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9 Essentials for Your Social Advertising Campaigns, Part 3

By February 22nd, 2017

Episode 3: Tracking and Optimization

This is the third and final part of a series that explores all the things social marketers should do when setting up their social ad campaigns. In our previous posts, we discussed account structure and creative, and targeting and bidding.

Without conversion measurement and continual improvement, your Facebook campaigns won’t realize their highest potential. Read these tips to make sure your Facebook ad campaigns are working their hardest for your bottom line.

7. Implement the Facebook Pixel

The Facebook Pixel tracks conversions, automatically bids for conversions, and enables remarketing. Be sure to implement the pageview event of the Facebook Pixel on all the pages of your website so that you can populate your Custom Audiences and Custom Conversions. You’ll also need the Facebook Pixel to implement each standard event on a single page of your website.

To double-check that the pixel is firing properly, use the Facebook Pixel Helper.

FacebookPixelHelper

Lastly, follow the user’s journey down the conversion funnel. This will help you identify exactly where your customers are dropping off in the journey.

funnel

Marin Tip
For an extra layer of reporting in Google Analytics, apply dynamic tags at the Media Plan level.

8. Optimize on a Daily Basis

As a Facebook best practice, you should optimize your campaigns daily, but no more than two times a day. For oCPM bidding, it’s even recommended to optimize only once a day, as the algorithm needs stability to learn from and to find conversions for you.

To understand the optimization that’s working best for your campaigns, do one at a time and assess the results.

Another rule of thumb—avoid making any drastic changes to bids, since reducing your bid by more than 5% could damage the delivery. If you change the bid type of your campaign due to bad performance, duplicate the campaign so that the algorithm refreshes.

Be sure to refresh your creative every few weeks to fight audience fatigue and ad blindness.

Marin Tip
Use the Refresh button so that the campaign can start from scratch with the new bid type. Set up Rules to automate daily optimizations. For example, you could set a rule that if your CPA is greater than $10, or the frequency is greater than four, or the CTR is lower than 0.4%, then pause the ad.

9. Keep an Eye on the Relevance Score

Facebook wants to make sure the paid advertising campaigns that appear on its platform don’t damage the user experience. To that end, it has the Relevance Score.

The Relevance Score is an algorithmic calculation that takes into account your targeting’s relevancy and your ads’ engagement. The important metrics to look at here are CTR, engagements, feedback, and conversions.

When your audience begins showing less interest, your Relevance Score will decrease. As a result, Facebook lets your ad participate in fewer auctions. Moreover, if your Relevance Score is lower than the other advertisers competing on the exact same targeting, they’ll win the auction, no matter how high your bid is. Consequently, your reach and impressions will drop.

To fight against a bad Relevance Score:

  • Always make sure your targeting is relevant and specific by using custom audiences, lookalikes, and high-intent interests.
  • Make sure your creative is relevant and engaging.
  • As soon as you see any sign of ad fatigue, refresh the ad or the targeting. Sure-fire signs of fatigue include a CTR drop, a CPC increase, or an impressions decrease.

Essentially Strong Foundations

Social advertising isn’t quite rocket science, but it’s indeed an art. But, with a strong foundation that takes advantage of all the great and evolving features Facebook has to offer, you can maximize positive user experiences and see positive results for the KPIs that matter most to your organization. As always, if you’d like to find out how Marin Software can help with all of the above, just reach out.

9 Essentials for Your Social Advertising Campaigns, Part 2

By February 16th, 2017

Episode 2: Targeting and Bidding

This is a three-part series that explores all the things social marketers should do when setting up their social ad campaigns. In our second post, we look at best practices to target effectively and bid for the greatest ROI. For the first three tips see our previous article on account structure and creative.

One of the main goals of the social marketer is to consistently target wider and more precise audience segments, while making smart bids based on a solid bidding model. Follow these best practices to ensure your social advertising campaigns are fine-tuned for the highest performance possible.

4. Target Wisely

When it comes right down to it, Facebook is mass media, and its algorithm performs better with large audiences. A best practice is to keep the target size above 100,000, especially for your prospecting campaigns. A few other rules of thumb:

  • Always keep an eye on your reach.
  • Avoid campaign overlap—competing against yourself will lower your relevance score and obstruct spend. Use the detailed targeting feature to refine your audience.
  • Make use of email-based targeting and Website Custom Audiences.
  • Use lookalike audiences, the Facebook conversion pixel, and
    Fan Page.

You may also want to use split targeting, depending on:

  • How recently users have shown intent using the inclusion and exclusion feature
  • The level of intent (beginning of the sales funnel vs. the end)
  • User behavior
  • The purchase value

Marin Tip
Thanks to Marin’s Lookalike feature, you can create high-intent lookalike audiences based on conversions from your best performing campaigns or ad sets.

5. Choose the Appropriate Conversion Window

The conversion window tells Facebook how far back in time to look at conversion data, so that it can optimize appropriately and find the right people to deliver your ad to.

You can use the conversion window for Website Conversions, App Installs, and App Events objectives. You can break them into 1-day, 7-day, and 28-day post-click windows.

In order for Facebook’s algorithm to have enough conversion data to learn from, set up your conversion window to get at least 15-25 conversions per ad set and per week. If you use the longest conversion window but don’t get enough conversions, change the promoted object to a step higher in the conversion funnel (for example, add-to-cart rather than purchase).

6. Let the Audience Size Determine Bid Type

When the target size is above 100,000, bid oCPM. This’ll allow the algorithm to look for the users more likely to convert. Optimize for clicks and pay for impressions when your audience is between 80,000 and 100,000. For target sizes below 80,000, use the CPC bidding type.

On small and highly qualified audiences—for example, Website Custom Audiences of lower-funnel stages—you can even bid CPM (optimize and pay for impressions), since your aim here is to make sure that everyone in your audience sees your ads.

Marin Tip
Bid as granular as possible at the ad level in order to push the best performing ads within an ad set. Change bids across ad sets and campaigns in two clicks by clicking the Selected or All buttons.

Rake in More Revenue with a Combined Search and Social Strategy

By February 14th, 2017

We all know the two most popular websites in the world right now—Google and Facebook. On any given day, people are performing close to 3 billion Google searches, and over a quarter of the world’s population use Facebook. Bing is also growing fast and is now a major SEM contender.

 

GoogleFacebookTraffic2016

Image source: Parse.ly, 2016

 

Advertisers have much to gain from an integrated search and social advertising approach. But exactly how much?

To answer this question, we conducted a study of more than 200 enterprise advertisers managing Google, Bing, and Facebook campaigns. With billions of dollars in annualized ad spend managed on the Marin platform, we work with many of the world’s largest and most sophisticated advertisers.

Here’s what we found:

  • Customers who click search and social ads are more likely to buy. Users who click both an advertiser’s search and social ads had an approximately two times greater conversion rate than users who click the search ad only. Users who click both the search and social ads have a click-through rate approximately four and a half times higher than users who only click social ads.
  • Customers who click search and social ads spend more. Users who click both a search and social ad contribute approximately two times more revenue per click than users who click search ads only. Users who click both a search and social ad contribute six times more revenue per click than users who click a social ad only.
  • Search campaigns perform better when managed alongside social campaigns. Search campaigns managed alongside social advertising campaigns have two times more revenue per click than search campaigns managed in isolation. An integrated search and social management strategy also benefits an advertiser’s revenue per conversion—advertisers have almost 10% higher revenue per conversion from their search campaigns when managed together with social advertising campaigns.

For full research results and actionable tips for cross-channel success, download The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search and Social Advertising.

Simple Prospecting and Retargeting for the Weary Marketer

By January 26th, 2017

If you’re a social advertiser, you have your work cut out for you. Along with your industry peers, you likely face a few key audience-related problems on a daily basis:

  • Audience fatigue
  • Audience overlap
  • Ad relevance

This article aims to provide some relief, bringing these three issues together and offering a simple but broad solution. By using lookalike audiences and certain ad creative types, social marketers can tackle these daily frustrations and bring some peace to a challenging workday in the world of digital advertising.

Coffee break after reading this article optional.

The Audience Struggle Is Real

Every audience has a life cycle. Depending on its size, budget, and campaign length, an audience will eventually grow tired of the campaign’s ads (i.e., fatigue). Naturally, a smaller audience (< 80,000) will naturally fatigue quicker than a larger one. The most efficient way to avoid audience fatigue is to keep things fresh and strategize for new audiences every seven to 14 days.

This begs the question: “Where the *&%! am I going to get a new audience every week??” Answer to follow shortly…

Overlap and Relevance

Audience overlap is an another issue that social marketers face on a regular basis. This is a result of ad sets from the same advertiser ending up in the same auction, bidding against each other, and inevitably damaging performance. Having overlapping audiences can lead to poor delivery of your ad sets.

Additionally, averaging a high Ad Relevance Score can often be difficult, especially if you’re constantly trying to avoid overlap and fatigue. Facebook calculates the Ad Relevance Score based on the positive and negative feedback an ad receives from its target audience. In short, if you’re Relevance Score is high, your audience wants to see it, and if not—well something’s wrong.

Making the Best Use of Ad Creative for Your Audience Strategy

Facebook allows you to create Engagement Custom Audiences from four ad types:

  • Canvas
  • Video
  • Slideshow
  • Lead Generation

An Engagement Custom Audience is a Custom Audience made up of people who’ve interacted with your content on Facebook. “Engagement” refers to actions like viewing your video or opening your lead form on Canvas.

These four variations of ad creative are also the most customer-friendly and engaging ad types. Where it’s relevant to your campaigns, use these ad types as much as possible.

Retarget and Prospect

Using Engagement Custom Audiences (ECAs), you can retarget ads to people who’ve shown intent by interacting with your video, canvas or lead gen form. You can also use Engagement Custom Audiences as a source for a Lookalike Audience, which will let you find people similar to those who’ve engaged with content on Facebook.

Bringing It All Together

Marin Tip: Always try and track high-intent ECAs, capturing those who watched 95% of your video, or who opened and submitted a Lead Gen ad.

By thinking of Canvas, Video, Slideshow, & Lead Gen ad types not only as creative types, but also ‘audience making machines’, advertisers can very quickly begin to tackle fatigue, overlap, and relevance.

We all know who our target audience is. Still, we often struggle to reach them while we address the issues. The solution—combining Engagement Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences to consistently retarget while prospecting fresh audiences.

For example, suppose a 1% Lookalike of your website performs very well. However, if we use it too often, it may fatigue. If we make it any larger, it may be irrelevant. And, if we attempt to try different website pages, we’ll more than likely spend too much time analyzing potential overlapping instead of gaining new customers.

If your target your performing audience with a Video, Canvas, or Lead Gen ad, you enable two things:

  • Retargeting: Lead consumers down the conversion funnel by retargeting those who’ve engaged in your creative, which inevitably indicates brand intent.
  • Prospecting: Continue to prospect to a similar audience by creating a Lookalike Audience from your Engagement Custom Audience.

Marin Tip: Remember Marin Social’s exclusive ability to create a Campaign Lookalike. Build a prospecting audience from those who’ve converted from an older, successful campaign.

It’s that simple—Video, Canvas, and Lead Generation. With a little planning and a lot of determination, you can use this 1-2-3 strategy to easily create Lookalikes to retarget and prospect.

Dynamic Ads: Digital Advertising of the Future

By January 24th, 2017

Facebook Dynamic Product Ads, if we must say so, are pretty badass. In the not-so-distant future, dynamic product ads are the way all digital advertising on social and display will be delivered, regardless of industry or vertical.

Dynamic Ads for Travel (DAT) allows advertisers in the travel industry to automatically deliver personalized ads based on the interest people have shown on their travel site or app. Part of the Marin Social platform, DAT lets you seamlessly create dynamic audience and product sets across each phase of the buyer journey—from retargeting to cross-sell and up-sell.

Meliá Hotels International used DAT to lower its CPA and increase ROI by 6.7 times.

Watch the video to learn how DAT can help you target the right travel audiences, deliver thousands of relevant ads in seconds, and increase your conversions.

facebook dynamic product ads

Boom or Bust? Using Split Testing to Measure Your Facebook Marketing Performance

By January 9th, 2017

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….

Some What?

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.

How Does It Work?

The Facebook split testing API does several great things:

  • Automates audience segmentation
  • Ensures there’s no overlap between segments
  • Allows you to test variables like bidding type, ad placement, different ad creative, and more
  • Takes away the hassle of manually building unique audiences and running your test campaigns independently

Where to Start and How to Run with It

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.

split-test-sample

For the purposes of this example, then, our plan is straightforward:

  • Create our two ad sets
  • Target the same audience
  • Split test to see which one performs best

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.

How to Scope a Test That’s Right for You

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:

  • Which ad account are you planning to use?
  • What are the campaign timelines, including start and end dates?
  • What’s the budget, broken down by test group?
  • What variables would you like to test?
  • What’s the campaign objective and the main KPI?

Analyzing Results

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.

All You Need to Know to Win Big with Lead Gen Ads

By December 13th, 2016

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.”

Best Practices

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.

Continued Flow from Ad to Website

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.)

Mobile Versus Desktop

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.

Retargeting Campaigns

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.

Supporting Lead Ads

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.

Take the Lead

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.

Holiday Retargeting Techniques for Marketers and Brands

By November 22nd, 2016

Holiday shopping’s in full swing. If you’re running retargeting campaigns, make sure they’re as prepared for the season as you are. Online sales are forecast to increase between seven and 10 percent over last year to as much as $117 billion.

We made your list, so check it twice, and take these steps to boost campaign performance during the holiday season.

Increase your budgets to win more impressions

You’re likely going to see a boost in site traffic (especially if you sell anything that can be given as a gift), which means you’ll see a boost in impressions served and in advertising funds spent. Make sure your campaigns have a proper budget set to guarantee you have enough ad money available for the day, so that you don’t miss out on these potential new customers.

We recommend a 25 to 50% budget increase for the holidays, but you know your site traffic best. Whatever percentage of traffic increase you’re expecting, boost your budget about that same percentage.

Raise your campaign bids

Almost all advertisers will increase their spend for the holidays, so you’re going to have serious competition.

With so many advertisers fighting for ad space, it’s not uncommon to see your CPM costs rise during this time of year. To prepare for this surge, make sure you increase your CPM bids across your campaigns. Bidding higher will make your campaigns more competitive and will give you a better chance of serving more ads by winning more impressions. We suggest increasing your CPM bid by 50-100% of the current average CPM cost for the campaign.

Use holiday-themed ads and landing pages

Holiday-themed advertising only gets people’s attention during one time of the year, and you should join the conversation your customers are having. Using ads that mention specific events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or any of the major holidays can grab a visitor’s attention.

Send a happy holiday message, mention that there are only X number of shopping days left, and give them a reason to click your ads. Use the holidays as a chance to create urgency and you could see a boost in clicks and conversions.

Two Quick Steps You Can Take Right Now

  • Create landing pages and content on your site for these holiday events, then create audiences that capture visitors of these pages.
  • Run campaigns to serve your holiday ads to your holiday page visitors. If they’re coming to your site looking for seasonal deals, they’re more likely to respond to holiday-themed ads.

We hope these suggestions are helpful and lead to a profitable holiday season for you and your business. As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments.

From our team to yours—happy holidays!

The Post-Christmas Buying Rush: Are Your Social Campaigns Prepared?

By November 9th, 2016

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.

Demand Generation and Cross-Sell

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.

  • Audience: Identify recent purchasers to showcase new collections to them. You can achieve this by using Website Custom Audiences (or Tailored Audiences on Twitter) with an appropriate retention window.
  • Ad formats: Use Dynamic Ads to automatically cross-sell complementary products or upsell higher value products from your catalog.
  • Creative: Focus on creative that defines your brand beyond the holidays to avoid ad fatigue and expand into the New Year. Your brand message should seamlessly transition from the holidays to the post-holiday period to maintain interest and create new opportunities, such as additional gear and add-ons for holiday presents (video games, DSLR bag, etc.), post-holiday flash promotions, etc.
  • Optimization: Optimize for product sales or conversions to maximize the delivery of your ad campaigns to people likely to convert, once again making sure that your pixel is capturing enough conversions per week.

For more tips on winning the holiday shopping game, download our Social Advertiser’s Holiday Guide.

How to Build an Effective Retargeting Program with Dynamic Ads

By November 2nd, 2016

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.

  • Audience: Segment audiences based on past browsing behavior. For example, you can create audiences of people who viewed or added products to their cart but didn’t purchase, then retarget them with the same products to increase their purchase intent.
  • Targeting: Upload your product catalog to Facebook and make sure it’s regularly updated. Build product sets by category, best sellers, or high-margin products.
  • Ad formats: It’s best practice to use Carousel Ads rather than static image link ads.
  • Creative: Test different variations with macros such as price, brand, and description in your ad text and Carousel titles.
  • Optimization: Always bid your maximum value for one-day post-click conversions, and make sure bid values match with audience behavior. For instance, “add to cart” is a higher intent than a simple “product view” and may justify a higher bid. Make sure your audience pools are broad enough to get sufficient delivery.

For more tips to make the most of your holiday ad campaigns across social media, download our Social Advertiser’s Holiday Guide.

Resources

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