April 2020 News You Can Use

The patterns of life may have changed over the past 30 days, but the fundamentals haven’t: stick to the actions that work and look for opportunities to serve others.

In 2019, successful marketers were seeking ways to add value to their niche audiences, ways to make a positive contribution in their communities, and ways to grow in their capabilities and effectiveness. In 2020, savvy marketers are still on that path.

For this issue of News You Can Use, we’ve compiled stories on the following:

  • How to get notifications on the $100 million in cash and ad credits to small businesses that Facebook will soon release
  • A Sprout Social research project that uncovered the best times and days to post on social media (segmented by platform)
  • A TechSmith survey that provides actionable insight on a much in-demand skill: video marketing
  • LinkedIn opened 16 premium courses FREE to help people adapt to working from home
  • The fundamentals of marketing can help persuade people to accept social distancing guidelines

Now is not the time to bury our heads in the sand and pretend everything is okay. Now is the time to face the challenges with more determination than ever before. It’s time to wake up and get into action. It’s time to help one another succeed.

Let’s do it.


Topic: E-commerce

Key Point: Facebook announced a plan to provide $100 million in cash grants and ad credits to small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Up to 30,000 companies will receive those grants, and the reach will extend globally — to all of the more than 30 countries served by Facebook. And just about any good business purpose — from making payroll, to paying the rent, to marketing — is on the “How the program can help” list.

You cannot yet apply for the program, but you CAN get your email on a list to receive updated information. Go to this page and click on the “Sign up for updates” button (see the graphic below).

ALSO SEE: Ideas on building resilience during the COVID-19 outbreak from Facebook


Topic: Social media marketing | E-commerce

Key Point: Pinterest has announced four significant advancements for e-commerce marketers.

Here is a look at those advancements:

  • The Verified Merchant Program is now out of beta testing. The program will give qualified sellers a new trust symbol and special access to a number of marketing options. Apply here for Verified Merchant designation.
  • Conversion Insights access will provide upgraded, conversion-focused analytics data.
  • Pinterest Catalogs is now quicker and offers new capabilities.
  • Dynamic retargeting now provides global reach for greater access to international prospects and customers who’ve previously interacted with a brand.

Marketing Land covered the story in detail, even providing a four-step course of action for businesses wanting to take advantage of the roll-outs.

ALSO SEE: COVID-Consumers: Pessimistic, but spending more onlinefrom Search Engine Land


Topic: Social media | Online advertising

Key Point: Google asked 12,000 people from around the world about the video content each had viewed in the previous 24 hours. Some of the results may surprise you. Others will strengthen the validity of much you probably already suspect.

Here are takeaways from that Google survey:

  • The number one reason for watching video was to “relax and unwind.”
  • Video production quality was tenth on the list of reasons for watching.
  • Access to videos of famous actors was rated least important in six of the nine countries tallied. Japan, the United States, and Australia gave a nod to movie stars.
  • The ability to dig deeper into one’s interests was rated highest in Japan, but viewers in the United States were behind the rest of the world for the desire to gather knowledge.
  • Boomers prefer short-form content. Viewers from Gen Z like their videos longer.

Google’s key interpretation points for digital marketers include finding a way to relate, thinking beyond entertainment, and focusing on passion instead of production.

Results from this survey could be an excellent study to review as a team or class. Also, you could look for ways the data might influence your own video marketing projects. You can view the report on the Think with Google blog.

ALSO SEE: Interpretations of the data from Mobile Marketer

FREE ASSIGNMENT: Use this free video elements assignment to give students experience generating ideas relevant to online videos.


Topic: Social media marketing

Key Point: Creating social media content is one job, but getting it viewed and shared is quite another. Few things hurt more than putting time and dollars into a well-researched, impeccably designed post … then watching it flop.

Sprout Social data scientists pulled information from customers to determine which days and times delivered the best reader engagement results. Suggestions are segmented by platform: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Access the article: “The Best Times to Post on Social Media in 2020.” It provides practical advice on how to uncover the best times to post for your particular audience. PLUS you’ll find access to a set of templates and other social media posting resources.


Topic: Digital marketing

Key Point: How do you adapt to working from home if you’re used to an office environment? LinkedIn is providing FREE public access to 16 premium courses to help individuals make the adjustment. You do need a LinkedIn account … but that’s free, too.

The list of available courses includes titles such as “Working Remotely,” “Time Management: Working from Home,” and “Learning Zoom.”

Find out more on the LinkedIn blog: “Staying Informed and Connected: Resources to Help Navigate Work and Coronavirus.”

ALSO SEE:Remote Working: Setting Yourself and Your Teams Up for Success” from LinkedIn


Topic: Digital marketing

Key Point: Not only does the world of digital marketing move quickly, but now we’ve seen how quickly the entire business environment can move, too.

MarketingLand compiled a list of brief stories about marketers who directly faced situations caused by the spread of coronavirus, made necessary changes, and who are moving forward despite the difficulties.

Companies are moving from physical to digital, tweaking their products and services to better address the new problems their prospects are facing, and taking other steps to keep their businesses relevant.

Get more information: “MCOVID-19 Stories: Marketers, Martech Firms Pivot as World Goes Online.”

ALSO SEE: An article on Facebook adding new Facebook Live tools from Social Media Today


Topic: Online advertising | Social media advertising

Key Point: A new research report from TechSmith provides actionable data and outlines steps for bumping up video production capabilities.

Check this stat: The Cisco Video Networking Index forecasts that video traffic will make up 82 percent of Internet traffic by the end of 2022.

Should you use text overlays on your videos? What’s the optimum length for video? Are voice-overs necessary? Get the answer to those (and many more) questions by reading this TechSmith article and downloading the guide.


A Scientific American opinion article makes the case that, “Getting people to comply with social distancing policies is basically an exercise in marketing.”

In the piece, author Leslie Zane says the answer to why some follow directions on social distancing and others do not may be found by studying the place where most decision-making occurs: the subconscious. The idea is that without positive connections between a desired behavior and a message, change is difficult.

You may want to look for ways to apply material from the article to your own marketing challenges.A


John Krasinski Launched a YouTube Channel Dedicated to Good News: The Verge

TikTok Tests New Options to Add External URLs to Clips, Comment Downvoting: Social Media Today

Instagram Launches First Stage of IGTV Monetization: Social Media Today

Google Tests Dine In, Take Out & Delivery Attributes for Local Results: Search Engine Roundtable

How to Use Social Media for Keyword Research: Search Engine Journal

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