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Digital Marketing News: Shifting B2B Buyer Behaviors, Brands Evolve Crisis Response, Bad Data’s Effect on B2B Firms, & Twitter Shares New Data With Advertisers

2020 April 17 MarketingCharts Chart

How B2B Buyer Behavior Has Changed in Light of COVID-19, and What Marketers and Sellers Can Do Now
82 percent of B2B buyers said they were concerned or strongly concerned about the possibility of a pandemic-sparked recession, while 30 percent have reported spending more on videoconferencing software — two of several findings of interest to digital marketers in a recently-released survey examining B2B buyer shifts. eMarketer

How Bad Data Hurts B2B Companies [Infographic]
Just 33 percent of marketers say they can rely on their customer relationship management (CRM) software, and 88 percent said that bad data has a direct impact on their company’s bottom line — two of the findings in a new infographic look at the effect of poor data on B2B firms. MarketingProfs

The Evolving Discussion Around COVID-19 and How Brands Have Responded [Infographic]
Brands have used Twitter the most often to mention the global health crisis, according to recently-released survey data examining how brands are using social media in crisis management planning. Social Media Today

Social Media Users Value Brands Responsive To COVID-19 Crisis
83% of social media users expect brands to address the health crisis in their ads, with 31 percent saying they appreciate brands offering products suited for remote work, 28 percent promoting social distancing, and 24 percent mentioning brand philanthropic efforts, according to newly-released survey data of interest to marketers. MediaPost

Why It Takes So Long to Apply Data-Driven Insights to Campaigns
Just 5 percent of marketers say they can immediately go from data gathering to actionable intelligence, while 31 do so later than they would like, and some 3 percent take so long that the output is irrelevant, according to new survey data. MarketingProfs

Instagram Live Streams Can Now Be Viewed on the Web
Facebook-owned Instagram has made it possible for its users to view its previously app-only Instagram Live video streams from its website, bringing marketers a new cross-promotion opportunity with the feature, the firm recently announed. Social Media Today

2020 April 17 Statistics Image

Twitter notifies users that it’s now sharing more data with advertisers
Twitter has notified its users that a previously available user privacy ad interaction sharing option has been shuttered for all, in a move that will bring more audience data to advertisers, the firm recently announced. The Verge

What Customers Need to Hear from You During the COVID Crisis
The types of brand stories companies should be telling their customers include those that put solutions before sales, according to a new examination by Harvard Business School of interest to B2B marketers. Harvard Business School

Facebook Has Launched a New Tournaments Option for People to Create Their Own Gaming Events
With online gaming forecast to produce $196 billion by 2022, a recent move by social giant Facebook allowing its users to create their own private or public gaming events could bring brands new opportunities for reaching its sizable gaming audience. Social Media Today

Content Plays Various Roles in Brands’ Customer Engagement Strategies
61 percent of marketing leaders said that interactive branded content communicates brand promise and value, according to recently-released survey data from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, with 51 percent saying that it delivers thought-leadership, and 45 percent saying that interactive content helps communicate with customers, partners and prospects. MarketingCharts

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 April 17 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at digital transformation and organizational change by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Grinning Tim Cook Announces New iPhone Will No Longer Be Compatible With AirPods — The Onion

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden — Leadership and Engagement In a Time of Crisis [Podcast] — Traject
  • Amie Krone — Navigating the new world of working at home — Chaska Herald
  • Dell, SAP — Building A Perfect B2B Influencer Program During Imperfect Times — Forbes
  • Lee Odden — Marketing During a Pandemic – Resources for Small Businesses in the Coronavirus Crisis [Roundup] — Simple Machines

Do you have your own top B2B content marketing or digital advertising stories from the past week? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for taking the time to join us, and we hope that you’ll return again next Friday for more of the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.

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What B2B Marketers Need to Know about Optimizing Content with Video Analytics

Video analytics concept image.

Between stay-at-home orders and the manic Minnesota weather, I’ve found myself at home for the last four weeks looking for something, really anything, to occupy time. One can only take so many walks in a day. Naturally, I turn to YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and all of the other video streaming sites for entertainment.

As a marketer, this makes me wonder what those streaming sites are seeing in their analytics. Obviously, views must be up by an unbelievable amount. But, what about engagement? How many people are completing the videos they start? Are they watching more? Unless it’s Tiger King, the answer is unknown (it’s impossible to look away from Tiger King). But those streaming sites aren’t the only ones that might have some fascinating new data to look at.

Social sites and YouTube provide a host of different metrics and analytics options. While each data point serves a purpose, there are a few key performance indicators (KPIs) that are more important to track to better understand your audience and improve content performance.

Video Analytics and Content Benchmarks

A recent study from video streaming site Vidyard established some useful benchmarks for video content:

  • 52% of viewers watch a video all the way through
  • 68% will watch the entire video if it’s less than 60 seconds
  • 25% will finish a video if it’s more than 20 minutes

The same study found that the most common business-created videos are webinars, demos and social media videos, and are most likely to be published on websites, social media and YouTube.

Of course, these benchmarks will vary by audience, by industry, by the light of the silvery moon — basically, take them as a starting point and customize from there. Here’s the process we recommend.

Using Video Analytics to Optimize Your Video Content

1 — Use Demographics to Understand Your Audience

The first step to increasing content engagement and effectiveness is to gain a better understanding of your audience. To do that, it’s critical to monitor demographic data in your video analytics platform. Most will give you basic demographic data, like location, age, language and device use. Some will give you user interest data, income estimates and even company data.

Knowing this information helps you create more relevant content. For example, if you find that your audience primarily speaks English, but there is a growing subset of French speakers accessing your videos on mobile devices, you might want to consider adding French caption options for mobile users.

If you see an increase in viewers from a specific geographic area, you will want to look at the analytics for that region to determine what content is attracting the new audience and how they are engaging while they’re watching and immediately afterward.

2 — Use Awareness and Engagement Metrics to Understand Audience Demand

Understanding your audience is important at a strategic level, but understanding audience demand is tactical gold. Of course, this data will drive your go-forward strategy, but it will also help you improve performance right away by adjusting promotion tactics and featured content.

For example, if you see an uptick in video views week over week for a particular video, that indicates that the topic is becoming increasingly popular. To prove that, you will want to look at engagement metrics like watch time, clicks on your call to action (CTA), and subscribers gained or lost. If you see an uptick in views and a corresponding uptick in engagement, you’re going to want to feature that video more prominently. If you see an increase in negative engagement —  a loss of subscribers — or if viewers are dropping off right away, that might indicate your video doesn’t quite match the intent for that topic.

This granular view of data can help you improve and optimize your existing content, create more strategic video content roadmaps, and provide viewers with content they want and need to make critical decisions later in the funnel.

“Understanding your audience is important at a strategic level, but understanding audience demand is tactical gold.” @Tiffani_Allen Click To Tweet

3 — Audit Your Video Library for Optimization Opportunities

Following the best practices for whichever video hosting platform you’re using can result in increased video visibility and better user experience. A great first step is to optimize video titles, descriptions, and tags. Then you can organize  your videos into different sections, playlists, or even channels to help the right audience find your content faster.

To determine your next steps, audit your existing video channels. Do you know at a glance what the video is about? Does the thumbnail image inspire a click? Does your channel, landing page or resource center adequately convey the type, purpose and content of your videos in a way that compels action?

If the answer is yes, go take a break. I recommend a few hours of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. It’s very soothing. But if the answer’s no, you’re not alone. And you do have the tools you need to create better video content. It’s all in your analytics.

As a quick disclaimer, if your videos are hosted on your website and you notice some odd user behavior patterns over the last month or so — increases in direct traffic, crazy long time on page — you might want to look into whether or not IPs are blocked for your team’s home IP addresses. Determine if the patterns are happening on a more global level, or if they’re localized to the geographic area surrounding your physical office.

If you want help with an audit, or just want to bounce some ideas around, we’re here to help. Tweet us @toprank or contact us to get started.

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The Biggest SEO Trend You’re Ignoring

The screenshot above is my Google traffic over the last 12 months.

As you can see, my traffic is growing. And there are many reasons for that, but there is one trend that’s really caused the majority of my SEO growth.

You might be thinking it is Ubersuggest because it makes up 22.4% of my traffic now. But Ubersuggest has been integrated into NeilPatel.com for years, so that’s not it.

Sure, that is responsible for some of my growth, but it’s not responsible for it skyrocketing like it has been.

So, what do you think it is?

Well, I’ll give you a hint…

My traffic per region

Let’s look at my SEO traffic in a few different regions.

Here’s my traffic in the United States over the last 12 months:

Now here’s my traffic in the United Kingdom:

And here are the stats for Canada:

And Australia:

You can see that they have all increased, but not enough to cause the big spikes.

Now let’s look at some of the international markets we have been focusing on over the last few years.

Here’s Spain:

Here’s India:

And here is the first international market we expanded to, Brazil.

As you can see, the international markets are growing at a much faster pace, especially Brazil. But that is because we have been focusing on our SEO in Brazil more than any other country (outside of our main English markets).

Why you may ask?

Because a Google employee told me to

The most vital SEO lesson I learned came from a friend at Google, but they didn’t tell me anything that was really a secret…

They told me that the majority of the searches on the web aren’t done in English, they are done in other languages.

And in the English markets, everyone is competing, which means tons of sites and content from Google to choose from when it comes to determining which site should rank number 1 for any given keyword.

But the international markets are the opposite. There is a lot of demand but not enough sites for Google to choose from when it comes to rankings.

So even though there are tons of algorithm updates and SEO is becoming more difficult, it isn’t always the case with many international markets.

And the graphs above show it. As you can see, I’m getting huge traffic growth in those regions.

So, what should you do? Especially if you are starting off and don’t have a big budget or any budget for that matter…

Follow Amazon

Wherever you see big corporations like Amazon investing, it means there is money to be made in those regions.

Amazon has invested billions into regions like India:

It’s safe to say over the years Amazon will pour in well over $10 billion into India.

That’s a big bet for someone to make. And you can assume it’s a calculated bet because they think there is much more money to be made.

And it’s not just India…

Amazon is investing $236 million into Brazil to boost up their cloud infrastructure. And they’ve invested over $2.26 billion dollars in France. They are pretty much going after the whole world.

As you can see from the graph, Germany is its second-biggest market and Japan is also up there. But what’s interesting is the green bar as that represents the “rest of the world” and that green bar has been growing at a fast pace.

Now, I get that none of us are Amazon and we don’t have huge budgets, so I wanted to take a minute and break down how you can do this on a global scale without breaking the bank.

International SEO on a budget

When I first started to expand internationally, my business was much smaller and we didn’t have much money, if any, to spend on international SEO.

Yes, I am an SEO, so you would think that it makes it easier, but not really because the only language I am fluent in is English.

And if you fast forward to today, I’m still only fluent in English, but we have 7 offices around the world.

And we did it without laying out any of our own money. Yes, it did take time and it will for you too, but that’s the only way to do it when you are starting off and are small.

So how did we expand internationally without spending upfront?

We partnered with locals.

Why not find people in these regions who speak English as well as the local language of the country you are trying to expand to?

There are so many people without jobs, you’ll be shocked by how many people will be open to a partnership. All you have to do is look at Facebook groups and forums to find people in your space who live overseas.

Here’s how I structure each partnership:

  • I have the person, or a group of people, translate my content to that region’s language.
  • I have them read my English blog posts so they can learn SEO (if they don’t already know it… nowadays I look for people who already know SEO as I have been doing this long enough and can spend some money).
  • In exchange for them growing my traffic in that region, I give them a portion of the profits I make within that region. You can structure where you give them anywhere from 10% to 30%. You don’t want to go too low on the profit-sharing as you want them to work hard, but you also don’t want to go too high where you are giving away everything.
  • They put in the work each day, and they have 3 months to show some traction, and within 6 months they should have significant growth. Keep in mind it is less competitive, so it is easier to get results. You can also work with them on creating goals and milestones.
  • If they don’t show results, the partnership ends, and I don’t have to give them anything. If they show results, we keep pushing forward.

Now that we’ve covered structuring your international SEO expansion, let’s go over how you do it.

International SEO

I’ve written a handful of blog posts that break down the steps on growing your traffic in new languages and countries, but before I share them, I wanted to break down the 2 biggest lessons I learned:

  1. Transcribe the content, not translate – when you work with a partner overseas, they may think you want your content translated or that you want content written in their language just like how people would write the content in the US. That won’t work because cultures are different and keywords are different, so transcribe the content and adjust it to each country.
  2. You want a partner that lives in that country – if you expand into a country where you don’t have a partner on the ground you won’t see great results. By having people on the ground, you can more easily build up your brand, which has a big impact on rankings.

Here are some resources that will show you how to do international SEO:

  • This post will break down how to create a global SEO strategy.
  • And follow this to setup SEO correctly for different languages and countries. Keep in mind that Google doesn’t penalize for duplicate content, so don’t worry about having similar content or the same content for different regions.
  • Here’s how to expand internationally profitably.
  • This will teach you the fundamentals of reaching a global audience.

Funny enough, one of the reasons I created Ubersuggest was to build a tool that would help my team and I expand internationally.

Here’s a feature in Ubersuggest that will help you, that most people don’t know about.

So head over to Ubersuggest and type in a competitor that you know is big and has a global presence.

I want you to click on the “Top Pages” navigational option in the sidebar.

This shows you all of the top pages that your competitors have.

But don’t focus on those results. I want you to look at the regions that make up some of your competitions’ traffic… you’ll see that number next to each flag.

Click on one of the regions that you are considering expanding into. You’ll now see the results adjusted.

As you can see from the screenshot above, those are all of the pages on my site that are really popular in Brazil.

Now, I want you to click on “view all” under “Est. Visits” as that will show you all of the keywords that drive traffic to that page.

This will provide you with a laundry list of international keywords that you can give to your team so they can start creating content to go after them.

I also want you to click on “view all” under “Backlinks” as this will show you who links to your competition. You can then create a list of sites to reach out to so you can get them to link to you.

That’s the simple strategy we used to hit it hard in regions like Brazil and what we are also doing in countries like India, Spain, Mexico, France, Germany, and countless other countries.

Conclusion

English is a great language. And I love the United States as well as other English-speaking countries.

But that’s not where the opportunity is. There is more opportunity in global markets, which is why you need to follow the trend of international SEO.

Even if some of these countries don’t have as high of a GDP compared to the United States, it’s fine. Remember there aren’t as many competitors, which means you will have a lot of opportunities to still do really well.

So what region are you going to expand to first?

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Marketing Articles

B2B Marketing News: The B2B Categories Rising During Crisis, New Search Traffic Data, B2B Marketplaces See Growth, & Google’s New Ad Features

2020 April 24 MarketingCharts Chart

10 B2B Tech Categories Gaining Interest Because of COVID-19
Telemedicine, electronic signature, online conferencing, and mobile app development were the most swiftly-rising B2B technology software categories, according to recently-released report data, showing rises of as much as 613 percent since the global health crisis began. MarketingProfs

Magnifying the Massive Growth of B2B Marketplaces
87 percent of B2B buyers and 97 percent of millennial B2B buyers purchase through online marketplaces, according to recently-released report data, also showing that millennials have preferred review websites and web search as top pre-purchase research resources. G2

Exclusive: Mary Meeker’s coronavirus trends report
Mary Meeker, publisher of the Internet trends report since 1995, recently released a special coronavirus trends update, which found that on-demand platforms and online marketplaces have been seeing big numbers and high growth, among other items of interest to B2B marketers. Axios

LinkedIn Is Working on Polls and a New Hashtag ‘Presentation Mode
Microsoft-owned LinkedIn (client) has been testing poll and hashtag presentation mode features, items that could eventually become part of the professional social network for its 675+ million members. Social Media Today

Marketing Benchmarks and Trends Overview: The Surprising Impact of COVID-19 on Organic Search Traffic
Some 63 percent of marketers said that they are increasing their focus on SEO due to the ongoing global health crisis, while organic search traffic for overall B2B industries grew by 11 percent during the first quarter of 2020, according to new survey data of interest to digital marketers. Skyword

How Different Generations of Consumers Use Social Media [Infographic]
Gen Z is most likely to use Instagram to follow brands, while millennials and Gen X prefer Facebook, according to recently-released business and consumer survey data, which also showed that when it came to making purchasing decisions, YouTube was the leading social media platform for members of all three demographics. Social Media Today

2020 April 24 Statistics Image

Millennials, Gen Z Want Distraction—and Action—From Brands During Crisis
During the pandemic, baby boomers say that they want brands to support their employees and donate to the needy, while younger generations say they are paying more attention to how brands are advertising, according to recently-released survey data. Adweek

Facebook Is Testing Longer-Lasting Stories, With an Option to Keep Stories Active for 3 Days
Facebook has been testing an option that allows ephemeral stories to extend their traditional publishing lifespan from 24-hour to three days, a feature that could eventually attract more brands to Facebook Stories. Social Media Today

Google Ads Data Hub testing audience lists for display campaigns, adding new features
Google has begun testing an array of new features within its Google Ads Data Hub — changes that could bring marketers the ability to work with same-day impression data, new sand-boxing options, and more, the search giant recently announced. Marketing Land

Strength in Customer Journey Mapping A Distinguishing Factor for B2B CX Leaders
Mapping out customer journeys to learn key touch-points is the primary characteristic of B2B marketing customer experience (CX) leaders, according to newly-released survey data, followed by collecting and acting on Net Promoter Scores. MarketingCharts

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 April 24 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at urgency without clarity on digital transformation by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Facebook Employee Wastes Whole Day on Facebook Again — The Hard Times

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden — Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever For The C-Suite — Forbes
  • Lee Odden — 28 Social Media Experts to Learn From (Listed by Platform and Skill) — Social Agency Scout
  • Joshua Nite — 10 Tips for Changing Business Strategies During Times of Crisis — Small Business Trends
  • Lee Odden — Up next on Live with Search Engine Land: Content marketing during COVID-19 — Search Engine Land

Do you have your own top B2B content marketing or digital advertising stories from the past week? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thank you for taking the time to join us, and we hope you’ll return next Friday for more of the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.

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Should B2B Marketers Embrace Ephemeral Content?

Burning Matches Emphemeral Content Image

One great thing about being a young Gen X’er: There was no social media during my junior high and high school years. 

Young millennials weren’t so lucky. They chronicled their adolescence in excruciating detail on Myspace, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, every half-formed thought and laundry-detergent-eating stunt preserved forever.

So it’s no surprise that the youngest social media users leapt on Snapchat when it launched. Snapchat Stories provided the feeling of togetherness that social media’s good at, without the potential to embarrass your future self.

Other platforms were quick to buy into the idea of ephemeral content — content that expires and is deleted after a set period of time, usually 24 hours. Instagram’s creatively-named offering, Instagram Stories, boasts 500 million daily users. That’s more daily users for a single feature on Instagram than there are for the entirety of Twitter. 

But don’t count Twitter out just yet — they’re testing their own ephemeral content, called, unfortunately, “Fleets.” Even the level-headed folks at LinkedIn* are testing LinkedIn Stories with a handful of users.

For B2B content marketers, ephemeral content seems like the opposite of everything we try to do. DISPOSABLE content? No SEO value, no repurposing potential… what’s the point?

Should B2B marketers go ephemeral? It depends. Here’s what you need to know.

Ephemeral Content for B2B Marketers

Before we get into specifics, you should first consider ephemeral content the same way you would any content. I’d recommend asking the following four questions.

Four Questions B2B Marketers Should Ask about Ephemeral Content

These questions aren’t unique to ephemeral content, of course. They’re questions worth asking for any new marketing channel or tactic. They are:

  • Is my audience on this channel?
  • Is my audience consuming content on this channel?
  • Can we produce high-quality content for this channel?
  • Does this channel offer a logical next step for our audience?

For most B2b marketers, the answers to all these questions is “yes.” If your audience includes millennials or young Gen Xers, they’re likely on Instagram Stories at least. They’re used to the format and will likely be open to ephemeral content on LinkedIn and Twitter as it rolls out.

Can your brand produce high-quality ephemeral content? That’s one of the chief selling points of Stories — they’re easy and cheap to produce. There are robust tools for creating them built into the platforms that host them. And audiences expect a more informal, less-produced content experience.

As far as next steps go, Instagram Stories are actually more marketer-friendly than Instagram posts. Users can swipe up in a story to go directly to another piece of content, a lead gen form, or any other hyperlink. There’s no “Please visit the link in our bio” for Stories — it’s an immediate pass-through.

Now, if your offering skews more to the Boomer demographic, or you’re courting people too hip — or technology-averse — to be on social media, you might hold off. But it’s safe to say the majority of B2B marketers can get some juice out of ephemeral content.

How to Make the Most of Ephemeral Content for B2B

You don’t get the opportunity to build a content library with ephemeral content. By its nature, it should serve a different purpose than blog posts or eBooks. Think about building an audience and engaging them on a regular basis, rather than creating a library people wander in and out of.

Focus on Your People, Not Your Product

There are plenty of outlets for you to serve up product information and sales brochures. Ephemeral content is better suited for highlighting the people who work for your company. Focus on what makes them unique, what makes them relatable, and what makes them excellent at serving your customers. 

Mailchimp is great at this type of story. Their “Day in the Life” series highlights and celebrates individual employees.

“Ephemeral content is better suited for highlighting the people who work for your company. Focus on what makes them unique, what makes them relatable, and what makes them excellent at serving your customers.” @NiteWrites Click To Tweet

Be Passionate about Purpose

For a growing majority of consumers, what a brand sells is less important than what the brand stands for. We’re looking to buy from businesses that share our values, and B2B buyers are no exception. Ephemeral content is a good way to get the message out about your brand’s larger purpose in the world, to highlight your vision for the future and your progress towards those goals. 

Lush is great at blending their purpose with their more product-centered ephemeral content. It only takes a few Instagram Stories to see exactly where they stand and what they value. 

Show Your Personality

If your organization is still looking for permission to loosen up a little, ephemeral content is your permission slip. It’s a format with lower audience expectations, one that’s focused on short-form, entertaining content, and one that won’t linger to haunt you until the end of time. 

So it’s well worth experimenting with your brand’s voice and personality. You may find that B2B buyers are just as starved for entertainment as the rest of us.

Cisco is absolutely killing it with their Stories right now. The playful, energetic tone isn’t what you would expect from a staid titan of industry, but it’s delightful to watch.

“If your organization is still looking for permission to loosen up a little, ephemeral content is your permission slip.” @NiteWrites Click To Tweet

Serialize Your Content

Ephemeral content is all about building an audience that will make your feed appointment viewing. Serialized content can help establish that habit. There are a few easy ways to serialize:

  • Establish regular features, like Mantra Monday, Thoughtful Thursday, or Whiskey Wednesday (okay, maybe not the last one)
  • Chop up a long-form video into segments and air them sequentially
  • Focus on a different department every week to explore your organization

For longer-form serialized content, it’s worth creating an IGTV Series. Series come with tools to help you create and promote new episodes to bring in subscribers. Check out General Electric’s Taking the World to Work series for inspiration.

Let’s Get Ephemeral!

Ephemeral content is one of the primary ways people are using social media — which means it’s relevant for any B2B business with an audience on social platforms. Adding ephemeral content to your content marketing strategy will exercise a different set of muscles than your regular content creation, but it’s a form that rewards continued experimentation.

Need help with ephemeral or evergreen content? Our content marketing team is ready.

* Note: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.