You Can’t Advertise That: The Big List Of Prohibited Ads Across Social And Search Platforms

You Can’t Advertise That: The Big List Of Prohibited Ads Across Social And Search Platforms

In order to get ads approved in a timely manner for a Search Engine Marketing campaign, brands need to know what content is allowed, what’s restricted and what’s prohibited. We put together this cheat sheet to help.

Part of managing successful ad campaigns involves knowing what types of ad content is disallowed and what’s restricted across the social and search ad landscape. Most prohibited content (counterfeit goods, illegal products, and services, etc.) and restricted content (political ads, alcohol, etc.) follow similar standards from one platform to the next, but each company has its own set of rules.

For the marketers who are often tasked with getting ad campaigns up and running in a moment’s notice, knowing what ad content may be blocked by an automatic system could be a lifesaver for the social media ad manager who spends her time in the trenches, uploading creative, setting ad filters and waiting for approval.

Across all social and search ad platforms, the standard rules apply for prohibited ads: no promoting counterfeit goods, tobacco, illegal products or services. No promotions that include trademark or copyright infringement or fraudulent and deceptive practices. Restricted ad content – ads you can run, but with certain limitations – are a bit more varied from platform to platform. Some platforms make their rules easy to follow or refrain from getting too much into the minutiae of things, while others are very specific. The following list gives marketers a general idea of each platform prohibited and restricted ad guidelines, while also calling out the more unique policies from site to site.

Facebook and Instagram

Facebook’s prohibited ad content across its family of apps includes the standards: no ads promoting illegal products or services, tobacco products or firearms and weapons. It also prohibits ads for surveillance equipment or any ad content that includes third-party infringement (no ads that violate copyright, trademark, privacy, publicity or other personal or proprietary rights).

But there are a few topics worth noting. For example, the company does not allow ads that lead to a non-functioning landing page, “This includes landing page content that interferes with a person’s ability to navigate away from the page.” You cannot advertise for payday loans, paycheck advancement services or bail bonds. And here’s one that makes anyone wonder if there was a specific instance that inspired the rule: Facebook does not allow the sale of body parts.

For restricted content, advertisers wanting to promote online dating services must receive permission from the platform before running ads, same with political and issue-related ads and cryptocurrency products and services. Promotions around gambling, state lotteries, OTC drugs, and online pharmacies also come with restrictions.

Drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs in the U.S. must first be certified via LegitScript before they can apply to run ads on Facebook’s platforms. And ads for weight loss products and plans must be targeted to users age 18 years and older.

Google and YouTube

Google has recently taken efforts to simply and standardize its content policies. It didn’t actually change or updates its rules around allowed and disallowed ads, but instead, reorganized how it presents content policies and restrictions across AdSense, AdMob and Ad Manager.

“One consistent piece of feedback we’ve heard from our publishers is that they want us to further simplify our policies, across products, so that they are easier to understand and follow,” wrote Google’s Director of Sustainable Ads Scott Spencer on the Inside AdSense blog.

Google keeps its prohibited and restricted ads general, outlining a high-level overview of what’s prohibited and what’s restricted. Prohibited ad content includes:

  • Counterfeit goods
  • Dangerous products or services
  • Ads that enable dishonest behavior
  • Inappropriate content

Google also separates out ad practices it prohibits: abusing the ad network, misrepresentation and data collection and use (“Our advertising partners should not misuse this information, nor collect it for unclear purposes or without appropriate security measures”).

The company’s list of restricted ad content is more comprehensive but still stays within the usual parameters without any odd items – like human body parts. Google’s restricted content ad policies include:

  • Adult content
  • Alcohol
  • Copyrights
  • Gambling and games
  • Healthcare and medicines
  • Political content
  • Financial services
  • Trademarks
  • Legal requirements (all ads must comply with the laws and regulations pertaining to the location where the ad is displayed).

Google keeps its ad policies at a high-level for the most part, a tactic that gives the company more control to decide on a case-by-case basis what’s allowed and what’s not.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a Microsoft-owned platform, but it’s prohibited and restricted ad policies are separate from the rules outlined for Microsoft and Bing. In addition to the usual disallowed content, LinkedIn’s list of prohibited ads has some interesting entries. For example, the site does not allow ads for downloadable ringtones and occult pursuits (“Ads for fortune telling, dream interpretations, and individual horoscopes are prohibited, except when the emphasis is on amusement rather than serious interpretation”).

Also, instead of having restrictive measures around political ads, LinkedIn prohibits any political ad content, the same as its parent company: no ads advocating for or against a political candidate or promoting ballot propositions.

LinkedIn’s restricted ad content includes the following:

  • Alcohol
  • Animal products
  • Dating services
  • Soliciting funds
  • Medical devices
  • Short-term loans and financial services

One side note about LinkedIn’s ad policies, the company specifically states that it prohibits ads that are offensive to good taste. “This means ads must not be, for example, hateful, vulgar, sexually suggestive or violent. In special circumstances, LinkedIn may determine that an ad that was acceptable is no longer appropriate as we update our policies to reflect new laws or clarify our position.”

Microsoft (Bing)

Microsoft’s disallowed and restricted ad policies, which include rules for Bing search ads, can be confusing to follow. The company has published a one-page list of “Restricted and disallowed content policies,” but within that page are links to more detailed pages for “Disallowed Content Policies” and “Disallowed and restricted products and services policies.

Microsoft disallows any election-related content, political parties, candidates and ballot measures. Ads promoting fundraising efforts for political candidates, parties, PACs and ballot measures are also prohibited.

As with other platforms, Microsoft doesn’t allow weapons to be advertised on its platforms. This includes firearms and ammunition, but also knives: “Knives that are positioned as weapons or whose primary use is violence, including switchblade knives, disguised knives, buckle knives, lipstick case knives, air gauge knives, knuckle knives and writing pen knives.”

In Brazil, India, and Vietnam, Microsoft does not allow advertising that promotes infant feeding products such as baby formula, feeding bottles, rubber nipples or baby food of any kind.

To get a clear understanding of Microsoft’s disallowed ads versus the ads that can run but only with restrictions, advertisers need to review the company’s “Restricted and disallowed content policies” — as opposed to its “Disallowed Content Policies” page — where it outlines specific rules and regulations.

Pinterest

Pinterest’s prohibited ad content guidelines follow the standard themes. No ads for:

  • Drugs and paraphernalia
  • Endangered species and live animals
  • Illegal products and services
  • Counterfeit goods
  • Sensitive content
  • Tobacco
  • Unacceptable business practices
  • Weapons and explosives

Pinterest defines “Sensitive content” as anything it deems divisive or disturbing. For example, language or imagery that is offensive or profane, excessively violent or gory, vulgar or sickening or politically, culturally or racially divisive or insensitive. It also does not allow content that capitalizes on controversial or tragic events – or references to sensitive health and medical conditions.

Pinterest does not allow any “Adult and nudity content” in ads on its platform. Also, ads containing clickbait are disallowed. Like LinkedIn, it prohibits political campaign ads.

The company keeps its list of restricted ad content simple with a detailed outline of what it will and won’t allow around its restricted content. For example, ads that include contests, sweepstakes, and Pinterest incentives are restricted. Advertisers are asked not to require users to save a specific image or suggest that Pinterest in any way sponsors or endorses the promotion. It does state specifically that advertisers are not allowed to promote anything that, “Directs people to click on Pinterest buttons to get money, prizes or deals.”

Pinterest’s other restricted ad content includes:

  • Alcohol
  • Financial products and services (ads promoting cryptocurrencies and payday loans are prohibited)
  • Gambling products and services (no ads for lotteries, gambling gaming apps or gambling websites)
  • Healthcare products and services

In terms of its healthcare-related ads, Pinterest does allow ads promoting products like eyeglasses or content lenses, Class I and II medical devices and OTC, non-prescription medicines. It does not allow ads for weight loss or appetite suppressant pills and supplements or promotions that claim unrealistic cosmetic results.

Reddit

Reddit’s list of prohibited and restricted list of ads follows suit with the other social platforms. Disallowed ads include promotions for counterfeit goods, hazardous products or services, illegal or fraudulent products or services and more of the same standard policies. It states specifically that advertisers are prohibited from using inappropriate targeting: “All targeting must be relevant, appropriate, and in compliance with relevant legal obligations of the advertiser.”

Reddit does not allow advertisements for addiction treatment centers and services, it does not accept advertising pertaining to political issues, elections or candidates outside of the U.S. It has a very specific list of financial services and products that are disallowed, including bail bonds, payday loans, debt assistance programs, cryptocurrency wallets, credit and debit cards, and “get rich quick schemes.”

Any advertiser wanting to promote gambling-related services must have their ads manually approved and certified by Reddit: “In order to be approved, the advertiser must be actively working with a Reddit Sales Representative.” This does not include ads for gaming promotions where nothing of value is exchanged, gambling-related merchandise or hotel-casinos where the ad is focused on the hotel.

And while Reddit does allow ads for dating sites, apps and services, it prohibits any centered on infidelity, fetish communities or any that discriminate by excluding persons of specific races, sexuality, religions or political affiliations.

Snapchat

Snapchat’s prohibited ads include the usual suspects, but there are also entries that appear to be designed because of its younger audience. For example, the platform states specifically that it does not allow ads that, “Encourage Snapping and driving or other dangerous behaviors.”

Also, it disallows ads intended to “shock the user” and no ads for app installs from sources other than the official app store for the user’s device. Other prohibited ads include any promotions that involve:

  • Infringing content
  • Deceptive content
  • Hateful or discriminatory content
  • Inappropriate content

Snapchat’s restricted ads for alcohol include a list of 18 countries where alcohol ads cannot be placed. Alcohol ad campaigns that run in allowed countries must not appeal particularly to minors or encourage excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages. They must also refrain from glamorizing alcohol, “Or otherwise misrepresent the effects of consuming alcohol.” Snapchat requires alcohol advertisers to include warning labels such as “Please drink responsibly” within their ad copy.

Also, alcohol promotions must be targeted to users who meet the legal drinking age requirement within the country where the ads run. The same goes for gambling and lottery related ads – they must be targeted to users who meet the legal age requirement to gamble.

Same as Reddit, Snapchat allows ads for dating services, but they must be targeted to users age 18 and over, and cannot include provocative, overtly sexual content or reference prostitution. Also, Snapchat does not allow ads that promote infidelity.

Many of Snapchat’s restrictive ad policies are by country. For example, it only permits targeting lottery-related ads to 14 countries, including Brazil, Iraq, Italy, Poland and Russia – but not the U.S. Snapchat does not permit targeting ads for online dating services to Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Advertisers cannot target ads for OTC medicines in Columbia, Iraq, Lebanon, Romania, Spain, and Turkey. It also does not permit targeting ads for condoms in Bahrain, Ireland, Kuwait, Lebanon, Monaco, Oman, Poland, and Qatar.

In other words, if you are an advertiser managing multiple ad campaigns for various brands across multiple countries, you probably should bookmark Snapchat’s ad restrictions page.

Twitter

Twitter’s list of prohibited and restricted ads are arguably the easiest to follow. There are no out of the ordinary ads disallowed on the platform, and its restrictive policies are the same standard rules applied across the social ad landscape.

The one area where Twitter distinguishes its policies from other platforms is by stating specifically that it prohibits ads promoting malware products and has restrictions around promotions for software downloads.

It’s worth noting that the ad content policies listed here for each of the platforms are as they stand now, but social platforms have a history of regularly changing their ad content policies. This has happened most notably during the past year and a half with political advertisements. Facebook has gone back and forth with its rules around cryptocurrency ads, totally banning the ads in January 2018 and then reversing its policies six months later. It wasn’t until last year Facebook began implementing ad targeting restrictions for weapon accessory ads to users 18 years and older.

ARTICLE CREDITS:
Article originally published on the Search Engin Land – http://bit.ly/2ow1N63
Author:


If you’re in need of a new website for your business then you should check out The Blue Gremlins Website Design Services page.

Font Best Practices in Email

Font Best Practices in Email

When you think of your style guide, a few things come to mind: your logo, brand colors and, of course, fonts. However, out of those elements, your fonts can be trickiest. From file types to licensing, understanding the ins and outs of fonts can be a headache.

Never fear! We’re here to help. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about fonts in email design so you can maintain that brand consistency your customers know and love.

Font File Types

First things first! Let’s do a quick overview of the different font file types you’ll need.

  • True Type Font (TTF): TTF was developed by Apple and Microsoft in the late 1980s and is the most common font format for both Mac OS and Windows.
  • OpenType Font (OTF): OTF is the latest font format developed by Adobe and Microsoft. Commonly used on Mac OS and Windows, these fonts also offer ligatures, fractions, and contextual glyphs.
  • Web Open Font Format (WOFF): Developed in 2009, WOFF is the W3C recommendation for web fonts and is supported by most browsers.
  • Embedded OpenType (EOT): EOT fonts are compact variations of Microsoft’s Open Type fonts.
  • Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG): SVG fonts are text files containing the glyph outlines as if they were single vector objects to render without a font file available.

This chart shows the browser support for each font type. Due to the varying degrees of support, it’s best to include all these font types in your code when possible.

font-best-practices1

Tip: Interested in learning more about utilizing web fonts? The awesome chart above is from W3School’s in-depth rundown of CSS3 Web Fonts.

Font Licensing

When choosing which fonts to use, always make sure that you are following the licensing agreement. Some fonts found on “free” font sites are only free for personal use or by donation. Any usage not following the font license could result in costly legal action and fines.

You’ll also need to verify what type of license your font has. While it might not be the most fun task, read over your font license agreement before proceeding with any usage. This will guarantee that you’re covering all the bases before you start designing. Most fonts will have a web font license available, which means it’s A-OK for email use. However, if you have materials to print, you may not be able to use the same font. Some fonts have a print-only license, which means you can’t use your chosen web font for print.

Don’t forget to check the usage numbers of the license, too! If you only purchase a single-use license for a font, it’s not valid to share on multiple computers or with your third-party design vendors. The license will outline how many computers the font can be installed on, as well as any online traffic restrictions for web fonts (meaning you pay based on how many visitors you have to your website). It’s extremely important to follow the guidelines of your font license to maintain headache-free use. Designshack did a great in-depth article called What is a font license? (And do I need one?) that may answer some more of your questions.

Some font libraries like Google Fonts are free for personal or commercial use. These are a great alternative if you don’t have a license for some of the larger type foundries.

Inbox Restrictions

Modern email inboxes have much more support for custom fonts than before, but there are still (unfortunately) some restrictions. Some inboxes like the Apple Mail app utilize HTML and CSS in a very similar manner to an internet browser, but others have extremely limited support for CSS3 and HTML5 coding. Understanding browser rendering will help you leverage your custom font usage in email sends.

While you may think it’ll be easier to toss your text into an image and call it a day, there are a lot of reasons to try to include as much live HTML text as possible. For more info on HTML, check out The Importance of Live Text in Email.

To ensure consistent browser rendering for your fonts, follow these tips:

  • Research inbox support Some inboxes have limited code support. Before implementing any bells and whistles, determine what rendering issues could appear and plan how to address them. Some issues can be addressed with specialized tags like the Microsoft Office HTML & XML Reference Guide outlines. Others have available backups or fixes to put in place. Knowing the code support before you start will help ease frustrations during the troubleshooting process.
  • Avoid JavaScript-based web fonts While sites like Typekit offer some amazing fonts for web use, most inboxes can’t run JavaScript. There are also limitations to the licensing, which may limit how many times the font can be viewed. The safest bet is to avoid these fonts in your email messages and only use them on your website or in graphics.
  • Leverage CSS to use custom fonts A lot of inboxes support CSS in the <head> of the message body which allows the use of custom fonts in your email.
    • Find your favorite Google Fonts The Google Font Library has hundreds of high-quality fonts that can easily be implemented into your email sends. If you’re using Listrak Composer, many popular Google Fonts are already built-in and ready to use! Simply use a text-based element and the available fonts will already populate the editor’s font list. If your font isn’t available in Composer, contact your account manager to have it added! For HTML sends, simply get the @import provided and add it to your document.
    • Purchase on Typography.comWith a similar implementation to Google Fonts, Typography.com offers a beautiful collection of high-end fonts for use in your email messages.
    • Utilize a linked custom font If you have a licensed custom font uploaded to a server, it’s possible to use a CSS font-face import to call the files for your email. These fonts will render in the same manner as Google Fonts. When using an uploaded custom font, you will need to use the @font-face method.
    • Keep your code clean with an external stylesheet All inboxes that support @import will also support an external stylesheet, if you want to keep your styles organized and clutter-free.
    • Always choose an appropriate fallback font For inboxes that don’t support custom fonts and CSS, choose a similar standard font for your font stack. Otherwise, when your custom font doesn’t render, your text will display in the system default (which is usually Times New Roman). Try to use a font of similar structure, character width and style so the experience is very similar with and without custom fonts displaying.
      • Tip: Need help picking your fallback fonts? CSS Font Stack has a great overview of standard fonts and popularity by the operating system.
  • Test, test, test…and then test again! When utilizing techniques and code which might not be supported by all inboxes, testing is more important than ever to ensure the quality of your email messages.

Once you’re on the right path to using custom fonts, your emails will now be better suited to your branding and look great in the inbox!

ARTICLE CREDITS:
Article originally published at https://www.listrak.com/blog/detail/font-best-practices-in-email
Author: Melissa Lobach


If you would like to see the benefits and effects that Email Marketing can have for your business take a look at our Email Marketing Services page.

25 Digital Marketing News Sources You NEED to Be Reading

25 Digital Marketing News Sources You NEED to Be Reading

To say that the digital marketing industry moves rapidly would be a considerable understatement. With everyone moving fast and breaking things, it’s easy to fall behind on the news that really matters.

With that in mind, I’ve gathered 25 of what I consider essential sources of the latest marketing news. From breaking headlines to in-depth analysis of emerging trends, these publications will see you right when it comes to keeping up with the ever-changing world of digital marketing.

Here’s a quick list of our 25 favorite digital marketing news sources on the web:

  1. Inside Google Ads Blog
  2. Search Engine Land
  3. Search Engine Watch
  4. Search Engine Journal
  5. SEM Post
  6. Moz
  7. Distilled
  8. Search Engine Roundtable
  9. Media Post
  10. Small Business Trends
  11. Social Media Today
  12. SocialTimes
  13. Social Media Examiner
  14. Buffer
  15. Mashable
  16. Copyblogger
  17. Contently
  18. Content Marketing Institute
  19. CoSchedule
  20. Unbounce
  21. Optimizely
  22. The Daily Egg
  23. KISSmetrics
  24. The Verge
  25. Ars Technica

But keep reading to learn more about each of these marketing news sources in the full list below!

Internet Marketing News

Inside Google Ads Blog

Some news sources break Google Ads developments so fast you’d think they were constantly hitting refresh on the official Inside Google Ads blog. Obviously the definitive place to get (officially sanctioned) news about new Google Ads features, the AdWords blog is the news source for PPC marketers who need to know what’s going on as it happens. Remember, however, that when it comes to the juicier gossip about Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords), you’ll have to look elsewhere…

Search Engine Land

If you’re in search, you’re probably already an avid reader of Search Engine Land. The publication also organizes and hosts the hotly anticipated Search Marketing Expo (SMX) conference every year. The industry’s go-to news source for both breaking headlines and comprehensive analysis, Search Engine Land should be in every search marketer’s RSS feed.

Marketing news Search Engine Land

Image via Search Engine Land

Search Engine Watch

Another must-read for search marketers, Search Engine Watch provides a wide range of coverage of everything that’s going on in digital marketing. Although SEW does offer breaking news and timely content, it also provides analysis of developing trends and actionable how-to articles that will help you become a better search marketer.

Search Engine Journal

Over the years, SEJ has grown from a small but dedicated blog into a diverse and reliable source of Internet marketing news with its finger on the pulse of everything search, social, SEO, and content. SEJ is also in the events business, running the impressive SEJ Summit, and also hosts the Marketing Nerds podcast, a series that’s as entertaining as it is informative.

SEM Post

The SEM Post, run by Jennifer Slegg, is always one of the first sites to break news stories about the industry’s biggest events, and I’m sure that even the “big boys” of Internet marketing news have been beaten to the punch by the SEM Post on at least a couple of occasions. If you want to stay up-to-date on what’s going on in search engine marketing, be sure to subscribe to the SEM Post’s RSS feed and follow them on Twitter – they usually update several times per day, making it one of the best places to keep up with our rapidly changing industry.

Moz

I feel like every time I mention Moz here on the WordStream blog I end up gushing about how great they are, but it’s hard not to. One of the digital marketing industry’s best-known and most-loved companies, Moz also creates top-tier content about content, SEO, and wider digital marketing trends. From Rand’s Whiteboard Fridays to Dr. Pete’s in-depth analysis of search’s most mysterious enigmas, there’s always something worth reading (or watching) at Moz.

Marketing news Moz

Image via Moz

Distilled

Although our friends at Distilled have an office in New York, I personally think of them as our comrades across the Pond, as their main office is based in my former home of London. Aside from my affinity for the Distilled team as my fellow countrymen, Distilled is one of the best sources for content relating to PPC, SEO, and digital strategy. Always brimming with genuine insight and a keen eye for trends to watch out for, the Distilled blog is essential reading for marketers hoping to stay ahead of the curve.

Search Engine Roundtable

Barry Schwartz’s blog, Search Engine Roundtable, is another essential read for Internet marketers. Few news sources, independent or otherwise, manage to combine breaking hard news coverage with analysis and context the way Search Engine Roundtable does, and between the daily recaps, the active and engaging forum, and the regularly posted video content, there’s more then enough to keep even the most diligent newshound satisfied.

Media Post

Media Post is one of the most comprehensive online advertising, digital marketing, and media news sources out there. Although their coverage is diverse, ranging from TV audiences and print circulations to social media and search marketing, the quality of their editorial standards certainly doesn’t suffer for it, and they’re often among the first to break major stories. One of the best all-round news sources you should be reading if you aren’t already.

Marketing news MediaPost

Image via MediaPost

Small Business Trends

Small Business Trends is another of my favorite all-rounder news sources. Covering everything from venture capital developments to trends in entrepreneurialism and striking out on your own, Small Business Trends also boasts great coverage of many aspects of digital media and marketing, making it a worthwhile addition to your (rapidly growing) reading list.

Social Media Marketing News

Social Media Today

Whenever anything of note happens in the social media world, Social Media Today is often among the first to report on it. Featuring a wide range of content beyond its hard news coverage, SMT is an indispensable ally to social media marketers who need the latest news as it happens.

SocialTimes

Although SocialTimes is not an independent news site, but rather a site owned and operated by AdWeek, that doesn’t diminish the quality of its coverage or its value to social media marketers. In fact, SocialTimes is one of the very best places to get social media news from an advertising-centric perspective, a relative rarity today, despite social media advertising’s rapidly growing popularity.

Marketing news SocialTimes

Image via AdWeek / SocialTimes

Social Media Examiner

One of the things I like most about Social Media Examiner is that it isn’t content to merely report on the news, but also offer actionable tips on how you can use it. This blend of hard news and applied strategy should put SME on every social media marketer’s to-read list, preferably over a nice hot cup of coffee first thing in the morning.

Buffer

It’s difficult to imagine the world of social media without Buffer. Ever since they shocked pretty much everyone with their radical approach to corporate transparency, the Buffer team has continued to raise eyebrows and the bar with the quality of their content and their timely insights into trending topics. In a rising ocean of content about social, Buffer continues to stand out.

Mashable

Just over 10 years ago, Pete Cashmore launched Mashable from his home in Aberdeen, Scotland. Today, Mashable is one of the titans of Internet publishing, boasting a social media following of tens of millions and some of the best marketing news content out there. When it comes to news on developments in social media, Mashable is tough to beat.

Marketing news Mashable

Image via Mashable

Content Marketing News

Unlike other aspects of digital marketing, there is very little actual news on which to report in the realm of content marketing. When there is, it’s usually tangentially related to a more newsworthy industry, such as SEO, rather than considered an entity unto itself. That said, there are several resources that I personally read on a regular basis to help me stay abreast of changes and trends in content that I think you’ll also find valuable.

Copyblogger

When it comes to content, nobody does it better than Copyblogger. Granted, Copyblogger is a little light when it comes to breaking news, but then again, content marketing isn’t exactly the most newsworthy topic, in the truest sense of the word. However, for content marketers seeking to hone their craft, Copyblogger is an invaluable resource, and therefore worthy of inclusion in this round-up. Subscribe to their RSS feed right now.

Contently

I absolutely love the guys over at Contently. Not only do they offer an awesome free portfolio builder for content producers and journalists who’ve made the switch to content, but they also publish two excellent blogs/newsletters: The Content Strategist and The Freelancer, both of which are always at the top of my reading list.

Marketing news Contently

Image via Contently

Content Marketing Institute

Few organizations have done as much to advance content marketing both as an industry and to the industry than the Content Marketing Institute. For many years, CMI has been the most vocal advocacy and support organization for content producers of all types, and the CMI blog and whitepapers are nothing short of essential reading for content marketers.

CoSchedule

I first discovered CoSchedule thanks to its Headline Analyzer, a remarkably nifty free tool that evaluates the strength of your headlines. Since then, I’ve become a regular and loyal reader of the CoSchedule blog. Offering some of the most actionable content tips out there, CoSchedule consistently publishes useful content that helps me do my job better.

Conversion Rate Optimization News

Similarly to content marketing, the burgeoning field of conversion rate optimization is also difficult to define from a news perspective. However, with more marketers than ever before paying close attention to the adjustments and optimizations that allow them to wring every last drop of value from their initiatives, I wanted to include a section for blogs and resources that you’ll find as valuable as I do.

Unbounce

Everyone on the marketing team here at WordStream loves Unbounce. Aside from being the home of the inimitable Oli Gardner, whose witty (and sometimes colorful, mildly NSFW) blog posts are as entertaining to read as they are useful, the Unbounce content team produces some of the best CRO content on the Web. Keep up the great work, guys!

Marketing news Unbounce

Image via Unbounce

Optimizely

Like Unbounce, Optimizely manages to make an awesome product and maintain an equally impressive blog. Optimizely is among my go-to resources when I want to know what’s going on in CRO trends, what changes I can make to optimize my content, and generally anything else about A/B testing and optimization. Oh, and the tote bags they were giving away at Opticon were awesome. Yes, I collect industry tote bags, and no, I’m not ashamed to admit it.

The Daily Egg

The Daily Egg, the blog of Crazy Egg, is another great CRO blog. I’m consistently impressed by both the quality and frequency of The Daily Egg’s content, and when it comes to a solid all-round blog that covers a wide range of topics relating to CRO, it’s one of the best.

KISSmetrics

The KISSmetrics blog publishes some of the most fascinating, actionable marketing content you’re likely to find. From how to leverage emotions to increase email signups to optimizing your landing pages, there’s something for every digital marketer. Highly recommended reading.

Miscellaneous Digital Marketing & Tech News

The resources below fit several of the above categories, so I’ve collected them here. However, unlike many miscellaneous sections, just because these resources aren’t easily categorized doesn’t make them any less valuable or worthwhile.

The Verge

Although The Verge’s editorial range is incredibly wide, covering everything from robotics technologies to virtual reality, it’s also an excellent source of breaking news for what’s going on in search and social media. In addition, The Verge offers some of the snappiest, liveliest writing I’ve come across online – a genuine pleasure in today’s oversaturated media environment. If you’re looking for intelligent, insightful social media news (along with other fascinatingly geeky stuff), look no further. The Verge also has arguably the best logo of any of these sites.

Marketing news The Verge

Ars Technica

Ars Technica is similar to The Verge in that it covers a huge range of topics, but its news reporting is among the very best the Web has to offer. Aside from its always-timely reporting on the hottest trends and breaking news in search and social media, Ars Technica’s fearlessly independent editorial stance is both a reminder of what Internet journalism should be and a standard to which we should all aspire.

ARTICLE CREDITS:
Article originally published at https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2016/01/05/marketing-news
Author:
Dan Shewan

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What is the Difference Between a Logo and a Brand?

What is the Difference Between a Logo and a Brand?

Recently, a fellow entrepreneur asked me for some brand strategy advice and we ended up getting into a friendly debate about the difference between a logo design and a brand. This entrepreneur has a beautiful logo, but from my perspective not much of a brand to support it. While his logo is on his business cards, brochure, website, email newsletter, and flyers, the message, the colors, the typefaces, the design, and even the voice used in the materials was completely inconsistent. If I cover up the logo on any of his marketing materials, I would have no idea who or what business the piece is for.

When I brought up this observation, he told me that his logo is his brand and asked, “My logo is on everything. Isn’t that enough?”

Unfortunately, when asked the question, “What’s the difference between a logo and a brand,” most entrepreneurs and small business owners respond with the exact same question, “Isn’t a logo and a brand the same thing?”

No. They are not the same thing.

A logo and a brand are in fact two very different things that must work together cohesively. Here is a quick explanation of what a logo is, what a brand is, and how they are different.

What is a logo?

A logo is an easily recognizable, reproducible design element, often including a name, symbol, specified colors or trademark. It is a quick, visual representation of a brand’s message and position. A well-designed logo should evoke some memory or emotion from the viewer depending upon their relationship with the brand.

What is a brand?

A brand is the culmination of every interaction with, the experience of, thought about, and marketing practice by a business.

  • From the business owner’s perspective, a brand encompasses the positioning, the messaging and communications, the visual design, the client/customer persona, the voice, the marketing and promotions, and the presence of the company.
  • From the audience’s perspective, a brand is the reputation of a business that is created by how the business makes them feel, what their experience is like with the business, and what they think of the business.

Think of it this way. A logo all by itself is merely a graphic element with a name. A brand is everything — tangible and intangible — that represents a business and gives its logo meaning. When combined, a well-designed logo and brand strategy help you effectively and efficiently reach your audience, communicate your message, your value, and benefits, visually attract more attention, and create extraordinary experiences.

ARTICLE CREDITS:
Article originally published at https://bit.ly/2mgKZ1P


If your business needs a branding strategy, guidelines for your marketing needs then please check The Blue Gremlins Corporate Branding Services page out.

LinkedIn Modifies Its Algorithm To Create A Better News Feed For Users

LinkedIn Modifies Its Algorithm To Create A Better News Feed For Users

Are you fed up of scrolling through your LinkedIn feed and finding cat videos, motivational quotes, or apocryphal odes to business excellence that make you want to vomit?

Don’t worry – the social network has got you covered. LinkedIn has announced changes to its algorithm to prioritize better conversations in users’ feeds.

The company uses the maxim of ‘people you know, talking about things you care about’ as its framework. Consequently, as the company explains, it tries to filter through the garbage and onto the good stuff.

LinkedIn prioritizes users by filtering through direct interactions, direct connections, such as co-workers, and information on profiles to gauge interests and common experiences. The ‘talking about’ section rewards conversations which are ‘authentic’ and have ‘constructive back and forth’, while common groups, hashtags, and pages are also considered.

Naturally, it takes two to tango, and LinkedIn also took the opportunity to advise users on best practice for its platform. “Despite the rumors, the algorithm doesn’t favor any particular format,” the company noted. Use no more than three hashtags and mention no more than five other users in a post if you don’t want to be seen as a spammer. Yet the key is: be yourself.

“Authenticity is key,” wrote Pete Davies, consumer product at LinkedIn in a post announcing the changes. “All the tips work out better when members talk about things they truly care about, in a way that’s natural for them. Genuine conversation around real experiences spark better and deeper conversation. Better conversation, in turn, leads to stronger community and connection.”

In March, LinkedIn issued a report which explored how marketers could influence customer decisions across the buying process. The study argued that while more people were involved in the tech buying process, the purchase timeline was shortening. Marketers therefore needed to assert themselves more quickly, from knowing their buying audience, to engaging and communicating in ‘enlightened buyer’ communities.

 

ARTICLE CREDITS:
Article originally published at https://www.marketingtechnews.net/news/2019/jun/28/linkedin-modifies-its-algorithm-create-better-news-feed-users/
Author: James Bourne
10 Ways to Market Your Small Business on a Shoestring Budget

10 Ways to Market Your Small Business on a Shoestring Budget

When budgets are tight, marketing might be the first expense you look to cut.

Let me stop you right there.

While traditional advertising methods are costly and hard to measure, small businesses have never had greater access to cost-effective, trackable marketing tools.

But with so many digital tools available, how do you know where to start?

Email marketing is the tried and true digital marketing channel with an average return of $38 for every $1 spent.

Ready to do more business with email marketing?

1. Craft an elevator pitch

You should be marketing all the time — wherever you are. Therefore, you need a compelling elevator pitch.

Research shows the average attention span of an adult is about six to eight seconds. That’s all the time you have to grab someone’s attention.

If you successfully engage them, then you only have a little over a minute to really sell them on your product or service. Invest the time to craft a killer elevator pitch. The return on your investment will pay huge dividends in terms of creating business opportunities.

2. Leverage your community

You don’t have to think big when it comes to your marketing efforts. Think locally. What’s going on in your community?

Sponsor a Little League team or a 5k charity walk/run. Print bookmarks and leave them at the local library. Get to know your ideal customer and think about how and where they spend their time.

Then search for opportunities to get in front of your customer with your marketing message.

3. Collaborate

Put together a group of synergistic, non-competitive businesses in your area and agree to cross-promote.

You can use coupons, fliers, reciprocal website links, bundled promotions or social media platforms. By collaborating with each other, you can expand your customer base because you’ll be reaching new people.

4. Network

I’m a huge fan of networking. I don’t think there is any better way to build a business than to get out there, shake some hands, and get to know people.

Networking requires a time commitment and it doesn’t provide instant gratification, but a strong network is one of the greatest assets any business person can have.

5. Give a speech

A lot of people hate public speaking. However, there are many organizations looking for qualified, subject-matter experts who can present to their groups.

Take a deep breath and volunteer. You don’t have to be a pro as long as the information you share is helpful to the audience. And the upside — the more you do it the easier it gets. Plus, it positions you as a credible authority in your field.

6. Create buzz

I started my corporate career in the field of public relations and the business has changed significantly because of technology.

Today, a small business owner can accomplish a lot without hiring a professional firm. Subscribe to Help a Reporter Out. You can respond to reporters’ queries that are looking for story ideas and resources. Some are small media opportunities, but others are major media outlets that use this service too.

7. Ask for referrals

Don’t be shy about asking for customer referrals. The majority of people say they are willing to provide a referral if asked, but very few take the initiative to do it on their own.

Referrals make it easier to get in the door with new customers. If you aren’t asking for them, you are missing opportunities.

8. Build relationships

It is a lot less expensive to keep a customer than it is to get a new one. That’s why establishing strong relationships with your customer base is crucial. One of the ways you can do that is by keeping in touch with people through email marketing.

Ask customers for their email address when they visit your store or website. Then, make your communications informative, helpful and professional — something your customers will look forward to receiving.

9. Offer coupons

Coupons are a good way for many businesses to attract new customers. Research shows that people will go out of their way to use a coupon, proving that this method is successful in expanding your customer base.

Coupons can also generate return visits. For example, if you give a customer a coupon for a discount to use on future business, there’s a high probability they’ll be back.

10. Give it away

If someone has the opportunity to experience your product or service, chances are they will want to purchase more.

Don’t be afraid to give someone a free trial or a sample. In today’s economy, people are more comfortable purchasing something they have been able to experience first.

These ten, inexpensive marketing strategies will help you engage customers, build relationships, and ultimately keep your brand top-of-mind. It’s not always about the money you have to spend on marketing, it’s about the time and effort you put into it and above all, the relevance it has for your customers.

ARTICLE CREDITS:
Article originally published at https://blogs.constantcontact.com/market-your-small-business/
Author: Susan Solovic

 

The Real Work Starts When A Social Media Campaign Begins

The Real Work Starts When A Social Media Campaign Begins

Social media is exploding as a leading business advertising platform, but many marketers are still uncertain if their social media efforts are paying off. Social media spending is expected to make up 20 percent of marketing budgets by 2020, according to the 2016 CMO Survey; that’s up from 6% of marketing budgets in 2009. But despite the increase, only about 3% of the marketers feel that social media contributes substantially to a company’s overall performance. There’s disappointment around social media campaigns that aren’t accurately analyzed; in some studies, more than half of marketers polled said they were unable to tie social media performance to any measurable business outcomes. Various reasons were given for this, including inconsistent approach to analytics, poor analytics tools or unreliable data.

This disconnect is alarming. If social media is becoming the de facto way in which marketers reach out to consumers, and the way we consume these messages, then there has to be clear ways for brands to measure the KPIs for social media campaigns. In fact, there are ways to measure. It’s all about getting your team on board and setting an effective strategy.

Let’s look through at some of the top ways in which marketers can start the real work of analyzing social media campaigns

Using Google Analytics for social media

Google Analytics can give you information on traffic distribution. You can learn how much traffic is coming to your site from a social media channel, as well as knowing which web pages are being shared most frequently on social media.

Using Facebook Page Basics for analyzing Facebook campaigns

Using Facebook’s Page Basics Tool can help your company measure the number of likes, and where they came from. It also provides perspective on the amount of visits to your page, and if they came via Facebook or a search engine. Page Basics can also measure reach, which tracks how people comment on and share your content. It also notes if the shares came from organic reach or from paid ads.

Using Twitter Analytics for retweets and mentions

Along with 3rd party analytics tools, Twitter Analytics offers a host of tools that can measure the number of tweets over a day, week or month period; the tweet impressions you get, and how many mentions or followers you’ve received.

Having clear, concise goals will certainly help your social media measurement improve for all of your campaigns. What are the easiest ways?

  • Get everyone on your team to fully understand what you want your social media to do – for your brand, for your web traffic, for your landing page conversions.
  • Know the reasons why you’re measuring your social media – is it to gain new sales, more followers, or more traffic?
  • Learn to track and measure these goals on a consistent weekly or monthly basis. If you’re a high-profile celebrity or brand, you might even want to do so on a daily basis.

Social media pros running campaigns on a regular basis need to know the essential elements of campaign metrics to accurately measure effectiveness. Your future social media campaign budgets will ultimately depend on how well the campaigns work to build leads, increase conversions and build overall business and traffic.


Article originally published at https://www.adtaxi.com/blog-roll/2016/06/23/the-real-work-starts-when-a-social-media-campaign-begins
Author not listed



If you’d like to become the Master of your Social Media profiles then you would be interested in The Blue Gremlins’ Social Media Services. Click here to find out more information.

How (and Why) Collaboration Brings About Stronger, More Creative Web Design

How (and Why) Collaboration Brings About Stronger, More Creative Web Design

With respect to web design, the result of team collaboration is almost always a better product.

There are very few projects that can be accomplished on your own. Literally thousands of people may be involved in the making of a big-budget blockbuster. Even activities that we normally think of as solo endeavors will usually involve the contributions of several individuals.

Take writing a book, for example. We often picture an author working by themselves, typing away each day to craft their story. But while the author may come up with the story idea on their own, getting it to publication requires collaboration.

There are beta readers and editors who offer important feedback, agents who pitch the book to publishers and of course, the many people who bring that book to life at the publishing company.

If something as individual as writing a book is actually a team effort, then surely fine-tuning your company’s web design should also be a collaborative process. While not everyone will be involved in the actual programming of the site, collaboration can help you avoid costly mistakes and create a stronger, more customer-friendly experience.

There are more opportunities for widespread learning.

To get some additional insight on how collaboration can spur more creative and effective web design, I reached out to Meredith Cooper, director of product marketing for Adobe’s Creative Cloud Enterprise.

Her company has recently begun hosting what it terms “Creative Jams” — events featuring expert speakers and team competitions that fuel a collaborative, learning-oriented mindset.

“Designers are hungry to learn. They’re hungry to experiment and try to push the boundaries and innovate, and we provide this through a new and different forum for learning,” she explains.

“This community platform for learning goes a long way in terms of not only helping creative designers hone their craft or learn new skill sets but also to help them feel really good about what they’re doing so they can feel inspired and feel like their work matters.”

The competitive nature of the events has served as a powerful transformative tool, as designers of different backgrounds and talent levels are forced to work together. This creates an environment where everyone learns from each other as they adapt to new tools and processes.

Such collaborative experiences have been found to significantly improve results in the workplace. A 2014 study from Stanford found that collaboration improves engagement and the ability to stick to a task while simultaneously reducing fatigue and emotional burnout.

In the fast-paced world of web design, with rapid project turnarounds and other pressures, such benefits can create a huge difference in overall productivity and the quality of design results.

As Cooper further elaborates, participation in collaborative learning events such as the Creative Jam helps web designers develop new skills and gain valuable experience that will help them with future projects.

“People come into the Creative Jams maybe having used other wireframing or prototyping tools, maybe having heard of XD but not used it. They walk away having had fingers on the keyboard, having participated in this competition and having actually sat through the boot camp and done hands-on exercises. They walk away able to start literally using that tool in their production workflows.”

Even an experienced web designer can learn from up-and-coming programmers who have experience with new technology and design principles. As all parties share information and insights, it becomes easier to identify best practices and important trends.

You don’t have to be a designer to make this happen.

It’s only natural that collaborating with other web designers would expose you to new tools and concepts that would allow you to better your work. But collaborative web design efforts shouldn’t be limited to the “experts” who know how programming works.

After all, web design is ultimately meant to create a seamless end-user experience — and the average person visiting a company’s website won’t have a design background. They just want a streamlined, easy-to-use platform.

As Aaron Pitre of Duda, a scale-centric web design company, writes, this collaborative mindset is especially important in an agency setting. Says Pitre, “Collaboration with a client begins the moment you are seriously considering working with them. Get off to a strong start by developing a research plan in which you will collect as much relevant information as possible; it will serve as the template on which you will lay the groundwork for the entire project.”

Continues Pitre, “Do not rush this step. Pore over the details of your plan. Brainstorm and share design ideas, come up with intelligent questions to ask your client, ask them to share examples of the work they like. Feel free to repeat these steps as many times as needed.”

What works in one industry won’t always work in another.

Because of this, web designers need to be willing to collaborate with “outsiders” to ensure the creation of a strong design that actually accomplishes the company’s goals. This requires industry research, customer insights and general design preferences — information that the non-design team will provide to help guide the design team’s work.

Technically, even A/B testing is a type of collaboration — and an especially crucial one in the web design process. By learning directly from end-users regarding which design choices impact bounce rate, conversion rates and other factors that will directly affect the long-term success of the website, designers can discover overlooked errors or make minor changes that lead to a big shift in results.

The benefits of collaboration go beyond web design.

Engaging others in the creative process won’t just improve your web design …

It can also improve creative output on a company-wide scale. Sergio Castro, VP and group director of Digital Studio at Digitas, whose company participated in one of the Adobe Creative Jam events, found that collaboration helped transform everyone’s perspectives on idea generation.

“The main takeaway was just how quickly you can put something together to put in front of the client when you create the right environment. Anytime that you change environments and remove yourself from the normal day-to-day work situation, you become inspired and want to create more things.”

Continues Castro, “Maybe our team wouldn’t have had the same ideas if they were sitting at their desks. I think Creative Jam inspired people to be more creative, to find solutions, to find the different locations that would inspire them.”

As employees gain outside perspectives from their collaborative efforts, they become more likely to think outside the box when confronted with new challenges or projects.

Rather than falling back on the set, standard routine, they feel motivated to come up with better solutions based on the things they learned from their coworkers — something that 82 percent of executives believe will give them a competitive edge.

Yes, collaboration will improve web design. But it also fosters a collaborative, innovative culture that creates a more unified and productive team — something that will deliver better results across all aspects of the business.

Companies should clearly find the right balance when determining how many people will be involved in this collaborative process, as well as who should participate. While too many collaborators could actually slow down the work, the right mix of people will spur creativity and generate better results.

When done right, quality web design can drive sales for your company and improve the overall perception of your brand. By incorporating insights from a wide range of individuals, including non-design team members and prospective customers, you’ll be better positioned to create a usable, innovative interface that helps your company stand out.

 

ARTICLE CREDITS:
Originally published at https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/323172
Author: Eric ‘ERock’ Christopher


If you are interested in The Blue Gremlins Web Design Service for your business click here.

10 Exciting Web Design Trends for 2020

10 Exciting Web Design Trends for 2020

In this article, we cast our eye over 10 exciting web design trends that people inside the industry are expecting to take hold in 2020, and beyond!

Change is a funny thing. It’s constant, inexorable – but it doesn’t necessarily happen overnight.

The author C.S. Lewis is often quoted as saying: “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes – but when we look back, everything is different?”

It’s the same with web design. Like a fine wine, our industry continues to mature with each passing day, month and year. That change isn’t always immediately noticeable – but it never stops. And those who fail to adapt are quickly left behind.

It’s little wonder that the million-dollar question in the web design industry is so often: what’s next?

So that’s exactly the question we decided to ask. We asked a diverse group of web designers, agency owners, content managers and marketers which web design trends they believe will be shaping our industry in 2020 – and beyond.

 Here’s what they told us…

 1. White Space & Simplistic/Minimalist Design

It’s often said that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, and many in the industry expect a minimalist, stripped-back approach to become ever more popular in the coming months.

“The most exciting web design trends for 2020 are going back to simple more minimalist designs,” argues Sean Pour of Sellmax.

Minimalist design means a hundred things to a hundred different people, but it generally refers to an extensive use of white space, with no single element distracting attention from the visual hierarchy.

This threadbare, stripped-back style means limited color palettes, with content being given lots of room to breathe on a page, like in the example below…

web-design-jet

And it’s more than just a cosmetic decision, as Lee Santos of Revive.digital explains: “This is because it can help improve the speed of the site & perform better, especially when it comes to mobile.”

Make sure to speak to your clients about minimalist design, and have plenty of examples at your disposal.

2. AI & Contextual Technology

AI is making its impact felt in a range of different industries, and web design is far from an exception.

There are two layers to this.

Firstly, there’s the idea of what’s sometimes called “artificial design intelligence.” This is technology, essentially, that is able to ‘automate’ aspects of web design. Web design tools like Sitejet are making it easier, and quicker, to create beautiful websites – creating more time and freedom for web designers to innovate and grow. This technology is progressing at a rapid pace and is likely to yield real benefits for the designers who adopt it going forward.

But artificial intelligence and automation also feed into ‘contextual’ technology – which can help your site feel more ‘human’ by interpreting user behavior and circumstances to deliver really personal, tailored experiences.

“(The future of web design) likely includes contextual technology that combines the needs of a user’s environment with modern technology like VR in a seamless way that the user doesn’t even notice,” argues Jake McKenzie, Content Manager at Auto Accessories Garage.

 “Using AI in a smart way to make your site feel more human is going to be the key to success.”

Contextual technology can take many forms. But, in essence, it’s about delivering a tailored experience to the visitor based on the particular circumstances of their visit. Content and design may differ based on the date and time, location, user language, operating system, and dozens of other characteristics.

The other way in which AI might make its impact felt is in the form of chatbots, delivering around-the-clock support and assistance for website visitors. Yes, chatbots still lack the emotional intelligence of human support operatives – but they’re becoming increasingly sophisticated.

“Websites will become conversational, with chatbot-like features built-in, to guide visitors through their site, services, and answer questions more intelligently,” argues David Sanchez of Mammoth Web Solutions.

3. Voice

Voice technology is another trend experiencing rapid growth in adoption – its growth was a prediction offered by numerous people we spoke to!

This is partly a result of technology, like smart speakers, that many of us are becoming increasingly accustomed to having in our homes. “We live in the age of Siri and Alexa,” explains Taura Woolfe, of Woolfe Agency. “Audio controllers have become our friends and have dramatically changed our digital experience the past few years. (But) many companies have not yet adopted VUI onto their websites.

“As we continue to move into the future, VUI will enhance the UX by making navigating websites and completing online purchases easier than ever.”

Amine Rahal, of IronMonk, agrees: “I would predict a larger emergence and further integration of voice command within the web interfaces and user experience of web design layouts and apps.”

Stacy Caprio, the founder of Accelerated Growth Marketing, sees voice increasing as a vehicle for audience discovery, with voice search becoming increasingly common. “I think more companies will start optimizing for structured snippets including voice-focused and answer sites to make them more effective for artificial intelligence technologies such as Google Voice search and Alexa to use,” she says.

4. 3D Models and Rendering

Often, ‘new’ trends aren’t new at all. They simply hit the mainstream due to a lowering of their barriers to entry. One such trend, in 2020, might be the rise of 3D modeling and rendering.

“In 2020, we’ll see a lot more 3D rendering as a major web design trend,” says Mark Krenn of Coastal Creative.

“The reason? 3D modeling has historically been very expensive and out of reach for most designers.

“We predict the costs will drop significantly, and we’ll see more design software tools released that make this design available to those without specialized 3D training.

“Usually, when the prices drop for certain methods, the popularity explodes.”

We already see examples of 3D modeling appearing on websites. Take energy drink, Defy, for example…

web-design-defy

Sports megabrand Adidas have also dabbled in 3D modeling, with the product site they created about Futurecraft – a 100% recyclable performance running shoe announced in April 2019. The 3D trainer model rotates slowly around the screen, and the user is able to navigate the site by scrolling and interacting with the model itself.

website-design-addidas

Of course, it’s worth keeping in mind how additions like this will affect loading times, particularly on mobile; but it’s exciting to see how this technology will continue to unfold in 2020.

5. User focus

It goes without saying that the most important person on any website is the user – but many expect the user focus to become even more pronounced in 2020.

“The biggest web design trend you’re going to see take off in 2020 is the focus on the user,” explains Alana Kucharski of Whittington Consulting.

“Thinking through what the client is looking for or trying to solve by coming to your site—instead of a company pushing for what they hope the user will do—will be a much-needed departure from the old way of thinking about a site.”

6. The end of flat design?

That flat design movement – a shift towards minimalist, simple, block-color design – started in the early 2000s. By the early 2010s, it had become the dominant style.

Despite being an industry standard, flat design has not been without its critics.

And, according to some in the industry, its time on the throne may now be running out!

“Flat design, which has proven to have a myriad of issues when user-tested, is going to start the pendulum swing back in the other direction, creating a hybrid of the two extremes,” suggests Alana Kucharski.

“Elegant, simplified elements that still give you context to their action will be the happy medium.

Buttons, for example, won’t just be words with a box around them; nor will they be strictly beveled, with gradients, shadowing and imprinted text.

Better context clues are starting to emerge, allowing the user to interact with the site the way it was intended.”

7. Accessibility for visitors with disabilities

One trend that might not be particularly sexy – but is incredibly important – is accessibility. In other words, making websites that are welcoming to everybody.

And, as Sharon Rosenblatt of Accessibility Partners explains, this is becoming a real priority in the world of web design.

“My clients are web designers, and I’m in the field of technology compliance—so the biggest trend I’m seeing is increased accessible design for consumers with disabilities,” she explains.

“I see this for two reasons: Firstly, unfortunately, a number of website owners and businesses are getting sued for not providing accessible websites for users with disabilities—across industries like retail, food service, hotels, air travel, and more!

Right now, the Americans with Disabilities Act is being used (and has for the past few years) as a driving force to level the tech playing field and increase more access to websites for people of all abilities.

But more important is the second reason. There’s been an uptick in respon10 Exciting Web Design Trends for 2020sible web design and corporate social responsibility. People are seeing a good ROI and marketability of accessibility, and it’s a nice thing to advertise.

So while I don’t feel that accessibility and inclusion are trendy and stylish, I know for a fact that they will be at the forefront of designer and developer’s minds, if my inbox is any indication.”

8. Data collection

For years now, people have been talking about data being ‘the new oil.’ But now, with new ways to actually utilize that data – some of which we’ve discussed in this article, like contextual technology – it’s perhaps more important than ever.

Brianna Brannan at Digital Nomad Designs believes that the collection – and leverage – of that data, will shape the world of web design in 2020. “No matter what industry we’re in, it’s becoming more and more valuable to collect data from users,” she says.

“I think that we’ll start to see more web designs based on user data.

By performing more functionality and interface tests, we can see what users respond best to and mimic that within web designs. Websites will be designed around user behavior.”

It’s certainly an exciting prospect to imagine a world of web design in which decisions are made based on what we know to work, rather than what we think will work.

9. Microinteractions

Microinteractions, sometimes called UI animation, are a relatively new phenomenon. They’re tiny design elements but can play a significant role in creating ‘human’ feeling websites that delight the audience.

And many people, like Nikki Bisel at Seafoam Media, believe the usage and popularity of micro-interactions will soar in the coming months.

“For years now, the focus has been on streamlining and “templatizing” web design,” she says.

“Over the course of the next year, though, one of the big things you’re going to start to see are micro-interactions. At its core, micro-interactions are meant to delight the user.

When you upload a file, hit the submit button, and see an upload status bar go from 0% to 100%, that’s a micro-interaction.

When you hover over a subtle Call To Action and the color saturates and the button gets bigger, that’s a micro-interaction.

When you scroll down an eCommerce category page and focus your cursor over a particular product and a sale icon jumps up and down on the product, that, too, is a micro-interaction.

Microinteractions let the user feel what they’re doing. They bring a site to life!  They let the user interact on a level that feels tangible and palpable. The user gets instant feedback, direction, and emotional validation.

So when you’re designing, there’s a new meaning for “What do I want the user to feel?” Now, it’s not just emotions, it’s sensory, too.”

A classic example of a micro-interaction is Facebook’s ‘Like’ functionality. You might not ever have even noticed it but when you hit that little ‘thumbs up’ icon – just look at the tiny animation that happens.

web design sitejet

Or how about this awesome login example where we have a yeti character on the page? He watches us enter our email address as we go…blocks his eyes so he can’t see our password…but peeps if we click ‘Show!’ This sort of cool, creative micro-interaction is going to be such a cool point-of-difference for you and your clients going forward… (Try it for yourself here.)

web design login

At a surface level, these additions don’t seem all that significant. But across whole websites, they really add up to immersive, engaging experiences, turning mundane, generic functions into something really memorable – and contributing greatly to the overall user experience.

10. Augmented Reality

Augmented reality has been on the radar for some time but has never quite had its ‘breakthrough’ moment.

Could that moment be upon us? Many people believe it is – with its impact particularly likely to be felt in the world of eCommerce.

“AR is essentially the mix of reality and virtual reality,” explains Woolfe Agency’s Taura Woolfe.

Think Pokemon Go – the mobile game where Pokemon characters were ‘overlaid’ into the real world, so we have a sensory combination of reality and virtual reality.

The use cases for this technology could be wide and varied.

“Stores and brands alike are able to implement AR into their websites by allowing customers to virtually “try on” different clothes, jewelry, makeup, and so on, or by allowing users to see how furniture would look in their homes or offices before purchasing,” Taura continues.

“This takes the mystery out of online purchasing and allows consumers to make their purchases with confidence.”

Specsavers’ Virtual Try-on is a good example of this approach. The UK-based opticians recognized that people may feel more comfortable trying on glasses at home – and more likely to buy their frames. And so, they created Virtual Try-on – where customers can quickly and easily ‘scan’ their face into a 3D model, then overlay that model with a variety of different frames to find out what works for them.

web design specsavers

The same logic applies to IKEA Place, which allows you to photograph your room and then use augmented reality to try out furniture – to scale – making sure it a) fits, and b) suits!

As web design increasingly goes mobile-first, AR becomes a much more tangible possibility. There are still challenges in this area – and the best is definitely still to come – but that time is getting closer. AR is certainly something to be aware of for the future!

Final Thoughts

It’s really tough to overstate the importance of staying current in the web design industry. By keeping an eye on the trends we’ve outlined in this article – and no doubt, plenty more! – you’ll give yourself the best possible chance of staying ahead of the curve, delighting your clients and doing awesome work for years to come.

ARTICLE CREDITS:
Article originally published at https://www.sitejet.io/en/article/10-exciting-web-design-trends-for-2020
Author: Hendrik Köhler


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