Instagram's new ad type targets shoppers:
The ad will be located inside of the Instagram Shop Tab, and will let you target users when they're in the mood to shop.
The global consulting market was worth $132 billion in 2020, with increases expected by the end of this year. Dru Riley explains how to tap in.
What if you didn't need Photoshop to create professional grade graphics? Founder Chris Gimmer's bootstrapped company hit $1 million in annual revenue with its online photo editor.
Want to share something with nearly 85,000 indie hackers? Submit a section for us to include in a future newsletter. —Channing
🛍 Instagram's New Ads
from the Growth & Acquisition Channels newsletter by Darko
Instagram has a new type of ad that targets shoppers. Here's how e-commerce founders can have their products seen by people who are ready to spend.
What's new: Instagram's new ads will be located inside the Instagram Shop Tab, and will allow you to target users when they're in a shopping mood.
Here's how it will look (notice the "Sponsored" text):
The opportunity: If you're into e-commerce, and want to catch people at the point where they're ready to buy, consider testing this ad format.
My prediction is that these ads will be more expensive than traditional Instagram ads, but they'll also convert better. At the end of the day, it's ROI that counts.
What's new: Google has begun rewriting title tags in search results. Here's what you can do about it.
If you've noticed that your page titles look different in Google's search results, you're not alone. Google has officially confirmed the new page title update, causing the SEO world to, well, panic.
Here's what we know about the update so far:
It affects a lot of sites: According to Semrush, Google dropped HTML title tag usage by 77%. That's a lot.
It's still in beta: Google opened a support thread where you can complain about edge cases. Here's an interesting one that I found (though it's now fixed):
The opportunity: This update will change lots of competitors' page titles to something they probably don't want. Be the first to adopt, and reap the benefits of higher CTRs in search results.
Apple's payment options
What's new: Apple has conceded. The company published a blog post where it announced plans for several updates for developers who publish apps on the App Store.
App developers will be able to email users about alternative payment methods outside of the App Store.
The catch: App developers can email users whose information was originally obtained outside of the app (not within it). I expect this to change though.
The opportunity (and promising future): The epic lawsuit that caused this Apple announcement is far from over. Companies suing Apple will probably request far more than this. There's also a pending bill in the US Congress that will force Apple and Google to allow developers to accept third-party payments, and list their apps on alternative app stores.
But even with this update, if you're a SaaS with a mobile app, you should be able to save money on commissions to spend elsewhere (like marketing).
Will you try Instagram's new ads? Share in the comments.
Discuss this story, or subscribe to Growth & Acquisition Channels for more.
📰 In the News
from the Volv newsletter by Priyanka Vazirani
🐉 The startup world is ditching "unicorns" for "dragons."
⌚️ Apple plans to add a blood pressure measure and thermometer in the next Apple Watch.
🏢 Remote work is slowing down office investments in major cities.
👗 3D-printing apparel could be the way forward for fashion brands.
🚔 TikTok’s latest challenge has users faking their own arrests.
Check out Volv for more 9-second news digests.
📑 Consulting Helps You Capture the Value You Create
from the Trends.vc newsletter by Dru Riley
The global consulting market was worth $132B in 2020, with the US market accounting for $64.4B. Here's how to hop onboard.
Why it matters
Consulting helps you learn more and earn more.
Look across environments, and capture more of the value that you create.
Clients lack the expertise to solve their own problems.
Consultants guide clients and implement solutions.
- More consultants will outsource non-core competencies like accounting (Bench), scheduling (SavvyCal), and entity setup (Stripe Atlas).
- Consultants will become more specialized. Outsourcing non-core competencies helps you focus. Kevin aggressively automates and updates processes to save time.
- Do great work. This is your best marketing. Remark-able work helps you live on referrals. Stewart Townsend hasn't worried about outbound lead generation in over a decade.
- Optimize for quality over quantity. Selling time doesn't scale. Work with better clients to earn more, instead of working more.
- Agencies have negative scale effects. As they grow, so do coordination costs. This leads to more revenue, but lower margins.
"I don't want to trade time for money."
You can skip steps in the entrepreneurial journey, but it tends to take longer. See the ladders of wealth creation.
"We already covered agencies."
We also covered the differences between consultants, agencies, and productized services. These are distinct.
Go here to get the Trends Pro report. It contains 200% more insights. You also get access to the entire back catalog and the next 52 Pro Reports.
Subscribe to Trends.vc for more.
🛠 Building in Public: Engage Your Audience in the Process
by Ivan Romanovich
Interactivity is a great opportunity to captivate readers. Let your audience participate in what you're doing.
Discuss this story.
📸 Chris Gimmer's Online Photo Editor Hit $1M ARR
from The Future of Work newsletter by Seth King
What if you didn’t need Photoshop to create professional grade graphics?
This idea could revolutionize the field of graphic design itself. This concept was the starting point for Snappa, an online graphic editor founded by Chris Gimmer and Marc Chouinard in 2015.
Completely bootstrapped, Snappa has been heralded by Zapier as a top social media image app. Part of its success comes down to its extensive template library, which serves as both a practical resource for its users, and as an SEO magnet for the site.
Indie Hackers had a chance to speak with Chris about his journey to $1M ARR.
When we cofounded Snappa, we were still working full-time at our day jobs. We also had this side project called BootstrapBay, which was a marketplace for bootstrapping templates. I wrote a blog post for BootstrapBay about where to get free stock photos, and the post ended up going viral.
Once that happened, we started ranking on the first page of Google for free stock photos. We were getting a ton of traffic. It was always a pain for me to produce the graphics for my blog posts, and since we had all of this traffic, we thought that it would be interesting if we could come up with our own free stock photo site.
We noticed that the really popular sites were posting 10 new photos every 10 days, but none of them had search functionality. We ended up launching StockSnap, a free stock photo site, and we used that platform to promote Snappa.
Early marketing strategies
The big thing for us was the free stock photo blog post, with a call-to-action in the introduction to check out Snappa.
We also had our own free stock photo site with links in the navigation bar that led back to Snappa. From day one, we had a couple thousand email addresses just from people signing up on the landing page. We had a consistent flow of new visitors from those two sources.
In the first year, that was the primary driver of traffic and leads. Once that started to get a little saturated, we really focused on content marketing and SEO.
Web browsers aren't meant to be design tools. I remember a couple of months after we launched Snappa, we put the paywall up and realized that, given the way we had built the MVP, a couple of features that we wanted to build were essentially going to be impossible. We ended up having to rewrite a big part of the app, which took three to four months. When you're launching a new app, you want to be obviously putting out new features and improving it, so it was a bit stressful to not be able to put out new features.
Doubling down on what works
SEO and content is part art and part science. In the beginning, it was a bit of trial and error in terms of what keywords we should be targeting, what type of long content is worth writing, and what resonated with our user base. Then, we doubled down on the things that were working for us.
For example, we found that people were searching for terms around Twitter header size. We then decided to write a comprehensive post about Twitter header sizing and dimensions, which naturally fits in really well with our tool (people can create Twitter headers with Snappa). When that post did well, we started writing more sizing guides for the different platforms.
A lot of people tend to just write a new post every week, but we tried to really figure out what content we needed to be writing, focus on those few posts, and get traffic to those posts before we start ramping up our production schedule.
When you're at the beginning, doing $5K–10K MRR, getting to a million dollars just seems so far away and difficult. But it is possible to get to meaningful levels of revenue. Just keep at it. Keep being smart about your marketing and your product, and keep doing things that are working.
Discuss this story, or subscribe to The Future of Work for more.
🐦 The Tweetmaster's Pick
by Tweetmaster Flex
I post the tweets indie hackers share the most. Here's today's pick:
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Special thanks to Jay Avery for editing this issue, to Nathalie Zwimpfer for the illustrations, and to Darko, Priyanka Vazirani, Dru Riley, Ivan Romanovich, and Seth King for contributing posts. —Channing