12 Spiritual Audiobooks That Changed My Perspective

12 Spiritual Audiobooks That Changed My Perspective

Our sense of hearing is what enables us to connect to the world in so many vital ways. It allows us to communicate with others in a way that is different from the other senses. We hear the words others say, and listen closely for clues that reveal their true intent. For me, I have also found that hearing and listening not only bring pleasure; they can also make a difference in the overall quality of my life.

Although I have always had a thirst for knowledge, it was sometimes hard for me to gain full meaning just from the written word. I am an auditory learner, so I started using audiobooks as a way to learn. To me audiobooks are an immersive, educational, and entertaining experience. They improve my comprehension, and give me access to information that helps me learn more about a wide variety of topics.

I don’t just listen to audiobooks for business or marketing information alone. I also like insights that can help me become better as a person. Here is a list of 12 spiritual audiobooks that helped change my perspective. I am sharing them in case you might find them helpful for your own personal life journey.

  1. Loving What Is by Byron Katie and Stephen Mitchell: Here readers are challenged to answer four questions that are designed to change the way they think about life. This book gave me ideas that helped turn negative thoughts into positives, and changed how I react to people and events that cause stress in my life. Instead of focusing on what I wish “would be,” I now focus on trying to love what my current reality is.
  2. Ask and It Is Given by Esther Hicks and Jerry Hicks: The problem with attempting to manifest your own desires is that sometimes you don’t even know how to ask for or received what you want. This book offers 22 separate and powerful processes that help you identify and achieve your personal life goals. This is the power of positive thinking taken to an entirely new level.
  3. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, and It’s All Small Stuff by Richard Carlson: This may be an oldie, but it is still a good read, and a great listen! Just like Carlson says, I was allowing all the little everyday details to completely take over my life, so much so that I started losing focus on my much more important life goals. Instead of long, explanatory chapters, this collection of 100 short affirmations helps remind me on a regular basis of simple actions I can take that will have a big impact on how I can control my own destiny.
  4. The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck M.D.: Although it was first published in 1978 (and updated since then), this refreshing read gave me new insights into how traditional values and spiritual growth can change our life for the better. Life may indeed be difficult, but the author gently provides ways to bring fulfillment and peace.
  5. The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity by Edwene Gaines: This book addresses the question of what prosperity really means. In a world as money-centric as ours can be, that is certainly a deep question. What is more important – gaining money or gaining spiritual prosperity – and can those two goals co-exist? Can you follow the four laws: set specific financial and spiritual goals; forgive others and yourself daily; tithe ten percent of all you earn or receive; and find and commit to a divine purpose?
  6. Enneagram by Adam Night: An Enneagram is a model of the human psyche that is based on understanding nine interconnected personality types. This book offers a step-by-step guide to discovering your spiritual personality. The goal is to create better relationships by understanding yourself and others better. Be sure to take the included test!
  7. Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian L. Weiss M.D.: If you believe in exploring the lessons learned from your past lives, then this is the book for you. Although regression is often thought of as an alternative form of psychotherapy, this can be an interesting foray into your psyche in order to make more of your present life. What lessons have you already learned and have yet to learn?
  8. The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer: Do you know what is tying you down, and holding you back from reaching beyond the boundaries in your life? Are those boundaries of your own making? This #1 New York Times bestseller offers simple answers to some of life’s most perplexing questions. Find out what you can do to stop living with the habits and thoughts that keep you from achieving your very best being. You might be surprised by what you can achieve without those inner tethers!
  9. Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanh: Although not strictly about organized religion, the author does draw heavily from the spiritual teaching traditions of Buddhism and Christianity to help readers commit to mindfulness, so they can find the connection between personal, inner peace and peace on earth.
  10. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle: The New York Times recognizes Tolle as one of “the most popular spiritual authors in the United States” for good reason. His guide to spiritual enlightenment forces you to reject the self-made concept of ego, and to live in the here and now that surrounds you. This can be a difficult task with all we try to accomplish, and all that works against you to keep you from your peace, but it is possible to relieve yourself of the psychological pain you experience by accepting what is and being present in the Now.
  11. An Invitation to Freedom by Mooji: Mooji is a Jamaican-born spiritual teacher who has attracted followers from around the world to his lessons on finding spiritual contentment by connecting with your true inner self. This book provides a guide to finding that sense of fulfillment we all seek, even in this cluttered, busy world. I enjoy the questions which force you to discover the truths in your life that can help lead you to emotional freedom.
  12. Out of Your Mind by Alan Watts: If you spend too much time living in your head, then it is time to get out of your mind and focus on new perspectives. A former Anglican priest who mixes in a generous appreciation of Zen Buddhism, Watts provides listeners/readers with twelve pinnacle teaching sessions. These help you break through the boundaries of your rational way of thinking, to help you expand your appreciation for that which Watts calls the “Great Game.”

Once you have used these books to make a start on understanding spirituality and its applications to life and work, I’m sure you will find many more on your own that will help lead you down the path to peace and prosperity. Feel free to share your insights and ideas with me, as I am always open to new concepts that can help change my perspective as I continue to grow into my own reality. Happy Travels!

Tap Into Fan Power With New YouTube Select Sponsorships

From record-breaking music video releases to never-before-seen conversations with celebrities, YouTube has become the virtual stage for the world’s biggest cultural moments. The top 10 videos from 2020 — reaching a total of 356 million collective views — brought the world together to game, to laugh, to share some good news and so much more. 

As home to the content people need and the creators they love, YouTube is where personal meets popular — with fan favorite channels like Naomi Campbell (500,000+ subscribers) and Zach King (10 million+ subscribers). In the U.S., YouTube is the #1 video content provider viewers would miss the most if it was no longer available.1  

To help brands engage peak audiences, build association and stay relevant when it matters most, today we’re announcing a bigger, better sponsorship program under YouTube Select in the U.S.

Expanding our YouTube Select sponsorship offering 

In addition to longstanding sponsorships available exclusively in the upfront like NFL Game Day All Access, new this year, we’re offering a rolling set of seasonal sponsorships available on a quarterly basis.

Our seasonal sponsorship offering focuses specifically on what’s prominent in culture during that time of year, like Mother’s Day, Summer Wellness or Women in Music during Women’s History Month. And most importantly, the breadth of the seasonal slate means advertisers have a much wider variety of opportunities to celebrate diverse communities and topics, and reach their audiences where they are watching. 

See below for a glimpse into some of the most exciting sponsorships coming up, available either upfront or through our new seasonal offering.

The Upfront Slate

Reaching over 30 million views in the 2020 season, NFL Game Day All Access will be returning to YouTube for a third season this fall.2 Streaming exclusively on the NFL YouTube channel, it gives fans an intimate look at the full game day experience, with wired sound from players and coaches. Advertisers will have the opportunity to sponsor the show for multiple episodes during the regular season and postseason.

2020 was the biggest year yet for gaming on YouTube, with 100 billion watch time hours and 40 million+ active gaming channels. Building on this momentum, we’re adding a brand new upfront opportunity with Summer Game Fest — the industry’s first fully digital and global gaming event. We’re also excited to bring back the upfront sponsorship for The Game Awards — one of the biggest nights in the gaming industry that celebrates the biggest achievements of the year, including high share of voice, in-show integration and more.

Additionally, brands will have the opportunity to put on their studio executive hats with YouTube Greenlight. YouTube Greenlight brings a group of emerging YouTube creators together to pitch an original series ideas based on specific advertisers goals. The sponsorship includes a custom creator pitch session, a fully funded creator original series with integrations and paid promotion across YouTube.

The Seasonal Slate 

Today, YouTube announced a continued focus on sustainability with new original programming coming later this year. A subset of these shows will be available for sponsorship as part of our Q4 sustainability seasonal package, alongside other opportunities with YouTube creators and content focused on sustainable impact. The sponsorship will be available for companies with strong commitments to building a better planet for everyone.

Additionally, the seasonal state offers new ways to connect with your audience during holidays like Mother’s Day. For Mother’s Day specifically, we’ve seen surges in interest for things like that special gift, the perfect song for mom and more. To help brands align with this moment on YouTube, we’re offering a variety of packages including ownership of top moms’ channel WhatsUpMoms and the ability to build your own high share of voice packages across top mom creator and celebrity channels.

We’re celebrating Black Music Appreciation Month with three different Black Music Month packages in June. Each sponsorship includes high share of voice across relevant playlists like R&B Wave or Essential 00’s Hip Hop, added value components and ownership of top channels like Joe Budden TV.

How advertisers are tapping into moments that matter most on YouTube

Mediacom partnered with their client and YouTube to honor women’s history through the lens of music. The partnership included development of custom creative assets to celebrate women’s history, plus 100% share of voice of contextual environments like Women’s History Month music playlists and the GRAMMY’s channel, which featured a Women in the Mix special.

Angelina Kim, Senior Partner & Group Director, Mediacom, said “This was an important opportunity to help our client connect with their audience, and drive engagement with the brand in the moments that matter most — all creatives drove significant increases in awareness and message association.”

The sponsorships shared today are just a sampling of what’s available. Reach out to your Google sales team to learn more about YouTube Select sponsorships available in the upfront, and throughout the year.


1.  Google/Talkshoppe, US, whyVideo study, n=2003 A18-64 Genpop video users, June 2020.
2. YouTube Data, Sep 2020 – Mar 2021

Source: Official Google Webmasters Blog

Dr. Marshall Rosenberg and Nonviolent Communication

Who is Dr. Marshall Rosenberg?

Note from Taylor Reaume: Dr. Marshall Rosenberg is one of my top 10 mentors. I was privileged to have the opportunity to meet him twice at workshops held in Santa Barbara. His model for compassionate communication is the most advanced and helpful system for processing internal thoughts I have ever found.

With a nation often on edge due to political and racial strife, students and communities trying to make their voices heard, and even families forced to quarantine together in close quarters, it has never been more important to learn to communicate without resorting to violence. Nonviolent Communication, or NVC, heightens awareness regarding the importance of communicating compassionately, verbalizing feelings, and understanding the differences between needs and requests vs. demands. I hope you enjoy these insights into his work.

A Worldwide Movement Begins

Dr. Marshall Rosenberg was an American psychologist, mediator, author and teacher known for developing the theory of Nonviolent Communication. He began formulating his insights during the civil rights and anti-war protests of the 1960s, and helped to peacefully desegregate long-separated school districts. From there, he went on to work as a global peacemaker and founded the Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC), an international non-profit organization. The NVC community is currently active in over 65 countries around the globe. According to the Center:

“NVC is based on the principles of nonviolence – the natural state of compassion when no violence is present in the heart. NVC begins by assuming that we are all compassionate by nature and that violent strategies—whether verbal or physical—are learned behaviors taught and supported by the prevailing culture.”

NVC assumes that we all share the same, basic human needs, and that all actions are a strategy to meet one or more of these needs. People who practice NVC have found greater authenticity in their communication, increased understanding, deeper connections, and enhanced conflict resolution. Applications can be seen in all sectors of society from the personal and professional to the political.

Groups such as educators, mental health and health care providers, managers, lawyers, police and prison officials, military officers, prisoners, clergy, government officials, and families have benefited from his teachings. He has provided training to promote the peaceful resolution of differences in areas fraught with war and economic disadvantages.

What is NVC?

Most of us want to improve the quality of our relationships, to deepen our sense of personal empowerment and to communicate more effectively. Unfortunately, though, we have been educated from birth to compete, judge, demand and diagnose; to think and communicate in terms of “right“ and “wrong.“ The habitual ways we think and speak tend to hinder communication and create misunderstanding. At their most extreme, our unfeeling habits can lead to anger, pain, and even violence.

NVC reaches beneath the surface and discovers what is alive and vital within us. It flows from the understanding that all of our actions are based on human needs we seek to fulfill. NVC provides a vocabulary of feelings and needs that help us more clearly express what is going on in us, and understand what is going on in others. When we understand and acknowledge our needs, we develop a shared foundation for much more satisfying relationships.

Dr. Marshall Rosenberg Non Violent Communication NVCC

Violent Communication vs. Nonviolent Communication

In its Key Facts About Nonviolent Communication, the CNVC describes violence as “acting in ways that result in hurt or harm.” Based on this definition, they believe that much of how we communicate – judging others, bullying, having racial bias, blaming, finger pointing, discriminating , speaking without listening, criticizing others or ourselves, name-calling, reacting when angry, using political rhetoric, being defensive or judging who’s “good/bad” or what’s “right/wrong” with people – could therefore be called “violent communication.”

Nonviolent Communication, on the other hand is the integration of four things:

  1. Consciousness: a set of principles that support living a life of compassion, collaboration, courage, and authenticity.
  2. Language: understanding how words contribute to connection or distance.
  3. Communication Skills: knowing how to ask for what we want, how to hear others even in disagreement, and how to move towards solutions that work for all.
  4. Means of Influence: sharing “power with others” rather than using “power over others.”

NVC serves our desire to increase our ability to live with choice, meaning, and connection; connect empathically with self and others to have more satisfying relationships; and share resources so everyone is able to benefit.

The Four Cornerstones of NVC

Most workshops, prior to Dr. Rosenberg’s time, tended to focus on conflict resolution as gaining power over other people. There was no recognition of individual qualities or affirmation of each other’s uniqueness, no compassion or nurturing. While violence usually results from such concepts as judgments, thoughts, strategies and demands, Rosenberg instead based NVC on four core components known as OFNR:

  • Observations: This is a description of what is actually happening, as reported by our direct, sensory experiences mixed with our “inner voice.” Observations should be free of moral judgment and criticism.
  • Feelings: These are the physical sensations and emotions which are universal to all people. It could be a sensation of fear, love, happiness, or guilt.
  • Needs/Values: These are the resources which are necessary to sustain our lives, and are also universal.
  • Requests: Requests are when one party has an opportunity to contribute to the well-being of another. It is a specific action which provides a concrete offering with the intention of helping to fulfill a need. Requests can come in the form of clarity, feedback and action.

How You Can Use the NVC Process

The life-changing benefits of NVC can be applied to conflict resolution, personal relationships, parenting and families, education, personal growth, organizational effectiveness, anger management, business relationships and individual spirituality.

NVC helps to develop your emotional vocabulary, connect with your feelings and needs, break negative habit patterns, hear the needs behind behavior and get to the heart of the conflict.

A good starting point is to learn how to use “feeling” words in a sentence. This way you can accurately describe how you are feeling to the other person.

Feelings When Needs Not Met

Getting both people’s needs met involves accurately communicating how one feels about the needs being met or unmet.

Feelings When Needs Met

Here is a general outline of the entire communication model:

Dr. Marshall Rosenberg Non Violent Communication NVCC

Paraphrased Quotes from Dr. Marshall B. Rosenberg

“Every criticism, judgment, diagnosis, and expression of anger is the tragic expression on an unmet need.”

“The goal of Nonviolent Communication is not to alter people and their behavior to suit us; it is to establish relationships based on empathy and honesty, which will fulfill everyone’s needs eventually.”

“The more we discuss the past, the less we heal from it.”

“We can’t make anyone do anything against their will without enormous consequences.”

Below is a Youtube video of Dr. Marshall Rosenberg speaking to a group of psychologists. This was an NVC workshop in San Francisco, CA.

Although Dr. Rosenberg passed away in 2015, the Center he founded continues to educate people to communicate more effectively and become more connected globally. The world is definitely in a better place for the legacy he left us.

NVC QUIZ FOR KIDS: I stayed up until 4am designing these quiz sheets below. If you have kids, you might benefit from chatting with them about the answers.

I use these quizzes to annoy the crap out of my nephews and nieces when I see them. 🙂

They are designed to help children distinguish between feelings or thoughts, and requests or demands.

And finally, below is a collection of infographics I’ve collected over the years.

Privacy First Web Advertising A Measurement Update

In January, we shared how Google’s advertising teams have been evaluating the proposals in Chrome’s Privacy Sandbox, an open-source initiative to replace third-party cookies with viable privacy-first alternatives that can support the publishers and advertisers who help keep the web open and accessible.

Today, we’re going to explain how the latest proposals in the Privacy Sandbox can solve for key conversion measurement use cases on the web while preserving privacy – and we’ll also share a new resource to help you learn more about the overall initiative.

Conversion measurement

Chrome’s conversion measurement proposals center around an API that would have the capability to report both event-level and aggregated information. Event-level information is helpful when businesses need data to be more granular, such as deciding how much to bid on impressions or modeling conversions. Aggregated information is important for summarizing campaign performance, like reporting total conversion value or return on investment.

To make sure that the API preserves privacy, and that any data reported can’t be used to track individual people as they move across the web, the API uses one or more of the following techniques:

  • Aggregate the data that is reported so that each person’s browsing activity and identity remain anonymous among a large group of conversions.
  • Limit the amount of information reported about each conversion, so it’s not possible to expose the identity of the person behind the conversion.
  • Add “noise” to the data reported, which protects an individual’s privacy by including some random data along with the actual conversion results.

The Chrome team recently shared new proposals for how the API could apply these privacy considerations while reporting view-through conversions and cross-device conversions:

For view-through conversion measurement, Chrome proposes that advertisers use the event-level capability of the API to get a report on the conversions that happen on their website and are attributed to ad views across the web. The browser would enable this by registering the ad impressions that take place across websites and then matching any conversions that happen on an advertiser’s website back to the initial views. To prevent any conversion data from being used to track people individually, the Chrome API would limit the amount of information shared about each conversion and add noise to the data. 

Then, when advertisers are interested in reporting on the total number of view-through conversions, for a video ad campaign as an example, Chrome proposes that they can use the API’s aggregate reporting capability. This would allow advertisers to get more precise information on key metrics for the overall campaign without compromising people’s privacy. That’s because aggregate reporting keeps people’s identities and their browsing histories anonymous as it only shares data across a large group of conversions.

For cross-device conversion measurement, Chrome proposes that advertisers use the API’s event-level capability to report on the conversions that happen on their website and are attributed to ad views or clicks that happen on another device. This would only be possible if the people converting are signed into their browser across their devices. Access to this capability would enable cross-device measurement for all participating ad providers and networks.

The proposals in the Privacy Sandbox will change how measurement works for digital ads, but are designed to support key measurement use cases while protecting people’s privacy. We’re beginning to run simulations to understand how different use cases might be impacted by the privacy considerations made in Chrome’s various proposals and we look forward to sharing our findings in the near future.

Resources

We know that there are many questions about the Privacy Sandbox and that there is broad interest in learning more about each of the proposals. The Chrome team recently built a new website, privacysandbox.com, with an overview of this effort, FAQs, and links to additional resources. We’ll also continue to share regular updates about our work across Google’s ads teams to adopt the Privacy Sandbox technologies for our web advertising and measurement products.

Source: Official Google Webmasters Blog

How To Automate Your Email List Building Strategy

List building

Email is sometimes seen as a lonely outcast in the online marketing world, sometimes even a joke. It just keeps plodding on behind the scenes whiles its flashier cousins get all the attention. Yet savvy marketers know that email is just as powerful now as it has always been, and deploy it as an integral part of their online strategy.

Email is the perfect way to promote your products and services, distribute interesting content, and stay in touch with prospects and customers. Carefully targeted “drip” campaigns that provide information without becoming spam can take your business from an interesting idea to a possible partner in the recipient’s mind. Here are some eye-popping statistics which might make you take another look at the way you think about email:

  • The number of email users continues to grow: Statista reports that there were over 4 billion email users worldwide in 2020. This number is expected to grow to almost 4.6 billion by 2025.
  • Emails get opened: In 2020 email benchmarks for all industries included an average open rate of 18.0%, an average click-through rate of 2.6%, and an average click-to-open rate of 14.1%.
  • They influence purchase decisions: According to consumer research, 59% of respondents say marketing emails influence their purchase decisions.
  • Emails get results: Even in 2019, the ROI on email marketing campaigns was over $40! How does that compare to direct mail or your other online efforts?

The statistics prove the reliability of email marketing, but their effectiveness relies on the quality of your email list. Careful attention needs to be paid to adding addresses to your list, updating them as needed, sending quality content and promptly responding to unsubscribe requests.

Automatic Ways to Build an Email List

An ineffective way to build your email list is to buy one. These are often outdated and unusable for your purposes. The majority of people who receive an email from a company they do not know will delete it, unsubscribe, or mark it as spam. It could give a bad first impression of your business.

One positive way to build an email list, though, is to simply ask every customer or prospect for their email address, but this can be time-consuming and error-prone. A better way to build an email list is to automate the process so that your online efforts automatically work to add new names on a consistent basis. The potential customer is interested in what you have to offer, and does the work of providing a correct email. The information automatically goes into your database, and generates a series of welcome, thank you, or content updates. Top ways to up your email gathering strategy include:

  1. Add an email opt-in form to your website: This one is simple – just ask your website visitors to subscribe to your monthly online newsletters. Once they sign-up, be sure to only send relevant, interesting content that meets their needs, though, or they might unsubscribe quickly. Make sure this offer is repeated on every page your visitors might access from their online search results.
  2. Use pop-ups: These are quick hits that grab a user’s attention as they begin to surf your site. Have a headline that promises something, offer a discount, or have a limited time offer. Make it very simple to fill in the email and leave it at that.
  3. Ask on social media: There are many creative ways to get emails from people on social media. “Give to get” email opt-in strategies are a common way to build an email list using social media. You can offer a PDF or white paper in exchange for an email address. You can use Facebook, or do a call-to-action Tweet or post on Instagram.
  4. Check-out process: If you offer ecommerce services, you can always ask for an email address during the checkout process. Most people don’t think twice about providing an email to a company they trusted enough to make a purchase.

For really sophisticated automation strategies, a company like OptinMonster can help turn your website traffic into subscribers, leads and sales. This conversion optimization software helps turn abandoning website visitors into subscribers and customers.

What Offers Might Motivate Someone to Provide Their Email Address?

Most people jealously guard their email address because they don’t want to get on some type of “spam” list. But they do want to get worthwhile information and offers from companies that match their interests. So what can you offer that makes your company look good, while having a value to your prospective customer?

  • E-newsletter: Newsletters that arrive on a regular basis might have value to your target demographic.
  • Insider Tips: Put together a one page sheet of special tips that apply to your product or service, and offer it in exchange for an email address.
  • White Paper: A white paper is a deep dive into a topic of particular interest. If you own a computer store for example, a good white paper might look at various computer setups to achieve maximum office efficiency. The white paper seeks to take a complex matter and break it down with expert advice and research. It provides useful information that can help solve a particular problem, and maybe even motivate the reader to work further with your company.
  • E-book: This is a more in-depth study of a particular topic. It might come in handy for analyzing many sides of a particular issue or product offering.
  • Special Access: Offer to let prospects on your email list have sneak previews of new products or upcoming sales and promotions. Have a limited sale period that is available only to this list before you open it to everyone.
  • Helpful Audio or Video: Is there one topic that you are always explaining to customers? You can reproduce your answer in the form of an audio or video file, and offer that as the email address incentive.
  • Surveys: Ask someone to provide answers to a few questions about your product or service. Offer to provide results if they give you their email address.

Case Studies on Building Email Lists

  • Buffer, the marketing software firm, shared its strategies to double email signups in 30 days. They added eight more ways to their existing tactic, to make it ridiculously easy to sign-up for the list. Options now include slideup form, blog homepage email capture, HelloBar, sidebar ad, postscript CTA, Twitter lead generation cards, Facebook newsletter signup, SlideShare, and Qzzr.
  • University of Alberta realized a 500% increase in subscribers simply by adding a chat window signup with Qualaroo. Even though their website page offered a newsletter preview, few visitors took the opportunity to actually sign-up. A pop-up chat window, however, noted their interest and provided a quick way to enter an email address.
  • Sol de Janeiro, a body care company, generated 25,000 new subscribers in under five months using a layered lead capture approach that began with an offer that triggered when a prospect appeared to be ending a website session.

More Automation for Your Email Strategy

Even though it is so effective, you still don’t want to spend all day working on your email strategy either. Create specific emails to respond to certain situations, and set up your system to send them out automatically. You might have emails already created to:

  • Accompany the white paper or other information you are sending.
  • Follow-up on information that was sent
  • Welcome a new customer
  • Connect with someone you haven’t heard from lately
  • Send out to those with an abandoned cart
  • Celebrate milestone occasions

Use productivity tools like Constant Contact, Mailchimp or Cloud HQ to automatically schedule emails, update your database, respond to unsubscribe requests, and handle your automatic reply needs.

Start Building Your Email List Automatically Today

When you are building your email list, think about the emotions you want readers to feel. Try to put yourself in their position to see what would make you give someone your email address, and build from there.

New Resources For Video SEO

As global online video consumption continues to grow, Google aims to surface video content from diverse sources across the web. We want to make it easy for site owners to get their videos indexed and surfaced on Google.

Today, we’re excited to share two new resources to help you optimize your videos for Google Search and Discover.

Search Central Lightning Talk 

In this new lightning talk, we discuss how Google indexes videos, highlight features where videos appear on Google, and share five key tips to optimize your videos for Search and Discover:

Video best practices 

In addition to the lightning talk, we also updated our Video best practices guide to clarify the most important steps you can take to help Google find, index, and understand your videos. The guide shows you how to:

We’ll continue to update this page over time with our latest recommendations, alongside our video structured data guide.

Source: Official Google Webmasters Blog

How To Increase Facebook Likes With Semi-Automated Facebook Marketing Strategy

Semi-Automated Facebook Marketing Strategy

In these current times, one of the most important aspects of growing your business is social media.  Many business owners have been turning to social media platforms such as Facebook to market their business.  Research shows that more than 2.8 billion people use the platform every month to post, view, or share photos or content.  They also turn to the social media giant to learn about and connect with local businesses.

However, not every business thrives well on social media.  This is due to a lack of engagement from their Facebook company page posts such as not receiving any likes, comments, or shares.  To increase the engagement of your posts, you have to start developing a social media marketing strategy.  It’s not enough to just post something occasionally and hope that people react to it.  You have to construct an effective plan to increase those likes and generate comments.

Who is your Audience?

Before you start worrying about the increasing engagement of your Facebook posts, you have to figure out the audience your company is targeting.  Are you targeting the young, 18-45 year old demographic?  Are you targeting the male or female demographic?  It’s very important to know and learn everything you can about your audience.  Learn about how old they are, what they do for a living, where they live, and what are their interests.  These details help you figure out what they like to see on Facebook and how often they use it.

It’s also important to understand the general demographics of Facebook users and how that relates to your target customer.  The free tool Facebook Audience Insights will help you examine the highest demographics that are using the platform and which ones could be your potential customers.  Knowing everything about your audience is vital in engaging them.

What types of content should I share?

Besides knowing who you want to reach on Facebook, you must be diverse in the content of your posts.  Don’t just post only videos or comical images to attract your customers.  If you’re trying to sell a product or a service, don’t just use your posts to promote them.  Try mixing things up by incorporating different types of content into your posts.  Some of the most common types of Facebook posts are:

  • Brand story posts
  • Personal posts
  • Lead nurture posts
  • Authority building posts

Don’t just use Facebook to promote your products or post your latest blog post.  Create posts that could start a conversation with your audience, stir a reaction from them, or solves their problems.

How do I set social media marketing goals?

Every business owner must set different goals for their company and social media marketing is one of them.  If you’re a business owner, you should be setting bigger goals for your company’s Facebook page than generating more likes.  You should be using those likes to develop a broader marketing plan for your company’s social media. 

You can utilize Facebook to generate leads for your online business or increase customer conversions.  Once you start setting those social media goals, every post or update you create on your Facebook page must be in service of them.  You must have a strong purpose behind your posts for your business besides merely entertaining your audience.

How do I study my competition on social media sites?

Now that you defined the audience you want your brand to serve, decided on the type of posts you want on your page, and set some reasonable goals for your social marketing, now it’s time to research your competition in your industry.  If you’re in the cosmetics industry, it makes sense to look up the Facebook pages of people in that industry.  Analyze their social media strategy.  What type of posts do they have on their business page?  What are they doing to generate so many likes and comments from their audience?  Doing a competitive analysis will help you better assess your competition and their strengths and weaknesses in Facebook engagement.  It also doesn’t hurt to engage with them by liking or commenting on their posts.

One good tool in keeping track of your competition is the social media management tool Hootsuite.  This tool enables you to set up social listening streams to monitor relevant keywords and your competitor’s social media accounts in real-time.  You won’t have to manually search for their company name or account handles manually on social media.  Hootsuite helps you see what they are posting and what their audience is saying about these posts.

How do I increase engagement?

To attract people to your page, you must start optimizing it for engagement.  People will probably feel more inclined to engage on your page if you put a little more thought into how it looks.  How does your page’s cover image look?  Does it look like the type of cover image that will compel people to stay on your page?  Your cover image is the first impression people will get about your Facebook page.  It must leave a lasting impression.

If you have a website or blog for your business, try implementing some Facebook like and share buttons in those places to get people to find you on Facebook.  This type of cross-promotion is a great way for people to know you’re on Facebook.  It also helps make your page easy to find.

Also, be sure to keep the content on your page up-to-date.  Do a regular audit of your page to check for outdated content.  Does your About Section contains accurate, up-to-date information?  Is the contact information of your company up-to-date?  These sorts of things are important when optimizing your page for engagement.

Should I use Facebook Ads in my Marketing Plan?

Another great way to increase your likes is to start running Facebook ads on your page.  Incorporating their advertisement system into your marketing plan is a great way to put your brand in front of your target audience.  You can try boosting one of your posts or running a campaign relevant to your business.

When boosting a post, you are extending the update beyond people who already liked it.  Try doing this tactic on a post or two that you think will widen your audience.  It could be a promotion of your latest product or your latest blog post.  Whatever it is, boosting it is a great way to bring in more likes.

Some business owners choose to run a social media campaign to get people to like their posts or the Page.  You can choose how long you want to run the campaign and the demographic you want to reach.  There are also a variety of ad formats for you to choose from.

What is Facebook Insights?

The Facebook Insights feature will help you to be able to identify the kinds of posts getting the most reach and engagements.  From there you will be able to use that information to create more of the content your audience wants from you.  Facebook Insights gives you the ability to learn from your mistakes and giving your followers what they want to increase more likes.

If you want to thrive on Facebook, you have to start developing a social media marketing strategy to increase your engagement.  Following these 7 tips will surely lead to more people knowing about your business and increasing your Facebook likes.                        

Charting A Course Towards A More Privacy First Web

It’s difficult to conceive of the internet we know today — with information on every topic, in every language, at the fingertips of billions of people — without advertising as its economic foundation. But as our industry has strived to deliver relevant ads to consumers across the web, it has created a proliferation of individual user data across thousands of companies, typically gathered through third-party cookies. This has led to an erosion of trust: In fact, 72% of people feel that almost all of what they do online is being tracked by advertisers, technology firms or other companies, and 81% say that the potential risks they face because of data collection outweigh the benefits, according to a study by Pew Research Center. If digital advertising doesn’t evolve to address the growing concerns people have about their privacy and how their personal identity is being used, we risk the future of the free and open web.  

That’s why last year Chrome announced its intent to remove support for third-party cookies, and why we’ve been working with the broader industry on the Privacy Sandbox to build innovations that protect anonymity while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers. Even so, we continue to get questions about whether Google will join others in the ad tech industry who plan to replace third-party cookies with alternative user-level identifiers. Today, we’re making explicit that once third-party cookies are phased out, we will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will we use them in our products.

We realize this means other providers may offer a level of user identity for ad tracking across the web that we will not — like PII graphs based on people’s email addresses. We don’t believe these solutions will meet rising consumer expectations for privacy, nor will they stand up to rapidly evolving regulatory restrictions, and therefore aren’t a sustainable long term investment. Instead, our web products will be powered by privacy-preserving APIs which prevent individual tracking while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers.

Privacy innovations are effective
alternatives to tracking

People shouldn’t have to accept being tracked across the web in order to get the benefits of relevant advertising. And advertisers don’t need to track individual consumers across the web to get the performance benefits of digital advertising. 

Advances in aggregation, anonymization, on-device processing and other privacy-preserving technologies offer a clear path to replacing individual identifiers. In fact, our latest tests of FLoC show one way to effectively take third-party cookies out of the advertising equation and instead hide individuals within large crowds of people with common interests. Chrome intends to make FLoC-based cohorts available for public testing through origin trials with its next release this month, and we expect to begin testing FLoC-based cohorts with advertisers in Google Ads in Q2. Chrome also will offer the first iteration of new user controls in April and will expand on these controls in future releases, as more proposals reach the origin trial stage, and they receive more feedback from end users and the industry.

This points to a future where there is no need to sacrifice relevant advertising and monetization in order to deliver a private and secure experience. 

First-party relationships are vital

Developing strong relationships with customers has always been critical for brands to build a successful business, and this becomes even more vital in a privacy-first world. We will continue to support first-party relationships on our ad platforms for partners, in which they have direct connections with their own customers. And we’ll deepen our support for solutions that build on these direct relationships between consumers and the brands and publishers they engage with.

Keeping the internet open and accessible for everyone requires all of us to do more to protect privacy — and that means an end to not only third-party cookies, but also any technology used for tracking individual people as they browse the web. We remain committed to preserving a vibrant and open ecosystem where people can access a broad range of ad-supported content with confidence that their privacy and choices are respected.  We look forward to working with others in the industry on the path forward.

Source: Official Google Webmasters Blog

Providing Better Product Information For Shoppers

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information, and organizing product information for shoppers and retailers is an essential part of this mission. In the last year, we’ve introduced several new experiences that enable brands and retailers to list their products for free on Google, whether that’s on Google Search through a product knowledge panel or on the Shopping tab.

To best help users find your content and products in Search, we recommend that websites clearly identify products mentioned.

In the following sections we provide guidelines for manufacturers, retailers, and publishers on how to ensure that Google understands the products they are selling or referencing.

How Google identifies products online and offline

Google relies on accurate and trusted product data to precisely identify products that are available for shoppers.

We recommend providing clear product identification, as this helps Google to match offers to products, and to match products to relevant search queries. You can improve Google’s understanding of products by using unique product identifiers like Global Trade Item Number (GTIN™), Manufacturer Part Numbers (MPNs), and brand names. When using product identifiers, we recommend that the identifiers follow these best practices:

  • Uniqueness: Each product should have a unique identifier that can consistently and accurately be shared across the ecosystem and identify a product in both the physical and digital worlds of commerce.
  • Verifiability: Identity of a product (for example, who is the manufacturer) and other product data should be verifiable through a trusted source. This allows marketplaces to verify that product data is accurate and complete through global registries, the organizations that issued and manage the identifiers.
  • Global Reach: With ecommerce making the world more connected, relying on an identification system that can be used across the ecosystem globally will help keep product identification seamless for stakeholders in all countries.

Google adopted use of GTINs as the standard in 2015 so that retailers could reach more customers online.

For products that are sold through a variety of sellers and marketplaces, registering products with the GS1 Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) System provides internationally recognized standard identifiers for unique identification of products both in physical stores and on e-commerce platforms. Registration makes it possible for consumers to identify the source of the product.

Tips for brands and manufacturers

Brands and manufacturers can submit product data through Google Manufacturer Center for free, and as part of this process, share the product information to uniquely identify the products to Google. Below are some tips to ensure that Google understands the data that you are providing:

  • Ensure your products have GTINs: Your products must have unique Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) to use Manufacturer Center. To learn how to assign GTINs to your products, visit the GS1 website in your local region.
  • Don’t reuse product identifiers: GTINs should never be shared across multiple products; a single product should map clearly to a single GTIN. Reuse of GTINs can cause marketplace catalog data to become out of date and inconsistent, creating confusion. By obtaining product identifiers from unauthorized sources (for example, identifiers sold through bankruptcy proceedings), you run the risk of establishing identity on the foundation of a previously registered product or company.
  • Follow best practices for product identifiers for custom products: In certain situations (for example, artisan products, customizable products, or one-off products), a brand can adopt a proprietary approach to solve product identity by managing its products with unique Stock Keeping Unit numbers (SKUs) or Manufacturer Part Numbers (MPNs). The key here is for manufacturers to incorporate the principles around uniqueness, verifiability and global reach to ensure the benefits of having product identifiers materialize.

Tips for retailers and 3rd-party sellers 

Retailers should ensure accurate product identification on their websites. In addition to general guidelines around GTIN, Google recommends:

  • Submit high quality product data: Submit structured data to Google in a product feed or add structured data markup to your website.
  • Provide a GTIN, when GTINs exist: Retailers must provide GTINs when they’re selling products that have GTINs. The GTIN can be included in both the product feed as well as the page’s structured data. If a product does not have a GTIN, retailers and 3rd-party sellers should rely on brand and manufacturer parts numbers to identify the product.
  • Use valid and unique GTINs: Don’t reuse existing GTINs for a new product. Retailers should not invent GTINs and should not register their own GTINs with GS1, unless they are also the manufacturer of the product.

Tips for online publishers 

When publishers create content, like reviewing products or sharing the latest deals for a given product, it’s important that the products in those reviews be accurately identified. This allows users to find those reviews when searching for products on Google. Google recommends:

  • Use exact product names: Publishers should mention the exact name of the products that are mentioned on the page. This makes it easier for users, and search engines, to understand exactly which product is referenced.
  • Use structured data: We recommend adding structured data, including the GTIN, when reviewing products. This makes it easier for search engines to better understand when to show your pages in search.
  • Use valid and unique GTINs: GTINs should never be invented or “borrowed” from other products just to provide a GTIN identifier on the content.

Product identity is critical in commerce because it ensures that businesses and consumers accurately understand the origin and unique identity of a product. This also applies to the web and Google Search, where an accurate understanding of a product helps to show the right product to the right user at the right time.

Source: Official Google Webmasters Blog

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