My Insights on Paying Facebook for Likes

There has been some interesting thoughts around using Facebook Ads to buy fans, traffic or leads and I thought I’d dig a little into why I don’t mind using Facebook Ads. SEJ just posted a larger and more detailed analysis on it that you should read! But I wanted to counter some of the negative points people seem to be making around the topic for the past few months.  I could be wrong but feel many people weighing in on the issue likely fit into a few groups:

  • those that haven’t actually ever run any FB ad campaigns
  • those that have only run a few small FB ad campaigns
  • those that ran FB campaigns badly in the past and got burnt

During the second half of December 2013 I decided to run a small Facebook ad campaign for my Travel affiliate page to see how I could try and lift it’s audience numbers but also increase engagement on the posts.  I also wanted to see if I could get some improved organic fan growth and post reach due to a larger audience due to targeted Facebook Ads.

The purpose of the Travel page is about brand building and sharing great and interesting content so I don’t really expect to get much benefit at this point or that this will massively increase the amount of clicks back to my website.  The page had done some sponsored posts on and off over the last year with some success with uplifts in clicks, likes and new fans but a majority of it’s growth was from like buttons within my travel sites.

How much was spent?

I thought it was higher but when I checked FB Ads reports it was actually only US$76.14 that was spent during this trial.  Sure that might sound like a lot to spend on Facebook Ads to some people considering this is just my travel affiliate brand I run but I wanted to have some fun and do some tests to see if it could scale up more. You can see the chart below with the scale to show you on average how many “likes” I got per day, in the end the campaign generated around 150 new fans with a cost-per-fan of $0.51 which I don’t think is too bad in such a competitive vertical as travel.

In my own tests I’ve found that often Google AdWords fans often visit, puke and then leave never to be seen again, this is great if you can provide them with the content/information they were needing but if you can’t satisfy them you have lost them forever. Also Google AdWords CPC rates in the travel vertical are downright insane based on last time I did some research in that space.

Yes I know you can pay far less but this was not a test to get the cheapest fans possible it was about trying to get quality fans.  I have previously managed to pay $0.01-$0.05 per fan in campaigns I’ve run for clients before but there is a limit to how many of those fans you can attract so you have to increase the amount you are willing to pay for a fan if you want to scale up or want faster fan growth.

Facebook Ads

 

How was engagement changed?

So why do I prefer Facebook Ads over Google AdWords? Well the biggest thing is I’ve found that Facebook fans stick around for longer and engage with your content and your community.  So I thought the easiest way to explain why I bothered to use Facebook Ads to attract some new fans is to show what is the longer term impact after you stop your campaigns.

In the graph below I have clearly marked where I was running Facebook ads and the engagement “likes” on the posts takes almost a week but then spikes right up.  I know I was experimenting with daily budgets along with CPM/CPC bids which seemed to attract more engagement but maybe it could have been more structured.

The upside is that you can see once the Facebook Ads stopped the engagement didn’t fall off a cliff as I expected it might. The shifts in engagement are also linked to the types of content I’ve shared as images and videos typically get far better engagement.  I didn’t include Post insights as I noticed the reach and engagement varied a lot depending on day/time and post content theme, also I felt there was enough information in this post but the main reason was Facebook Insights is now be playing up and missing any interaction data before 6th February 2014.

Facebook Likes

What about other actions?

An important part of Facebook ads is that they can also offer you far more metrics to track than just clicks and likes. It’s important if you want to measure the success of your campaign you look at how some you are often getting bonus clicks along with new fans.  This also highlights the importance of having various types of media used in your posts (photos, videos, text, links) as users like both choice and variety.

Facebook Actions

What about clicks on Links to offsite content?

I was able to use BufferApp to easily track the amount of clicks on posts, I recall that there was a small handful of links I shared manually without Buffer but I don’t expect they would have got that much better interaction.  The big insight that even with increased audience size and increased engagement on your posts don’t always expect your audience to click away from Facebook.

Consider Video or Image content that they can interact with via comments, likes or shares and you will fine far better engagement rates and your campaign metrics will actually look decent.  Don’t rely on Facebook posts to drive as much CTR on your link posts as Twitter or Google+ will generate.

Facebook Clicks on Links

What do you think about using Facebook Ads to buy Fans?

So I’ve outlined some data points from my own experience do you agree or have you given up on Facebook ads? Before you get too bent out of shape of having to pay for something that is once free think about Google Organic traffic and Google AdWords… do you get bent out of shape if you have to buy traffic from Google?

Interview with Mathew Sweezey about Conversion Conference

Mathew SweezeyMathew is the next speaker I profiled who will be presenting at Conversion Conference London. Mathew specializes in B2B marketing research and is an active writer on leading industry blogs such as clickz and author of Marketing Automation for Dummies from Wiley . Mathew is an interesting marketer who balances theory and practice as the Manager of Marketing Research & Education for SalesForce company Pardot.

Mathew is presenting a session on day 2 from 2:50pm “No one cares about your content (yet)!

  1. How do you see attribution modelling as helping business get the value of great content? I’m not a big fan of attribution modeling because it is very tuff to say a single thing had a specific impact when you can not stop the world around a single person to hold that one action as a constant. It is better to look at other metrics, such as velocity, engagement, and other metrics which are more specific to business goals than attribution. Attribution is a baby sitting number used by management to check in on your spending. It would be better for a business to look at the speed at which revenue comes into the organization which is called velocity.
  2. What is more important for content? Being evergreen, current or complete perfection? All three need to be created. CNN uses all three on their blog every week, and you should too.
  3. How do you decide when a social channel gets to a critical mass and needs it’s own content strategy/resources? All channels need to have a specific goal. No channel needs it’s own strategies. If you follow this approach you’ll be left behind. Today there are over 60+ channels, with in 10 years there will be hundreds of channels. So specific channel strategies are not the best way to approach this. Having a goal of all marketing, then using each channel to help accomplish these goals is the best best approach.
  4. Thinking of targeting and automation how do you think the US/Asia sees the EU’s strict data protection directive? Will they follow the EU’s lead? Data privacy will always be a contested issue. The goal here is being respectful to your clients. If you are respectful with the data you have that is the key. It doesn’t matter how much or little data you have, if you are not respectful with your data you will never gain the engagement you desire. The US will not follow the EMEA data laws due to the free market economy focus of the US government. This has been proven by companies like Microsoft shipping new editions of IE with features such as options to browse with cookies blocked, and Google providing private browsing.
  5. It’s been a year since the EU cookie law, do you think business adapted well to the change? All businesses adapted well, I have not seen a single instance where it affected any business. Nor have I seen an instance of any business being fined for not complying with the law.
  6. How much does Salesforce.com put into conversion optimisation of their own products? We put a huge effort on to looking at conversions, but we put more emphasis on quality conversions not just conversions. It is better to have a smaller conversion rate on a white paper if a higher percentage of those make it to closed opps, rather than not.
  7. Do you consider the impact on lifetime value of a customer when evaluating conversion optimisation? Yes, the more engagement the higher the likelyhood of a higher LTV, but we do not track this specifically.
  8. What is one vertical/industry that you think always leads conversion optimisation? SaaS industries hands down.
  9. What is one vertical that always sets the pace and direction for what’s next in content marketing? SaaS technologies.
  10. What’s some new software/tools that you think people should consider trialing or exploring? This will depend on your current level of sophistication. If you are new to content just try content, if you are already doing content learn to craft content to your marketing stages, and if you are doing this learn to use online advertising to do lead nurturing and share you content to these people though re-targeting.
  11. What is the main points that you want people to get from your presentation? Conversions are key, and understanding your buyers is the only way to increase your conversions.
  12. Where can people find and engage with you online? You can find him tweeting from @msweezey

Thank you Mathew for your time in answering these questions.  So if you want to catch Mathew speak and save ££££ on tickets for Conversion Conference London you can use our discount code LOSTAGENCY13 and you can register and find out more here.

Control your own search results

Brand Yourself - Google Grader I’m always interested in new Online Reputation Management (ORM) platforms and Brand Yourself caught my attention due to their use of a Facebook app to market their platform features. Their Facebook app is called Google Grader and encourages users to use their app to measure their online reputation and measure it against their friends scores. The use of gamification is a smart way to both showcase their product features and increase their user base of their free product. I thought I would see how I could further dominate the search results for Dave Iwanow, so step one of their signup process I selected “Dave Iwanow” as my target phrase I wanted to improve ranking in Google/Bing. Note that I used their actual platform and not their Facebook app for my test of their product features.

How does their platform work?

Their Brand Yourself self service platform helps link existing content and profiles that already exist so more relevant results show higher than irrelevant results.  They then use their software to do analysis on each link and gives your specific steps to make it easier for Google/Bing to correctly rank the right pages for your name. The cross linking allows search engines to understand the connected relationship between your social profiles and their relevance to you.

How is your search score is calculated?

Their platform starts by requiring you to select the top 10 results for your name that either positive, not me or negative.  This selection which are then tracked by their platform to track ORM improvements over time, the simplicity of their ORM process is key for those who are not advanced web users but who want to improve search results around their name.

Your Search Score

Looks like you’re pretty well represented on your first page — but you’ve still got room for improvement! Use our tools to fill your first page with more positive results.

Boost Steps
Their platform is fairly helpful as they offer a SEO booster feature where they step you through the profile of updating your existing profiles to be more relevant in Google. This is a smart way to ensure people correctly setup their external social profiles such as Slideshare. The explanations and details for each step is very through and is tailored specifically for your name along with a weighting for completing each step.

  • Add This to Your BrandYourself Profile +40%
  • Update Your Name +25%
  • Link to Your BrandYourself Profile +15%
  • Update Your Bio +10%
  • Add Your Location +5%
  • Add Employment Info +2%
  • Add a Photo +2%
  • Share On Social Networks +1%
This feature is a fairly organic and Google friendly process for getting the most out of your existing social profiles, but only 3 links are available in the free version I’m using for this post.

Each step you complete fills your boost meter and increases the chances that this result will rise higher in search rankings over time.

Brand Yourself Scorecard

The branding scorecard is a simple way to keep track of how you are performing around your target name in Google, along with how many profile links you have submitted and how many of these links your have Boosted (Optimised). The current search score is also a nice touch for people new to reputation management to understand how they are performing against a perfect result.
Brand Yourself Scorecard

Brand Yourself Progress Report

The big issue with any reputation management project is that it’s often slow and tedious to track how the changes are starting to have an impact.  Their platform does automate much of this process but the limitations is that they only track top 10 results so it maybe sometime before you start to see some positive movement. It would be great if their platform could track the top 100 results as a number of people with popular names will struggle to get their name into the top 30 results and those who share a name with a celebrity will struggle with top 50 results. Obviously if you have the paid version and are adding far more of your links to your profile the quicker you will see an impact than the free version that limits your profile to 3 links.

Brand Yourself - Progress

Brand Yourself – Profile Visitors

People love Googling themselves but the problem is that most of the social profiles don’t actually provide you with any web analytics to know who is actually looking at your profile besides Linkedin.  Even Linkedin is very vague on who’s viewed your profile with the data range consistently shifting but it also doesn’t advise what source they used to find your profile, was it an internal search, via Google or from a direct link. I do love Brand Yourself’s profile visitor analytics shown in the screenshot below that give you some very detailed statistics even in the free version.
Brand Yourself - Profile Visitors

If you move your mouse over the profile visitors they then provide further details about your visitors. We have included the insight they provide for the direct visitor below.

What this means: Someone in Brisbane, Australia visited your profile 29 mins ago using the Internet provider Optus, probably from their home computer.
How they found you: They found you direct, meaning they either came through an email, an instant message, a resume, or they typed in your web address themselves, so this is probably someone you know or recently talked to.

I can also see that it works for reputation management and understanding who is checking your background as someone within the Publicis group in Sydney visited my Brand Yourself profile page yesterday.

Try it out free!

I do like their platform as it’s fairly fun and easy to use and since Brand Yourself have a freemium account that you can signup for here and have a play around with it and see if you can beat my score of B+.

Amazon Brand Pages

Amazon Marketing ServicesAmazon the king of ecommerce has finally taken a step to truly embrace F-commerce as Amazon Marketing Services launches customisable Amazon Pages with partial Facebook integration.

The self-service platform allows marketers to drive more sales of their products from a dedicate and branded Amazon hub.  The move to trusting Amazon with your entire ecommerce operations might be accelerated by Click Frenzy issues en-counted by Australian shoppers this week. The Amazon Brands pages move also appears to be a proactive move to counter the upcoming Facebook store platform.  The Brand product also appears to be a natural evolution of Amazon Brand Stores that required more resources from Amazon to roll out, this self-service model takes that development bottleneck away.

The key part of why this platform might work is that the branding on the custom URL, header and onpage content is all around building a stronger relationship with brands and but may also reduce cannibalisation from resellers & affiliates.  The conversion rates will likely greatly improve for any retailers who take up the opportunity to secure a short branded URL such as…

  • Amazon.com/Coles
  • Amazon.com/Woolworths
  • Amazon.com/DavidJones
  • Amazon.com/Target
  • Amazon.com/JBHiFi
  • Amazon.com/OatMeal
  • Amazon.com/Pinzon
  • Amazon.com/Lipton

The one part that retailers will love about the platform is that it’s free which makes it attractive to smaller brands and boutique retailers looking to drive more sales via Amazon channels. The Brand pages feel very much like Pinterest and how Facebook should look with a large customisable hero widget, and flexible layouts. The example of how your page is broken up is shown in the screenshot below.

Amazon Pinzon

There are 3 core elements to Amazon Brand pages Amazon Pages, Amazon Posts & Amazon Analytics and all work together to give a fully function marketing platform for retailers. While only Facebook are currently intergrated with the platform it’s likely that Twitter & Pinterest will follow very soon considering the potential power of the brand page to be part of the daily marketing activities and and potentially replacing platforms like HootSuite for posting/sharing product links.

Amazon PagesThe pages product offers 3 choices of template to pick, one with all products, one with posts only and a combination of the two.  Unlike Facebook hero images Amazon allows retailers to add a interactive product widget such as featured product. The featured product section works much like a rotating Amazon Associates banner, but there are also customisable links to point to other products or other listings on Amazon.

Amazon PostsAmazon Posts is meant to link between social media and sales, so businesses can promote from Amazon and Facebook at the same time but you can also schedule future posts/updates to encourage more of your fans to visit your Amazon Brand page and buy your products.

Amazon AnalyticsOne of the coolest features of the Amazon Brand pages is the Amazon Analytics platform that helps guide your decisions by giving you awesome metrics on how your audience interacts within your Brand pages shown in the screenshot below. By offering brands insight that is not available to anyone else such as Brand Reach, Views, Considerations and Purchase uplift.

Amazon Analytics

I think the new brand pages on ensure Amazon is once again taken seriously by retailers who will be seriously considering how they can leverage the new brand pages now that they have some ROI measurement built into the platform. Also being able to setup multiple brand pages makes the platform suitable for global brands who can localise their brand messaging and product offering. I am slightly surprised that they are not following Facebook from day one that is rolling out their central global page platform with local regional controls.

So I’m not yet sure how easy the brand pages are to setup and use and even how their web analytics works, or if you need to have your own products but I’ve applied and will see how long it takes and hopefully I won’t get declined.

Pinterest rolls out profile verification

In what looks the first move to reduce the level of spammers using Pinterest for source of SEO friendly links, they have rolled out a verify website feature. Similar to Google+ “linked” website verification badge it’s an interesting step for Pinterest users to better promote their websites on their Pinterest profiles. The process for verification is fairly simple as shown by the screenshot below, it’s too early to have seen a benefit of verification just yet. But I would assume that it could easily form part of a trust signal used by Pinterest once they have enough accounts verified.

I’ve had a bit of a search through but cannot see that many other accounts I follow that have done it as you are not currently prompted to verify if you have an existing account. But Pinterest have made the verification process more apparent for new users when they setup their account but I would guess they also want existing accounts to eventually verify their profile link.

It’s likely that similar to Twitter & Google+ there will be verified Pinterest profiles launched soon enough, and this is part of that first step forward. I advise that if you have a Pinterest account you take some time out to verify the website listed on your profile.