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Tips to maximize ROI on paid social: Facebook + Instagram

January 22, 2019 No Comments

Available ad impressions on social media are hitting a wall as user growth slows, driving up CPC and CPM prices. As demand increases, it becomes even more important for advertisers to properly optimize campaigns to maximize their return on investment for paid social.

According to Merkle’s Q2 2018 Digital Marketing Report, advertiser spend increased 40% year-over-year in Q2, while impressions fell 17%.

The influx of advertising dollars to social media platforms with a steady number of available impressions means that the average cost-per-click (CPC) is rising.

Many paid social media campaigns do not maximize their return on investment because of poor or incomplete optimization, limited distribution, incomplete tracking, and undefined goals.

Here’s what you need to do to squeeze more out of your paid social media campaigns.

Advertising for the funnel

Each advertisement you run must have a clear goal in mind, and that goal must fit into a larger piece of your paid social media strategy. Moving prospects from the top of the funnel to the bottom—as efficiently as possible—is necessary for a successful ad campaign.

Keep in mind that it may take multiple interactions with your advertisements and content before someone works their way through the funnel. Your ad campaigns should never take on a one-and-done approach.

An ad targeting a past purchaser will be very different than an ad targeting someone who is completely unfamiliar with your brand and products.

This makes it important to segment your customers into the correct phase of the buying process. Run different ads with different messages and calls to action for each segment.

Advertise smarter, not harder.

Simple process improvements

A number of small improvements can greatly impact the success of a paid social media campaign. Not implementing these is basically leaving money on the table. Remember, we are trying to squeeze every last drop of ROI out of these campaigns, even if getting the maximum return takes time.

While the examples I cite relate to Facebook and Instagram, we can see equivalents on Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Snapchat to some degree.

Whichever social media platform you are advertising through, follow platform best practices and make sure everything is set up properly—through tracking pixels and UTM codes. Everything should be properly attributed across platforms.

Facebook Pixel

First, make sure that Facebook’s tracking pixel is properly implemented on your website.

Facebook Pixel Helper, a free Chrome browser extension from Facebook, can help you troubleshoot any issues. You can find information on how to set up Facebook Pixel from scratch on Facebook’s website.

You also need to set up Facebook Pixel with standard events like newsletter sign-ups and successful e-commerce actions (add to cart, purchase, etc.) to help with creating higher quality custom and lookalike audiences.

Facebook and Instagram have powerful tracking and conversion optimization abilities in their ad technology, so use them.

Custom audiences

Using Facebook’s custom audiences feature is a must if you want your paid social media campaigns to really perform.

It is foolish to not capture and harness information about your website’s visitors, especially when it is free and requires only minutes to set up. Facebook offers a number of ways to create a custom audience in the Facebook Ads Manager.

Facebook’s Create a Custom Audience Tool

Website traffic

If your Facebook Pixel is properly set up, it can record every action taken by visitors on your website in the past 180 days. The actions include page views, button clicks, abandoned carts, and purchases.

You can create audiences to build lookalike audiences or use them for remarketing.

Advertising to someone who has already been to your website and possibly even completed on-site actions has a much higher chance of converting than advertising to a first-time visitor.

Offline conversions

With proper implementation, you can track offline events, like sales at physical retail locations, after someone has interacted with your Facebook advertisements.

There are two ways to set up offline activity: either upload the offline data CSV file manually to Facebook or sync your CRM directly with Facebook. The customer information will then be matched to the correct user IDs on Facebook.

This approach will show you if someone took a specific action, like purchasing after viewing.

Creating offline events

Lookalike audiences

You can create lookalike audiences in the Facebook Ads Manager to find audiences that have similar traits and characteristics to your ideal user.

The lookalike audience is created based on a custom audience, which acts as a seed audience. This allows you to greatly expand the number of potential customers you can target based on a higher-quality custom audience.

Lookalike audiences let you target people similar to your existing, custom audiences

Conversion tracking

Conversions are of paramount importance for e-commerce stores. Website traffic is useless unless it results in sales. Luckily, Facebook and Instagram can help optimize your campaign’s delivery for successful conversions.

Conversion tracking depends on the proper implementation of the tracking pixel and properly set up ad campaigns. You also need to set up standard events or custom conversions on Facebook to accurately measure and optimize for conversions. Google Analytics offers conversion tracking as well, but it’s based on a last-click-attribution model.  

There is no reason not to track and optimize for conversions. Even media companies that generate revenue by on-site ad units can benefit from optimizing toward conversions by focusing on pages-per-session to find a higher quality user, opposed to general website visitors.  

Remarketing

Remarketing with social media ad managers requires proper implementation of each platforms’ tracking pixels.

For example, Facebook’s audience and lookalike audience features are powerful tools that can track users and specific website actions up to 180 days in the past.

Remarketing with these audiences in mind is a strategic approach, and entire campaigns can be built around them. In fact, these types of campaigns often yield the highest returns.  

Facebook remarketing illustration

 

Image: http://marketingjumpleads.com/facebook-remarketing

Sequential Advertising

Sequential advertising is when you show different ads to the same person over a period of time. Large television campaigns sometimes use this tactic, but there is no reason why it cannot be successfully applied to paid social media campaigns.

For example, you may show an audience an ad focusing on one benefit of your product. The next ad, after the majority of people in the audience has seen the first one, would highlight another benefit of the product. The third ad would highlight a customer testimonial. You are showing your audience the same product but with different messaging.

If you are running video ads, you could also share a related story via that format. Think the Budweiser Frogs television campaign or some of BMW’s mini-movies. A sequential advertising campaign does not have to go to such lengths to be successful, but fresh, on-brand, eye-catching creative in any form is generally a good thing.

Maximizing distribution

Besides improvements to the advertising process, further optimization to paid social campaigns can be achieved through maximizing the campaigns’ distribution. That will ensure your campaign is successful based on your set goals. Not maximizing the distribution of your ads will leave money on the table.

Regularly refresh your creative

Using the same creative—images, video, and text—over and over can quickly cause fatigue. This means your audience will start to ignore your ads—or worse, start leaving mean comments on them. You’ll also start experiencing an increase in CPM and CPC as you lose more in Facebook’s ad auction.

Regularly refresh your creative to avoid this. It makes a difference, even if you’re just refreshing your images or copy every month.

Standing out in the newsfeed is a big part of successful paid campaigns. If you are using photographs or videos, they need to be high quality and relatable to make the user stop scrolling through their newsfeed.

Pay special attention to resolution, aspect ratio, and how the ad units look on a mobile device. The majority of users will see your ad on their phone, so make sure it’s thumb-stopping.   

Use all available placements

Facebook is always optimizing for the lowest event cost possible. The vast majority of your results will come from ads run on the Facebook or Instagram newsfeed. But don’t forget about other placements, like the sidebar, messenger, and marketplace.

Automatic placements are the best option to maximize results beyond the newsfeeds.

All placements selected

All placements selected.

Image: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/965529646866485

Limited placements selected

Limited placements selected.

Image: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/965529646866485

Optimize for mobile

Unless you specifically target only desktop device users, the majority of the impressions or clicks you receive will be from mobile devices. This means you better make sure your creative is mobile-friendly.

Make sure all of your images and videos are formatted to maximize the viewable space on mobile for the type of advertisement you are running. Your headlines and accompanying text also need to be optimized to fit.

If you’re using videos, make sure they’re formatted to a 1:1 aspect ratio (square videos) to take up the most room on the Facebook mobile newsfeed and outperform horizontal aspect videos.

Benefits of mobile optimized video

Image: https://blog.bufferapp.com/square-video-vs-landscape-video

Minimize restrictions for the Facebook algorithm

Don’t try to control Facebook too much. Instead, give Facebook room to show your ads to the correct users at the correct time with the least necessary targeting restrictions. The more freedom the algorithm has to use your pixel data, the better able it is to encourage conversions.  

Josh Thompson is Senior Social Media Strategist at Portent—a Clearlink Digital Agency. Josh is Facebook Blueprint Certified and has worked in social media advertising for seven years.

The post Tips to maximize ROI on paid social: Facebook + Instagram appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Pew: Social media for the first time tops newspapers as a news source for US adults

December 10, 2018 No Comments

It’s not true that everyone gets their news from Facebook and Twitter. But it is now true that more U.S. adults get their news from social media than from print newspapers. According to a new report from Pew Research Center out today, social media has for the first time surpassed newspapers as a preferred source of news for American adults. However, social media is still far behind other traditional news sources, like TV and radio, for example.

Last year, the portion of those who got their news from social media was around equal to those who got their news from print newspapers, Pew says. But in its more recent survey conducted from July 30 through August 12, 2018, that had changed.

Now, one-in-five U.S. adults (20 percent) are getting news from social media, compared with just 16 percent of those who get news from newspapers, the report found. (Pew had asked respondents if they got their news “often” from the various platforms.)

The change comes at a time when newspaper circulation is on the decline, and its popularity as a news medium is being phased out — particularly with younger generations. In fact, the report noted that print only remains popular today with the 65 and up crowd, where 39 percent get their news from newspapers. By comparison, no more than 18 percent of any other age group does.

While the decline of print has now given social media a slight edge, it’s nowhere near dominating other formats.

Instead, TV is still the most popular destination for getting the news, even though that’s been dropping over the past couple of years. TV is then followed by news websites, radio and then social media and newspapers.

But “TV news” doesn’t necessarily mean cable news networks, Pew clarifies.

In reality, local news is the most popular, with 37 percent getting their news there often. Meanwhile, 30 percent get cable TV news often and 25 percent watch the national evening news shows often.

However, if you look at the combination of news websites and social media together, a trend toward increasing news consumption from the web is apparent. Together, 43 percent of U.S. adults get their news from the web in some way, compared to 49 percent from TV.

There’s a growing age gap between TV and the web, too.

A huge majority (81 percent) of those 65 and older get news from TV, and so does 65 percent of those ages 50 to 64. Meanwhile, only 16 percent of the youngest consumers — those ages 18 to 29 — get their news from TV. This is the group pushing forward the cord cutting trend, too — or more specifically, many of them are the “cord-nevers,” as they’re never signing up for pay TV subscriptions in the first place. So it’s not surprising they’re not watching TV news.

Plus, a meager 2 percent get their news from newspapers in this group.

This young demographic greatly prefers digital consumption, with 27 percent getting news from news websites and 36 percent from social media. That is to say, they’re four times as likely than those 65 and up to get news from social media.

Meanwhile, online news websites are the most popular with the 30 to 49-year-old crowd, with 42 percent saying they get their news often from this source.

Despite their preference for digital, younger Americans’ news consumption is better spread out across mediums, Pew points out.

“Younger Americans are also unique in that they don’t rely on one platform in the way that the majority of their elders rely on TV,” Pew researcher Elisa Shearer writes. “No more than half of those ages 18 to 29 and 30 to 49 get news often from any one news platform,” she says.


Social – TechCrunch


New Jobs Open! Social Campaign Strategist, Product Evangelist, Search Engine Marketing Manager + More!

December 8, 2018 No Comments

In the past couple weeks, we’ve had 7 new jobs posted to the PPC Hero Job Board! Take a look at what’s available Here’s a brief look at some of the newly posted positions: eLama New York, NY Role: Product Evangelist eLama is a leading digital marketing automation service in Russia and CIS. Due to […]

Read more at PPCHero.com
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Paid Social Predictions for Marketers in 2020

December 3, 2018 No Comments

Now that we’re all aware that paid social is crucially important for your business…it’s time to catch up with the always-changing ad formats, algorithms, and audiences.

Read more at PPCHero.com
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Limiting social media use reduced loneliness and depression in new experiment

November 10, 2018 No Comments

The idea that social media can be harmful to our mental and emotional well-being is not a new one, but little has been done by researchers to directly measure the effect; surveys and correlative studies are at best suggestive. A new experimental study out of Penn State, however, directly links more social media use to worse emotional states, and less use to better.

To be clear on the terminology here, a simple survey might ask people to self-report that using Instagram makes them feel bad. A correlative study would, for example, find that people who report more social media use are more likely to also experience depression. An experimental study compares the results from an experimental group with their behavior systematically modified, and a control group that’s allowed to do whatever they want.

This study, led by Melissa Hunt at Penn State’s psychology department, is the latter — which despite intense interest in this field and phenomenon is quite rare. The researchers only identified two other experimental studies, both of which only addressed Facebook use.

One hundred and forty-three students from the school were monitored for three weeks after being assigned to either limit their social media use to about 10 minutes per app (Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram) per day or continue using it as they normally would. They were monitored for a baseline before the experimental period and assessed weekly on a variety of standard tests for depression, social support and so on. Social media usage was monitored via the iOS battery use screen, which shows app use.

The results are clear. As the paper, published in the latest Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, puts it:

The limited use group showed significant reductions in loneliness and depression over three weeks compared to the control group. Both groups showed significant decreases in anxiety and fear of missing out over baseline, suggesting a benefit of increased self-monitoring.

Our findings strongly suggest that limiting social media use to approximately 30 minutes per day may lead to significant improvement in well-being.

It’s not the final word in this, however. Some scores did not see improvement, such as self-esteem and social support. And later follow-ups to see if feelings reverted or habit changes were less than temporary were limited because most of the subjects couldn’t be compelled to return. (Psychology, often summarized as “the study of undergraduates,” relies on student volunteers who have no reason to take part except for course credit, and once that’s given, they’re out.)

That said, it’s a straightforward causal link between limiting social media use and improving some aspects of emotional and social health. The exact nature of the link, however, is something at which Hunt could only speculate:

Some of the existing literature on social media suggests there’s an enormous amount of social comparison that happens. When you look at other people’s lives, particularly on Instagram, it’s easy to conclude that everyone else’s life is cooler or better than yours.

When you’re not busy getting sucked into clickbait social media, you’re actually spending more time on things that are more likely to make you feel better about your life.

The researchers acknowledge the limited nature of their study and suggest numerous directions for colleagues in the field to take it from here. A more diverse population, for instance, or including more social media platforms. Longer experimental times and comprehensive follow-ups well after the experiment would help, as well.

The 30-minute limit was chosen as a conveniently measurable one, but the team does not intend to say that it is by any means the “correct” amount. Perhaps half or twice as much time would yield similar or even better results, they suggest: “It may be that there is an optimal level of use (similar to a dose response curve) that could be determined.”

Until then, we can use common sense, Hunt suggested: “In general, I would say, put your phone down and be with the people in your life.”


Social – TechCrunch


Limiting social media use reduced loneliness and depression in new experiment

November 10, 2018 No Comments

The idea that social media can be harmful to our mental and emotional well-being is not a new one, but little has been done by researchers to directly measure the effect; surveys and correlative studies are at best suggestive. A new experimental study out of Penn State, however, directly links more social media use to worse emotional states, and less use to better.

To be clear on the terminology here, a simple survey might ask people to self-report that using Instagram makes them feel bad. A correlative study would, for example, find that people who report more social media use are more likely to also experience depression. An experimental study compares the results from an experimental group with their behavior systematically modified, and a control group that’s allowed to do whatever they want.

This study, led by Melissa Hunt at Penn State’s psychology department, is the latter — which despite intense interest in this field and phenomenon is quite rare. The researchers only identified two other experimental studies, both of which only addressed Facebook use.

One hundred and forty-three students from the school were monitored for three weeks after being assigned to either limit their social media use to about 10 minutes per app (Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram) per day or continue using it as they normally would. They were monitored for a baseline before the experimental period and assessed weekly on a variety of standard tests for depression, social support and so on. Social media usage was monitored via the iOS battery use screen, which shows app use.

The results are clear. As the paper, published in the latest Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, puts it:

The limited use group showed significant reductions in loneliness and depression over three weeks compared to the control group. Both groups showed significant decreases in anxiety and fear of missing out over baseline, suggesting a benefit of increased self-monitoring.

Our findings strongly suggest that limiting social media use to approximately 30 minutes per day may lead to significant improvement in well-being.

It’s not the final word in this, however. Some scores did not see improvement, such as self-esteem and social support. And later follow-ups to see if feelings reverted or habit changes were less than temporary were limited because most of the subjects couldn’t be compelled to return. (Psychology, often summarized as “the study of undergraduates,” relies on student volunteers who have no reason to take part except for course credit, and once that’s given, they’re out.)

That said, it’s a straightforward causal link between limiting social media use and improving some aspects of emotional and social health. The exact nature of the link, however, is something at which Hunt could only speculate:

Some of the existing literature on social media suggests there’s an enormous amount of social comparison that happens. When you look at other people’s lives, particularly on Instagram, it’s easy to conclude that everyone else’s life is cooler or better than yours.

When you’re not busy getting sucked into clickbait social media, you’re actually spending more time on things that are more likely to make you feel better about your life.

The researchers acknowledge the limited nature of their study and suggest numerous directions for colleagues in the field to take it from here. A more diverse population, for instance, or including more social media platforms. Longer experimental times and comprehensive follow-ups well after the experiment would help, as well.

The 30-minute limit was chosen as a conveniently measurable one, but the team does not intend to say that it is by any means the “correct” amount. Perhaps half or twice as much time would yield similar or even better results, they suggest: “It may be that there is an optimal level of use (similar to a dose response curve) that could be determined.”

Until then, we can use common sense, Hunt suggested: “In general, I would say, put your phone down and be with the people in your life.”

Mobile – TechCrunch


Justice Department’s threat to social media giants is wrong

September 6, 2018 No Comments

Never has it been so clear that the attorneys charged with enforcing the laws of the country have a complete disregard for the very laws they’re meant to enforce.

As executives of Twitter and Facebook took to the floor of the Senate to testify about their companies’ response to international meddling into U.S. elections and addressed the problem of propagandists and polemicists using their platforms to spread misinformation, the legal geniuses at the Justice Department were focused on a free speech debate that isn’t just unprecedented, but also potentially illegal.

These attorneys general convened to confabulate on the “growing concern” that social media companies are stifling expression and hurting competition. What’s really at issue is a conservative canard and talking point that tries to make a case that private companies have a First Amendment obligation to allow any kind of speech on their platforms.

The simple fact is that they do not. Let me repeat that. They simply do not.

What the government’s lawyers are trying to do is foist a responsibility that they have to uphold the First Amendment onto private companies that are under no such obligation. Why are these legal eagles so up in arms? The simple answer is the decision made by many platforms to silence voices that violate the expressed policies of the platforms they’re using.

Chief among these is Alex Jones who has claimed that the Sandy Hook school shooting was a hoax and accused victims of the Parkland school shooting of being crisis actors.

Last month a number of those social media platforms that distributed Jones finally decided that enough was enough.

The decision to boot Jones is their prerogative as private companies. While Jones has the right to shout whatever he wants from a soapbox in free speech alley (or a back alley, or into a tin can) — and while he can’t be prosecuted for anything that he says (no matter how offensive, absurd or insane) — he doesn’t have the right to have his opinions automatically amplified by every social media platform.

Almost all of the big networking platforms have come to that conclusion.

The technology-lobbying body has already issued a statement excoriating the Department of Justice for its ham-handed approach.

[The] U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) today released a statement saying that it was convening state attorneys general to discuss its concerns that these companies were “hurting competition and intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas.” Social media platforms have the right to determine what types of legal speech they will permit on their platforms. It is inappropriate for the federal government to use the threat of law enforcement to limit companies from exercising this right. In particular, law enforcement should not threaten social media companies with unwarranted investigations for their efforts to rid their platforms of extremists who incite hate and violence.

While the Justice Department’s approach muddies the waters and makes it more difficult for legitimate criticism and reasoned regulation of the social media platforms to take hold, there are legitimate issues that legislators need to address.

Indeed, many of them were raised in a white paper from Senator Mark Warner, which was released in the dog days of summer.

Or the Justice Department could focus on the issue that Senator Ron Wyden emphasized in the hours after the hearing:

Instead of focusing on privacy or security, attorneys general for the government are waging a Pyrrhic war against censorship that doesn’t exist and ignoring the real cold war for platform security.


Social – TechCrunch


New Research! The State of Paid Social

July 11, 2018 No Comments

In our new 2018 State of Paid Social report, we share the latest data on paid social advertising trends in a variety of networks including Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Pinterest, and Youtube, collected from over 400 marketers at brands and agencies.

Read more at PPCHero.com
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Boost Social App Campaign CPIs During High Peaks of Seasonality

April 16, 2018 No Comments

Understand when it can become cost-effective to shift budget dollars to social app campaigns during periods of peak interest.

Read more at PPCHero.com
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Momo buys Tantan, China’s Tinder, for over $600M as Chinese social networks consolidate

February 25, 2018 No Comments

 WeChat is far and away the biggest messaging platform in China at the moment, and that is helping to drive a push among the smaller players to get together for better scale. Today, Momo, the Chinese location-based social networking app that has more recently made a big push into dating services and is traded on Nasdaq with a market cap of around $ 6 billion, announced that it has… Read More
Social – TechCrunch