Growth Newsletter #074
Welcome to the 582 new marketers and founders who joined last week!
This week we're covering content strategy, a B2C ad tactic, and experiment prioritization.
Want to sponsor Demand Curve? Here's everything you need to know.
We're hosting a live masterclass next week: How to accelerate growth with personalization (at scale).
We’ll show you how leading companies are using personalization to grow in a privacy-first world.
In it, you’ll learn:
- How to easily collect the right data to power your personalization efforts
- How to design personalized marketing and product experiences
- The tools to use to build your data and personalization foundation
- The tactics that fast-growing companies are using to create high-converting, delightful customer experiences
Plus, get direct access to our team during a 15-minute Q&A session at the end of the masterclass.
This week's Insights
Make your content different—not just better
Insight from Animalz.
Content marketing used to be pretty simple.
Finding an article that answered your specific question in a Google search was rare. Articles that got it right earned most of the traffic.
Then SEO shifted to aggregation: articles that consolidated information into one place ranked higher than fragments. This led to the “skyscraper model”—massive, exhaustive guides on subjects.
Now, search results pages are dominated by established brands with loads of authority and backlinks. Most search results contain the same information: copycat content. The problem is, once a reader has read one article, they’ve effectively read them all.
To address this problem, in April 2020, Google filed a patent that, in short, should reward articles that bring new information to the table.
They call this idea information gain. It’s a measurement of the new information provided by a given article, above and beyond the info provided in other articles on the same topic.
So instead of studying search engine results pages to outline articles, content marketers should be asking themselves, “What new information can I bring to the discussion?”
Three ways to factor this question into your content:
1. Create content that builds on other results
Instead of trying to outrank a top-ranking, comprehensive article, assume that the reader has already read it. How can you add value beyond what they’ve already read?
- Share a practical “next step”—a continuation of a competing article.
- Elaborate on a key idea contained within the competing article.
- Write the 102 version of their 101, going into more depth, detail, and nuance.
2. Experiment with risky framings and angles
You’ll likely be rewarded for bringing new and unique information to the table. Consider:
- Addressing unserved intent (“My specific use case isn’t represented here.”)
- Filling in missing information (“It’s weird that no one has mentioned X here.”)
- Challenging a differing or erroneous opinion (“That’s an outdated belief.”)
- Correcting mistakes in Google’s comprehension (“That’s not what I meant by this keyword.”)
3. Build an information moat with original research
Create content that can’t be found elsewhere.
- Include personal perspectives and company experiences.
- Survey your customers, users, or network for interesting data.
- Add quotes from subject matter experts.
Your content still needs to be better. But with the direction Google seems to be heading in, it’s smart to make it different as well.
Show a hand touching your product to increase its perceived value
Insight from Ariyh.
An effective way to improve B2C ad performance?
Show people using your product.
When we see others using a product, we can’t help but experience it vicariously. This effect improves how we value the product.
A recent marketing study found that you can enhance that effect by showing a hand touching a product. Here’s an example from Yeti:
Based on the research, this increases how much people:
- Like the product
- Are likely to buy it
- Are willing to pay for it
For example, the study found that people who saw a gif of a hand touching a sweater:
- Liked it 9.4% more
- Were 16% more likely to buy it
- And were willing to pay 14% more for it
Brands like Starbucks and Samsung reported more likes on social posts when a hand was touching their products.
In order for the effect to work, the hand:
- Must be seen from a first-person point of view, as if it’s the person’s own hand
- Must touch the product in a relevant way (e.g., feeling a shirt’s fabric, mixing or pouring a drink)
- Doesn’t need to match the viewer’s hand—it can be any skin tone or gender, or even a digital recreation (like an alien’s “hand” in a game)
Steps to implement:
- Include a first-person-POV hand in your image and video creatives. Make sure it’s touching your product in a meaningful way (such as using or feeling it).
- Use those creatives in your ads, on product pages, and in social media posts—in any of your marketing assets.
- Implement this tactic if you’re in the VR or metaverse space.
When running experiments, should you go higher or lower in the funnel?
Insight from Demand Curve.
Prioritization is a critical step in the experimentation process.
You can’t test everything. Testing takes time and resources, which are always in short supply.
One piece of criteria we always recommend factoring into prioritization: impact. How much could test findings move the needle on your north star metric—the metric you care most about?
When making that call, it’ll help to think about a test’s funnel stage.
Bottom of funnel
Bottom-of-funnel events—those nearer to the point of purchase, like the checkout process—are almost certainly closer to your north star, so they have a high likelihood of driving impact.
An extreme example: A test that removes the “buy” button from your checkout page will have a drastic effect on revenue (just not the kind you want!).
Prospects at that stage have high buying intent. They’re ready, or nearly ready, to buy.
However, some changes to bottom-of-funnel events might not be as effective because prospects have already made their decisions.
Top of funnel
Top-of-funnel events, like those in the awareness and consideration stages (e.g., landing pages and ads), can sway decision making. And prospects’ emotional investment may be higher at earlier funnel stages, when they’re discovering how your product will help them.
Plus, top-of-funnel experiments are often easier to test and alter, both because sample sizes are bigger (top of funnel gets more traffic) and because the changes themselves are frequently lower effort.
But they’re farther from conversion, they have lower intent, and they run a greater risk of being vanity tests: tests that move the needle on some metrics but not your north star.
Our recommendation: When your experimentation program is new and you’re gaining an understanding of which tests will have the most impact, all else being equal, go lower in your funnel to remove the distance from your north star.
News and Links
News you can use:
- If you’re an ecomm brand on Shopify, check out Shopify’s announcement of 100+ new features and updates. Some highlights: a Twitter sales channel, new B2B wholesale tools and integrations, and local inventory sync on Shopify’s Google channel.
- Twitter’s going long: They’re testing a Notes feature for long-form posts. In other Twitter news, they’ve launched a Campaign Planner to help advertisers forecast reach, impressions, CPM, and average frequency.
- TikTok’s new Attribution Manager also rolled out to help advertisers. Use it to set click-through attribution windows between one and 28 days, or view-through attribution windows up to seven days.
Top new marketing jobs
If you're looking for a top growth role, check out the opportunities below from our job board.
There wasn't anything fun this week. Here are some abortion funds to donate to.
In addition, we’ve decided to donate the sponsorship revenue we receive from one newsletter in July. If you’re interested in standing with us and sponsoring that edition, hit reply and let us know.
What did you think of this week's newsletter?
Loved it | Great | Good | Meh | Bad
If you enjoyed this, please consider sharing with a friend. If a friend sent you this, get the next newsletter by signing up here.
Who's Demand Curve?
We’re on a mission to make it easier to start, build, and grow companies.
We share high-quality, vetted, and actionable growth content as we learn it from the top 1% of marketers. We democratize senior growth knowledge.
How we can help you grow:
- Read our free playbooks, blog articles, and teardowns—we break down the strategies and tactics that fast-growing startups use to grow.
- Enroll in the Growth Program, our professional course that will help you get traction and scale revenue.
- Check out our Sprints, short video courses laser-focused on a topic in growth.
- Want to build an audience of buyers? Join the waitlist for the Un-Ignorable Challenge.
- Are you a funded startup looking to grow? Our agency, Bell Curve, can be your strategic growth partner.
- Get your brand in front of our audience by sponsoring this newsletter.
See you next week.
— Neal, Grace, Joyce, Dennis, and the DC team.