LinkedIn Ads Audience Targeting Options In 2021

LinkedIn Ads Audience Targeting Options In 2021

The LinkedIn Audience Ad Targeting Options Available In 2021

The LinkedIn Audience Ad Targeting Options Available In 2021

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Digital Marketing, technology & business insights, how to’s and explainer videos, released on a Wednesday. Make sure to subscribe to be notified and sign up to our mailing list! 🎥

See below, the transcript from this episode of Giant Wednesday if videos aren’t your preferred method to consume digital skills. See also the Giant Cheat Sheet from this episode.

If you want to know more, get in touch today 😎

Looking to be scarily accurate with your advertising?

Well, if you’re looking to do that on LinkedIn then that’s great, because, well, I’m about to cover off LinkedIns ad targeting options for you. 

So hey, I’m Yumna… let’s kick off this Giant Wednesday. 

 

 

LinkedIn is a great place to advertise. It’s a vast place, full of people from every stretch of life who either use the platform as a form of social media or as a fancy online CV

 

In Q4 of 2020, LinkedIn’s advertising reach grew by an additional 25 million people so it’s a guarantee there’s a potential audience in there for you. 

I’m not going to try and sell you the benefits of advertising with LinkedIn because I’m going to assume you’re here because you’ve worked them out already. 

Instead, I want to cover off some of the targeting options on the platform. 

There are actually around 200 targeting characteristics available on the platform and you’re allowed to target a maximum of 100 of them for each campaign you run.

If you’re familiar with Facebook’s advertising platforms, then it’s not too tricky to transfer your understandings over.

The key difference however is the level of accuracy you can get on LinkedIn because, after all, it’s a “professional network”. 

On a LinkedIn profile, there’s no place for claiming your job title as “Mayor of your mum” from “Awesomeville”, so you can get reliably granular with your targeting. Unless that… genuinely is your job title.

So, to kick off the list of targeting options we have…

 

Interests & Traits:

So this dataset contains, you guessed it… different interests and traits for prospects.

Looking at things like the groups they’re part of, the types of posts they engage with and post about to gauge interest. 

And then looking at traits such as whether they’re frequent travellers, job seekers and so on.

This is a great category to target if your objectives are that of engagement, but is considerably more limited than the same method on Facebook because LinkedIn generally sees less non-professional engagement than other platforms. 

You’re probably not following a Shrek meme account on LinkedIn…

But if your target audience for your recent job ad is job seekers, then you can be certain that you’ll hit the nail on the head there with options like “open to work” as an option on personal profiles.

 

 

Demographics & location

Again, as it says on the tin, this allows you to target people based on broad categories of age and gender, as well as their location. 

You are limited on running ads that target gender and other characteristics if the ad relates to employment, housing, education or credit, however, in a bid to prohibit discrimination.

At LinkedIn, we prohibit any kind of discrimination on our platform. … Within Campaign Manager, LinkedIn advertisers are required to certify that if an ad relates to employment, housing, education or credit, they will not use LinkedIn to discriminate based on gender or other protected characteristics.”

When a person sets up a profile there are options to put gender and age, and nowadays you can even list your preferred pronouns which is awesome. 

But for those who haven’t put in this information, LinkedIn ads may predict a user’s age or gender based on other features on their profile, such as first name or pronouns used in recommendations.

And similarly, for age, based on when you graduated from school.

Because of this, demographics can be a less accurate targeting method, and if someones not updated their location then the same story applies.

But the accuracy levels you want might differ based on your campaigns, so it’s up to you how strongly you rely on that targeting type.

 

Experience

So this method covers things like the roles a person has worked in, the number of years experience in each role, the industries, member skills and seniority.

Like I said, more likely going to be accurate on a LinkedIn profile compared to your Facebook. 

This targeting option means you can get really specific with who you’re targeting and is a great way to hone in on the right audiences for what you’re selling. 

You can go broad with job titles such as “designer” or you can get a bit more granular with something like “manufacturing process designer”.

Another benefit of targeting based on experience is that you don’t just have to focus on the present.

You can filter by “current” or “previous” which allows you to really target specific people!

 

Education

So, as you can probably guess, under this section you can target by the level of education a person has.

But obviously, this does depend on how accurately someone filled in their profiles, and whether they’ve been truthful.

If you were looking to promote things like internships or apprenticeships, then you look to target people fresh out of college or postgraduates. 

Education targeting allows you to look at fields of study, so the area of study within that member’s degree. 

And also allows you to look at schools, so the college, university or other learning institution where a member completed their course.

 

Company

Here you can target audiences based on a variety of factors around a company. 

For example, you can look to reach the 1st-degree connections of employees as your selected company, so long as it has over 500 employees.

Or you could look at targeting based on the company industry, company size, company name…

You can even target companies based on their rate of growth year over year which is inferred data from employee growth, or similar industries.

And then you could just look to target your own company followers – all those following your company’s page on LinkedIn – which might increase your chance of them seeing your content compared to organic.

Company targeting is great for getting in front of a really specific audience if you’ve got a message that would work for them all. Such as offering discounts to NHS workers!

 

So that was a look at the targeting options available for running ads on LinkedIn.

These are how you get granular using data you’ve not had to collate yourself, however, there are options if you’ve got your own.

For example, you could use Matched Audiences which is an audience created based on shared interests with a specified audience.

You upload a list of previous customers, covering the data LinkedIn specifies it needs for each user, and it will set about building this lookalike audience – a near-perfect twin of your existing customer.

You can also look to retarget people who’ve already visited all of, or certain pages of your website, someone who’s viewed a video ad of yours before, someone who’s engaged with your LinkedIn page, RSVP’d for your event and more.

HUNDREDS of options available.

 

And with all of these targeting options mentioned today, you can also use the AND and OR, or exclusion rules, to get super pinpoint with your targeting and narrow your audience further. 

One thing that’s tempting when you know all the options is to use all of them. But this usually creates super specific audiences. Now, you’d think a hyper-specific audience would be better, but you’d be wrong when talking about B2B marketing. 

In B2C decision making, it’s usually one person who decides: the person who has the money. If I want to buy a new pair of shoes then I don’t need to ask permission if I have the money, right?

 

With B2B buying, the company’s money usually has to go through a number of checks before it goes out – an average of 6.8 people, in fact. Why is that not a round number? 

This means that your ads to a hyper-targeted audience might be reaching the most enthusiastic of prospects, but that doesn’t mean they’re reaching everyone they need to.

So keep your audiences broad enough to capture more of the buying circle for your target companies.

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Adobe After Effects For Beginners – 5 Top Tips

Adobe After Effects For Beginners – 5 Top Tips

Adobe After Effects For Beginners

Adobe After Effects For Beginners

Home > Giant Wednesday

Digital Marketing, technology & business insights, how to’s and explainer videos, released on a Wednesday. Make sure to subscribe to be notified and sign up to our mailing list! 🎥

See below, the transcript from this episode of Giant Wednesday if videos aren’t your preferred method to consume digital skills. See also the Giant Cheat Sheet from this episode.

If you want to know more, get in touch today 😎

Have you ever opened After Effects, and (after waiting several months for it to load) quit out straight away because of how scary it looks?

Even if you’re a Premiere Pro whiz, don’t fool yourself into thinking the animation software is going to be a total breeze.

But worry not, we’re here to go through 5 tips that will help you tackle this beast, even if you’re a complete beginner.

 

Opening After Effects

So the first crucial step is opening After Effects. Once opened, you’ll need to create a new composition by clicking on the big button in the middle of the screen. Set all the dimensions for the video you want (we suggest 1080 x 1920), as well as the duration for your video.

Once you hit okay, you’ll be presented with this screen here.

 

 

Let’s break down what you’re looking at exactly.

 

Tip 1 – The Layout

 

On the left side of the screen, you’ll see your project window. You can begin your project by double-clicking in this window to find video and image files to add to your project.

Along the bottom of the screen, you’ll see your timeline. Any video, audio or image files currently in your timeline will show on the left, with the bars on the timeline representing how long they are on screen for. The layer that is on the top layer is the most visible, so bear this in mind if you can’t see something you’ve added to your timeline.

Along the right side, you’ll see a series of options, the only one we’ll cover for today is ‘Preview’ which is where you’ll find your timeline controls such as frame forward/backwards and play/pause. You can play your timeline by simply hitting space – but you can change this key in the preview window to something you may prefer.

Should you wish to change your composition settings at any point, such as dimensions, or length – go to Composition at the top, followed by composition settings, which will allow you to edit as you see fit.

 

Tip 2 – Controls and shortcuts in After Effects

 

 

To make your Adobe After Effects journey easier, it’s crucial that you learn some key shortcuts.

With a file in your timeline selected, hit S to adjust the scale of your item, you can then change the numbers to the right of your file name to adjust the size.

Similarly, use the shortcut P to adjust the position, R to adjust the rotation and T to adjust the opacity (yeah, that one doesn’t quite fit the pattern). 

Alternatively, you can see all of these commands at once by clicking the drop-down arrow to the left of your file name which will give you all the properties for that one layer.

 

Tip 3 – The basics of animation in After Effects

 

So now you’re a master of adjusting the position and scale of your elements, let’s learn how to animate these from one video frame to another.

If you wanted one element to move from one side of your screen to the other, scroll to the beginning, and to the left of the ‘Position’ marker (remember, press P if it isn’t visible), click on the stopwatch.

That stopwatch will give you a keyframe for that position marker. Now if you move to another position in the timeline and change your position variable, After Effects will automatically create an animation between those two keyframes.

It’s the same principle for scale, rotation, anything! Try animating the rotation, scale and position of something at the same time – get creative!

 

Tip 4 – Understanding layers and the timeline in After Effects

 

 

Unlike Premiere where multiple video/audio files can sit on one channel After Effects requires you to have a separate layer for every single different file, even the same file cut in half!

Because of this, we’d remind you that After Effects isn’t cut out as a video editor. If you’re chopping the umms and ahhs out of a reel of footage, you’re going to end up with a million layers if you use After Effects to do this. Our recommendation? Edit your video in Premiere Pro, and then export it to After Effects to add all the glitter.

If you did want to split a layer on your timeline, simply scroll to the point that you want it to be, and then hold ‘command/ctrl + shift + D’ that will split your layer into two.

You can then either delete that or move it up or down your timeline.

 

Tip 5 – Exporting in After Effects

 

 

So now your masterpiece is finished, you’ll obviously want to know how to export it so you can show the world.

The blue bar that sits on top of your timeline represents everything that’s going to export from our timeline. You can adjust it manually, or you can scroll to the point where you want your video to begin and press B, and then set the endpoint by pressing N.

Once this is adjusted, head on over to file > export and add to render queue.

It’s worth mentioning that After Effects cannot render into H264 or MP4 files, it can only export into things like .MOV files which tend to be quite large, though there are still multiple benefits of having them, such as the option to have transparency in your video.

If you want to export as a .MOV file, make sure your video format is QuickTime, and your channels are set to RGB + Alpha.

Finally hit render which will begin the rendering process.

If you do want to render straight into H264 or MP4, go File > Export and then ‘add to Adobe Media encoder queue’ which will open Adobe Media Encoder.

From here, you can set the location it will output to, adjust your video settings and change your video codec to H264.

Finally, hit OK and then press play at the top to begin the render.

Full disclosure, this may take a while – put the kettle on?

 

That was the basics from us about Adobe Premiere Pro – was there anything we didn’t cover that you were hoping we would? Just let us know and we’ll get back to you!

After Effects is an incredible, versatile program that is well worth the time and patience it takes to learn it. Doing so will add a wealth of different things to your content that will no doubt take it to the next level.

 

For more tips on how you can increase your digital marketing and content game, why not check out our other Giant Wednesdays?

 

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The Basics Of Video Editing In Adobe Premiere Pro

The Basics Of Video Editing In Adobe Premiere Pro

The Basics Of Video Editing In Adobe Premiere Pro

The Basics Of Video Editing In Adobe Premiere Pro

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Digital Marketing, technology & business insights, how to’s and explainer videos, released on a Wednesday. Make sure to subscribe to be notified and sign up to our mailing list! 🎥

See below, the transcript from this episode of Giant Wednesday if videos aren’t your preferred method to consume digital skills. See also the Giant Cheat Sheet from this episode.

If you want to know more, get in touch today 😎

When you load up Premiere Pro for the first time – did you have the same reaction as us?

Sheer terror.

When you open Premiere Pro, it can look very intimidating, but don’t fret – let’s talk you through the basics of making awesome video content.

There are loads of other choices of video software out there, but Premiere Pro is the weapon of choice for me. DaVinci Resolve, Final Cut Pro, iMovie… believe me, I have tried the rest… for me personally, Premiere Pro just works the best.

So let’s start with an easy step – open Premiere Pro.

We’re running Adobe Premiere Pro 2021 on an Apple Macbook Pro, but Premiere has the same layout on Windows computers, so you’ll still be able to follow along.

 

 

OK, so this will probably be the first screen that you see when you open up, so click on create a new project, save it where you like and give it a nice name.

Don’t worry about any of the other settings on here for now, hit OK and it’s going to open up Premiere Pro for you.

 

 

Pretty intimidating, right? It might appear that nothing is obvious, but you’ll soon see that this seemingly chaotic layout all makes sense.

In the bottom left corner, you’ll see your media (or project) folder, so you can begin by clicking on import media, which will open your Finder/Explorer window where you can find files to begin your edit.

Thankfully, Premiere can handle most video and image files, including MP4, MOV, PNG and even GIF files.

What we’re going to show you how to do today, is a couple of videos, one after the other, with a simple transition.

So now we’re going to want to start making our sequence, which is the name of the whole run of the timeline.

So you can create a new sequence by going into your project window and going to File > New > Sequence.

Now don’t be intimidated by the huge list of options – there’s a lot of jargon in here, so if you don’t know the difference between AVCIntra and ProRes RAW – don’t worry, I don’t either!

 

 

You can create a new sequence preset by going into New Sequence, clicking on ‘settings’ at the top, and then you can actually set the frame size to whatever you like. You can then save that as a preset for a nice and easy blank sequence for your next project!

Alternatively, if the video you’re editing happens to be the same size as what you want your final video to be (i.e. 1920 x 1080) then simply dragging the video into your timeline (that big rectangle box in the bottom right) will create a new sequence with the same dimensions.

You may notice that the box in the top right shows the preview of what frame our timeline is on. 

You may also have noticed that dragging the video into your timeline will import the entire video duration to your timeline – what happens if you just want to import part of your video?

In your project window, double click on your video, which will open up your source window in the top left. You can then scrub along your footage, and press I to set your ‘in point’ and O to set your ‘out point’. 

You can then click and hold on the icons below the image preview to drag the video only, the audio only, or both by dragging the video thumbnail across.

At the bottom of the timeline, your video channels are shown as V1, V2 and so on, and audio is shown as A1, A2 onwards. – the more videos and audio that are added, the more channels you will have. Whatever video layer is on top will be the one that is visible at the time. 

So use the tip of selecting portions of your video to drag about 3 different videos into your timeline, one after the other.

 

 

Now we’re going to look at Effects, which you can get to by clicking along the tabs in the top left box. controls of what is in your sequence,

In the Effects panel, you’ll see a list including audio transitions, video effects, and video transitions. So to get a transition between our videos, go to video transitions, and then dissolve. You’ll have options like cross dissolve, where the videos fade into one another.

Dip to black where it will fade to black before transitioning to the next one.

So click and drag whatever transition you want to use over into your timeline and hover it over the line between your two videos. When you let go, the effect will be put in place. Give your timeline a play with the space bar and see if it worked!

You can adjust the timing of your transition by clicking on the little box showing the effect in your timeline, and dragging the effect to your desired length.

 

Motion in Adobe Premiere Pro 2021

 

So now let’s talk about motion. What happens if we want to move a graphic, or a video around our image?

We’re going to put a PNG image with transparency into my timeline and show you how we can give him some animation.

With the graphic in your timeline, you can drag the ends of the video file to make it shorter, or alternatively, you can press ‘C’ on your keyboard to get your cut/razor tool, and then by clicking on the part in your video where you want a cut, the video will be split into two parts. 

You can then change back to your normal click selection tool by pressing ‘V’. You can then click on the unwanted part of your video and press backspace to delete it.

Now let’s change the tab in the top left to Effect Controls.

You’ll see the options for position and scale, and by clicking and dragging on the number next to them, you’re going to be able to control the size of your video or image file.

 

 

In order to create movement, click on the little stopwatch to the left of ‘position’, which will toggle the animation for that layer. Clicking that stopwatch will create a keyframe which saves that setting of position for that frame in the timeline.

If you scroll to another point in your video, and change the position of your graphic, Premiere Pro will create another keyframe, and then automatically create an animation between your two keyframes.

 

Our Secret Weapon

A tool that we use daily with Premiere Pro is Premiere Composer from Mister Horse. We’re not endorsed by them in any way – it’s simply that good, that we’ll sing praises about it.

You can download it for free, with a few sample animations, but to get the full benefit, we’d recommend buying one of their animation packs for Premiere Composer.

Premiere Composer gives you multiple elements that you can use seamlessly within your Premiere Pro workflow, such as 2d animations, sound effects and transitions. 

 

 

It couldn’t be simpler to use, simply select the element that you want, drag it into your timeline, and you can customise loads of options, such as the length, size and colour to anything you want.

Colour

So the next thing we want to talk about is colour. 

Drag a video into your timeline, select it, and then change your workspace to ‘colour’ (right at the top of Premiere Pro). 

You will then be presented with options to edit the colour of your video file, such as temperature, contrast and brightness. 

 

 

Don’t want to have to edit colour for every single video in a series? Simply go to your project window, select the little ‘New’ icon in the bottom right corner of that window, and select ‘adjustment layer’.

Stretch that adjustment layer across the duration of your timeline and then change the colour of that layer only – everything that sits under that one layer will have its colour adjusted – easy, right!?

Exporting a Video

So finally, let’s talk about exporting, which isn’t as self-explanatory as you might think.

Go > File followed by > Export, and then > Media, which will capture the entire length of your sequence.

If it isn’t already selected, select H264 from the drop-down menu at the top. That is the format code for MP4 video, which is a very compatible video codec you can use with all major social channels.

By clicking on the file name, you can change where the final video is saved. 

Click on ‘render at maximum depth’ in the Video tab, and then use maximum render quality at the bottom.

Thankfully, most of the other settings should be the ones you want by default.

And then click on export, which will render your timeline!

 

 

How long will it take? How long is a piece of string? A 15-second timeline should render in about 30 seconds or less, a longer video will take considerably longer. 

So that’s a wrap on our basic tips on editing video in Premiere Pro! Was there anything you were hoping we’d cover, and we didn’t? Just let us know and we’ll get back to you.

But for now, thanks for joining us, see you next time for another Giant Wednesday Creative.

 

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How To Make Thumbnails For YouTube That People Will Click

How To Make Thumbnails For YouTube That People Will Click

How To Make Thumbnails For YouTube That People Will Click

How To Make Thumbnails For YouTube That People Will Click

Home > Giant Wednesday

Digital Marketing, technology & business insights, how to’s and explainer videos, released on a Wednesday. Make sure to subscribe to be notified and sign up to our mailing list! 🎥

See below, the transcript from this episode of Giant Wednesday if videos aren’t your preferred method to consume digital skills. See also the Giant Cheat Sheet from this episode.

If you want to know more, get in touch today 😎

Hello and welcome to Giant Wednesday. 

My name is Danny from Sleeping Giant Media and I’m here today to teach you how to make thumbnails for Youtube that people will click! 

To do that, I’m going to show you how we make ours, and how you can use my advice to make your own.

So, without further ado…

 

Firstly, It’s important to understand the role of a thumbnail.

A thumbnail is a claw-like, keratinous plate at the tip of your… ahhh just kidding, checking you’re still with me.

A thumbnail is, in most cases, the first visual impact you can make on a potential viewers video-watching experience.

It’s one of the deciding factors when on your channel, or on a search results page, as to whether that user will choose your video to watch out of the thousands of others available. 

For this very reason, the thumbnail of a YouTube video is considered a “user experience metric”.

This is just one of many metrics that will help determine the success of your video content, helping boost its organic presence so its seen more and more by the people you want it to be seen by.

In the world of video, especially YouTube, it really is the case that people judge a book by its… thumbnail.

There are other contributing factors too, of course, like the video title and description, but this is Giant Wednesday creative… so let’s look at the visual creative.

The first thing you’re going to want to do is to make sure your thumbnail is fully representative of the content of your video.

If your video is about iPhones, don’t use a photo of an Android phone. If it’s about goats, don’t centre your thumbnail around parrots… you get me

For us, and our Giant Wednesday series, our videos are about digital marketing and digital skills. These aren’t always the easiest things to represent in imagery and static form, so we get to put more focus into the other elements.

But what we can represent is our people, our presenters, the people bringing you the video. So the first part of our thumbnail process, as well as many other creators and perhaps even yours, is to cut them out!

That classic cutout of the presenter, then with a white stroke behind them to really make them ‘pop’.

Not sure how to cut them out? We’ve got a tutorial on that!

We’ll get our presenters to pose separately for this, minimising the chance of a blurred or interesting look on their face.

And where possible, we use their pose to add some context to the content of the video.

If your videos are about a certain product, then perhaps you should replace where we might put the person as the place to put your product, giving it the spotlight.

The next thing you’re going to want to do is to let people know what they’re getting by using some text!

You don’t have a limit here, but you do need to consider that your thumbnail will be different sizes on different devices and therefore less is more, and bigger is better. 

When designing our thumbnails, we use roughly two-thirds of the space to textually explain the context of our video. It’s also worth noting, we use Adobe Illustrator to create our thumbnails, but there’s plenty of free tools you can use too. 

We use clear fonts, and keep consistency in some elements of our font palette to remain branded and to show it’s a series of content.

Now, another way of standing out from the rest is to use some bright colours which sound super cliche.

You’re going to want your background colour or image to contrast against the text you choose to make it really stand out. 

Supposedly the colour yellow in your thumbnail will help you get more clicks? Little unconfirmed fact for you there.

But the best thing you can do is take a look at what your competitors are doing, what do their thumbnails look like and how can you make yours different and better?

We use bright colours and textures to give more context to our videos through the thumbnail as you can see.

Which is also helpful as, like I said, our topics aren’t always easy to illustrate with a photo. 

But it’s super important to make sure it’s not over-crowded and there’s not too much going on…

And already, look at this, we have a thumbnail that isn’t just a random screen capture pre-selected by YouTube itself, and is actually, unsurprisingly… clickable amongst others with similar titles!

Now other elements you can add into your thumbnail include things like recognisable brand elements if you’re a business… say, your logo!

If you’re not a business and just a separate creator, then that’s up to you, but try and establish yourself a unique style.

If you’ve got a channel full of different types of content like we do, then you can differentiate this content for your subscribers by using consistency in your thumbs. Try and make a template for yourself, or stick to a style.

And if you haven’t got access to the tools I do, like the Adobe Suite then that’s fine, everything I had to say is still relevant but you can look at using tools like Canva.

Canva is a free web-based designing tool that actually has a whole host of templated youtube thumbnails you can build upon and make your own.

Just remember to make it unique to you and your content. 

And that’s how to make a thumbnail on YouTube that people will click.

Make it stand out, make it identifiable, make sure it doesn’t mislead and make sure you’re thinking of the viewer first and foremost.

People will want to click on the thumbnails they want to click on, you can’t decide that for them, but you can do a good job at persuading them to click yours!

A final piece of advice, from Google and YouTube themselves, is to think of the thumbnail before you start shooting your video!

If you liked what I had to say in this video, or learned something new, then please give the video a thumbs up and hit subscribe!

If you’ve got any questions, pop them in the comments below, but otherwise, I’ll look forward to seeing you again sometime for another Giant Wednesday Creative.

Fancy getting brand new episodes of Giant Wednesday to your inbox? Fill in the form below and we’ll keep you updated with the latest digital skills 👇

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Copyright © 2021 Sleeping Giant Media. All Rights Reserved.

How To Cut Out A Person Or Object In Photoshop 2021

How To Cut Out A Person Or Object In Photoshop 2021

How To Cut Out A Person Or Object In Photoshop 2021

How To Cut Out A Person Or Object In Photoshop 2021

Home > Giant Wednesday

Digital Marketing, technology & business insights, how to’s and explainer videos, released on a Wednesday. Make sure to subscribe to be notified and sign up to our mailing list! 🎥

See below, the transcript from this episode of Giant Wednesday if videos aren’t your preferred method to consume digital skills. See also the Giant Cheat Sheet from this episode.

If you want to know more, get in touch today 😎

I know why you’re here, you want to learn how to cut people out of your life.

No, wait, sorry – how to cut people out on Photoshop. 

There are loads of reasons you may want to cut someone out of an image – maybe you want to put a cutout on your website, maybe you want to use them on display ads. Maybe you have other nefarious purposes, who knows?

So I’m using Adobe Photoshop 2021 on an Apple MacBook Pro. Some of these features were added quite recently, but if you’re using a slightly older version of Photoshop, there will still be some principles you can use – and certainly, if you’re using a Windows computer, it shouldn’t be a problem for you. 

 

So let’s get straight on with it, shall we? So, one of my favourite things to do is look at hilarious stock-photo images. For example, here’s a woman playing VR with a PlayStation 2 controller, and a VR thing that holds a phone. There are just so many things wrong with it. But, for the purposes of this tutorial let’s try and cut her out.

Now you can use the quick selection tool, maybe you’re familiar with that. And that allows you to sort of paint a selection onto the person, but you’ll find that when you cut them out it normally has quite a choppy edge. So what you want to do is, with this quick selection tool selected, or any of these selection tools, you want to go to ‘Select Subject’. 

 

That’s going to automatically create a selection from the most prominent object in the image. When you do this, you’ll see that it instantly creates a cutout of her. You’ll see it even manages to grab some of the finer details like the hair, but you may find that it takes some parts out of the image that you wanted to stay in. 

If that happens, don’t worry – simply hold Shift and you can paint that part of the selection back on. Alternatively, if it has selected something that you don’t want in your image, you can hold Alt/Option and paint the area you wish to remove from the selection.

 

So that’s a really quick way of doing it. You can cut them with Command+X and then paste them on a newly created layer with Command+Shift+V. You can now replace the background with a colour or anything you like, really! 

But what happens if you have someone that’s on a busier background? It’s not often that you get a photo of someone against a plain or a single-colour background. Well, let’s go ahead and follow the same steps that we did before. We’ll click Select Subject, and as we saw before Photoshop has still done a pretty good job of getting that cutout, despite the busy background.

To refine our selection even further, let’s click on Select and Mask, next to Select Subject. That’s going to put you in a new window.

 

You can select a host of different view settings with a drop-down box, but don’t worry – this isn’t actually going to change your background colour. It’s just an easier way of seeing what you have selected.  Personally, I go with ‘On Black’ or ‘Overlay’, but play around with it and see whatever you prefer. Of course, you can change them as you go.

The first thing you want to do with this is you want to scroll down to ‘Decontaminate Colours’. What that will do is take away any bleeding colour or white from around their edge. After selecting that, scroll up and increase your edge detection radius to automatically detect the edges.

 

So what if there are still details that have been missed, like the hand up here? Don’t worry! We’ve got two tools here, the ‘Refine Edge Brush’ tool and the ‘Brush’ tool. The Refine Edge Brush allows us to paint onto the unwanted part or colour on the image and tell Photoshop, “We don’t want this part.” Let’s go ahead and hit ‘Okay’ on that, and as you can see, that gives us a pretty good cutout. 

 

Now, this creates a mask on your original layer, so you can transform it and move it around. Alternatively, you can right-click and convert your layer to a smart object. This means if you scale or move your image around, you’re not going to lose any resolution.

If for some reason you want to edit your cutout even finer, you can right-click again, and Rasterize the layer. Once this is done, you can use tools like the Eraser tool to remove parts of your image.

Okay, so what if you want video thumbnails like the big YouTube stars and have your cut out images with a white stroke around them? Don’t try and do that to the selections we’ve created using the first two methods as the end result will be very messy. Instead – let’s use the Pen tool.

 

The Pen tool can be a bit fiddly, but here are a few quick tips to help you on your way to Pen mastery.

Create a new point – Left click

Create a curve – Left Click, hold and drag

Make next point a right angle from the previous point – Hold Alt/Option and click on the centre of the point

Adjust existing curve – Hold Command, click on the end of the line sticking out from your curved point, and drag it to adjust as needed.

With this knowledge at your disposal, go around your image and manually create a selection of your subject. Anytime you get to hair, don’t try and cut around individual hairs, just stick to the main shape. 

 

After that’s been done, close the path by clicking on your first point to connect it up, then right-click and make a selection. Make sure that the Feather Radius is set to zero, and then we have our selection!

Now we can cut and paste this selection to a new layer, and by double-clicking on your layer in the layers panel, you can apply a stroke over the top. Give it a nice, clean-cut, white stroke around the outside. Look at that – we’re ready to put that on a thumbnail!

 

Now bear in mind the stroke amount will stay the same regardless of the size. If you don’t want that to be the case, you can right-click on the layer, and you can Rasterize the layer style. This will keep the stroke the same thickness as you scale your image and move it around.

 

One final alternative is using the site Remove.bg. There’s been a lot of LinkedIn posts recently highlighting Remove.bg and the fact that you can just upload an image, and it will automatically remove the background for you. It’s a very clever bit of software, but personally, I don’t use it. For me, I feel like it’s actually quicker for me to do it in Photoshop using the three methods we’ve already covered.

Remove.bg does cost money as well for a high-resolution image. If you are cutting people out a lot, this service may be worth it for you. Give it a try, and see what option works best for you, ultimately. 

 

Okay, so that was a quick rundown on how to cut people out on Photoshop! I hope you learnt something you can now use on your path to Photoshop Mastery!

Join us next time where I will teach you how to cut people out of your life! Only kidding…

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What Is Off-Page SEO? Techniques & Ranking Factors

What Is Off-Page SEO? Techniques & Ranking Factors

What Is Off-Page SEO? Techniques & Ranking Factors

What Is Off-Page SEO? Techniques & Ranking Factors

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See below, the transcript from this episode of Giant Wednesday if videos aren’t your preferred method to consume digital skills. See also the Giant Cheat Sheet from this episode.

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Would you launch your brand into space to boost website traffic?

Well, you don’t have to… but it would get people talking about you, wouldn’t it!? I mean… it worked for Elon. 

Today we’re talking about how we can get others talking about and signposting to your website to increase traffic.

Yep, that’s right, we’re covering off-page SEO in this week’s episode of GIANT Wednesday.

 

Hi, I’m Justine from Sleeping Giant Media and I’m here today to talk to you about off-page SEO, what it is, what’s important to know, and how you can do it well.

If you like what I have to say in today’s video then make sure to subscribe to our channel where we release digital marketing skills-based videos every week! 

So, today we’re talking about the things you can do to make the most out of what happens outside of your website in order to boost your SEO activity, otherwise known as off-page SEO.

This stuff is important because whilst we don’t know the full algorithmic workings for how search engines rank sites, we do know that factors like relevance, authority and trust are super important.

Off-page SEO elements can help to build these areas, and give you access to signals that boost authority and build trust in the eyes of both the search engines and us mere mortals.

There’s a common feeling that off-page SEO is hard work because a lot of the time it’s out of your control – and in that sense, it’s true. 

But that’s why it’s such an important ranking factor! If something’s harder to get, then it’s harder to manipulate, and ultimately that makes it a more reliable source to search engines when it’s trying to work out how to place websites in the rankings.

Off-page SEO includes things like social media, link building, and local SEO – the things that can help generate referral traffic back to your site.

It helps to bring those potential customers and visitors to your site, where your on-page SEO work can then take over and make sure they have an awesome digital experience. 

Works together nicely, doesn’t it?

One of the major players in off-page SEO is links.

This is quite simply a link to your site that sits on someone else’s. But, as with all things in digital marketing, relevancy is key.

Having links from high-quality sites to yours is a trust signal for search engines, proving to them you’re trusted by others and therefore they can trust you too. 

You want to focus on obtaining high equity links that come from authoritative sites and are relevant to your brand.

Is there a leader in your industry, someone everyone looks up to and trusts? Try and work with them to get links to your site – whether that’s through a blog post, a directory or something else equally valuable.

These can either develop naturally as these companies find you themselves, or you can get in touch to explain who you are and what you do, seeing if you can find some neutral ground to make some collaborative content.

Whilst links are essentially the backbone of off-page SEO, there are other things to consider too – from your social media presence to guest blogging opportunities, to really any other way that can help to create a buzz around your brand.

When another brand mentions you online, whether they link to you or not, is a great way to go about this. 

Factor ways into your marketing activity that can help you to increase the number of brand mentions you’re getting. This could be in other people’s content, on social media channels or forums.

Things like user-generated content and collaborations are a great example to get brand mentions – maybe you could do some blogger outreach, looking to either guest-blog or have guest writers for your own in order to extend your reach.

Try not to think of this as a selling tactic, but rather an opportunity to increase your audience’s affinity to your brand. This will set you on the right path for successful off-page SEO.

Keep in mind that your offline marketing activity may inadvertently help to boost your off-page SEO efforts too! 

If you’re planning on hosting an event, running a pop-up, initiating a marketing stunt or any other kind of activity… make it something people will want to talk about, and then you’ve got yourself some brand mentions. 

An example of such is Tesla… back in 2018 when they launched a car into space, they then saw a dramatic spike in published articles mentioning the car brand and linking to the Tesla site.

Whilst you might not be in a position to launch your product into space, you get the idea, and if you can launch things into space, give us a call. (*whispered* Luke really wants to go to the moon.)

So, that was a whistle-stop tour of off-page SEO – essentially, things you can do outside of your immediate website to drive traffic there.

Get people talking about you in one way or another, and if they provide a direct link to you, then even better.

 

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