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It’s advertising season

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The United States’ election is still ongoing, but Election Day itself has come and gone – and with it, so have political ads. Biden and Trump spent a record-setting amount on ads this year, and to say the least, it has made the past couple of months rocky for advertisers on Facebook.

That’s over now. And while the market is still as competitive as ever with Q4 and Black Friday coming up, things are starting to look up again for advertising on Facebook. Here are a couple quick-hitting facts and ideas to get you ready:

+ Aaron Orendorff did some aVnalysis on the state of his ad performance. Based on past trends, he’s guessing that we might be on the upward trend with performance as we head into the holiday season.

+ Don’t panic if you see a dip in performance. The Ads Alchemist account on Twitter is frequently dishing out awesome knowledge about what to do if you start to see a dip in performance. A couple of his recent tips:

  • Look at your ads before making decisions.
  • Try adjusting your budget and age range.
  • Wait until you have plenty of data before you make decisions – not just a $5 test run.

We’ve said it a thousand times before, but we’ll say it again. It’s going to be a crazy Q4, but it doesn’t have to be crazy in a bad way – get your priorities and strategies straight before you dive into advertising this season, and you’re already on the right track!


SEO

Stop listening to Google

When it comes to SEO communication from Google, there’s the good… And then there’s the bad.

The good: Google makes it a priority to chat with the SEO community, and sometimes gives good answers. John Mueller and Gary Ilyes do a pretty good job at this.

The bad: The advice Google gives out is often unclear, and sometimes, it’s misleading for SEOs looking for advice on how to get pages ranking.

This recent article from Kevin Rowe at Search Engine Journal clears up the confusing – and talks about why you shouldn’t always listen to Google about SEO. Here’s the breakdown:

  • The messages that come from Google are sometimes confusing. John Mueller frequently does hangout sessions to answer questions from SEOs – but, likely in part due to Google’s limitations on what he can say, his answers are sometimes overly short or dismissive. In particular, he’s been a bit unclear as to the importance of links and link building.
  • Don’t take everything Google says as gospel. If you try to read too much into what Google’s representatives are saying, you might wind up confused – or with more questions than you started with. A good example of this is guest posting: Google’s clear they don’t like it and they don’t recommend it, but it’s still a tactic that works.
  • Natural links aren’t always realistic. Google has stressed that the best kind of link building happens organically. But, all SEOs know that’s not always possible, and outreach is still a strategy to employ.

The Crew’s take: It’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole of SEO controversies, conspiracies, and snippets from John Mueller (or anyone else’s) statements. The better strategy? Pay attention to what’s going on, but focus on results – proven tactics are almost always the way to go.


MARKETING

How an online game turned into a $3.5B messaging app

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Grab a hot chocolate and get cozy, because it’s storytime.

Have you ever heard about Discord? Maybe yes… probably not…

In any case, Discord is a popular group-chatting app originally made for gamers. But, it’s slowly conquering the internet – mostly due to smart business and marketing decisions made along the way.

Here’s a short timeline on the rise of this app:

  • Back in 2010, Jason Citron built a game called Fates Forever.
  • Citron and his team realized that the best thing about their game was the chat feature. This was an opportunity as gamers used Skype and TeamSpeak to communicate while playing, but they all hated both the apps.
  • They decided to go all-in on the chat feature that would eventually become Discord.
  • Discord started with 10 users, but the crucial moment was when someone posted about Discord in the Final Fantasy XIV subreddit, with a link to a Discord server where they could talk about a new expansion pack. Citron and his Discord co-founder, Stan Vishnevskiy, immediately jumped into the voice chat and started talking to anyone who showed up.
  • That moment helped them gain virality on Reddit, and it started a snowball effect.
  • Users outside the game world started to adopt Discord, until it reached 100M monthly active users, taking away shares from Zoom, Slack, and Teams.
  • Discord is now valued at $3.5B.

Unfortunately, the founders said they’re not gonna monetize its 100M users base with ads (we can only dream), but there are some marketing lessons we can learn from this company:

  • Know your audience: In this case, before being a founder, Citron was a gamer. So he knew its audience pain points, like having an efficient chat channel to use while gaming.
  • Double-down on your competitor’s weakness: First, they took off Skype and TeamSpeak. Then, they kept investing in its technology to create a better system than Zoom, Slack and Teams.
  • Hang out where your audience hangs out: If Citron and Vishnevskiy didn’t know that some gamers on Reddit were talking about Discord, they would have missed that crucial moment that started Discord’s growth.
  • Quitting is not always a bad thing: Deciding to quit Fates Forever to start Discord turned out to be a hell of a “failure”…

Maybe this was the first time you heard about this app. If you’re interested in learning more about its rise, read the full story here.


ROUNDING UP THE STACK

SOCIAL MEDIA: It’s all built up to this, in a way. The increasing pressure on social media to regulate misinformation is culminating during the U.S. election this week. Check out this article to see what companies are doing to prevent false narratives from spreading.

INSTAGRAM: Alessandro Paluzzi reported that Instagram is testing a new way to react to stories without actually sending a DM. We can only hope!

ADVERTISING: Take a look at how some of the biggest advertisers are spending during the pandemic. The budget might not line up with yours, but it’s interesting to check out nonetheless.

YOUTUBE: The multi-million dollar, full-day masthead reservations on YouTube are going away starting in early 2021.

LINKEDIN: Looking for work? LinkedIn’s just released a blog post explaining a new career-finding tool that some of y’all might find interesting.


BRAIN TEASER

What has a head and a tail, but no legs?

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.

In the mood for an old fashioned?

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Well, not that kind of old fashioned – even if the Don Draper in every one of us would love to pour one.

But, if you’re looking for an old-fashioned version of Google’s app logos, you can stop looking. Though the company’s new logos look pretty clean to us, there are plenty of people out there who prefer the old look.

Fortunately, Gizmodo spotted a Chrome plugin that’ll do the simple task of reverting Google’s new app icons to the old ones.

You can check out the plugin right here, if you’re interested. Have fun!

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