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What this week means for marketing

day basis, and this week’s events in the United States have undoubtedly had an impact on the industry.

Let’s break it all down:

+ People aren’t in the mood for ads. Navigating a crisis is tricky for marketers. Do you say something on social media? Do you stay silent? Do you keep running ad campaigns? There are plenty of questions. Here are a couple smart points to remember:

  • Generally, people don’t like ads and memes during times like these. Many companies posting jokes or irrelevant content during this week’s events were torn apart on social media. See: These screenshots of a few errant tweets from Gamestop.
  • Pausing advertising isn’t a bad idea, either. This recent Digiday article explains why many brands are putting an end to advertising until things calm down.
  • If you’re wondering whether you need to post something, this piece from Jayde Powell on Adweek makes the case for staying silent. Some brands, instead, are taking a position over the matter with a positive response. Now, you can follow this road, but be careful, because it’s a risky one.

+ The Crew’s take: As marketers, we’re selling to people. Part of that job involves understanding what people are going through, and how events like this week affect their state of mind.

So, as you decide how to navigate a polarizing time, keep your customers in mind and try to be sensitive to what they might be feeling – at least if you don’t want to get ripped to shreds on Twitter.


INSTAGRAM

It’s not just you…

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…who’s been having issues with Instagram engagement during the past couple of months. It’s been a collective pain point in the marketing community, but we haven’t had much clarity as to why numbers are down.

Well, today’s the day we fix that. Rachel Reichenbach recently had a phone call with Instagram and put together a post detailing everything she learned. Here are some of the enlightening details:

  • Reels is likely the main culprit, and it’s not dead yet. Facebook’s been in a full sprint to catch TikTok since the launch of Reels, so it’s no surprise that the new format is currently being boosted by the algorithm. Did you see a tank in engagement during the fall? Yeah, this is why.
  • Instagram wants you to use everything. When you post something, the algorithm looks at your account activity holistically – how many posts you’re creating, what types of content you use, user engagement metrics – and decides how to serve users from there. If you’re seeing poor engagement, try posting more regularly and using other features: think Stories, Reels, and IGTV.
  • Be consistent. Rachel was told by the Instagram rep that their algorithm likes to see consistency. Create a posting schedule, and stick to it as best you can.

There’s a lot more to cover in Rachel’s full blog post, which you can check out here.


SPONSORED BY HOW IT ACTUALLY WORKS

The fascinating story of how it took Walmart and Sam Walton 15+ years to become an “overnight success”

You know the brand. You’ve probably been to a Walmart this week.

What you might not know though is the real and deeper story of how Walmart became a success. Company founder stories are full of, as Trevor McKendrick puts it in his essay, “non-malicious lies.”

But back to Sam Walton…

Did you know he opened the first Walmart when he was already 44 years old? Did you know he had over 15 years of experience in retail at that point?

Did you know his first store went out of business because of a mistake in his lease?

Did you know that he struggled to raise money to open the first Walmart even though he had a proven track record of 15+ years in the retail space?

Don’t get us wrong – it’s great to learn from success… But the real lessons and the relatable stories are those where we see the complete picture, when you see how the person dealt with situations when things didn’t go their way.

That’s why we enjoyed this essay by Trevor. He dug into Sam’s less told (and less sexy) years until Walmart became a success. It’s the true journey of an entrepreneur with real ups and downs.

Give it a read, it’s truly fascinating!

We’ve recently subscribed to Trevor’s free newsletter aptly named “How It Actually Works”. Every Monday, you will get a newsletter from Trevor with something that will make you smarter. That’s where this essay was first featured.

Join us and 1000s others who start their week with a taste of “How It Actually Works”.


SEO

Breaking down a wildly successful content strategy

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One look at the Headspace website and you can tell this is a brand that knows what they’re doing. It’s beautiful, well-organized, and there’s great content across the board.

If you need a refresher: Headspace is a meditation, mindfulness, and sleep brand that became more popular than ever in 2020.

Fortunately, we’ve got the numbers on just how successful Headspace has been: The company is bringing in more than 400k organic users per month, racking up millions of video views, and has more than 2M paying subscribers.

So what makes Headspace’s content strategy great? The team at Grizzle just put together a great breakdown, and here are some of the key pieces:

  • The Headspace product itself is a content platform. Because the product is designed to help you learn (and meditate), content about meditation and mental health is featured prominently on the home page of the site. It feels natural and helpful – and it’s a clever way to use product-related content as top-of-funnel content.
  • Beautiful content + a smart SEO strategy = results. It’s a simple formula, but one worth remembering if you’re trying to bring in some organic traffic. In addition to creating high-quality, 10X content, Headspace has created a beautiful blog that keeps users sticking around.
  • Great content + paid ads combo: Headspace’s YouTube channels generate 650k views per day. The majority of its 127+ million views come from paid ads. However is still impressive to see the crazy engagement these videos generate. That’s a great example of turbocharging paid campaigns with top-notch content.

The insights here are just a fraction of what you’ll get in the full article, which you can check out here. Yes, Headspace is a big company with a big budget. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t implement their same strategies for your own brand!


ROUNDING UP THE STACK

FACEBOOK: On January 12th, Facebook will be holding a webinar with advice on how to take action before Apple’s new iOS privacy update hits.

ADVERTISING: If you’re looking for a long read that might spark some thoughts on the state of advertising, Rand Fishkin’s new blog post is worth checking out.

TIKTOK: The first LiDAR effect has arrived on TikTok! Who’s ready to make some AR-style ads?

FACEBOOK: There’s a new UI being tested for Facebook posts on iOS, which would make it easier to add images to posts.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Creating a social media strategy for 2021? This big guide from Social Media Today should point you in the right direction.


BRAIN TEASER

What goes up when rain comes down?

You can find the solution here.


POOLSIDE CHAT

Cool tech, (funny) business, lifestyle and all the other things marketers like to chat about while sipping cocktails by the pool.

78 campaigns at once?

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Every so often, big tech companies apply for patents for some very unique technology.

Just recently, news broke that Apple has applied for a patent that would involve a configurable screen on each key.

It’s a pretty cool concept, and it could theoretically be used to change keyboard languages, easily customize key locations, and more.

In total, there are 78 keys on most MacBook keyboards, so we’re wondering: Can we have 78 client campaigns up at once?

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