Ad-blocking concerns shift to the video ad industry

Ad blocking has long been a concern for advertisers, but video ads are getting hit especially hard. Columnist Alex Bornyakov explores why this is and offers some solutions to this growing problem.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.
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How Customer Engagement Silos are Holding You Back (And How to Fix It)

Silos are a relic from a bygone age — when “customer experience” as we know it didn’t exist and top-down communication was the norm. Back then, it was easy to work within a self-contained departmental bubble – brainstorming, collaborating and ultimately crafting something you thought the customer would enjoy based on what your department had gathered about them.

You may think that silos only exist in smaller companies – but history tells us that even large corporations can be plagued by these customer experience fossils:

Making a Mess of Music

Sony is the perfect example of how silos can wreck a customer experience. Back in 1999, Sony made an announcement that was going to change the way we experienced music. They were releasing a new, digital Walkman.

This was a full two years before the iPod would come to dominate the industry, and just a few months before the very first MP3 player was released. Here, Sony was demonstrating that it planned to embrace the internet and all the benefits of digital technology, and customers were excited about the potential that awaited them.

But then, enthusiasm started to wane when they announced not one, but three different music players. There was the Network Walkman, a device that used a flash memory stick to hold data and could only play music files with Sony’s proprietary ATRAC format. There was also the Vaio Musiclip, a cigar-sized, pen-like device that could hold two hours of music. Then there was the memory stick Walkman.


Three different devices to serve a single purpose.

Nevermind that there were already devices on the market that could hold hundreds of megabytes of music and used the much more popular mp3 format. Sony’s problem was that it was plagued by the customer experience silo – different departments all designing their own solutions to overtake the music industry and all of them competing with each other.

Even now in 2017, we can look back and see what happened. Sony’s innovative foothold on the music player market crumbled significantly — overtaken by Apple and other devices.

Why Customer Experience Silos Exist

According to research from New Voice Media, 41% of customer experience professionals say that operational silos are holding back the customer experience significantly. Operational silos are a traditional means of organizing a business — people segmented into different departments and roles based on their skill-sets.

According to Tim Packard, the CMO at New Voice Media, “operational silos encourage behavior that is beneficial to those within the silo, but often not in the best interests of the organization as a whole — or to customers.”

He continues, “[a]s a result, office politics develop, as the teams and departments compete more with each other than they do with competitors. Collaboration becomes a rarity, decision-making becomes poor, and teams become inward-looking.”

And, in cases like Sony, the bigger a company becomes, the more distant it becomes from its customers. It’s the difference between going down to your local deli to order your favorite sandwich, and having it prepared just the way you like it, and trying to get that same customer experience from your local Walmart.

What’s more, every department has their own version of the “ideal customer” based on whatever available data they have. Because data is seldom shared between departments in the case of silos, everyone’s working with their own skewed impression.

So what can be done about it?

Building Bridges, Not Silos

Fortunately this isn’t 1999. We have more innovative technology and influential data at our fingertips than ever before. This is a prime opportunity to build bridges between departments for a better overall customer experience — not silos that are independent of each other.

Because customers’ needs are so complex, and they encounter so many different touch-points (both digital and traditional), getting the “big picture“ can be difficult. Here’s how to tackle the challenge head-on:

Set Broader, Clearer Goals

When everyone’s on board with a common goal, everyone works together toward the same end result. By reinforcing the brand’s values and priorities, everyone – from every department – understands how they contribute to the end goal and their place in it. Don’t hesitate to test this out as well by taking on the role of customer and trying to contact the company across certain channels. Is the experience unified? Is it easy to understand and follow?

Include Everyone in the Process

From customer service to managers to everyone in between, getting feedback about where your company is in terms of customer experience and how it can improve is vital. This means asking and involving everyone in the process. Along the same lines, ensure everyone has access to the same data. Much of today’s CRM software allows all users to make real-time changes that are visible to others.

Customers appreciate when you know them and can quickly assist with their issue. Having to ask them again and again for their name, account number or product ID can test their patience, and lower their confidence in your ability to deliver the solution they need.

Encourage Open Collaboration

Every company handles this differently, from “buddy systems” across departments, or by shadowing someone in another department for a day to learn more about their customer interactions. Encouraging open collaboration and conversation helps members of your company get involved in building and reinforcing the brand’s values. Social ties become stronger and everyone competes — not against each other — but against the real competition, resulting in a better outcome that’s more customer-focused.


As you can see, it takes time and a concentrated effort by executives and managers to break down stale, old silos. But the benefits of doing so don’t have to involve costly software or technology. Open communication, collaboration and a deeper understanding of how the brand communicates to customers are tools that we all have in abundance – and they’re free. The end result drives a more competitive spirit, but also encourages greater company loyalty, improved customer satisfaction and overall growth. Who could ask for more?

Have you experienced operational silos at your own company? Did the business replace them with a more collaborative and teamwork oriented strategy? How did it work out for you? We’d love to hear the experiences and stories from anyone who has moved from an old-fashioned customer service silo to a more open communication style. Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below!

About the Author: Sherice Jacob helps business owners improve website design and increase conversion rates through compelling copywriting, user-friendly design and smart analytics analysis. Learn more at and download your free web copy tune-up and conversion checklist today!

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5 Content Optimization Mistakes You’ll Wish You Fixed Sooner

"Show your site visitors that you’re a match for them — faster." – Stefanie Flaxman

By now you know that — technical details aside — SEO is not separate from content marketing; it’s an integrated aspect of content marketing.

Optimizing your content for search engines is part of your craft and a skill you can strengthen with practice.

But even when you rank well for search terms your audience uses, the real test is what happens when someone clicks through to your website. As Brian wrote on Monday:

“There’s nothing worse than a quick bounce.”

To avoid a quick bounce, you need to focus on content optimization. Since you don’t want to miss any opportunities to connect with your site visitors, study this list of five common mistakes — and how to fix them.

Mistake #1: Your visitors can’t tell if your content’s right for them

A row of four new houses that all look basically the same were just built on the street where I live. When a real estate agent starts taking potential buyers on tours of the houses, do you know what’s going to happen?

The potential buyers are going to examine the properties and make judgments about the differences they notice.

A woman is going to dislike the filigree on one of the front gates and select the house with the simple brown gate and extra large balconies. A man is going to love the house with the filigree on the front gate. Another woman is going to hate the house with the extra large balconies and prefer the house with additional living room space.

You get the point.

While these houses appear roughly similar from the outside, visitors quickly assess which property is right for them based on their personal preferences.

The same thing happens when people search for information about a topic. The websites that appear at the top of search results for a keyword phrase might all look the same at first, so visitors will quickly inspect your content to see if it contains the qualities that are right for them.

If your special qualities (your proverbial front gate with filigree, large balcony, or spacious living room) aren’t clear, you won’t convince the people you want to attract that you can satisfy their preferences.

How to fix it

Take 15 Minutes to Find Your Winning Difference

When you stop trying to attract everyone, it’s easier to attract those who recognize and appreciate your unique selling proposition (USP).

You’re right for some visitors and your competitors may be right for others. That’s okay.

Mistake #2: Your headlines aren’t specific

The quickest way to a quick bounce is a generic headline that could appear on any other website in your niche.

Typically, these weak headlines fail to offer a benefit, or the benefit could be so vague that it fails to capture the attention of the people who you actually created the content for.

They could also be boring.

How to fix it

Ask Yourself These 3 Simple Questions to Craft Better Headlines

If you immediately communicate details about why your content is helpful, you’ll grab the attention of people who need that kind of help.

Aim to infuse your headlines with the essence of your USP and show your site visitors that you’re a match for them — faster.

Mistake #3: You don’t edit

Plenty of websites have success publishing first-draft content. If rough drafts form a bond with the people you aim to serve … cool.

But if your content isn’t striking a chord with the people you want to attract and develop relationships with, you may need to push yourself further.

How to fix it

Discover Why Content Marketers Need Editors

Rough drafts often fail to effectively convey your messages. They may contain too much information or tangents that distract busy readers and make your content less useful.

Editing is about creating a content experience. Rather than expressing raw thoughts, you craft a thoughtful presentation that helps solve a problem. When you click on the link above, you’ll learn how to think like an editor.

Mistake #4: You don’t give visitors more opportunities to learn

Websites with a lot of content may still look like “brochure” websites if they don’t present a different angle or perspective that makes visitors think, “I like this specific approach to this topic.”

When visitors feel you offer them something they can’t find on other websites, they want to hear more from you and stay connected.

If you don’t anticipate a reader’s desire to learn more, he might bounce to other sites to see if they offer more resources.

How to fix it

Add a Tantalizing Incentive that Will Build Your Email List

Ideally, you want to have so much great content that when visitors land on your site they’re frustrated that they don’t have enough time to consume it all in one sitting.

They’ll have to make a note to come back. Now the question is:

Do they sign up for your email list so they don’t miss any new content?

Make signing up for your email list a no-brainer by providing an incentive that is a perfect match for their needs. Your email list could also offer exclusive content the public doesn’t see.

Visitors will feel like they hit the jackpot that day on their journey.

Mistake #5: You don’t empower visitors to make a purchase

Information is … information. It doesn’t spark the buying process.

If you don’t give visitors a taste of what it’s like to do business with you, you won’t convert prospects to customers.

How to fix it

Educate to Convert Your Prospects

When you convince your website visitors to keep up with everything you publish, you’re able to build the relationships that will build your business. And the right balance of content and copy helps your prospects imagine what it’s like to buy from you.

Demonstrate why your product or service will give them the transformation they desire.

Optimize your content to grow your audience

Here’s a suggestion:

Assign each of the mistakes above to a day next week, Monday through Friday, and spend a couple hours each day identifying where you might make those errors and how you can fix them. By the end of the week, you’ll have a wealth of new ideas about how you can improve going forward.

What’s your process for producing exceptional content that impresses your website visitors? In the comments below, let us know how you stand out.

The post 5 Content Optimization Mistakes You’ll Wish You Fixed Sooner appeared first on Copyblogger.

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3 Ways Emojis Can Save Your User Retention

For mobile apps, message engagement is critical for retention. Push notifications are one of the best ways to keep your app top-of-mind. In fact, data has shown that app publishers who send push notifications can boost retention rates 20 percent, and 7x if they personalize those messages.

But there’s another secret to push notification engagement that too often goes overlooked: emojis 😉.

This might come as a surprise, but hard stats show that mobile users love emojis even when they’re used in marketing messages. Push notifications that include emojis experience more opens than their emoji-free counterparts — up to 85 percent more, in fact. And since emojis are so effective at boosting push engagement, they have a direct impact on long-term user retention.

With these three tactics, you’ll see how emojis can work wonders for your mobile marketing.

1. Emoji-Powered Push Notifications Are Opened 85% More Often

emoji-engagementComparison of push notification open rates with and without emojis

Believe it or not, emoji-powered push notifications really are more effective than their emoji-free kin. Open rates are almost twice as high in messages that feature emoji — that’s almost twice the number of people returning to the app.

But why do push notification open rates ✉️ matter? Some would call open rates a vanity metric, and there’s merit to that. Users might open a spammy or attention-grabbing push notification, but if the message doesn’t provide the expected value, they may revoke push permissions out of frustration. What really matters is how push opens affect conversion and retention metrics.

Luckily, there’s a quantitative link between push notifications and retention. The simple act of sending push notifications can increase 30-day retention by 20 percent. Considering that most users never return to the app after their first use, boosting 30-day retention increases the odds that users will stick around in the months to come.

average-retentionAverage 90-day retention rate

There are many finer points to the art of push notifications. For instance, Marketing Land explains that time-optimized ⏱ push notifications offer a 7x lift in retention. It’s important to optimize both message timing and message content.

Anecdotally, some mobile teams have already started experimenting with emoji-powered push notifications. The results are looking good. One team increased day two retention by 28 percent, just by including emojis in a push notification.


In summary, there’s a concrete link between emojis and retention, so it’s worth investing in an emoji-powered messaging strategy 🚀.

2. Emojis Resonate on an Emotional Level

It’s great to know that users love emojis, but why is that? As it turns out, the science behind emojis explains that our brains process them as non-verbal communication. This adds an emotional dimension to your copy that’s hard to capture through text.

In a way, emojis are the successors of old-school emoticons like the classic smiley :-). It’s hard to convey sarcasm and humor over the internet, so emoticons help clarify when a statement is made in jest. We process them almost like tone of voice — something that pure text lacks.

Emojis, with their bright colors 🎊 and vivid expressions 😆, are even better at conveying emotions. Qualitatively, we might describe emoji-laced copy as having more “flair” or “impact” than its plain text counterpart. And it’s comforting to know that there’s a scientific basis to this intuitive reaction.

It’s hard to measure the emotional impact of emojis on mobile app users, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there. Forming an emotional bond with users will change their view of the app, on top of quantitatively lifting open rates. Who wouldn’t want to open a message that makes them feel warm and fuzzy ☀️?

3. Emojis Let Brands Speak the User’s Language


In the distant past, marketing messages were generally distinct from personal communications. Marketing occupied the world of billboards and flyers, while one-on-one conversations occupied the world of letters and in-person meetings. But mobile is an inherently personal medium.

Channels like phone 📞 and email 📧 were always shared by both marketers and personal friends, but that was just the beginning. Now, marketing messages reach us regardless of where we are or what we’re doing, on the same device from which we access our entire personal network.

With this great power comes higher user expectations — dry, corporate-sounding push notifications look bad next to messages from friends and family. It’s time for marketers to get personal.

Emojis are like slang, in a sense. They let brands speak the same language as their users. And as the stats show, those ever-elusive millennials engage more often with emojis than other age groups. This makes emoji-powered messaging doubly important for brands that want to woo millennials.

emoji-millennialsApp usage is at its highest among the same demographics that regularly use emojis

The average 13–24 year old spends 20 percent more time in apps than the average 25–44 year old, and 70 percent more time in apps than the average user over 45. Every app has its own target audience, but the majority of mobile users are in the younger generation. And the trends show that emojis can help win this generation over.

Win More User ❤️ With Emojis

These are a few ways in which emojis can boost retention, but they all come down to one theme: emojis win user love.

Whether we measure the impact of emojis through open rates or psychology, users are demonstrating that they love seeing emojis as much as using them. Brands can’t afford to ignore this trend if they want to stay relevant.

With engaging and emotionally resonant marketing comes increased customer loyalty — and with loyalty comes retention.

About the Author: Stefan Bhagwandin writes content for Leanplum, the most complete mobile marketing platform. He follows startups, technology, and the many points of interest that fall in between. If you’d like to read more about emoji-powered push notifications, get the full report.

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