July 2021 News You Can Use

Summer is here. Where are you? Is this the off season, or is it the power on season? Smart digital marketers are already looking ahead to Black Friday and the onset of holiday shopping. Savvy SEOs are optimizing their sites to take advantage of the mayhem that could result from Google’s Core Web Vitals update rollout. Others, though, they’re heading for the beach to sleep in late and take a well-deserved break. How about you?

Here’s what we know for sure: Digital marketing takes no time off. Every day offers new developments, new challenges, and more ways to get ahead of the competition. 

Let’s go!


Topic: Social Media Marketing

Key Point: YouTube trend analysts explored the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on viewer habits. The team then compiled the results from that study to create the YouTube Culture and Trends Report. How many people watched a live stream? Who was the top YouTube creator over the past year? What is a “first-person” video? This report not only answers those questions, but provides provocative stats to consider a primary marketing question: Why?

Once you’ve read about the primary take-aways, take your research a step further and watch the global report. It will be 19 minutes well spent. 

Discussion Idea

What is AMP? Why will the new update render AMP unnecessary for many websites?


Check out YouTube’s Culture & Trends page.


Topic: SEO 

Key Point: Google’s Core Web Vitals update is the current top concern for many SEO specialists. Page experience is crucial to search results, and the primary signals in this update — largest content paint, first input delay, and cumulative layout shift — are central to Google’s desire for enhanced user experience. 

This Search Engine Land report covers the changes expected to each of those three parameters and points out that Google Page Speed Insights doesn’t provide enough data to use as a standalone SEO optimization tool. The solution: Combine lab data with field data to get a comprehensive picture of strengths and weaknesses for the site being evaluated

Find out how Google has adjusted its reporting tools for the rollout, and get tips on how SEO efforts can leverage the changes to leap ahead of less-capable competitors in this special coverage by SMX programmer and SEO pioneer, Detlef Johnson.

Discussion Idea

Which parts of the SEO effort are in the copywriter’s domain, and which are best left to a website developer?


Topic: Digital Marketing

Key Point: Back in the days of the “Whole Earth Catalog,” an unusual marketing experiment took place. Beginning with Gurney Norman’s “Divine Right’s Trip,” the catalog featured book-length stories published one section at a time. Readers who became engrossed in the tale would be chomping at the bit to get their hands on the next.

Fast forward 50 years, and that idea might still be sound. Amazon’s new platform for readers, Kindle Vella, will rely on that same, serial-centered process. But while most people are thinking only of the possibilities Vella will offer to writers, is it possible that ecommerce brands could also drum up a huge amount of recognition with this new electronic medium? 

Note that Kindle Direct Publishing will permit the publication of non-fiction as well as fiction on Vella, a point we verified with Amazon.


Topic: Ecommerce |Online Advertising 

Key Point: Last year’s Amazon acquisitions included the Wondery podcast network. Now, the company owns a second podcasting tool: Art19.  Amazon Music will be the home to both. But why should digital marketers care?

The podcast listener base has doubled since 2016. About 80 million people tune in to a podcast weekly. Art19 will up the game for Amazon — a relative latecomer to the genre. The tool will give podcasters the ability “to manage, distribute, analyze and monetize their work,” making it possible for them to manage their content and ads from one dashboard. 

This Marketing Dive article speculates that Amazon “could be viewing the category as a way to further fortify a booming digital advertising business.” Why would a digital marketer choose Amazon over Apple Podcasts (currently the leading podcast platform)? Sometimes, it’s wise to avoid the crowd and get to a spot where there’s a better chance of being heard and recognized.

Discussion Idea

What parameters would a company use to determine whether or not to devote a portion of the marketing budget to podcast ads? 

ALSO SEE: Cheat Sheet: Why Amazon bought Art19


Topic: Social Media Marketing

Key Point: Facebook’s Live Audio Rooms feature is now available to users in the United States. Media reviewer, Sara Fischer, says the feeling is similar to Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces. Users can ask questions and leave reactions inSara Fischer (@sarafischer) real time.

Look for front-end tests of the platform by BBC World Services and HarperCollins Publishers during the launch period, although any verified public figure is eligible to apply for participation. Facebook says Live Audio Rooms will be “more broadly available to publishers and people” in 2022. The audio-only format this tool provides is well worth exploring for brands hoping to reach Facebook’s huge audience in a new way.


Topic: SEO | Ecommerce

Key Point: Digital marketers should be more concerned about solving problems than about “making money,” says Neil Patel. Smart marketers solve problems and create the content people are searching for. In this YouTube interview, Patel provides insight on his experience, his digital marketing strategy, and which SEO trends are popping in 2021.

Get the scoop on Patel’s marketing motto, his secrets to success, the two factors he considers most important for content today, and more … by checking this interview on YouTube.

Discussion Idea

How many takeaways can you pull from this 20-minute interview? Who is Neil Patel, and why should digital marketers listen to him?


Topic: SEO

Key Point: Time will tell whether this is happy news or sad, but Moz is now owned by iContact. Commenting on the buyout, the current Moz CEO, Sarah Bird, wrote “As part of the iContact family, Moz will be even better equipped to assist our subscribers with all of their SEO and digital marketing needs.”

The platform was founded by Rand Fishkin and Gillian Muessig in 2004 as “SEOmoz,” but switched to the simpler moniker, “Moz,” in 2013. Over the years, the site has become an SEO staple for education and tools. The Moz Pro SEO toolset, the Moz Local listing optimization service, their widely celebrated “Whiteboard Friday” series, and “The Beginner’s Guide to SEO” anchor content have helped propel websites to the top of the SERP and has spurred the careers of an untold number of SEO practitioners.


Topic: Digital Marketing | Ecommerce

Key Point: How does video help build and foster “human connections” on the digital planet? Vidyard and Media One Creative partnered to explore that question. The result is “re:connection,” a short documentary film that Vidyard says is the “first to explore the expanding role of video in a virtual business world.” The content here provides a compelling reason for companies to think deeper about the value of finding ways to build authentic connections, both within the organization and without. Visitors to the site can also download a guide that further explores the themes and theories presented in the film. 

Business leaders Dr. Fiona Kerr (The Neruotech Institute), Futurist Brian Solis (Salesforce), Meghan Anderson (former CMO at HubSpot), Allison Davis (former producer at NBC News) and other brand representatives pitch in to make this a 15-minute film sure to spur conversations in digital marketing circles.

Discussion Idea

How did the pandemic change the ways businesses connect internally and externally? Do you agree with Meghan Anderson’s suggestion that adapting to changes in human behavior and customer expectations is necessary for any company that wants to be “on top”?

Don’t Let July Catch You Sleeping

Digital marketing doesn’t sleep, but the people who are employed as digital marketers need an occasional break. Camping, hiking, boating, exploring — the Stukent team loves to have fun in the sun. There’s one thing we don’t lose sight of, though: Nobody here can carry this work alone. For our company to keep growing and serving others, we all have to roll up our sleeves and complete the tasks in front of us. Without work, there is no vacation.

Thank you for joining us for this issue of News You Can Use. We hope the summer of 2021 turns out to be the best summer ever for you, your family, your schools, and your employers.

Nothing can stop us when we remember that we’re all in this … together.


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