So much quibbling among the SEOs of how Bing is stealing traffic from Google or how Yahoo! isn’t what it once was.
Ten years ago, I worked at Yahoo!. And while I’d be tempted to chime in on this tempest in a teapot, they’re missing the point.
That’s me with Jerry and David, who co-founded Yahoo!
People are increasingly spending their time in apps and in closed gardens.
Facebook kicked out Bing, which powered their search, in favor of their own search.
Do you think Amazon is going to let Google ever power their search results?
How about letting Google into your very personal Snapchat experience?
The search game as we know it is over– Google has won with a dominant monopoly position.
The old-timers will argue that Yandex’s 55% share in Russia or Baidu in China at 56% means there’s still competition.
Or maybe they’ll point at how search is still strong and getting more personalized.
But what they miss is that personalization technology, no matter how awesome, is only as good as the amount and quality of the underlying data.
The social network and app economy has far more data than the search engine does– they have no incentive to share it.
In the long-run, whoever has the most robust data about users will do a better job personalizing.
That creates ad revenue, which allows the network to invest in more features (things like gmail or driving cars) and better ad tech.
It’s not that Google is going to be dead or that search is going the way of the print yellow pages.
It’s that search has reached maturity, so Google is having to do things like invest in wearables and Uber.
It’s less about buggy whips and more about Innovator’s Dilemma.
So don’t be like the old geezers sitting on the front porch swapping war stories.
Make sure you know who your customers are, independent of the keywords they search, social networks they hang out on, apps they use, videos they play, brands they like, or places they visit.
The sites/apps/things that they frequent will be the ones providing self-serve ad interfaces allowing you to target exactly these people.
Right now, Facebook has the most profile information and user activity, so they’re the current winner in targeted personalization.
But you know that Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and even Apple have released their own targeted ad platforms, fueled by their user behavior.
A keyword is not a user
The search engine doesn’t remember what you’ve done last time– you get the same answer each time.
When you set up your marketing automation properly, you’re able to snipe the demand well before it ever becomes a search.
So when we start to see search decline, you’ll know why– it’s like an ounce of prevention versus a pound of cure.
And the cost to both acquire and keep customers via inbound marketing is much cheaper than paying full price at the last minute when the customer finally needs it.
Scott Rawcliffe is a fitness instructor who also coaches other fitness pros.
His content is solid, posting a couple times a day with a strong mix of photos, motivational quotes, and interesting tidbits.
His reach was usually under 100 people (the number of people who see his posts) and he got only a handful of interactions.
So as many businesses do, he boosted a post here and there, spiking reach as high as 5,000.
THE THORNY PROBLEM
But without keeping an “always on” strategy to develop light weight engagement over time, the page loses momentum. It’s on, then off.
And the posts that businesses typically promote are promoting immediate sign-up.
These conversion-only, heavy sales posts typically get low engagement, in this case, none. Small businesses get frustrated with Facebook, claiming that it’s not doesn’t drive sales.
The click-through rates on these ads are abysmal.
A low CTR (click-through rate) means a high cost per click, often over $3 per click. That’s why you must micro-target your audience to just a few thousand people. You don’t have the budget of a soap manufacturer to reach millions.
The lack of micro-targeting meant he wasn’t hitting exactly the right audience, so he was getting only a handful of LCS (likes, comments, and share). In this case, only 9.
MIRACLE-GRO FOR YOUR FACEBOOK PAGE
People see Facebook like a super market. Go to the cash register, pay for your vegetables, and immediately receive it. Google AdWords is like this.
But Facebook is actually a garden, you plant seeds and nurture the plants, until eventually you harvest them. It takes time, but the net result is an on-going bounty of delicious, inexpensive produce right in your backyard.
Enter the strategy of audience, engagement, and conversion.
Audience: get your posts seen in the newsfeed by exactly those you want to reach, but wouldn’t get organically, mostly non-fans. Yes, you must pay to get your posts into their newsfeed. If you have a few thousand fans, you can use friend-of-fan targeting to give social context to your posts (Justin Lafferty likes this). If you don’t have many fans, but have a few dozen good posts, you can run page like stories to get more fans. When users become fans, they automatically move into the engagement campaign.
Engagement: This is the workhorse of your Facebook amplification strategy, to make sure your fans are seeing your messages. You’re not making special ads here, just paying to make sure your organic posts show up. You’re running sponsored stories to amplify the word of mouth effect, to let your target audience know when their friends have been engaging with your content.
Conversion: Now you’re targeting fans with your offers. You wouldn’t propose to a total stranger, so why not show some tact on Facebook by selling only to folks you’ve warmed up and gotten to develop a relationship with?
It’s about building relationships, much like the dating or gardening analogy.
WATERING AND FEEDING THE GARDEN
So our friend Scott implemented this strategy of Audience, Engagement, and Conversion.
He’s spending $3 a day on his audience campaign and $3 a day on engagement campaign.
His click-through rates are literally 100 times better, as high as 10%.
Being in the newsfeed, as opposed to the right-hand side also helps.
And by having one ad that promotes the most recent post (the dark orange slice on top of each light orange bar– sorry that it’s hard to see), he’s building momentum.
And it’s costing him $6 a day.
Likes, comments, and share are consistently trending up, even though people are spending less time on Facebook during the holidays (at least most of us) and he’s spending less on ads than before.
He’s got 125 PTAT (people talking about this) on a base of 320 fans.
In other words, his active user base is 39% of his fan base, it’s a 39% engagement rate.
Most fan pages are at a couple percent at best.
Provided that he continues to post 2-3 times a day with interesting non-promotional content, he’ll keep building up awareness in his community. Over the long run, as his name gets out there, he’s generating more business via Google, email marketing, Facebook, and referral.
Are you watering your garden and patiently waiting for your plants to grow?
Have you implemented the AUDIENCE, ENGAGEMENT, and CONVERSION strategy yet?
You probably do it mindlessly, though it’s a complex series of coordinated tasks. But you’ve practiced it. There’s no fear.
When you know your topic forwards and backwards, you can spend your time enjoying the audience as opposed to worrying about making key points or hitting slide transitions.
I’ve spoken at least 500 times on Facebook marketing over the last 6 years via webinars, conferences, and live TV interviews. Double that if you include all forms of PPC going back to the year 2000.
It doesn’t mean that I know everything. But I have devoured everything I can get my hands on and talk to everyone else who is in our niche.
Confidence doesn’t come from speaking tricks such as pretending everyone is in their underwear, giving yourself a pep-talk, or telling a funny joke to break the ice. Gimmicks. Talk about something you truly are passionate about– so nuts about the issue that you want to tell everyone about it.
A friend of mine is passionate about blood hemoglobin types and their ability to carry oxygen. He has a doctorate and presents at medical conferences. Yeah, believe it.
YOUR UNEXPECTED FRIENDS
Photo by Tim Ash – Sitetuners.com
In the course of building up your knowledge, you begin to know and be known by everyone in your niche. I like to call out other speakers in my presentation as I notice them– citing their work and expertise. Sometimes I call them on stage to present with me! This builds your authority, creates interactivity, and makes a receptive crowd.
If this is your first public speaking gig, going off the cuff or doing an hour talk with no slide support might be a reach. But see if you can talk in 60 second segments. Got 20 minutes? Budget for 20 slides and 20 tidbits.
Make sure you review who else is speaking. Don’t just read the conference guide, but go deeper. Because you’re a speaker, too, you can connect with them on LinkedIn, ask them for a tidbit to include in your deck (citing them, of course), and hang out in the speakers’ room during the show. You’ll be more comfortable and knowledgeable– and likely be invited to speak at other conferences, if that’s what you like.
The conference scene in your niche is super small. Even folks with horrible presentation skills and outdated knowledge are on the circuit merely because of their friendships. Most shows do provide speakers with audience feedback– so long as you’re not bottom third, you’re probably okay.
CHICKEN AND EGG
But if you don’t know anyone and need to get your start, make sure you:
Get with the organizers to be super helpful. You can get anyone’s time with these tricks.
Start guest blogging so that these people see your knowledge. Like this.
Takes less time than you think to do this once you get a groove going. This post, for example, took me 12 minutes to write and I referenced other articles I wrote to give them a boost. You can reuse your tidbits for your presentations– recycling is in!
And this reinforces your knowledge, which makes you a better presenter.
Don’t read the slides. Tell stories with your slide imagery backing it up.
Never pitch your product or service, even if you’re a vendor that has the hottest thing on the market. If you need to generate leads, invite a customer to talk about how they solved a problem– lightly mentioning your tool, but focusing more on the issues your client faced.
Don’t be the AH MONSTER. Tape yourself and see how many “umms” and “ahhs” you have. You might be surprised. If you’re under 30, watch for “like” and “you know”. Once you see this, you’ll never be able to un-see it among your friends. Go to ToastMasters, pause between sentences– do anything except eject verbal diarrhea upon your audience.
Bring at least 30 business cards. The instant you’re done speaking, if you’re done a decent job, expect a queue up front.
Sada Shop increased its fan base by over 600% in just two months by launching a clever quiz and a fun contest, and adding sponsored ads to amplify their fans’ response. Here’s how we did it:
Devise an engaging contest or quiz idea to engage your prospective fans.
Find an app that works (we chose Wildfire)
Support your contest or quiz with Facebook and Search ads
Keep posting engaging content on your page to support the quiz or contest
Use sponsored stories to reach your fans’ friends — leverage the real power of social media
Use sponsored posts to amplify news of the contest or quiz and anything topical that builds on the growing fan base
Sada Shop, a Saudi-based online concept shop, which sells fabulous design products, Sadashop.com, had just launched at the time of the contest. Of course, the ultimate goal has been to increase organic traffic to the site – check out these results.
We at Noosphere Marketing helped Sada Shop launch a True You Personality Quiz and a Worst Gift Ever Contest (for a chance to win the Best Gift Ever). We targeted people throughout the Middle East who would appreciate Sada Shop’s unique designs that are in stock for fast, local shipping. (They also ship worldwide.)
We used a Wildfire app to launch the both the quiz and the contest. We drove traffic to the Facebook page through Google and Facebook ads.
The True You Personality Quiz determined whether each respondent was a Secret Rebel, a Jetsetter, a Zen Goddess, a Good Girl, or a Fashionista. (Fashionista was the winner, if you must know. Jetsetter, and Secret Rebels, were close runners-up.)
Our primary goal for the Quiz, which ran for one month, was to drive awareness of Sada Shop and increase likes. We increased likes from 160 to 1600 in four weeks, and during one week of the contest, Sada Shop was #3 on SocialWatchList.com in Facebook fan page growth for the Middle East and North Africa; edging out many large brands.
We also built an email list, as most respondents gave their email addresses in case they won a prize. Some questions asked about ideal gifts, best ways to spend time, favorite fashion items, and dreamy travel spots. Talk about market research for the Sada Shop team, who want to offer their customers compelling products that meet their secret fantasies.
Throughout the Quiz and Contests, Sada Shop kept posting regularly, about awesome fashion and eco-friendly design throughout the world. They are passionate about great design and wanted their wall to reflect this. You can see for yourself.
Since the Quiz was such a success – 1500+ entries in a month, an 18% entry rate. – we wanted to keep the fan growth momentum and engagement with the Sada Shop fan page. We then launched another contest, again using Wildfire App. We asked participants to describe their Worst Gift Ever, and to describe what they would consider an ideal gift. Again, we’re primarily trying to build on the existing fan base, add to the email list, and gain crucial market research about “ideal gifts” that would make up for the Worst Gifts.
Throughout the two months we ran the quiz and contest, we wanted to build on Sada Shop’s existing fan base. In particular, we wanted to reach new fans, ideally through the friends of existing fans, to amplify the existing fan base. To do this, we ran Sponsored Stories ads.
Sponsored stories ads ensure that Sada Shop would appear in the Friends of our existing Fans’ newsfeeds, saying, “(THIS FAN) likes Sada Shop.” As social media research suggests, Friends of Friends are 3-4 times more likely to like a page if one of their friends already likes the page.
In particular, we were really focused on increasing the number of People Talking About Us (PTAs) People Talking About us has increased, as you can see. This is super important, because it means your ads are reaching the friends of your fans and it increases your Edge Rank. A high Edge Rank helps your ads appear in the newsfeeds of your fans’ friends:
We also added a created Page Post Ad, featuring a recent post about Madonna, who was wearing a Leigh & Luca scarf, which Sada Shop carries. We wanted to target people in the region who already like Madonna and are interested in Fashion. We thought this might be a great way to introduce them to Sada Shop, in case they’d missed the original post. Madonna had just performed at the Super Bowl, and the post had been popular on the page, and we wanted to build on that popularity.
Since Sada Shop posts regularly – great fashion design and eco-friendly designs — we have incorporated Sponsored Stories for almost all their posts. We can also build on what others’ are writing about them. Recently, a blogger wrote about Sada Shop and we wanted to amplify the impact of the blog post. See our example below:
We also were able to promote Valentine’s Day, by running a Sponsored Story ad about a Sada Shop pillow:
When I reached out to Dennis Yu of BlitzMetrics, for his advice, he was super-helpful. His session at #OMS2012 “How To Plan, Execute, and Measure Like the Pros”, and his one-on-one help afterword really helped increase fans and drive organic traffic to one of Noosphere Marketing’s clients in the Middle East. Thank you, Dennis and BlitzMetrics, for the great tips!
Noosphere Marketing helps companies — especially entrepreneurs, e-commerce, and women-owned businesses –with their online marketing with their online marketing. We use a thoughtful combination of savvy traditional marketing expertise and sassy online expertise. Its co-founder, Kathy Hipple, especially enjoys helping entrepreneurs realize their vision.
If you’ve ever heard Marty speak—a whirlwind of energy—then you can appreciate that reading his book on Killer Facebook Ads is like having him sitting next to you, explaining exactly how you would create ads for your particular situation. 200 pages of Marty—enough to make your mind explode with ideas!
My favorite parts are Chapter 7 (chock full of specific headlines and creative you can use) and Chapter 2 (pages of specific examples of ad strategy for a myriad of situations). If you’ve done Facebook ads already, you can skip the later chapters on the user interface, campaign set-up, the history of Facebook, etc… But do note the golden nuggets at the very end where he has a number of interests pre-grouped for you.
I first met Marty 3 years ago when we were both speakers at a SMX event on Facebook Marketing. Back then, he was doing deep research on what users liked to do on Facebook. Facebook advertising wasn’t mainstream (and it still isn’t), so it was the wild west of people selling questionable products.
I’ve seen him give his mind-blowing presentation on ad targeting with interest counts—and it’s better every time! I do have to wonder about the references to gay people, L Ron Hubbard, people who work in the Senate that like porn, Microsoft employees that love Apple products, 13 year olds that “like” Alzheimer’s, and other zany tidbits we can quantify.
A number of things have changed in Facebook’s ad platform in the few months since Marty’s book came out. However, the core of his message is about interest targeting and crafting messages that work—timeless principles from the days of print that are just as relevant today. Smart of him to do that, versus listing techniques that would be outdated before the books even hit the shelves.
Two things that have significantly changed since then:
Sponsored Stories—this is automatic amplification of content and actions by your users and the brand itself. While available in a rudimentary form before, it’s now the crux of Facebook Advertising. It’s so new that nobody has really written in-depth about the right combos of Sponsored Stories to use for each situation and which compound targets to also use.
Keeping traffic inside Facebook. When you send traffic off Facebook, you immediately lose the social context, meaning the display of your friends you also liked the content or performed some action. Social context doubles and triples click through rates and is what Sponsored Stories are based upon. When you send traffic off Facebook, you cannot run friend of fan ads and you eliminate your ability to grow audiences. Yes, you can have like buttons and SSO (for the geeks out there), but for the most part, it doesn’t work.
I’ve done Facebook ads since before the platform launched—back when it was Flyers in early 2007. And this is the best treatment of the core targeting and ad copy strategy I’ve ever seen.
After following the instructions for Dennis’ AppSumo video, I was able to build a following of 3,775 fans of my FB page (from 300). That’s good news. When I post a link to a new page of my webcomic or something, my “Feedback” percentage tends to be in the 3-4% range. Also good news. But sadly, when I look at my impressions, they tend to hover around 1500, less than half of my followers. And I often get complaints from followers who are missing my FB updates in their feed and wish that they weren’t. (Sometimes the number of impressions goes up to 2,400 when I’m posting a non-link update, so maybe FB doesn’t like me linking to my new webcomic page updates so much? Even still, 2,400 is a far cry from 3,775. And when I first got all the followers, I’d consistently exceed the number of followers with impression numbers.)
I’m wondering if there is some way you can help me figure out why FB is sharing my links with so few people even though the feedback has been consistently good. I don’t have a ton of marketing budget—and I’m having success in terms of connecting with new fans with traditional advertising and on twitter—but this FB weirdness is baffling me.
Is there any way you can help? Even if it’s to point me at an article or something…
This is a common problem with small business owners– either they have so few fans that content won’t matter, or they have a moderately sized audience, but no engagement. His feedback rate of 3-4% is far higher than the 1% we typically see, likely because his fans are so passionate about his content.
We like to Facebook as a reflection of the health of your overall brand power, evidenced by how many people know about you in real life or come to your website. While Alex is getting a few hundred visits a day from Facebook to his website, Facebook traffic represents only 2.67% of his overall traffic
My ultimate goal for my Facebook page is to build readership for my webcomic. I’d love for it to be a vehicle for new readers looking for strong plot-character based gay romance comics to discover my work. Because of the limited reach I seem to be getting with my FB posts, this part feels like what I need the most help with. Google Analytics tells me I’m getting about 100 to 400 hits from FB each day, which ain’t awful, but isn’t fantastic. (Facebook comprised just 2.67% of my total visits over the last month.)
My secondary goal is to serve as a way to connect with my fan base and to make myself accessible as a creator in a way that’s convenient and fun for them (and for the most part this seems to be working.)
My tertiary goal for my Facebook page is the same as for all my outlets (my blog, Twitter, etc.)—to use it as a venue that promotes tolerance for those who are different and for building the self-esteem of those who have been marginalized unfairly. If there is a central tenet to the “Yaoi 911” brand, it’s that everyone is worthy of being treated with respect and dignity and that love between consenting adults is something we all should be able to celebrate regardless of whether it matches our own sexuality. As such, my demographics have pretty much always evenly broken down 50/50 between straight women and gay men (with a not small number of cool straight guy followers.)
Interestingly, after my ad campaign at the end of May (which I started after watching your AppSumo video), I developed a much larger following of gay men (that demographic responded the best to my ads), so that 50/50 balance has gotten a bit skewed on the FB page. Still, looking at the comments and my interactions on the webcomic and blog, women and men seem fairly evenly balanced in terms of the response.
You’ll see from the reports that after I saw your video, I ran two campaigns, spending about $600 and going from 350 followers to just under 3000. (Since then I’ve organically grown to about 3,782 total likes.) For my campaign, I only targeted friends of fans who had interests in comics and gay equality issues. (Hopefully the reports point out what tags I used; if not I can try to copy-paste them). I sub-divided individual ads into comics-loving, gay-rights supporting women and also to men “who are interested in men” who liked comics. I tried my best to keep the cost of each actual conversion to a “like” as close to 20 cents as possible, thus why my $600 got me somewhere in the neighborhood of 2500 new likes. This is where your advice in the video was super-awesome—I know that some other folks find it can cost as much as a dollar per conversion.
The ads that seemed the most successful were the ones that asked the question: “I say comics with gay heroes can be just as good as comics with straight heroes! What do you think?” when coupled with a close-up drawn picture of one of my characters with a strong expression (such as anger or indignation). I tried creating some ads with cartoon images of a couple of my characters that were shirtless (only shown above the nipple line, so bare shoulders) but those were immediately refused by Facebook. I’ve seen far more provocative images of real-life women in FB ads so there might be a double-standard there, but as the CU images of my characters seemed to be successful, I decided not to try to fight city hall on that issue. (And frankly, even though shirtless images of my characters are successful with my mainstream ads in terms of getting clicks, the whole vibe of my stories is as I said more about heroism and good story-telling than erotic elements, so it felt like I’d be more likely to attract an appropriate audience if I didn’t emphasize the shirtless aspect anyway.)
Ads that were least successful were ones that included a photographic picture of my face (big surprise there—who cares about me? It’s the promise of a good story that would draw people in). And ones that just asked the question “Can comics with gay heroes be just as good as comics with straight heroes?” without the introductory declaration “I say comics with gay heroes can be just as good as comics with straight heroes! What do you think?” My guess here is that the former bare question just evoked shrugs while the latter with the bold statement encouraged folks to hit the Like button attached to the ad itself to agree with my bold statement.
Likewise, another bit of copy I tried that failed was “I make comics that are great stories first and then bring the sexy. Click to learn more!” Not surprisingly, that awful bit of writing was a big fail. I think other variations of “Click to learn more” were also losers. Again, my success seemed to be about giving folks with similar interests a rallying cry to Like.
Here we learn that the best way to attract other folks to gay comic is to message similar interests directly. We know that “sexy” ads get the most attention– Click-Through Rates as high as 0.3% and fans under 20 cents. We’ve found that Facebook disapproves most sexy ads, no matter what type, probably because of the abuse by dating companies from 2007 and even still to some degree today.
And to no surprise, when you explicitly ask for engagement, such as asking for opinions, the audience responds. Running ads to existing posts, such as via Sponsored Post Stories, you can amplify your organic power. In other words, most people are just not going to see your wall posts, no matter how clever. The life of a post is getting shorter and shorter– from a couple days now to perhaps a couple hours. So if you’re not running ads to pump up your content’s visibility, your precious time creating content is wasted.
Looking at his ad performance, we see that his social clicks are over 80%. In other words, the people who clicked had friends who were existing fans of the page. He used the “friends of fans” targeting to generate ads that automatically showed the names and images of friends that had liked his page. CTR is often twice as high when using social connections. Facebook now shows social impressions in the ad reporting, which is a huge incentive to run traffic to your Facebook page instead of your website.
In summary, small businesses with limited budgets can still be successful if they target the right audiences, carefully optimize their ad campaigns, and understand the connection between the website and Facebook page.
Yesterday, Google Analytics released a premium version of their analytics, aimed straight at the heart of Omniture and Webtrends. Looking at the fact sheet, it seems to be not only better in functionality than these enterprise packages, but nicer looking, too. Now that they have support, advanced tagging, real-time analytics, and the typical Google beauty, the end is near for players who have done web analytics a long time, but haven’t adapted. Go see for yourself.
The next stage of the game will be in creating unified dashboards that measure owned, earned, and paid. Easy to say and easy to understand, but nobody has it yet. Earned is channels such as Facebook, which can only be tracked via the graph API. Omniture, Webtrends, and Coremetrics have yet to figure it out, while neither has Google. Paid is advertising, which Google is pretty good at. But nobody ties all three together yet, which is a headache for advertisers and agencies.
Watch the social analytics and web analytics players come together this year. Even the free version of Google Analytics now has multi-channel attribution, which is critical to measuring the value of social.
Come see Dennis live at Social Media Marketing World in San Diego, CA! Catch his session "Facebook ROI: Tracking Your Marketing From Beginning to End" on Monday, April 18th, 4:00-4:45pm PT. Click on the banner for more details.