24 Jul 2009

The 3 types of Facebook traffic– what is best?

2 Comments facebook marketing and advertising, internet marketing training, local advertising, search engine marketing conferences

My apologies in advance for the math here– I’ll keep it to a minimum to explain the points.

Below is a Google Analytics screenshot from a funeral planning site.  Facebook traffic represents sources 4, 5, and 8.

All Traffic Sources - Google Analytics

4) apps.facebook.com: This is self-serve PPC traffic from ads that show up on apps.  Most plentiful but has a bounce rate of 90.13%– about as bad as you can get.
5) facebook.com/referral: These are from people click on our links and posts– organic traffic.  66% bounce rate, which is high, especially compared to the site overall bounce rate of 40%.
8 ) facebook.com/cpc: Facebook PPC ads that show up other than on the apps.  Bounce rate of 81%.

We’re probably paying 15 cents a click for Facebook traffic, but the 80%+ bounce rate means we’re losing 4 out of every 5 folks on the landing page.  With Google AdWords, we’re paying 50 cents a click, but bouncing only 42%– in other words, losing 2 out of every 5 visitors.

logo_facebook

So with Google, we’re paying 3 times as much per click, but keeping twice as many folks past the landing page.  On a per kept visitor basis, Facebook is still a better deal.

For the analytics smart-alecs out there, let me respond to your points:

  • landing pages are the same: True, you’ll get different bounce rates if you send to different pages. Plus, you can’t compare a homepage bounce rate against a landing page bounce rate– they have different goals.  Well, we sent everyone to the homepage, as silly as that is– but it’s still an apples-to-apples comparison.
  • not all clicks are the same: A higher bounce rate is likely to be a lower conversion rate, even if you adjust for the bounce.  Maybe– although it is true that EPC (Earnings Per Click) is what matters at the end of the day, not cost per click or bounce rate.
  • data is not statistically significant: Okay, so the 80% and 90% bounce rates might actually vary 5-6% should we run a few thousand more clicks.  But given that we’re spending real money, there’s no need to blow a thousand dollars to find out that our estimated 80% bounce is more truly 77%– it’s still bad.

Were I Facebook, one thing I’d do is allow separate bids for application traffic versus non-application traffic.

Remember a few years ago when Google allowed advertisers to set separate content and search bids?  This is the same thing.

23 Jul 2009

Are you going to ThinkTank in San Diego– September 17-19th?

No Comments internet marketing training, outdoor activities

dk-blonde-surfer-blogI am pleased to be invited to ThinkTank, which takes place in just 2 months.  It’s invite-only and is nearly sold out– but if you ask one of the attendees like myself, you might still get a spot.  By the way, the registration fee is $3k, so if that’s too much, then this is not the right event for you.

It’s 3 days to hang out in a small group setting with folks like Shoemoney, Neil Patel, Andy Liu, Chris Winfield, Brent Csutoras, Todd Malicoat– and a bunch of other gurus in PPC, SEO, social media, and internet marketing in general.  What would you pay to spent 3 uninterrupted days in a small group setting just hanging out– as opposed to trying to stand in line to get 3 minutes of their time in a conference hall after their presentation?

Perhaps the coolest thing is that David Klein is the host.  DK is the chiropractor turned internet marketer– he happens to rank #1 on “san diego chiropractor“– and is one of the most genuine and knowledgeable people I know.  If you dabble in affiliate marketing, then you know how rare that is.  David puts on these events with the utmost care to make sure that everyone is having a good time– always bringing in special surprises, the best food, and best knowledge sharing.  He has made a number of introductions on our behalf that have really helped our company– for example, to put us in contact with certain folks at Facebook when we were in a jam.

He also doesn’t make any money on these events– so unless you want to see the price go up, don’t say anything! The only reason I can think of why he’s organizing these events is because he’s truly passionate about connecting people– as well as cracking their backs.  And yes, he will do that if you come.  By the way, I’m not being paid to say this– so it’s legit.  Else you can also read up on what other people are saying about ThinkTank:

“I had the opportunity to reinforce existing relationships, build new ones and make friends for life. it was an absolutely awesome event.” -Al, SelfMadeMinds.com

“I’m still not sure if this is a vacation or a conference” -Rhea Drysdale

Well there you have it– a small group of already successful web entrepreneurs.  Ask for an invite if you fit that model.  If you’re not already successful, then you should hold off coming, since there is no structured learning program here– you have to give to get.  No one way streets at this get-together.  But if you have some valuable things to share, check out the guest list and consider who you want to spend some quality time with.

22 Jul 2009

Facebook Post Quality Score

2 Comments facebook marketing and advertising, promoting yourself, social media

icon_facebookThis morning, Shoemoney put up a guest post by me covering Facebook Quality Score. Because we manage a few dozen fan pages, as large as a quarter million fans, I wanted to lend insight into what the metric is and what it may mean to advertisers and affiliates in the future.  Let me clarify a few points:

  • As far as we know, Facebook isn’t using the Quality Score to ding or help you in any way– but they may later.
  • They’ve stated the score is based on percentage of fans who have interacted in the last 7 days. I’m guessing that the Post Quality score is like a batting average: the number of fans who have interacted in the last 7 days versus the total.  Therefore, the theoretical max should be 1,000.  Using this calculation across most of our pages gets us close, but not exactly to the number Facebook lists.
  • Keith Wilcox’s score is now 250, which is the highest I’ve seen yet– it will be easier to get a high quality score on a smaller fan base. Getting 25% of 30 fans to participate over 7 days is easier than 25% of 3,000 fans.  Someone should experiment here.  Because of his Facebook page– his top source of traffic– he is now ranking on Google for “getting fit setting goals“.

If you have any questions about Facebook promotion, whether their self-serve PPC platform, creation of pages/groups, building/monetizing applications, just put your question in the comments and I may write a post about it.

21 Jul 2009

World’s largest group dating site goes from free to subscription based

No Comments facebook marketing and advertising, finance and economics, Guest Posts

A guest post by Adam Sachs, co-founder of Ignighter, a group dating site with great relationship advice and a fun place to work

I’m Adam Sachs and I run the world’s largest group dating site. Since our initial launch as a Facebook Application in January 2008 and subsequent relaunch as a destination site in August 2008, we’ve amassed a significant inventory of group daters using our free service.

Plant-GrowHowever, if you’re simply growing a free user base at a steady, continuous pace (read: you haven’t detonated a viral bomb like only the Facebooks and Twitters of the Internet have) then after a while, the free model starts to seem unsustainable. Acquiring new users on a free site has a cost. User acquisition could be costing you money (PPC ads, live sponsored events) or even just costing you time (Commenting on blogs, marketing via Twitter). But until you can establish a lifetime value for a new user, then you are simply shelling out for marketing while seeing a virtually nonexistent ROI.

With no ROI and no value associated with each user who registers for your site, it’s only a matter of time before you run out of money, time, and the ability to keep acquiring them. Your investors probably won’t be too happy either.

It’s taken Ignighter a while to come to this realization, but now that we have, we are beginning to experiment with incorporating paid functionality into the website. Introducing a paid model to Ignighter doesn’t just benefit the company however; we predict it will benefit our user base as well.

Below are a few Pros and Cons that we predict to encounter when transitioning from a free to paid service. We can revisit these pros and cons in a few months and see how accurate they proved to be.

Pros: Money is finally coming IN the door.6150-000336

  1. Money means more users. If you are making more per user than you are paying to acquire them, then the goal is to spend as much money as possible to acquire them. I’d pay $25 to get $35 back, wouldn’t you?
  2. Money means better users. When you offer a free service, you get registrations from people of drastically varying levels of interest and relevance to your site. When people on the not-so-interested-in-meeting-new-people-but-it’s-free-so-I’ll-try-it-anyway end of the spectrum register, they’re actually adding what we affectionately call “shit inventory” to the site and hurting the experience of the registered users who want to use the site for its intended purpose.

Incorporating a paid level will naturally introduce a tiered system of usership to the site, facilitating an experience that groups users based on their intentions and expectations. Asking people to pay will also help to make your users more passionate about the company. Paid users will now be part of a community that they’ve invested in and helped to create.

Money means happy investors. This one is pretty self-explanatory.

Cons: It’s not so easystubborn-mule

  1. It’s not so easy to convince someone to be one of the first to pay for your service. Before you can establish a track record of value that you’re providing to the user it can seem like you’re asking them to pay taste-tester to the King of Zamunda.
  2. It’s not so easy to build the damn thing. At Ignighter this fundamental shift is requiring a ton of web development and business development resources. This kind of thing can’t be half-assed, you have to give it your full attention and planning.
  3. It’s not so easy to accept that it’s going to work beyond a shadow of a doubt. But isn’t that what startups are all about?
21 Jul 2009

Facebook Ads New Targeting to Application Owners

No Comments facebook marketing and advertising, Guest Posts

Guest Post by Nicholas Abramovic. Nicholas helps singles meet new people at Zoosk – the largest dating application on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and Hi5. Nick also covers affiliate marketing, advanced ppc tactics and other fun stuff at many body theory.

layout_logoFacebook’s self-serve advertising platform now allows advertisers to target whether users have already added your application or not yet added it. This is a huge play for companies such as Zoosk Online Dating, Zynga Games, and other application developers.

Why is this important?

A lot of companies use application networks such as SocialHour and RockYou to get users to click off of other applications and get them to view your application. This is pretty easy, and as we have all learned from the lessons of SocialHour getting banned by Facebook – these ads can be pretty deceptive and users sometimes have no idea that they have added your application.

facebook-small-logoBy allowing application developers to target new and existing users, you can setup different bids for what the value of a new customer from Facebook is worth, and what the value of someone returning to your application is worth (especially for companies such as Zoosk and Zynga which operate on a subscription/gifts currency where using the application is king).

You can find out more about this at Facebook’s official developers blog. A word of caution: I’ve noticed that this targeting is accurate about 15% of the time, so this new feature although very welcomed to the big players of Facebook applications, this is still very much a work in progress.

Official Story: http://developers.facebook.com/news.php?blog=1&story=263

18 Jul 2009

Don’t Let Social Media Hurt Your Business

1 Comment social media

This is a guest post by Eric Schechter, Social Media Manager at Clickbooth, an Exclusive CPA Network.

IMG_0188More and more businesses are jumping into the Social Media space for a variety of reasons. A lot of them are looking to increase their online presence, listen to what’s being said about their business or industry, and as a way to get to know their customers and potential customers on a much more personal level.

The problem is, many of these businesses enter the space (way too fast), download a bunch of new tools they read about online, and go right at it without doing their homework first. No goals are created, no thought as to how they will use those platforms is put in, and before they know it, their Social Media presence has hurt them more than it’s helped.

Let’s take a look at a few of the more common things I’ve been seeing lately…

We’re on Twitter?

I’ve come across a handful of small businesses (and a few franchises) that decided to jump on the bandwagon (not saying it’s a bad thing!) and create a Twitter account so they could interact with their customers, as well as use it to promote company news, specials, discounts etc. Then, they put one person in charge of it all, and leave it up to them to handle dead_twitter_birdeverything.

The next thing you know, a customer goes into their business and talks to one of their employees about their Twitter account (or a specific tweet they made), and they have no idea what Twitter is or that their company is even on it. BIG MISTAKE!

Not only does it show that their business lacks internal communication, it will also leave a sour taste in their customer’s mouth, because it shows that the personal connection they “thought” they made with the company, wasn’t important to them at all.

Before you know it, the word starts to spread online (e.g: negative tweets, bad reviews, facebook statuses, blog posts about their company etc…) and they immediately lose all credibility in the space. You’ll be surprised at the effect this can have on your bottom line. Remember, most consumers look companies up online before they use them, so any amount of bad press can make or break that sale. (Here’s a interesting study on that.) So if you are business using Twitter, Facebook, a blog etc..make sure you keep your employees (especially the ones that interact with customers) in the loop of your online efforts, or it could come back to bite you.

stop-yelling-at-meYou’ll love my product! Let me tell you why! A lot of businesses think that if they are going to see any sales/return from spending time on these social networking sites, they have to constantly promote their business any and every way they can. While I do agree that Social Media is a great way to promote your business/product/brand, your success lies in the approach. No one wants to hear you talk about how great your product is, or how awesome you are in every way possible. By doing this you are merely creating “noise”. Instead, use tools like Facebook and Twitter to develop and enhance relationships with people. Talk about stuff other than your business! Share useful information with them and create and add to conversations where you don’t talk just talk about your brand, but rather learn about your customers, followers, etc…Find out their likes, their dislikes, what they are up to this weekend. It’s developing those real relationships that will create loyal customers for life.

Is anybody there? Once you create your blog, Facebook and Twitter page don’t let those pages stay static. Start LISTENING to what’s being big-ear3said about your industry, company, brand and start contributing to the conversation. If someone leaves a comment on your blog post, respond back. Social Media is a two way street. It’s not just about throwing your message out there and leaving it at that. If you do, you will start to notice that fewer and fewer people will be visiting your site, listening to what you have to say, and most of all making that purchase. So start creating conversations about your posts and weigh in from you readers. It’s a collaborative medium, so treat it that way! This is the best way to build loyalty and relationships with your readers.

So for businesses that have recently implemented Social Media, or for ones that are thinking about doing it, I urge you to really take a look at what your goals are for this type of initiative, and to do your homework first, before you start participating in the space. Social Media can be great way to improve your online presence, personalize your company, and most of all create loyal customers for life. However, if you go about it the wrong way, it could do a lot more harm than good. (Some companies that are doing really well in the space are: Pancheros, Zappos, Whole Foods)

*Quick Tip* Use sites like su.pr or bit.ly to track Twitter posts and Lexicon to track Facebook. This will help you monitor engagement levels and will also show you how these platforms can bring in real $ business.

18 Jul 2009

Asian pottery culture and search algorithms

3 Comments local advertising

This is a guest post by David Gray of Analog.com, a leader in Electronic Components

I once heard a wise young American English teacher compare the Japanese, Chinese, and Korean national characters to ceramic pottery and tea cups they produce in particular.

A Japanese teacup is an extremely delicate, refined, and proportionately symmetrically formed china teacup. The cup’s edges are smooth and aesthetically pleasing. The cup might be so perfectly crafted that you’d almost not want to pick it up and drink out of it for fear of breaking it.

The Chinese teacup would be slightly different, aesthetically pleasing, almost as well-crafted, and there might be a hairline crack or chip in it.

The Korean teacup would not be a cup at all — it would be a roughly molded mug, but it would be the one you’d likely want to pick up and drink from.

So what does fine china have to do with search engine algorithms? In their pursuit of perfection my Asian friends express angst about optimizing their pages. They want their sites to be as symmetrical and as well crafted as their teacups and more important, they profess that Japanese/Chinese/Korean websites are different, therefore SEO tactics used must be different than Western ones.

“What is the most important tactic to focus on to rank well in search engines?”

“Is it most important to be able to write our own tags with the relevant keywords?”

“Is it getting good inbound links or meta descriptions?”

“Should we be writing blogs and participate in forums?”

My Asian colleagues, (not to mention western colleagues) want a precise answer, so that a set formula can be plugged into a template, implemented and measured. Google will never share its algorithm, so we need to test, refine, and test some more. This makes most of them feel very uncomfortable.

To set the record straight, I am in awe of and deeply respect Asian culture. I am married to an Asian. Are the Asian search engine algorithms vastly different than western algorithms? There is one big difference: Asian search engine algorithms are not influenced by keywords in the URL. Take that variable out of the equation Asian search engine algorithms are dependant on the exact same elements as Western ones. How unique can the Asian search engine algorithms be? Yes, Asian searcher behavior may be different, but I still think the algorithm reflects how double-byte character keywords are used in H1-6, meta description, meta keyword tags and link text.

So short of worrying about keywords in the URL, Asian search engine optimization should focus on the same things we worry about here. We all need to focus on providing users with good, fresh, accessible content, keywords in H1 – H-6, meta description, meta keyword tags and link text. What else can it be? As for social media, more time needs to be spent writing, linking to, and participating in Forums for sure. One of the best articles I’ve ever read is one on SEO Basics by Rand Fishkin.

Which culture do I like best? My English teacher buddy and I celebrate diversity. We both love different aspects of all the Asian cultures – from the politeness and meticulousness of the Japanese, to the assertive and friendly Chinese nature, to the aggressive and warm-hearted Korean culture. I could drink from any of their teacups.

15 Jul 2009

Target Facebook users on their birthdays!

7 Comments affiliate marketing, facebook marketing and advertising, promoting yourself, search engine marketing conferences

Facebook keeps releasing new features to their self-serve PPC platform. It feels like Google from 2003– are you keeping up?

Did you see that you can target people on their birthdays, in addition to your existing fans, as well as being able to select multiple countries?happy_birthday_cake

  • If you’re selling gifts of any type– this is your chance to do something.  Cards, flowers, T-shirts, silly items… Doesn’t even have to be birthday related– you could even promote a little cosmetic surgery to older women– Imagine this ad:FacebookAd
  • If you’re a brand, you can pay to hit your fans when they’re elsewhere on Facebook– think Generic_Cola_Cans_1980sof this like the old days of Paid Inclusion on Yahoo! or perhaps like today’s brand bidding.  The point is there is some level of cannibalization to pay for people that you already “have” as fans.  Yet if this drives incremental traffic, you can price in that overlap to make sure it backs out.  And if you have less than 100 fans, who cares.  But if you’re a brand like WWE and have over 250,000 fans, it would be a great way to drive marginal revenue. Now it’s too bad you can’t target OTHER people’s brands and fan pages.  That would be like Coke bidding on Pepsi.  What would you pay to be able to target your competitors?  Oh, wait– I forgot.  You can do that all day long on PPC.
  • pimp-c-715217If you just want to be a pimp: Some people just don’t have a good reason to market.  But maybe if you get to 100 fans on your page, you can then register your page’s vanity url here.  Even if you have no fans to start with, if you’re paying 30 cents a fan, it’s only $30 to get to 100 fans, and then you can grab a name like facebook.com/toiletpaper or whatever you fancy. Many generic names are still free.

If you’re making profits via these new tactics, however small, it’s time to scale them up. If you are a non-spammy growing_070813advertiser, then I welcome you to sign up for our automated Facebook ad posting platform, which automatically multiples variations of ad creatives and landing pages, then reports back with the best performers.  If you’re selling weight loss, get rich quick scams (also euphemistically called “BizOpps”) or products that auto-renew at insane rates (called “negative option”), then don’t bother, since your ads won’t get approved by us or by Facebook.

But maybe you’re a stay at home dad filming how to home school videos or perhaps reviewing top 10 kids movies, in preparation for the upcoming Christmas shopping season.  Don’t laugh– if you’re an affiliate and you aren’t starting now, you’re late to the game.  Then it makes sense to start promoting your wares.

I’m presenting on Facebook advertising at Affiliate Summit East in 2 weeks, and again, at HostingCon 2 days later.  Come join me!

13 Jul 2009

Landing Page Optimization and the ‘Middle Child Syndrome’

3 Comments Guest Posts

This article was written by Leigh Hanney of SEMSamurai.com

 

lhanneyIn any structured system the introduction of a new variable will have a lasting influence on that structure. In short, nothing will remain the same.

 

Take a typical family unit of two parents and one child… When a second child is born the dynamic shifts and sibling relationships become one of older versus younger. Parental influences and guidance may also differ and thus the potential for psychological differences between the siblings also emerges. Then however we have the appearance of a third child, and as a result the ensuing ‘middle child syndrome’ emerges. Now I‘m no psychologist, so that’s as deep as I’ll go, but I find it interesting to view the ‘landing page’ as the often ignored and over looked, ‘middle child’ in many online marketing campaigns.  

 

Too many marketers devote all their attention to the ‘first child’, the Campaign itself (PPC, SEO, CMP, Facebook Ads), and the remainder of their focus goes to third child, ‘the sale’. But   the third child is often looked at questioningly, asked ‘Why can’t you do The Middle Childmore?’ And the question that should be asked, ‘How can you do more?’ is never asked of the middle child – the landing page – at al l. Instead this key part of the structure and campaign is entirely ignored.  

 

As online marketers we cannot afford not to focus on the entire conversion funnel, and we must never underestimate the gains to be found in optimizing the landing pages used in our campaigns.

 

At no time is this more pertinent than now faced with the current economic crisis.  

What would the marketer who ignores the landing page do if her budget was cut in two? Panic certainly, knowing that her effectiveness will surely drop by 50% too. ‘I’ll lose my job!’  

 

Yet the marketer who understands the importance of the landing page and conversion optimization, should see this as yet another challenge. For now he can focus even more on how to squeeze additional conversions out of every 100 clicks.

 

In short, the marketer who understands the whole picture and the complete conversion funnel has many more levers to pull when the dynamic shifts.

 

Ignore your landing pages at your own peril.

12 Jul 2009

“Get Found” on Facebook

3 Comments promoting yourself, social media

getfound

Remember a few weeks ago when Facebook allowed everyone to grab their own vanity url? Now they’ve just opened up the ability for you to choose a name for your pages, too.  You just need 100 fans to be eligible.  Just like you’d see in the domain grabbing world, the same thing is happening on Facebook.

dennisnotyu

Wow, someone created “Dennis NotYu” under our company name.  I’ll take that as a compliment!  At the same time, you can report folks who infringe on your brand or company name.

funerals

We were too late to get this for a client that did funeral planning.  Morbid that this girl’s personal profile name is “funerals”– I would have expected her to dress in all black.

So get your fan pages each up to 100 fans and start grabbing names– there are a ton still available.  Go to facebook.com/usernames.