What's wrong with social media | Resourceful Business

What’s Wrong With Social Media?

After succumbing to her curiosity and peeking in the box, Pandora tries to quickly close the top as creatures representing evil and disease escape.

It’s hard to believe that Facebook only came into existence in February 2004–just 15 years ago. Once named thefacebook.com, it began a communication revolution which has put social media at the front and center of many parts of our daily lives. Whether we use Messenger to talk to friends, Instagram to follow our favorite influencer or Pinterest to find a trending product, social media is everywhere.  

Negative headlines about data privacy and streams of egregious content have been flashing warning signs about social media for some time. As the manager of a digital marketing agency, here are a few cautionary signs that I see which tell me rigorous regulation of this industry is long overdue, and when it does arrive, it will be a welcome reprieve.

1. Influencer marketing means what you see is not what you get

Called brand partnerships, social media influencers often get paid to blog and post about products. As a rule of thumb, every follower an influencer has equates to a penny. Therefore, an influencer with 10,000 followers may charge $100 per post plus additional production expenses, but ethically, if that person is posting about a product or service as part of the brand partnership, (s)he should disclose it visibly. On social platforms, partner relationships are now being referenced more explicitly, but not always. That means that people may follow influencers and try products being promoted in the posts without realizing influencers are taking fees for creating the posts.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has caught on to undisclosed brand partnerships. The FTC Endorsement Guides require a “material connection” between the two parties, the paid endorser of the product or service and the brand advertiser, to be conspicuously disclosed. Social media platforms are busy rolling out branded content tools that will require tagging of a business partner where there has been an “exchange of value,” but prior to these guidelines, consumers, sometimes children, were none the wiser.

2. Online reviews provide no recourse

Online reviews are an essential part of the digital era, and social media platforms such as Facebook and Yelp are an important source of consumer reviews. According to the BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey 2018, 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses, and that percentage jumps to 95% for people aged 18 to 34. The problem is that consumers know the importance of reviews, and some of them are savvy at abusing them.  

For example, people who want to post a negative review frequently copy and paste the same review on as many social platforms as possible. Angry customers will put a negative review on Yelp, Facebook, and then Google My Business, a feature of the Google search engine. The business can answer the review, of course, but it can be incredibly difficult to defend oneself without being seen to disparage the reviewer, who by the way, is not always right. We recently talked with one of our customers that owns a local, 5-star rated business. They provided a retail service for a child, and afterward, the mother paid the bill and left with the boy, both quite happy. Two weeks later, the father returned with the boy to say how unhappy he was with the service that had been provided. The man proceeded to post a 1-star review on three platforms, remove a 5-star review that he had posted for the business a few months earlier, and disparage employees by name in the review.

There’s no arbitration for an online review, no “other side” of the story and with some exception, the review site often does not verify a purchase has even been made. The same BrightLocal survey says, “Negative reviews stop 40% of consumers wanting to use a business,” so the ability of consumers to post any review they would like, even if they have never purchased the product or service, needs to change. Even competitors can post a negative review using fake names; there’s nothing in place to stop them. A fair review process requires vetting–did a purchase actually take place–and some form of reasonable recourse for the business, a monumental technological challenge for both social networks and search engines.

3. Social media platforms offer no real customer service

You might imagine that as a digital marketing agency, we are working with different social media platforms each day. Facebook has a market capitalization, the value of its outstanding shares, of circa 550 billion dollars. Yet, if you have an issue, you have one preliminary option for support. You can click the round question mark button in the navigation. From there, you submit your help request online using their Report a Problem form.

As measured by its market cap, Facebook is the sixth largest company in the world. Facebook also operates Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp, and it is not obliged to provide any human form of customer service. Of course, neither are small businesses, but it’s hard to imagine one of the largest companies in the world operating with a Report a Problem form as the first stage of the customer service journey.

4. Social media content is now too vast to police

If you think about movies, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has a rating system for films to warn audiences about film content and its age appropriateness. Contrast the MPAA rating system to the current social media landscape which has no enforceable content guidelines. If you disagree with content posted about your business and even content that tags your business, you can appeal to Facebook to remove it. Our agency’s experience has been that those requests have been declined 100% of the time even when there is a clear pattern of abuse.

Facebook Live, a broadcasting feature available within the Facebook app, has been used to capture murders and suicides. Social media posts on many platforms are rife with profanity and hate speech. As a user, you can block people, but you have no way to actively filter newsfeed content for profanity or inappropriate imagery. I suppose that similar to the movies, you can choose not to “attend,” but really there should be a viable filter available for social media users who wish to block images of violence or profanity in the copy if they so chose. However, allowing the user to filter content would imperil the revenue model for social media networks which is dependent on users seeing ads interspersed in the newsfeed.

5. Personal data is not secure with social media companies

The revelations that came to light in the Cambridge Analytica scandal were shocking. Cambridge Analytica employees and contractors acquired the data of tens of millions of Facebook users via a Facebook data breach in 2014. This data was utilized to construct user profiles in advance of the 2016 US presidential election and effectively audience target marketing campaigns. According to The Guardian, when Facebook found out about the breach in 2015 and that individual data had been harvested, it failed to notify Facebook users that were affected. Facebook also did not work to recover the data from the breach.

In fact, the rapid growth of social media platforms over the last 15 years has meant that social media companies have not been held to the same standard as other traditional media companies and corporations in many areas, including privacy. They should be. It’s been convenient to be labeled a social media platform as if best practice for other companies does not apply. Facebook put out a recent announcement that the company anticipates a fine from the FTC of 3 to 5 billion dollars for privacy breaches and has set aside 3 billion for legal fees which reaffirm the gravity of the situation.

So, what’s wrong with social media? Ads drive the revenue model for social media companies and only work if the platforms are continuously and actively used. Otherwise, no one would see the ads. To a certain extent, questionable content attracts more users, and this phenomenon has fueled the success of companies such as Snapchat where often teens, in particular, post inappropriate content that conveniently disappears. But of course, the posts have already served their purpose and captured the attention of the audience the teen was hoping to reach. Similarly, outrageous reviews, hate speech, and online bullying attract an audience, so social media companies are not particularly incentivized to restrain them. If you haven’t done so recently, scroll through your Twitter feed and glance at the barbs traded daily.

Maturing social networks need leadership that is sensible, ethical and genuinely interested in doing what is in the public interest. Company leadership must be held accountable too, which becomes difficult when within our own legislative branch, there is such a limited understanding of the revenue model that drives social media companies. In a Joint Hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in April of last year, Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, asked Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, “So, how do you sustain a business model in which users don’t pay for your service?” Mark Zuckerberg replied, “Senator, we run ads.” Without a broad understanding of that basic truism and how to impact it, no real behavioral change will occur by social media networks.

Perhaps not quite as grim as the Greek myth, Pandora’s Box, wherein Pandora’s curiosity gets the better of her and she unleashes all the evils of the world from a box, the exponential growth of social media has nonetheless unleashed its own form of tyranny. Only when the latest features and app updates are truly secondary to the ethical execution of a meaningful company mission will the issues caused by social media start to wane.


digital marketing relevance

Why RELEVANCE is Key to a Successful Digital Marketing Strategy

An excerpt from Ann Mills’ presentation on digital marketing at Swap The Biz, Short Hills, NJ.


Imagine –

You’ve just been invited to a party, and you have the perfect outfit but need a matching pair of shoes. You head to the local shopping mall and come across a store advertising DRESS SHOES for any occasion. You wander in, and to your dismay, you see rows and rows of sneakers in every style and size. After looking around, you see there are a few dress shoes over in one corner, but certainly not many, and so you leave.

Your experience in the shoe store is a problem digital marketers see played out over and over again in the digital advertising space. People search for a product or service on the Internet and land on a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ad, an ad the advertiser only pays for when the person clicks. Potential customers click on the ad, and they land on a website which does not offer what they are looking for and if it does, it’s pretty hard to find.

In an attempt to prevent this scenario from happening, search platforms and social networks rigorously evaluate advertising campaigns using many different metrics, the most important of which is RELEVANCE.

What is RELEVANCE and why does it matter?

In digital marketing, relevance is exactly what you might imagine–it’s a score that serves as a barometer of whether your messaging truly appeals to the audience you are targeting. It is measured using a combination of variables as a person moves from search query to ad to website. So, for example, if a person types in a search query using certain keywords and sees your business’ Google ad, she will decide whether to click on the ad. If she doesn’t, chances are she did not find the ad relevant to the original query, and over time, that ad will be shown less and cost more for your business to run.

There’s no doubt that marketing your business in the digital space is challenging to execute and when it’s off track, tough to recalibrate. Marketing can be expensive too, so understanding its relevance and your Return on Investment (ROI) are essential. The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends that businesses with under 5 million in sales spend approximately 7 to 8% of gross revenue on marketing. For start-ups in a competitive industry, the percentage can be more like 20% which means advertising can get costly as a business gears up.

Facebook Relevance Score

In Facebook, relevance has historically been defined by an ad’s Relevance Score. Measured on a scale of 1 to 10, highly relevant ads are awarded a higher number. Just one example, if there are positive reactions to a boosted post, it will help the relevance score and not surprisingly, negative reactions will do the opposite. In Facebook, an ad must have 500+ impressions for the Relevance Score to show in the metrics, but marketers have found that a high Facebook Relevance Score does not always correlate to whether the ad works for the business.

In a recent development, Facebook announced that as of April 30, 2019, Relevance Score will be replaced by three more granular relevancy metrics which will measure ad quality, engagement rate, and conversion rate. More importantly, the scores will be relative to similar ads that are competing for the same target audience. Therefore, if these relevancy metrics are not strong for one of your ads, your competitors are doing a better job with similar ads.

Google Quality Score

Similarly, Google defines relevance as, “How closely the elements of your ad campaign match what a person seems to be looking for.” Therefore, optimized ad campaigns have keywords that trigger ads which take the visitor to a user-friendly website page. Ads can also direct people to stand-alone landing pages–single web pages designed to encourage a specific action. A relevant landing page will prompt high click-through rates and Google will reward the business for this positive user experience by prompting more ad impressions at a lower cost. If the ad is truly relevant to the audience it is targeting, it has a measurable marketing advantage over comparable ads in the same space.

Similar to the relevancy metrics recently announced by Facebook, Google has multiple data points which combine to determine an ad’s overall Quality Score. These data points include a Quality Score for the keywords, an assessment of the landing page experience, ad relevance, and the expected click-through rate.

How your website design impacts relevance

It’s important to remember that ad views are impressions, but behind every click is a person. When people who have viewed your ad decide to click the ad to learn more, that click-through takes them to your website or landing page. The construction and organization of your website are critically important to delivering and optimizing the visitor experience once they click.

Look at college and university websites. Often, they divide their navigation into Students, Faculty and Staff, and Alumni when they organize the information for their audience groups. What is relevant to a student or even a prospective student is completely different than what is relevant to an alumnus. Similarly, hotels often organize information by Rooms, Dining, and Events. This type of logical organization structure is essential to relevance. A digital marketer that maps an ad back to a general website page with broadly written content will never be able to impact the business revenue in the same way as if he can direct an ad back to specific, well-written content. Relevant content directly speaks to the audience it is meant to target, and it answers their queries. In the context of the dress shoe example, a store that advertises DRESS SHOES should have rows and rows of dress shoes, not sneakers. If the shoes are organized into sections for men, women, and teens, even better because consumers can easily find what they need.

The DoubleTree by Hilton cookie–a lesson in relevance

If you ever check in at a DoubleTree by Hilton hotel, you are given a warm chocolate chip cookie, a tradition since the 1980s. Aligned with that practice, when you are searching for family-friendly hotels and come across DoubleTree in your search results, you see the following ad:

There’s also a page on the DoubleTree by Hilton website that tells website visitors all about the history of the cookie and that to DoubleTree, “…the cookie means so much more. It represents our constant dedication to our guests and thoughtful touches that ensure you feel special and cared for throughout your stay.”

DoubleTree by Hilton keeps their advertising relevant to customers by associating warm cookies with a welcoming atmosphere and pulls this theme through in their ads and website. Digital marketers have analyzed DoubleTree tweets, and at times, more than 60% of the tweets they are tagged in are about the cookie.  

Two takeaways on relevance

Like the DoubleTree by Hilton marketing campaigns, keywords, ads and websites have to work together seamlessly to create powerful, relevant messaging. As you think about your businesses, here are two takeaways on relevance for you to consider:

  1. Figure out your DoubleTree cookie. What makes you different, and by different, I don’t mean just identifying a particular product or service. What really makes your business different from your competitors, and why should someone call you? The answer to these questions is the foundation for an impactful, relevant digital marketing campaign.
  2. Look at your website. On average, when people land on your website homepage, they take 3 seconds to determine if they can find what they need. If they can’t figure out where to go quickly to answer their query, they will leave–it’s the dress shoe example.

Relevance is by far the most important metric in digital marketing, and by the same token, it can be one of the most difficult to pin down. Each brand has a digital footprint which includes all of its assets in the digital space–website, logos, marketing campaigns, social media platforms. If you think your marketing strategy is not engaging potential customers, the culprit could be low relevance. Contact Resourceful Business to learn more.

5 MORE Signs Digital Marketing is Replacing Traditional Media | Resourceful Business

5 MORE Signs Digital Marketing is Replacing Traditional Media

In a previous blog, 5 Signs Digital Marketing is Replacing Traditional Media, we wrote about the signs of the digital marketing transformation unfolding around us. From disappearing office addresses to uber thin fonts and interactive documents, all the signposts were telling us that marketing as we knew it was being upended. What began as a slow and steady stream of changes has become a rising flood that has now enveloped the media landscape in its entirety.

As the sea change continues, we thought we would share 5 MORE signs digital marketing is replacing traditional media.

1. Digital ads overtake television ad spend

In 2017, digital ad spending in the US surpassed traditional TV ad expenditures for the first time–much of the shift driven by mobile. In fact, eMarketer projects, “By 2020, [mobile] will represent 43% of total media ad spending in the US—a greater percentage than all traditional media combined.” As Millennials, in particular, migrate to video and online streaming of their favorite programming, digital ads give marketers the platform and versatility to target them. Traditional television ads are comparatively random in their audience reach, and overall television viewership is declining in the United States as well. A study by Omnicom Media Group found that “…in 2016 the smartphone replaced the TV as the device most watched by Millennials,” and there’s even a new marketing nickname for the 22 to 35-year-old demographic that eschews traditional television–the Unreachables.  

PEW Research Center estimated newspaper circulations

2. Newspaper circulations decline sharply

The recent Pew Research Center Newspapers: Fact Sheet notes that the estimated total circulation of U.S. daily newspapers has fallen precipitously since the early 1990s. The decline extends to both Sunday and weekday circulations. By the numbers, total estimated circulation of U.S. newspapers halved to circa 31 million in 2017 from 62 million in 1990.

Although digital newspaper circulations are not easy to gauge, the estimated number of unique visitors to the top 50 U.S. online newspaper sites appeared stable in 2017 and saw double-digit gains both in 2016 and 2015. The growth in digital newspaper readership is in sharp contrast to the trend in physical newspaper circulation.

3. Not just office addresses, but offices disappear

Remote working is here to stay. Not only are more employees working remotely, but they are spending longer periods of time engaged in remote work as well. In Freelancing in America 2018, Upwork noted that 56.7 million Americans, or 35% of the workforce, now freelance, and the number of Americans that are freelancing has increased by 3.7 million people since 2014. As the freelancing revolution takes hold, multi-channel digital marketing is adept at targeting a mobile labor force used to working in different spaces, on multiple devices, and in the cloud.

“Audiences continue to abandon traditional media, and ad dollars follow.” –eMarketer

4. Business cards fall by the wayside

I recently attended a business dinner with 15 other marketing professionals, C-Suite executives, and startup co-founders. When I asked a few attendees for business cards, each had the same response–I don’t carry business cards anymore. One person told me his company did not want to pay for physical business cards. The digital age has ushered in the concept of “connecting,” and in fact, after dinner, several people connected with me on LinkedIn. There are also numerous business card apps so people can exchange their contact information digitally. It is estimated that 88% of physical business cards are thrown away within one week of people receiving them which explains why even marketing oneself has gone digital.

5. Digital ads use keywords to identify potential customers

According to Google Benchmarks and Insights, Google display campaigns–image-based digital ads–reach 80% of global internet users. Not only do Google Ads have incredible reach, but they have sophisticated, data-driven audience targeting tools. The ads are driven in part by keywords, words or phrases relevant to an Internet search. These keywords are one component of the algorithmic calculation that determines relevance, a critical metric that forms the basis for which digital ads a person sees.

Broadly categorized into three types, keywords help digital marketers identify and hone in on specific stages of the buyer’s journey with a level of precision not possible using traditional media. Briefly,

  • Navigational keywords go to a certain website or destination, often a company name or brand
  • Informational keywords help the user acquire information (how to, compare, information about)
  • Transactional keywords prompt action (buy, get, contact, sign up)

Based on cues such as keywords, digital marketers can efficiently fashion ads for the multi-stage buyer’s journey and optimize the audiences that see the ad.

So, there you have 5 MORE signs digital marketing is replacing traditional media. At Resourceful Business, we continue to evolve our marketing strategies to respond to the rapidly changing marketing landscape and the challenges that accompany it.

If you’re interested in learning more about how digital marketing can grow your business, please contact us.

Google Ads Do Your Marketing Heavy Lifting

Let the Power of Google Ads Do Your Marketing Heavy Lifting

In Field of Dreams, Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella walks through a cornfield and hears a voice that tells him, “If you build it, he will come.” The voice inspires Ray to build a baseball diamond in the midst of his cornfield where Ray later meets the spirits of Chicago White Sox legend “Shoeless” Joe Jackson and his own father. At the end of the movie when Ray is trying to decide whether to sell his property to avoid foreclosure, a local writer assures him, “People will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.”

When business owners invest time and money on a website, their hope is that people will come. The importance of understanding and using Google Ads is that they drive website traffic and ensure people most definitely come. Once on your website, visitors can buy from your e-commerce store, fill in a lead form, or learn more about your business.

Google Ads

What are Google Ads?

Google Ads are Pay Per Click (PPC) digital advertising campaigns. The ads are described as Pay Per Click because the advertiser only pays for the ad when someone clicks on it, not per ad impression. There are Search Network ads which are text ads and Display Network ads which are images. In June of this year, Google rolled out Smart Campaigns, a more automated, optimized alternative geared towards small business.

PPC campaigns drive traffic to your website so visitors can see the products and services you provide. When people look at a page of internet search results in Google, it’s hard to distinguish between ads and the organic search results because text ads have only a small “Ad” box near the website address. Ads blend in with search results, and therefore, are a powerful way to get potential customers to a website.

structure of a Google Ads campaign

How do Google Ads work?

In its simplest form, you can think of Google Ads as four-layered ad campaigns. From top to bottom:

  • Campaigns – how much do I want to spend or geographically, where do I want my ads to show?
  • Ad Sets – what are my different products, services or groups?
  • Ads – what is my message?
  • Keywords – what words or phrases will someone type into Google when they are searching for my product or service?

A digital marketer will set up a campaign by thinking about how much to spend, who to target and where they are, and what product or service you are advertising. At the core of every Google Ads campaign is a keyword list, a list of search terms or phrases a person may type into Google when they search for your product or service.

The Google Ads algorithm determines which ads to show, the Ad Rank, based on two criteria: the maximum keyword Bid you have specified and Quality Score which is a combination of ad relevance, Click-Through-Rate (CTR) and quality of the landing page for the ad. The landing page is the website page where the person who clicks on the ad is directed.

How can Google Ads grow my business?

On a desktop computer, approximately two-thirds of all search queries are done on Google. On mobile devices, some estimates suggest Google controls 95% of all search queries. Therefore, by being part of the search results mix, Google Ads drive website traffic. When someone clicks on an ad, it brings him or her to your website and then you’re in the driving seat. You can try to prompt your site visitors to take actions like purchase a product, fill in a lead form, or schedule a demo.

Google Ads Pay Per Click campaigns do some of the marketing heavy lifting by allowing your business to be more visible in search and driving potential customers to your website. PPC campaigns push your message out in a structured, systematic, and targeted way to an audience that has an interest in your product or service.

When it comes to Google Ads, if you build them, people will most definitely come and your business will grow.


Interested in learning more about Google Ads campaigns? Contact us.

Photo credit: Field of Dreams, 1989, Universal Studios

digital marketing audience targeting

Finding Your Ideal Customer Using the Power of Digital Marketing

An excerpt from Ann Mills’ presentation on digital marketing at Swap The Biz, Short Hills, NJ.

_________

You are on your way to a networking event.

When you arrive, you are surprised to find not one room but three to choose from–each filled with 50 people. Tacked on the door of each room is a sign with some information about each of the people in the room–ages, income bracket, and town. The information also includes whether the person is a parent and his or her areas of interest.

You look at the information on each door and think:

In Room #1, there are one or two people who seem like they might be an ideal networking opportunity.  

Room #2–about half of the people in the room seem to fit the profile of your ideal networking opportunity.

In Room #3, all 50 people fit your ideal networking persona. They are the right age, live in a nearby location, and they seem like people who might be interested in the product or service you sell.

Which room will you enter? Probably Room #3.

 

advertising mailer

In the context of marketing:

Room #1 with its 2 to 3 prospects is perhaps the equivalent of a mailer like this one about dining room sets. If you are not buying a dining room set, you’ll probably throw the mailer out. Even if you are buying a dining room set, you may not look at the mailer. If you’re the business that sent the mailer, you can’t be sure who actually read it, and as one print company executive said to me recently, “People pretty much open their mail over the trash can.”

Room #2 with about 25 possible networking opportunities is representative of a networking group. You have a higher chance of connecting and exchanging business with people in the room. They more closely fit your ideal networking persona, and you have more in common with people in the group than acquaintances you make outside the group.

Room #3 with 50 of 50 people seemingly possible networking opportunities personifies digital marketing and, in particular, a powerful tool we use called audience targeting.

What is digital marketing?

If you ask someone what digital marketing is, they will probably tell you that it is advertising delivered via a digital channel. It might be a website, Pay-Per-Click campaign (the advertiser pays for the ad only when someone clicks on it), remarketing campaign, email, social media post, or even a response to an online review. Weaved together, digital marketers create omnichannel marketing strategies.

However, that definition of digital marketing does not convey what is so important about it. Primarily:

  • A digital campaign audience is not guesswork.
  • Campaign results are measurable, actionable, and data-driven.
  • Marketing campaigns can be timed to maximize impact.
  • Digital campaigns can be changed and scaled quickly.

Let me give you two examples of the agility and versatility afforded by digital marketing:

A mortgage banker in New Jersey deals almost exclusively with clients purchasing high-end homes. In an effort to broaden his target audience of potential clients, a digital agency does an analysis of zip codes in Manhattan where residents typically pay four to five-thousand dollars in rent each month. Intuitively, it’s clear that many of these young professionals might be thinking of starting families as well. The agency develops a Pay-Per-Click ad campaign to market the banker’s services into specific zip codes in New York City where the high-rent-paying population lives.

A client with multiple retail locations in New Jersey has her online reviews on Google, Facebook, and Yelp managed by a digital agency. The agency notices that some of the online reviews are in Spanish and come to believe that it is perhaps a far more important demographic than had been previously realized. In addition to Google AdWords Pay-Per-Click campaigns targeting English-speaking people which are already in place, the agency turns Spanish-speaking living in the United States on as a demographic trait for her Google AdWords campaigns. In addition to posts in English, the social media agency also begins to add Spanish posts to her social media feeds. The agency then rolls out corporate overview videos–one with an English voiceover and another with a voiceover in Spanish.

The results seen by our digital marketing clients have been striking. One client has quadrupled sales. Another found that their seasonal summer dip in sales disappeared. One company was named to a prominent list of the fastest growing companies in New Jersey in 2017 and in America in 2018.

Micro-Moments

Google defines something called a Micro-Moment. A Micro-Moment is an intent rich moment when a person turns to a device to act on a need–to know, go, do or buy.

The power of digital marketing is that it allows your business to be present at those micro-moments in a way traditional media cannot. In so doing, your business can get:

the right message,

to the right people,

at exactly the right time.

________________

Interested in learning more? Contact us.

Facebook pixel

Social Media Marketing Pixie Dust – The Facebook Pixel

What if there was a marketing tool that would allow your business to tailor Facebook ads based on what pages people viewed on your website or what items they added to their shopping cart?

Think of the possibilities.

Maybe you own a retail store, for example, currently showcasing spring dresses on one of your website pages. Your advertising campaign delivers Facebook ads showcasing dresses only to people who visited the spring dresses page of your website.

This hyper-targeted form of marketing happens every day with a bit of social media marketing pixie dust called the Facebook Pixel. According to BuiltWith, it’s a marketing tool employed on 3.8 million websites across the Internet. So, let’s find out what a Facebook Pixel is and how you can use it in your company’s social media strategy.

What’s a Facebook Pixel?

A Facebook Pixel is a snippet of tracking code placed in the backend of a website page that tracks certain actions or “events” by your website visitors such as buying an item from your online store or searching for specific content on the site. The importance of the Facebook Pixel lies in the data it collects which can help a business build a powerful marketing campaign that targets potential customers in a structured, relevant way. Site visitors that are tracked by the Facebook pixel become part of a Custom Audience created in Facebook, and even if you only install what is often referred to as the “base Facebook Pixel,” you will immediately have more insight into what people are doing when they visit your website. Installation is a little technical, but Facebook covers the many installation options in an excellent knowledge-based article.

Facebook custom audience

Why should you use a Facebook Pixel?

With a base Facebook Pixel, your default Custom Audience is anyone who visits your website. But, now the magic begins.

Let’s say you want to track site visitors by pageview or by the type of content they searched for while on your website. There are nine standard events that can be tracked by a Facebook Pixel. There are also some simpler custom conversions which are different than the events. Within the standard events, most of what a business might want to know about a site visitor is covered. For example, you can track:

  • Purchase
  • Lead
  • Complete Registration
  • Add Payment Info
  • Initiate Checkout
  • Add to Cart
  • Add to Wishlist
  • Search
  • View Content

Think about the value of being able to target site visitors who take one of these actions? You can add them to an event-specific Custom Audience created for your Facebook advertising.

The importance of the Facebook Pixel lies in the data it collects.

Facebook Pixel data and Custom Audiences created, what next?

Grow your target audience by creating a Facebook Lookalike Audience

Using your Custom Audiences, you can then create Lookalike Audiences, which are exactly what they sound like – audiences that have the same characteristics of the Custom Audience created with the Facebook Pixel. To be effective, you want a minimum of 1000 people in your Custom Audience, and the more specific the lead type, the better the Lookalike Audience will work. Your target audience for your ad campaigns has just grown based on the data collected with the Facebook Pixel.

So now you have three ways to hone in on and grow your target audience using the Facebook Pixel. First, you can identify certain behaviors of your website visitors and create Custom Audiences in Facebook with specific interests. Second, you can create custom Facebook ads based on actionable “events” taken by your Custom Audiences, and third, you can grow your target audience by using a Facebook Lookalike Audience.

Using the Facebook Pixel, you can deliver Facebook ads with timely, relevant information to the people that actually want to see them. It’s the type of digital marketing savvy made possible with a bit of social media marketing pixie dust – the Facebook Pixel.

Social Media: How Much Do You Actually Know?

Social Media: How Much Do You Actually Know?

Social media marketing can be transformative for a business’ bottom line, but doing it well takes time, perseverance and skill. Sometimes a growing business gets caught off guard when it’s time to hand over the reins and get some assistance with social media.

Answer the following 10 questions in our latest social media quiz and by the end, you’ll know if you’re up to speed in social media or a little agency help is in order.


 
Questions about any of the information in the quiz? Contact us.
online reviews

10 Reasons Why Your Business Must Manage Its Online Reviews

Social proof is not just a marketing buzzword.

Before buying a new product, visiting a store or even choosing a doctor, today’s consumer goes in search of online reviews. It’s become an integral part of the buying process and an important contributor to the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT), the instance when a person has decided to buy – often well before actually purchasing online or visiting a store. The ZMOT makes the active management of online reviews essential and one of the most impactful forms of marketing a business can do.

Customer reviews are also a numbers game. Consumers have caught on to the power of reviews and no longer hesitate to assign a 1-star rating to a business after a negative experience; chances are they will add a comment too. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to collect, manage, answer, and leverage your company’s online reviews.

Let’s look at the data and 10 reasons why your business must manage its online reviews – plus the key takeaways:

1. Online reviews establish credibility.

85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. 1

2. Consumers want timely information about your business.

44% of consumers say a review must be written within one month to be relevant. 2

3. The number of online reviews matters.

88% of consumers form an opinion by reading up to ten reviews vs. 84% in 2014. 3

4. Online reviews need to be consistent.

Overall rating/score is the most important factor when a consumer is looking at online reviews. 4

5. Consumers look for businesses with 4-star and 5-star reviews.  

49% of consumers need at least a four-star rating before they choose to use a business. 5

It’s more important than ever to collect, manage, answer, and leverage your company’s online reviews.

6. Positive online reviews on third-party sites can help your search ranking.

Google uses structured data to include extra information in the search results…. Potential customers will get a good idea of the quality of your business, right in the search engine. 6

7. The top 5 review sites see almost 400 million unique visitors monthly.

The top five online review sites measured by average monthly U.S. traffic (unique visitors) are Google My Business (158 million), Facebook (86 million), Amazon (85 million), Yelp (40 million), and TripAdvisor (28 million). 7

8. Consumers seek out product reviews.  

In 2017, 74% of consumers consulted review sites like Amazon, Bestbuy, Wayfair, Target, and Walmart. 8

negative online customer reviews9. Negative reviews turn potential customers away.

A business can lose 70% of potential customers if four or more negative articles about the company or product appear in Google search results. 9 

10. Millennials and Gen-Xers actively rely on online reviews.

Reading online reviews is common across a wide range of demographic groups, but those under 50 are especially likely to incorporate them into their shopping experiences. 10

Because there are so many facets to leveraging customer reviews – from maintaining consistency and quality to giving timely responses – don’t leave your company’s reputation to chance.

For a quick snapshot of your online reviews and a reputation report, use our free online review scanning tool, and if you’re ready to get your online reviews under control, contact us.

digital marketing trifecta

A Digital Marketing Trifecta That Will Turbocharge Reach

Sometimes 1 + 1 = 3.

In digital marketing, the connectivity afforded across platforms can sometimes have a domino effect on customer reach and engagement. When you find these synergies, the impact is powerful. With that in mind, here’s one of our favorite digital marketing combinations for consumer-facing businesses of any size. It’s a digital trifecta and a must-do for your marketing strategy.

1. Add all company events to Facebook Events

Every business should have a Facebook company page, even if it’s a solopreneur. There are a number of features available on Facebook company pages that are not offered on an individual profile page.

One of these essential features is Facebook Events, and you will see the Events tab on the left side of a company page. In general, why is adding an event to Facebook Events so important?

With Facebook Events, you can:

  • Add the event location so page visitors can find it or get directions via an interactive map
  • Link a registration page where people can purchase tickets
  • Establish recurring events–especially handy for classes
  • Tag the event with keywords
  • Post about the event leading up to the date or afterward; the post can link to the Event page
  • Boost the event reach with a paid social media ad

Less well-known is a new feature that makes posting in Facebook Events essential for businesses. Now, the Facebook Local app is pushing the Facebook Events feed into Facebook user notifications. If an event is in the area and the Facebook algorithm decides that it may be of interest, a person may see a notification of the event in his or her personal Notifications stream. The Notifications stream is where you typically track page likes, comments, and activity. An example of an Events notification in a person’s feed is, “[Business Name] has added a new event near you,” and when a person clicks on the notification, it goes straight to the Facebook Events page of the business.  

community calendar2. Create a community calendar for your business in Burbio

Burbio is a digital, local event aggregation platform that pulls event feeds from the community at large. Burbio users can follow calendars created by local businesses, schools, the public library, recreation sports teams or the chamber of commerce. These community calendars showcase all types of events like classes, lunch and learn meetups, or town sports, and people can register for them if website links are provided.

As a business owner, once you set up a business Burbio account, your Burbio calendar can integrate with your Facebook Events feed, so Facebook Events will push to the calendar automatically. If you use a personal calendar for events, Burbio can also integrate with iCal or a Google calendar. All of the events businesses are adding to their Facebook Events, iCal or Google calendars can flow straight through to the local Burbio community calendar. Burbio.com will promote your events in their weekly digests that go out to the community and will also allow users to “follow” your calendar for twice-weekly email updates, integrating your business into the community experience of residents.  

Amazon Ask Alexa

3. The Freebie: events are accessible in Ask Alexa voice search

One of the most interesting features of Burbio is that there is a Burbio Alexa Skill for users of Amazon’s Ask Alexa. The integration with the voice platform means that events on a Burbio calendar can be accessed via voice search using Alexa-enabled Amazon devices.

If a person prompts Alexa with, “Alexa, ask Burbio what’s happening in [town, state],” the Ask Alexa app will come back with, “Here’s what’s happening in [town, state]” and proceed to rattle off the events. As long as you configure your Facebook Event titles in the exact way you want Alexa to say them, your event is now available to anyone using Ask Alexa who has downloaded the Burbio skill.

So, now you have an easy, digital marketing trifecta. With two simple steps, you can have your business events pushed to customer notification streams via Facebook Events, integrated into a rapidly growing community calendar application and then get the added bonus of having your events available in voice search.

It’s the payoff of a trifecta without the cost – surely a bet worth making.

Hispanic customers

The Essential Customer You May Not Be Reaching

According to the United States Census Bureau, Hispanics are the largest minority in the United States comprising 17.6% of the population. By some estimates, in 2060, this demographic is projected to grow to 119 million people in the US, 28% of the population.

Today:

  • four states have populations that are more than 30% Hispanic
  • Spanish is second to English as the most-used language in the US, and
  • the US bilingual population is estimated at 11 million Spanish speakers

In digital marketing, Hispanics are an essential target audience hiding in plain sight. Hiding because they are often not considered in English ad campaigns, and marketing campaigns that target people who primarily speak English may not be accessing the Hispanic population living in the United States.

There are simple ways to broaden your marketing campaigns to include this influential and growing customer demographic. Here are three campaign tweaks that can bring this essential target audience within reach:

1. Include the Spanish language in Google AdWords campaign settings

If your business uses Google AdWords campaigns, within Google AdWords, one of the settings is Languages. It’s defined as the language of the sites where you want your ads to appear. When deciding where to show your ad, Google looks at a person’s recently viewed pages, his or her language setting and the language of recent search queries. Therefore, even if you are running an English Google AdWords campaign, it makes sense to add Spanish to your Languages settings; otherwise customers who have their Google Search Settings configured to show search results in Spanish may never see your ad. This audience is looking at and reading ads with the primary copy in English every day.

2. Target the Hispanic demographic using Facebook ads

There is an easy way to target the Hispanic demographic while configuring your Facebook ads. When creating an audience, under Interests > Additional Interests, you will see several options under Multicultural Affinity.

You can target the Hispanic audience and specify whether the household is bilingual, has the dominant language of English or Spanish, or you can simply choose Hispanic (US-All) for a broad sweep. The Hispanic (US-All) segment currently targets over 35 million people.

Facebook Ads Manager

Facebook Ads Manager

3. Add Spanish posts to your social media

Especially for location-based businesses, create occasional social media posts for Spanish-speaking consumers. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have a user-friendly TRANSLATE feature for posts. You can keep Spanish messaging straightforward, and reflect copy from your English posts. The trick is to keep the copy simple but remain true to your brand voice. Services such as Google Translate and Bing Translator work pretty well with simple sentences, and using them avoids the need for a human translator.

The Hispanic population in the United States is an essential, influential audience for business. With a few minor changes or additions, your marketing campaigns can start to engage with this demographic in a more consistent, mindful way. That’s a win-win for marketers and customers alike, or perhaps we should say, ¡ eso es ganar-ganar!