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SEO Web Design / SEO  / Do you know headless? And what brands fared well in the pandemic; Tuesday’s daily brief

Do you know headless? And what brands fared well in the pandemic; Tuesday’s daily brief

Search Engine Land’s daily brief features daily insights, news, tips, and essential bits of wisdom for today’s search marketer. If you would like to read this before the rest of the internet does, sign up here[1] to get it delivered to your inbox daily.

Good morning, Marketers, do you think headless is happening? 

Based on your answers to last week’s survey, I’d say… no. Not quite yet, anyway. Of the 192 respondents to the question “Have you ever heard of a headless content management system?” just 58% of you said “yes.” And, since having heard of something is a far cry from adopting it for your business, it appears the headless CMS is just gaining a foothold.

Have you ever heard of a headless content management system?

Many believe headless can deliver SEO benefits like user experience, performance and security  — depending on how it’s implemented, of course. We’ll be exploring these trends and more driving interest in headless CMSs in a Martech Intelligence Report to be released in April, so stay tuned for that if you’re looking to get up to speed.

Thanks so much for sharing your experience. This week, we’re asking: How has your brand (or your client’s brand) shifted its marketing focus in this pandemic year?[2]  

Read on to learn how other brands have been successful in tapping into changing consumer sentiment, and for a look at the potential impact of Google’s career certificates. 

Pamela Parker,
Research Director

What a difference a year makes: Prophet’s Brand Relevance Index

We’ve seen a lot of reflection over the past week or so, as we’ve now experienced a full year of pandemic living. Through it all, consumers have been buying — albeit in different ways and through different channels — and businesses have been adjusting. 

This past week the Prophet consultancy released the findings of its regular Brand Relevance Index research[3], after surveying 13,000 U.S. consumers about the relevance of brands to their lives. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the firm says that “last year’s incalculable turbulence has shaken up the Prophet Brand Relevance Index as never before.”

The graphic above shows the brands that gained or lost the most relevance between the company’s 2019 survey and its most recent one. Key themes the most relevant brands tapped into: Comfort, Connection, Joy, Truth and Purpose. 

Why we care. The past year has brought a great number of changes in all of our lives and, for many, this has resulted in a re-evaluation of priorities. Understanding buyers’ changing mindsets is an important ingredient for ensuring your brand delivers what people are looking for, both in your marketing and through your products. 

How ad design impacts sales 

Market research firm Dynata has again teamed up with creative software company Celtra to investigate how ads affect consumers[4]. Previously, they discovered[5] that repetitive messaging can turn people off. It makes sense that marketing and creative teams would want to increase the variety of messaging through a wider selection of ads, emails and other creative assets. There is a downside to this higher volume of creative, however. It risks diminishing the quality of creative. What are the stakes for poor design when creative is scaled up? The results from 1,000 U.S. consumers surveyed report that:

  • More than half (52%) of consumers have been deterred from a purchase because of poor ad design;
  • 85% of shoppers say they are more likely to trust a brand with high-quality and well-designed ads; and
  • 74% of consumers are more loyal to brands with consistent messaging and design.

Why we care. The biggest takeaway from this survey is how it connects design with the larger mission of branding and brand safety. It’s all about impressions, and not just the kind that marketers count when their ad shows up in front of audiences. It turns out that there are good impressions and bad ones that stem purely from design. Even when the message is on target and brand-safe, shoddy graphics could still sour the consumer’s perception of the brand.

Consumers support brands that do social good  

New research from the Channel Factory[6] confirms that brand values are becoming increasingly important to consumers. 69% of consumers prefer to buy from brands committed to socially conscious causes. Causes include donating to charities or responding to climate change. 68% prefer to buy from brands that are committed to developing positive digital environments and 60% prefer to buy from brands committed to diversity and inclusion in these environments. 

It’s also important to consumers that brands align their messages with the right content (part of Channel Factory’s offering): 54% of consumers said they would have a negative opinion of brands that allow their ads to be aligned with content made by creators who don’t share their values. 

The research is based on a survey of 1,000 consumers, aged 18-65, 53% women and 47% men.

Why we care. As so often with these surveys, the results are inclined to indicate a need for the sponsor’s services. But in this case, we don’t doubt that the research reflects a powerful and cementing trend. Consumers want values-based relationships with brands, not just transactional relationships — and brands must reflect their values in where they choose to advertise. You can hear more about brand values and the importance of diversity and inclusion in the opening keynote at MarTech, 11 a.m. ET today.

Register here.[7]

Core Web Vitals, Facebook user sentiments about vaccines, and preventing data bias in ads

SEO: How to audit Core Web Vitals. Knowing what Core Web Vitals are is one thing, but finding a way to audit and communicate Core Web Vitals[8] issues to clients in a way that is both useful and actionable is a challenge that SEOs across the globe are facing. This audit process is designed to provide real details, examples and data to work with when tackling Core Web Vitals issues.

SOCIAL: Facebook conducts user study about vaccine doubts. Hesitancy around vaccines existed before both social media and COVID-19, but new data from Facebook[9] finds that a small group of users is fueling the majority of distrust around vaccines on the platform.

PPC: 85% of consumers say they’ll only consider a brand if they trust the brand says Microsoft Advertising research[10]. In a blog post earlier this month, the company discusses ways to prevent data bias in your ads. 

College degree not required: How Google’s career certificates could disrupt the college degree

About 20% of Gen Z and young millennials say they may choose to skip the traditional education route–forgoing college and jumping straight into the workforce[11]. I remember hearing this statistic at an event a few years back, and it didn’t strike me as strange. You can learn just about anything now on YouTube or another online course platform.

With COVID-19 also disrupting the job market even further, Google is stepping in to offer career certificates “designed to help people bridge any skills gap and get qualifications in high-paying, high-growth job fields,” says Justin Bariso with Inc.[12] “Google says this year alone, searches like ‘how to find a job with no experience or ‘great jobs without a degree’ spiked more than 750 percent.”

Courses include career certificates in project management, data analytics, and user experience (UX) design and a new Associate Android Developer Certification course. The program also partners with over 130 employers who are committed to hiring graduates of Google’s certificate program. Plus, the company has edited its job search feature to make it easier for people to find jobs if they have no college degree and no experience.

Read the details here.[13]

About The Author

Pamela Parker[14] is Research Director at Third Door Media’s Content Studio, where she produces Martech Intelligence Reports and other in-depth content for digital marketers in conjunction with Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, MarTech Today and Digital Marketing Depot. Prior to taking on this role at TDM, she served as Content Manager, Senior Editor and Executive Features Editor. Parker is a well-respected authority on digital marketing, having reported and written on the subject since its beginning. She’s a former managing editor of ClickZ and has also worked on the business side helping independent publishers monetize their sites at Federated Media Publishing. Parker earned a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.


  1. ^ sign up here (
  2. ^ How has your brand (or your client’s brand) shifted its marketing focus in this pandemic year? (
  3. ^ Brand Relevance Index research (
  4. ^ how ads affect consumers (
  5. ^ they discovered (
  6. ^ from the Channel Factory (
  7. ^ Register here. (
  8. ^ audit and communicate Core Web Vitals (
  9. ^ data from Facebook (
  10. ^ Microsoft Advertising research (
  11. ^ straight into the workforce (
  12. ^ Justin Bariso with Inc. (
  13. ^ Read the details here. (
  14. ^ Pamela Parker (

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