Are you looking for a career in social? Or perhaps you’re already in the crazy world of social media marketing and want to upskill, but aren’t too sure where to start?
In this ever-changing world of social, it’s imperative that you keep up with the latest trends. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have firmly established a foothold in the digital world, with Snapchat and Pinterest starting to gain ground and innovation happening quickly. And, we’re sure to see some newer platforms emerging in 2017.
Social media advertising budgets have doubled worldwide over the past two years—going from $16 billion in the U.S. in 2014 to
$31 billion in 2016. Along with this, hundreds of roles are popping up in social media. How do you get your foot in the door?
Create a thriving social media presence of your own, and familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of each. Build up your own personal brand—if you can’t market yourself, how will you do this for others?
Familiarize yourself with different industries, attend conferences and industry events, and contribute where possible. You never know—it could be your awesome skills that get you noticed by a potential employer. Your professional relationships may be your most important asset, so engage with key influencers in the industry that you want to get into.
To really stand out, you’ll need more advanced skills, since your customers will more than likely manage search, social, and display. Take a 360-degree approach to your learning—to succeed and excel, keep your training up to date, and subscribe to and read as many social and digital marketing blogs as you can manage. (Be sure you’ve subscribed to this one!)
You’ll be required to have a more rounded skill set, as social teams are now being integrated across departments, companies, and agencies alike. In job description parlance, a successful candidate will possess technical, analytical, communication, and digital skills.
If you pursue a role in social media, be sure to put in great time and effort from the beginning. Become proficient in all social channels and prove your knowledge of each one. Know the full particulars of every existing and new channel, and be expected to wax eloquent about all of them when the opportunity arises.
Know that once you dig into the details, you’ll find a whole new world of advanced features to learn and master (such as creating paid ads, upselling, cross-selling, and much more).
Keep your social channels clean and professional. Remember that potential employers always check! There’s nothing as disappointing as a dormant Twitter account.
A good rule of thumb is to not post anything on your social media channels that you wouldn’t want to see published on the front page of a newspaper. This shows that you’re professional and can write well. (It never hurts to do a spell-check, either.)
If you’re thinking a quick course in social media will be enough, think again. The world of social is changing constantly, and it’s up to you to keep yourself in the loop.
If you’re just starting out, it’s all about getting that initial experience. Be prepared to help a business free of charge—look specifically for opportunities to help businesses build and grow their social presence. Whether it’s paid or unpaid, take on an internship, as this is by far the best hands-on experience you’ll get. If you decide to pursue a digital course, make sure it’s fully accredited.
Stick with it—social media marketing is a profession where you never stop learning. Be persistent and believe in your abilities. It requires a lot of effort but you’ll get there. To summarize:
Wondering what’s happening to the Facebook conversion pixel? How will advertisers track conversions after February 2017?
As of February 15th, 2017, Facebook is disabling the conversion tracking pixel, at which point it’ll be removed from all advertising tools. So what should Facebook advertisers do next? In a word, you’ll need to upgrade to the new Facebook pixel.
There is a whole host of features the new Facebook pixel will give you. Here’s the list in comparison to the old features.
The new Facebook pixel will allow you to track conversions in two ways—custom conversions and standard events. Let’s take a look at how to migrate over.
Navigate to the Pixels section in your business manager account:
You’ll see the option to create a new pixel.
Install the pixel code on every page of your website. Validate your pixel implementation using the Facebook Pixel Helper,
Next, identify the standard events that are relevant to you, and then create them. There are nine options:
Navigate to the Pixels section in your business manager, and select the Facebook Pixel tab next to the old conversion tracking pixel.
This opens the following pop-up. Select Track Conversions With Standard Events. You can then choose from the nine standard events mentioned above. (Note: Choose this option for now; we’ll explain Custom Conversions in the next section.)
Choose the ones relevant to your business, and then have your web developer ad the code to your site on the pages you’d like to track.
Once the events are installed, use the pixel helper to confirm your tracking’s working correctly. If you see a green checkmark, then everything’s working as it should be.
If you’re using the same standard event to track multiple pages, you may want to consider using custom conversions to report separately on each event.
Navigate to the pixel dashboard, and this time, choose to track custom conversions.
Select Event from the rule drop-down, and then choose the event you want to track, along with the category.
Once this is done and you refresh your dashboard, each event should have a green active status. You’ll now be able to add these individual events to your reporting dashboard and have individual metrics for each one.
At this point, you’ll have the old and new pixels on your website. Once the new one’s working correctly, you’re ready to migrate over. Navigate to the campaigns you need to update, edit your ads to choose Track all conversions from my Facebook pixel, and save.
As Edgar Allan Poe once said, “There are few cases in which mere popularity should be considered a proper test of merit; but the case of [blog]-writing is, I think, one of the few.”
Okay, so he said “song-writing” instead of “blog-writing.”
It still fits, right?
Well, after tens of thousands of reader visits to Marketing Insights in 2016, the 10 articles below passed the merit test and rose to the top of our “most popular” list. Some are indicators that digital advertising continues to rapidly evolve, others point toward the importance of continual learning, and all of them contributed to a fun, fast-paced year of content creation and curation. Thanks for being part of it.
You’re beaming, proud, and ready to rake in a massive amount of leads. Why? Because—you’ve got two brilliantly designed sets of ad creative and you’re ready to set ‘em loose to the hungry, scrolling consumer masses.
How do you know if your campaign will be a boom or bust? Can you even test such a thing in an easy and straightforward way?
Time for some split testing….
For those who haven’t yet implemented split testing to increase conversions, an explanation is in order. Simply put, split testing (also known as A/B testing) allows you to test different advertising strategies on commonly divided audiences to see what works and what doesn’t.
Want to see which bidding option, creative, or ad placements perform best? Split testing is the answer.
The Facebook split testing API does several great things:
First, let’s start with a simple example. Let’s go back to those two stellar ad creatives. At this point, of course, you don’t know which one’s going to perform better. The first thing you should do is set up your two ad sets, with each one of your creatives in each ad set (in other words, one ad in each set for a total of two ads). Keep the copy the same for each ad.
For the purposes of this example, then, our plan is straightforward:
To run the split test, you’ll need to set it up in Facebook. (If you’re a Marin customer, contact your account manager for help with this.) The test can be 50/50 or 33/33/33, etc., depending on the testing variables, but note that 50/50 is the most commonly used model. So, if an audience has 10 million people, the ad sets will have 5 million people in each audience.
From here, we select the image as the variable to test. Our main KPI is conversions (downloads), and we’re allocating $5,000 per ad set. As we mentioned above, our audience is 5 million per ad set. We’ll run the campaign for two weeks to ensure we have a broad reach, high budget, and long duration.
Since we want to see positive results before we extend our campaign to other markets, we’ll start only in the UK first.
Ready, set, test, measure.
When scoping your own split test, make sure that the test will have value for you, and that you’ll see clear results that you can use to refine and improve your campaigns.
The first questions you should answer include:
Back to that riddle—is it a boom or a bust? To determine which test worked best, choose the variable that has the highest efficiency level based on your objective.
In our example, our objective is conversions and the main KPI is downloads. So, we can consider the ad set that has the lower CPA as the best performing.
And there you have it. Easy, right?
Best Practices and Recommendations for Maximum Success
If you’d like to dig deeper (and we recommend that you do), here are a few best practices.
Define an acceptable confidence level
Before you create a test, determine an acceptable confidence level. Test with larger reach, longer schedules, or higher budgets.
Choose one variable to test
This allows you to define the exact difference in ad creative that drove better performance.
Define main KPIs before the test
This will allow you to determine the best performing variable.
Ensure both test sizes are comparable
When testing for volume metrics such as number of conversions, scale to ensure both test sizes are comparable.
Start testing on one specific market or campaign
This will allow you to monitor and analyze the test results more efficiently, which will in turn allow you to draw better conclusions. If you find this useful, you can conduct further tests on different variables and expand to other markets.
Test based on one large audience
The audience should be big enough to be split and to allow you to gain sufficient insights.
Allocate the same budget to the test groups
If you’re running your splits at the campaign level, make sure both campaigns have the same lifetime budget. If you’re testing on the ad set level, both ad sets should have the same lifetime budget.
No changes to the test groups
Any changes could compromise the split testing and prevent you from seeing clear results.
This is a guest post from Suzie Kronberger, VP of Marketing and Revenue Operations at Boost Media.
By the end of this year, digital will overtake TV ad spending in the U.S. for the first time—digital ad spend will reach $72B and TV will grow to $71B. Strategies that worked one year aren’t guaranteed to yield the same results the next, which means marketers must be on the lookout for change and innovation.
So, how far did we come in 2016, and what does 2017 have in store for digital marketers?
Video is the future of advertising: Mark Zuckerberg said it during the spring ‘16 Facebook earnings call. We’re seeing it in the data. Customers are ordering loads of video ad creative.
Vertical video is much more engaging than 16:9 landscape videos: Snapchat’s insight that watching landscape videos on our phones is awkward was a game-changer. They have 10-12B vertical video views per day. Facebook has vertical video ads now. Watch for this format to proliferate.
Mobile is where it’s at, but remember: 60% of Americans watched traditional TV programming on their mobile devices. If you’re in a vertical where there are certain aspects of the funnel where mobile isn’t the preferred device, then target accordingly. For U.S. retail, many purchases are still completed on desktop. Add-to-cart is significantly lower on smartphone (6.2%) compared to desktop (10.4%).
Major innovation in ad formats: 50% of clicks on mobile ads are accidental. With delivery platforms innovating rapidly, so will ad formats. Expect there to be new mobile ad formats that will help you drive much stronger engagement than you’ve achieved in the past.
Ad formats that provide user value: Ads that are highly engaging offer users something of value. Value can come in literal forms like offers and promos, but also in the form of humor or entertainment. An ad that people thoroughly enjoy can create deeper connections between the brand and the user.
Be ready to take creative to the next level: With the innovation in ad formats, there’ll be more opportunity to tell stories in compelling, interactive ways that you never could do before. Think big on the possibilities here, and get the help you need on developing new, cutting-edge concepts, mediums, and designs.
Creative makes a difference in capturing and maintaining user and consumer attention. But high-quality, cutting-edge creative doesn’t have to be expensive. Prioritize creative in next year’s budget so you’re prepared to take advantage of opportunities quickly.
Happy holidays and here’s to a successful 2017!
Lead generation ads have many benefits, and are a great way of connecting with the people most likely to want your products. Looking to get even more qualified leads? Then lead gen ads are for you. Here a few things to keep in mind to get the best results and yes, “win big.”
A good way to maximize the effectiveness of your lead gen ads is to drive users to helpful content, such as….
A blog article. In the lead gen ad, provide a teaser to the content. Then, redirect the user to the actual article to continue reading and dive into the details.
A PDF: Have a piece of content you know your audience will love? Give them this gift by way of a lead gen ad. For example, if you run an online casino, provide them with a PDF guide on online gambling that includes useful advice to make them more confident in using your site.
A specific offer: Your existing clients might just love something tailored specifically to them. Think retention. Are you an
e-commerce site with promo codes for customers? A lead gen ad could be the solution, as it has the sense of ‘unfolding’ something that’s just for the individual consumer.
It may take you some time to put continued flow into action on your website, but once you do this—and once you’re whitelisted by Facebook—then users will be able to simply fill in their details into the lead gen ad on Facebook and won’t need to complete them again when they’re redirected to your site. This greatly improves the user experience.
Some of the details, such as the user’s name, are pre-populated in the lead gen form. After the user fills in the form, they’ll be redirected to your website, where not only will their name already be filled in, but any other required fields will also be pre-filled to avoid any redundancies between Facebook and website forms.
This all works seamlessly because of Facebook’s Continued Flow. Note that you’ll need to implement the Continued Flow API to make sure the flow works, and to ensure a smooth user experience with no need for the user to repeat actions. (It’s kind of like being transferred during a phone call and not having to explain things all over again.)
Like most online channels these days, mobile’s winning. Lead gen ads are no exception, and mobile placement tends to have better delivery and results.
For desktop ads, be sure to keep in mind that most browsers have pop-up blockers, so desktop users may not be redirected to your website. In this case, there goes your lead. And, due to security upgrades in modern browsers on desktop, it’s hard to bypass these blockers.
Since Facebook must currently live with these blockers, Continued Flow won’t work on desktop. For best results for your lead gen ads, focus on mobile.
Make sure you’re taking the fullest advantage of your engaged lead ad audiences. Depending on traffic and results, run a retargeting campaign simultaneously.
Note that when you’re analyzing performance, look at blended CPAs to understand the real costs of your campaign.
There are several complementary efforts you can launch to amplify the effectiveness of your lead gen ads.
Link the lead form data directly to your CRM system. Facebook integrates with several great providers, giving you the ability to send user data directly to your CRM system. From there, you can support your lead gen initiative with email or SMS campaigns. And, even if you decide not to launch a side campaign, you can still more easily download your new leads with a CRM integration.
Use email marketing. It’s a common practice for gambling companies to decrease their CPA by running email marketing campaigns to retarget users gained on Facebook. Why is this? These companies have a particular user funnel that involves a couple of conversions until they achieve the result of ‘getting the player’.
Other markets can greatly benefit from this, too. Consider running email marketing campaigns to support your lead gen ad efforts. Again, look at blended CPAs and the particular value this would have for you.
All in all, there are plenty of opportunities to implement lead gen ads for your business and make your campaigns more successful. To find out how Marin can help you put lead gen ads into action, contact us today.
Shopping doesn’t end after the holidays—according to a National Retail Federation survey, 65% of shoppers plan to keep shopping after Christmas. Use this time of year to convert them to loyal customers with new demand generation and cross-sell opportunities.
Don’t let your holiday campaigns go to waste—keep aiming for more purchases. Post-holidays is a great time to re-engage to drive demand.
For more tips on winning the holiday shopping game, download our Social Advertiser’s Holiday Guide.
Dynamic Ads enable you to automatically promote your entire catalog across devices. With Dynamic Ads, you have full control over the products you advertise, ensuring you’re reaching audiences who’ve expressed high intent to purchase with the most relevant products. Advanced tactics are also available—cross-sell, upsell, and even prospecting.
For more tips to make the most of your holiday ad campaigns across social media, download our Social Advertiser’s Holiday Guide.
This piece was recently featured in PerformanceIN, the leading global performance marketing publication.
Does your Facebook advertising strategy include video? Should you include video as part of your overall Facebook advertising strategy?
If you find yourself asking these questions, this article is for you. In this post you’ll discover essential tips for killer Facebook video campaigns and how you can improve on your existing strategy.
Facebook has seen phenomenal growth in video usage over the past year—it’s now serving a staggering 8 billion video views a day. Video usage has exploded astronomically, with no signs of slowing down. On average US adults spend 1 hour and 16 minutes each day watching videos on digital devices. In a split second, they’ll make a decision as to whether or not your post is worth engaging with.
If you have no idea where to start, you’re in luck. We’re here to help you create a powerful campaign that gets you noticed and achieve positive results.
Before you start your campaign, it’s essential to understand what you want to achieve. Are you looking for brand awareness or to drive action? First and foremost, getting eyeballs on your videos should be your initial goal, but don’t stop there. You have a wealth of customer data itching to be used. Take these video viewers and turn them into actual customers (which we’ll chat about in a moment).
In general, Facebook recommends defining an audience of over 10,000 people for the best ad performance. You need to make people stop to view your video ad instead of scrolling past, so choose carefully. The more relevant your audience is the more video views you’re likely to get. We recommend creating buyer personas to identify who your ideal customers are, and then using these to define your campaign’s target audiences.
Be sure to tailor your creative for each respective persona. This also goes for separate target audiences and brand awareness versus re-engagement campaigns. Be creative and experiment with different targeting options to find the one that suits you best.
Video ads are available across desktop/mobile news feeds and Instagram. Mobile drives the most effective video views, with 65% of Facebook users watching videos on their mobile device. With mobile effectively becoming the core of Facebook’s business—having grown 82% year-over-year and accounting for 80% of its total ad revenue—it continues to attract more and more people on mobile devices. This is only set to increase with its Instagram offering.
Create engaging videos that make people want to hit that “play” button. If your ad receives high negative feedback, your video is less likely to autoplay. Have visually engaging content in the first few seconds of your video to catch a user’s attention. Sell without sound—85% of videos on Facebook are watched on silent mode, so use text overlays and a clear CTA to get your message across. Get creative with your content and cater for silent autoplay.
Allow Facebook to identify users who are more likely to watch your video, which in turn will help increase the reach of your campaign. By choosing video views as your objective, Facebook will look for people who are more likely to watch your video in full. This will then let you generate much more effective custom audiences for your retargeting campaigns.
Video is the perfect mode for prospecting, but don’t let your strategy stop there. Take your viewers on a journey through your funnel and convert them into actual, paying customers. How, you ask? Create a list of people who’ve engaged with your video on Facebook and choose from several options:
Use these audiences to retarget highly engaged users of your brand. People who’ve completed your video will represent a more engaged audience and will be more likely to take your desired action. Get your messaging right, and as we mentioned above, take your viewers on a journey through the funnel.
If you’ve shown them generic messaging in your first touch point, be sure to follow up with specific product messaging followed by an incentive to purchase if they haven’t already done so. The goal of retargeting is to place your brand at top of mind while customers are still deep in their decision-making process.
Marin launched exactly this strategy with a leading technology brand and achieved a 30% lower CPA and 11% higher CTR, plus generated the highest number of sales for the campaign overall.
You’ve followed all of the above steps and now you want to actually figure out what’s working for you. Test, test, and test some more! Ensure to test all the creative elements of your ads, including different video variations and text overlays. The number of ad variations will add up quite quickly, so it’s best to create these in bulk to save you time.
Narrow your targets based on your key objectives and buyer personas. You can break down your audiences by location, demographics, interests, and behavior specifics.
For example, if your audience size is large enough and you want to target multiple locations, run them in separate campaigns—making it easier to optimize—and see what’s working best for you. Are you targeting fans versus non-fans? Consider using different creative for each. You should always have different messaging for people who are already familiar with your brand, versus people who may have never come across you prior to your campaign.
Along with the above be sure to:
Navigate to the reporting section and monitor key metrics such as clicks, impressions, reach, CTR, and conversions. Be sure to track follow-on activity in your Google Analytics account, and measure the lift of your campaigns based on key website stats such as bounce rate, average session duration, pages per session, and goal completion. Use the results of your testing to create a powerful, results-driven campaign.
With the continued growth of video across the platform, Facebook video ads are more likely to generate increased engagement for brands. By implementing the above, you’re sure to generate conversions from your efforts.
This is a guest post from Sarah Burns, Content Manager
at Boost Media.
Vertical video has become ubiquitous in the world of apps and social media, and the shift to vertical is changing the consumer experience. Vertical videos take up more space on the screen then horizontal, and smartphone users don’t have to rotate their phones first to watch. This creates a fully immersive and powerful experience every time a video is played.
Here are three creative tips to consider while adopting your vertical video strategy.
Find new techniques to film scenes and subjects that are optimized for vertical orientation. For example, close-ups of people, landscapes, and buildings work well vertically. Concentrate on one object to make the most impact visually. Consider how you might fill the space that appears if you tilt the camera up or down. Remember that creative should match the platform, the environment, and the context in which it’s being viewed, and be mobile-first.
Text overlays help tell a story quicker, which is important with video moving to shorter and shorter pieces. Consider using text for subtitles, which come in handy when translating videos to a foreign language, for example.
Due to the large size of vertical ads and the fully immersive video experience, vertical video ads are a great way to build awareness and drive increased site traffic. It’s not so much about completion of an ad as much as engagement time after the video. Test a variety of metrics to determine what works best for your organization.
Sarah manages Content Marketing at Boost Media and leads a team of marketing professionals to drive revenue through complex B2B marketing campaigns in the ad tech industry. Prior to joining Boost, Sarah developed marketing and sales strategy at BNY Mellon, a top 10 private wealth management firm. In a former life, Sarah worked in journalism writing for magazines including Boston Magazine, The Improper Bostonian, and Luxury Travel. When she’s not writing engaging content, Sarah enjoys cooking, running, and yoga.
Boost Media increases advertiser profitability by using a combination of humans and a proprietary software platform to drive increased ad relevance at scale. The Boost marketplace comprises over 1,000 expert copywriters and image optimizers who compete to provide a diverse array of perspectives. Boost’s proprietary software identifies opportunities for creative optimization and drives performance using a combination of workflow tools and algorithms. Headquartered in San Francisco, the Boost Media optimization platform provides fresh, performance-driven creative in 12 localized languages worldwide.