How to Use Dynamic Creative Ads on Facebook If you run an e-commerce store or if you like doing a lot of testing when it comes to advertising, Dynamic Creative Ads are the way to go. If you have used a tool, such as AdEspresso for example, you are aware of the multiple creatives they set up when you launch a new campaign: Split testing (also called A/B testing) is the act of running similar ads to see which performs better. Using ads that differ in copy, graphics, call to action, etc., allows you to identify which element is helpful to the performance. This can be done with Facebook ads using the following campaigns:
Here’s one last contradiction for you: If users are happier during their time spent on Facebook, won’t they want to spend more time on it?
- App Installs
Why?Let’s look at this line from Mark Zuckerberg’s statement: “Since there’s more public content than posts from your friends and family, the balance of what’s in News Feed has shifted away from the most important thing Facebook can do — help us connect with each other.” Zuckerberg is saying that Facebook will aim to present the best content to its users, which is not a new plan. However, it should be no surprise that recent actions may have been prompted in part by the response Facebook has received, especially in the last couple years, regarding fake news. Surely not all engaging content is valuable or promotes balanced discussion or healthy consumption of information. Look at past statements from the Facebook team, and you’ll see that connecting users with their friends has always been one of their stated core values. But defining what that means and how it’s done is convoluted, to say the least. Let’s start with what we know we can translate.
Don’t Panic, It’s OrganicIf this new rollout sounds familiar, it’s because Facebook essentially already said this back in June 2016 with their “friends and family come first” value. Then, they stated: “Facebook was built on the idea of connecting people with their friends and family. That is still the driving principle of News Feed today. Our top priority is keeping you connected to the people, places and things you want to be connected to — starting with the people you are friends with on Facebook.” And as VP of News Feed Adam Mosseri reconfirmed in January 2018: “We will also prioritize posts from friends and family over public content, consistent with our News Feed values.” Let’s look at an example of what this means and how it relates to the 2018 changes: Alright, so you like the page of a favorite brand and you see their posts in your News Feed. Makes sense. Wanna see them ahead of other content? There’s an option for that. You still like the page but you don’t want to see the posts at all? Simply unfollow. These easy options give you the power to do your own bit of curation in your feed, deciding for yourself where you find value (while Facebook watches this data, of course). But now you’ve clicked on a website elsewhere. Say it’s a retail site but you didn’t purchase anything. Will you still see ads from that site (if they’re doing their remarketing correctly)? Yes. Here’s the ticket: As of now there is no indication that this change in algorithm will affect paid social much if at all. What I’m reading is that they’re trying to “organically empower meaningful content.” (More on that below.)
Ambiguous ContradictionsWhen space is limited, in order to make room for more of something, there’s less room for other things. Facebook is saying that public content (brands and businesses) will make way for more content from private sources (friends and family). States Zuckerberg: “The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups. As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media.The public content you see more of will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people. For example, there are many tight-knit communities around TV shows and sports teams.” There’s arguably a contradiction in this statement. Or at least a stark lack of clarity. Certain content potentially will see some favorable improvements. This content includes live video, posts within Facebook Groups, content particularly relevant to local fans (good news for many small businesses), and articles that are timely. User-to-user and meaningful content (click here to read how they indistinctly explain “meaningful”) will be favored over public content. However, much of users’ meaningful content in fact comes from public sources. For example, your friends may share articles about favorite sports teams and TV shows and celebrities – all of which are vaguely defined as meaningful by Facebook’s standards and all of which have public pages. Pages that are managed by marketers. Marketers who run ads… And that’s the key point here for our digital marketing world. Nowhere in Zuck’s statement is the word “ad” mentioned. What does the new algorithm mean for digital marketers in paid advertising? The answer could be: nothing. But one goal is clear: To share valuable, quality content if you want to be included in this organic conversation your friends and family are having in the News Feed. When will this happen? You may not even see a noticeable change until… well, whenever they decide you will: “We started making changes in this direction last year, but it will take months for this new focus to make its way through all our products.”
Beating a Dead HorseOrganic reach was already dead but it has crept back into conversation. What’s key is that this has not joined the conversation in context of business. As mentioned earlier, Facebook has not given us any reason to doubt the power of paid social. In 2017, digital ad spending surpassed traditional ad spending for the first time ever. Brands on Facebook still need to focus on designating ad spend to present quality content to their target audiences – just make sure that content really is awesome. An example: If a small business paid a few bucks to run an ad for a day or two behind a post and that post performs well (in part because of the ad spend and targeting, and partly because the content is excellent and very engaging), then the post itself should continue to do well beyond the life of the ad spend behind it. The purpose: Facebook is aiming to present the most engaging, meaningful, shared organic content of your friends in your feed above other content. By leveraging its organic momentum, Facebook empowers meaningful content. This makes sense, but one question came to my mind: “What about content not defined as meaningful (i.e. clickbait) that I don’t want to see but has been shared by my friends I follow and with whom I share interests?” An answer to that is yet to be seen. I guess we’ll find out – or at least be affected by it without an answer.
Symposia’s Conclusions – So FarUntil this change rolls out, we will not know exactly how this will or will not impact us as marketers, users, and brands. We can’t pretend that we do. That said, we believe firmly in these two things:
- A content strategy that emphasizes providing eye-catching, valuable content that users love will continue to be a win.
- Paid Facebook advertising (not the boost button) will be more critical than ever and Facebook ads are a win when implemented with expertise.
Here’s one last contradiction for you: If users are happier during their time spent on Facebook, won’t they want to spend more time on it?
Every month, we come across organizations that have spent $30k on a website redesign without considering any of the elements that optimize that site for digital marketing. It’s not uncommon for organizations launch an expensive, pretty website, but shoot themselves in the foot by failing to set goals for what they want their site to accomplish. Missing opportunities for data or conversion? Well, that just sucks. Want to make sure your fancy website doesn’t suck? We partnered with our friends at Elevator Up to bring you some advice. The website redesign process is an all-hands-on-deck collaboration with every facet of your organization, and it’s important to include all relevant partners throughout the process. Your outside agencies and vendors are important partners, and will have valuable contributions along your journey to a new website and refreshed content. Rest assured, you don’t have to be a professional web developer to get your website optimized correctly for current needs and future plans. Here are 9 things to keep in mind when talking about website redesign.
1. Tracking Codes: Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics, and the Facebook Pixel should all be installed on your site from the very moment it launches. Not planning on activating Facebook ads anytime soon? It doesn’t matter. You want to have these tracking codes in place so that you collect all historical data for any future campaigns. Each of these items is just a line of code, and they should be extremely simple for your developer to install on the site. Make sure you’re the owner of all of these tracking accounts, even if a third-party agency sets them up for you. 2. Sales Funnel: We’ve worked with countless web developers who fail to have a conversation about the digital marketing sales funnel. This is the map of the journey you want your customer to take. What is it that you’re trying to accomplish with the site? What action do you want visitors to take, and what smaller actions (e.g. researching information) need to happen to lead up to that one big action (e.g. requesting a phone call)? This is the structure of your success, and making sure your resources (website, digital marketing) are encouraging this is vital. 3. Ongoing Edits: No website launches in its final form. [Sigh of relief…] You’ll want to ensure that you can easily make edits or updates to text, headlines, and photos without expensive or time-consuming consultations with your web developer. Invest the time and training hours to learn about what specifically can you change later – and the easiest way to do it. Just because you have a WordPress site doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to change every aspect of the site at a later date without the help of your developer. You want to be extremely specific about what pieces – pictures, text, links, buttons – you want to be able change at a later date. This will impact your marketing agility dramatically. Here’s an example: Often we’ll find that a page on the site doesn’t seem to be getting the visitors to take the desire action. That may mean that we want to change the text on one of the buttons so that it has a better call to action. Suddenly, a conversation that happened a year ago with the web developer has an impact on how quickly we’re able to make that change for marketing purposes. 4. Email Marketing Integration: Your site should be set up in a way that makes it extremely easy to connect to third party email marketing platforms (such as MailChimp) to the backend. Often, it makes sense to have all emails go through a form on the site. We recommend using something like Gravity Forms or Wufoo so that you have easy control over this at a later date. 5. Clickable Phone Numbers: Any instance of a phone number being presented should be a hyperlink. That means that users should be able to click that phone number and instantly start dialing from their mobile phone. Do you have older users that get confused when they see these options on their desktop? Your web developer can easily make it so that this feature only shows up on mobile devices if that is necessary. Up the data ante: Implement a trackable phone number to collect further data on the calls and callers. 6. Social Media Feeds: If you’re going to leverage the power of social media marketing now or at a later date, a social media feed that integrates with your website could be an excellent idea. This means that whenever you post to your Facebook page or other social media channel, the webpage will automatically display that post in the location you’ve chosen. And get those social media icons on your site! Many visitors research a business by going straight for the Facebook or Instagram accounts. 7. Video Marketing: As the popularity of video marketing continues to grow, be sure your website is setup to handle what you are doing or may do with video in the future. Choose a video host now, and remember that YouTube isn’t the only name in the game. We’ve found success using Wistia, a video host that is easy to implement across digital platforms. 8. Yoast Is Not SEO: Understand what SEO is and is not. Many (if not most) of the web developers in the world specialize in code and design – which is not SEO. Throwing a plugin on the WordPress site is not optimizing it for SEO. If you’re not confident in your web developer’s SEO prowess, seek out a second opinion and do the work up front to make sure your website’s SEO is strong and fierce. 9. Dev Environment: It’s difficult to play around within a site when it’s already live. Digital marketing is all about testing and optimizing, and you want to make sure that you can test to your heart’s content without breaking any code or confusing your audience with frequent changes. It’s very common to A/B test items such as button colors, placement, and layout. Ask for this during the design/redesign process, and make sure your digital marketing partners are able to easily access and use it.
Truly successful digital marketing is so much more than just a flashy social media presence. It’s built on a foundation that is a well-optimized, user-friendly website. Save yourself the headaches, time, and money, and think about these 9 key points up front. You and your team will be so glad you did.
We are now in the era of mending relationships between marketing, upper management, and sales. It comes down to one simple factor — data. Trackable, insightful data is finally a reality. Digital marketing has become a full-fledged industry, using reportable data to completely overhaul both marketing and sales. (There is a lot to digest in this article, so we recommend bookmarking it for future use.)
The Blame Game: A Common ProblemScenario: Upper Management wants to know what is and isn’t working, and they hate hearing “We’re not sure.” Your sales team is the first to point fingers when things start to go wrong. Have you ever had an awkward meeting with your manager or supervisor over low numbers that you can’t seem to explain? What about a frustrating disagreement with the sales team about who messed up? These scenarios are not new. All marketers have been there in some capacity. One of the biggest advantages that digital marketing has is the ability to track, inspect, and report on the success of your various marketing campaigns. Organizations can avoid playing the blame game. By learning exactly what outcomes your campaigns have, teams can get on the same page. In turn, this leads to better collaborations and better work. It allows everyone to focus on the real end goal: putting customers first. If you are in marketing today and not tracking your efforts, you’re doing a disservice to your business. Data allows you to understand what isn’t working so you can stop and change tactics. Data also helps you understand what is working, so you can do more of it. The digital marketing community is vast and complex. There are entire industries whose sole purpose is to provide in-depth analytics, but for most businesses the solutions don’t need to be as complicated. In this article, we walk you through the steps to take in order to get your website analytics off the ground smoothly and efficiently. We will take you step by step through the process, from installing Google Analytics to creating custom presets, and help you take your organization to the next level. Even if you aren’t the one responsible for your company’s website analytics and PPC reporting, you’ll still want to give this article a skim. Understanding how digital marketing can benefit your company is a crucial component in overall success. If you are the person responsible for your company’s analytics, this article will provide plenty of helpful tactics that are sure to impress.
Good Ol’ Fashioned Pen and PaperIt might sound crazy coming from a digital marketer, but sometimes it’s best to start with good ol’ fashioned pen and paper.
Before you run a single marketing campaign, take a look at your strategy and your website. Map out the steps one must go through in order to become a customer. Whether you’re trying to collect leads or generate e-commerce sales, you need to understand what your sales funnel looks like. Do people need to click a specific button? Enter info on a contact page? Watch a video? No matter the steps, each one is key to understanding the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. You need to make sure you are measuring those going forward. Each and every campaign starts with our team sitting down with pen and paper to make a comprehensive list of every action we would like to track on the website. Once you’ve mapped your list of actions, it’s time to get in the weeds with Google Analytics.
In order to track the ROI (Return On Investment) from your digital marketing efforts, you’ll need to install an analytics application. Google Analytics is not only an affordable option (it’s free!), it’s also a powerful one. Configuring Google Analytics allows you to track the ROI of traffic from your adwords campaigns, social media campaigns, email marketing campaigns, and more. Clearly seeing and understanding the results of your efforts can be transformational for your business. You can shift away from strategies that feel like they’re working and start acting on strategies that you know are working. Installing Google Analytics is pretty straightforward. Create an account, head to the property settings, copy your website tracking code, and paste it onto every page of your website by placing it between the <head> tags. If you’re unfamiliar with website code, you may want to consult a developer.
Once you have your analytics installed, the first thing you’ll want to do is set up goals. This is a major feature of Google Analytics. Take a look at the important steps in your sales funnel. Each one of those steps will need their own specific goal inside of Google Analytics. For example, the most common goal is the “/thank-you” page. You may not have recognized it at the time, but you have certainly seen these goals in action. Think back to the last time you bought something online. The majority of times after you’ve clicked submit, you are quickly re-directed to a separate thank you page. The main purpose of the page is to tell Google Analytics that someone who landed on this page has made a purchase or performed another action we hoped they would. Simply put, goals are a way to track the actions people take on your site. Once they’re set up, you’ll be able to see which types of traffic lead to your intended actions. Combine this feature with UTM links (more on that below) and you will have yourself a basic analytic stack that gets the job done!
UTM LinksKnowing where your traffic is coming from is absolutely crucial. That’s why UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) links are such an incredible tool for marketers. Also, they’re free! What are UTM links? These special bits of text are added to the end of any regular link, telling Google Analytics where the link came from. Simple, but powerful. If you’re spending any amount of time marketing online, you’ll want to get real familiar with these special links. Creating these fancy UTM links are very straightforward. Google has put together this resource that makes it incredibly easy.
Medium = The overall medium for a specific marketing effort (i.e. Social Media, Email, Guest Blog). Source = The specific source within a medium that tells us where the traffic will be coming from (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Newsletter). Campaign = The specific campaign that this effort was a part of (i.e. Monthly Promo).
Pro Tip: In order to avoid using links that are extra long and unappealing to the eye, use a URL shortening tool like bit.ly or Google’s URL shortener. This won’t change the way Google Analytics interprets your UTM link, but it will make it look better aesthetically if your links are customer facing.
In order to help make things easy, we’ve put together this free UTM link generator template for you to use. Just click the button below, and make yourself a copy. We have found this template to be incredibly helpful. It has made it easy for us to be consistent in the way we name our campaigns, which is helpful when your looking at your data for insights.
Once your campaigns have ended, it’s easy see within Google Analytics which UTM link performed best. Just follow these steps:
- Log into Google Analytics
- Click Acquisition
- Click Campaigns
- Find your specific campaign, then scroll to the right and sort by your “Goal”
- Compare and contrast the data.
- That’s it!
Facebook PixelMany businesses have attempted Facebook advertising, but fewer have taken the next step towards advertising effectively on Facebook. The first step is installing the Facebook Pixel. The Facebook Pixel is very important. It allows you to build lists of people who have been on your website and performed specific actions. Then you can serve “retargeting” ads directly to those people inside of Facebook. This is incredibly powerful. Even if you’re not ready to advertise on Facebook today, it’s important to at least get the Facebook Pixel set up as soon as possible. Here’s how:
- Jump into your ads manager and click on the little hamburger (three lines) in the top left
- Click “Pixel”
- Click “Create New Pixel”
- Name it (i.e. “My Business’s Facebook Pixel”)
- Copy and paste the snippet of code and email it to your developer to place in the <head> tags of your website
- All done!
The Pixel puts all of your website visitors into something called an “audience.” As an advertiser, serving ads to that audience is one of the lowest hanging fruits out there. The sooner you install that Pixel, the larger an audience you can serve ads to in the future. Again, even if you might never run Facebook ads, do your future self a favor and take the 15 minutes to set up the Facebook Pixel.
Setting Up Facebook Custom ConversionsThe concept of Facebook custom conversions is advanced, but setting them up is actually straightforward. If you’ve successfully installed your Facebook Pixel, setting up custom conversions is a piece of cake. Once complete, you really start to see the power Facebook holds. Jump into your ads manager and click on the little hamburger again in the top left.
Click on custom conversions. Then, create custom conversions.
On this page, you can create “custom conversions” that match the goals you laid out in Google Analytics, i.e. “/thank-you”. This impacts three key areas:
- Tracking — When you create custom conversions, Facebook will show you how well each ad does at reaching those goals.
- Optimizing — Now that Facebook knows what these actions look like, it begins optimizing them. For example, showing your ads to people more likely to take those specific actions.
- Retargeting — When you create custom conversions, you’re also creating pools of people who have performed those actions. You can include (or exclude) these people in your future ad campaigns.
Making Customized Presets Within Facebook Ads Manager & Google AnalyticsIf you’re looking to save time (who isn’t?), making customized presents are a great way to go. By its very nature, Facebook advertising can be quite confusing. There are hundreds of metrics to choose from and, unless you’ve taken the time to master all of their nuances, it can quickly feel overwhelming. Because of this, customizable presets are a great way to see only the metrics that matter most to you and your business. Navigate to your ads manager. Click columns, and scroll down to customize.
For most campaigns, we pay attention to these core metrics.
- Amount spent
- Cost per result
- CTR (click-through rates)
- Relevance score
- Any “custom conversions” you have set up
- Where users are coming from
- How often they return
- If they find what they’re looking for
- If they a purchase was made
The best insights are found when you really look under the hood, but most often the best reporting is the simplest reporting. Always look to answer the question, “Is this working?”
Let’s Wrap This Up!The beauty of digital marketing comes from the ability to track and report on all of your efforts. If you are responsible for driving results and adhering to a strict budget, relying on intuition, hope, and luck in your marketing efforts are luxuries you can’t afford. Social PPC can be one of the most cost-effective strategies to deploy today, It’s essential to put the right pieces to help track and report on your efforts. If you follow the tips and tools above, you and your team will be well on your way to uncovering the marketing campaigns that work. If you’re team doesn’t currently have an in-house digital marketing person, feel free to get in touch with us. We have a team of experts who are well versed in this world. We are happy to help in whatever capacity that may be.
As Ian Malcolm said in Jurassic Park, “…your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.” Surely we aren’t speaking of toying with evolution here, but it feels accurate. “We should obviously be on Facebook, right?” The answer is projected as the question is being asked. It’s as though that particular platform is the default for every retailer, every B2B business, every non-profit, every community event. While Facebook proves time and again its power, the fact is not every organization needs to be in every place. For example, many B2B businesses can achieve conversion success by focusing their digital marketing efforts on places like Google and LinkedIn. Facebook is not always the basket for all the eggs. This is not to say that a platform like Instagram can’t be a powerful tool for B2B companies like Hootsuite. The popular social media management dashboard utilizes Instagram for recruitment and brand awareness. Theirs is the kind of account with photos you might scroll past in your feed and mistake for a friend’s personal account. It’s fun, friendly, and it personalizes their team and their business. I once worked for an organization that wanted to make up for a lack in digital marketing budget by jumping onto every social media platform available. Of course, you should aim to reach the audience where they are. But what you don’t want is to find that you’ve wasted precious resources chasing after teens on Snapchat when your intended audience is already engaged with you, right where you are. Saturation isn’t the key; great content on the right platform is. Keep the vision of your goals in focus. Research where your audience is. Discuss with your team what your resources are, and use your findings to allocate your digital marketing efforts. Catch you on LiveJournal.