There’s procrastination, and then there’s whatever George R.R. Martin has done with “The Winds of Winter” and “A Dream of Spring,” the unfinished final two novels in his “A Song of Ice and Fire” series that has – if you’ve been off the grid since 2011 – been adapted into the HBO show “Game of Thrones.”

As we glide through the final season of GoT, these two books – first mentioned almost a decade ago – remain little more than flowery titles that double as meteorologically accurate descriptors of what the Midwest is like in March and April. Think a dreamlike 68-degree day, followed by a windy snowstorm and then, possibly, by another false dawn of spring weather.

While we can’t deny there’s some mystique surrounding unreleased works, we’re focused on much more tangible, predictably released content around here. So don’t worry about this edition of CM weekly abruptly ending with two sections to go, or the whole series being put on hold after we adapt it into a web video series garnering millions of unique views per episode.

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Let’s get right into the highlights from this week!

Introducing Video Ads and the Funnel

Video has been touted as the next big thing in online content for years, so much that “pivot to video” entered the lexicon in the early 2010s as shorthand for publications replacing text features with more recorded explainers, tutorials and discussions. As of 2019, video hasn’t replaced written articles to the extent that many expected, but it has revolutionized advertising by outperforming ads that have static images.

To measure the exact difference, Biteable recently conducted an experiment with two ads designed for lead capture, each one containing similar images, CTAs and messages. Both ads also had identical budgets and production times – about 5 minutes in the Biteable app – and were served to the same audience.

 

Via Biteable.com.

The results? A surprisingly decisive victory for video across all metrics. The video-formatted ad demonstrated:

  • 25% more reach.
  • 480% more clicks.
  • 497% less cost per click.
  • 270% more leads.
  • 280% less cost per lead.

Images – worth 1,000 words, but only a sliver of the ROI of a video. Marketers looking for the most mileage from their ad spend have a clear winner in front of them.

For the full story, take a look at Biteable’s Facebook Marketing Handbook.

The State of Content Marketing 2019

Zazzle Media’s recent State of Content Marketing Survey 2019 report revealed a surprising and somewhat contradictory trend: Public relations spend is declining even as organizations prioritize brand awareness.

Although 76% of Zazzle’s respondents identified brand awareness as a big KPI for 2019, only 9% were focused on digital PR (and a mere 6% on offline PR), meaning it’ll be theoretically difficult for them to reach their own stated goals.

But with the PR door seemingly closing for many marketers, others are flinging wide open. By far the biggest focus area for content marketers in 2019 is written content such as company blogs, which 77% of respondents were investing in.

SEO, email marketing and video all topped 40% of responses, too.

Stepping back, the overall results paint a positive picture for content marketing. 96% of marketing decision-makers thought the practice was effective for their brands, up from 70% in 2017.

You can get the full story by downloading Zazzle’s free eBook containing the survey.

Lush U.K. Quits Social Media Because It’s ‘Tired of Fighting With Algorithms’

An early frontrunner for most surprising marketing news of 2019, cosmetics retailer LUSH announced April 12 that it would be abandoning most of its social media presence. At the time, the company had over 570,000 followers on Instagram and another 202,000 on Twitter.

LUSH had previously been successful in crafting visually stunning content that often conveys a message of corporate social responsibility, as we noted last year in saying they had cultivated an image as “a trusted resource for cruelty-free and environmentally friendly business practices.”

In its farewell posts, the company’s social media team noted that they were tired of the algorithms that made it more difficult to reach the right audiences without directly paying a platform for exposure. LUSH intends to move its social interactions to web chat, email and phone instead.

Amy Gunia has the full story over at Time.

DuckDuckGo vs. Google: An In-Depth Search Engine Comparison

The terms “search engine” and “SEO” are nearly synonymous with Google Search. But a recent lawsuit from a price-comparison portal, citing a 2017 European Union antitrust decision against the search giant, shows one way that the landscape could soon become more competitive.

That means it might be time to brush up on knowledge of other search engines, especially the privacy-focused DuckDuckGo, which could be due for a breakout in popularity as big tech companies come under increased regulatory scrutiny.

Over at Search Engine Journal, Sam Hollingsworth has a comprehensive comparison of Google and DuckDuckGo. If you’ve ever wanted to know how DuckDuckGo’s bangs (its site- and content-specific search parameters, which begin with a !, e.g. !a for an Amazon search) worked or what its category pages include, you’ll want to read the entire piece.

Thanks for reading! Enjoy the spring weather if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, don’t lose too much time waiting for those last two “A Song of Ice and Fire” books and make sure to stop by next week for a fresh batch of content marketing news.

Alex Cox is a senior writer at Brafton. Originally from Kentucky, he now lives in Chicago with his husband Marvin and an orange cat named Athena. When he's not writing for Brafton or creative projects, he enjoys painting, going for walks, and collecting vintage Nintendo games and controllers.