Think with Google’s 10 most-read articles of 2019

Stéphanie Thomson
/ November 2019 / Mobile, Search, Video

Type the words “digital marketing” into Google Search, and you’ll get back an incredible 193,000,000 results. That’s a lot of content to get through.

To save you the trouble of separating the must-reads from the skippables, we dug into our own data to uncover some of the most popular articles on the topic of digital marketing from the past year. Here are Think with Google’s most-read pieces of 2019.

3 ways Google Marketing approaches SEO

The latest research from web analytics company Parse.ly shows Google Search accounted for around half of external referrals to the publishers in its network. So if you have a website and you’re hoping people will land on it, it’s important to have an SEO strategy in place.

That’s no different for the Google Marketing team. “We have 7,000 websites that are managed by hundreds of product and marketing teams all over the world,” explains Sean O’Keefe, a website optimization expert here at Google. That’s why we’ve put in place a cohesive SEO strategy that we can rely on no matter what changes are introduced — and that others can learn from.

Read the full piece.

How Rihanna’s Fenty delivered a wake-up call to the beauty industry

In 2017, the singer Rihanna launched Fenty Beauty, a cosmetics brand whose slogan, “Beauty for All,” made its goals quite clear: to shake up an industry that had until then largely ignored underrepresented, underserved women and cultures.

It achieved those goals and more. “In our first year of business, Fenty Beauty became the biggest beauty brand launch in YouTube history, drove huge success commercially, and was named one of Time Magazine’s best inventions of 2017,” explains Sandy Saputo, chief marketing officer at Kendo Brands, which includes Fenty Beauty.

Read the full piece.

Icons of tube of red lipstick, mirrored compact with pink and peach blush. Text reads: In its first year of business, Fenty Beauty became the biggest beauty brand launch in YouTube history.

Forget storytelling. 2019 was all about storyselling

Video has always been a great format for telling stories, but can it also increase the bottom line? Travis Chambers, who has worked with many direct-to-consumer brands on their video marketing strategy, thinks so.

“In 2011, to kill time during a long road trip, I filmed a video of my wife trying to answer what seemed to be a quite simple brainteaser,” he recalls. It quickly went viral. “Seven years, 12 million views, and $45,000 later, we had paid off our student loans and traveled the world on a hilarious press tour. This experience showed me the potential video has not only tell a great story, but also drive real business results.”

Read the full piece.

5 rules of engagement for video ads that work

More than 500 hours of content are uploaded to YouTube every minute. With so many videos available for people to watch, and so much content competing for people’s attention, how are marketers expected to create video ads that stand out from the crowd?

Sadie Thoma, Google’s director of creative agency development, looked at some of the best and most effective YouTube ads to understand what they had in common, and came up with five lessons that should guide all video marketing strategies. Hint: it all starts with following people’s passions.

Read the full piece.

Icon of laptop playing sports video and a basketball with text that reads “When people are deciding what to watch, relating to their passions is 3X more important than famous actors and 1.6X more important than high-production quality.

How to create a product story that unfolds over time — and drives results

You wouldn’t expect someone to hire you before you told them why you’d be right for the job. The same principle applies in marketing. If you skip straight to your call to action without taking the time to build awareness or educate potential customers, you’re unlikely to succeed.

Adidas understood this, but even when it built its creative with the goal of steadily taking people through the customer journey, it still faced a challenge. “We could never be sure the same people were seeing our ads across all phases of our campaign, or how many times they saw a particular creative,” explains the brand’s global media manager. That was until the brand used a new tool that allowed it to tell its product story in a way that unfolded over time.

Read the full piece.

Want to earn user trust and drive marketing results? Start with these steps

Since 2016, there has been a 6X increase in search interest for “my activity,” which allows Google users to manage information like their search and browsing history. Clearly, people are thinking more carefully about their online data and privacy — and they expect marketers to be doing the same.

Many already are. “Forward-thinking marketers understand that online privacy concerns are real, and they have been preparing all along,” says Sean Downey, Google’s VP of media platforms. He shares some steps these companies are taking to ensure they drive growth, but not at the cost of consumer trust.

Read the full piece.

Image features dark brown hands with pink fingernails using a smartphone with text that reads “6X increase in search interest in the U.S. for ‘my activity’ (where users can manage activity saved to their Google Account) since 2016.”

How Google Marketing measures the bottom-line impact of advertising campaigns

In digital marketing, every click, scroll, and view generates reams of data — data that should, in theory, make us smarter, but that all too often leaves us overwhelmed. “We end up measuring what matters, what doesn’t matter, and what should never matter,” laments Avinash Kaushik, an analytics expert in Google’s Media Lab team.

To overcome this problem, Kaushik and his team came up with three steps that help them make sense of the noise and become smarter at measuring the bottom-line impact of Google’s advertising campaigns.

Read the full piece.

5 questions to ask yourself about your mobile strategy

More than half of web traffic comes from mobile, but mobile conversion rates are still lower than desktop. Why? “Research suggests many CEOs have failed to prioritize mobile properly because they’re unaware that their current mobile strategy isn’t working,” warns Jason Spero, VP of global performance media at Google. “And it’s likely costing them customers.”

Ready to put mobile at the center of your company’s digital transformation and reap the benefits? Spero shares five questions that you should be asking yourself to make that happen.

Read the full piece.

Why it’s time to ditch the TV-first approach to marketing

“Television’s reach and scale is unbeatable,” says prevailing wisdom in brand advertising. But is that really accurate? To find out, Google’s Media Lab team ran an experiment to compare the reach levels of digital video and television for the launch of the Pixel 3 smartphone.

“The two-week experiment was simple,” explains John Tuchtenhagen, who led the test. “During week one, ads ran on national TV in the U.S. and were dark on YouTube. Week two was the reverse: no TV, all YouTube.” The results? “We found that YouTube scaled higher than TV in a one-week period.”

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What you need to know about creating a better ad experience

This past year, roughly a quarter of internet users installed ad blockers, a figure that’s expected to keep growing. “That’s bad news for everyone in digital advertising, including publishers who depend on ad revenue to fund content and advertisers trying to connect with audiences,” says Kelsey LeBeau, a product lead on Google Chrome.

Icon of a browser window with a yellow pop-up to indicate an ad blocker and text that reads “This past year, roughly a quarter of internet users installed ad blockers.”

So what does it take to create an online ad experience that people won’t hate? After surveying nearly 66,000 web and mobile users, the Coalition for Better Ads thinks these three pieces of advice will help.

Read the full piece.

Think with Google’s 10 most-read articles of 2018