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What Does the End of Net Neutrality Mean for Digital Marketing and SEO?

Wednesday December 20, 2017

Reading Time: 8 minutes
net neutrality digital marketing

There’s been a flurry of public opposition following the FCC’s vote to repeal net neutrality, an Obama-era policy that requires the internet to treat all traffic equally.

As a company that specializes in digital marketing strategy for small businesses, Webconsuls is particularly invested in this topic. We help small companies leverage their budget to build a digital presence, and we rely on an open, fair playing field to do so.

Consumers are familiar with the doomsday scenarios such as having to pay to do a Google search or stream the entire season of “Stranger Things” in one sitting, but what are the implications for small businesses and online marketing?

What Is Net Neutrality?

There are internet service providers (ISPs): Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, etc. These companies want control over how their services are used. Then, there are companies that need the internet for their services. These range from major media companies like Google, Facebook and Netflix, to small businesses. They don’t want ISPs to prioritize specific data over other data.

Under net neutrality, ISPs must treat all data equally and not charge differently by user, website, platform, content, application, device, etc. With these rules in place, ISPs can’t block, slow down or charge for access to individual websites and online content.

The policy ensures that both massive media companies and small companies can share information and sell their services on a fair and level playing field, without restrictions imposed by ISPs.

Net Neutrality: The Consumer Perspective

There are a bunch of different models that hypothesize how non-neutrality might unfold for consumers. Some worry that the internet could become a “pay to play” scheme: consumers would have basic access to a select number of websites, and would have to pay more for more websites, improved connection, faster download times and streaming.

What Are the Implications for Small Businesses?

Digital marketing and free internet are inextricably linked. Net neutrality facilitates healthy competition between businesses of all sizes and industries, and there’s a real demand for digital marketing services, like SEO, PPC and content marketing, that drive web traffic.

When the internet is accessible to everyone, everyone gets a fair shot. Small businesses can compete with larger businesses without having to pay an ISP.

With non-neutrality, the tools used to control traffic–like organic SEO, PPC and content marketing–might not apply anymore. The “pay to play” scheme could apply to businesses too, which could have serious consequences for small businesses. Businesses could have to pay ISPs for a plan that allows them to reach consumers who aren’t paying for full-access plans, dipping into their marketing budgets.

A small business, even one that’s successful, probably doesn’t have millions of dollars to pay for a seat at the table. But larger businesses can afford to shell out the big bucks for preferential treatment from ISPs and outspend their competition.

What’s Next?

There’s still a lot we don’t know, and it’s difficult to predict what will happen because the repeal won’t become official for a few months, and congress can still overrule FCC authority to keep net neutrality in place.

Worst case scenario: The internet becomes a pay to play scheme, à la Portugal, for consumers and businesses.

Now more than ever, ISPs are under a scrutinizing spotlight and they don’t want to ruffle any feathers. If the repeal passes, consumers and businesses might not notice any changes to their internet service or traffic, but stay tuned and adaptable. Just because we won’t experience changes initially doesn’t mean we never will.

We’re venturing into uncharted territory, and it’s hard to tell how companies will proceed if the repeal is passed. For example, Google started as a search engine and content company. With Google Fiber, they’re now also an ISP. Comcast and AT&T, both ISPs, own NBCUniversal and DirecTV, respectively. Without net neutrality, it’s uncertain what these big players will do.

Until then, there are a few things you can do to stop the repeal from becoming law. Battle for the Net lets you see where your state’s members of Congress stand on net neutrality. They make it pretty easy to write or call your members of Congress, and they also have a map of scheduled community meetings, town halls and protests near you. If you own a small business, you have a unique perspective. Share it.

Reading Time: 8 minutes

In recent years, Facebook has zeroed in on video, which is the way an increasing number of users prefer to consume content. For marketers, video content is a goldmine. 64% of consumers report that watching a branded marketing video on Facebook has influenced a purchase decision within the last month.

Facebook is always releasing innovative new ways for brands to better engage with users. Cover videos are one of those innovations, and they’re only available on Facebook Pages. By putting dynamic creative content front and center on the Page cover, Facebook is hoping to fuel even more audience interaction.

Facebook cover videos were released in May 2017, and it’s been a pretty lengthy rollout. After getting off to a somewhat rocky start, Facebook seems to have gotten a handle on the quirks of cover videos. Over time, this feature has become more reliable and will continue to grow more reliable as time goes on.

Thinking about uploading a Facebook cover video to your Page? Below are practical tips on how to make and upload a video and optimize it for your audience.

Facebook Cover Video Requirements
Before you start editing a video, make sure it meets Facebook’s technical requirements:

  • MP4 or MOV format is recommended
  • 20-90 seconds long
  • At least 820 x 462 resolution

You may have existing video content in your business’s library. If not, stock video websites such as VideoHive and Pond5 offer affordable options. Video editing software like HitFilm and Filmora are easy to use and can help you create a final product that looks professional.

We recommend uploading video content with at least 1280 x 720 resolution, which will ensure that the video looks equally good on mobile and desktop. Desktop has a greater aspect ratio than mobile. Although an 820 x 462 resolution video may display perfectly on mobile, on desktop it will be cut off or display with the dreaded black bars to comply with desktop’s 16:9 aspect ratio.

How to Upload a Facebook Cover Video

  1. Access Facebook from your computer, not your phone. The cover video feature isn’t currently available via the mobile app.
  2. Click “Add a Cover” and select “Upload photo/video.”
  3. After the video is uploaded, reposition if you’d like. Click “Next.”
  4. Click the arrows to choose a thumbnail to serve as the cover image. Most users will see the cover video with no problem, but low bandwidth could prevent it from loading.
  5. Turn on the button that says “Automatically replay video in a loop” to make sure the content keeps playing.
  6. Click “Publish” to take your cover video live.

How to Optimize Your Facebook Cover Video
Your Facebook cover video is just one more way to drive engagement with your brand. Make your cover video pop by keeping these optimization tips in mind:

  • Less is more. Busy, fast-paced videos with a lot of jerky edits are more distracting and just plain annoying than they are engaging. When in doubt, keep it simple. Cinemagraphs, which are images that combine still and dynamic elements, are a great solution. They’re attention-grabbing and known to increase dwell times and click-through rates.
  • Cover videos are cropped to 820 x 462 on desktop and mobile. Part of your cover video will likely be cropped out, so make sure any text or important parts of an image are centralized to avoid being cut out.
  • Your video should make sense without sound. Just like the rest of video content on Facebook, video is automatically muted.
  • Cover videos loop automatically. Make sure you have a smooth transition between the end and the beginning of the video. Make the transition less choppy by adding your logo or a title.


Make Your Cover Video Work For You
You don’t have to be a Scorsese or Spielberg to create a Facebook cover video that drives engagement, but if your video editing chops aren’t up to par, Webconsuls can help.

Our video production services are the perfect solution for business owners who want to keep their marketing strategy current but don’t have time to assemble a worthwhile cover video. Contact Webconsuls to learn more about our video production services and how we can help you create a cover video that speaks to your brand and increases user engagement.