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What is Branding vs a Logo?
7 min to read When you’re developing marketing materials for your business, you might hear the terms "brand" and "logo" used interchangeably. However, these two concepts have distinct differences, roles, and significance. A logo is simply one element of a broader branding strategy. Below, we’ll clarify the differences between a logo and branding, look at the concept of brand identity, and walk through the different types of logos. Table of Contents: What Is a Logo? What Is a Brand? What’s the Difference Between a Logo and Branding? What Are the Different Types of Logos? Frequently Asked Questions: What’s the Difference Between a Logo and a Brand? Contact Colab Los Angeles for Your Company’s Branding Needs What Is a Logo? A logo is often the first thing we think about when we discuss a new business or a brand that we like. Logos are a visual symbol or graphic representation that serves as a recognizable and distinctive mark for a company, product, or service. It is a condensed, visual representation of a brand and is typically composed of elements such as symbols, text, or a combination of both. Logos are designed to be easily identifiable and memorable, playing a crucial role in creating a visual connection between a brand and its audience. While logos are often designed to feature distinctive colors, they should also work when presented in one color. This speaks to the simplicity of their design. What Is a Brand? A brand, on the other hand, is a comprehensive and multifaceted concept that goes beyond visual elements. A brand encompasses the entire perception and experience that people have with a company, product, or service. It is a culmination of the company's values, mission, personality, and the emotional connections it forms with its audience. A brand is the sum total of all interactions and impressions that a business makes on its customers, employees, and the public. What’s the Difference Between a Logo and Branding? The difference between a logo and branding lies in their scope and purpose. A logo is a visual symbol, a recognizable mark that represents a brand. It's essential when creating your brand's visual identity. On the other hand, branding is a comprehensive strategy that encompasses the entire perception of a brand. It includes visual elements like logos, color schemes, and typography, as well as verbal elements such as messaging and tone. Branding extends beyond the visual to shape the overall experience, emotions, and values associated with a brand, creating a holistic and cohesive identity that resonates with the audience. How Does a Logo Contribute to Branding? A logo is a vital component of a brand's visual identity, contributing to the overall brand recognition and recall. It serves as a visual shorthand, instantly connecting customers with the brand. However, a logo alone does not define a brand. It is part of a broader branding strategy that includes various elements working together to create a cohesive brand identity. A well-designed logo should reflect the brand's personality, values, and positioning. It acts as a visual anchor, providing a consistent visual representation across different touchpoints, including websites, packaging, marketing materials, and more. Logo and Branding: Which Comes First? The relationship between a logo and branding is symbiotic, but the branding process typically comes first. Before designing a logo, a brand needs to establish its identity, values, and messaging. The logo then becomes a visual manifestation of these foundational elements. In the branding process, a company defines its mission, target audience, and unique selling propositions, which guide the design of a logo that visually represents these aspects. What Are the Different Types of Logos? When creating your logo, you can go in many different directions. Each type of logo comes with its own characteristics and applications. What’s a logo vs a wordmark? Below, we’ll walk through the different types of logos so you can choose the one that aligns best with your brand identity. 1. Lettermark: Lettermark logos use the initials or an acronym of a brand to create a distinctive symbol. Examples include IBM and NASA. Lettermarks are useful for brands with long names or those looking for a concise and memorable representation. 2. Wordmark: A wordmark logo consists of the brand's name in a stylized, custom font. Examples include Coca-Cola and Google. Wordmarks are effective for brands with distinctive names or when the name itself carries significant brand equity.   3. Pictorial: Pictorial logos use a graphic or symbol to represent the brand, without incorporating the company name. Examples include the Apple logo and the Twitter bird. Pictorial logos are visually striking and can convey a brand's identity without relying on text.     4. Combination Mark: Combination marks integrate both text and a symbol or icon. Examples include Adidas and Burger King. This type of logo provides the flexibility of using the full brand name or the symbol alone, offering versatility in branding applications.     5. Mascot: Mascot logos feature an illustrated character that represents the brand. Examples include the Michelin Man and the KFC Colonel. Mascots add a human or anthropomorphic element, making the brand more approachable and memorable.     6. Emblem: Emblem logos combine a pictorial element with the brand name, often enclosed within a shape. Examples include Harley-Davidson and Starbucks. Emblems convey a sense of tradition and are commonly used by brands with a heritage or established history.     7. Abstract: Abstract logos use non-representational shapes, forms, or patterns to create a unique and memorable visual identity. Examples include the Nike swoosh and the Pepsi globe. Abstract logos allow for creative expression and can convey a brand's innovative or modern attributes.     Understanding these logo types makes it easier for you to select a design that connects with your brand's personality, values, and target audience. Frequently Asked Questions: What’s The Difference Between A Logo And A Brand? Q: What is the primary purpose of a logo? The primary purpose of a logo is to serve as a distinctive visual symbol that represents a brand. It fosters instant recognition, establishes brand identity, and creates a memorable connection with the audience. A well-designed logo conveys the essence, values, and personality of the brand in a compact and memorable form. Q: How does branding go beyond a logo? Branding extends beyond a logo by encompassing a holistic strategy that shapes the entire brand experience. It extends to visual elements like color schemes, typography, and imagery, as well as verbal elements such as messaging and tone. Successful branding creates a cohesive and resonant identity that goes beyond a singular visual mark. Q: What is brand identity? Brand identity is the visual and verbal representation of a brand, including elements like logos, color schemes, typography, and messaging. A cohesive and strong brand identity fosters recognition, trust, and a distinct connection with your target audience. Q: How does a logo contribute to brand identity? A logo contributes to brand identity by serving as a visual representation of the brand's values, personality, and positioning. Q: Which comes first: logo or branding? In the branding process, a brand is established before designing a logo. The logo then becomes a visual manifestation of the brand's identity. Q: What are the different types of logos? Logo types include lettermarks, wordmarks, combination marks, pictorial, mascot, emblem, and abstract, each with unique characteristics and applications. Q: How does branding create a consistent brand identity? Branding creates a consistent brand identity by establishing cohesive visual and verbal elements, ensuring a uniform experience across various touchpoints. Q: Can a logo change while maintaining the same brand? Yes, a logo can change over time without compromising the brand, as long as the change aligns with the evolving values and identity of the brand. Q: Is a logo the most crucial element in branding? While a logo is crucial, it's just one element in a broader branding strategy. Successful branding involves a holistic approach, incorporating various elements for a comprehensive brand identity. Contact COLAB Los Angeles for Your Company’s Branding Needs While a logo is a crucial element of a brand's visual identity, it is just one component of a broader branding strategy. A brand encompasses the entire perception and experience that people have with a business. Successful branding involves creating a cohesive and consistent brand identity that extends beyond the logo, encompassing visual and verbal elements that resonate with the target audience. The interplay between a well-designed logo and a comprehensive branding strategy sets the stage for building a strong and memorable brand presence in the market. Contact COLAB Los Angeles if you need to develop your company’s brand, logo, or marketing materials. We have over ten years of experience working with ecommerce and small businesses, including branding, design, and digital marketing.


End of Third-Party Cookies: How To Collect Zero-Party and First-Party Data
7 min to read As a marketer for an ecommerce brand or other business, you may have read that third-party cookies are being phased out because of privacy concerns. This has prompted a shift in the way brands collect and utilize data. As major browsers have phased out support, digital marketing strategies have had to include first-party and zero-party data. These types of data allow for personalized and privacy-conscious approaches. Let’s take a detailed look at how the end of third-party cookies will affect digital marketing, as well as how you can collect first-party and zero-party data to create personalized marketing efforts for your brand. Table of Contents: The End of Third-Party Cookies First Party Data Zero Party Data What is Second-Party Data? The Future for Brands: Focus on Personalization Frequently Asked Questions Contact COLAB Los Angeles for Marketing and Data Collection Strategies The End Of Third-Party Cookies   What Is a Third-Party Cookie? A third-party cookie is a small piece of data stored in a user's web browser by a domain other than the one they are currently visiting. When you visit a website, you might see ads, social media buttons, or videos from other websites, also known as third-party domains. These elements are commonly found on websites and can set cookies in your browser. The cookies then track your activities across other websites. These cookies are commonly used for tracking and advertising purposes, allowing third-party entities, such as advertisers or analytics providers, to monitor users' online behavior across different websites. How Were Third Party Cookies Used In Advertising? For online advertising, third-party cookies played a pivotal role in targeting and personalizing ads. Advertisers could leverage these cookies to gather insights into users' preferences, interests, and online activities. This enabled the delivery of more relevant and targeted ads, contributing to a more personalized user experience. Why Are Third-Party Cookies Going Away? The decline of third-party cookies is primarily driven by heightened concerns over user privacy and increased regulatory scrutiny. As users became more aware of data privacy issues, there was a growing demand for increased transparency and control over how their online information is collected and used. Additionally, privacy regulations, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the evolving landscape of digital privacy standards, have pushed major browsers like Safari, Firefox, and Chrome to phase out support for third-party cookies. This shift aims to enhance user privacy by limiting cross-site tracking and prompting the industry to explore alternative methods for personalized advertising that prioritize user consent and data protection. First-Party Data   What is First-Party Data? First-party data refers to the information that a brand collects from its visitors and customers as they use your brand's owned channels, such as websites, mobile apps, social media accounts, and email subscriptions. First-party data is considered the most valuable and reliable type of data as it comes directly from individuals who have willingly engaged with the brand. First-Party Data Examples:   1. Website Analytics: Website analytics is a prime example of first-party data as it involves tracking user interactions directly on a brand's website. Information such as page views, click-through rates, and user behavior is collected, providing valuable insights for personalized marketing strategies. 2. Email Subscriptions: When a visitor signs up for an email subscription, they are willingly providing their contact information, preferences, and consent to receive communications from a brand. This forms a direct and valuable relationship for personalized marketing efforts. 3. Purchase History: Purchase history includes details about products or services a customer has bought, providing valuable insights into individual preferences, buying behavior, and enabling personalized marketing strategies based on past transactions. 4. Social Media Engagement Data: Social media engagement data encompassing user interactions such as likes, shares, comments, and direct messages on a brand's social platforms. These insights aid in understanding audience preferences and tailoring personalized content for effective engagement strategies. How to Collect First-Party Data:   1. Implement Cookies on Your Website: Use first-party cookies to collect information about user behavior on your website. Once implemented, you can look at website analytics to track user interactions, analyze page views, and understand visitor behavior. This data helps you create personalized experiences and enhance marketing strategies based on user engagement insights. 2. Leverage Sign-Up Forms: By encouraging users to sign up for newsletters, memberships, or accounts, you gather valuable information directly from them, including contact details and preferences, forming the basis for personalized communication and targeted marketing efforts. 3. Analyze Email Subscriptions: By examining user preferences, behaviors, and interaction patterns with newsletters or promotional emails, your brand can build detailed profiles. This data becomes a foundation for personalized marketing strategies, fostering stronger connections with the audience based on their explicit preferences. 4. Utilize Social Media Engagement: Analyze likes, shares, comments, and direct messages to understand audience preferences. This data provides valuable insights for personalized marketing strategies, enhancing the user experience and fostering stronger connections through targeted content and engagement efforts. Zero-Party Data   What is Zero-Party Data? Zero-party data is explicitly shared by customers with a brand, often through surveys, preference centers, or other direct interactions. Unlike first-party data, which is observed through customer actions, zero-party data is willingly provided by the customers themselves. This data is incredibly valuable as it reflects customer preferences, interests, and intentions, offering a deeper understanding of individual needs. Zero-Party Data Examples:   1. Preference Centers: Through interactive preference centers, customers explicitly share preferences, interests, and communication choices. This self-reported data improves personalization and strengthens the brand-consumer relationship based on informed and explicit choices. 2. Surveys and Questionnaires: Customers voluntarily share insights, preferences, and opinions, offering brands direct and explicit information. This self-reported data enhances personalization efforts and strengthens the brand-consumer relationship based on informed choices. 3. Direct Customer Feedback: Customers voluntarily express opinions, suggestions, and experiences, offering brands valuable insights into their preferences. This self-reported information enhances personalization and allows brands to tailor experiences based on authentic customer input. How to Collect Zero-Party Data:   1. Loyalty Programs Loyalty programs are a powerful avenue to collect zero-party data. Customers willingly share preferences and habits as they engage with the program, providing brands with valuable insights for personalized rewards and tailored experiences. 2. Interactive Content: Interactive content engages users through dynamic experiences, such as quizzes, polls, games, and surveys. It encourages active participation, enabling brands to collect valuable zero-party data as users willingly share preferences, opinions, and insights, fostering a deeper understanding of their audience. 3. Preference Centers: By providing users with interactive platforms to specify their preferences, interests, and communication choices voluntarily, brands can gather valuable self-reported information, enhancing personalization and strengthening customer relationships. 4. Surveys and Questionnaires: Collecting zero-party data through surveys and questionnaires involves designing thoughtful inquiries to obtain users' voluntary opinions, preferences, and insights. By encouraging active participation, brands can gather valuable self-reported data and enhance personalization strategies based on direct user input. What is Second-Party Data? While focusing on first-party and zero-party data, it's worth mentioning second-party data. This type of data is essentially someone else's first-party data that is shared with your brand through a partnership or arrangement. It involves a direct agreement between two parties, often in a transparent and mutually beneficial manner. Brands can explore second-party data partnerships to augment their understanding of the customer base and expand their targeting capabilities. The Future for Brands: Focus on Personalization   Collect First-Party Data Collecting first-party data should be a priority for brands looking to personalize their marketing efforts. This involves tracking user behavior on owned channels, such as websites and mobile apps, and utilizing this data to understand customer preferences. Use CRM Tools Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools are invaluable for organizing and managing first-party data. These tools enable brands to create detailed customer profiles, track interactions, and personalize communication based on individual preferences. Use Contextual Advertising With the decline of third-party cookies, contextual advertising is gaining prominence. This approach involves placing ads based on the context of the content rather than relying on user data. By aligning ads with the content context, brands can reach their target audience effectively. Create Quality Content High-quality, relevant content is a powerful tool for engaging audiences and encouraging them to share zero-party data willingly. Content that adds value to users' lives can foster trust and motivate users to provide information about their preferences and interests. Use Privacy-First Personalization Technology Investing in privacy-first personalization technology ensures that brands can deliver personalized experiences while respecting user privacy. Technologies that prioritize user consent and comply with data protection regulations are essential for building and maintaining trust. Frequently Asked Questions   Q: What is the significance of the end of third-party cookies? The end of third-party cookies is significant as it limits the ability of advertisers to track users across different websites for targeted advertising. This shift necessitates a focus on collecting first-party and zero-party data for personalized marketing. Q: How can brands collect first-party data? Brands can collect first-party data by implementing cookies on their websites, leveraging sign-up forms, conducting customer surveys, and monitoring social media engagement. Q: What is the difference between first-party data and zero-party data? First-party data is observed through user actions on owned channels (websites, apps, social media accounts), while zero-party data is explicitly shared by customers through surveys, preference centers, or interactive content. Q: How can brands use CRM tools for personalization? CRM tools enable brands to organize and manage first-party data effectively. Brands can create detailed customer profiles, track interactions, and personalize communication based on individual preferences. Q: What is contextual advertising? Contextual advertising involves placing ads based on the context of the content rather than relying on user data. It aligns ads with the content context to reach the target audience effectively. Contact COLAB Los Angeles for Marketing and Data Collection Strategies As your brand navigates the post-third-party cookie era, the focus on collecting first-party and zero-party data is now a priority. Contact COLAB Los Angeles for implementing effective marketing strategies your brand can use to deliver personalized and relevant experiences to your audience.


TikTok Live Shopping: Everything You Need to Know
5 min to read If you have an ecommerce business, you’re always looking for new ways to market your products. You may have noticed that social media platforms are continuously innovating. They’ve even started providing unique and engaging shopping experiences that you can capitalize on. One such innovation that has gained immense popularity is TikTok Live Shopping. Sometimes it can feel almost overwhelming. We wanted to take a detailed look at TikTok Live Shopping, including how it works, the requirements for hosting live shopping events, and practical tips for a successful TikTok live stream shopping experience. Table of Contents: What is TikTok Live Shopping? How Does TikTok Live Shopping Work? Requirements for Live Shopping on TikTok Who Should Do a TikTok Live Shopping Event? Ideas for Live Shopping Events Tips for Succeeding in a TikTok Livestream How to Go Live on TikTok Get Started with TikTok Live Shopping TikTok Live Shop Frequently Asked Questions What is TikTok Live Shopping? TikTok Live Shopping is an interactive feature that seamlessly integrates live video streaming with ecommerce. It allows brands and content creators to showcase products in real-time, answer questions from viewers, and drive sales directly within the TikTok app. This immersive shopping experience capitalizes on the platform's short-form video content and the vibrant TikTok community, fostering a direct connection between brands, or creators, and their audience. How Does TikTok Live Shopping Work? TikTok Live Shopping combines elements of live streaming and online shopping, enabling you to present products in a live video broadcast. Viewers can engage with the content by asking questions, commenting, and making purchases without leaving the app. This frictionless process enhances the overall shopping experience, making it more engaging and personalized. Requirements for Live Shopping on TikTok To sell on TikTok, you must first fill out an application and get approval to create your shop. We cover some of the major requirements below, however you can find the complete seller requirements on TikTok’s website when you register at https://seller-us-accounts.tiktok.com/account/register. You can also fill out your application by downloading the TikTok Shop Seller Center app. Individual Age Requirement: Individual sellers must be 18 or older. This ensures that creators are of legal age to manage transactions and engage in commercial activities. Business Requirements: If you are a business, TikTok only accepts businesses that are registered in the United States. You must submit your business information, including business type, company name, Employer Identification Number (EIN), and more. All certificates proving the legitimacy of your business must be issued by a U.S. government agency. Follower Requirement: While you generally need 1,000 followers to Go Live on TikTok, there is no follower requirement to Go Live with your TikTok Shop. Prohibited Products: Some products are not allowed to be sold on TikTok Shop. These include adult products, alcohol and tobacco, baby products, firearms, and more. You can find the complete list of prohibited products here. Restricted Products: Some products are restricted and can only be sold with permission from TikTok. These categories include beauty products, electronics, and packaged foods and beverages. The complete list of restricted products can be found here. Community Guidelines: Adherence to TikTok's community guidelines is required for hosting live shopping events. These guidelines encompass content policies, ensuring that the live stream remains within the bounds of acceptable and respectful behavior. Setting Up Your TikTok Shop After you’ve filled out your application and get approved, be sure to set up your shipping information and add your products. There are several ways to add products, including uploading individual items manually to TikTok, doing a bulk upload of product information, and syncing an existing store, such as Amazon, Shopify, or BigCommerce. You can then connect your approved shopping account to your existing TikTok account. Who Should Do a TikTok Live Shopping Event? TikTok Live Shopping is a great feature for almost any creator or brand. Here are some examples of who can benefit from hosting live shopping events: Ecommerce Businesses Brands can showcase their products in a lively and interactive manner, providing potential customers with an authentic and engaging shopping experience. Influencers and Creators Influencers can leverage their influence to promote products to their audience in real-time, fostering a sense of connection and trust. Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses Small businesses can use this shopping feature as a cost-effective way to reach a broader audience and boost sales. Ideas for Live Shopping Events The success of a TikTok shopping event often hinges on creativity and engagement. Consider these ideas to make your live stream shopping experience memorable: 1. Product Launches Unveil new products in real-time, allowing viewers to be the first to see and purchase them. 2. Q&A Sessions Combine live shopping with a Q&A session to interact directly with your audience and address their queries about your products. 3. Limited-Time Offers Create a sense of urgency by introducing exclusive discounts or limited-time offers during the live stream. 4. Collaborations Collaborate with other TikTok creators or influencers to widen your audience reach and bring a fresh perspective to your live shopping event. Tips for Succeeding in a TikTok Livestream Hosting a successful TikTok Live Shopping event requires careful planning and execution. Here are some tips to ensure a successful live stream: 1. Engage with Your Audience Interact with viewers by responding to comments and questions in real-time. Engaging with your audience builds a sense of community and encourages participation. 2. Promote in Advance Use your other social media channels to promote your upcoming live shopping event. Create teaser content to generate excitement. 3. Optimize Lighting and Setup Ensure good lighting and a clear setup to showcase your products effectively. A well-lit environment enhances the visual appeal of your live stream. 4. Be Authentic Authenticity is key on TikTok. Be genuine, showcase your personality, and let your enthusiasm for the products shine through. 5. Highlight Special Offers Clearly communicate any special offers, discounts, or exclusive deals during your live stream. This can motivate viewers to make a purchase. 6. Encourage Engagement Encourage viewers to like, share, and comment during the live stream. Engaged viewers are more likely to stay tuned and make purchases. How to Go Live on TikTok Once your shop has been approved and set up, going live on TikTok is a straightforward process. Follow these steps to start your TikTok Live Shopping session: 1. Open TikTok Launch the TikTok app and ensure that you have the latest version installed. 2. Set Up Your Live Event Tap the '+' icon just as if you were going to create a new TikTok. Look for the ‘Live’ selection on the menu bar (it will only be visible if you meet the requirements) 4. Create Your Title Enter a compelling title for your live stream to attract viewers. 5. Start Your Live Stream Once everything is set, tap the 'Go Live' button to start your live stream. Get Started with TikTok Live Shopping TikTok Live Shopping creates exciting opportunities for brands and businesses to connect with their audience in real-time and drive sales directly within the platform. By following the tips above, you can make the most of this innovative feature and create a compelling and interactive shopping experience for your TikTok community. If you are looking to expand your brand’s reach on TikTok or other social media platforms, contact COLAB Los Angeles today—we’d love to hear from you! TikTok Live Shop Frequently Asked Questions What is TikTok Live Shopping? TikTok Live Shopping is a feature that combines live video streaming with ecommerce, allowing creators to showcase products in real-time and engage with viewers who can make purchases directly within the TikTok app. How do I go live on TikTok? To go live on TikTok, open the app, create or select a video, tap the '+' icon, and choose the 'Go Live' option. Set up your title and start your live stream. What are the requirements for TikTok Live Shopping? To host TikTok Live Shopping events, you need to be at least 18 years old, have at least 1,000 followers, and adhere to TikTok's community guidelines. How do I schedule a TikTok Live Shopping event? While setting up your live stream, you can schedule your event by selecting a date and time. Promote your scheduled event to build anticipation among your followers. What are some ideas for TikTok Live Shopping events? Consider showcasing product launches, hosting Q&A sessions, offering limited-time discounts, and collaborating with other creators to make your TikTok Live Shopping events engaging and memorable. How can I succeed in a TikTok live stream? Engage with your audience in real-time, promote your live stream in advance, optimize lighting and setup, be authentic, highlight special offers, and encourage viewer engagement to ensure a successful TikTok live stream shopping experience.


Google and Yahoo Email Changes: Email Marketing in 2024
6 min to read Email marketing has a new wrinkle. Beginning this month in February 2024, Gmail and Yahoo are introducing stricter measures for bulk email. These updates aim to improve user experience, combat spam, and enhance email security. As an email marketer, you need to be aware of these changes to make sure your email campaigns reach their target audience and maintain deliverability. Let's take a look at the key changes and how you can prepare. Table of Contents: Bulk Email Gets a Revamp What Are SPF, DKIM, and DMARC? How to Implement SPF, DKIM & DMARC More Ways to Keep Your Email Marketing Compliant Finally, Use a Custom Domain with Proper DNS Configuration Contact Us for Your Brand’s Email Marketing Bulk Email Gets a Revamp Both Gmail and Yahoo are implementing stricter regulations for bulk email senders. This primarily affects those sending thousands of messages daily (5,000 per day in Gmail’s case), but even smaller senders will see some impact. Here's what you need to know: Authentication becomes mandatory: Google and Yahoo now require email authentication using SPF, DKIM, and DMARC for all bulk senders. These protocols verify the legitimacy of your emails, preventing spoofing and protecting users from phishing attempts. One-click unsubscribe is required: Both platforms require a clear and easy one-click unsubscribe option in your emails. This streamlines the process for users who no longer want to receive your messages and helps maintain your sender reputation. (Note: The deadline for Yahoo's one-click unsubscribe implementation has been extended to June 2024). Mind your spam rate: Google requires you to keep spam rates reported in Postmaster Tools below 0.10% and avoid ever reaching a spam rate of 0.30% or higher. Yahoo enforces a 0.30% limit. Exceeding these thresholds could result in your emails landing in spam folders or being blocked altogether.         What Are SPF, DKIM, and DMARC The new requirements emphasize email security through authentication protocols: SPF (Sender Policy Framework): This protocol authorizes the servers allowed to send emails from your domain, preventing unauthorized senders from impersonating you. DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail): This protocol attaches a digital signature to your emails, verifying their authenticity and preventing tampering during transit. DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance): This protocol builds upon SPF and DKIM, defining how email receivers handle emails that fail authentication. It also provides valuable reporting data about your email traffic. How to Implement SPF, DKIM & DMARC Implementing SPF (Sender Policy Framework), DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail), and DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) can significantly enhance the security of your email campaigns and improve deliverability. Below is a step-by-step guide for implementing these protocols:       1. SPF (Sender Policy Framework): Step 1: Access your DNS Records: Log in to your domain hosting provider or DNS management platform. Locate the DNS settings or DNS management section. Step 2: Add SPF Record: Create a new TXT record. Enter your SPF record, which typically looks like: v=spf1 include:_spf.example.com ~all Replace "example.com" with your domain. Step 3: Verify and Publish: Save the changes. Allow some time for DNS propagation. 2. DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail): Step 1: Generate DKIM Key Pair: Use your email platform or a DKIM key generator to create a public and private key pair. Step 2: Add DKIM Record to DNS: Create a new TXT record in your DNS settings. Enter the DKIM record, including the public key, selector, and version information. It looks something like this: v=DKIM1; k=rsa; p=MIGfMA0GCSqGSIb3DQEBAQUAA4GNADCBiQKBgQC... Step 3: Configure Your Email Platform: Add the generated DKIM key to your email sending configuration. Step 4: Verify DKIM Setup: Send a test email and use DKIM verification tools to confirm correct implementation. 3. DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance): Step 1: Set Up SPF and DKIM: Ensure that both SPF and DKIM are correctly configured as DMARC builds on these protocols. Step 2: Create DMARC Record: Add a new TXT record to your DNS settings: v=DMARC1; p=quarantine; rua=mailto:[email protected]; ruf=mailto:[email protected]; fo=1 "p" defines the DMARC policy. It can be "none," "quarantine," or "reject." "rua" specifies the email address to receive aggregate reports. "ruf" designates the email address for forensic reports. Step 3: Gradual Implementation: Initially, set the DMARC policy to "none" to monitor without affecting the delivery. Once confident in the configuration, adjust the policy to "quarantine" or "reject." Step 4: Monitor and Analyze Reports: Regularly review DMARC reports to identify unauthorized senders and potential issues. Additional Tips: Check Syntax: Ensure the correct syntax and formatting of your records.   Use Online Tools: Utilize online SPF, DKIM, and DMARC record checkers to verify your configurations. Engage IT or DNS Administrator: If unfamiliar with DNS settings, involve your IT department or DNS administrator for seamless implementation. More Ways to Keep Your Email Marketing Compliant Here are some additional tips to ensure your email marketing stays compliant: Monitor your email reputation: Use tools like Google Postmaster Tools and Yahoo Mail Postmaster to track your sender reputation and spam rates. Segment your audience: Tailor your emails to specific segments based on interests and engagement levels. This reduces the risk of users marking your emails as spam. Clean your email lists regularly: Remove inactive subscribers and invalid addresses to maintain list hygiene and improve deliverability. Keep your content relevant and valuable: Provide engaging content that resonates with your audience, reducing the likelihood of them unsubscribing or marking your emails as spam. Finally, Use a Custom Domain with Proper DNS Configuration Sending emails from a custom domain (e.g., yourcompany.com) with proper DNS configuration adds legitimacy and increases trust with recipients. It also helps you avoid potential deliverability issues associated with free email providers. Contact Us for Your Brand's Email Marketing While the new email sender requirements might seem like an inconvenience, they ultimately benefit both senders and recipients. By implementing these changes, you can make sure your email marketing campaigns stay effective, secure, and compliant, ultimately improving the relationship with your audience. If you are looking to start an email marketing campaign, contact COLAB Los Angeles today—we’d love to hear what you have in mind!


Branding vs. Marketing: What’s the Difference?
7 min to read As an emerging eCommerce company or small business, you may have run into this age old question: what’s the difference between branding and marketing? As a digital marketing agency, we often encounter companies that want to start or grow their marketing, but may not have fully developed their brand. Your branding efforts can have a major effect on the results of your marketing efforts. COLAB wants to give you the best results possible, so let’s walk through the differences between branding and marketing, and discuss ways to build your brand as you move forward and grow your business. Table of Contents: What Is Branding? What Is Marketing? Which Should You Do First, Branding or Marketing? Branding and Marketing for Your Company What Is Branding? You can find many definitions of branding—some that conflict with each other—but we like to define it as the set of elements that allow consumers to identify with your product or service. These elements must also differentiate you from competitors. Have you ever felt yourself identifying as a Nike person versus Adidas, or iPhone versus Samsung, or Levi’s versus Old Navy? Why is this? Certain brands represent the way that you see yourself, or what you aspire to be, or an experience you want to have, or what you want to be associated with—you therefore identify with those brands. When you identify with a brand, you’re more likely to buy it. This has a lasting impact that can create loyalty, reduce sensitivity to price, and a whole host of other benefits. This applies to world-famous brands like Coca-Cola and Apple, as well as local businesses like med spas and plumbers. When you call a plumber, do you want to be associated with one that smells good or one that has over 50 years of experience? Depending on the plumber’s branding, you might find one or the other more appealing. What Are the Elements of a Brand? Your brand starts with how your company operates, its goals, its vision, and more. These elements can include: Brand story - why did you start your company and what problem does your brand solve Mission statement Values Target audience and market The elements of a brand that everyone is most familiar with include things such as: Name Logo Tagline Typography (includes font) Colors Value proposition Personality and voice Design and appearance The experience you create The emotional connection you create Reputation Together, these elements allow consumers to identify with your company. Do you solve a problem they have? Do your values align with theirs? Does your logo, tagline, and brand voice make them feel like they can trust you? How to Create a Brand How do you create your brand? Creating a brand is a multifaceted process. A strong brand is not just a logo or a catchy tagline—it's a holistic representation of your company's values, identity, and promise to customers. Here's a starter guide on how to create a brand that resonates with your target audience and sets you apart in the market. Understanding Your Business Defining your Mission and Values The foundation of any successful brand lies in a clear understanding of its mission and values. What is your company's purpose? What principles guide your decision-making? By defining a compelling mission statement and core values, you establish a framework that shapes your brand's identity and resonates with both employees and customers. Identifying Target Audience and Market Knowing your audience is key to crafting a brand that connects on a personal level. Conduct thorough market research to identify your target demographic, their preferences, and pain points. Understanding the market landscape enables you to tailor your brand message to address specific needs and position your product or service effectively. Analyzing Competitors and Industry Trends A successful brand is not created in isolation. Analyze your competitors to identify gaps in the market and opportunities for differentiation. Stay abreast of industry trends to anticipate shifts in consumer behavior and preferences. By being aware of what others in your industry are doing, you can find unique angles to position your brand. Crafting a Unique Value Proposition Define What Sets Your Brand Apart What makes your brand special? Define your unique value proposition by identifying the aspects of your business that differentiate you from competitors. Whether it's superior quality, innovative solutions, or exceptional customer service, a clear value proposition helps customers understand why they should choose your brand. Create a Compelling Brand Story A brand story is a powerful tool for connecting emotionally with your audience. Share the journey of your company, the challenges you've overcome, and the passion that drives your team. A compelling narrative creates a memorable impression and fosters a sense of loyalty among consumers. Align Your Brand with Customer Needs and Desires Your brand should resonate with the desires and aspirations of your target audience. Do you want to be functional and affordable or do you want to be high status? Tailor your messaging to address customer needs and showcase how your product or service fulfills those needs. Understanding your customers on a deep level allows you to build a brand that aligns with their values and preferences. Developing a Memorable Brand Identity Design a Distinctive Logo and Visual Elements Your logo is the visual centerpiece of your brand identity. Work with our skilled designers to create a logo that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also reflective of your brand's personality and values. Consistency in visual elements across various platforms reinforces brand recognition. Select Brand Colors and Typography Colors and typography evoke specific emotions and contribute to the overall tone of your brand. Choose a color palette and font style that align with your brand's personality and resonate with your target audience. Consistent use of these elements reinforces brand cohesion. Create Consistent Brand Messaging Consistency is key in branding. Develop a cohesive messaging strategy that aligns with your brand story and value proposition. Whether communicating through social media, advertising, or customer interactions, maintaining a consistent voice and message builds trust and reinforces brand identity. What Is Marketing? Once you’ve decided what your brand should be, and created the assets (logo, website, brand voice, etc.), you have to make people aware of these elements. This brand awareness is achieved with marketing tactics. Marketing also creates sales. While using the framework of your brand, your marketing messages and tactics generate interest in your products or services and increase sales. What Are Marketing Tactics? Marketing encompasses all the activities you use to put your brand and messaging in front of your target audience. These elements can include: Advertising PPC Paid social media ads Podcast ads Direct mail And more Promotions and Offers Social media posts Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Leads Sales calls Email marketing Event marketing Public Relations Which Should You Do First, Branding or Marketing? Without question, your business should develop your branding first. Your marketing must reflect your branding and brand strategy. Without that piece, it becomes difficult for you to create a clear message and for consumers to differentiate you from your competitors. Branding and marketing are inherently interconnected. They have to work together to create a complete experience and message for your customers. Branding establishes the foundation that your marketing strategies are built on. It involves defining the core identity of a business, encompassing its values, mission, and unique selling proposition. Branding creates the distinct personality and image of your company that will resonate with your target audience. Marketing is the tactical execution of promoting a brand to your target market. Marketing involves the various channels and methods through which a company communicates its value proposition, engages with customers, and drives sales. Marketing encompasses a wide range of activities, from traditional advertising and public relations to digital strategies such as social media campaigns and content marketing. Building a strong brand provides the foundation for all marketing efforts. Without a clear brand identity, marketing messages can lack consistency and fail to establish a meaningful connection with your audience. Effective marketing relies on a well-defined brand that communicates authenticity and builds trust. Branding and Marketing for Your Company Contact COLAB to discuss how to further develop your brand, or to start marketing your products or services. We are a branding and marketing agency that’s been helping brands in Los Angeles and across the country for over ten years. From eCommerce companies, to med spas, to plumbers, we can get you in front of the right audience with the right branding and messaging.


YouTube Disables Hidden Subscriber Count To Fight Creator Impersonations
YouTube has officially prevented channels from hiding the number of subscribers they have in order to help fight creator impersonation across the platform. Spammers can impersonate other channels when leaving comments by hiding their subscriber count. Seeing a low subscriber count can be a dead giveaway that someone posing as another creator isn’t who they claim to be. Comment spam and identity-related abuse are problematic for many people on YouTube today. In response, YouTube is implementing updates to help protect viewers and creators from comment spam while making it harder to impersonate creators. The updates include: Disabling hidden subscriber counts Strengthening auto-moderation capabilities Limiting the use of special characters in channel names Here’s more details about each of these updates. Hidden Subscriber Counts Historically, channels on YouTube have been able to hide the number of subscribers they have. Some creators find this feature valuable, such as those who are starting and don’t want to be dismissed by their subscriber count. However, according to YouTube, this feature is often used to impersonate channels. Following an update rolling out at the end of July, channels will no longer be able to hide their subscriber counts on YouTube. YouTube claims this decision will make the community safer, though it’s sure to upset creators who weren’t abusing the option to hide subscribers. Stricter Comment Moderation YouTube currently allows channels to automatically hold comments for moderation before they go live for all to see. A new update to YouTube’s auto-moderation will give creators the option to increase the strictness. Making comment moderation stricter will increase detection settings for potentially inappropriate comments and spam. You can increase the strictness by signing into Creator Studio and selecting ‘Settings.’ Then select Community, then Defaults. Check the box labeled ‘hold potentially inappropriate comments for review,’ then select ‘increase strictness.’ When this new setting is turned on, more spam and solicitations will automatically filter under the ‘held for review’ tab. From there, channels can either delete the comment or post it publicly. Limiting Special Characters Using special characters in channel names is another way that phonies can impersonate established channels. To mitigate impersonation attempts, YouTube is reducing the character set creators can choose from when updating their name moving forward. Existing names with special characters can stay in place, however.


What Is Live Stream Marketing And Why Is It A Brand Favorite For Innovative Marketing?
Once merely a socializing tool for friends and family, social media has vastly increased in its form and usage especially since the pandemic. With lockdowns and quarantines becoming the new normal, at-home consumers grew in number, making online marketing a key element for brands. Although online marketing is done in a number of ways, live stream marketing has been a customer-seller favorite. The live stream sector has seen some massive growth over the years, with both audience and brands highly depending on it for their sales/purchases. A live video strategy engages viewers in ways that other social media formats cannot: it is immediate and authentic. It no longer requires marketers and retailers to rely on boring texts and images to keep their audience engaged in selling their products. What Is Live Streaming? A bit like live TV, live streaming allows users to watch, create and share videos in real time. The best way to live stream is via various social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and the like. Unlike pre-recorded videos, social media live streaming is just that, live and uncensored. Benefits Of Live Stream Marketing Now that you know what live stream marketing entails, let’s have a look at some of its key benefits in digital marketing: One stream, multiple customers. More affordable. Gives brands more creative freedom. Generates new leads. Zero geographical constraints. Sets a goal to connect with a larger number of audiences. Less costly endeavor for both consumers and sellers. More affordable marketing tool than standard ad marketing on social media. Engage with the audience in different ways like live chats, Q and A sessions, etc. Brands can partner with companies and influencers who expand their reach to audiences globally. It’s fun! It adds a playful and interactive touch to digital marketing. Live Streaming Statistics 2022-23 Not sold yet? Let’s talk numbers! According to Grand View Research, the live stream marketing industry is expected to be worth $184.3 billion by the year 2027. Research also suggests that 85% of consumers look forward to viewing more live videos from brands for their purchases. Representing a massive growth of 99%, the live stream industry has changed drastically between April 2019 and April 2020. More and more people have started to watch live videos online than they did a year ago, making the percentage reach an all-time high of 47%. Showing a significant rise in numbers from 2017, 35% marketers have started using live videos. While 63% of them are planning to use live streaming for their future marketing ventures. 74% of millennials find live streaming of products by brands to be a lot more helpful while comparison shopping. 40% of buyers believe that selling a product on live videos increases their chance of purchasing one while shopping online. With lives getting busier bit by bit, who has time to read that never ending product description, right? 80% of consumers find it a lot easier to watch what a product can do in real time. FAQs About Live Stream Marketing What Is The Best Platform For Live Streaming? With the exception of a few applications, almost every social media platform offers live broadcast options. Since free platforms like Facebook and YouTube have high discoverability, they are ideal for gathering a large audience. How Do I Live Stream? This depends on the kind of social media streaming services you’re using, with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, being the simplest to use. For starters: Connect all your audio and video sources to your streaming device. Pick your streaming destination. (YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook Live, Instagram, etc.) Make sure your internet connection is stable. Stream away! What Is The Best Time To Go Live On Social Media Platforms? Timing is everything when it comes to live stream marketing. If you want to target your audience, along with choosing the right streaming destination you need to consider what time would you have the highest number of audience watching you stream live. For Example: Facebook – 1 pm to 3 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Instagram – Monday through Friday at 12 pm or from 7 pm to 9 pm. TikTok – From 6 am to 10 am, 7 pm to 11 pm on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. LinkedIn – Before work from 7 am to 9 am and after or end of work hours from 5 to 6 pm. Twitter – Mondays and Thursdays from 1 pm to 4 pm. YouTube – Weekdays from 12 pm to 2 pm. Twitch – All days from 12 am to 9 am. The Final Word Considering the numerous ways live streaming affects consumers and marketers alike, and how marketers can reach and engage their audiences more freely through social media, the future of digital marketing surely lies with live stream marketing. As the primary domain of sharing information and content, social media is certain to rule the marketing industry for years to come.


Everything You Need to Know About CMS
In the digital realm, there are a ton of acronyms to keep up with. From SEO and SERP, to CDN and CMS, it may seem like you need a degree in internet technology to understand what they all mean. That’s why we at CO/LAB Marketing want to make it easier for you to stay in the loop with the relevant lingo that can greatly impact your business efforts. If you are unfamiliar with CMS (content management systems), then continue reading to learn more this must-have software application: What is a CMS? A content management system, often referred to as CMS, is a software application that allows users to build, modify, and manage a website without having to do the hard work from scratch. If you are not an expert with specialized technical knowledge, this is the perfect tool for you to use! A content management system eliminates the need for you to know how to code, and handles all the infrastructure requirements, so you can then devote all your efforts to the more forward-facing parts of your website. Some popular examples of CMS include WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, and Magento. How a CMS Works? In order to fully comprehend how a CMS works, you would first have to know what it’s like to build a website from the ground up. Traditionally, you would start with HTML to create media such as images, text, navigation bars, and other building blocks for a website. Then, the next step would be to add CSS to customize those elements to fit the ideal design of your brand. Since you have to do all of this coding work by hand, it becomes quite challenging to make edits to certain pages without needing to revise all of it for accuracy. This allows the potential for broken links and errors to occur if you are not careful or well-versed in the coding world. Instead of beginning with a blank HTML page, you can use a CMS to open up a content editor and add the media elements you desire by dragging and dropping content with the click of a few buttons. In simple terms, a content management system can do all the nitty-gritty for you. A CMS is made up of two core parts: a content management application (CMA), and a content delivery application (CDA). A CMA allows you to add content on your site, whereas a CDA stores the content properly and makes it visible to web users. Together, these applications provide all the coding capabilities, database queries, and infrastructure for your site. What Are the Benefits of A CMS? CMS systems have revolutionized web design to the point where you no longer need to hire web developers to build the online presence for your brand. Aside from the simplicity of the web design features mentioned above, a CMS offers a ton of other benefits. One being the ability to allow multiple users to easily collaborate on the work at the same time. No matter what part of the website you are tackling, various people can get work done simultaneously. Overall, this boosts productivity across the team with no restrictions or limitations. You can also utilize settings such as user roles and permissions so that team members can only access the part of the system that they are responsible for. This will eliminate the possibility of users accidentally affecting other areas of the site that they are unfamiliar with. Content management systems also include built-in features that help with SEO strategy and security. These tools can optimize your site for search engines by customizing page titles and meta descriptions, adding image alt text, including breadcrumb navigation, and improving page load times. When it comes to added security, these features can provide a 24/7 security team, web application firewalls, and more. A few other benefits of a CMS include blogging features, content scheduling, and pre-designed templates. If you are considering taking on the responsibility of building or managing your web development and design, you can turn to a CMS for much-needed support and easy access to turn your ideas into a reality with ease.


3 Tech Trends That Are Taking Over Digital Marketing in 2022
Digital marketing has been one of the go-to marketing forces for decades. It introduces a new and effective way to reach a range of people, age groups, and areas across the country. While its existence has been steadfast, digital marketing is constantly evolving due to new trends and technologies within the industry. Overlooking these new trends can set businesses back by not allowing them to gain a competitive advantage, generate more leads, and attract new customers. Continue reading to learn more about 3 tech trends that are taking over digital marketing in 2022: Artificial Intelligence When you hear the topic of artificial intelligence, your mind may gravitate toward robots or machines that are created by humans that offer us some sort of service to make our lives easier. In terms of marketing, artificial intelligence has been skyrocketing due to its remarkable abilities to help businesses with automated decisions based on data collection, data analysis, and additional observations of audience trends. AI is often used in marketing where speedy responses are essential. This is typically a part of your customer relationship management program, which is ideal for managing interactions with existing and prospective customers during the sales process. Think of all the times you’ve clicked on a website and a pop-up appears with a chatbot. Some of the questions it may ask include: “Hi, How can we help you today?” “Hello, Would you like to schedule an appointment?” “Hello [NAME], I am your virtual assistant. What brought you here today?” Artificial Intelligence can offer a more personalized and interactive purchase experience because it has the ability to successfully analyze consumer behavior. If you are thinking about adding AI to your digital marketing strategy, you can reap the benefits of sending your consumer base customized messages without any intervention from marketing team members, ultimately ensuring maximum efficiency. Voice Search Another upcoming trend for digital marketing is utilizing voice search. This type of technology recognizes the user’s speech so that they can search for things by simply stating the search term out loud versus typing it into the search bar. The growth of digital and handheld devices has led to an increase in its usage. Smart speakers with virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri use voice recognition technology, natural language processing, and AI to respond to humans. This new trend has been dominating the digital marketing landscape due to its convenience and efficiency to provide results with ease and speed. According to research by PwC, 93% of consumers are satisfied with their voice assistants. Consumers report that the top benefits of using voice assistants are the ability to multitask, get instant answers to questions, and make their lives easier. Now, how does this affect your online business? Traditionally, users look up their search terms in a more direct, text-based manner. When using a virtual assistant, they will deliver their phrases in a conversational way, so chances are it will yield an entirely different result. When thinking about your SEO strategy, marketers will need to adapt and reevaluate the keywords used in their content for the consumers who are switching over to that medium. In order to not lose valuable leads, it’s crucial that you carefully curate your search engine optimization for voice search. Push Notifications If you’ve downloaded an app for your favorite fast-food restaurant, or even your go-to skincare brand, you may be familiar with push notifications. Push notifications are becoming a popular advertising strategy because it allows businesses to be in their customer’s pockets. They can directly inform their target audience about limited-time offers, services, or products through a pop-up message that displays on a variety of devices. The purpose of push notifications is to nudge your consumer to take some action and incite a sense of urgency to act fast before the opportunity is gone. You can also use push notifications to remind customers of an abandoned cart, ultimately encouraging them to complete their sale. Regardless, push notifications are an amazing way to keep your customers engaged. Keep in mind that you should not send these notifications out constantly, because it could result in consumers becoming annoyed or disinterested in your business.


The Benefits of Adding Long-Tail Keywords To Your SEO Content
Search Engine Optimization, commonly referred to as SEO, can be quite an intimidating topic for those who are unfamiliar with what it entails. Whether you are thinking about adding SEO to your marketing efforts, or simply want to add more content to your website, it’s important to know what long-tail keywords are and how to incorporate them correctly. People are constantly searching for products and services that could benefit their lives, and your business could become discoverable just in time for their purchase. Continue reading to learn more about the benefits of adding long-tail keywords to your content: What Are Long-Tail Keywords? Long-tail keywords are specific phrases that tend to get a small number of searches per month. They are usually longer and more specific than head terms, which rank high in search engines. Long-tail keywords are fairly common when people use voice search, or for those who are getting closer to a point-of-purchase. Less Competitive Long-tail keywords are less competitive in search engine result pages than head terms, and have higher conversion rates. Instead of looking up a general head term like “sunglasses,” a long-tail keyword phrase would be “sunglasses for athletic women.” Long-tail keywords tend to have a lower Keyword Difficulty score. This means that you have a better chance at ranking in the top 10 for long-tail keywords with a low Keyword Difficulty score, than shooting for the head terms with a high Keyword Difficulty score. Guide With Blog Content If you want your website to rank on search engines, it’s crucial that you have fresh, relevant, and updated content on your website. By planning out blog content on a weekly basis, you can focus on the needs and interests of your target audience. Long-tail keywords are perfect for coming up with blog content that align with “how-to…” and “the best…” topic style. This is exactly what people would search when looking for specific information, and the long-tail keywords can be used in both the headline and body copy. Advantageous for New Websites Since all of the big brands and notable businesses are taking over the head terms on search engines, you may find it impossible to rank for the products or services you offer. This is where long-tail keywords can come to the rescue and help you become more discoverable. Google ranks web pages based on their Search Quality Rater Guidelines EAT principle: Expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. This feature also scans and considers the quality and relevance of the content on the site. When industry leaders are dominating all of the high-competition keywords and have authority due to the implementation of backlinks, you can utilize long-tail keywords to be more relevant to your target audience. Including long-tail keywords in your content that are specific and targeted can create highly relevant content that answers the search phrases better than the competing pages. While you may not have the authority established as a new site, you can definitely assert expertise and trustworthiness with a strategic keyword plan to rank higher for those long-tail keywords. Ideal for Voice Search Think about all of the times you have asked Siri or Alexa a question… Do you say your search phrase out loud the same way you would when typing it out? Chances are, you use more conversational verbiage compared to when you take shortcuts to type out searches on your mobile device. According to research, nearly 41% of adults use voice search once a day. The people who use long-tail keywords in their searches have high intent and are more likely to convert. Conclusion Overall, optimizing your content for search engines takes some research and strategic planning. We recommend using a combination of long-tail keywords and head terms to increase your likelihood of ranking in search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, and more. Whether it’s for blog content, articles, or video headlines, consider adding long-tail keywords to your content that is specifically tailored to your product/service industry.


4 Powerful SEO Trends for 2022
If you are marketing your business online in the year 2022, then investing in SEO is a vital part of your campaign. Search Engine Optimization is a game changer when it comes to getting your website to rank higher in search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, and more. You can set yourself above the competitors by implementing an effective SEO strategy, but it’s important to know the latest trends to make sure your content efforts are worthwhile. If you want consumers to come across your brand for the products and services they are searching for, it’s time to incorporate SEO into your digital marketing efforts. Continue reading to learn more about 5 powerful SEO trends for 2022: Long-Form Content In order to optimize the visibility of your website, it’s critical that you focus on long-form content. It’s time to supplement short-form content with long-form content because studies show that it gets higher rankings. Long-form content is typically more than 1,200 words and dives deeper into subject matter than short-form content. Some formats of long-form content include lengthy blog posts, case studies, eBooks, pillar pages, guides, and tutorials. You can target a range of keywords and generate organic traffic through the various forms of informative content listed above. It’s also great for building credibility and authority, and can add wonderful value to your website. When your website is copy-rich, it’s easy for Google and other search engines to crawl and understand. The best part about long-form content is that it can be updated regularly, and even used as reference material. Mobile-First Design With 63% of Google's US organic search traffic originating from mobile devices, it’s imperative that your website has a mobile-first design. Mobile-first designs are not the same as mobile-friendly or mobile-responsive. Mobile-first designs mean that the web designers create the website for mobile devices first, and then build upon that foundation for larger screens. This helps make the user experience smooth and approachable because the content is simplified and prioritized. Another key component of mobile-first websites is their speedier load times. When you are viewing a responsive web design on your mobile device, you will have to wait for files to load and resize to fit the dimensions of your current device, which hinders your mobile site’s performance. This can all be negated with a mobile-first design. Faster load times will help you earn more conversions and rank higher on Google. If you didn’t know, page load time is a significant ranking factor! Google’s EAT Principle Google is constantly crawling through website URLs to see if the content on the site is valuable to readers, and whether or not it should rank well. There are many factors that play into this process, so it’s important to make sure your website health is in top shape. The acronym EAT stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. It’s a part of Google’s algorithm and belongs to Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines. If you want your website to pass the EAT principle, then make sure that you are creating trustworthy, factual content that helps users. It must be posted on an authoritative site, created by an expert, and be updated regularly to keep up with the recommended guidelines. You should link to high-quality, reputable sources and also include information about the main content creator to build credibility. Google realizes that the websites with the most expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness should rank higher for those looking to educate themselves on serious topics. If they did not employ this process, people could be misinformed by reading illegitimate blogs and articles that may lead to real-world consequences. This is why it’s so important to follow the EAT principles when creating and posting content. You can heighten your chance for organic search visibility and ranking success. Video Integration Another SEO trend for 2022 includes integrating video into your website. It’s important to note that Google doesn’t just analyze the text on your pages, but also searches for other types of media like videos, images, and animations. They want to see that your pages are both varied and informative. The more video content you have, the more quality traffic will be drawn to your site, ultimately boosting your SEO efforts. Video is another great way to convey a long-winded message or hard-to-understand topic. People who come across an educational video are far more likely to spend time watching it versus reading a 2,000 word article. And, the more time they spend on your site, the better. Google looks at how long people are spending on your website after they arrive. If you have a high bounce rate, then Google will think that your content isn’t good enough to answer people’s questions. With quality video content, people will spend longer periods of time on your page, and this will help you rank higher on search engines!


TikTok Releases Key Future Strategies At Cannes Lions Festival
TikTok leaders talk shopping, advertising, brand safety, the creator economy, and more. On Monday, June 20, TikTok hosted its first-ever company event at the 2022 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Several executives of the entertainment platform talked through their vision for the company’s future and its challenges. At the event, held annually at the resort town in the French Riviera, and considered one of the premier awards shows for the advertising industry, Blake Chandlee, TikTok’s president of global business solutions, talked about the growth of ads on the platform. He said there are currently hundreds of thousands of advertisers — but TikTok is aiming for millions. TikTok executives also discussed shopping functionality, safety challenges, the impact of iOS 14 privacy settings on social media advertising, and the influencer/creator economy. TikTok Strives For More Advertisers Despite Privacy Limitations TikTok plans to boost their advertising use by adding new tools to the platform and implementing a program developed in-house that will report on the quality of ads. Like other social media apps, TikTok has been seeking new ways to target advertising in the wake of Apple providing users with the option to limit cross-platform tracking. Ray Cao, managing director and global head of monetization product, strategy, and operation, said TikTok’s platform will include more contextual targeting. Additionally, the platform is taking steps to address brand safety issues and quality controls, which has caused some advertisers to be wary of TikTok in the past. According to Francis Stones, TikTok’s head of European brand safety, the platform’s review process now includes more than just images. It also checks sounds, text, and emojis to ensure brands aren’t inadvertently associated with something potentially problematic. In-Platform Shopping Will Be Expanded TikTok is currently in the process of globally expanding its live shopping functionality, according to Sofia Hernandez, global head of business marketing. This new feature will allow brands to capitalize on the viral status they can gain from user-created content directly. These changes should open new opportunities for digital marketers by allowing them to target an audience more accurately. Brands and content creators will be able to enhance their exposure with reduced concern about negative associations, while also gaining a means to make sales.


Understanding YouTube Ad Targeting in 2022
You may already be familiar with running ads on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, but have you ever considered running a video ad campaign on YouTube? Running a series of YouTube Ads is a great way to get your video content in front of your ideal audience. With new formats and tracking capabilities, you can use these creative elements to report on its ROI. Now, why even consider moving your advertising content to YouTube? According to Google’s research, 80% of people ages 18 to 48 use YouTube consistently. 68% of those people make purchase decisions based on YouTube videos, and only approximately 9% of businesses are advertising on YouTube. That leaves a lot of room for you to be discovered with an effective and purposeful campaign in motion! YouTube ads are extremely effective because they are displayed to an audience who is already searching for a solution. Unlike Facebook, YouTubers typically have an intent to learn or buy something while they are exploring the feeds. When your video ad is related to a topic within their search, they will be more compelled to respond to your call-to-action. Continue reading to learn how to maximize YouTube Ad targeting within your marketing campaigns: Targeting Strategies Similar to PPC and paid social media ads, YouTube has a variety of ways you can select your target audience for advertisements. But what sets them apart is the limitations and diverse options within the YouTube platform. Businesses who advertise on YouTube have been able to reach a higher number of viewers compared to Facebook. This is because Google allowed YouTube Ads to access a viewer's Google Search history, and expose them to ads that pertain to that same search topic. YouTube is also less expensive when it comes to targeting keywords on the platform. The average cost per view on YouTube is $0.06, whereas the average cost per like on facebook is $0.23. Traditionally, most people target their YouTube ads based on demographic and intent. But, if you want to take advantage of YouTube’s Ad features, you should also include the ‘audience.’ Take a closer look at how to target your YouTube ads based on the following 3 strategies: Demographic, Intent, and Audience. Demographic Choosing a demographic is probably the most common and easily understood targeting method across all platforms. Demographic targeting is a form of marketing segmentation that includes location, language, family size, religion, gender, age, education, ethnicity, and income. If you are promoting a high-ticket service or product, then income targeting is critical to your marketing strategy. Intent Next we have intent targeting, which focuses on what a person is searching for and/or the video they’re watching on YouTube at any given point in time. This is directly related to their interest in finding information or a solution that pertains to their search topic. For example, if they are searching for hair care products that eliminate frizz, then ads that promote these types of hair care products will be shown in their feed. This also gives you an opportunity as an advertiser to select related videos on YouTube that your video ad can play in front of. You can also choose to run your ads in videos that contain a specific keyword in their titles, tags, or meta. Or, if you want to widen things up to a larger audience, you can put your video ads in front of a collection of videos that Google identifies as relevant to a broad topic. Audience Most people focus their attention on the two targeting methods above, but it also helps to picture your most ideal customer to maximize the reach of your ad campaigns. Audience targeting focuses on a person’s search history and where they have explored online, ultimately leveraging their interests for greater gain. Targeting these types of online users takes their demographics and intent, but also combines it with their online behavioral characteristics. Going above and beyond can make all the difference when it comes to generating leads from your YouTube ad campaigns. You can even build an audience of people who visit sites that are similar to yours! All in all, using a layered approach can maximize your ability to reach your target audience via YouTube Ad campaigns. You don’t have to rely solely on Facebook and Instagram ads to get your business out there and identified. Plus, moving your video ads to YouTube can really change the game, since these strategies help get your content in front of people who are actually diligently looking for your products/services. They just need that extra nudge in the right direction!


A Beginner’s Guide: TikTok Marketing in 2022
Did you know that TikTok was the most-visited website in the world in 2021? This new and upcoming entertainment platform has taken the world by storm, and has an estimated 1 billion monthly active users in the United States. Now is the perfect time to start marketing your business on TikTok by creating original and engaging content that expresses your brand identity and helps you engage with your target audience around the country. According to research, 49% of TikTok users said they have purchased a product or service from a brand after seeing it advertised on the platform. Regardless of the industry you’re in, our beginner’s guide will help you build a successful presence on the platform. Continue reading to learn more about digital marketing on TikTok: Setting Up A TikTok For Business Account Just like other social media platforms, TikTok has the option to set up your account as a business profile. However, they have specialized features that allow public profiles to find their voice and build a cohesive marketing strategy directly on the app. Tiktok for Business accounts can access performance metrics, audience insights, and creative tools that empower businesses to think like marketers but act like creators, according to TikTok. These features will help you optimize the content you share, connect with TikTok influencers, and run paid advertisements with an effective and strategic campaign model. The best part about enrolling as a TikTok Business Account is that this platform guides you through the whole process of creating ads, utilizing your budget, reaching the right audience, and analyzing campaign data. TikTok Content If you want to make an impression on your followers, it’s important to create original and impactful content that sets yourself apart from the competition. If you are a business owner, you can start by introducing yourself, and explain the inspiration behind your brand. This will build some rapport with your target audience and give some insight as to what you offer. The more creative and unique your content is, the better! For example, if you are in the Med Spa industry, you can do a walk-through of your office, show a glimpse of your staff, and highlight the services you want customers to book. Or, if you are a plumber, you could create a video that shows ‘A Day in the Life of a Plumber,’ featuring footage of the work you do on the job. No matter what industry you are in, finding your niche within TikTok will make the difference when it comes to being noticed and building an engaged following count. TikTok Influencers Since TikTok is relatively new within the digital world, its marketing strategies are constantly developing and evolving. It is most notably recognized for its organic viral content that has made brands, individuals, and groups blow up around the globe. If you want to promote your personal brand or business on TikTok, there are a few avenues you can explore. Depending on the product or service you offer, influencer marketing can be one of the best places to start. Influencers have a purported expert level of knowledge or social influence in their field. They can help spark the conversation about your brand and build rapport with their large following, ultimately bringing in leads and sales for your business. It’s a good idea to source influencers who match your brand or industry by exploring the TikTok Creator Marketplace or teaming with an internet marketing firm — like us over at CO/LAB Marketing. TikTok Advertising While TikTok advertising is relatively new, it shows a promising path for reaching your target audience and conveying your message. There are a variety of ads you can run on TikTok in 2022: In-feed Video:Ads that appear on the “For You” page. Brand Takeover: Ads that allow you to dominate the conversation as your message takes over the whole screen for a few seconds. It then turns into an in-feed video ad. Spark Ads: Ads that give brands the ability to sponsor popular organic content that relates to their products. Image Ads:Brands can place image ads in videos that appear via TikTok’s news feed apps: BuzzVideo, TopBuzz and Babe. Video Ads:Full-screen video ads that are 5 to 60 seconds long that appear in a user’s “For You” feed. Carousel Ads:Ads that include up to 10 images and appear in TikTok’s news feed apps. Branded AR content: Ads can appear as branded stickers, lenses and other types of AR content so TikTok users can use them in their videos. Hashtag challenge:Ad that shows up in the “Discovery” section of the app and can encourage user participation. Sponsored Influencer Content:Sponsored content from an influential TikTok user. With so many types of advertising options, TikTok brings new and improved ways to reach a group of people that may be interested in your business. It is not just the stereotypical graphic with a ‘learn more’ button. According to research, 52% of users claimed that TikTok ads were fun and engaging, while 66% had a positive perception of TikTok advertising. This is a green flag for advertisers because users are willing to engage with campaigns, and don't necessarily view advertisements as intrusive. So if you want to modernize your digital marketing efforts and expand your overall reach, consider setting up an ad campaign with TikTok. You can select your preferred budget, ad group, and even boost existing ads to keep the campaigns going!


5 Must-Have Homepage Features For Effective Marketing
When you are creating a website for your brand or business, you should utilize the homepage to showcase your products/services in a way that is compelling to new customers, as well as recurring visitors. The homepage is typically the first place that visitors land and explore, so it’s important to make sure that the material that lives here catches the visitors attention within seconds. This will also help avoid high bounce rates, because you do not want them to close out of your page and explore a competitor instead. Here are 5 must-have homepage features for effective marketing: Informative Headlines Not only are headlines extremely important for SEO rankings, but they also provide a great opportunity for calls-to-action. If someone is quickly skimming your website looking for something in particular, your headlines will help guide them through the navigation and point them in the right direction. Headlines should be brief and concise, but also informative or persuasive. Keep the length of headlines between 7 to 10 words, and make sure you include an action word! This will help you draw in traffic, and convert leads to sales. Eye-Catching Media Your homepage should include a variety of media elements, such as high-quality images, captivating videos, and your company logo. The main image on the homepage, often referred to as a hero shot, is likely to be the largest and most prominent. It should be a combination of visual and verbal elements that encourages the right visitors to interact further, and the wrong visitors to continue their search elsewhere. You can also use these features to help explain your products/services via videos, gifs, and other forms of creative content. The more diverse and impactful the content is on your homepage, the more discoverable your website will be through Google search. It will also keep visitors on your page longer while they explore and scan through the media elements. Keep in mind that a higher time on page indicates that the content is relevant, easy to read and understand, and targeted at the right audience. Testimonials What better way to build rapport with your audience than showing them positive explanations from other customers? Testimonials are key when it comes to verifying experiences and results. Review testimonials can be displayed on the lower end of your homepage, either with a carousel feature or as a stand-alone block. Did you know that many people won’t even make a purchase if they cannot find a substantial review first? This vital content feature offers hard proof that you have an unbiased customer base that is willing to share their honest experience with your products/services. If you have a handful of testimonials, be sure to place them on your homepage for visitors to see for that added push to close a sale. It is an organic form of marketing that will benefit you and your business! Social Media Icons/Links We live in a day and age where social media is at the forefront of marketing efforts. Whether you are active on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Pinetrest, Twitter, or other platforms, customers want to see that you post relevant and timely content to build engagement with your target audience. A visitor on your website may not even explore the interface, and head straight to your social media icons/links found at the top or bottom of your homepage. It’s critical that these icons are built into your homepage design so they are easy to locate and accessible within just a few seconds. Including your social media will ultimately improve your business's online presence, help you rank higher in search results, and build trust and authenticity. Contact Information While this may seem like a given, many websites do not include easily-discoverable contact information on the homepage. They usually bury it within a tab in their navigation bar, making it pretty difficult to find a phone number, email address, or mailing address with ease. Providing various forms of contact information will increase your ability to generate leads, and offer the best customer service possible. The more information you can provide, the more secure your customers will feel. If something goes wrong with a product or service, they can confidently reach you and rest assured that they will be taken care of.


What is Mobile-First Design? Why is It Important?
Building an engaging website is a fundamental part of marketing your online business. Did you know that 79% of smartphone users have made a purchase online using their mobile device in the last 6 months? It’s imperative that your website is accessible and easy to navigate on mobile devices if you want to convert leads to sales. Now, you may be wondering… “what does mobile-first design mean?” Here at CO/LAB Marketing, we want to help you better understand these marketing strategies so you can maximize your business. Building a mobile-first design into your digital marketing strategies is critical to your overall success. Mobile-First Design Defined: Mobile-First Design, as the name suggests, is an approach in which web designers start site design from the mobile point of view, then work their way up to larger layouts for tablets and desktops. This is typically done by prototyping the web design for the smallest screens first. The mobile design has more limitations in terms of functionality and sizing, so this is a great starting point before expanding features onto larger screens. If you’re wondering where the mobile-first strategy originates from, consider the concept of progressive advancement. This is when a web designer sketches their layout based on how it would look on a mobile screen. With such restrictions on space and features, they must prioritize the most significant aspects of the product at hand. This results in a clean and productive site that is ultimately content-driven. The Significance of Mobile-First Designs in 2022: Since so many people are now looking for products and services via their smartphones, it’s important that your website is optimized. This will help these mobile users to successfully purchase or book without needing to switch to a desktop, which can be off putting for consumers who land on your site. Research shows that 40% of users will go to a competitor site after a poor mobile experience. And, a shocking 84% have experienced difficulty completing a mobile transaction. Making sure your website has a mobile-first design leads to a perfect opportunity to capitalize on consumer retention and conversion. You can kiss the high number of abandoned cart rates goodbye when you implement this into your digital marketing strategy! Mobile-First Vs. Responsive Web Designs The benefits of mobile-first designs far outweigh responsive web designs. Responsive web designs are built to change the appearance of a website depending on the screen size and orientation of the device being used. These sites begin site design with a desktop focus at the maximum required resolution, and then scale down to mobile device size as needed. This is where mobile experience can be greatly affected, because it responds to the device it is on but does not cater to the user’s needs in terms of functionality and interaction. On the other hand, mobile-first designs are planned and designed in tandem with the desktop site. They focus solely on the user experience and make the appearance of buttons and menu tabs much easier to navigate than a responsive web design ever could. Keep in mind that a mobile-first website is always responsive, but a responsive website is not always mobile-first. Conclusion Building Mobile-First designs into your content strategy can be a real gamechanger. This audience-based approach will increase sales of your products or services, improve your market position, boost customer loyalty, and reduce customer complaints. It appeals to the majority of users in the year 2022, and has a faster load time than starting with a desktop site. Talk about ‘essential’…

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