Portent http://www.9tukan.icu Digital Marketing Agency - Seattle, WA Thu, 18 Jun 2020 14:20:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.1.1 http://www.9tukan.icu/images/2018/11/favicon.png Portent http://www.9tukan.icu 32 32 The Digital Marketing Stack: Channels http://www.9tukan.icu/blog/internet-marketing/stack-channels.htm http://www.9tukan.icu/blog/internet-marketing/stack-channels.htm#comments Thu, 18 Jun 2020 14:20:18 +0000 http://www.9tukan.icu/?p=28363 This series was originally written by Ian Lurie in 2015 and updated by Chad Kearns in 2020. This is the very last post in the Digital Marketing Stack series! Part 1: The Digital Marketing StackPart 2: InfrastructurePart 3: AnalyticsPart 4: Content Part 5: The Channels – Paid, Earned and Owned ← You are here The […]

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This series was originally written by Ian Lurie in 2015 and updated by Chad Kearns in 2020.

This is the very last post in the Digital Marketing Stack series!

Part 1: The Digital Marketing Stack
Part 2: Infrastructure
Part 3: Analytics
Part 4: Content
Part 5: The Channels – Paid, Earned and Owned ← You are here

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The channels.

The marketing channels are your amplifiers.

They are the machinery that gets your content delivered to your audience. The channels are at the top of the Stack because they depend on all the elements. Treat the channels as the communication lines to your audience.

Content is what the audience receives on those channels. Your infrastructure ensures that you can deliver content and receive visitors when they respond. Analytics provides the data around how people consume the content you’ve delivered.

There are three basic channel types: paid, earned, and owned. Each channel creates media on behalf of your brand.

Paid media represents any coverage or communication you must buy to receive.

Most often in digital marketing, this is done through a platform you spend money on to buy advertising placement.

Common paid media types in today’s digital landscape include:

Paid media on the digital side comes in many forms and from many places. There are thousands of places to buy promotion on the web; finding the right mix of budget, unit price, and placement is the key for digital media buyers.

Paid media is the channel where you can get the fastest response to your content. The ability to segment and scale a highly-targeted audience and measure performance via paid channels is high, but it’s also a channel that can bring on substantial financial risk if not managed correctly. Advertising dollars can add up quickly, and without a solid return, that spend is hard to justify.

Many paid opportunities tend to drive traffic towards the bottom of the funnel to people who are ready to interact and convert. However, programmatic and content-related promotions are fantastic ways to fill the top of the funnel for a holistic approach to using this channel.

Earned Media

Earned media is gained by being useful, creating community, and building authority in specific categories or topics.

Common earned media traffic sources in today’s digital landscape include:

  • Organic search listings (SEO)
  • Digital PR through news media outlets
  • Social media mentions, interactions, and comments
  • Citations and links from other websites

Gaining substantial earned media takes time, but it scales better than any other channel. The longevity of it, when done right, can last for years to come. Depending on your goals and your timeline, your aim should be to have earned media become the highest portion of traffic to your site.

Owned Media

Owned media is the stuff you fully control or could control if you wanted.

For example:

  • Your website
  • Your social media accounts
  • User-generated content (if licensed correctly)
  • Your house e-mail list

Owned media is more at the mercy of infrastructure than any other channel. On the plus side, it should be more measurable and easier to control.

Tying it All Together

Effective organizations and marketers navigate the Marketing Stack every day, whether they know it or not. Sure, there are internal politics, shifting goals and priorities, and regulations and laws that direct our path. But at the end of the day, digital marketers are navigating this Marketing Stack.

When done effectively, marketers arm themselves with the ability to deliver powerful communication to audiences at exactly the right time. That’s how sustainable businesses are fueled through marketing. It all comes back to the problem you are trying to solve and the solution you have for those in need. The marketing Stack provides the framework to deliver that solution.

Note: Read a bit more about the channels and compare them to other parts of the Stack in our Marketing Stack Explorer.

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The Digital Marketing Stack: Content http://www.9tukan.icu/blog/internet-marketing/stack-content.htm http://www.9tukan.icu/blog/internet-marketing/stack-content.htm#respond Thu, 18 Jun 2020 14:15:46 +0000 http://www.9tukan.icu/?p=28361 This series was originally written by Ian Lurie in 2015 and updated by Chad Kearns in 2020. In Part 3, I talked about analytics. In this post, I’ll finally talk about content. This is content, by the way. Part 1: The Digital Marketing StackPart 2: InfrastructurePart 3: Analytics Part 4: Content ← You are herePart […]

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This series was originally written by Ian Lurie in 2015 and updated by Chad Kearns in 2020.

In Part 3, I talked about analytics. In this post, I’ll finally talk about content. This is content, by the way.

Part 1: The Digital Marketing Stack
Part 2: Infrastructure
Part 3: Analytics
Part 4: Content ← You are here
Part 5: The Channels – Paid, Earned and Owned

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Content. It’s kind of important.

No content, no marketing.

Infrastructure delivers your content. Your analytics set up tells you how it’s resonating. And the channels are how you get your content out for consumption.

That puts content squarely in the middle of the Stack and as an essential element in all things marketing.

What Is Content?

Content is way more than the blog posts you write.

Any interaction that a person has with your brand contains some type of content.

Content is included in any information consumed by your audience. Think about all the interaction points some could have with your brand. All of those points contain content.

  • Ad copy
  • Social media posts and interactions
  • Product descriptions
  • Billboards
  • Videos
  • Podcasts or news features
  • Email
  • Blog posts (yes, those too)
  • Customer support responses

Every time someone is prompted to think about your brand, there is a source of content to trigger that interaction.

Where Content Lives

Here’s a hint: Everywhere.

Some of this content lives on your site. A lot of it lives off your site.

Either way, cohesion across content sources and mediums should be what you’re aiming for.

When thinking about content, planning a strategy, or running a campaign, think about every place where your content could show up—it’s not just your site.

About Content Strategy

Content strategy is critical.

It’s not a calendar. It’s a long-term guide to creation and production. When executed correctly, driving an effective content strategy builds brand followers at every stage of the marketing funnel.

Effective content marketing will take a long time to bear fruit. Sure, you can hit on a “viral” piece of content and see a nice spike in sales, visitors, notoriety, etc. but that spike will probably be short-lived. Your approach to content marketing should be a gradual build-up. Building authority in a particular space takes time and resilience to stay at it, but when built effectively, it will become your most powerful marketing asset.

In Marketing, Content Only Matters If It Helps

The content you produce has to help the business by growing your audience, selling stuff, or otherwise accelerating the organization towards its goals.

That means:

  • You have to publish it
  • It has to have a reason for existence
  • It has to be good
  • You can’t just pound your audience with stupid sales pitches

Go forth. Create content. Just make sure it doesn’t suck.

Note: Read a bit more about content and compare it to other parts of the Stack in our Marketing Stack Explorer.

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The Digital Marketing Stack: Analytics http://www.9tukan.icu/blog/internet-marketing/stack-analytics.htm http://www.9tukan.icu/blog/internet-marketing/stack-analytics.htm#respond Thu, 18 Jun 2020 14:10:20 +0000 http://www.9tukan.icu/?p=28356 This series was originally written by Ian Lurie in 2015 and updated by Chad Kearns in 2020. In Part 2, I talked about infrastructure and its place in the Marketing Stack. In this post, I talk about analytics and its role in internet marketing. Part 1: The Digital Marketing StackPart 2: Infrastructure Part 3: Analytics […]

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This series was originally written by Ian Lurie in 2015 and updated by Chad Kearns in 2020.

In Part 2, I talked about infrastructure and its place in the Marketing Stack. In this post, I talk about analytics and its role in internet marketing.

Part 1: The Digital Marketing Stack
Part 2: Infrastructure
Part 3: Analytics ← You are here
Part 4: Content
Part 5: The Channels – Paid, Earned, and Owned

Analytics measures the effectiveness of your infrastructure, your audience’s response to content, and your channel performance.

If you don‘t measure, you can‘t observe. If you don‘t observe, it becomes awfully hard to adjust your tactics effectively. That leaves you hoping that your messages, offerings, and calls-to-action are resonating.

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Analytics listens to the Marketing Stack.

Analytics doesn’t have to be hard and, if done correctly, should be an instrumental tool used every day.

It Starts With Goals

You need context to help interpret the data you collect.

Raw numbers are great, but if you don’t have anything to compare against, your numbers are all relative.

Start with the most important metric for your business.

For most, that’s going to land at revenue or a revenue-efficiency metric like gross profit. For some, and depending on the kind of work you are accountable for, other top-level goals could center around users acquired or leads submitted.

Once you’ve identified the metrics most important to your objectives, make sure your goals are clear, measurable, and have a timeline attached.

The Tools

Pick your tools based on the goals you‘re trying to measure. Never lose sight of the goals! Otherwise, you’ll waste time and money. Typically, though, you’ll need:

  1. A web analytics tool. Google Analytics is the go-to, but there are lots of others. Regardless of what you pick, use it consistently.
  2. Offsite data. Social shares, comments, reviews, sentiment, and any other information about user behavior when they‘re not on your site. At a minimum, use a tool like SharedCount. Buzzsumo is a nice choice, too.
  3. Excel or greater. No matter how good the toolset, you‘ll need to crunch numbers. Excel is my starting point. Fancier tools include R, any SQL-driven database, or pre-built toolsets like Tableau.

What to Measure

With tools in hand and goals in mind, you need to measure progress. The only kind of measurement that matters is progress towards the goals. Everything you measure must somehow connect back to your goals.

Which metrics most directly measure progress towards your goal?

By default, Google Analytics does a nice job of breaking down measurement metrics into three categories- acquisition, behavior, conversion.

Acquisition

Acquisition metrics focus on how people get to your site.

Do they come directly, through paid media, from organic listings, or via referrals? What devices are they using, and how does the device type affect performance? How does visitor performance vary by physical location or primary language?

Break down that data to learn what channels and sources are driving your most important traffic. Discover how to prioritize your site functionality based on visitors using mobile devices, tablets, or desktops.

Understanding how visitors access your site enables you to test and tweak your channel mix to optimize performance.

Behavior

Once on your site, how do users interact with it?

See which content resonates and what doesn’t. Find site speed reports to boost conversion rates and review what users are searching for in your site search to ideate new ideas for content.

Understanding how visitors behave on your site enables you to test and tweak your on-site content to optimize performance.

Conversions

Your most important conversion metrics should be the ones with the closest connection to your top-level goals.

Leads submitted, products purchased, and how those visitors reached your conversion point are found here. Building on that, understanding how to leverage proper attribution modeling will help take your analytics work to the next level.

Knowing how visitors convert on your site enables you to test and tweak your conversion funnel to optimize performance.

Offsite Data

Your data analytics practice shouldn’t start and stop with what’s available through your web analytics tracking tool. Offsite and offline data can be effectively used to further provide context to how your marketing efforts are performing.

Here are a few sources to think about that don’t come built out of the box with web tracking analytics solutions:

Decide. Measure. Adjust.

The list of metrics you can track is long and arduous. Simplify things and start with the core business goals and go from there.

Assemble your tools, start tracking, and use the data to drive your marketing further.

Utilizing the data available makes it easy to find out what is going on. But those numbers can also give light to why your digital performance is thriving or falling behind; discovering the ‘why’ is a powerful thing for marketers to have.

Note: Read a bit more about analytics and compare it to other parts of the Stack in our Marketing Stack Explorer.

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The Digital Marketing Stack: Infrastructure http://www.9tukan.icu/blog/internet-marketing/stack-infrastructure.htm http://www.9tukan.icu/blog/internet-marketing/stack-infrastructure.htm#respond Thu, 18 Jun 2020 14:05:59 +0000 http://www.9tukan.icu/?p=28352 This series was originally written by Ian Lurie in 2015 and updated by Chad Kearns in 2020. In Part 1, I talked about the Marketing Stack as a whole. In this post, I’ll walk through the base of the Stack: infrastructure. Part 1: The Digital Marketing Stack Part 2: Infrastructure ← You are herePart 3: […]

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This series was originally written by Ian Lurie in 2015 and updated by Chad Kearns in 2020.

In Part 1, I talked about the Marketing Stack as a whole. In this post, I’ll walk through the base of the Stack: infrastructure.

Part 1: The Digital Marketing Stack
Part 2: Infrastructure ← You are here
Part 3: Analytics
Part 4: Content
Part 5: The Channels – Paid, Earned and Owned

Infrastructure is the technology that powers everything you do, and it’s one of the most under-optimized aspects of digital marketing. Getting this right is fundamental to success. Infrastructure delivers your content through the channels you utilize and powers the tools used to analyze the results.

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Infrastructure drives digital marketing. It’s the base of the Stack.

The better your infrastructure, the more effective your marketing. You don’t have to be the head of IT to check on the following:

Speed

Site speed is probably the most overlooked optimization that marketers can invest in to improve conversion performance. We’ve even done a study that shows the effect of improving site speed on the bottom line.

To improve your site’s speed, think about:

  • Image compression. Friends don’t let friends upload uncompressed images.
  • Content distribution. Use. A. CDN. That’s a Content Distribution Network. It delivers ‘static’ content like javascript, images, and CSS in compact format over super-speedy networks.
  • Caching. Simple rule of server caching: Never deliver the same thing twice to the same browser. Ever.
  • Rendering time. Download time isn’t the only factor. Organize HTML code so browsers can quickly sift through your page and display it.

Those are the starting points. Get them done, then learn the crap out of site speed optimization. Read our posts about site speed basics and the geektacular techniques for squeezing a little more speed out of your site.

Stability

Does your website work 99.9999% of the time? If not, you’ve got stability problems. Assume that the first time your site fails is the last time a customer uses it. Your goal should be 100% stability.

To get there, think about:

  • Hardware. The cloud is a solid option here. If you use a decent provider.
  • Software. Build for stability first, features second. No use having a three-tiered discount system or a custom comments toolset if it breaks your whole site.

Scalability

What would happen if you go from 10,000 transactions in a month to 50,000? That may feel far-fetched, but it’s easy to prepare for that kind of scale, and the upside is worth it. Think about the scalability of day-to-day management, too: moderation, customer service, and content management have to grow as you do.

Be reasonable. If your budget is $5,000, you can’t build a publishing platform that can handle 20 million visitors per day. Still, you can build for scalability within any budget by building smart.

Security

No explanation necessary. Don’t even try to do this yourself. Hire an expert.

If you’re looking for a place to improve online revenue, conversion rates, or overall experience, start with infrastructure. Its position at the bottom of the Stack means changes here have the broadest possible payoff across everything else that you do.

Note: Read a bit more about infrastructure and compare it to other parts of the Stack in our Marketing Stack Explorer.

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The Digital Marketing Stack: Overview http://www.9tukan.icu/blog/internet-marketing/stack-overview.htm http://www.9tukan.icu/blog/internet-marketing/stack-overview.htm#respond Thu, 18 Jun 2020 14:00:36 +0000 http://www.9tukan.icu/?p=28339 This series was originally written by Ian Lurie in 2015 and updated by Chad Kearns in 2020. The Marketing Stack is how we approach marketing at Portent. It was created by Portent’s founder, Ian Lurie, and continues to guide our approach to building marketing solutions for our agency clients. This five-post series explains the Stack […]

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This series was originally written by Ian Lurie in 2015 and updated by Chad Kearns in 2020.

The Marketing Stack is how we approach marketing at Portent. It was created by Portent’s founder, Ian Lurie, and continues to guide our approach to building marketing solutions for our agency clients.

This five-post series explains the Stack as a whole, then piece-by-piece, breaking down the elements and channels, explaining how they build on each other, and how they are intertwined in each other’s success.

If you want to skip ahead, here’s a link to each section:

Part 1: The Digital Marketing Stack ← You are here
Part 2: Infrastructure
Part 3: Analytics
Part 4: Content
Part 5: The Channels – Paid, Earned and Owned

Let’s dive in.

The Digital Marketing Stack

Digital marketing is a ridiculous pile of stuff. It can quickly become chaotic and complex.

Don’t get me wrong; marketing’s chaotic nature is important.

The Stack is one way to impose a little order over everything that we do as marketers.

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The Digital Marketing Stack: it’s a stack. About marketing. On the internet.

The bottom three layers are the elements of digital marketing. All three are essential to everything that you do as a digital marketer. If you leave one of the elements out, your job becomes nearly impossible.

The top layer of the Stack contains the digital marketing channels that exist to amplify your brand. We communicate with our audience through paid, earned, and owned media. At a high level, think PPC marketing on Google or Facebook (paid media), SEO rankings and traffic (earned media), and email marketing (owned media).

Dependencies

The Stack is designed to show the dependencies that these elements and channels have on each other. If the bottom of the Stack is weak, your marketing will probably erode.

Every layer depends on the layers around it.

Lousy infrastructure — a slow or unsecured site — will suck the life out of everything you do. Without analytics, you’ll have to guess at what’s working and what isn’t. Content is everything that connects you to your audience. Without it, there would be nothing for you to amplify through your channel mix.

As marketers, we must be aware of all the elements and channels. Sure, we’ll have our areas of expertise within the Stack, but a holistic understanding of how it all fits together is crucial.

Convection

The Stack also shows convection: your audience moves up and down through the Stack as they interact with you, accessing your content via channels and infrastructure set up, providing you with analytics data along the way.

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Convection in the Digital Marketing Stack.

Marketers must understand and equip themselves to influence each element and channel of the Stack. Ignore any of the elements, and it will be hard to get traction anywhere. Embrace the channels to find the right mix required to reach your audience when and where they need you.

Note: We have a Marketing Stack Explorer if you want to see it all in one, interactive chunk.

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When To Use Facebook’s Campaign Budget Optimization http://www.9tukan.icu/blog/social-media/when-to-use-facebooks-campaign-budget-optimization.htm http://www.9tukan.icu/blog/social-media/when-to-use-facebooks-campaign-budget-optimization.htm#respond Tue, 16 Jun 2020 14:00:41 +0000 http://www.9tukan.icu/?p=53371 Before Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO), the only option advertisers had for setting budgets in Facebook was within the ad set level (e.g., audience). And if you were managing multiple campaigns, it could be a long, complicated process to allocate budgets for each audience. Using CBO can simplify the campaign management process by controlling how much […]

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Before Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO), the only option advertisers had for setting budgets in Facebook was within the ad set level (e.g., audience). And if you were managing multiple campaigns, it could be a long, complicated process to allocate budgets for each audience. Using CBO can simplify the campaign management process by controlling how much budget each ad set allocates. Using your budget and bid strategy, it finds the lowest-cost opportunities across your audiences. However, CBO may not be the answer for everyone. In this blog, I will show examples of when you should or shouldn’t use CBO based on your Facebook campaign strategies.

What is Campaign Budget Optimization?

Within a campaign, you will usually set budgets in the ad set level for each targeted audience. CBO, however, sets the budget at the campaign level. The Facebook algorithm then takes that budget and distributes amongst the active audiences you are targeting. CBO was created to automate processes in your day-to-day work. Overall, it finds the best results based on how much budget you allocated within the campaign level. CBO accounts for a few things when allocating budgets amongst the audiences:

  1. Budget and Bid Strategy: CBO distributes budgets based on your objective and bid strategy. It allocates ad dollars towards the lowest cost per result—such as a cost per action (CPA) or highest return on ad spend (ROAS)—across all your ad sets. For example, CBO will distribute more budget towards an ad set that generated a 15.70 ROAS than the ad set with 1.70 ROAS.""
  2. Audience Size: Another factor CBO considers when distributing budget is your audience sizes, and where it finds the best results. CBO typically prioritizes budget distribution across ad sets with the largest audience. For example, let’s say you have a daily budget of $370 to spend. Audience A has an audience size of 100,000, but Audience B has an audience size of 500,000, and Audience C has 50,000. The Facebook algorithm will distribute more budget towards Audience B because there are more opportunities to find the best result.""
  3. The Number of Ad Sets: Whether you have active ad sets currently running, or that are scheduled to run, CBO reserves budget for both since it takes into account the budget at the campaign level and not the ad set level. However, if your ad set is not scheduled, but instead turned off, CBO will not account for the ad set when reserving the budget.

Note: Because CBO is an automated process, it is important to not frequently pause or unpause ad sets, as that will cause your campaign to spend inefficiently. You are restarting the learning phase each time the ad set is turned on. Overall, ad sets are recommended to stay active for at least seven days to gain enough insight.

Is Campaign Budget Optimization Optional?

In the past, Facebook was focused on fully migrating CBO across all ad accounts, and was rolling out this feature in phases throughout 2020. However, this is no longer the case, and it is no longer required. This is excellent news because CBO is not recommended for everyone and, therefore, this will allow advertisers to choose how to allocate their budgets based on their strategy.

Why You Should Use Campaign Budget Optimization

Facebook rolled out CBO to help advertisers manage their budgets more effectively. This is an impressive feature if it aligns with your campaign strategy and how you build your campaigns. Following are the reasons why CBO would benefit your campaign strategy.

Obtain More Value With Your Campaigns

If your main KPI is to get more conversions, higher ROAS, or obtain a lower CPA, you will gain more value by incorporating CBO in your strategy. Overall, CBO will find the lowest-cost opportunities for your campaign based on your objective, budget, and bid strategy. Remember, when using CBO it is important to report on your performance based on the campaign level rather than the ad set level.

Minimize Restarting the Learning Phase

Based on your campaign objective and conversion event (e.g., purchase, sign up, view content), Facebook’s algorithm needs 50 optimization events based on the conversion window you’ve set in the ad set level to move out of the learning phase.

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Once your ad set has successfully generated 50 events, it will exit out of the learning phase. This means that the algorithm has enough insight into what type of users are more likely to click on your ad at a lower cost. The quicker your ad set exits the learning phase, the more stable your campaigns will be.

By opting into CBO on your campaigns, you minimize your chances of restarting the learning phase since the algorithm will distribute your budget across your active and scheduled ad sets, reducing the chances of making extreme budget changes that would impact the information Facebook is gathering.

Simplifying Your Campaign Management

As mentioned previously, you have less to manage when you utilize CBO versus manually setting budgets within the ad set level, since CBO adjusts your budgets for you and finds the lowest-cost opportunities in real-time. Because of this, the best way to utilize CBO is to create broad audiences and combine similar audiences. If your audiences are similar, you can potentially run into the issue of competing with yourself, which can lead to inefficient spending and higher CPA. You can use the audience overlap report to view whether your audiences will overlap if you targeted them separately.

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When You Should Not Use Campaign Budget Optimization

I’ve previously discussed why CBO is an impressive feature; however, it has its downfalls. Depending on your strategy, here are some reasons why CBO may not be the right choice for your Facebook campaigns.

Your Campaign Structure Restricts Flexibility

CBO may not work in your campaign strategy if your business has strict budgets separated by region, markets, or submarkets. For example, state populations vary, which affects the estimated potential reach on Facebook.

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In this example, Facebook calculated that the potential reach for this audience in Washington state is 5.3 million people.
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And in Idaho, Facebook calculated that the potential reach for this audience is 1.2 million people.

Since CBO typically favors audiences that have a larger estimate of potential reach, it may allocate your ad dollars in a way that conflicts with your regional budget restrictions. CBO works best when there is flexibility in spend and audiences.

You Need to Control Budgets Across Ad Sets

When managing budgets within the ad set level, we can control how much budget it will allocate for a particular audience. Within CBO, there is a feature called “Ad Set Spend Limits” that allows advertisers to dedicate budgets across ad sets within a campaign. You might think, “this feature will eliminate the management of budgets across ad sets manually.” Wrong. There are some restrictions when using the ad set spend limits.

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Here are the key reasons why the spending limits won’t do you justice if you need to have more control over your ad set budgets:

  1. When you add the minimum budget amount, it is not guaranteed that the algorithm will pace to spend that amount. The more ad sets you have in your campaign, the harder it will be for that specific ad set to spend a minimum on a daily or lifetime budget.
  2. When you set a maximum amount, if the algorithm has exceeded that amount, and you would like to continue running this ad set, you will need to increase your campaign budget to increase your maximum budget.
  3. If you use both minimum and maximum budgets across many ad sets in a campaign, it limits how CBO distributes your budget across ad sets. This can lead to a higher CPA, or it can cause your campaigns to under-deliver.
  4. In addition to number three, when you set your minimum and maximum budgets, some restrictions can cause a massive headache if you’re adjusting this for a large amount of ad sets! When setting min and max, there needs to be a 90% difference. So, in theory, the minimums and maximums options are not as effective as managing budgets within the ad set level. As a result, you are creating more work yourself, and CBO will not be as effective either.

Niche Audience Targeting

If your campaign strategy consists of reaching a particular audience—especially if your product and/or services are for a niche audience— CBO is not the right approach. For example, a B2B brand may focus on reaching users who fit within their specific sales criteria. As a result, it is preferable to manually manage budget and bid strategies at the ad set level for audiences that are a higher priority.

In this scenario, it is best not to use CBO in your campaign strategy because your primary objective is to reach these very specific potential customers. It’s better to manage your budgets manually to reach these customers instead of having the algorithm automating the distribution of your budgets.

Which Method is Better?

If you are unsure which method is best for your campaign strategy, have no fear! You can test the CBO method using Facebook’s A/B Split Testing functionality. Learn more about that in our post, How to Structure Facebook A/B Testing for Any Business.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when running an A/B test:

  • Utilize the “Experiment” feature when creating a CBO test.
  • Take a look at where CBO has been spending your money. IS it on the same ad sets as your other campaign, or has it shifted? If so, find out why.
  • Are you seeing a decline or increase in performance overall based on your primary KPIs?
  • Remember to base your final observations at the campaign level and view the total number of optimization events and the average CPA it has generated.

To Recap

It’s important not to judge how CBO distributes your budget across different ad sets. Instead, familiarize yourself with how CBO works by using the split-testing method and view how it affects performance. CBO is recommended to remove the heavy lifting off of advertisers, leading to less manual work. However, sometimes automating certain features within the Facebook platform might not be as effective. When you’re first starting out with CBO, make sure to utilize the Facebook Experiments feature to test whether CBO is an effective feature for your campaign strategy.

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How to Find Pages You Like on Facebook (and Unlike Them) http://www.9tukan.icu/blog/social-media/how-to-find-pages-you-like-on-facebook-and-unlike-them.htm http://www.9tukan.icu/blog/social-media/how-to-find-pages-you-like-on-facebook-and-unlike-them.htm#comments Thu, 11 Jun 2020 14:00:09 +0000 http://www.9tukan.icu/?p=15417 Updated on June 11, 2020, to include current instructions. Facebook’s search function allows you to search for people, posts, photos, videos, groups, and more, based on your own Facebook activity. This includes the pages you like on Facebook as well. For most of us, there’s nothing to worry about. Declaring you “Like” Grey’s Anatomy is […]

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Updated on June 11, 2020, to include current instructions.

Facebook’s search function allows you to search for people, posts, photos, videos, groups, and more, based on your own Facebook activity. This includes the pages you like on Facebook as well. For most of us, there’s nothing to worry about. Declaring you “Like” Grey’s Anatomy is just a sign you enjoyed the show, at least until the 007 episode.

Oh, and I should probably mention, if you need a little more help in managing social media for your business than simply unliking a page, we’re basically the Shonda Rhimes of social media management.

However, for one reason or another, you might have liked a page you shouldn’t have. If you’re uncomfortable with unwittingly shilling for companies you no longer support or if you just want to avoid expressing your love for anything embarrassing, here’s the best way to remove your unwanted page likes:

How to Find Facebook Pages You’ve Liked

  1. Visit your profile and click ‘More’ on the right side of the navigation bar. In the dropdown, select ‘Likes.’
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  3. Hover over the ‘Liked’ button for each page you’ve liked and you will see the option to unlike the page. If you have the new Facebook format, hover over the image.
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  5. Pages you’ve liked are grouped by category, and you also have the ability to control the privacy of those groups. If you want to limit who can see what you’ve liked, select ‘Manage’ (the pencil icon) on the upper right corner. If you have the new format, it will appear as three dots in the same location. Then select ‘Edit the Privacy of Your Likes’ (or follows).
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  7. From here, you will be able to select the level of access people have to the pages you have liked.
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Hopefully, this helps you update your profile to be a more accurate reflection of who you are today. I, for one, am no longer a fan of Hip-Hop Tuesdays at my High School. That being said, this is just a demonstration. Please keep liking Portent’s Facebook page.

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How to Set Up and Test Cross-Domain Tracking In Google Tag Manager http://www.9tukan.icu/blog/analytics/how-to-set-up-and-test-cross-domain-tracking-in-google-tag-manager.htm http://www.9tukan.icu/blog/analytics/how-to-set-up-and-test-cross-domain-tracking-in-google-tag-manager.htm#respond Tue, 09 Jun 2020 14:00:06 +0000 http://www.9tukan.icu/?p=53292 Cross-domain tracking stitches a user’s sessions on your site together that would have otherwise been split up into different sessions by root domain. This type of tracking may be necessary on your site if users are ever able to navigate across domains within one session. In this post, we’ll walk through how to identify the […]

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Cross-domain tracking stitches a user’s sessions on your site together that would have otherwise been split up into different sessions by root domain. This type of tracking may be necessary on your site if users are ever able to navigate across domains within one session.

In this post, we’ll walk through how to identify the need for cross-domain tracking and how to set it up through Google Tag Manager. First, we’ll break down what Google attributes to a session by default.

How Google Analytics Determines Sessions

Google Analytics (GA) tags each user with a cookie for every domain that they visit. Then, these sessions are stitched together by looking at the cookie value and referrer data. A new session is started if there’s a new cookie or “campaign.” A campaign could be a referral domain (any root domain that’s different from the current page’s) or a new campaign parameter.

In the example below, a user would have a different GA cookie on portent.com than they do on portent.careers.com. Although they’d return to portent.com, a new session would start on P4 with portent.careers.com as the referrer since the referrer is a new root domain. These new sessions that are artificially created are a consequence of not having cross-domain tracking set up in Google Analytics.

In this example, Session one includes a user's visit to P1, portent.com, and P2, portent.com/blog. Session 2 is comprised of a user's visit to P3, portent.careers.com, and P4, portent.com.

In some cases, a simple referral exclusion in GA would prevent sessions from being split up. A referral exclusion explicitly tells GA not to start a new session when that domain is returned as the referrer. For instance, if you don’t need to track the “other” domain (P3 in our example above), you can add it to the referral exclusion list in GA. In our example, it would essentially “skip” P3 and stitch our session together across P1, P2, and P4. If a user happened to start on portent.careers.com and navigated to portent.com, however, the entrance to portent.com would be attributed to Direct.

By default, GA tracks the same cookie value for the same root domains—meaning portent.com and example.portent.com would already be stitched together. There’s no need to set up cross-domain tracking or even referral exclusions for subdomains.

When You Need Cross-Domain Tracking

Cross-domain tracking is required on your site any time you see sessions broken up across root domains. There are a few common situations that might break up sessions in GA:

Users Are Sent Through a Redirect

This has been the most common offender in my experience. A classic example is when a user submits a form and is sent through a redirect before hitting the thank you page.

In the example below, the user might start on ourdomain.com and be sent through the Eloqua redirect without the page loading long enough for the user to notice it:

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This results in all of these form-fill conversions being attributed to referral traffic from Eloqua.

Final Action/Conversion Takes Place on a Different Domain

A user might be sent to a thank you page on another domain instead of being redirected back to your website. This could result in misattribution or even a complete loss of visibility into your conversions.

A common example of this might be thank you pages through a Shopify checkout flow that live on a different domain than the main domain.

Users Can Navigate Between Multiple Domains in the Same Session

There are many instances where you might expect a user to navigate between multiple domains. You might have an international version of your website on a different root domain. Maybe there’s an affiliate company that’s linked from your site. Or maybe you house your job openings on a different platform—ergo, a different domain.

In any of these instances, if a user started on your website, visited any of these pages on a different domain, then navigated back to the main domain, it would trigger two sessions and cause misattribution in your GA reports.

How to Check Whether You Need Cross-Domain Tracking

You might already have an idea of what pages on your site could be causing tracking issues. It’s definitely worth checking if you host forms through Eloqua or have different root domains for international or affiliated sites.

As a general rule, check for possible navigation across any domain that’s not a subdomain.

Check for the following in Google Analytics:

  • Different hostnames. Add ‘Hostnames’ as a secondary dimension in the ‘All Pages’ report and look for any hostnames that don’t share the same root domain.
  • Internal referral sources. Navigate to your ‘Referrals’ report and look for any referral sources that could be internal traffic—this could be a lead capturing platform, on-site tools, or even internal platforms.
  • High % of conversions attributed to referral traffic. Referral traffic typically doesn’t account for a majority of conversions, but if it does, it’s worth checking the referral source to make sure conversions aren’t being attributed to a redirect.

If you’re still unsure after checking these reports within GA, use a tool like Google Tag Assistant to record a session across your site. Enable recording to navigate across any pages you’re wary of and submit a few test conversions.

The tool will show a warning at the top of the recording when a new session was initiated in the middle of navigation.

Setting up Cross-Domain Tracking in Google Tag Manager

You can set up cross-domain tracking in Google Analytics through the hard-coded script itself, or through Google Tag Manager (GTM). For this post, we’ll walk through how to set up cross-domain tracking through Google Tag Manager, but follow this guide if you want to configure the analytics.js script.

Google Tag Manager makes it easy to set up cross-domain tracking. Navigate to your GA tag in GTM and configure the following settings:

  • Create a new field named ‘allowLinker’ with the value set to ‘true.’
  • Add the alternate domains for cross-domain tracking under Cross Domain Tracking → Auto Link Domains.

Once you have the updates published in GTM, you’ll have to add the additional domain(s) under the Referral Exclusion list in your GA admin settings.
Additionally, I’d recommend prepending the hostname to your URLs to be able to view your reports by domain easily. Create a new filter in GA with the following settings:

For Filter Name, use Append Hostnames. For Filter Type, use the predefined "Advanced" option. Under Field A > Extract A select Hostname and enter (.*). Under Field B > Extract B select Request URI and enter (.*). Under Output To > Constructor select Request URI and enter $A1$B1

Once you’ve published these changes in GTM and GA, record another session through Google Tag Assistant across domains and with test conversions to make sure you no longer see the error.

In the case of cross-domain tracking across iframes, I’d refer to Simo’s guide to using customTask to decorate the iframe URLs and pair it with his solution to block page views (or just the first page view) from within an iframe. The iframe will have to have the ‘allowLinker’ field set to ‘true’ in its GA tag for this solution to work.

Unfortunately, there may be other situations where cross-domain tracking will not be this easy. However, in situations where the ‘allowLinker’ field is set to ‘true,’ you may still be able to hack together a solution outside of iframes by pushing the _ga cookie through a URL parameter, in a similar fashion to Simo’s solution mentioned above.

Hopefully, at the end of your testing, you’ll begin to see conversions attributed to the proper sources and be able to start understanding the interrelationships of different sections of your site.

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3 Ways to Generate New Content by Using What Already Exists http://www.9tukan.icu/blog/internet-marketing/ways-to-generate-new-content-by-using-what-already-exists.htm http://www.9tukan.icu/blog/internet-marketing/ways-to-generate-new-content-by-using-what-already-exists.htm#respond Thu, 04 Jun 2020 14:00:47 +0000 http://www.9tukan.icu/?p=53334 Content ideation can seem complicated and time-consuming. It often feels as if everything that could be written about already is. And although this may be true, this should not deter you from creating. In this post, I’ll share ways your current content, user feedback, and competitors can inspire you to create high-quality content that will […]

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Content ideation can seem complicated and time-consuming. It often feels as if everything that could be written about already is. And although this may be true, this should not deter you from creating. In this post, I’ll share ways your current content, user feedback, and competitors can inspire you to create high-quality content that will resonate with your audience.

1. Update Your Existing Content

Before you brainstorm new ideas, start by performing an audit on the content you already have. The first thing you should check is the publish date and whether there have been any changes to the topic. It may sound simple, but updating your content or even taking down posts that are no longer relevant can increase site traffic.

A content audit can also help you determine what content you need to expand on. Use the top search queries in Google to help you understand what users are looking for and establish whether you have that content on your page. Once you are sure that your content satisfies user intent, make sure that content is easy to find, navigate, and understand.

For example, if I were trying to find inspiration for nail art, I would assume that a nail polish brand would produce the content I have in mind. But just because their site contains it, does not mean it is paying off.

Upon my arrival on Essie.com, I uncovered a roadblock in the user journey between “nail art” and “inspiration” in the navigation pane. Which one will best meet my query? What’s the difference? A potential solution could be to include “nail art” in the drop-down menu under inspiration. Many users can get deterred from a page due to a lack of usability before discovering the content. Performing a content audit on Essie.com shows that the placement is as imperative as the content itself.

Now that you know how a content audit can help you improve your content, uncover additional inspiration by looking at user feedback.

2. Utilize User Feedback

Once everything is up to date, there can be other reasons your content is still not gaining traction. One way to gauge your current performance is by collecting and analyzing user feedback.

One brand that is notorious for great, user-centric content is Glossier. Given that this makeup line started as a beauty blog, a key to their online success is their utilization of user feedback. To get a better understanding of the questions and input they receive, I scrolled through the comments on Glossier’s Instagram account about their blush product Cloud Paint.

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Here, I found two recurring themes: most users wanted to find the right shade of blush for their skin tone, and they wanted to make sure the product contained high-quality ingredients. Besides addressing the questions in the comments above, Glossier collected this user feedback and used it to improve the content on their product page.

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By clicking on each blush option, the user can view a video of each shade applied to a variety of skin tones. Glossier takes it one step further by including product ingredient information at the bottom of the description.

3. Learn From Your Competitors

If your content is up to date, and you have implemented user feedback, consider researching your top three to five competitors. By reviewing their blog articles, product descriptions, and SERPs, you can use these insights to improve your content and compete in this digital space.

Let’s say you’re a brand that sells eyeglasses online. It can be difficult to advertise to customers that may be hesitant to buy a pair without trying them on. By taking a look at the top competitors in the online eyeglass industry, we can see how they attempt to combat this issue.

Warby Parker includes a “Home Try-On” program that takes users through a quiz to find the ideal style to fit their needs. Once the results are generated, they send five frames to try on in person to ensure customer satisfaction.

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Although it may be unrealistic to compete with Warby Parker’s approach, there are plenty of additional competitors to explore. By clicking “Frames and face shapes” underneath the discover tab on EyeBuyDirect’s homepage, you can see their unique approach to the same concern. Here, they acknowledge the user’s hesitation by providing the video: “How to Pick Glasses for Your Face Shape.”

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Zenni’s version of “try before you buy” gives customers the chance to try on each style with a virtual mirror.

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As you review these approaches, you may find that your site does not contain content that addresses this common user concern, which can be a barrier to acquiring new customers. By analyzing your competitors, you can create better content by learning what they are doing well, or where they may be falling short of meeting their users’ needs.

Final Thoughts

In a world with so much content, much of it is thin, outdated, or not useful to the reader. What makes the brands I mentioned successful is that they prioritize quality over quantity. They take the time to create content, not for its sake but also to make sure it serves a distinct purpose to their online audience.

By keeping your current content inventory up to date, implementing user feedback, and analyzing your competitor’s strategies, you can generate intentional, meaningful content without spinning your wheels. And the best place to start is by building on and improving what is already out there.

If you’re still looking for more content ideation tips, check out this blog post, The Best Research Tools to Write Killer Content.

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Natural Language Processing Tools for Better SEO http://www.9tukan.icu/blog/seo/natural-language-processing-tools-for-better-seo.htm http://www.9tukan.icu/blog/seo/natural-language-processing-tools-for-better-seo.htm#respond Tue, 02 Jun 2020 14:00:59 +0000 http://www.9tukan.icu/?p=53309 Natural language processing (NLP) has come a long way over the years, and has always held a sort of air of mystery and hype around it in SEO. Which is too bad, because even though the math and computer science behind it is becoming unimaginably complicated, the motivation is simple. Machines can’t read; they can […]

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Natural language processing (NLP) has come a long way over the years, and has always held a sort of air of mystery and hype around it in SEO. Which is too bad, because even though the math and computer science behind it is becoming unimaginably complicated, the motivation is simple.

Machines can’t read; they can only do math. To handle the problem of analyzing fuzzy, sloppy, and vague human-generated text, machines have to treat words like numbers so they can perform operations on them. This makes the job of a search engine pretty difficult. They have to match content to user queries without being able to read, and they have to do it at a scale and speed no human can execute.

Given the nature of the search engine’s problem, I approach using natural language tools for SEO by trying to help search engines do easier math problems. Since search engines mostly rely on the content I supply them when I want to rank, I need to make sure my content is easy for search engines to process.

This article isn’t about finding a magic string of words that will shoot our content to the top of the search engines. No such magic exists. This article is about tools that will help us reduce ambiguity for search engines and users, and hopefully uncover blind spots in our content that will guide us in making it better.

A Brief History of NLP in SEO

I want to talk about BERT and what it means for SEO, but I want to give some context around the problem first and dispel some misconceptions that are still with us.
Early approaches to web search were just applications of information retrieval technologies; not much more advanced than library keyword search applied to web documents.

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Image courtesy of the Seattle Public Library.

Since search engines were simple, SEO was pretty simple. Back then, SEO was easy: just strategically add your target keyword around the page until you ranked higher than your competitors. That’s what gave rise to concepts like “keyword density,” an idea that has overstayed its welcome.

About 12 years ago, the hype in NLP was around word clustering approaches, such as Latent Semantic Indexing. It never turned out to be super useful for writing better content, because it was never for that.

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) is about using a linear algebra trick to create a numeric encoding for words where terms that occur frequently in the same documents are represented by the same number. If you’re lucky, words that are related somehow will get grouped together, like “cactus” and “succulent.”

Since LSI is pretty simple, you might also get nonsense, like “cactus” and “sky” being grouped together because there were many documents discussing the natural beauty of the Sonoran Desert. If you ever find an SEO claim based on “LSI keywords,” don’t take it seriously.

In 2013 Google publicly released Word2Vec, a neural network approach to mapping words to numbers using the other words nearby. The objective of Word2Vec is to take words in web content and map them to vectors so that words with similar contexts will have vectors with similar direction and magnitude.

On the left, the word "man" is mapped to "woman" and the word "uncle" is mapped to "aunt" and the word "king" is mapped to "queen." On the right, the word "king" is mapped to "queen" and "kings" and "queen" is mapped to "queens."
Image courtesy of The Association for Computational Linguistics.

You’ll often see descriptions of Word2Vec where some vector arithmetic preserves the meaning behind the words it encodes, such as <king> – <man> + <woman> ~= <queen>. This is a cool result, but not everyone working with the approach is getting such neat results.

Even though Word2Vec wasn’t perfect, it was a significant leap forward, opening the door for more neural network and vector embedding approaches. It also symbolizes the transition from human-readable techniques based on linear algebra and statistics to black box techniques based on neural networks.

The takeaway for the marketer is that as Google gets better at encoding words as numbers, the connection between the words and numbers are harder to understand and don’t matter as much. Using our keywords more often in content isn’t going to work; the machines are much more sophisticated now.

BERT: Google’s New Hotness

Google’s BERT is their latest architecture for generating vector embeddings. It takes the idea behind Word2Vec and makes the neural network bigger and more robust. It’s generating a lot of hype, and rightly so. It’s involved in a few search features like Featured Snippets and conversational query matching. It’s kind of a big deal.

BERT is better at using context for creating numerical representations of words. Previous word vector approaches would only look left to right or right to left for determining word context. BERT uses all of the other words in a sentence to determine what “sense” a word is being used in.

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Differences between BERT and other pre-training model architectures. Image courtesy of Cornell University.

For example, BERT will encode “apple” differently if its context indicates it’s about the tech company and not the fruit. This is an improvement in handling polysemy, when one word has multiple meanings.

BERT is also better at handling synonyms. The words “eminent,” “renowned,” and “distinguished” would all be encoded similarly if they appeared in the sentence “Euler was one of the most _______ mathematicians of the 18th century and is held to be one of the greatest in history.” because they all perform the same function of describing how great Euler was.

To BERT, if the “meaning” of any word is dependent on the words surrounding it, then we should select words that make thematic sense. We want to make our content very unambiguous to make it easy for BERT to know when we’re directly answering a user’s query.

TF-IDF Tools: Finding Statistically Improbable Words

What’s a naive way to tell if a word or phrase might be important to a blog post we wrote? It appears several times in our post, and rarely in anyone else’s website. That’s the basic motivation behind TF-IDF. It stands for Term Frequency-Inverse Document Frequency.

Here’s a formula for one version of calculating a TF-IDF score:

W x,y = tf x,y X log (N/df x)
Image courtesy of FiloTechnologia

If a word occurs relatively frequently in your content, and relatively infrequently in anyone else’s, then it has a high TF-IDF score. We want to use TF-IDF (or sometimes just basic word frequency) to determine when our content doesn’t use important words when we could easily include them.

The easiest way to find the statistically infrequent words we want to consider using is by looking at our competitors’ pages. In this regard, we’re really just doing competitive gap analysis for word use, but we need to be careful because more doesn’t necessarily mean better.

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Image courtesy of Seobility.

If we’re trying to rank for “why do people put milk in tea?” and our article clearly answers the question and provides historical context (people didn’t want to crack their teacups with too-hot tea), we should check the word frequencies of the top-ranking content to see if we missed anything.

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Suppose we’re missing the words “porcelain,” “cooling,” “before adding,” and “delicate.” Should we add them to our article if it makes sense and adds value to the user experience? Yes, absolutely. Should we add them if they are irrelevant to our article and we would have to shoehorn in a paragraph of contrived text? No, it’s a poor idea.

There are a few tools that can help us do this. Not all of them use TF-IDF, but that’s fine because the TF-IDF number score doesn’t matter, we just want the words that will produce a better context for things like BERT.

  1. Seobility: Their tool gives us three free checks a day.
  2. SEMRush: Their SEO Content Template tool produces a tight list of recommended phrases to use. If you already have an SEMRush account, check it out.
  3. Ryte: Free accounts come with 10 TF-IDF reports a month. Not very many, but enough for a couple of content reviews each month.
  4. Online Text Comparator: It does a basic word count comparison between two documents. Very useful if there are only a few pages you want to compare against.

Google’s Cloud Natural Language API

Google has a natural language processing API that can do a lot of different tasks. The problem is that it’s intended for developers and engineers.

Luckily, they have a free demo on their homepage that will tell us a few things about the words in our content: which ones are entities, and their salience in relation to the document. The API demo is also useful to us because it’s a clear example of how easily Google can do NLP tasks far beyond the basic counting of words.

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Natural Language API Demo Input.

To get some use from this tool, we need a couple of definitions first:

Entity: A proper noun, or any named thing that would appear as a subject or object in a sentence. In this demo, Google’s NLP service is automatically extracting entities from text using a proprietary Named-Entity Recognition approach.

Salience: The relative importance of an entity to a document. Using a secret-sauce technique, Google is assigning a number between 0 and 1 to each entity it found in the text we submit. The more entities that are used in a document with any of the other entities present, the higher salience it should have.

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Natural Language API Demo Output.

So what do we do with this demo output? Pretty much another content gap analysis. We want to know if we’re missing any salient entities in our content that high-ranking pages frequently include.

We have to use good judgment, though. We’re not trying to jam as many entities as possible into our content to make a tool’s number higher. We want this gap analysis to guide us toward finding overlooked opportunities for providing beneficial content to users.

The other reason not to look too closely at the salience numbers is that this API demo is for a tool that’s made to be general-purpose. If Google is using any algorithms in the same vein for web search, they are probably more advanced and tuned to a very specific task.

Spelling, Grammar, and Style Tools

Humans are pretty good at handling mistakes in spelling and grammar, but machines aren’t. They tend to be pretty literal.

So how can a search engine properly analyze text if it’s full of typographical errors, the passive voice, and unclear antecedents? I suppose search engines have devised ways of automatically correcting errors and allow for a certain degree of inaccuracy, but we shouldn’t make the job any harder for them.

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The reasons for wanting to use a proofreading assistant tool like Grammarly or Hemmingway are fairly straightforward. Machines are going to have a hard time identifying entities if we misspell them, and they won’t know what part of speech they are if we’re breaking usage rules.

Style counts too. Grammarly frequently warns me about using passive voice and unclear antecedents. Just like humans, machines are going to have a problem determining entity context and salience if I’m being vague. We shouldn’t use the passive voice because it obscures the entity performing an action. Unclear antecedents are tricky too because they make the entity a pronoun refers to ambiguous.

This doesn’t mean we should follow every suggestion in Grammarly. We should find a balance between clarity and style. And sometimes, the tool is just flat wrong.

You Already Have the Best NLP Tool

No content analysis or NLP tool can produce great content for you; they are merely ways of saving time on polishing and enhancing content.

Ultimately, we as marketers have to decide whether or not our content answers someone’s query, and we need to put the effort that is due into writing it. There is always going to be the next breakthrough in machine learning, and there will always be the next NLP tool that will promise us the best words to use to make money. We can’t give into magical thinking. Users are the only ones who know if our content meets their demands, the tools don’t.

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