Friday, April 30, 2021

How to Use the Rule of Thirds in Web Design [Quick Tip]

To understand the "rule of thirds" as it relates to web design, let's start with an example.

Consider this image of a bull in a field:

bull in center of field, symmetrical design example

Not too interesting, right? As the center of the image, the bull image feels a little bland and predictable. I'm willing to bet if you saw this image on a website, you wouldn't dwell on it too long.

Now, consider what changes when we use the rule of thirds to place the bull away from the center:

bull towards right of field, asymmetrical and an example of rule of thirds

A little more interesting, right?

The rule of thirds can help make your designs feel less predictable and more intriguing. And, ultimately, it has the power to capture the viewer's attention for longer — which is critical when you're trying to capture new audiences and convert those audiences into leads for your brand.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. Perhaps you'll decide your designs are more compelling when they're symmetrical. Still, you can only make the intentional decision for your own website after you've explored your options.

Here, we'll learn how to use the rule of thirds in design and UI design to take your images to the next level.

Click here to download our full collection of free templates for designing stunning visual content including infographics and more.

How to Use the Rule of Thirds in Design

Simply put, the rule of thirds posits that designs are more interesting and visually appealing when you place the main object(s) of your design on one of the four intersections of a rule of thirds grid, or in one of the thirds sections.

It's no secret that art is more than just guesswork. Dating back to Ancient Roman times, geometry has always had a place in significant artwork.

To understand the rule of thirds, let's look at an example.

The rule of thirds draws two lines perpendicular to a page, and two lines horizontal to a page, to create a grid of nine boxes.

This divides your page into three one-third sections, regardless of whether you're slicing the image horizontally or vertically:

rule of thirds grid example

Next, to use the rule of thirds in design, you'll simply want to place your object(s) off-center by putting them into one of the thirds sections:

the left and right thirds section on a rule of thirds grid

… Or on one of the intersecting points:

the intersecting points on a rule of thirds grid

In the example shown above, the main focal point — the mountain top — is off to the left-side of the center of the image, in the first-third of the photo.

Fortunately, it's easy enough to use the rule of thirds in your own images using a design tool like Photoshop, which offers a grid feature so you can ensure you're accurately using the rule of thirds to create a more harmonious, interesting design.

Let's dive into how you can create the rule of thirds grid in Photoshop in four quick steps, next. 

How to Create Rule of Thirds in Photoshop

1. To use Photoshop's rule of thirds tool, simply open a blank page in Photoshop and click "View" → "Show" → "Grid":

creating rule of thirds grid in photoshop. Go to show > grid first.

2. Next, go to "Preferences" → "Guides, Grid & Slices":

creating rule of thirds grid in photoshop. Go to preferences > guides, grid, and slices.

3. Next, choose the color of the grid lines, along with the solid line. Then, change "Gridline Every" to "100 Percent", with Subdivisions of "3". When you're done, click "OK".

guides, grids, slices in photoshop to use rule of thirds copy4. And there you have it! You now have a rule of thirds grid. To add your image, simply drag-and-drop the image onto the existing layered grid, expand it to fill the grid, and then move your focal object until it's either in one of the thirds sections, or on one of the four intersecting points.

A complete rule of thirds grid in Photoshop with an image transposed on top of it.

Examples of Rule of Thirds in UI Design

To consider the power of rule of thirds in user interface design, let's take a look at some website examples, with a particular focus on which websites use the rule of thirds.

1. Soulful Vibes Co.

Soulful Vibes Co. homepage, an example of rule of thirds in web design

Here, the designer puts the main focus — on the crystal rocks, and the beaded bracelet with an elephant — on the left and right thirds sections, ensuring the visitor's focus is on the center text itself: "It's not just a movement, it's a lifestyle."

The designer uses the rule of thirds to create a peaceful, harmonious, casual aesthetic that looks more open and welcoming than it would if both objects were front-and-center on the page, which would likely feel more crowded and hectic.

2. HubSpot 

HubSpot's homepage, an example of rule of thirds in web design

HubSpot uses rule of thirds to draw immediate attention to its slogan and "Get HubSpot free" CTA on the homepage, as most visitors' attention will start on the left side of your website. Then, the cartoon images are placed on the right thirds section, to balance out the page. This helps create a user flow — from left to right — which would be more difficult to achieve with a symmetrical design.

3. Frans Hals Museum

Frans Hal Museum homepage, an example of rule of thirds in web design

This Netherlands museum website uses the rule of thirds to draw attention to the photo of the woman, located in the left-thirds section. The page is unique, engaging, and cohesive, and uses counter-images to balance the asymmetrical structure of the page — for instance, while the larger image of the woman is towards the left of the screen, there's texts and additional images to the right to balance it out.

When to Break the Rules (of Thirds)

It's important to note — in design and art, there are no strict rules you need to follow, and there are exceptions to every design rule or trend.

Once you understand the rule of thirds and how it can impact a user's experience, you can break that rule when you see fit.

For instance, you might find it's more compelling to keep your images at the center of your screen, like shown on Tone Dermatology's homepage:

Tone Dermatology's homepage, an example of when you don't want to use rule of thirds (it looks better when it's symmetrical in this case).

Here, the center focus on the woman is compelling and bold, particularly since she's looking towards the left of the screen, so it's still an asymmetrical image (you only see her eyes and nose on the left, and you only see her hair on the right).

This design layout works well to draw the visitor's attention in — and likely wouldn't have been as powerful if the designer had used the rule of thirds to place the woman towards the left or right side of the screen.

Ultimately, you'll want to choose design elements that work best for your own brand's needs. When in doubt, experiment with both more symmetrical designs and rule of third designs, and consider A/B testing to figure out which performs best with your audience.

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How to Use the Rule of Thirds in Web Design [Quick Tip] was originally posted by Local Sign Company Irvine, Ca.

How to Track Clicks on a Link in Google Analytics 4

If you're a marketer, you've undoubtedly asked yourself, "How can I track clicks on a link in Google Analytics?"

Tracking clicks can help you understand where your audience is going from one page to another. It'll also let you know what links they're interested in, what CTAs they're clicking, and more.

With the new Google Analytics 4, link click tracking happens automatically. This is great, because previous versions of Google Analytics haven't been able to do it automatically. You used to have to set up custom event tracking, which can be confusing.

But we're here to help. If you haven't set up Google Analytics 4 yet and you aren't sure how to get started with tracking clicks on a link, keep reading.

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1. Add a Google Analytics 4 property to your site.

In Google Analytics 4, you can automatically track links. While GA4 rolled out in October 2020, your site won't automatically switch to GA4. You need to set it up.

To do this, click "Admin" on the bottom left of your Google Analytics home page. Then, ensure the right account is selected, and in the "Property" column you'll see a GA4 setup assistant. Go through the process (takes a minute or so), and then click "Create Property."

You should be all done now and you'll have GA4 set up.

2. Click "See your GA4 property."

Once you're done setting up GA4, you should be able to click "See your GA4 property." This will give you all the information on your property that you need.

Before you continue, it's a good idea to explore around and see what's new in GA4.

3. Click "Data Streams."

Now that you've explored and set up your GA4 property, you'll want to click "Data Streams" in the left column.

This will give you detailed information about what GA4 is tracking for your site.

4. Click your site.

Lastly, you just need to click on your site, and you should see the enhanced measurement. It should automatically be toggled on.

This feature automatically tracks events such as page views, scrolls, outbound link clicks, site search, video engagement, and file downloads.

To see this information, your GA homepage should have an area now called "Events" where you can see outbound link clicks.

This is what it looks like when you see enhanced measurements:

Google Analytics 4 enhanced measurements feature.

5. Set up custom link clicks.

Now you've officially set up certain link tracking in the future. While this feature will help you track a number of events, you might want to track certain links clicks specifically. In this case, you'll want to set up custom link clicks.

You can do this through Google Tags Manager. If you don't already have an account, create an account for your site and connect to your GA4 property.

You can learn more about event editing in GA4 by watching this video:

Essentially, you'll need to create a trigger to distinguish between the custom links you want to track and the page views and outbound clicks that the enhanced measurement feature is tracking.

Go to your Google Tags Manager and add a new trigger. Then, you'll have to connect this trigger to your events tracking.

Watch this video to learn how to set up Google Tags Manager with your GA4 property.

While this is all great if you're converting your current analytics account to GA4, it will only track these link clicks going forward. It's not retroactive.

Now, let's discuss how to track Google Analytics click events if you aren't using GA4.

How to Track Clicks in Older Versions of Google Analytics

If you aren't using GA4, then you'll need to use Google Tags Manager. We have an in-depth guide to help you navigate the tags manager, because it can be confusing.

Without GA4, the process is the same as setting up custom events. Google Analytics didn't have the capability to automatically track link clicks before GA4.

While it does now, you might not be using GA4, and still want to track those links.

That's okay. You can read our in-depth guide, watch the videos in step 5, and review how to set up custom link click tracking through the Google Tags Manager.

While it might seem confusing to set up, there are numerous resources available from Google to help you set up custom event tracking. And it's worth it. Knowing where your customers are clicking and being able to attribute a certain amount of clicks from one blog post to another is invaluable information.


How to Track Clicks on a Link in Google Analytics 4 was originally posted by Local Sign Company Irvine, Ca.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

What Does HTTP Error 503 (Service Unavailable) Mean & How To Fix It?

Imagine someone searches for a topic and finds your website on page one of Google. When they click through to your website, though, their eyes land on a bland webpage that says "Service Unavailable".

What do you think they'll do when they find your website on Google again? Odds are, they'll skip over it and click on the next link. If visitors are looking for answers and you're promising them those answers, but you can't deliver because something's wrong with your website, they'll lose trust in your brand.

Unfortunately, if your website experiences a 503 Service Unavailable Error, there's no silver bullet solution. You have to investigate what's actually causing the issue, because even though these types of errors indicate what happened to your website, they don't tell you why it happened.

To help you fix your 503 Service Unavailable Error and avoid losing potential customers, check out our guide on what exactly the issue is and its most common solutions.

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When your website is experiencing a 503 Service Unavailable Error, your site's visitors will land on an error page. Fortunately, there are five common solutions for troubleshooting most 503 Service Unavailable Errors.

1. Restart your server.

Sometimes, there will be congestion in the server chain that hosts your website. One of the most effective ways to open up and refresh it is to simply restart your web server. If your website is hosted on multiple servers, make sure you restart all of them to get it running again.

2. Check to see if your web server is going through maintenance.

Most web servers shut down when they're going through maintenance. If you can access your server's administration settings, check the configuration options to see when automatic maintenance sessions are scheduled. If you'd rather have complete control over your server's maintenance, you can disable these automatic updates in the configuration options, too.

3. Fix faulty firewall configurations.

Your firewall is your website's gatekeeper, protecting your site from malicious visitors or distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. Sometimes, a faulty firewall configuration will cause your firewall to deem requests from a content delivery network as an attack on your server and reject them, resulting in a 503 Service Unavailable Error. Check your firewall configuration to pinpoint and fix the issue.

4. Sift through your server-side logs.

There are two types of server-side logs -- applications logs and server logs. Application logs recount your website's entire history, letting you see the web pages requested by visitors and the servers it connected to. Server logs provide information about the hardware running your server, revealing details about its health and status. Sift through both types of server-side logs to uncover any alarming information about your server or website.

5. Comb through your website's code to find bugs.

If there's a mistake in your website's code, your web server might not be able to correctly answer requests from a content delivery network. Comb through your code to find bugs or copy your code into a development machine. It'll perform a thorough debug process that will simulate the exact situation your 503 Service Unavailable Error occurred in and allow you to find the exact moment things went wrong.

Any time there's an error on your site, it's important to fix it as soon as you can. If customers get errors, they probably won't come back to your page.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in January 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.


What Does HTTP Error 503 (Service Unavailable) Mean & How To Fix It? was originally posted by Local Sign Company Irvine, Ca.

What Is Last Click Attribution and How to Use It

For your team’s marketing efforts to be effective, you need to know which marketing channels and touchpoints are resonating with your audience most — you must understand which channels and touchpoints are so successful at whatever it is they do that they make leads want to convert.

Last click attribution can help you with this — it assists in identifying which marketing touchpoint prompted a conversion in the final part of the buyer's journey.

→ Download Now: Free Marketing Plan Template

Last Click Attribution Model

In this blog post, we’ll cover all things last click attribution including how it’s defined, what makes it unique, how your marketing team can use it, and more.

Pros and Cons of Last Click Attribution

Last click attribution is helpful if you want to know which of your marketing channels and touchpoints have the most influence in the final stage of the buyer’s journey.

While this is helpful information, it doesn’t account for the numerous other channels and touchpoints that impacted a customer from the very start of the buyer’s journey. This is important to note since there are a variety of touchpoints, across numerous channels, that impact a lead throughout the buyer's journey — which is why most marketers today refrain from only using last click attribution. Rather, they'll use multi-touch attribution or include last-click as part of their other marketing attribution efforts.

For instance, say a lead received an email from your email campaign, clicked through to your website, read a blog post, and then decided they wanted to buy your product. Well, last click attribution would only account for that last touchpoint — the blog post. Meanwhile, the other touchpoints throughout the buyer’s journey that contributed to this lead’s decision are dismissed.

That's why multi-touch attribution has become such a popular attribution model among today's marketers. Multi-touch attribution accounts for all of these touchpoints and channels and assigns them credit based on their influence.

In addition to last click and multi-touch attribution, you may have heard of first click attribution.

First Click vs. Last Click Attribution

FIrst click attribution differs from last click attribution because it assigns all of the credit for a conversion to the first touchpoint or channel (e.g. interaction on your website or with a marketing campaign) that a customer had before a conversion.

First click attribution is helpful if you want to know which of your marketing efforts are generating initial traffic in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey.

Similar to last click attribution, this is a helpful attribution method on a small scale — combining it with other attribution methods is recommended in order to get a clear picture of your marketing attribution efforts.

Now, let’s talk about how your marketing team can use last click attribution.

How to Create a Last Click Attribution Report

If you choose to create a standalone last click attribution report, you'll likely find yourself using an attribution tool.

If you already use an attribution tool, there's a chance it has a specific report that focuses solely on the last click. There's also a chance that it offers customizable attribution reports which would also allow you to create a last click report.

Either way, here are a few available options for your consideration as you look to create marketing attribution reports of your own.

1. HubSpot Ads Attribution

hubspot ads software

HubSpot Ads Software offers five attribution models — you can filter your ad campaigns by attribution report to determine how your ads influence contacts throughout buyer's journey, all from within HubSpot.

If you create a custom multi-touch attribution report, you can hone in on last click/ last interaction data — you can also customize the group of contacts you want to report on, the status of your campaign ("active," "paused," or "deleted), and the date range.

Get HubSpot's Ads Software to use CRM data to create personalized and targeted ad campaigns, and report on the ads that are converting prospects.

2. Google Ads Attribution

google ads attribution reports

Google Ads Attribution gives insight into cross-channel attribution so you have a solid understanding of how your Google Ads perform among your audience — this insight allows you to improve all marketing interactions and touchpoints throughout the buyer's journey.

Google Ads offers six attribution models, one of which is last click — it gives all of the credit for a conversion to the last event/ last-clicked Google ad and its corresponding keyword.

3. Facebook Attribution

facebook attribution reports

Facebook Attribution gives you a complete look at how prospects and customers are interacting with your business throughout the buyer's journey via Facebook (including the final stage of the buyer's journey, when the last click occurs).

Facebook manages giving all of the credit for a conversion to the last click for you — no impressions or earlier touchpoints are credited. If a click occurs within 60 seconds of a visit, Facebook will credit the click.

Get Started With Last Click Attribution

Last click is a great addition to your attribution strategy. By determining what the last customer touchpoint in the buyer's journey is prior to a conversion, you're able to understand which interactions and content are likely to heavily influence your customers.

Marketing Plan Template

What Is Last Click Attribution and How to Use It was originally posted by Local Sign Company Irvine, Ca.

How to Map Your Ecommerce Customer Journey [Template Included]

We've talked a lot about the customer journey -- how it impacts sales, service, and marketers.

But one segment that feels a little different is the ecommerce customer journey. The customer journey is different from service based companies, because it can be much quicker (buying from Amazon or an Instagram ad).

However, if you work at an ecommerce company, it's important to understand the customer journey: all the touch points and stages.

Below, let's learn how to map your ecommerce company's customer journey. Plus, you can download some templates to help you get started.

Download Now: Free Customer Journey Map Templates

Touch points can include when someone sees a social media ad, when a friend tags them in a post online, when they come across your website, when they read a blog of yours, when your product shows up on Google, when they search on Amazon, etc.

The journey from when they first come in contact with you to when they purchase your product to if they reach out for a return is included in the ecommerce customer journey.

Writing down these touch points might make you realize that the journey on your website isn't ideal. If that happens, you can look for solutions to help you, like WooCommerce (a Wordpress plug in).

Now, let's explore the various stages of the ecommerce journey.

1. Awareness

The first stage of the ecommerce customer journey is awareness. During this stage, a potential customer is experiencing a problem and is doing research to understand their problem.

During this stage, customers are researching the issue they're having, seeing if it has solutions, overcoming misconceptions, and prioritizing solutions.

2. Consideration

In the consideration stage, potential customers are researching products and methods to solve their problem.

For example, let's say that I want to start a morning routine. I do some research on Google and see a few ads on social media and realize I want a morning routine journal.

Now that I know what I want to buy and how to fix my problem, it's time to research solutions. I'll go to Google and Amazon and see what morning routine journals are available and which ones have the best reviews.

3. Decision

During this stage, potential customers are now narrowing down their list to the top products they want to buy.

This is when they're learning what makes your product stand out from the competition, and why your product is the one they need. During this stage, it's important to understand the various touch points so you can communicate what makes your product unique.

4. Retention

For ecommerce, I decided to add one more stage to the customer journey. That stage is retention. After a customer buys your product, their experience and decision to buy from you again relies solely on the quality of your product and customer service.

Let's say the package was missing, delivered to the wrong address, or they want to return the product. If that experience doesn't go well, they won't buy from you again. If it does go well, they'll probably consider leaving a positive review.

Additionally, during the retention stage is when you can consider retargeting marketing and social media ads so more of your products show up for them online.

Once you've delighted your customers, they start to see you show up online, and want to engage with you, they'll buy from you again and again.

To learn more about ecommerce marketing, you can check out HubSpot Academy's free ecommerce marketing course.

Now that we understand the ecommerce customer journey, let's visualize it with a customer journey map.

Essentially, this map will be a visualization of the start-to-finish customer journey. The point of creating this map is to not only understand the customer journey, but also to plan how you're going to improve the customer experience at every touch point.

For example, HubSpot customer, CODE41, was able to optimize their ecommerce customer journey through HubSpot's Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, and Service Hub.

With Marketing Hub, CODE41 sends millions of emails (yes, millions) to their lists. With Sales Hub, they have the customer support team automate reminders to minimize the customer support failures: not following up on client requests, not forgetting to check payment status, etc.

Lastly, the company uses Service Hub to generate reports for how many tickets they have that were returned, complaints, repairs, etc. This helps them improve their customer experience and retention in the process.

If you want to get started with your own ecommerce customer journey map, you can use HubSpot's customer journey map template, where you'll brainstorm what the customer is thinking or feeling, what their actions are, what they're researching, and how they go from consideration to decision.

Customer journey map template

For more information, you can check out this post on customer journey thinking, and watch the video below to learn more:

Now, you might be wondering, "How do I create an ecommerce customer journey map?"

Well, first you'll create your buyer personas, and then envision what your ideal customer goes through when they're seeking your product.

Once you do that, take HubSpot's ecommerce marketing course, and download our templates, then you can just fill out the template and brainstorm how to improve the journey at every touch point.

Ecommerce customer journey mapping is an essential part of understanding your target audience and improving the customer experience. Focusing on providing the best customer experience will help retain customers and drive more leads and sales.

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How to Map Your Ecommerce Customer Journey [Template Included] was originally posted by Local Sign Company Irvine, Ca.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

How Apple's iOS 14.5 Release Could Impact Advertisers

Imagine this: You run a successful online store and have a sleek app that makes shopping a breeze.

Most of your sales come from paid ads on Facebook and Instagram, and your usual process involves retargeting customers who open your app but leave without purchasing anything.

The more app installs you get, the more sales you log. This process is seamless because you’re able to track user activity across apps and optimize your ad spend as you see what works and what doesn’t.

But, with this week's release of IOS14.5, the data you collect from Apple mobile devices will change. Here’s how.

Take HubSpot's free Inbound Certification course to learn how to build an inbound strategy for your business.

Apple's New Privacy Policy

Apple has confirmed that along with the launch of iOS14.5, there is also a change coming to Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) Framework, which is essentially its data sharing and privacy policies.

Apple will now require that all mobile app advertisers gain opt-in from users to track their web and app activity.

While this provides consumers with the ultimate privacy, security, and control over the ads they see across their web and mobile devices, it's expected that not all users will accept this prompt to opt-in. This could make it more difficult for businesses to reach their target audience, and deliver relevant ads.

From now on, whenever an Apple user downloads your app, they’ll be shown a prompt, asking if it’s okay for the app to track them. Additionally, with limited app user data, companies like Google report that ads could show poorer performance and returns than before the change.

While Apple's pivot might seem shocking, it is not the first major tech giant to take action when it comes to data privacy. Just in the last year, Google, another major player in the advertising world, announced that it will phase out third-party cookies on Chrome and will be offering replacement tracking tools, such as its Privacy Sandbox, after 2022. You can read more about that news here.

What will happen to Apple’s IDFA (Identification for Advertisers)?

To better understand what’s happening with Apple’s new update, let’s take a moment to learn about Apple’s identifier for advertisers (also known as IDFA). IDFA is tied to each Apple device and is used by advertisers to identify users.

Typically, the IDFA code is visible to advertisers, and it enables them to retarget consumers. Now, it will only be provided to advertisers if users give them the go-ahead and permission to track their usage across apps.

To prepare app owners, Apple has laid out the instructions for gaining proper tracking permissions on its website:

“You must also include a purpose string in the system prompt that explains why you’d like to track the user. Unless you receive permission from the user to enable tracking, the device’s advertising identifier value will be all zeros and you may not track them,” Apple explains.


How this Affects MMPs (Mobile Measurement Partners)

Traditionally, MMPs have been able to pull data from mobile apps and serve up data such as installs, views, and ad clicks, in an organized and insightful fashion. They provide advertisers an understanding of where their consumers come from, and what the results of a mobile campaign are, within their platform. With the changes coming to ATT, their ability to have access to all this could be diminished.

However, some MMPs, like AppsFlyer, are leaning into Apple’s SKadNetwork to glean insights for their mobile advertisers.

The SKadNetwork is a secure way for MMPs and advertisers to understand app installs and campaigns, without connecting those installs to specific user identities. Apple coordinates this attribution, and while using the SKadNetwork is a good alternative, it does not take into account view-through attribution and only provides data 24 to 28 hours after the first launch.

The Early Response to Apple's Privacy Pivot

As you can imagine, this new update has caused ripples across the mobile advertising ecosystem, and brands like Facebook have already responded.

“Apple’s policy will prohibit certain data collection and sharing unless people opt into tracking on iOS 14 devices via the prompt. As more people opt-out of tracking on iOS 14 devices, ad personalization and performance reporting will be limited for both app and web conversion events,” says a Facebook for Business statement.

Meanwhile, Google, which has also been taking on its own privacy initiatives, provided information for developers and advertisers about how the change will impact them while also reminding readers of the importance of user privacy:

"At Google, we’ve always put users and their privacy first. Transparency, choice and control form the bedrock of our commitment to users, and advertising is no different. We remain committed to preserving a vibrant and open app ecosystem where people can access a broad range of ad-supported content with confidence that their privacy and choices are respected," the Google post explains. "That’s why we’ll continue to invest in privacy-preserving technology ― including aggregated and on-device solutions ― like what we’re developing for the web, along with ecosystem partners, in the Privacy Sandbox."

Quick Tips for Navigating Apple's Privacy Changes

While this change will likely impact your current ad campaigns, and the size of its impact is still somewhat uncertain, there are a few areas you can still lean into and optimize your content for the right audiences:

  • Don't forget about Android campaigns: the iOS 14.5 update only affects Apple devices and users, so you can still segment your audiences by Android users and target them.
  • Turn to your website: Use your website’s tracking capabilities or analytics tools to understand where your visitors are coming from, and create audiences based on those visitors.
  • Amp up organic efforts: take a closer look at your organic social media and content strategy. Then use that data to strengthen your brand.

While the times ahead are uncertain and may not seem as ideal for marketers and advertisers, the industry is likely to evolve and find ways to reach prospective customers. As Apple rolls out this update, we’ll be paying close attention to how advertisers respond and will continue to update this post in the future.

Disclaimer: This blog post is not legal advice for your company to use in complying with data privacy laws like the GDPR. Instead, it provides background information to help you better understand current privacy shifts. The tips provided are not the same as legal advice, where an attorney applies the law to your specific circumstances, so we insist that you consult an attorney if you’d like advice on your interpretation of this information or its accuracy.

In a nutshell, you may not rely on this as legal advice, or as a recommendation of any particular legal understanding.

Start the free Inbound Marketing Certification course from HubSpot Academy.

How Apple's iOS 14.5 Release Could Impact Advertisers was originally posted by Local Sign Company Irvine, Ca.

The True Impact of Social Analytics on B2B Funnels

For B2B sales and marketing teams, few metaphors are as powerful as the sales funnel.

It's a near-supernatural, multi-layered vortex that pulls in leads from the wider world, then draws them down toward closing. At the top of the funnel (TOFU) are fresh new leads who are just discovering your offerings. In the middle of the funnel (MOFU) are leads who are interested to learn more. Finally, at the bottom of the funnel (BOFU) are those leads who are poised and ready to make a purchase.

Modeling your sales funnel so you can better target and nurture leads at each layer is critical to increasing your conversion rate. But for accurate modeling, you need a lot of reliable data. And one major opportunity for collecting that data lies in your social media tools.

The importance of social media in marketing is unquestionable. In fact, businesses that market on social media are 40% more likely to hit their sales goals. Plus, a whopping 95% of buyers purchase from sellers who provide content that addresses their concerns and questions at each sales funnel level — and, nowadays, a lot of that content is posted on social platforms.

But the question remains: How can you measure and analyze the true impact of social activity on your sales funnel?

Here, we'll explore what social media data is, and how you can use that data to strengthen your B2B sales funnels.

→ Free Download: Social Media Calendar Template [Access Now]

What is social media data?

Social media data (or social analytics — the terms are interchangeable) includes any information gleaned from the activity of visitors, prospects, and leads on your social media channels. Any data you obtain when someone interacts with your profile or content on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or any other social media channel counts as social data.

Specific metrics can vary from platform to platform. However, the following social data points are common to all of them:

  • Shares/reposts
  • Likes
  • Comments
  • Mentions
  • Impressions
  • Conversions
  • Clicks

Clicks can be the most revealing of all social data points. Many outside factors can determine what post a visitor might choose to comment on or share. Click metadata can tell you what types of content they would like to explore further.

Why is social media data important to B2B funnels?

You can't analyze the efficiency of your B2B social media marketing efforts without raw data. With so many marketing activities and steps in the buyer's journey taking place on social media, analytics without social data won't yield many useful insights.

With social analytics, you can answer some crucial questions about whether your social media activities can help you meet your goals. Analytics help answer questions such as:

  • Which social media platforms are generating the most leads?
  • What kind of content is making our audience click, share, and convert the most?
  • What are our top-converting posts?
  • Are our audiences more interested in engaging with TOFU, MOFU, or BOFU content?

By analyzing the right social data, you can learn what is and isn't working — and then tailor your social media marketing strategy accordingly.

How Social Media Data Impacts Your B2B Funnels

Many aspects of the marketing, sales, and product development processes feed into modeling your sales funnel. The goal is to create a funnel that effectively addresses your buyer's needs and brings them closer to closing a sale. Within this process, there are two critical areas where social data analytics are especially beneficial.

1. Lead Enrichment

Lead enrichment involves supplementing, correcting, and normalizing your data on a lead. The goal is to establish a more in-depth, up-to-date, and accurate picture of who your leads are and what they want. You can automate lead enrichment by importing third-party data into your CRM. You can also accomplish the same outcome by conducting manual research and verification on leads.

Lead enrichment makes it easy to perform several associated functions that will improve your sales funnel's efficiency. These are:

Lead Scoring

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How do you know which leads are eager to buy and which ones are just looking? The solution is to quantify their signs of interest, assign them a score, and rank them.

The process of lead enrichment ensures you aren't missing essential information about your lead, such as whether they are a decision-maker at their company. Social data can provide evidence of their signs of interest, as shown through their social media page interactions.

Lead Segmentation

A lead with a low score isn't necessarily one you should ignore. However, a low-scoring lead might need different levels of attention or types of content.

The same goes for leads showing the same level of interest. If they're in different industries or countries, the same approach might not work on all of them.

Social data can enrich your lead profiles with these details. Then you can segment your leads into separate audience groups, which enables you to target each group with custom-made content to address each group's top concerns.

Lead Nurturing

You move a lead from one level of your sales funnel to the next by nurturing them.

Lead nurturing is accomplished by providing leads with content that answers their questions, addresses their concerns, and builds interest in your offers. The more data you have on your leads, the more hints you have about creating content most likely to engage them.

Lead Attribution

It's great when your latest lead steps up engagement within your sales funnel. But if you don't know what motivated them to provide their contact information, download that ebook, or request pricing, you're missing out. That kind of knowledge is vital to improving your sales processes.

Enriched leads and social data analytics strengthen your attribution models. Lead attribution gives you the best chance of finding out which content deserves credit for the conversion.

2. Perfecting Your Messaging

The second key area impacted by social data is your messaging. Ultimately, all of your content is just a form of communication between you and the buyer.

When your messaging is perfect, it strikes the right tone, and speaks to your lead's most pressing concerns — while also entertaining and educating. That's when you know you're putting your best effort into closing the sale.

When your messaging falls short on these fronts, leads can lose interest and drift away.

So, how do you perfect your messaging? The two easiest ways are through personalizing your sales outreach, and creating more engaging content.

Personalize Sales Outreach

Social data can tell you what your leads are most interested in and which channels are best for reaching them. This information allows you to personalize your sales outreach.

Let's look at how this works in practice. Say you have a lead who consistently likes your tweets about a specific function of your product.

From that small piece of data, you can create a personalized outreach. A Twitter DM might be a great way to make a "sales call" — and now you have an even better idea for a good conversation starter.

Create More Engaging Content

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Content that engages is critical to move leads toward conversions. But what content should you be making to engage more leads?

First, step back to take a broader view of what your social data is telling you. Measuring how and where your leads engage with your sales funnel allows you to create more engaging content at all levels.

Let's say you're doing well at moving leads through the MOFU and BOFU, but many of them seem to get stuck in the TOFU. The leads who spend the most time in the TOFU aren't converting their way further through the funnel at high enough rates.

Through careful parsing of your social data, you discover that the leads that slowly escape the TOFU heavily engage with your video content. This data tells you that you probably want to have video as a more significant share of your TOFU content.

It's true that collecting, organizing, and analyzing raw social data can be overwhelming at the outset, but having the right resources can take a lot of the difficulty out of this endeavor. Tools like Oktopost can help you automate and optimize your social data processes, making it easy to finetune your content at every level of the sales funnel.

By leveraging social data to create better B2B sales funnel models, you will reap the benefits of its true impact with higher engagement rates, more conversions, and better ROI.

social media content calendar

The True Impact of Social Analytics on B2B Funnels was originally posted by Local Sign Company Irvine, Ca.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The Ultimate Guide to IGTV

In recent years, we've seen the power of video on the internet — Facebook alone gets eight billion average daily views, and YouTube's video platform has enabled young teens to become national superstars (Justin Bieber, anyone?). Also, a Cisco report estimates that, by 2022, watching video will account for 82% of internet traffic. 

There are various channels for marketers to consider when sharing videos, like the above-mentioned YouTube and TikTok or Snapchat. There’s also Instagram TV (IGTV) which, launched in 2018, is different from Instagram Stories.

New Data: Instagram Engagement in 2020

Additionally, IGTV is primarily meant for smartphones, as the videos are vertical, and users don’t need to rotate their devices to watch. If you're interested in testing out the app for your own business or simply want to know which brands to follow on the app, you're in luck — here, we've compiled all the tips and information you need to get started with IGTV.

There is also a standalone IGTV app that you can download from the app store. To get it, simply go to the App Store or Google Play, search for IGTV, and click Get or Install. 

IGTV Video Length

Anyone with an Instagram account can upload an IGTV video. 

Unlike Instagram Stories' 15-second video limit, IGTV videos can be up to 15 minutes long when uploaded from a mobile device and 60 minutes when uploaded from the web. 

How To Make IGTV Videos

To upload and edit your IGTV video title and description, follow these steps:

1.Open the IGTV app and click on your profile icon. Then, click Upload Video. If you haven’t yet given permission, you will be asked to allow IGTV access to your video library.

IGTV video upload screen

2. Select the video you want to upload.

Select video from your photo library to upload to IGTV

3. Click Next in the top right-hand corner.

4. Add your preferred video title and description, and edit the cover image, which users will see before the video begins playing.

IGTV video screen to add a title and description

5. Click Post to publish your video. 

Post a video to make yout IGTV content go live

You can also upload a video to IGTV from the native Instagram app. Here are the steps:

1. Navigate to your profile and select the plus sign icon on the top right-hand side of the screen. 

2. When the Create menu pops up, select IGTV video. 

Create menu screen from instagram profile to upload an IGTV video3. Select the video you want to upload, choose your preferred cover, and add a title and description.

4. Click Post to IGTV

IGTV Analytics

IGTV provides the following in-app analytic insights for your videos: views, likes, comments, average percentage watched, reach, saves, and interactions. 

To get these insights, open your IGTV app and click on one of your published videos. Then, follow these steps:

1. Open your video, and then click the "..." icon at the bottom.

Select ... to navigate to the IGTV analytics screen menu

2. Select View Insights.

View Insights tab on IGTV video for viewing analytics

3. The IGTV Video Insights menu should appear and contain your audience analytics info. As this video is just a test, there is no analytics data for the video.

Example of IGTV Video Insights analytics screen

The image below displays the IGTV channel preview from popular internet show The Daily Show. 

IGTV video posts tab on The Daily Show's instagram profile

Watching Videos on IGTV

As soon as you open the IGTV app, a video will immediately start playing — presumably with the hope that users will become immersed in the content.

IGTV explore page video carousel

To watch a video, simply click on it. If you're not interested in watching it anymore, you can scroll up to see other options.

There are four video categories: For You, Following, Popular, and Continue Watching. You can scroll left and right to view your options and select the one you want to watch. As mentioned above, you can also use the search bar to search for channels you’re already familiar with or to see if someone you’re interested in has a channel. 

To watch an IGTV video within the Instagram app, navigate to a user’s profile, select the IGTV icon, and pick the video you want to watch.

Best IGTV Channels and Brands to Follow

There are hundreds of brands and channels that create impressive and unique IGTV content. If your business is starting from scratch and looking for inspiration, here are a few channels and brands you’ll want to check out: 

  • Netflix
  • The Daily Show
  • National Geographic
  • Food Network

Top Influencers on IGTV

While IGTV doesn’t have the same audience reach as Instagram or YouTube, it is still a worthwhile platform to use to reach your audience members, especially if they don’t use other video sharing apps you’re on like TikTok, Snapchat, or YouTube. 

Below is a list of IGTV content creators using the platform to create content that appeals to their specific niche.

  • LaBeautyologist
  • Hannah Stocking
  • AskDrJess
  • Huda Kattan
  • David Chang

Ultimately, it's up to you to decide whether IGTV offers valuable benefits for your business. It's critical you consider your audience's preferences when deciding — would they prefer to watch your brand on IGTV, or are they consuming content elsewhere?

If you feel your brand does well in relatively unmarked territory, perhaps you want to give IGTV a try. Get out your camera, record some unedited behind-the-scenes looks at your company, and press Post. Your audience insights will tell you soon enough whether it's an avenue worth pursuing.

Improve your website with effective technical SEO. Start by conducting this audit.  

The Ultimate Guide to IGTV was originally posted by Local Sign Company Irvine, Ca.