Tag Archives: SOCIAL

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Pinterest Lens one year on: Where is Pinterest’s visual search tool now?

It’s been a year since Pinterest announced the launch of Lens, its new visual search tool. How has it evolved since then?

When Pinterest Lens launched in 2017, it was the latest – and boldest – step in Pinterest’s evolution from a visual social network into a powerful visual search tool.

Pinterest knew that there was great potential to blend its “inspiration”-focused online platform, full of enticing DIY, craft, beauty and recipe ideas, with the offline world to help its users make their ideas into reality. The goal was to offer a camera search that helps you discover online what you come across in the offline world.

The idea seemed ambitious, but Pinterest made it clear at the time that its Lens technology was still developing, encouraging users to help it build a powerful tool:

“Lens is still learning, and doesn’t always recognize exactly what you’re looking for.

Lens will stay in beta as it gets even better at recognizing all the things. And that’s where you come in!

If you get results that feel a little meh, tap the new + button to add feedback and help Lens get better at finding ideas inspired by whatever you just Lensed. As more and more people help teach Lens about more and more objects, soon it will earn its way out of the beta zone.”

A year on from this announcement, how has Pinterest’s visual discovery evolved – and what has the impact of Pinterest’s Lens tool been on the wider industry?

The evolution of Lens

In a news post celebrating the one-year anniversary of Lens, Pinterest revealed some significant stats about the growth of Lens:

  • There are now twice as many Pinterest users who use Lens every day, compared to 6 months ago
  • People carry out more than 600 million visual searches with Lens every month, which marks an increase of 140% year-over-year

According to Pinterest, the more people searched, the better Lens got. Several new developments over the past year have also contributed to Lens’ growth:

  • Lens was moved to the front of Pinterest’s app and they have also created shortcuts to facilitate the fast search
  • Pinterest introduced Pincodes, a QR-code-esque technology, to help users seamlessly switch between Pinterest and the offline world
  • Lens your Look has also been launched to “bring together text and image searches in one query”, and encourage people to use Pinterest for outfit inspiration
  • A partnership with Samsung brought the Lens to the latest smartphones worldwide, while Target activated visual search to their products
  • The visual search technology now understands more than five times as many things as it did a year ago. This means that you can now search for recipes, clothes, and countless objects for your home with increasing accuracy.

What’s next for Lens

Pinterest Lens one year on: Where is Pinterest’s visual search tool now?

Pinterest has announced that their next step includes an enhanced image search that also allows you to include it in your text search. Starting with iOS apps, people will be able to include an image to their text search to make their discoveries easier.

This will help users find exactly what they’re looking for by benefiting from all the elements of a consideration journey. They can start with an object they’ve come across in an actual shop, they use Pinterest’s Lens to discover it and if they are not able to purchase it directly through a pin, they can use the image to include text search and find more details about it.

This feature is also expected to roll out to Android users soon and it aims to make visual search even more useful. It is a clever way to include the benefits of visual and text search to help both the consumers, but also the retailers in strengthening their customer journey between the online and the offline world.

The future of visual search

Pinterest Lens one year on: Where is Pinterest’s visual search tool now?

The growth of Pinterest Lens shows how visual search is steadily gaining traction as a genuine tool and not just a novelty. Pinterest is also not the only player in this space: three months after the launch of Pinterest Lens, Google debuted its own version of the tool, Google Lens.

Soon afterwards, Bing released an update to its visual search capabilities which allowed users to search for a specific object within images – a noticeably Pinterest-like feature. 

Pinterest is clearly blazing a trail in the visual search space which has left the other big players in search scrambling to catch up.

Pinterest Lens one year on: Where is Pinterest’s visual search tool now?

Pinterest Lens one year on: Where is Pinterest’s visual search tool now?

Above, Pinterest’s “search within image” feature, and below, Bing’s strikingly similar capability

Pinterest seems to be aware of its product’s value, and is heading in the right direction to make it profitable.

Pinterest already had a strong business proposition which capitalized on the fact that its users would come to its platform for inspiration on everything from fashion to design, food to furniture. With the introduction of Shoppable Pins, Pinterest was able to monetize this, allowing users to actually buy the components of their new dream house, garden or outfit. 

Now, Pinterest Lens has made that possible in the offline world, too.

Business Insider has foreseen a bright future for mobile visual search technology, releasing a new report which cites “strong evidence that mobile visual search technology will take off in the near future, including growing access to technology, strong usage rates of camera-related apps, and early indication of potential revenue growth”.

By getting into the visual search space early and investing heavily in developing the technology, Pinterest has put itself in an excellent position to be the leader in visual search going forward.

While visual search has yet to truly cross over into the mainstream, the foundations have been laid, and the statistics shared on Lens’ one-year anniversary paint a positive picture for the future.

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How to get started with Facebook advertising: A step-by-step guide

Organic success on Facebook may have become harder for brands in the past few years – and will become all the more so with the upcoming change to its News Feed – but the same doesn’t necessarily apply to its paid advertising options.

Facebook has seriously invested in presenting a large number of options for marketers and business owners who want to promote their content to reach the right audience. It’s a highly effective tool for reaching out to audiences, as long as you’re willing to part with some funds.

So if you’ve been considering making the leap over to paid Facebook promotion, here’s how to get set up with your first Facebook Ad.

First of all, you need to visit the Ads Manager. It’s where you create new ads, get an overview of your current campaigns and measure their performance.

1. Choose your objective

Facebook wants to make your advertising experience as specific as possible. That’s why it asks you from the very first step to decide on your marketing objectives.

This way, you’re able to focus on tailored results for each objective and pay for what matters most to you.

The three main types of objectives are:

  • Awareness: Generate interest in your content or your product
  • Consideration: Make the audience interested in searching for more details about your business
  • Conversion: Get the audience to purchase your product or service

These have to do with the stage that your target audience is and your expected results from this ad.

Their subcategories include:

Awareness

Brand awareness

Reach

Consideration

Traffic

Engagement

App Installs

Video views

Lead generation

Messages

Conversion

Conversions

Catalogue sales

Store visits

Which options should you choose for your campaign? If you have a new business and you want to promote it on Facebook, for example, then you would be focusing on awareness and reach.

If you want to promote your business to potential local customers, seeking for an increase in physical sales, then you are focusing on conversion and store visits.

What’s also useful is the fact that you can narrow down your focus to specific goals, like the app installs or the video views. This way you know the exact goals you’re aiming for and start examining how to achieve them.

2. Select your audience

How to get started with Facebook advertising: A step-by-step guide

Once you decide on your objective, it’s time to select your audience. This is the step in which you narrow down Facebook’s two billion users and pick the ones that are more relevant to your content.

This is one of the most useful features on Facebook’s advertising, as you’re able to focus on:

  • Core audiences: manual selection of the audience based on your set criteria
  • Custom audiences: upload your contact lists to discover an existing audience.
  • Lookalike audiences: find people similar to an existing target audience

The core audiences allow you to find a new audience based on demographics, locations, interests, and even behaviors. These could be people who are based in Florida and just had a baby, or students from Tokyo who tend to shop online.

By hyper-targeting your audiences in this way, you can give your ads the best chance of converting, all while thinking carefully about the personas you want to reach out to.

How to get started with Facebook advertising: A step-by-step guide

In addition to finding a new audience, you can use Facebook to engage an existing one.

You can use a feature called custom audiences to upload your contact lists of existing customers, or even old ones that you want to re-engage with them. This is an easy way to blend your physical activity with your online presence and develop an improved relationship with your audience.

Moreover, there is the option of finding lookalike audiences. These are people that you haven’t engaged with in the past, but they meet the criteria of your ideal audience.

3. Decide where you want to run the ad

How to get started with Facebook advertising: A step-by-step guide

What’s useful with Facebook is that your ads aren’t restricted to Facebook itself, but can also display on other Facebook-owned properties like Instagram and Messenger, and within other mobile apps via the Facebook Audience Network.

You don’t have to pick all the placements for every ad, of course. It all depends on who you want to target.

For example, if you know that your target audience are frequent mobile users, then Instagram and Messenger might be two very useful placements.

4. Set your budget

This is the step that you define the cost of your advertising campaign. The cost can be defined either by the overall amount you spend or the cost of each result you get from the ads.

The success and the cost of your ad depend on the ad auctions and how your ad performs towards your target audience and their interests. An auction takes place when a person is eligible to view your ad. If you are unsure about how auction bids work, you can set them to be automatic when creating your campaign.

If you are wondering how to make sure you’re not exceeding your budget, then you can set some limitations for your campaign. You can enter either a daily or a lifetime budget to define when your campaign should stop.

5. Pick a format

What makes Facebook Ads particularly effective is that you can pick the right format for every campaign. The variety of ad formats on offer can allow you to tailor your campaign to different objectives and target audiences.

The options include:

  • Photo: Use the power of images to tell your story
  • Video: Find engagement with the right use of image, sound, and motion

How to get started with Facebook advertising: A step-by-step guide

  • Carousel: Add more than one image or video in one ad

How to get started with Facebook advertising: A step-by-step guide

  • Slideshow: Create a series of lightweight video ads without the cost or the time of video ads. This is a quick and affordable way to create video-like ads
  • Collection: Showcase your products by telling a story in an easy and immersive way

How to get started with Facebook advertising: A step-by-step guide

  • Canvas: Aim for a full-screen, fast-loading experience that is designed for mobile

How to get started with Facebook advertising: A step-by-step guide

  • Lead ads: Use this format to make lead generation easier

How to get started with Facebook advertising: A step-by-step guide

  • Dynamic ads: Find the ideal target audience for your products in a sophisticated, automated way

How to get started with Facebook advertising: A step-by-step guide

  • Link ads: Bring more people to your website

6. Place your order

Simply put, this is the step in which you can review your ad and confirm that it’s ready to be submitted.

7. Measure your ad’s performance

How to get started with Facebook advertising: A step-by-step guide

You can analyze the performance of your ad by clicking on all your available ads. Once you find the specific one that you want to measure, you click on ‘view charts’ to get further details.

This is where you can learn more about the ad’s performance, whether it met your objectives, but also the demographics that it reached and its placement.

How to get started with Facebook advertising: A step-by-step guide

What’s useful is that the metrics are relevant to your ad’s objective. For example, an ad aimed at generating awareness is not measured by the same metrics as an ad focusing on increasing app installs.

This way, you can ensure that your budget is well spent and you’re able to track the most relevant metrics for your campaign.

This way you are able to tell the exact success of each ad to find out what worked better and what needs to be improved.

Overview

With more than two billion monthly active users available to be targeted in highly specific ways, it’s no surprise that more brands are diving into Facebook’s advertising options and discovering the different ways they can benefit from them.

The upcoming News Feed algorithm change has only increased the importance of Facebook advertising, as it can help you recover your lost reach and engagement.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that Facebook’s popularity doesn’t guarantee your ad’s success. Its numerous advertising options can make it harder to pick the right one if you don’t know exactly what you want to achieve. Stay focused on your key objectives, and try not to get distracted by shiny bells and whistles.

Focus on what’s important to your company and your campaign goals, and use the right format for your ideal target audience. If you’re still new to Facebook advertising, you can start with a small budget to test the available options until you feel more comfortable rolling your ads out on a larger scale.

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Get 2018 started with an updated multi-channel digital marketing strategy

Did you know that 15 years ago the average consumer used two touch-points when buying an item, while consumers today run through an average of almost six touch-points?

This means that reaching new customers has become significantly more complex. With new platforms and channels still emerging, consumers have more and more choices and are demanding greater attention from brands trying to reach them.

The concept of multi-channel digital marketing has gained popularity among digital marketers over the last few years as brands and agencies have realized that one-off campaigns targeting potential customers on only one channel at a time no longer cut it.

In this article, we will examine updated multi-channel digital marketing tools and effective strategies; but before we do, let’s clarify what multi-channel marketing actually means.

What is multi-channel digital marketing?

“Multi-channel marketing is the implementation of a single strategy across multiple channels or platforms, thus maximizing opportunities to interact with prospective customers,” according to digital marketing agency Emarsys.

While as marketers we try to best predict how and where our customers might interact with us, giving them a choice — a say in the matter — leads to higher conversions. This requires casting a wide net of orchestrated touch-points and repeating your brand message across various channels, but ultimately improves your chance to raise customer awareness and let the message sink in to actually have an effect.

Let’s take a look at a handful of channels that effectively support a multitude of touch points and provide your customers with choice in selecting their preferred channel.

Social media

The advantage of social media is that it can be utilized as both introductory (initial interest) as well as retargeting channel leading a new customer further down the sales funnel.

Eyeballs through content

Facebook is a fantastic method to fill the top of your funnel with visitors.  Whether you amplify content or gain people’s attention through Facebook live or other multimedia ads, it’s crucial to think about what your target customer might be interested in and then tailor content to their desires.

This doesn’t mean that you should advertise for your product right in the article or video, but rather cover topics that might interest potential customers and ultimately lead to your product page. At the top of the funnel, the goal is to create that first touchpoint which will enable you to start marketing to them through other channels, particularly email and remarketing.

Get 2018 started with an updated multi-channel digital marketing strategy

Generating leads

Another helpful Facebook tool comes in handy at this stage of the sales funnel, especially if you run an ecommerce business — it’s called Dynamic Product Ads. These ads “automatically promote products to people who have expressed interest on your website, in your app or elsewhere on the internet,” according to Facebook.

You can even upload your product catalog to Facebook and after setting up the campaign, the social network will handle the rest (such as matching people with the right product).

Email

While social media is very effective as both introductory and retargeting channel, emails are most effective when retargeting potential customers.

Chances are that by the time someone has provided their e-mail address, you have some idea of what they are interested in and looking for, thanks to your “eyeballs through content” campaign as discussed above. So crafting effective e-mails addressing their potential pain points should be a little easier now.

Crucial to making e-mail marketing successful is to make sure its content aligns with your overall campaign message. A recent case study confirmed that “Coordinating messaging across channels resulted in reaching customers who were 22% more likely to purchase than those only reached by email.”

AdWords

You can craft AdWords campaigns to function at the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel.  At the top, you can create broad match modified campaigns focusing on identifying exactly what keywords people search for in your space.

As part of your exploratory campaigns, you can also look for lateral keywords of interest that can help you understand exactly what your audience is looking for.

At the middle of the funnel, you have people who are interested in the products or services you are offering so you serve them the most targeted ads.  Traditional AdWords campaigns tend to belong to this stage of the funnel.  At the bottom of the funnel, you can use AdWords remarketing to continue creating additional touchpoints after consumers have visited your site.

Smart marketers use AdWords Ad Extensions to include interactive and clickable information right on top of the ad, such as coupons, phone numbers, and text message extensions. Making these marketing tools available right inside the ad can cut down significantly on the number of steps in your sales funnel.

By clicking on the coupon, for example, customers could be enticed to walk right into a physical location to pick up the product they are getting a discount on. Clicking on the phone number or text extension, on the other hand, could connect them directly to customer service, who in turn can answer any remaining questions and, thus, increase purchase intent.

SMS/Text messaging

Speaking of text messages: retargeting potential customers is not restricted to e-mails and Google AdWords. Text messaging (SMS) is another way — and an increasingly popular one — to lead consumers further down the sales funnel.

Let’s say your Facebook or Twitter ad asked potential new customers to “opt-in,” which they did using their social media accounts. Most social networks now require mobile phone numbers when users first sign up. This information will be available to you as well if you are setting up ads through these social networks.

You now have the opportunity to text your lead and interact with them on a channel that has so far not been saturated by marketers. It also provides a much more intimate environment, which could help build trust.

Get 2018 started with an updated multi-channel digital marketing strategy

You can easily set up text message campaigns with tools like Autopilot and TextMagic; and you should, too, because text message opens are as high as 99% among mobile users. Key is to let potential leads opt in voluntarily as opposed to being contacted via text out of the blue. Also, a good next step might be asking for permission to set up a phone call to continue the conversation.

Text messages can also be useful when sending out reminders for live events or webinars, which some of your new customers might have signed up for, but are about to miss because they forgot putting it in their calendars.

Putting it all together

As you can see, none of the marketing tools listed above are particularly effective in this day and age if you keep them isolated. Google AdWords can lead to customer service conversions; social media can lead to email and text message opt-ins; email in turn can be reinforced by text messages, which could lead back to customer service.

That’s why a consistent brand message as well as consistent quality of content, service, and customer experience across all channels is essential. Future customers should get a sense of familiarity at every turn of the sales funnel if you are to build a trustworthy relationship with them.

Coordinating this rather significant number of communication channels seems like a daunting and expensive task; but don’t worry, even with a low budget you can implement these multi-channel marketing strategies.

One final thought: all the marketing in the world is for naught if you do not measure and analyze key data. This includes customer profile characteristics (like demographics and psychographics) and customer behavior to narrow down your target audience.

In addition to this data, keeping track of conversion rates between the various platforms will help you measure success and create a continuously more effective multi-channel digital marketing strategy.

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Facebook kills off news: Publishers panic, try to remember how to do SEO

By now you’ve no doubt heard the news that’s been shaking up the internet since late last week.

But in case you just came back online after a week-long internet blackout, here’s what’s happening: on Thursday 11th January, Facebook announced a major change to the way posts are ranked in News Feed.

In order to promote more “meaningful” interaction with friends and family, Facebook said that it would “prioritize posts from friends and family over public content … including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses”.

In general, brands have not tended to rely on Facebook for traffic since it dramatically reduced the organic reach of branded content a little over three years ago, forcing brands to pay for reach or go elsewhere for traffic. However, publishers have long been the exception to that rule, with Facebook acting as a huge – and vital – source of referral traffic to publishers’ websites.

This has led many publishers to plan their strategy and output directly around Facebook (see: the much-derided media “pivot to video”, which was driven in large part by Facebook). But Facebook’s announcement of Thursday has put paid to all of that – or at least, put a big dent in the potential traffic that publishers can earn from its platform.

Deprived of referral traffic from Facebook, will publishers be turning en masse back to SEO to restore their fortunes? Let’s look at some of the broader industry shifts underpinning this change, and what it means for the importance of search for publishers.

Trading places: Google is back on top for referral traffic

The truth is that Facebook’s referral traffic to publishers has been in decline for some time now. According to data from digital analytics company Parse.ly, the percentage of external traffic that Facebook provides to publishers decreased from 40% to 26% between January 2017 and January 2018, while Google’s rose from 34% to 44% over the same period.

This means that in a direct reversal of 2015, when Facebook rocked the industry by overtaking Google as a source of referral traffic for publishers, Google is now back in the number one spot. And this all happened before Facebook’s News Feed announcement even took place.

Publishers have also been seeing more traffic from Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) than Facebook equivalent Instant Articles, another situation that reversed itself over the last year. According to Parse.ly, publisher traffic from AMP increased from 4.72% in January 2017 to 11.78% in November 2017, while Instant Articles declined from 10.31% of publisher traffic in January down to 8.54% in November.

Facebook kills off news: Publishers panic, try to remember how to do SEO

When Facebook overtook Google for referral traffic back in 2015, this seemed to herald the dawn – or perhaps the zenith – of a new age of social sharing and publishing, in which social media was the new search.

At a Content Marketing Association Digital Breakfast in June 2016, veteran digital journalist Adam Tinworth remarked that social networks had taken over the search engine’s traditional role of “finding something to read” online. As a result, Google and other search engines moved into more of an “answer engine” role, moving away from search towards a single, definitive answer to users’ queries.

So with Google back on top for referral traffic, are we seeing a return to the status quo?

The Google-Facebook merry-go-round

In fact, Google and Facebook’s continual back-and-forth is the status quo. They have been chasing each other around in circles for years now, each taking it in turns to try their hand at the other’s specialist area.

Google experimented with social networking; Facebook became the go-to place to find content. Both launched lightning-fast takes on the mobile web – Accelerated Mobile Pages and Instant Articles – in 2015 with a global roll-out in 2016. Now, Facebook is returning to its “roots” of showing you what your family and friends are up to, while the latest updates to Google’s smart assistant indicate that Google is moving back into surfacing content.

Facebook kills off news: Publishers panic, try to remember how to do SEO

Google and Facebook: Destined to chase each other in circles for eternity
(Image by monstreh, available via CC0)

In other words, this is just the most recent step in a dance that has been going on for more than 10 years. Facebook might have ceded some ground to Google in the realm of referral traffic to publishers, partly in a bid to rid itself of the fake news scandal that has dogged it since mid to late 2016.

However, the two continue to vie for dominance in countless other areas, such as artificial intelligence, smart home hubs, digital assistants, and advertising. Facebook continues to drive its investment in online video, encroaching on Google-owned YouTube’s territory, while Google recently announced a new foray into social publishing with Google Stamp.

At the height of the fake news controversy, Google and Facebook’s names frequently appeared side-by-side, with both companies accused of peddling false information to their users and perpetrating the “filter bubble” that allows fake news to thrive.

As a result, some have speculated that Google might now follow in Facebook’s footsteps and take steps to distance itself from publishers.

However, Google is already taking action – or at least appearing to take action – against fake news on its search engine by implementing ‘fact-checking’ labels, partnering with the International Fact-Checking Network to combat misinformation, and purging questionable overseas websites that mask their country of origin from Google News.

Unless there is another significant wave of backlash over fake news to force Google’s hand, it seems likely that Google will take the “win” over Facebook and avoid jeopardizing its relationship with publishers – particularly given its recent moves to become more publisher-friendly by supporting paywalled content.

Meanwhile, publishers need to work out how to reconfigure their online strategy with Facebook much less in the picture. Will we be seeing a newfound reliance on SEO and search marketing?

Publishers: time to learn from SEO

Publishers are about to find themselves in the very same position that brand marketers found themselves at the end of 2014, when Facebook announced that it was killing off organic reach for brand Pages. Just like publisher referral traffic now, brand Page reach had been in steady decline for some time, and the Facebook announcement only confirmed what many already suspected was coming.

At the time, brands were forced to abandon a marketing model that relied on free promotion from Facebook pages with hundreds of thousands of Likes, and instead pay for advertising or go elsewhere for their traffic. Sound familiar?

The situation with publishers is therefore nothing new, but is still a huge blow for media organizations who have developed a “social-first” strategy over the years and rely on Facebook as a primary source of traffic.

Following the news that Google had overtaken Facebook as a source of referral traffic, Adam Tinworth blogged: “Business models dependent on Facebook growth are dead in the water, unless you can afford to buy that growth.

“Publishers will need a renewed focus on SEO — especially those that have been social-first.”

Writing for The Drum, founder and managing director of 93digital, Alex Price, observed that Facebook was following Google in “placing its long-term bet on quality [content]”, singling out Facebook-driven publications like 9GAG, Unilad and The Lad Bible as most likely to suffer from the change.

“If I were them, I would be thinking hard about the teams of people I employ to churn out social media content and how sustainable that now is.”

He added that publishers would need to focus on retention and repeat visits to drive long-term value, and optimize the experience of their website, particularly on mobile, in order to build a sustainable source of revenue in the post-Facebook age.

Publish quality content, increase engagement, optimize for mobile… if you’re in SEO, this list will be starting to sound very familiar. It’s a mantra that the search industry has been repeating for years.

High-quality publishers are likely doing most of these things already, so their task will be to ramp up those efforts while diversifying their sources of traffic beyond Facebook. This will stand them in good stead on the search engine results page and beyond.

For lower-quality social publishers, things might not be so easy. After all, these publications evolved specifically to cater to a social sharing environment, which will soon no longer exist.

Much like the brand Pages of yore with hugely inflated Like counts, publishers will need to figure out how to deliver a message of real value to consumers, or risk disappearing altogether.

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How to make sure your social media marketing is on track for 2018

A new year brings new challenges in social media marketing. Luckily, this is the best time of the year to review your social strategy.

2018 is officially here and this means that we need to plan our social media strategy for the year ahead. Every new year requires the necessary adjustments to ensure that we’re still using every social platform effectively.

If your social media marketing didn’t go as planned in 2017, this is the perfect opportunity to analyse what went wrong.

If you had a successful year with your social strategy last year, then you can still explore new ideas and achieve further success in 2018.

We’ve created a checklist to help you review your social media marketing and keep on top of the latest trends.

1. Analyze audience

Are you reaching the right audience? A closer look at Audience Insights on each platform can help you understand if you need to expand or narrow down your reach.

2. Analyze the platforms that you’re using

Use your insights from the past year to assess the effectiveness of each platform in reaching your goals. You don’t have to be active on every social network if it isn’t working for you – now is a good time to assess if you want to dial it back on certain platforms, or even stop using them altogether.

3. Measure your existing ROI

What’s your current social media ROI? Is it where you need it to be? Analyse your return on investment and get ready to set your expectations for 2018.

4. Review KPIs

Do your KPIs fit your goals for 2018? Now is a good time to update your KPIs if you want to change your social media marketing and strategy. Use your last year as a benchmark and aim for more ambitious, yet still realistic, targets.

5. Organize your new social calendar

It’s the right time to plan ahead and update your social calendar with the upcoming campaigns. Save time during the year by keeping an overview of what’s coming up.

6. Review the frequency of your social posting

Are you creating enough content? Do you create too much? Explore whether you need to focus on quality rather than quantity.

For example, Twitter may need more content than Facebook or Instagram, but you should still test whether your posts lead to the desired level of engagement. If not, reducing their frequency might lead to more people interacting with the posts you do make.

7. Mix up your content

Are you creating different content types? Maybe you can make 2018 the year that you invest in video, or experiment with GIFs in your brand marketing. Mixing up your content types can liven up your social presence, as well as taking advantage of the trend towards more visual content on the web.

It doesn’t have to create more work for you – some smart repurposing of your existing content can convert it into different formats without much additional effort.

8. Align social media with UX

If you’re using social media as a means of funneling people onto your website, whether through paid social media or organically, remember that the user experience of the destination is just as important as crafting the right campaign messaging.

If you want to bring new people to your landing pages, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to navigate and proceed to the next steps.

9. Optimize your social content for SEO

Social media may not be an official ranking factor for SEO, but it can still contribute to your authority. Build your social presence, aim for engagement and add genuine value to your content.

10. Involve social media in your marketing funnel

As social reporting becomes more advanced, it’s easier to analyse whether social media brings you any conversions. Add to your new year’s resolutions to improve your ROI and improve the number of conversions that come from social media. A closer look at the leads’ journey will help analyse how social media contribute to your marketing goals.

11. Align social media with your business goals

Is your social presence reflecting your goals? If your marketing strategy is focusing this year more on engagement rather than awareness, how can you use social media to reach this goal?

Also, if your business needs to improve sales, how can you use social media to make it the first point of contact for potential leads? If you start aligning your social media marketing with your business goals, you can reduce the likelihood of wasting your time with your social posts.

The major social media trends of 2018

If we had to predict the biggest trends in social media for 2018, we’d focus on these:

The (continuing) rise of Instagram Stories

Instagram has seen great growth in 2017, and all the latest features indicate that it’s gearing towards an even more successful year. As it’s already one of the most popular platforms for users, brands are flocking there to make the most of its engagement.

Appealing visual content will be crucial, especially after Instagram’s decision to get rid of the chronological news feed. This means that brands need to try harder to show up in users’ newsfeeds.

The biggest bet of the year for Instagram is Stories and their impressive growth over the past year. There have been more than 300 million daily active Stories users and many brands have already experimenting with campaign promotion through Stories.

What makes this feature even more interesting now is the fact that Instagram has recently introduced “Highlights”, which allows users to retain their Stories for more than 24 hours. For marketers, this means that if you feel that a particular story could be used for a longer period, whether it’s for engagement, product promotion, or a live coverage, then you can highlight it to showcase it on your profile.

As Stories were designed as an ephemeral feature, it will be interesting to see if their popularity remains now that is no longer the case. However, for brands, Highlights provide a great opportunity to benefit from this engaging feature over a longer period of time.

Video marketing

Video content has been used quite extensively on social platforms during 2017. As more tools show up to simplify the creation of video content, 2018 is a great year to be investing in video.

The best videos combine eye-catching visuals and an engaging narrative to grab the user’s attention and keep it for a longer period than text and even images can achieve. However, just because you’ve produced a video doesn’t necessarily mean you can achieve this.

It’s important to keep in mind that most successful videos are:

    • Short
    • Use captions
    • Capture the audience’s attention from the first seconds
    • Tell a story to keep the audience interested

Moreover, it might be a good idea to experiment with videos of different lengths to test what works better for each platform. Different social audiences respond to different types of content, and you don’t have to post the same video on every single network.

How about creating a full-length video and splitting it accordingly for every social platform?

Augmented reality as part of social media

During 2017, we’ve seen the rise of Augmented Reality in social media, with Snapchat and Instagram investing in filters and fun yet engaging features. Snapchat is already monetizing its AR Lenses by making them available to brands, and Instagram is sure to quickly follow suit.

Moreover, we predict that 2018 will be the year that it becomes much easier to create AR content. Facebook has already introduced AR Studio, and Snapchat has launched their own Lens Studio, in a bid to facilitate the creation of AR content on their platforms.

Both are aiming to make AR content accessible to a wider audience, increasing the opportunities for engaging content. As with Pokemon Go, more brands are ready to explore how AR can improve their digital strategy and we’re expecting more successful use cases during 2018.

Chatbots for customer service

Facebook’s chatbots have also seen growth in 2017, with more than 100,000 monthly active bots now in use across the site.

Despite some initial concerns by marketers as to whether a bot can be used as part of a social strategy, more brands have quickly realised that a successful bot can improve customer service. Whether it be to provide information, answer questions, or allow customers to more easily place an order, there are several ways to involve a bot in your digital strategy.

However, while bots can save you time and be helpful, it’s equally important to maintain a human element in your interactions. Many brands have seen success with a hybrid strategy of letting bots deal with straightforward queries, and passing the interaction on to a human agent if it requires more intricate handling.

Overview

All in all, social media marketing in 2018 is a much more complicated beast, a far cry from the days when we would count Likes as an indication of success.

From social video to ephemeral content, augmented reality to intelligent chatbots, the components of social media marketing are unlike any other marketing channel, and as such they require a thorough knowledge of the overarching trends and how to apply them, an understanding of the different platforms, specific goals and dedicated tracking of the important metrics.

A closer look at the latest trends now will save you time spent trying to decide where to focus your efforts further down the line. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t pivot and readjust your priorities at a later stage. Take advantage of the start of the year to get ready for another successful year in your social media marketing efforts.

How to make sure your social media marketing is on track for 2018

A new year brings new challenges in social media marketing. Luckily, this is the best time of the year to review your social strategy.

2018 is officially here and this means that we need to plan our social media strategy for the year ahead. Every new year requires the necessary adjustments to ensure that we’re still using every social platform effectively.

If your social media marketing didn’t go as planned in 2017, this is the perfect opportunity to analyse what went wrong.

If you had a successful year with your social strategy last year, then you can still explore new ideas and achieve further success in 2018.

We’ve created a checklist to help you review your social media marketing and keep on top of the latest trends.

1. Analyze audience

Are you reaching the right audience? A closer look at Audience Insights on each platform can help you understand if you need to expand or narrow down your reach.

2. Analyze the platforms that you’re using

Use your insights from the past year to assess the effectiveness of each platform in reaching your goals. You don’t have to be active on every social network if it isn’t working for you – now is a good time to assess if you want to dial it back on certain platforms, or even stop using them altogether.

3. Measure your existing ROI

What’s your current social media ROI? Is it where you need it to be? Analyse your return on investment and get ready to set your expectations for 2018.

4. Review KPIs

Do your KPIs fit your goals for 2018? Now is a good time to update your KPIs if you want to change your social media marketing and strategy. Use your last year as a benchmark and aim for more ambitious, yet still realistic, targets.

5. Organize your new social calendar

It’s the right time to plan ahead and update your social calendar with the upcoming campaigns. Save time during the year by keeping an overview of what’s coming up.

6. Review the frequency of your social posting

Are you creating enough content? Do you create too much? Explore whether you need to focus on quality rather than quantity.

For example, Twitter may need more content than Facebook or Instagram, but you should still test whether your posts lead to the desired level of engagement. If not, reducing their frequency might lead to more people interacting with the posts you do make.

7. Mix up your content

Are you creating different content types? Maybe you can make 2018 the year that you invest in video, or experiment with GIFs in your brand marketing. Mixing up your content types can liven up your social presence, as well as taking advantage of the trend towards more visual content on the web.

It doesn’t have to create more work for you – some smart repurposing of your existing content can convert it into different formats without much additional effort.

8. Align social media with UX

If you’re using social media as a means of funneling people onto your website, whether through paid social media or organically, remember that the user experience of the destination is just as important as crafting the right campaign messaging.

If you want to bring new people to your landing pages, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to navigate and proceed to the next steps.

9. Optimize your social content for SEO

Social media may not be an official ranking factor for SEO, but it can still contribute to your authority. Build your social presence, aim for engagement and add genuine value to your content.

10. Involve social media in your marketing funnel

As social reporting becomes more advanced, it’s easier to analyse whether social media brings you any conversions. Add to your new year’s resolutions to improve your ROI and improve the number of conversions that come from social media. A closer look at the leads’ journey will help analyse how social media contribute to your marketing goals.

11. Align social media with your business goals

Is your social presence reflecting your goals? If your marketing strategy is focusing this year more on engagement rather than awareness, how can you use social media to reach this goal?

Also, if your business needs to improve sales, how can you use social media to make it the first point of contact for potential leads? If you start aligning your social media marketing with your business goals, you can reduce the likelihood of wasting your time with your social posts.

The major social media trends of 2018

If we had to predict the biggest trends in social media for 2018, we’d focus on these:

The (continuing) rise of Instagram Stories

Instagram has seen great growth in 2017, and all the latest features indicate that it’s gearing towards an even more successful year. As it’s already one of the most popular platforms for users, brands are flocking there to make the most of its engagement.

Appealing visual content will be crucial, especially after Instagram’s decision to get rid of the chronological news feed. This means that brands need to try harder to show up in users’ newsfeeds.

The biggest bet of the year for Instagram is Stories and their impressive growth over the past year. There have been more than 300 million daily active Stories users and many brands have already experimenting with campaign promotion through Stories.

What makes this feature even more interesting now is the fact that Instagram has recently introduced “Highlights”, which allows users to retain their Stories for more than 24 hours. For marketers, this means that if you feel that a particular story could be used for a longer period, whether it’s for engagement, product promotion, or a live coverage, then you can highlight it to showcase it on your profile.

As Stories were designed as an ephemeral feature, it will be interesting to see if their popularity remains now that is no longer the case. However, for brands, Highlights provide a great opportunity to benefit from this engaging feature over a longer period of time.

Video marketing

Video content has been used quite extensively on social platforms during 2017. As more tools show up to simplify the creation of video content, 2018 is a great year to be investing in video.

The best videos combine eye-catching visuals and an engaging narrative to grab the user’s attention and keep it for a longer period than text and even images can achieve. However, just because you’ve produced a video doesn’t necessarily mean you can achieve this.

It’s important to keep in mind that most successful videos are:

    • Short
    • Use captions
    • Capture the audience’s attention from the first seconds
    • Tell a story to keep the audience interested

Moreover, it might be a good idea to experiment with videos of different lengths to test what works better for each platform. Different social audiences respond to different types of content, and you don’t have to post the same video on every single network.

How about creating a full-length video and splitting it accordingly for every social platform?

Augmented reality as part of social media

During 2017, we’ve seen the rise of Augmented Reality in social media, with Snapchat and Instagram investing in filters and fun yet engaging features. Snapchat is already monetizing its AR Lenses by making them available to brands, and Instagram is sure to quickly follow suit.

Moreover, we predict that 2018 will be the year that it becomes much easier to create AR content. Facebook has already introduced AR Studio, and Snapchat has launched their own Lens Studio, in a bid to facilitate the creation of AR content on their platforms.

Both are aiming to make AR content accessible to a wider audience, increasing the opportunities for engaging content. As with Pokemon Go, more brands are ready to explore how AR can improve their digital strategy and we’re expecting more successful use cases during 2018.

Chatbots for customer service

Facebook’s chatbots have also seen growth in 2017, with more than 100,000 monthly active bots now in use across the site.

Despite some initial concerns by marketers as to whether a bot can be used as part of a social strategy, more brands have quickly realised that a successful bot can improve customer service. Whether it be to provide information, answer questions, or allow customers to more easily place an order, there are several ways to involve a bot in your digital strategy.

However, while bots can save you time and be helpful, it’s equally important to maintain a human element in your interactions. Many brands have seen success with a hybrid strategy of letting bots deal with straightforward queries, and passing the interaction on to a human agent if it requires more intricate handling.

Overview

All in all, social media marketing in 2018 is a much more complicated beast, a far cry from the days when we would count Likes as an indication of success.

From social video to ephemeral content, augmented reality to intelligent chatbots, the components of social media marketing are unlike any other marketing channel, and as such they require a thorough knowledge of the overarching trends and how to apply them, an understanding of the different platforms, specific goals and dedicated tracking of the important metrics.

A closer look at the latest trends now will save you time spent trying to decide where to focus your efforts further down the line. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t pivot and readjust your priorities at a later stage. Take advantage of the start of the year to get ready for another successful year in your social media marketing efforts.

Screen-Shot-2017-12-27-at-00.01.09-1024x606.png

How to make sure your social media marketing is on track for 2018

A new year brings new challenges in social media marketing. Luckily, this is the best time of the year to review your social strategy.

2018 is officially here and this means that we need to plan our social media strategy for the year ahead. Every new year requires the necessary adjustments to ensure that we’re still using every social platform effectively.

If your social media marketing didn’t go as planned in 2017, this is the perfect opportunity to analyse what went wrong.

If you had a successful year with your social strategy last year, then you can still explore new ideas and achieve further success in 2018.

We’ve created a checklist to help you review your social media marketing and keep on top of the latest trends.

1. Analyze audience

Are you reaching the right audience? A closer look at Audience Insights on each platform can help you understand if you need to expand or narrow down your reach.

2. Analyze the platforms that you’re using

Use your insights from the past year to assess the effectiveness of each platform in reaching your goals. You don’t have to be active on every social network if it isn’t working for you – now is a good time to assess if you want to dial it back on certain platforms, or even stop using them altogether.

3. Measure your existing ROI

What’s your current social media ROI? Is it where you need it to be? Analyse your return on investment and get ready to set your expectations for 2018.

4. Review KPIs

Do your KPIs fit your goals for 2018? Now is a good time to update your KPIs if you want to change your social media marketing and strategy. Use your last year as a benchmark and aim for more ambitious, yet still realistic, targets.

5. Organize your new social calendar

It’s the right time to plan ahead and update your social calendar with the upcoming campaigns. Save time during the year by keeping an overview of what’s coming up.

6. Review the frequency of your social posting

Are you creating enough content? Do you create too much? Explore whether you need to focus on quality rather than quantity.

For example, Twitter may need more content than Facebook or Instagram, but you should still test whether your posts lead to the desired level of engagement. If not, reducing their frequency might lead to more people interacting with the posts you do make.

7. Mix up your content

Are you creating different content types? Maybe you can make 2018 the year that you invest in video, or experiment with GIFs in your brand marketing. Mixing up your content types can liven up your social presence, as well as taking advantage of the trend towards more visual content on the web.

It doesn’t have to create more work for you – some smart repurposing of your existing content can convert it into different formats without much additional effort.

8. Align social media with UX

If you’re using social media as a means of funneling people onto your website, whether through paid social media or organically, remember that the user experience of the destination is just as important as crafting the right campaign messaging.

If you want to bring new people to your landing pages, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to navigate and proceed to the next steps.

9. Optimize your social content for SEO

Social media may not be an official ranking factor for SEO, but it can still contribute to your authority. Build your social presence, aim for engagement and add genuine value to your content.

10. Involve social media in your marketing funnel

As social reporting becomes more advanced, it’s easier to analyse whether social media brings you any conversions. Add to your new year’s resolutions to improve your ROI and improve the number of conversions that come from social media. A closer look at the leads’ journey will help analyse how social media contribute to your marketing goals.

11. Align social media with your business goals

Is your social presence reflecting your goals? If your marketing strategy is focusing this year more on engagement rather than awareness, how can you use social media to reach this goal?

Also, if your business needs to improve sales, how can you use social media to make it the first point of contact for potential leads? If you start aligning your social media marketing with your business goals, you can reduce the likelihood of wasting your time with your social posts.

The major social media trends of 2018

If we had to predict the biggest trends in social media for 2018, we’d focus on these:

The (continuing) rise of Instagram Stories

Instagram has seen great growth in 2017, and all the latest features indicate that it’s gearing towards an even more successful year. As it’s already one of the most popular platforms for users, brands are flocking there to make the most of its engagement.

Appealing visual content will be crucial, especially after Instagram’s decision to get rid of the chronological news feed. This means that brands need to try harder to show up in users’ newsfeeds.

The biggest bet of the year for Instagram is Stories and their impressive growth over the past year. There have been more than 300 million daily active Stories users and many brands have already experimenting with campaign promotion through Stories.

What makes this feature even more interesting now is the fact that Instagram has recently introduced “Highlights”, which allows users to retain their Stories for more than 24 hours. For marketers, this means that if you feel that a particular story could be used for a longer period, whether it’s for engagement, product promotion, or a live coverage, then you can highlight it to showcase it on your profile.

As Stories were designed as an ephemeral feature, it will be interesting to see if their popularity remains now that is no longer the case. However, for brands, Highlights provide a great opportunity to benefit from this engaging feature over a longer period of time.

Video marketing

Video content has been used quite extensively on social platforms during 2017. As more tools show up to simplify the creation of video content, 2018 is a great year to be investing in video.

The best videos combine eye-catching visuals and an engaging narrative to grab the user’s attention and keep it for a longer period than text and even images can achieve. However, just because you’ve produced a video doesn’t necessarily mean you can achieve this.

It’s important to keep in mind that most successful videos are:

    • Short
    • Use captions
    • Capture the audience’s attention from the first seconds
    • Tell a story to keep the audience interested

Moreover, it might be a good idea to experiment with videos of different lengths to test what works better for each platform. Different social audiences respond to different types of content, and you don’t have to post the same video on every single network.

How about creating a full-length video and splitting it accordingly for every social platform?

Augmented reality as part of social media

How to make sure your social media marketing is on track for 2018

During 2017, we’ve seen the rise of Augmented Reality in social media, with Snapchat and Instagram investing in filters and fun yet engaging features. Snapchat is already monetizing its AR Lenses by making them available to brands, and Instagram is sure to quickly follow suit.

Moreover, we predict that 2018 will be the year that it becomes much easier to create AR content. Facebook has already introduced AR Studio, and Snapchat has launched their own Lens Studio, in a bid to facilitate the creation of AR content on their platforms.

Both are aiming to make AR content accessible to a wider audience, increasing the opportunities for engaging content. As with Pokemon Go, more brands are ready to explore how AR can improve their digital strategy and we’re expecting more successful use cases during 2018.

Chatbots for customer service

How to make sure your social media marketing is on track for 2018

Facebook’s chatbots have also seen growth in 2017, with more than 100,000 monthly active bots now in use across the site.

Despite some initial concerns by marketers as to whether a bot can be used as part of a social strategy, more brands have quickly realised that a successful bot can improve customer service. Whether it be to provide information, answer questions, or allow customers to more easily place an order, there are several ways to involve a bot in your digital strategy.

However, while bots can save you time and be helpful, it’s equally important to maintain a human element in your interactions. Many brands have seen success with a hybrid strategy of letting bots deal with straightforward queries, and passing the interaction on to a human agent if it requires more intricate handling.

Overview

All in all, social media marketing in 2018 is a much more complicated beast, a far cry from the days when we would count Likes as an indication of success.

From social video to ephemeral content, augmented reality to intelligent chatbots, the components of social media marketing are unlike any other marketing channel, and as such they require a thorough knowledge of the overarching trends and how to apply them, an understanding of the different platforms, specific goals and dedicated tracking of the important metrics.

A closer look at the latest trends now will save you time spent trying to decide where to focus your efforts further down the line. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t pivot and readjust your priorities at a later stage. Take advantage of the start of the year to get ready for another successful year in your social media marketing efforts.

Killer demand gen strategy, Part 3: Facebook advertising

If you’ve been keeping up with this series, you’ve got your audience defined and designed creative to match. You’ve constructed smart Google Display Network campaigns to get those users pouring into your funnel.

Now let’s talk some of the most powerful targeting capabilities of all.

In addition to advertising on the GDN, Facebook is a platform you must use to reach your target personas. Facebook’s audience targeting capabilities are among the most effective you can access.

You can target interests, behaviors and a variety of demographic information to get in front of your ideal audience.

Explore Facebook’s targeting options

Think about the personas you have created and begin choosing the audience targeting available within Facebook that will help engage those users. For example, let’s say you’re selling luxury home décor. One of your personas is female, between the ages of 30-40, likes home décor, and is affluent. You would then pick targeting as relevant as possible to get in front of these users.

One example would be:

Additionally, you can layer further information onto your personas – for example, some of them might like celebrity gossip. Leverage Facebook’s audience narrowing and layer it on to test how it impacts performance. See below:

Killer demand gen strategy, Part 3: Facebook advertising

In addition to leveraging Facebook’s native audience targeting capabilities, consider leveraging 3rd-party data audiences from companies like Axciom or Datalogix.

These companies can provide you with rich data that can be highly relevant to your personas – and help you develop new ones.

Take advantage of Lookalikes

Lookalike targeting is another great way to identify the right types of audiences and leverage Facebook’s thousands of data points to get in front of them.

First, look at your customer list and identify different ways you can segment those customers into groups of identifiable characteristics. For example, you can segment out your highest-LTV audiences, different categories (e.g. furniture categories, high-AOV purchasers, etc.).

Then upload these customer lists into Facebook, which will leverage its algorithm to serve your ads to audiences that mimic your seed lists in characteristics, behaviors, and traits.

A reminder: use tailored creative to these audiences. If you’re serving ads to lookalike audiences of your high-AOV purchasers, show creative with more high-end products to match their purchase behavior.

Another great way to get in front of relevant users is to leverage lookalikes as a base audience and then add in persona layers. For example, you may think about having an LAL of 5% and layering on celebrity gossip as a narrowing layer.

This makes your base audience similar in characteristics and traits to your customers, and it allows you to refine the audience to more closely match some of the personas you have built out.

Additionally, when creating your audiences, keep an eye on size. You will almost always want to leverage Facebook’s oCPM (Optimized CPM) tool, which requires an audience size of at least 400K to reach people, collect conversion data, and optimize towards users who are likely to convert.

As you know, a lead gen marketer’s work is only beginning when the leads are captured; there’s a long and winding road from lead to conversion, which will require a whole new series to address. But the above strategies should ensure that you’re working from a healthy foundation of leads.

FB-stats.png

Killer demand gen strategy, Part 3: Facebook advertising

If you’ve been keeping up with this series, you’ve got your audience defined and designed creative to match. You’ve constructed smart Google Display Network campaigns to get those users pouring into your funnel.

Now let’s talk some of the most powerful targeting capabilities of all.

In addition to advertising on the GDN, Facebook is a platform you must use to reach your target personas. Facebook’s audience targeting capabilities are among the most effective you can access.

You can target interests, behaviors and a variety of demographic information to get in front of your ideal audience.

Explore Facebook’s targeting options

Think about the personas you have created and begin choosing the audience targeting available within Facebook that will help engage those users. For example, let’s say you’re selling luxury home décor. One of your personas is female, between the ages of 30-40, likes home décor, and is affluent. You would then pick targeting as relevant as possible to get in front of these users.

One example would be:

Additionally, you can layer further information onto your personas – for example, some of them might like celebrity gossip. Leverage Facebook’s audience narrowing and layer it on to test how it impacts performance. See below:

Killer demand gen strategy, Part 3: Facebook advertising

In addition to leveraging Facebook’s native audience targeting capabilities, consider leveraging 3rd-party data audiences from companies like Axciom or Datalogix.

These companies can provide you with rich data that can be highly relevant to your personas – and help you develop new ones.

Take advantage of Lookalikes

Lookalike targeting is another great way to identify the right types of audiences and leverage Facebook’s thousands of data points to get in front of them.

First, look at your customer list and identify different ways you can segment those customers into groups of identifiable characteristics. For example, you can segment out your highest-LTV audiences, different categories (e.g. furniture categories, high-AOV purchasers, etc.).

Then upload these customer lists into Facebook, which will leverage its algorithm to serve your ads to audiences that mimic your seed lists in characteristics, behaviors, and traits.

A reminder: use tailored creative to these audiences. If you’re serving ads to lookalike audiences of your high-AOV purchasers, show creative with more high-end products to match their purchase behavior.

Another great way to get in front of relevant users is to leverage lookalikes as a base audience and then add in persona layers. For example, you may think about having an LAL of 5% and layering on celebrity gossip as a narrowing layer.

This makes your base audience similar in characteristics and traits to your customers, and it allows you to refine the audience to more closely match some of the personas you have built out.

Additionally, when creating your audiences, keep an eye on size. You will almost always want to leverage Facebook’s oCPM (Optimized CPM) tool, which requires an audience size of at least 400K to reach people, collect conversion data, and optimize towards users who are likely to convert.

As you know, a lead gen marketer’s work is only beginning when the leads are captured; there’s a long and winding road from lead to conversion, which will require a whole new series to address. But the above strategies should ensure that you’re working from a healthy foundation of leads.

Screen-Shot-2017-11-07-at-16.04.10.png

How to get started with Twitter advertising

Twitter can be an effective platform to advertise your business. Here’s how to create the perfect ad for your campaign objectives.

Twitter counts a total number of 328 million monthly active users, with more than 500 million tweets sent each day. This brings out a great opportunity for brands to take advantage of the platform to promote their presence.

Twitter may not be the first option for many brands when setting up a paid social strategy, but it can still be a highly effective addition.

Over the past few years, Twitter has expanded its promotion types in order to encourage more brands to promote their business through its platform. The different promotion types and varying campaign objectives have engendered an increased interest in Twitter ads.

According to eMarketer, 41% of people on Twitter purchased products following exposure to an ad in the preceding 30 days.

This brings out a great opportunity for brands to explore the best ways to test Twitter advertising. The first step is to understand the different types of promotion, the campaign objectives, but also the target audience.

Deciding on the type of promotion

Twitter offers three different types of promotion:

Promoted tweets

Promoted tweets look like ordinary tweets, appearing directly in users’ feeds, with the difference being that they are labelled as “Promoted” and don’t need to come from an account that the user follows. They are displayed to the most relevant audience, and Twitter uses various signals to decide the relevance of each promoted tweet.

This allows brands to reach the best audience, while users are still exposed to tweets they might find interesting. As with regular tweets, they can be liked, retweeted and replied to.

They can be used to:

  • increase awareness of a product or an event
  • build engagement for a campaign
  • drive traffic to a brand’s site
  • promote sales and giveaways

Promoted accounts

How to get started with Twitter advertising

Promoted accounts can help a brand boost its number of followers, reaching a new audience that can be interested in its content.

According to a study from 2016, 85% of people find promoted accounts useful in helping them discover new businesses on Twitter.

This type of promotion allows brands to show up in non-followers’ feed, which brings a great opportunity for increased awareness and new leads. A growing number of Twitter followers can create an engaged community, making it easier to promote a campaign.

The difference between promoted accounts and promoted tweets is that the first one focuses on the brand’s profile rather than its content. This means that it’s useful for targeting an audience that is either familiar with, or is interested in exploring, your particular profile.

Promoted accounts can be used to:

  • increase brand awareness
  • build follower count
  • drive leads
  • build paid traffic after users follow a brand

Promoted accounts show up in user’s feed in the suggestions of who to follow, but also in the search results.

Promoted trends

How to get started with Twitter advertising

Promoted trends show up at the top of “Trending Topics”, and can be used by brands that want to promote a particular hashtag. They also show up in users’ feeds and once clicked, they lead to a combination of promoted tweets and organic results.

They are currently unavailable for self-serve advertisers and the cost is significantly higher, but they can also lead to great results in terms of improved awareness and engagement, especially for big brands trying to maximize their potential audience.

Deciding on a campaign objective

Twitter Ads are organised depending on the campaign objective that each brand sets. This way it’s easier to focus on specific results that are based on the KPIs that should be reached.

Twitter’s available campaign objectives focus on:

Awareness

An awareness campaign helps your message reach as many people as possible. The cost is based on the number of impressions your tweets collect, but it can also lead to increased likes, retweets and mentions. This type of campaign is useful when launching a new product, when promoting a sale, or even when trying to establish a new social presence.

Followers

If your brand is still new to Twitter, then a campaign to gain followers may be the first step to build the right audience. It focuses on the number of new followers a profile gains, helping a brand accelerate its growth. It’s usually wise to provide people with a good reason to follow your profile, whether it’s a special offer or a discount.

Promoted video views

Video content tends to be inherently more engaging on social media, but a boost can still be useful. Twitter allows you to enhance the reach of your GIFs or videos, charging by the number of final views.

This way, videos reach a more targeted audience, increasing the chances of engagement. As with all video ads, it’s important to create appealing content that grabs the audience’s attention to keep on watching.

Website clicks or conversions

Achieving conversions via social media is a universal challenge. A Twitter ad campaign that focuses on website clicks or conversions is useful in the promotion of a guide, a special offer, or product purchase. The cost depends on the number of clicks, while a conversion campaign can provide an overview of the actual conversions, rather than simply the number of clicks.

It is also possible to include a website card with this type of campaign, displaying a preview of your site along with the tweet to make the call-to-action clearer.

Tweet engagements

A tweet engagements campaign aims to promote your tweets to a relevant audience. The goal is to start a conversation by placing the best content in front of your target audience. As Twitter points out, increased engagement brings more chances of brand lift and offline sales.

App installs or re-engagements

App install campaigns aim to help your brand promote a new application. The focus is on mobile users and the charge considers the number of app clicks or installs. This type of campaign targets the audience that is more likely to install or engage with your app, and maximizes the chances of driving traffic and interest to the application.

Twitter’s various targeting capabilities make campaigns more efficient, while the measurement involves conversion reporting to analyse the impact of the campaign towards conversion.

How to get started with Twitter advertising

Deciding on the most relevant targeting

One of the most interesting features in Twitter Ads is the targeting options they offer. Twitter Ads become more effective by reaching the most relevant audience for each occasion.

Twitter’s targeting capabilities include:

  • Language: Narrow down the audience to a particular language
  • Gender: Target a specific genre
  • Interest: Find the perfect audience through the interests that match your brand’s products
  • Follower: Target the followers of relevant accounts to increase the chances of finding an engaged audience
  • Device: Focus on particular devices to increase the chances of an effective campaign
  • Behavior: Reach the audience that matches your brand’s expectations regarding their shopping and spending habits
  • Tailored Audiences: Upload your CRM lists and find specific people on Twitter
  • Keyword: Target people who used a particular keyword in their recent tweets

How to get started with Twitter advertising

  • Geography: Focus on specific geographic areas depending on the needs of each campaign
  • TV: As Twitter improves its relationship with TV networks, this targeting allows brand to engage with TV fans around specific shows, spanning from the network to the genre of the show
  • Event: A campaign can revolve around a specific event and thus, the promotion is aiming at a specific audience. The relevance is high, which may require a larger budget to beat the competition, while also increasing the chances of finding the perfect audience

What we can learn from the various targeting options is that every campaign has different goals and thus, a different audience. It’s useful to experiment with all the targeting suggestions as much as possible to understand how each option can help your brand’s plans.

Setting a budget

How to get started with Twitter advertising

Setting a budget for your campaign can depend on what your goals are. In general, the budget and the bidding options are adjusted through each individual campaign.

Twitter allows you to set a daily budget, along with a total budget for the campaign as a whole, to make sure that you don’t go over-budget by accident.

Bidding can be automatic, or it can include a maximum bid. This may reflect each company’s budget, but also the competition on each campaign and the targeted audience. Thus, the budget may be different from one campaign to another, especially when reaching a new audience.

Overview

Twitter is powerful in starting a conversation, influencing people over purchasing decisions, or simply setting up new trending topics. All of these can be valuable for brands trying to increase their reach, engage with their followers, drive traffic to their site, or promote a new offer.

Twitter ads are highly useful provided that they are used to target the most relevant audience in a way that they will genuinely connect with.

As with organic social media, different types of content can be more successful, with creative and authentic messaging giving you the best chance of success.

The various different targeting option can help brands to custom-build the perfect audience for each campaign. It may take some time to know how each type of targeting can help your campaign, but the testing with a smaller budget at first can ensure a message is sent to the most relevant audience.

Not every campaign will necessarily be successful at first, but Twitter’s focus on offering best practice tips and new advertising features will ensure that your effort and patience pays off.