Imagine having a powerful conversation partner with access to a vast library of information. This is essentially what you get with AI-powered language models. However, just like any good conversation, the quality of the interaction hinges on how you initiate it. This is where prompt engineering comes in.

Prompts are the instructions you provide to the AI, guiding it toward the specific outcome you desire. The more precise and well-crafted your prompt is, the more helpful and relevant the AI’s response will be.

Think of it like searching a library. A vague query like “find something interesting” will yield a mountain of irrelevant results. However, a focused prompt like “find books on the history of artificial intelligence published in the last year that are also available in ebook format” leads you directly to the information you seek.

These language models are trained on massive amounts of text data, giving them the ability to predict the next word in a sequence and understand the nuances of human conversation. They learn and adapt as you interact with them. That’s why providing the right prompt from the outset is crucial for unlocking the full potential of this powerful technology.

How are content marketers using prompt engineering in 2024?

One of generative AI’s most relied-on (and perhaps most controversial) uses in 2024 is content creation. Simple AI tools like Grammarly can run spelling and copy-editing checks, but a handful of tools take things a huge step further. Consider the following benefits of using AI for content creation, along with some engineered AI prompts that might help inspire content creators when using generative tools like ChatGPT:

Streamline content creation

Prompt-based AI can help you brainstorm new blog posts, generate product descriptions, craft engaging social media captions, and even write website copy in different tones and styles. 

Example prompts for content creation: 

  • “Create a listicle blog post with 10 engaging tips for businesses to leverage social media marketing in 2024.”
  • “Write a personalized email campaign for customers who haven’t purchased in the past three months, offering exclusive deals and re-engaging them with our brand.”
AI prompts can support content creation.

Banish writer’s block

Hit a creative wall? AI can help you jumpstart your writing process. Use it to generate outlines, suggest alternative phrasing, simplify technical terms, or even draft entire sections based on your initial ideas.

Example prompts to get the creative juices flowing: 

  • “Continue this paragraph about the benefits of using explainer videos in marketing campaigns, focusing on increased engagement and improved conversion rates.”
  • “Explain the concept of blockchain technology clearly and concisely, suitable for a general audience with no prior technical knowledge. Use simple language and relatable examples.”
AP prompts can inspire creativity

Diversify content formats

Expand your content repertoire beyond traditional text. Use generative AI prompts to create scripts for explainer videos, product descriptions in a conversational tone, or even catchy email subject lines.

Example prompts to expand your content’s range:

  • “Write a 2-minute script for an explainer video that introduces the key features and benefits of our new productivity software, targeting busy entrepreneurs.”
  • “Generate five engaging email subject lines promoting our upcoming webinar on social media marketing best practices, using a sense of urgency and highlighting the potential benefits for subscribers.”
AI prompt can help you diversify content creation.

A word on risk: Responsible use of AI-generated content

It’s important to remember that AI-generated content is a powerful tool, but it’s not a replacement for human expertise and is often easily detectable to human readers. Here are some key considerations:

  • Fact-check and edit: AI-generated content may not always be factually accurate. Always double-check the information and edit for clarity, tone, and brand consistency.
  • Prioritize ethical considerations: Be mindful of potential biases in the training data of AI models. Use prompts that promote inclusivity and avoid reinforcing stereotypes.
  • Maintain human editorial oversight: The human touch remains essential. Use AI as a springboard for creativity, not a crutch for critical thinking.

Another essential risk of AI content creation: sinking your site in the SERPs. Google’s most recent core algorithm update in March 2024 has caused significant volatility for sites with AI-created content. Proceed with caution and ensure you are using AI responsibly to avoid being penalized in the SERPs.

Beyond content creation: Using AI as your technical teammate

While content creation support can be a benefit of prompt engineering, AI offers all kinds of technical applications for marketers and growth leaders. Let’s explore how leveraging AI can go far beyond catchy headlines and blog posts:

Unveil customer insights with statistical modeling

Gone are the days of gut feeling or intuition driving marketing decisions. AI tools can analyze vast amounts of customer data to identify trends, predict customer behavior, and inform targeted marketing strategies.

Example prompts for uncovering actionable insights:

  • “Using historical sales data and customer demographics, develop a statistical model to identify which customer segments are most likely to respond positively to our upcoming discount promotion.”
  • “Analyze customer sentiment from social media conversations and online reviews to identify areas of customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction with our brand, focusing on recurring themes and potential areas for improvement.”
Using the right AI prompts can help draw insight from collected data.

Forecast future success (and slowdowns) with sales prediction

Predicting future sales performance is crucial for strategic planning. Marketers can utilize AI to analyze market trends, competitor activity, and historical sales data to generate accurate sales forecasts.

Example prompts to help you look ahead and see what might be around the corner:

  • “Based on current market conditions, competitor analysis, and historical sales trends, predict our sales figures for the upcoming quarter, incorporating a best-case, mid-range, and worst-case scenario.”
  • “Develop a machine learning model that forecasts customer churn based on past purchase history, website activity, and demographic information. Identify customers at risk of churning and implement targeted retention strategies.”
AI prompt engineering can inform future predictions and modeling.

Automate routine tasks

Marketers often spend valuable time on repetitive tasks like creating basic website landing pages or email marketing templates. AI can streamline these processes by generating basic code snippets based on your specifications.

Example prompts for automating routine tasks:

  • “Generate the HTML code for a simple landing page promoting our new e-book, featuring a signup form and a product description with a clear call to action button.”
  • “Create a Python script that automates the process of generating email marketing campaigns based on pre-defined templates, dynamically inserting personalized customer data and product recommendations.”
The right AI prompts can help you automate routine tasks.

Leave the numbers up to the experts. Learn more about Data Strategy services from Tallwave.

The art of the effective AI prompt

Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of prompt engineering potential, here are some key tips to ensure you get the most out of your AI collaborator:

  • Clarity is key: The more specific and clear your prompts are, the better the AI will understand your intent and deliver the desired output. Avoid ambiguity and focus on providing all the necessary context.
  • Start simple, refine gradually: Don’t overwhelm yourself with overly complex prompts initially. Start with basic instructions and gradually refine them based on the AI’s response.
  • Embrace iteration: The beauty of prompt engineering lies in its iterative nature. Experiment with different prompts for the same task and see what generates the best results.
  • Leverage examples and templates: Many AI tools offer built-in templates or successful prompt examples from other users. Utilize these resources as a starting point for your own prompts.
  • Remember context is king: The more context you provide about your target audience, brand voice, and desired outcome, the better the AI can tailor its response.
  • Think like a teacher: Imagine you’re instructing a student on how to complete a task. Frame your prompts in a clear, concise, and easy-to-understand manner.

Balancing efficiency and ethics in AI

AI has become a powerful tool in the marketer’s arsenal, promising to streamline tasks and unlock new levels of efficiency with perfectly engineered prompts. However, this exciting new frontier comes with a responsibility to ensure its ethical and responsible use. 

At its core, AI ethics is a framework of moral principles that guide the development and use of artificial intelligence. Organizations like UNESCO are actively creating guidelines to address potential issues like bias and misuse.  

Why should marketers care about ethics in AI? While these tools can be performance game-changers, neglecting ethical considerations can lead to brand damage, legal problems, and even product failures.  

Understanding key concerns like data privacy, fairness, and potential biases within algorithms is crucial for navigating the ethical landscape of AI marketing. By acknowledging these challenges and taking proactive steps, marketers can leverage the power of AI responsibly, safeguarding their brand reputation and building trust with customers in the process.

Embrace the future of digital marketing with Tallwave

While AI offers undeniable power and efficiency gains, it’s crucial to remember that marketing is ultimately a human endeavor. The ability to understand customer needs, craft compelling narratives, and build genuine connections remains irreplaceable. The key lies in striking a harmonious balance between cutting-edge AI tools and the irreplaceable human touch.

This is where Tallwave comes in. We can help you navigate the exciting world of prompt engineering, empowering you to leverage the strengths of AI while ensuring your marketing efforts resonate with a human audience. By working together, we can unlock the full potential of AI marketing, achieving success that’s both ethical and impactful. Let’s talk.

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Customer Engagement News Paid Media Product Design Reaching New Customers SEO Strategy

Building a business-ready website: Beyond the surface of your website strategy

In the fast-evolving digital landscape, a website is more than a digital brand extension— it’s a dynamic tool that can either advance or inhibit business. Creating a high-performing website requires moving beyond surface-level aesthetics to consider the functionality required to meet business goals effectively.

A website is arguably the most persistent external expression of a brand and one of the hardest working tools in the digital marketing arsenal. It’s the digital front door of your business and a frequent destination for customers at multiple points in their journeys. And yet, website strategy is often only skin deep, focused heavily on how a website looks rather than on how it functions. And it’s often short-term, considering the roles your website plays for your customers and your business today and note how it will need to evolve to meet needs in the future. When it comes to creating high-performing websites built to go the distance for both brands and customers, three is the magic number. 

The magic triangle: Role, goals, and audience

A triangulated approach that considers roles, goals, and audience can help you plan for successful and sustainable websites. This interconnected approach ensures that the website is not only visually appealing but also aligned with the broader business objectives. Let’s break down the elements:

Role: The purpose of your website

Understanding the role your website plays in your business is the first consideration in this website strategy power trio. At a basic level, websites can play two roles: business-enabling and revenue-driving. 

Business-enabling websites can support your business in a number of ways, including:

  • Acting as a support system for external revenue channels: Business-enabling websites act as a powerful support system for your existing revenue channels, such as your sales force. They don’t directly generate revenue themselves, but they play a critical role in nurturing leads, building brand awareness, and ultimately driving conversions through those external channels.
  • Encouraging high-value microconversions: While not the final sale, business-enabling websites excel at capturing high-value microconversions. These actions represent significant steps forward in the customer journey, indicating a prospect’s growing interest in your brand. Examples include lead capture forms, content downloads (e.g., white papers, ebooks), and newsletter signups.
  • Fueling the customer journey: Business-enabling websites are instrumental in moving potential customers through the buyer’s journey and down the sales funnel. By providing valuable content, educational resources, and clear calls to action, these websites nurture leads, build trust, and position your brand as a leader in your industry.

On the other hand, revenue-driving websites support transactions and encourage conversion, directly contributing to a brand’s bottom line. Consider how revenue-driving websites can support your business:

  • Acting as a revenue generating powerhouse platform: Revenue-driving websites are the engines that directly power your business’s revenue generation. These websites are transactional in nature, facilitating online purchases and financial transactions. Examples include traditional e-commerce stores selling physical goods, food delivery platforms where customers can order meals, travel booking websites where users can reserve flights and accommodations, and service-oriented e-commerce sites.
  • Encouraging transactions: The primary function of revenue-driving websites is to facilitate secure and seamless online transactions. This includes features like shopping carts, secure payment gateways, and clear order fulfillment processes.
  • Suiting your needs: Revenue-driving websites encompass a wide range of e-commerce models. From traditional product sales through an online store to service-based transactions, these websites cater to a variety of industries and customer needs.

Clearly defining whether your website plays a business-enabling or revenue-driving role for your business sets the foundation for the subsequent decisions in your strategy, from critical KPIs to key features and functionality, necessary integrations, and more. It also sets the stage for the expectations users will have when visiting your website.

Goals: What you seek to accomplish with your website

Now that you understand the role your website plays in your business, it’s time to define your website goals. You might consider setting these objectives with SMART goals: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

Website goals will vary depending on your website’s role and your overall business objectives. 

Consider the following examples:

  • Business-enabling website goals:
    • Generate a set number of qualified leads per month
    • Increase brand awareness and website traffic
    • Drive event registrations or webinar signups
    • Improve content engagement through downloads or shares
  • Revenue-driving website goals:
    • Increase online sales by a specific percentage
    • Grow average order value
    • Reduce cart abandonment rates
    • Improve customer lifetime value

Establishing clear and measurable website goals can help you track progress, identify areas for improvement, and ensure that your website strategy aligns directly with your business objectives.

Audience: Who your website is speaking to

Your target audience plays a critical role in shaping your website’s design, content, information architecture, and functionality. Here’s why understanding your audience analysis is vital when thinking about website strategy:

  • Tailored user experience: By understanding your audience’s needs, preferences, and online behavior, you can create a user experience (UX) that resonates with them. This translates to a website that’s easy to navigate, informative, and facilitates desired actions, ultimately influencing conversion rates.
  • Content strategy alignment: Knowing your audience empowers you to develop a content strategy that truly connects. This means crafting content that addresses their pain points, interests them, and guides them through the buying journey.
  • Personalization potential: Audience insights can unlock personalization opportunities. This could involve tailoring website elements, product recommendations, or even entire landing pages to specific audience segments, leading to a more relevant and engaging experience.
  • Search engine visibility: Understanding your audience paves the way for essential SEO optimizations fueled by linguistic profiling and search journey analysis. Implementing data-driven optimizations based on these findings can improve search engine rankings and organic visibility for your business.

Learn more about SEO and other Integrated Digital Marketing Services from Tallwave.

Having a clear understanding of your target audience is the bridge that connects your website’s features and functionality with the user experience that drives results. Effective audience analysis involves:

  • Buyer persona development: Create detailed profiles of your ideal customers, including demographics, valuegraphics, needs, challenges, and preferred online behavior.
  • Website analytics review: Utilize website traffic data to understand visitor demographics, interests, and content consumption patterns.
  • Market research: Conduct market research to gain insights into broader industry trends and competitor audience strategies.

By combining these methods, you can create a comprehensive understanding of your target audience and leverage that knowledge to build a website that truly resonates with them.

Evaluating your website’s business readiness: Beyond the surface

While websites serve as prominent brand outposts, often acting as the initial point, their multifaceted nature can pose a challenge. Teams can get caught up in the aesthetics – visuals, interactive elements, and the like – neglecting to truly get under the hood and identify underlying strengths and opportunities.

Before you put your website to work, it’s essential to get down to business and review your site under the following lenses:

  • Technical infrastructure: Is the website’s technical foundation robust enough to support your business goals seamlessly, both today and into the future? This includes aspects like website speed, mobile-friendliness, security measures, and content delivery efficiency.
  • Customer experience (CX): Does the customer journey feel intuitive and cater to your target audience’s needs? Assess whether the website is optimized for high-value conversions aligned with your business objectives.
  • Accessibility: Is your website accessible for users with disabilities? Ensure that your website’s design and content adhere to WCAG guidelines. This means implementing features like alt text for images, keyboard navigation options, and proper headings.
  • Navigation paths and flows: Does your website seamlessly guide visitors toward their next steps, building upon interactions with other digital touchpoints in your brand ecosystem? A well-structured website anticipates user intent and facilitates a smooth journey towards conversions.
  • Design: Does the website effectively reflect your brand identity? Validate your website against your brand guidelines to determine if the visual elements, as well as content, are applied consistently across all pages.
  • Marketing and sales strategy alignment: Is your website an active participant in driving your marketing and sales efforts? It is important to make sure your website integrates with your marketing automation tools, facilitates lead capture, and effectively supports your sales funnel. It’s also critical to ensure the content management system on which your website is built supports the frequency with which updates may need to be made and the level of technical skill of those who will be responsible for making them.

This multifaceted evaluation approach can help uncover hidden roadblocks and optimization opportunities that ensure your website is not just visually appealing but strategically positioned to support your business goals.

Ongoing optimizations: Sustainable website strategy

Your website is a living entity, not a static brochure. Don’t “set it and forget it.” To maintain your website’s strategic effectiveness, you must plan for ongoing and iterative optimizations. Here are some key practices to keep in mind post-launch:

  • A/B testing: Test different website elements, like headlines, call-to-action buttons, or page layouts, to see what resonates best with your audience and drives conversions.
  • Data-driven decision-making: Leverage website analytics and user behavior data to inform website improvements and prioritize resources effectively.
  • SEO optimizations and content enhancements: Regularly update your website content with fresh, keyword-rich, relevant information to maintain user engagement and improve search engine ranking.
  • Mobile-first approach: Even in B2B scenarios, first contact often happens in the palms of your customers’ hands. Ensure your website is responsive and optimized for mobile devices.
  • Security maintenance: Regularly update your website’s security measures to protect user data and website functionality, especially when relying on cloud-based tools and data storage.

A well-defined website strategy is no longer optional – it’s a necessity. By understanding the role your website plays in your business strategy, your target audience, and your desired goals, you can create a website that is not just visually appealing, but strategically designed to drive impactful results.

And you don’t have to go at it alone. Tallwave is eager to create website strategy solutions that align with your consumers and meet them where they are when they need you most. Let’s talk.

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Customer Engagement News Product Design Uncategorized UX Design

It’s never the end: Continuously evolving product improvement

About this series: Great products are built using good problem-solving, and the best way to solve problems is to define needs and then meet them in every user interaction. Alignment across teams and channels ensures that expectations are set correctly and delivered on effectively at every stage of the user journey. Great design starts way back at defining the problem and extends through the entire product lifecycle, continuing long after launch and into the ongoing iterations of product development. Great design is a cornerstone for great products, driving great business, and creating opportunity. Read on to learn how ongoing iteration and innovation in the product design process makes great product design and the business value it creates sustainable. If you missed the first two installments, be sure to check out the other blogs in our series: 

The design journey continues post-launch

Embarking on a successful product launch is a journey that requires planning, strategic collaboration, and continuous improvement. Crafting an effective launch strategy is the foundation, involving comprehensive market research, targeted messaging, and utilizing diverse marketing channels to build awareness and demand. Integrating a motivated and informed team becomes paramount as the launch unfolds, fostering a collaborative environment where each member contributes to the product’s success. Post-launch, the journey doesn’t end; it transforms into a dynamic cycle of continuous improvement. User feedback emerges as a guiding force, steering the development team toward iterative enhancements that align with evolving user needs. The importance of great design in this phase cannot be overstated, as design systems, seamless handoffs, and branding alignment contribute to a visually cohesive and engaging user experience. 

Crafting effective launch strategies for product success

Launching a new product is challenging and the foundation for success is laid in the earliest stages of product development with a well-thought-out strategy centered around a clear and strong problem statement. That problem statement should provide connective tissue through the product development process and into planning for the product launch, including product positioning and go-to-marketing messaging. Ensuring that your product strategy as a whole is driven by a clear problem statement will help ensure consistency and alignment at every stage of the product journey. Additionally, you must leverage the right mix of marketing channels based on your target audience’s preferences and behaviors, such as social media, email, and influencers. This ensures a broad reach and sustained interest leading up to the launch. This comprehensive approach creates excitement and establishes a strong foundation for the product’s success in the market.

An effective internal launch paves the way for a successful external launch. Creating buzz and anticipation across your cross-functional team is a crucial aspect of a successful product launch. A cohesive team that is well-informed and motivated can significantly impact the outcome. Communication is key; share the vision, goals, and milestones with your team to foster a sense of unity and purpose. This will ensure that a single vision will be promoted across the team and translate seamlessly into the customer experience. When every person on the team knows how the pitch will go, they can all use their collective resources to lean into launch.

Allowing team members to contribute their unique perspectives by encouraging open dialogue and idea-sharing is also important as you consider external launch. By involving everyone in the process, from marketing and sales to product development, you harness the collective energy and expertise of your team. This collaborative approach not only generates creative ideas, but also ensures that everyone is aligned and committed to the launch’s success. Crafting an effective internal and external launch strategy is a dynamic process that requires adaptability and ongoing assessment to ensure the success of your product in the ever-evolving market.

Learn more about Tallwave’s Digital Experience Design Services.

Driving iteration with user feedback in the continuous improvement process

As a new product is launched to the market, it’s easy to assume that’s where the product team’s job ends and the marketing team’s job begins. But in truth, product launch is a phase that should bring these teams even closer together to bring the product to market while closing the feedback loop to drive continuous product improvement. Following launch, monitoring the performance of the product and features is paramount. This holistic approach to performance evaluation provides valuable insights into customer preferences and behavior. Utilize analytics tools to track key metrics, such as user engagement, conversion rates, and customer feedback. By analyzing the broader landscape, you can adapt your strategies and address any issues that may arise swiftly. 

Continuous improvement is a cornerstone of long-term success, and by keeping a close eye on performance metrics, you can make data-driven decisions to refine your product and marketing strategies for sustained growth. Regular updates and releases based on user insights not only demonstrate responsiveness to customer needs but also foster a sense of trust and loyalty. This iterative approach transforms the product development process into a dynamic, user-centric journey, where each iteration builds upon the last, leading to a more refined and valuable end product.

The role of design in continuous improvement strategies

Great design plays a critical role in driving iteration and responding to user feedback effectively. Design systems provide a framework for consistency, enabling seamless integration of new features while maintaining a cohesive user experience. Additionally, well-managed handoffs between design and development teams streamline the implementation of design changes, reducing friction and accelerating the iteration process. Aligning branding elements across marketing channels and into the product will ensure user expectations are met at every turn. During iterations, a holistic approach to design, design systems, handoffs, and branding alignment ensures that the process is not only efficient but also results in a cohesive and engaging user experience.

Product success factors and the pursuit of excellence

In the ongoing journey of product development, launch is never the end; it’s the beginning and it launches the team into a cycle of perpetual refinement. Our products can exceed audiences’ expectations by embracing user feedback and integrating it into the continuous improvement process. The collaborative spirit within teams and the strategic planning behind launches form the basis of success. Throughout this dynamic journey, it’s important to celebrate the milestones achieved, learn from the challenges faced, and remain committed to the pursuit of innovation. The combination of effective launch strategies, user needs-driven iteration, and thoughtful design ensures that  products stay relevant and evolve into solutions that resonate deeply with users. Here’s to the continuous pursuit of excellence in product development and the exciting possibilities that lie ahead on this ever-evolving path of innovation.

Are you ready to pursue product design excellence with a team that understands cross-functional teams and embraces continuous innovation? We are. Let’s talk.

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News Reaching New Customers Strategy

SEO isn’t dead: How AI and SGE are shaping the future

The artificial intelligence revolution has rocked our world in a few short months. OpenAI launched ChatGPT. Bing released a chat feature. Google opened access to Bard and the experimental Search Generative Experience. As these new tools emerge, almost everything about how we seek, access, and interact with online information changes. And it begs the question…

Could all these AI-enabled changes mean SEO is dead? The answer is a hard no; it’s just different. The days of optimizing websites exclusively for crawlers and bots are far behind us. We, as SEOs and marketers, must embrace the shift toward optimizing websites, content, and online experiences for humans and their information needs. As such, search engine optimization is alive, and will become even more important in your web strategy as AI tools advance in this new era.

Living in the moment: Understanding SEO, AI, and SGE

SEO, AI, and SGE are three of the most important technologies today, and they’re all becoming inseparably linked. AI is already used in a number of ways to improve SEO, from generating high-quality content to identifying and targeting the right keywords. 

As AI develops, it will likely play an even more significant role in SEO, helping businesses reach their target audiences more effectively. By staying ahead of the curve with these technologies and strategies, companies can position themselves for success in the future of search. Before we dive into the details of what comes next for SEO, let’s look at broader definitions and how these technologies and strategies impact each other today.

What is SEO?

SEO (search engine optimization) is nothing new. In fact, both the concept and the term have been part of the web-based world since 1997 — before Google existed. At this time, search engines functioned as directories or virtual yellow pages. And as more consumers adopted the Internet, more businesses became invested in making themselves visible on the Internet.

SEO is a complex and ever-changing field, but it is essential to any online marketing strategy.  Your web presence depends on organic SEO. Traditionally, SEO depends on fundamental factors that increase website traffic and search engine placement, which include:

  • Creating relevant, keyword-optimized content.
  • Optimizing the website’s title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags.
  • Building backlinks from high-quality websites.
  • Ensuring that the website is mobile-friendly.
  • Improving the website’s loading speed.

What is AI?

AI, short for artificial intelligence, is a technology that mimics or simulates human intelligence. There are a variety of applications for AI, from self-driving cars to automated manufacturing processes. Machine learning, deep learning, and cognitive computing all influence how AI works. 

Conversational and generative AI tools like ChatGPT, Bard, and Bing are natural language processing tools and can communicate in a human-like way. They provide information quickly and can generate new text, code, images, and other kinds of creative content.

What is SGE?

SGE stands for Search Generative Experience. It is a new set of search and interface capabilities that integrates generative AI-powered results into Google search engine query responses

SGE is still under development, but it’s designed to make searching for information online even more helpful, instructive, and insightful. By nature, SGE hinges on providing users with a more personalized and conversational experience. It is intended to do this by:

  • Generating concise and informative answers to complex questions.
  • Providing relevant visual content, such as images, charts, and graphs.
  • Suggesting follow-up questions to help users explore their topic of interest further.
  • Translating search results into different languages.

Here are some examples of how SGE can be used:

  • If you search “how to change a tire,” SGE might generate a step-by-step guide with images and videos.
  • If you search for “best restaurants in Phoenix,” SGE might generate a list of restaurants with user reviews and links to their menus.
  • If you search for “what does life even mean?” SGE might generate a summary of different philosophical perspectives on the topic.

SGE is revolutionizing the way we search for information. Using generative AI to produce more personalized and informative results, SGE can help searchers (consumers) find the information they need more quickly and easily.

The current state of SEO: ‘It depends’

We can’t ignore the fact that AI’s emergence and proliferation are rattling to SEO as we traditionally know it. 

According to Search Engine Journal’s 2024 State of SEO report, today’s digital marketers and SEOs expect disruptions from three major trends:

  1. Generative AI
  2. Google’s E-E-A-T ranking criteria
  3. Automation tools 

For many SEO experts, these new and rapidly evolving advances challenge how we think about what it means to optimize for search.  

These concerns check out, too. Google’s recent Helpful Content core algorithm update, which began rolling out in August and has extended into September 2023, is making one fact glaringly obvious: SEO no longer means optimizing content and website experiences for search engine crawlers and the only way to win top-ranking spots, boost CTR, gain qualified organic traffic (and lift conversions) is to optimize for the human experience.

While AI, generative tools, and even search algorithms gain a better understanding of what kind of content is helpful and informative to people, the notion of keyword-stuffed web copy created just for search engines is on its way out, and helpful content written by people, for people, has gained momentum as what it takes to win in the competitive SEO space. 

Welcome to the future: Embracing content strategy with SEO, SGE, and AI in mind

As more web users turn to AI and SGE tools to do research and make informed decisions, it is increasingly important to be visible to searchers no matter the medium they’re using and aware of how your business is perceived by both artificial and human intelligence in this new virtual realm. 

The only way to achieve this goal and prepare for future advancements is to embrace a website content strategy intricately interwoven with forward-focused SEO. This is evident with each Google core algorithm update as they increasingly move toward rewarding sites that relay information in an easy-to-understand, conversational, and unbiased tone.

Next steps for content strategy, SEO and SGE success

It might sound counter-intuitive, but embracing an organic content strategy with a human element is vital to success in today’s AI-driven landscape as SGE emerges. This especially rings true when your business and website tie into YMYL (your money or your life) topics like health, medicine, finance, and current events.

Google’s algorithms are designed to reward websites that provide high-quality content that is informative, comprehensive, and relevant to users. To appeal to Google’s E-E-A-T criteria, comply with Google’s Helpful Content updates, and succeed in SGE, businesses need to focus on creating content that is genuinely helpful to humans with UX and CX in mind. There are a few ways to accomplish this:

  • Understand your customers’ journey. Linguistic profiling and search journey analysis can help you define your target audience’s journey.  Where are they in their conversion journey? Understanding their needs and offering solutions improves their experience on-site and with your brand.
  • Write for your target audience. Before you start writing, take some time to think about your target audience. What are their needs and interests? What kind of content would they find helpful? What are the values that drive their decision-making?
  • Do your research. Make sure that your content is accurate and up-to-date. Cite your sources and link to other relevant content.
  • Be clear and concise. Get to the point quickly and avoid using jargon.
  • Write in a conversational tone. Imagine that you’re talking to a friend or colleague.
  • Break up your text with images, videos, and headings. This will make your content easier to read and scan.

Does this sound familiar? We’ve touched on the factors you see above before and it’s helped drive success landing at “position zero” in the SERPs. Learn more about featured snippets in SEO strategy.

Take the next steps in SEO and SGE now

AI is poised to revolutionize SEO, empowering businesses to reach their target audiences with unprecedented precision. Businesses must ethically embrace AI and other innovative technologies and position themselves as leaders in this rapidly evolving field. This requires an online strategy inextricably linked to forward-thinking SEO created by humans for humans.

Offering SEO solutions and website and content strategy is just part of how Tallwave wants to drive your success. As a leader in providing integrated marketing solutions and more to both established and up-and-coming brands, Tallwave is ready to deploy our customer-centric and cohesive approach in a way that is unique to your vision and creates exceptional experiences for consumers of all kinds. 


From conversion rate optimization to paid media services to product design and beyond, we’re ready to partner up and strategically future-proof your digital strategies.

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News

Do You Hate the New Instagram Update? You’re Not Alone

Updated April 25, 2023

When it comes to social media, things are ever-changing. The popular photo- and video-sharing app Instagram is just one example. Instagram updates have shifted from prioritizing photos to videos and back to photos again over just a few short months. Do these shifts mean Instagram lost touch with its user base? Maybe. Learn more about how the app is fighting to find its way back to its roots in 2023.

How is Instagram Changing in 2023

Over the summer of 2022, Instagram attempted to tap into the increasing popularity of TikTok by pushing more video “Reels” to users and serving fewer photos in feeds. Both content creators and content consumers pushed back and, once again, Instagram announced a change.

February 2023: Instagram Brings Back Balance

The new year brought even more changes to Instagram. And this time users are rejoicing. As of February 2023, the app has seemingly gone back to its roots. A recent update removes the Reels button from its center position and instead places the plus icon (Compose button) in this prime placement. This screen real estate swap might suggest the app is once again prioritizing photos posted to grids over video Reels in users’ feeds.

This isn’t just speculation. Instagram head Adam Mosseri confirmed the app’s shift in focus in a series of questions and answers posted to his Stories in January 2023.

“I think we were overfocused on video in 2022 and pushed ranking too far, and basically showed too many videos and not enough photos. We’ve since balanced, so things like how often someone likes photos versus videos, and how often someone comments on photos versus videos, are roughly equal, which is a good sign that things are balanced.” 

— Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram

You can view Mosseri’s responses in the “AMA” circle in Mosseri’s Stories Highlights. 

March 2023: Additional Changes Came in Like a Lion

March brought a shakeup in how creators can identify themselves and gain clout on Instagram. Meta Verified launched in the U.S., turning the coveted blue checkmark into a paid subscription feature. The verification service is currently available to celebrities, public figures, and well-known brands.

“Verified” creators will have increased protection against account impersonation and access to “real-person” tech support. Perhaps most importantly, Meta Verified also promises subscribers “increased reach and visibility.” This means that the content creators who “pay to play” will have their content shown more in searches, comments, and recommendations.

Meta Verified seems to have garnered a few negative reactions from social media users. Twitter user Ahmed Younis (@ahmdpress) replied to MetaNewsroom’s announcement and asserted that “now you can’t protect yourself without paying.” Other replies to the announcement include questions about why Meta prioritized launching the verification service before responding to “major tech issues” on Facebook and why those who do paid advertising on the platforms don’t have access to the same level of support.

Users and creators have noticed other, unannounced changes that came with the March 16, 2023, update, including algorithm tweaks that change how content is pushed to app users. For example, creators have found that the updated Instagram algorithm seems to prefer and more predominantly feature video content edited in the app rather than on another platform, like TikTok or CapCut. Additionally, creators have found the new algorithm seems to favor daily grid posts and multiple Stories shared at specific times throughout the day.

Many users have noticed that algorithm tweaks changed how content is displayed in their feeds. Some content creators have taken to Reddit to seek solutions as their audience reach and engagement dropped after the March updates. Other users are pleased with the updates as their feeds are now chronological and feature more photos and content from the creators they follow as opposed to sponsored content and recommendations.

These anecdotal changes are defined in a TikTok video shared by Design Driven Media CEO Michelle Daboul. In the video, which has garnered nearly 2 million views, she asserts that the new Instagram algorithm changes support the fact that the app now considers itself an SEO platform. Instagram is increasingly making it easier for creators to optimize their profiles and content to leverage keywords which can increase the likelihood of showing up on in-app search features.

As the app shifts direction and more changes are implemented, paid media buyers and advertisers also have an opportunity to change course to achieve balance. Depending on user base and customer preferences, advertisers might opt to prioritize image ads and carousel ads as the app’s focus shifts away from Reels. Brands might opt for verification to increase reach and support paid placements. Advertisers might implement new strategies based on changing organic factors as well.

While photo-focused app users are celebrating the new balance and the way content is delivered to users, it is important to remember why Instagram decided to go back to the basics while pushing forward with other changes. Let’s take a look at what happened to Instagram in 2022 to understand why the spotlight has shifted to a more balanced and consumer-driven user experience.

What Happened to Instagram in Summer 2022?

The changes Instagram users saw in 2022 sparked outrage among many users, including Kylie Jenner who has over 301 million followers. These changes prioritize “recommended videos,” filling users’ feeds with videos from accounts that may not be relevant to the user instead of content from accounts they follow. Instagram is also pushing out video “Reels” instead of photos, which means a lot of content goes unseen by users, further upsetting content creators and users alike.

Why Has Instagram Made All of These Changes?

The short answer is: TikTok. Earlier this year, Meta (formally Facebook) announced that users are spending less time on its platforms and that they expect revenue growth to slow. This caused Meta’s stocks to drop 26%, resulting in a loss of  $232 billion. Meta chief, Mark Zuckerberg, said on the company’s call with investors in February, “People have a lot of choices for how they want to spend their time, and apps like TikTok are growing very quickly. And this is why our focus on Reels is so important over the long term.”

TikTok has done a great job engaging younger audiences with short-form videos and increasing their time spent on the app. This has been made possible with TikTok’s unique algorithm, which learns how each individual uses the platform and feeds them content accordingly. The more time you spend on the app, the more the app will understand which videos to show you. Cue the Instagram changes. At a high level, both platforms are serving video content to users based on their behaviors. So why is Instagram drawing backlash from users for taking a page from TikTok’s playbook? It’s all about the value proposition each offers for users. TikTok was designed as a video-centric platform, so recommending exclusively video content based on user behavior is consistent with what users expect from the platform. By contrast, Instagram started as a photo sharing platform allowing users to connect with friends and family through sharing images. By not just introducing video, but prioritizing video (including video from accounts users don’t follow) over photos from accounts users follow, Instagram’s changes undermine the value proposition for many of their users.

After user backlash this past summer, Instagram took a step back on video prioritization. But that doesn’t mean Reels are a thing of the past in 2023. These short-form videos are still an important part of the app experience, just now with more photo balance based on user preferences.

What Does This Mean for Paid Media?

While the changes to Instagram have been on the organic side of the platform, they could have a chilling effect on users that impacts paid advertising on the platform. If users decide to leave Instagram over the changes the platform is making, this could dramatically decrease the reach of advertisers. Additionally, if advertisers want to be effective on Instagram, they would need to modify their ad content to keep up with the changes Instagram is making. Video has proven to be a priority for Instagram, specifically videos made to fit into Reels, so advertisers would need to make ads tailored to Reels if they want to remain effective. Not only would videos need to be reformatted for a vertical  9:16 ratio but they would need to capture attention quickly which might mean using trending audio, a trending dance, or a trending challenge.

Lastly, if Instagram does in fact become more and more like TikTok, advertisers may need to shift their advertising strategy within Instagram. Users have been drawn to TikTok because they can sit on the app and scroll for hours while being entertained by video. While TikTok successfully launched ads in early 2019, the ads have shown to be great for brand awareness. A study by MediaScience® showed that TikTok ads drive strong brand recall and positive sentiment across various view durations. Brand awareness is great, but Instagram has done a  great job at driving direct conversions. If Instagram continues down this path to be similar to TikTok, ads on Instagram may not perform as well as they used to in the past in terms of CVR or ROAS. This is most likely because users are not as likely to click on an ad and make a purchase while they’re being entertained by videos, similar to YouTube, another platform great for awareness, but not as great for direct conversions.

Keep in mind that there is still value in video even after the 2023 changes. Instagram users who prefer video content certainly still exist. These consumers still interact with and make decisions influenced by Reels, even as the app pushes more photos. A holistic and data-driven social media strategy can ensure advertisers balance consumer preferences and content placements for maximum results.

What Should Advertisers Do?

Instagram is still an important platform to advertise on so advertisers must be prepared to adapt if they want their media dollars to be impactful on this channel. Instagram is a well-established, highly effective platform that reaches 1 billion users monthly, whereas TikTok reaches 689 million monthly users by comparison, and 72% of Instagram users cite that they have purchased a product they’ve seen on Instagram. Being able to leverage Instagram alongside TikTok is the key to success. This will help ensure a wide reach among advertisers’ target audiences and exposure on a platform with proven results.

To continue success on Instagram advertisers need to stay up to date with the changes that Instagram is making and the overall trends with social media channels. This is a great time to start creating videos specifically for Instagram Reels and testing them in Reels-only campaigns. While Instagram has delayed some of the rollouts they had planned due to the backlash, it isn’t likely that they will stop pushing Reels. Advertisers need to get ahead of the curve and shift their strategy to align with Instagram’s shifting strategy. It’s in the best interest of advertisers to align their social media ad content with Instagram’s ambition to push Reels as they try to stay competitive with TikTok. Pro Tip: most trends find their way on both platforms.

As social media platforms shift and algorithms are updated, maintaining a strategic paid social media approach hinges on content and placements. For some businesses, that might be a balance between Instagram photos and Reels. Numbers tell the story and can inform advertising investment decisions. 

Ready to learn more about getting the most sizzle for your social media spend? Tallwave offers truly integrated CX services, covering everything from conversion rate optimization to data strategy to paid media. Reach out to see how we can help you strike a balance.

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Customer Engagement News Reaching New Customers Strategy

Stabilizing Your Facebook Advertising Strategy Post-iOS 14.5 Release

On Monday, April 26, Apple released iOS 14.5, the first version of the operating system to enforce Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) policies. ATT requires iOS users to opt in to share their unique Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA), a randomly assigned user-specific identifier with app developers. This would, in turn, allow advertisers serving ads within those apps with the data needed to personalize ads and track performance across platforms, from view to click all the way through to conversion. In anticipation of this change and other privacy regulations, players across the digital advertising space have been responding with changes of their own. Most notably, Facebook has made significant changes to its conversion tracking and application settings.

A month after the iOS 14.5 release, opt-in rates for US-based users is sitting at 6% and Facebook advertisers are starting to feel the effects in the form of increased conversion costs, loss of attribution data, and new challenges to ad targeting and lookalike audience building. If you’re grappling with the impacts of the iOS 14.5 release and ATT enforcement on your Facebook ad campaigns, here are some key considerations and recommendations to help you navigate through the immediate challenges and set a course for a smoother road ahead.

Facebook users are a no less valuable audience to your marketing strategy now than they were before.

Stabilizing Steps to Take Today

Secure Ownership of Your Facebook Accounts

Previously inherent capabilities to track movement between your website and Facebook will no longer be available and pixels previously put in place to support user targeting and conversion tracking will no longer be as effective. This is where ownership over your Facebook account and business website become critical. In the past, agencies have commonly created digital marketing accounts for clients – including Facebook Business Managers and ad accounts – under agency ownership. The benefits have been increased speed, reduced burden on clients who may not have resources available to manage account setup, and the benefit of agency history with the platforms, which eliminated spend thresholds and other speed bumps in the path of rapid execution and performance. The implications of iOS 14.5 have created the need to shift ownership from agency to business in order to reconnect some critical dots:

  • Your Facebook account and business website can’t effectively speak to each other until your website is claimed through your Facebook Business Manager account. This will allow cross-platform performance tracking and change how your web links appear on your Facebook page. This is also a requirement for configuring conversion events, which are used by Facebook’s machine learning to drive better targeting, optimization, and performance measurement.
  • The Facebook Conversions API can be put in place to enable tracking and optimizing for conversions outside of Facebook, like purchases made on your website or a Shopify account, among others. It can also mitigate the effects of losing access to 28-day click, 28-day view, and 7-day view attribution windows, which will no longer be supported. However, the API cannot be implemented when ownership of Facebook pages, Business Manager accounts and ad accounts are split between business and their partner agencies.

Keep a Customer-centric Focus

While the ability to track based on audience behaviors may be changing, the behaviors themselves are not. If you were finding success with Facebook users before iOS 14.5, resist the urge to move away from Facebook based purely on trackability. The known habits, behaviors, and preferences of your audience should always be the guiding force behind your marketing mix. Bottom line: Facebook users are a no less valuable audience to your marketing strategy now than they were before. What’s changed is the way users are tracked and attributed and how to interpret the value of that data.

Also read: Data Driven Insights Into the Evolving Customer Experience

Consolidate Campaigns and Conversion Events

With Facebook shortening attribution settings to 7-day click and 1-day view by default, fewer conversions are being tracked and more scale will be needed to move ads through the learning phase toward performance-driving optimization. The larger the number of campaigns, ad sets, and ads businesses are running, the fewer impressions served and conversions achieved, making it harder to hit an even higher bar for scale. Consolidating campaigns, ad sets, and ads as much as possible will create efficiencies during the ad learning phases, helping drive performance more quickly.

Additionally, advertisers will need to consolidate and prioritize the events being tracked within Facebook’s event manager. Domains are now limited to no more than 8 website conversion events. If your campaigns are being optimized for more than 8 conversion events across the same domain, you’ll need to narrow down to the 8 or fewer conversion events most critical to your marketing objectives and configure them in Facebook’s Aggregated Event Measurement tool. Once your 8 or fewer conversion events have been selected, they must be put in priority order with the most valuable action first and the least valuable action last. The priority of the events will come into play when and if a user takes multiple actions with the 7 day conversion window. For example, if a user adds a product to a cart (achieving one conversion event) and leaves the site without completing the purchase only to return the next day after being served a retargeting ad and completes the purchase at that point (achieving another conversion event with a higher priority), the purchase event will show in Facebook’s event manager and the add to cart event will not based on the priority set. Thinking through the conversion events that are most important and their order of importance will help ensure Facebook continues to be an effective lead- and revenue-driving channel despite the latest changes.

Expectations for performance are going to have to change.

Recalibrate Your Goals

Expectations for performance are going to have to change. CPAs and CPMs on Facebook are on the rise and the increase is likely to continue as advertisers grapple with the previously unknown impacts of iOS 14.5 and the corresponding ripples through Facebook. Those who can stay the course, test new approaches, and adapt how they think about, interpret, and apply data to optimize performance will continue to find long-term value in Facebook as part of their marketing mix. And as advertisers who can’t adapt pull back from the platform, those who remain may find themselves in a less competitive environment over time.

For many businesses, especially those with sales cycles that extend beyond Facebook’s pre-iOS 14.5 28-day attribution window, there were always gaps in the data. To help fill some of the gaps within Facebook’s reporting capabilities, ensure you are implementing best practices for tracking, like adding UTM parameters so that you can track ad and campaign performance and conversions within Google Analytics. In addition to a narrowed attribution window, reporting delays of up to three days will make short-run campaign optimization challenging and breakdowns based on age, gender, region, and placement for delivery and actions will no longer be available, necessitating a different approach to campaign optimization. Creating benchmarks based on the most reliable data points you have and adjusting your performance goals based on that data will help steer campaigns in the right direction. Similarly, stepping back from channel-level performance goals and focusing on incremental impact to business goals (i.e., how much incremental lift you’re seeing in sales, revenue, new customer acquisition, etc.) will help you evaluate the impact of your channel-level investments in a more meaningful and sustainable way.

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News

Tallwave Named to CIOReview’s 2021 Most Promising Customer Experience Management Companies

Read the original article published on CIOReview

 

CIOReview, March 2021 – Today, businesses are designing their organizations to maximize their customers’ experience. However, their efforts often fall flat as siloed systems within their organization block the flow of vital information between different departments. Without internal collaboration and alignment, companies are unable to meet rapidly changing customer needs. Enter: Tallwave. A Customer Experience Design Company, Tallwave combines a data-centric approach to understanding human behavior, first-hand qualitative and quantitative customer research, proprietary technology, as well as user-centered design and marketing expertise to create and implement exceptional customer experiences. Whether it’s branding, product design, content strategy, or customer acquisition and retention, Tallwave is a one-stop-shop that creates unparalleled experiences that ultimately wins the hearts and minds of their clients’ customers. “From employees to end-users, Tallwave analyzes the thoughts and experience of every customer to provide a holistic CX strategy,” says Jeff Pruitt, CEO of Tallwave.

 

While other companies work in a reactive state and, therefore, only optimize singular components of their client’s existing CX at a time, Tallwave approaches their work through a holistic lens. Relying on data to drive surface-to-core roadmaps and achieve cross-functional alignment, they identify key moments of friction and opportunity at each stage of the customer’s journey, and use those insights to craft cohesive and intuitive experiences at every touchpoint. This whole-picture method enables them to design agile work streams for continuous momentum and growth.

While other companies work in a reactive state and, therefore, only optimize singular components of their client’s existing CX at a time, Tallwave approaches their work through a holistic lens.

Leveraging their proprietary, proven solutions Tallwave is able to help clients improve customer acquisition while decreasing customer acquisition cost; increase customer engagement; grow market share; decrease customer churn; expand into new markets; and develop new products and services to meet the evolving needs of their clients’ customers.

 

To do this, they bring stakeholders together to participate in fast-paced, collaborative workshops and help develop integrated workstreams to drive critical, cross-functional outcomes. As a result, silos are broken down and cross-functional alignment on goals and metrics needed to gauge regular progress are established.

 

The Tallwave team marries this work with full digital intelligence on customers and the market to develop strategic plans, and helps to execute many of the workstreams, which often include user testing, rapid prototyping, product developing, acquisition marketing, rebranding, program managing, redesigning employee experiences to better deliver on customer experiences, and more.

 

Recently, one of Tallwave’s biggest clients – a leading global credit card company – saw the demographics of their core customers changing. The benefits and service offerings they desired, especially as it related to travel, were shifting, as well. The client needed to innovate and deliver improved digital-first travel experiences to prevent customers from abandoning the brand. The answer? Developing an omnichannel travel booking experience that allowed travelers to book itineraries, make changes and add personally curated plans through a travel consultant or on their own through several mediums. In order to do so, Tallwave worked with travel consultants, and unpacked the systems and processes that were responsible for delivering the current experience. From there, they outlined the necessary future state by pulling in consumer insights on what benefits and experiences were appealing to this new demographic. By combining all these insights and breaking up the work into different workstreams, Tallwave was able to deliver a seamless experience by working from the inside out.

Also read: Creating a contemporary experience for a strong, timeless brand

 

This agile and adaptable mindset helped Tallwave to navigate and thrive through the pandemic, as well. A thoughtful action plan maintained employee retention and grew the core business. They also underwent a strategic rebrand effort themselves that helped galvanize the team and set a new course for the company’s future. “COVID-19 helped us understand the human experience more deeply and provide more value to clients,” says Pruitt. This drove the ethos behind their new rebrand, revitalized company values, and customer experience design strategies: To always employ an approach that incorporates the heart, the mind and the matter and put empathy for humans at the core. “We look forward to the inspiration that comes from being with one another, but we also look forward to embracing the human value of being able to work in a place where one can get great work done,” ends Pruitt.

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