Back to Top

Google Ads for B2B: How to overcome challenges, platform limitations

B2B marketers tend to be excluded from most articles, case studies and examples. Even when we get mentioned, our marketing efforts are bucketed as “B2B” and not industry-specific. 

However, there are many sub-categories of B2B marketing (e.g., SaaS, ecommerce, education, healthcare).

After working with hundreds of B2B accounts, I’ve found there are multiple factors that people tend to overlook or don’t even consider using because it is not “B2B” specific. 

That’s a costly mistake.

This article will cover basic challenges when using Google Ads for B2B marketing, as well as more advanced obstacles. The advanced challenges are not necessarily difficult, but they will require time and some planning to overcome.

Basic errors and platform limitations

No ad schedule

Businesses won’t search for your website on just any day or at any time. If you are helping a business that has never used Google Ads before, you should turn to Google Analytics.

Within Google Analytics, you can understand exactly when prospects are engaging with your business, and get clarity into whether those prospects are passively researching your business or actively filling out forms.

A key part of creating an ad schedule is also considering what you want to promote during a given timeframe. If your landing page tells visitors they can request live customer support but your team is not able to help at 3 a.m., you shouldn’t be advertising that specific page during that time frame.

Common sense is also beneficial when setting your ad schedule.

For example, if you repair kitchen equipment for restaurants, you need to consider your customer’s schedules. Their busiest times (and when they will need an urgent response) will depend on their restaurant type. High-end dining will need help at night and over the weekend, and the busiest time for a cafe will be in the morning. 

Thinking about small, yet critical insights like this can also open a window for ad scheduling testing and for bid adjustments

Losing control of where your ads are showing

Plenty of B2B companies operate in sensitive or highly regulated verticals. Hence, keeping tabs on where your ad is showing is critical for any marketer that works in these verticals.

Showing your search ads on the display network or in the search partner network are two things you don’t want to do if you would like to protect your brand and avoid wasting valuable ad dollars.

With search ads, you can use keywords to predict a user’s search intent.

But display ads use audience targeting for increased awareness. Therefore, creating search campaigns with “display select” turned on is a quick way to lose visibility into where your ads are showing. 

On the other hand, we have search partners. Your ad is shown on pages you can’t track, you can’t adjust bids and you can’t pause placements you don’t like.

So, why use them?

For B2B specifically, you might get a few leads here and there, yet close to zero of those leads will become MQLs or SQLs.

Intermediate challenges and platform limitations

Still using Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs)

SKAGs were probably one of the most amazing tactics B2B marketers had 10 years ago. However, they are no longer a tactic worth implementing.

Let’s do a quick recap of what they are and why they were so popular.

Back in the day, you would create an ad group with one keyword, and that keyword had to be present on your ad copy and your landing page. This meant that all messaging was exactly the same between your keywords, ad and landing page. Keeping that messaging consistent meant your quality score would be higher as well.

When Google Ads expanded match types to include close variants, keywords with the same meaning, the whole shebang, this tactic lost a lot of power. Now, there’s no way to guarantee that all your messaging will align, you will end up competing with yourself.

Not only that, but as marketers, we have evolved to understand we need to focus on intent and quality of the overall experience instead of just trying to match keywords to landing pages.

Ad group management

When looking at Google’s definition of an ad group, they state “use ad groups to organize your ads by a common theme.”

An extremely common B2B challenge is that marketers struggle to choose which landing page is best for a given keyword. So, they try to match existing landing pages to a group of keywords that seem similar!

What they end up with are ad groups that have a demo, a trial, a whitepaper download and a blog post. That’s not ideal.

Instead, they need to separate keywords (and landing pages) based on a searcher’s intent, journey phase, etc. 

Going back to PPC 101, Google tends to show ads with the most engagement. Now, naturally fewer people are willing to click an ad that says “contact us for a demo,” and more people will be willing to click an ad that says “read our latest blog post.” By default, you are burying your bottom-of-the-funnel pages.

In today’s world, if the intent of two keywords is different, you will need two different landing pages. And since these two keywords don’t share a common theme, you will also need two ad groups.

Lack of B2B built-in platform audiences

If you have ever tried to find a built-in audience segment for your B2B business, you know that odd stuff comes up.

For example: When I worked with an advocacy software company, Google said their top in-market audience was “High Performance and Aftermarket Auto Parts.”

Say what?! 

Thankfully, you don’t need to rely on built-in segments. If you have access to Google Analytics, navigate to the demographic and interests report. From there you can see the in-market and affiliate segments associated with the traffic from all channels that are currently landing on your website. 

By using segments and filters, you can identify audiences that are high-performing or low-performing statistically speaking.

While I don’t recommend you only target or exclude these audiences, this analysis can help you make positive or negative bid adjustments based on performance! 

The other great thing about these audiences is that you can (and you should) layer them into your search and display efforts. And remember, you can adjust your bids based on how well these audiences perform.

Don’t get rid of a low-performing audience entirely – just bid lower until you reach a happy equilibrium. At the same time, don’t be afraid to bid up on audiences that drive more than their fair share of high-quality traffic.

Complex B2B platform limitations

Only looking at conversions on Google Ads: Connect your account to your marketing automation platform

The typical B2B buyers’ journey includes multiple touch points and stakeholders before they make a decision. That means it isn’t enough to know how many clicks and leads you are getting in a month. You need to know who is interacting with certain touchpoints.

All major marketing automation platforms (e.g., Marketo, Pardot, HubSpot) have direct integrations with Google Ads. The integration process for each platform is different, but generally speaking, you’ll be able to make this connection by going into the platform’s settings. In Marketo, it is under LaunchPoint. In HubSpot, it is under Marketing and then Ads, and in Pardot, it is under “connector.”

Once you have found those areas, you will need to click create a new connection with Google Ads, then log in to your Google Ads account. Boom! Those platforms will be connected.

Going through this easy process will allow you to have better attribution on your marketing platform and see which specific ads, keywords and so on, are driving qualified leads. You can also create audiences and exclusions. The sky’s the limit!

Enhanced Conversions for increased visibility

Google Ads introduced enhanced conversions in May 2021. This is a fantastic tool for B2B marketers.

It starts with Google collecting key information about a user who submits a form on your website. Then, after they become a customer, you can upload this data into your Google Ads account and obtain insights into which ad they clicked before becoming a customer.

The downside of using enhanced conversions is that you need to have your conversions set up using Google Ads conversion tracking. If you are importing leads from Google Analytics to Google Ads, you won’t be able to use this feature.

Setting up enhanced conversions can be complicated, however. Here’s a great video guide about enhanced conversions from the Paid Media Pros. 

A lot of B2B marketers don’t even know about this awesome, recently launched feature. You should definitely give it a shot, especially if you don’t have access to a marketing automation platform or CRM.

Your ads look boring: Ad customizers are here to help!

If you are a B2C or DTC marketer, you are familiar with the ins and outs of ad customizers. However, the amount of B2B marketers using them is super tiny. This is a shame – they are incredibly helpful and so easy to set up. 

Ad customizers allow you to personalize your ad copy based on a user’s location, the product they are searching for, and so much more.

To get started, simply upload a data file with all your customizers. If you don’t know how to do that, Google Ads has a downloadable template in the UI platform you can use. From there, create your ads and let Google do its magic.

It’s no surprise B2B marketers don’t gravitate toward ad customizers. If you look at the examples on the Google Ads support page, you will see those are all B2C products. That doesn’t mean B2B marketers shouldn’t use them, however.

For example, if you have cities or states where your business has a local presence, make sure to incorporate that into your ad customizer. If you don’t have a local presence in a given area, just use your default message.

Here’s another example of how B2B marketers can use ad customizers: Discounts! If you have a discount that changes depending on your product and you don’t want to create multiple ad groups and ads to promote the correct discount, ad customizers can totally help you scale these campaigns while ensuring your account is easy to manage.

Improve your B2B performance

It’s sad but true: Many ad platforms were not made with the challenges of B2B top of mind. 

However, that doesn’t mean that B2B marketers can’t be just as successful as B2C marketers on platforms like Google Ads. 

You just need to be creative and think outside the box. 

Watch: Google Ads for B2B – Avoiding common mistakes and overcoming platform limitations

Below is the complete video of my SMX Advanced presentation.

The post Google Ads for B2B: How to overcome challenges, platform limitations appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Reblogged 1 week ago from searchengineland.com

Six Dangers of Automation in Marketing

The age of automation is here. Whether at the shopping checkout or in the online business world, automation technologies are becoming a standard tool for streamlining workflow and business operations, especially online.

In 2020, the digital marketing and advertising industry was worth over 370-billion dollars in the U.S, with more business owners realizing the full potential of this marketing medium every day.

Automation software may be one of the greatest business development tools invented to date. However, there are some dangers to becoming too dependent on automation; it could be costing you a ton of profit, and, if you are not careful, could cost you your business.

Read on to learn six major dangers of relying on automation systems in digital marketing in 2022.

1. Automated Bidding

Automated bidding is an automated system that sets bids on your ads based on that ad’s likelihood of getting a click and a sales conversion. This automated bidding system can be customized for a specific business or sales goal.

This can save hours of labor for business owners and is very appealing as a set-it-and-forget-it approach to generating leads and sales conversions.

However, things that sound too good to be true often are. While this kind of marketing tactic can reap many benefits to your enterprise, running automated ad campaigns unsupervised is unwise and could actually cost you profit if you get too comfortable utilizing it as a primary marketing tactic.

While AI algorithms are smart, as yet, they are not more intelligent than humans and will not be able to perform in a sales capacity as well as a sales professional.

This is not to say that you should stay away from automated bidding; however, you should be using it as a tool rather than a crutch; marketing still requires human-to-human interaction, even through the internet.

2. Forgetting to Continuously Optimize

While automation provides a lot of stress and time-management relief for business owners, the “set and forget” nature of automation can be a trap for those who tend to get comfortable.

Optimizing your automated systems is a manual process, and the internet will not slow down to let you catch up. Online advertising and marketing is a fluid environment, and you never want to turn your back on the sea. 

Ensure that your automation systems are optimized for the current online climate, including making sure your systems meet the criteria of current search engine algorithms. 

A dedicated development team can build in automated tools and advantages as they construct your systems. But to capitalize on that vast amount of work, ensure you maintain them well and optimize your automation for the best results. Overall, make it a point to design and operate automated systems for the right reasons in your customers’ eyes and not just out of laziness.

Automation will only do what you tell it to, so treat it like an employee that needs to be observed and managed rather than an extra limb that you need not pay attention to; automation is there to make you profit, not cost you exposure.

3. Over Messaging

Automated messaging systems can be a savior for a business owner trying to optimize their customer service and communication. These systems help you build and maintain rapport with your customers and audience; however, sending too many automated messages can have a disastrous impact on your business.

Over messaging can damage your brand in two primary ways:

  1. It has a negative impact on your recipients, damaging your engagement and client relationships
  2. Adversely impacts your app or website

It can take years to build your brand and only seconds to burn your reputation; with automated messaging, quality over quantity is the name of the game, and it is crucial to strike a balance between over and under messaging.

4. Loss of Brand Message

One of the main focuses in the current world of digital marketing is customizing your customer’s experiences. While automation and AI can absolutely help you achieve this, there is a fine line between having automation technologies help you run your business and completely ignoring your customer’s existence.

You are your brand, whether you like it or not. If you let your automated systems do all the communication on your behalf, your customer will eventually feel like they are not seen or appreciated.

One bad review can undo a lot of hard work, so don’t let automated systems’ appeal detach you from your valued customers and clients.

This sensibility doesn’t apply only to customers. You’ve probably heard of creating your “brand as an employer,” which is a marketing strategy designed to attract the best job candidates to your company. Automated software for recruiting is commonly used by businesses to help with this, but in marketing for candidates, it’s critical to apply a human touch to as many of your candidate-facing interactions as possible. Therefore, leveraging your automation for behind-the-scenes efficiencies where the candidate is less likely to notice it.

5. Focusing on Vanity Metrics

No one likes a bragger, and being a bragger that is also embellishing the truth is even less appealing. Vanity metrics are the equivalent of unjustifiable bragging in the digital marketing world.

While celebrating your legitimate wins is a great business practice and is healthy for business development, being disingenuous with your facts and figures is a sure-fire way to get people offside.

Relying on your automated metrics is just as dangerous. You need to be on top of your facts and figures; at this stage, there is no such thing as a reliable, fully automated online business, and putting too much faith in your automated data will turn around and bite you eventually.

6. Automating What Shouldn’t Be Automated

While there are many things automation software can significantly improve in your business and branding, some things should not be automated, even if they can be.

Cyber security

The hackers and thieves never sleep, and they are constantly finding new ways to break through cyber security systems. Manually ensuring your security systems are optimized maximizes the security of your business and protects your customer’s data, such as their personal information.

Customer Engagement

While there are areas of customer engagement, people still want to know they are dealing with a real person or team of people. People are not naive, and they know when they are talking to a bot. 

Although it is tempting to automate as much of your business as possible, people will lose trust if they feel that they cannot connect to a human being on the other side of the monitor, so remember to keep it real, literally!

Social Media Posts and Messages

There are plenty of automation systems for social media engagement; however, this is not an area that should be overlooked. For some, social media marketing is laborious and time-consuming, but the truth is your business needs it.

If you really cannot deal with your business’s social media marketing aspects, then outsource to a professional and reputable social media manager who can optimize your engagement. 

This investment will pay off, so choose a human resource over an automation system. That’s not to say you cannot use systems to automatically post your content at a particular time and date; just don’t rely on automation and AI if you want to see actual results.

Marketing Proposal Templates

If you are a digital marketer or work in a digital marketing team, you want to ensure your marketing proposal template comes directly from you or a team member and includes personalized comments that relate to the specific prospect.

Sending these as an automated proposal may be insulting to your client, and a pitch is much more likely to be successful if it is customized for your potential client.

Conclusion

Marketing automation is a great way to optimize and streamline your business; however, it is just a tool and will not replace your hard work, personal engagement, and attention to business.

Use marketing automation as a complementary utility to grow your business and not as a business model itself; strike that balance. You will definitely reap the rewards of your efforts.

Sign up for our newsletter to receive regular Hero Blog updates. Our blogs are full of free, priceless information to help you optimize and maximize your online presence and drive your business forward into the digital future. 

The post Six Dangers of Automation in Marketing first appeared on PPC Hero.

Reblogged 1 week ago from www.ppchero.com

How to Optimize Your Facebook Ad Copy

This blog provides real-life examples and insights from one of our clients in the luxury fashion industry.

How can you cut through the noise on a saturated platform?

Aside from an increase in competition, ads are, in general, becoming more advanced and innovative, capitalizing on the rapid developments in AR, Chatbots, and Immersive Experiences. However, not everybody has the budget to invest in groundbreaking innovation.

If you fall into that category, you can still make considerable improvements by focusing on the fundamentals, like the length of your ad copy.

The Theory

A recent blog post I penned for Brainlabs provides actionable insights for ad copy testing. One of the principles we explored in the blog was ‘cognitive fluency’. In a nutshell, it is the idea that the shorter and simpler a message is, the more likely it is to yield action from your customer. So, we thought we’d test it.

The Test

From January to March 2022, we ran a series of tests between short and long ad copy for a luxury fashion retailer. The first campaign advertised beauty products, while the second’s messaging centered around Valentine’s Day gifts.

Each campaign had two copy variations where the sentiment was kept the same, meaning the only difference between them was the length, where the shorter ad copy fitted into one line, while the longer variation fitted into three. 

The experiment was set up as a side-by-side, observational test. This means that the ads were placed into the same ad set, allowing Facebook to optimize the budget between the ads based on their relative performance.

Beauty & Valentine’s Day Products Campaign Results

As can be seen in the graphs below, the Beauty prospecting audience didn’t show a significant preference between ad copy length, but the retargeting audience exhibited an inclination towards the shorter copy, with 64% of clicks being driven by it.

Similar to the Beauty campaign, ad copy length didn’t make a difference for the Valentine’s Day Prospecting audience, with the shorter variation driving 51.6% of the traffic. However, for the retargeting audience, the shorter copy drove 63.9%, signaling customers’ proclivity toward the shorter version.

When looking at other metrics, we see that the CTR, CPC, and CPM were all very similar across the variations. So, what explains the difference in traffic?

This is a prime example of the Breakdown Effect. To put it simply, the Facebook algorithm aims to achieve the best overall results by delivering different ad variations to different portions of the targeted audience. In this case, The Breakdown Effect suggests that, in the case of the retargeting audience, considerably more users resonated better with the short version.

Summary

The test highlighted an interesting link between ad copy length and consumer intent level. Specifically, for this client, when a consumer has higher purchase intent, a shorter, snappier copy length will perform better.

Contrary to the principle of cognitive fluency, the short ad copy variations didn’t perform better in every instance, rather, the results were more nuanced. As expected, the short version performed better, however, the extent of its impact depended on the intent level of the audience. 

Based on these experiments, the Cognitive Fluency-Intention Hypothesis emerged, proposing that short messages perform better when the audience has greater purchase intent or has pre-existing brand awareness.

It is often the little things that can level up performance and capture valuable insights. So, in your next campaign, try testing something simple such as the length of the ad copy or tailored ad copy – the results might surprise you.

The post How to Optimize Your Facebook Ad Copy first appeared on PPC Hero.

Reblogged 1 week ago from www.ppchero.com

Alphabet, Microsoft release end of quarter earnings

Google and Microsoft released their quarterly earnings yesterday. Both companies missed the mark and fell short in some areas, but for the most part hold steady given circumstances such as the war in Ukraine (pulling their services out of Russia), supply chain issues, economic uncertainty, and hiring freezes. 

Here are some key takeaways: 

  • Total Alphabet revenue 13% increase YoY to $69.7 billion (from $61.9 billion by the end of Q2 in 2021)
  • Google Ad revenue $56.3 billion (up from $50.4 in 2021)
  • YouTube revenue $7.3 billion (up 5% from $7 billion in 2021), which missed analysts’ predictions of $7.5 billion
  • Microsoft ad revenue decreased by about $100 million due to reductions in advertising spend
  • LinkedIn revenue increased 26% (up 29% in constant currency)

Holding steady. Google claims that despite some pullback from advertisers and the loom of financial uncertainty, performance in search was strong and “customers are still seeing value.” During the earnings call CEO Sundar Pichai spoke about search changes and increased opportunities for shopping, as well as attempts to compete with TikTok and Instagram.

YouTube Shorts momentum. Pichai said YouTube Shorts are watched by over 1.5 billion signed in users per month, and over 30 billion daily views. Subscribers surpassed 5 million subscribers – including trials. Last week a partnership with Shopify announced giving advertisers and creators additional opportunities to promote products.  

Summer search trends. Philipp Schindler, CBO, Google adds that last minute hotel deals and summer vacations increased substantially. Travel brands continued to utilize new tools to streamline the booking and reservation processes. Retailers taking advantage of a full omnichannel strategy including using curbside and pickup features increased revenue by as much as 34% from last year. Schindler continues that searches for “open now near me” were up 8x globally YoY, while searches for “designer outlets” jumped 90%. Additionally, apparel categories such as women’s clothing and other beauty categories such as perfume and fragrances gained interest. 

Performance Max. I didn’t think we would get off the earnings call without talking about Performance Max. Schindler mentioned that the adoption of Performance Max campaigns are up 5x year to date. Though, it’s not mentioned if those numbers include accounts that have been automatically updated to PMax from Smart Shopping.

New developments. 3D AR features are also available to a few retailers such as Target and Wayfair, allowing customers to shop for products in real life. Additionally, the new ad formats allow for a more visual browsing search. CTV viewership is 3.1x more effective than regular tv, and CTV markets will be expanded to LATAM and EMEA markets. Lastly, Schinder mentions that full funnel strategies are gaining speed and advertisers that use them experience 80% unique reach across brand and action campaigns. 

Listen to the call. If you’re interested in the full Alphabet earnings call, you can listen here. You can also view the Alphabet earnings report here, and the Microsoft report here.

Why we care. Though the numbers aren’t as good as analysts may have predicted, Google ads aren’t going anywhere any time soon. New products in CTV, gaming, Shorts, and shopping are keeping ad revenue afloat, despite some advertisers abandoning the platform altogether. Given that they can’t gain any more market share, new products and features will be the only way to keep the momentum going (outside of charging more for advertising). I’ll be curious to see how the adoption of new features pans out in Q3.

The post Alphabet, Microsoft release end of quarter earnings appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Reblogged 1 week ago from searchengineland.com

Facebook Creator Studio: The digital marketer’s guide

Looking for a more efficient way to manage your Facebook presence?

Despite not boasting the buzz of Instagram or TikTok right now, recent stats highlight how Facebook is still a staple for marketers.

Thing is, Facebook is a challenging platform to wrangle due to all of its dashboards and ad options. Keeping up with Meta’s ever-changing business features can be overwhelming.

But what if you had a place to oversee your analytics, content and monetization at the same time?

Well, Facebook Creator Studio is that tool!

New to Creator Studio? In this post, we’ll highlight how to use the platform to save time and streamline your marketing tasks.

What is Facebook Creator Studio?

Think of Facebook Creator Studio as the ultimate control center for your business page.

Nobody wants to bounce between a million different tools, right? Creator Studio consolidates your performance data, messages and content in one place. According to Meta:

“Creator Studio brings together all the tools you need to effectively post, manage, monetize and measure content across all your Facebook Pages and Instagram accounts.”

Launched backed in 2018, Facebook Creator Studio’s goal was to give business owners a better idea of how their presence is performing. After all, Facebook’s in-app analytics feed can feel a bit clunky and fragmented. On the flip side, Creator Studio provides a comprehensive overview of the following:

  • Your most recent Facebook posts and their performance: engagements and interactions
  • Your overall performance of your Page: followers, reach and growth
  • New notifications and activity from followers: direct messages and mentions

Beyond analytics, Creator Studio has a ton of helpful publishing features. This includes:

  • The ability to schedule Facebook posts (and see live previews of future content)
  • Creating and publishing posts directly from the platform
  • Management of all of your Facebook content assets including posts, images and videos

And of course, you can analyze the performance of all of your Facebook assets as well.

Content management in Facebook Creator Studio

Another notable aspect of Facebook Creator Studio is access to all of the above for your Instagram presence, too. This compatibility is useful if you’re cross-posting Instagram content or running ads on both networks.

How to get started with Facebook Creator Studio

Creator Studio is a seriously underrated tool for marketers.

It’s no surprise that it gets slept on, though. That’s because Meta is constantly revamping and replacing its slew of Facebook business tools.

If you’re new to the platform, below is a quick breakdown of how to start using Creator Studio.

Where to access Facebook Creator Studio

Good news: if you have access to a business Page then you can access Creator Studio by default.

“Okay, but where is Creator Studio on Facebook?”

Good question! Getting into the platform for the first time might feel a bit roundabout. For starters, log into your Facebook Business Page and click on your profile picture (see below).

Facebook Business Page home screen

From there, select “Meta Business Suite” and click through. You’ll be presented with a dropdown menu. Select “All tools” to proceed.

Meta Business Suite navigation bar

Finally, you’ll be prompted to select “Creator Studio.” Doing so will open the platform in a new window.

accessing Facebook creator studio from Meta Business Suite

Understanding roles and permissions in Facebook Creator Studio

There are five levels of access within Facebook Creator Studio: Admin, Editor, Moderator, Advertiser and Analyst.

As noted earlier, access to a Facebook Page automatically grants you access to Creator Studio.

But you only have full permissions if you’re an Admin. Different roles and permissions can be assigned to collaborators to limit access to certain features. This includes messaging, content management and analytics.

Here’s a quick explanation from Meta:

“Regardless of what role you have on a Page, you can access it from Creator Studio . . . However, your Page role does determine the specific information you see and the actions you can take on that Page and any Instagram account linked to it.”

And here’s Meta’s breakdown of the roles’ permissions:

Facebook Creator Studio roles and permissions

These various roles and permissions are helpful for agencies, brand partners and Pages run by multiple people. This can help you set up a smarter approval process so stakeholders can sign off on actions from collaborators.

Managing multiple Pages in Facebook Creator Studio

Speaking of multiples!

You can seamlessly bounce from different Pages in Creator Studio if you’re running a bunch at once. Again, these features are helpful for agencies and brands managing multiple communities.

To see which Pages you have access to, go to the home screen of Facebook Creator Studio. Then, click the top lefthand icon of the Page you initially logged on through. You’ll then see a dropdown of Pages.

Facebook Creator Studio page management

Navigating the Facebook Creator Studio interface

Once you finally get into the platform, its interface is pretty self-explanatory.

Facebook Creator Studio interface

Here’s a basic rundown of navigation options as you figure out how to use Facebook Creator Studio:

  • Home – a general overview of your Facebook Page and recent activity.
  • Notifications – alerts, recommended updates and recent interactions on your Page (comments/messages).
  • Insights– an overview of content performances including Facebook video and Stories insights.
  • Pre-published– an overview of your scheduled Facebook posts.
  • Published – see the status and performance of live posts organized by most recent publish date.
  • Assets – an overview of content you’ve uploaded to Facebook and Creator Studio.
  • Tools – a place to test and preview Facebook posts.
  • Content Library – aggregates your posts and anything your page has published or cross-posted.

Below are the secondary features of Facebook Creator Studio you can find at the bottom of the navigation bar:

  • Inbox+ – shows all of your recent Facebook messages, acting as a sort of CRM.
  • Monetization – allows you to boost content and transform posts into paid ads.
  • Creative Tools – live stream features and access to the Facebook Sound Collection.
  • Settings – here you can edit Page permissions and settings.
  • Resources – takes you to external publishing and shopping tools for Facebook Pages

What are the key features of Facebook Creator Studio?

To wrap things up, here’s a general overview of how to use Facebook Creator Studio and the basics of what you can do within the platform.

Create and schedule Facebook posts

Rather than post directly from your Page, Creator Studio lets you plan out your posts in greater depth. For example, the ability to schedule posts directly makes it easier to stick to an actual content calendar versus posting at random.

Here you can also optimize your posts to increase engagement by fine-tuning your captions, images and timing. Detailed content previews ensure that your posts “look the part” and never feel rushed.

Creating a post in Facebook Creator Studio

Manage relationships with fans and followers

From customer service to product questions, mastering Facebook Messenger is a must-do for brands.

Facebook Creator Studio can act as a psuedo-CRM to help keep track of your past conversations with customers, fans and followers.

That said, Studio’s messaging features aren’t quite as powerful as Sprout’s Smart Inbox. For example, Sprout manages relationships between your customers across all social platforms. Beyond that, Sprout centralizes your @mentions and crucial conversations. You’ll never miss out on an opportunity to make an impression on your audience.

Sprout Smart Inbox

Oversee interactions on your Page

Speeding up your social media response time should be a top priority for any brand.

The faster you respond to customers, the more likely you are to delight them and swiftly resolve any issues they might have.

By having all of your Facebook notifications including comments and messages in one place, you can manage concerns in a single inbox.

Boost your Facebook posts

If you’re totally new to Facebook ads, boosting a post via Creator Studio can help you get your feet wet.

In short, you can take a top-performing piece of organic content and transform it into an ad. Creator Studio walks you through the process step-by-step. The platform is generally straightforward versus more complicated ad options and targeting.

Dig into your Facebook analytics and performance

Pop quiz: what are your best Facebook posts? Which type of content earns the most engagement? Are you happy with your Page’s growth rate?

You should be able to answer all of the above with confidence. Thankfully, the analytics baked into Facebook Creator Studio can you find the answers you need. Specifically, Facebook metrics such as engagement rate, reach and interactions should be on your radar.

That said, we still have to give it to Sprout Social when it comes to Facebook analytics. Our platform allows you to get super granular when finding opportunities to grow and optimize your presence.

Facebook analytics

How can Facebook Creator Studio help you manage your presence?

Creator Studio is a solid starting point if you need a free, all-in-one native tool for growing your Facebook Page.

Because it’s more important than ever for businesses to have a comprehensive understanding of their analytics and activity.

From questions and concerns to content engagement and beyond, anything you can do to get greater insights into your Facebook audience is a plus. Creator Studio can definitely make that happen.

Need more help growing your presence? If you haven’t already, make sure to check out our guide to Facebook best practices to figure out how!

The post Facebook Creator Studio: The digital marketer’s guide appeared first on Sprout Social.

Reblogged 1 week ago from sproutsocial.com

Content creators: Who they are, what they do and how they partner with brands

Finding the right content creator for your brand is kind of like dating. You have to keep testing out partnerships until you find the ones that work.

Despite this, there’s still groundwork you can do to set yourself up for success. A little research can help you spot the difference between a match made in heaven and something that’s ultimately not going to work out. You just have to know what you’re looking for.

That’s where we come in. This guide answers all the burning questions on the biggest shift in social media since the algorithmic feed. Use this information to vet content creators and build lasting relationships with people that enhance and expand your brand.

Let’s get into it.

What is a content creator?

Content creators produce entertaining, educational or captivating content for digital distribution. These individuals typically offer a distinct perspective or voice. Fans latch on to their unique points of view, creating deep connections over time.

Creators develop content for various channels. Popular formats include:

  • Videos (like TikToks, YouTube videos or livestreams)
  • Images (like graphics, memes or photography)
  • Audio content (like podcasts)
  • Written works (like blogs and ad copy)

This list is long, but not exhaustive. Content is forever evolving alongside the landscape of the internet. When a new format rises to popularity, the list grows again—creating new opportunities for budding content creators.

It’s no wonder the creator economy is in a near-perpetual state of growth. In 2022, an estimated 50 million people across the world identify as content creators. We’ll keep seeing this number grow as the space matures.

What’s the difference between a content creator and an influencer?

I know what you’re thinking: “Isn’t content creator just a new term for influencers?”

Jayde Powell, an Atlanta-based social media manager turned content creator, runs into this misconception fairly often.

“A lot of people in marketing and advertising use ‘content creator’ and ‘influencer’ interchangeably,” says Powell “The two aren’t mutually exclusive but when it comes down to defining the difference, it’s a matter of intention and skillset.”

While many of the creators you know and love do have a degree of influence, they’re not always posting with the express intent of influencing a purchase decision.

For example, a creator with a focus on vegan living might only post original recipes and substitution ideas. An influencer who lives a vegan lifestyle, on the other hand, might be more inclined to share content sponsored by vegan brands.

More often than not, digital creators will partake in both types of content production, with a lean in one direction. However, while digital content creators and influencers share similarities, they aren’t one and the same.

What does a content creator do?

On the surface, a day in the life of a content creator can seem fun and relatively simple. However, making something look effortless usually takes quite a bit of work.

The truth is, content creators do a lot to maintain a consistent and engaging posting schedule. If you were to think of content as TV, then every content creator is operating as their own writer, actor, editor, producer, contract negotiator, programming manager—the list goes on.

To get a better understanding of the day in the life of a content creator, we asked Jayde Powell and Latinx content creator Violeta Venegas for a glimpse at their weekly schedules.

A day in the life of a full-time creator

“There are so many layers to social media management,” says Powell. “Aside from content creation, I was also handling community management, customer service and analytics. I decided to move to full time content creation because that’s where I had the most fun in my work.”

Some businesses have started hiring in-house content creators for specific channels, but Powell prefers the flexibility of freelance work. She offers a variety of creative services, so flexibility is crucial to keeping an optimized schedule.

“I base my weekly schedule on the content projects I’m working on,” says Powell. “It all depends on the form. If I’m writing, I work in two- to three-hour flow states. If it’s a video project, I have to shoot during the day for optimal lighting. I can usually knock out filming in a few hours or so.”

Powell brings that flexibility to her administrative tasks as well. She’ll often adapt her work to suit a brand’s processes, including adopting their project management tools and check-in schedule for the duration of the project.

“My administrative work depends on the project,” explains Powell. “If it’s a one-off project, then most of the communication takes place as feedback. Long-term projects usually require check-ins through a weekly meeting or email.”

Life as a full-time content creator guarantees one thing: No day is ever the same.

A day in the life of a part-time content creator

Not all creators leave the working world behind once they hit it big on social.

Many are like Violeta Venegas who balances both a full-time job and an audience of over one million across TikTok and Instagram.

My priority is my full-time job,” says Venegas “A lot of creators quit their jobs to do it full time, but I worked hard to get into my industry so I don’t want to give that up just yet.”

Managing both takes some clever scheduling and diligent prioritization. “I work my full-time job Monday through Friday and I try to use the weekends to create content in batches,” says Venegas. “I do full days of filming and I also schedule livestreams to create a stronger connection with my audience.”

Those days consist of everything from creating sponsored TikToks to going on Instagram Live. Venegas is present on a few other platforms as well, so she tries to be as efficient as possible when it comes to production.

“I think about my content based on what I think will perform best on each social media network,” says Venegas. “Then I plan my weekend agenda around what can be created together. That way, I get the most out of my time.”

Content creator of the year winners to inspire your strategy

Now that you know who content creators are and what they do, let’s look at some real life examples.

While the majority of creators nurture small, highly engaged audiences, some have become superstars online and IRL. This is a new type of celebrity characterized by the always-on nature of social media.

Even if your company can’t partner with creators at this level, there are still plenty of takeaways from their rise to fame. Here’s what your brand can learn from three different Streamy Award winners.

1. Emma Chamberlain

Who is she? Emma Chamberlain is a Los Angeles-based content creator who began her Youtube channel in 2018. Her casual approach to content creation stood out in a sea of highly-produced vlog material, which was a standard for the platform at the time.

Chamberlain is credited with bringing more authenticity to the creator economy by sharing the more exciting parts of her life alongside everyday struggles like acne and anxiety.

Today, she maintains her YouTube presence but is most active on Instagram. She also hosts an award-winning podcast, Anything Goes.

What can brands learn from her content? It can be difficult to resist perfectionism as a social media manager.

Still, Chamberlain’s success on social shows that audiences are hungry for content that feels real and above all, human. Encouraging your team to bring their authentic selves can add a more personal touch to any content you create while fostering a healthier work environment.

2. Mark Rober

Who is he? Mark Rober is a Streamy Award-winning creator with a focus on science and engineering content.

Rober doesn’t share average science lessons. Instead, he creates videos that research wackier thoughts like “Can you swim in Jello?” or “Can sharks really smell a single drop of blood”.

By creating content around questions audiences didn’t even realize they had, he creates something that’s impossible to resist.

What can brands learn from his content? Answer frequently asked questions with your content. Addressing questions before they come up is even better.

Come up with fresh content ideas by thinking about what your audience might not know to ask. What wow-worthy information can you provide them? Whether it’s industry or product-related, it’s bound to get a reaction.

3. Tabitha Brown

Who is she? Tabitha Brown is a vegan content creator and actress. Her wholesome approach to cooking and nutrition has earned her more than eight million followers across Instagram and TikTok.

After winning her first Streamy in 2020, Brown’s career exploded with new opportunities both online and off. Recently, she even took a step away from her recipe book to create a limited edition clothing line in collaboration with Target.

What can brands learn from her content? We all know the internet isn’t always the most uplifting place to be. Brands can take a page from Brown’s book by creating wholesome, supportive spaces for their fans.

Whether it’s a Facebook Group dedicated to celebrating career wins or a Discord chat for product and lifestyle advice, creating connections through kindness can build strong brand affinity with fans of all ages.

Content creators making an impact across industries

If you’re not seeing any major content creators that align with your brand, don’t panic. Social media is home to an infinite number of communities. Content creators—of all sizes—sit at the heart of them.

Content creators give communities something to discuss. They drive conversation, encourage engagement and bring new ideas to the table. This behavior isn’t limited to any single industry or topic. It can be done with anything, from reading to fashion to higher education.

To see what that looks like in real life, let’s look at some rising content creators making waves across four different industries.

Sports: James “Jimmy” O’Brien (@JomBoyMedia)

Present on: YouTube, Twitter, Instagram

James O’Brien started JomBoy Media in 2017. He was working as a wedding videographer when he started sharing post-game recaps for the New York Yankees on Twitter. His unique perspective and team devotion quickly attracted an audience, motivating a friend to lend some start-up money so he could go full-time.

Today, JomBoy Media is the #1 independent baseball content creator on the internet.

O’Brien has set himself apart as a trusted name in the world of sports commentary, achieving a status once reserved for ESPN analysts and former pro athletes. When he’s talkin’ baseball (or any other sport now, for that matter), people listen.

Finance and Banking: Tori Dunlap (@HerFirst100K)

Present on: TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter

Tori Dunlap is helping women build wealth. Her content focuses on financial feminism, a movement dedicated to closing the financial literacy gap between men and women.

Since posting her first video back in 2020, Dunlap has expanded the HerFirst100K brand into a thriving community. She’s attracted over 2.8 million followers across TikTok and Instagram and the HerFirst100K Facebook Group has reached over 91,000 members.

Dunlap’s content works because it speaks to a clearly defined audience. Her advice is for women looking to fight the patriarchy by taking control of their finances. By embedding her teachings into a belief system, she makes a minute-long video feel like it could change your life. 

Food and Recipes: Nzinga Young (@veganzinga)

Present on: Instagram, Substack

Nzinga Young is a vegan content creator focused on teaching new and aspiring vegans how to eat well without breaking the bank. By combining day-in-the-life style content with more straightforward recipes, Young is able to incorporate more personality into food content creation.

A screenshot of Nzinga's Vegan Guide Substack page.

Young started creating content because she knew how hard it was to make the switch to veganism, even after years of living as a vegetarian. Her non-judgemental approach to living a plant-based lifestyle has fostered an active community on Instagram, where she has over 103,000 followers.

Gaming and Esport: Café Ela

Present on: Twitch, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram

Café Ela wants her audience to feel right at home.

A screenshot of CozyEla's Twitch profile.

As an active member of the growing “cozy game” community, Ela specializes in relaxing game play. These aren’t the competitive, action-oriented titles you may be familiar with. Instead, these games focus on completing simple tasks within meditative scenery. It’s less “Halo”, more “Animal Crossing”.

It’s not what you’d associate with standard Twitch content and that’s on purpose. Ela and other cozy gamers are changing how audiences perceive the gaming and esports industry.

How to become a content creator

Content creators and social media professionals have very similar skill sets. Both roles require strong writing skills, creative direction and a sharp editing eye.

Even so, creators and social media managers will likely experience different paths to success. What works in one lane isn’t guaranteed to work in the other. If you’re a budding creator or a marketer looking to bring the content creation process in-house, here’s what you need to know to get started.

1. Give yourself time

I mentioned this earlier but it’s worth repeating: making something effortless takes time.

A simple 60-second video can take hours to edit. A podcast episode might take a few days. It can take months to find the unique voice that will resonate with your target audience.

If you’re considering taking on content creation for your brand, understand the time commitment upfront to prevent burnout later on.

2. Tailor your approach

Certain subjects, formats and approaches are better suited for particular networks. You’ve probably noticed this in your brand’s social performance, but it’s a whole new ball game when it comes to content creation.

Content creators can infuse more personality in their posts. That means they can participate in a wider variety of social media trends than brands can. This is both an opportunity and challenge.

As you try your hand at content creation, pay attention to what’s performing best by channel. That will give you a better idea of what to keep doing and where to pivot.

3. Find your niche

Picture a venn diagram. On one side sits the content you want to create. On the other is what your audience wants to consume. As a content creator, your niche is right in the center.

Finding your niche takes time and experimentation. One way to do it is by approaching the same social trend in a few different ways. Take note of what your audience responds to.

In-house creators can also find their niche by using their brand mission and vision to develop a unique perspective on their industry.

Where to find content creators for your brand

In a thriving creator economy, finding creators isn’t an issue. It’s finding the right creator that can be tricky.

If you’re looking for content creators to supplement your social media marketing strategy, here’s where you can start your search.

Your followers lists

The ideal creator partnership might be closer than you think.

Scan your follower lists for established and growing creators. These are people you’ve already established credibility with, which can make the outreach process much easier.

If you spot any contenders, let them know you appreciate their follow and gauge their interest in potential partnership opportunities.

Industry-specific hashtags

Searching through top posts in industry-specific hashtags can help you spot creators making relevant, meaningful content.

Pro tip: If you’re working in an industry with a heavy creator presence, don’t limit your focus on the largest accounts in your niche. Smaller accounts with strong engagement can be just as impactful marketing opportunities.

Social listening data

Social listening is great for observing overarching conversation trends within a topic. You can also use it to find out who’s driving those conversations, too.

A screenshot of the Profile Overview report found in the Sprout Social listening tool.

The Profile Overview table available in Sprout’s listening tool pulls metrics for popular accounts within a topic. Sort this list by engagement or follower count and you’re well on your way to finding a match made in heaven.

What do content creators want from brand partnerships?

Time for the question that’s on everyone’s minds: What can brands do to build better creator partnerships?

To find out, we pulled data from our most recent report on the creator economy. We also asked Jayde Powell and Violeta Venegas for their takes on green and red flags that come up when working with brands. Here’s what they said.

Green flag: Knowing their content

Finding the right creators for your brand can take hours of independent research. Don’t waste the time you spent combing through your feed and follower lists by sending a generic outreach email.

When it comes to creator partnerships, brands who research who they’re reaching out to come out on top.

“I love working with brands that are seeking me out for a specific reason,” says Venegas. “Usually, it’s because they see something in my audience or in my content that aligns with their products. Also, brands that value creators aren’t sending out mass emails in hopes of making a connection. When outreach is personalized, it shows that they value my work.”

Red flag: Generic requests

Partnering with creators is different from partnering with influencers. You can’t just share the number of posts you need, your budget and be done. They need more context.

“I need to know the ‘why’ behind your request,” says Powell. “What purpose will it serve? Who is your target audience? Those are things I like to know because it helps me make an asset that makes sense for the brand.”

Green flag: Value-based partnerships

It’s one thing to be familiar with a creator’s content. It’s even better when your brand’s mission or values align with a potential partner.

For example, Venegas loves receiving partnership opportunities from brands that align with her content. “I love working with Latina-owned brands. I get a lot of joy out of promoting them and often reach back out to them. My very first brand partnership was with Vive Cosmetics and I still adore them to this day.”

Red flag: Unclear ownership rights

There’s a reason only 26% of partnership content is posted to brand accounts.

A chart breaking down where creators post brand partnership content. The most popular option is on the creator's account on behalf of a brand (45%).

“Oftentimes, when you make content for brands, they want to own the content,” explains Powell. “That makes sense but I like to see what that means spelled out clearly in a contract.”

“If not, they can request full ownership of the content and suddenly it’s on a billboard or in print advertising. Instead of getting paid for the full mileage of the content, you only get paid for the creation. If brands want full ownership, they need to pay a fair rate for it.”

Green flag: A detailed creative brief

Providing a full campaign brief with details on project scope, deliverables, timelines and payment terms is how brands put their best foot forward with content creators.

“A detailed creative brief tells me a brand has taken time to create a vision and that they’re partnering with me to bring that vision to life,” says Powell. “It tells me that the request is well thought out.”

Red flag: Lengthy payment terms

The most common challenge marketers face when working with creators is budget. Pushing out payment terms can be a tempting way to secure content while waiting for cash flow. However, it can cost you future partnerships in the long run.

A chart breaking down marketers' main challenges when working with creators. The most common challenge reported is budget limitations (45%).

“This is my biggest red flag,” says Powell. “I’ve seen agreements where the payment terms are 60 days out. That’s unfair to the person doing the work for you. Industry standard is net 30 days, but I always ask for net 15.”

Transparency platforms like Influent and Clara for Creators are giving creators space to share experiences with brands. To make sure your company is discussed in a positive light, be sure to pay creators on time.

Create value with content creators

Breathe new life into your social media management strategy with creator collaborations. Use this guide to build out a program that brings your brand to its newest group of fans.

For more information on the creator economy—including stats that can guide your partnership and compensation plans—check out our latest data report. We surveyed more than 500 US marketers to get you the details you need to know.

Check out the Report

The post Content creators: Who they are, what they do and how they partner with brands appeared first on Sprout Social.

Reblogged 1 week ago from sproutsocial.com

Content creation: A psychological approach

Are you able to develop a relationship with your current clients and make your future prospects like you? 

The best way to do this is to understand the personality of your customers. This can help you predict their motives.  

Approach content by developing it for the psychology of the user, rather than the psychology of the writer.   

For example, for me (who has the attention span of a gnat), what if a content writer knew that she only had 30 seconds to answer “what are the best running shoes I can wear as a beginner?” Or what if she knew that for my friend (who can overthink how a garage door opener works for hours), she had a good 30 minutes to inundate him with as much information about “what are the best running shoes?”

Dr. Taylor Hartman wrote the book on understanding motives in psychology. I was fortunate to have met him and to learn about how “The People Code” could be transformed into developing deep psychological trait-based content for better performance.   

I’ve taken these ideas and tested them. Not only the behaviors of individuals, but all the way up to entire countries and cultures.  

I was astonished by what I found, from the improved ROI to the more efficient buyer journeys.  

Who are you?

The best way to start writing ads or content based on psychological behaviors is to first understand yourself. 

There are many different systems and tools you can use for personality assessments. However, for this article, I’m going to use Hartman’s tests and methodology. It starts with an honest quiz you give yourself of about 50 questions.  

For example:  

What ONE word of Phrase describes what you are like most of the time? 
a/ Opinionated
b/ Nurturing
c/ Inventive
d/ Outgoing.   

As a child, I was:
a/ Stubborn, bright, and/or aggressive.
B/ Well-behaved, caring, and/or depressed
C/ Quiet, easygoing, and/or shy
D/ Talkative, happy, and /or playful. 

When you are done with the self-assessment questions in the book, you tally up your answers on how many As, Bs, Cs, and Ds to determine where you stand on the psychological trait spectrum, with:

  • As being Red (Dominant).
  • Bs being Blue (Compliant).
  • Cs being Yellow (Influential).
  • Ds Being Green (Steady).

What Am I?

All of our behaviors will fall into a personality classification on this spectrum. 

Sometimes they will fall in between two color behaviors as well. For example, you can be evenly split between a Red Dominant and Blue Compliant or a Steady Green and an Influential Yellow.

Dominant Reds

Most of these traits are people who have type-A personalities. Direct, decisive, doers and workaholics.  

They may come across as too confident, demanding and domineering. Often they thrive and appreciate admiration, they have a specific need to look good to others and can also be a bit on the selfish side.  

The patience of this trait is usually at a minimum, which means content absorption is also at a minimum. 

Compliant Blues

Very much the intimate ones. Usually cautious about how they go about things and as a consequence, they tend to have anxiety and be very worry-prone.  

There is a need to connect with others and to be understood and appreciated. They are dependable, loyal and expect honesty from others.  

They can also come across as moody, self-righteous, condescending and sometimes even a little too empathetic. 

Most Compliant Blues love other Compliant Blues. They tend to get each other so very well.  

That being said, content absorption is usually done when you can touch their heart and their soul.

Steady Greens

These are the slow, peaceful yet independent people.  Typically quiet by nature, they resist and hate confrontation.  They are great listeners yet they thrive and need their alone time.  

Even-tempered and supportive, but also silently stubborn and over-sensitive. Sometimes it’s harder for this group to embrace or even understand empathy, yet they are diplomatic.  T

hey are the polar opposites of dominant reds and tend to do a lot of research and take their time making decisions. The more content, the better.

Influential Yellows

These are the fun-loving, extremely social, playful influencers.  The ones that are likely to be interesting, interactive, happy and spontaneous. 

They thrive on adventure and need to be adored and praised. Friendships are the highest priority for them yet they can turn off others easily by their impulsive and sometimes irritating loud nature. 

Always need to look good socially and it seems like nothing can go wrong, except for their attention span.  Your content better not be boring or this group will be off with their mind wandering around the next palm tree vacation.

How to create content around these psychological traits

As you can see from the four different personality types, we are all pretty different and what we absorb in terms of content and creative is also different.  

What may resonate well with one group, may fall short with another. Using the “Running Shoes” topic, take a look at how each content reverberates with each group differently.

Dominant Red content

This group is the dominant power type-A personalities. They will make quick decisions if you can feed their ego and not bury them with too much information.  

Here are some examples that this group would enjoy:

Compliance Blue content

This group (of which I consider myself a member) is motivated by the heart and feelings. Considering they are so trusting, they can easily be taken advantage of.  

This group does have an analytical side and can be brutally honest if need be. They tend to over-read into everything. But throw in a horse with a hurt leg that’s been patched up and is walking again, you’ll have already won them over.

Here are some examples that this group would enjoy:

Steady Green content

This group is the peace-lovers. The ones who take life in the slow lane.

This group is often what we all need in order to slow down, take a deep breath, pretend we do Tai Chi and then go with them on their journey of never-ending research. Stretching the period of decisiveness from what you thought would be two hours to three weeks.

Influential Yellow content

This group is made up of little rays of sunshine – the influencers who not only make me smile but make me want to pick up a good self-help book so I can be just like them.  

Content-wise, you’ve got to make sure you style your content as much as possible. Just about anything colorful and fun can get them going. Because they lack the patience for deep research, I will need to write content that’s fun, useful and clear.  

Frustrating an influencer is like death. They can go from the funniest clown to the meanest Karen in a heartbeat. 

More to come

In my next article, I plan to do a deeper dive into other forms of psychological profiling, how to tag classifications to personas, how culture, country and language also have their own psychological traits, and how to survey your customers to get insight into what types are attracted to your brand. 

Even if you feel you have perfected your writing, re-developing what works based on behaviors is the next step in really enhancing your reader base and ultimately, developing that bond with your current clients and future customers.

Because, finally, you understand them and they get you.

The post Content creation: A psychological approach appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Reblogged 1 week ago from searchengineland.com

3 ways bots and fake users are killing your search efforts

Today, we are living in the era of the Fake Web, where a large portion of the internet is made up of malicious scrapers, spam bots, suspicious human users and other bad actors. It seems like every day there is a “breaking news” story about another company falling victim to a data breach, customer information being leaked or servers being hacked.

Historically, these cyber threats were handled exclusively by the chief information security officer or the IT department. However, in recent years search marketers have begun to notice how bots and fake users harm their efforts. When fake traffic makes its way to a company’s website, it can damage a brand’s online reputation and ultimately hinder the effectiveness of paid and non-paid marketing campaigns. Throughout this article, we will cover three specific ways search marketers are impacted.

1. Page rank is penalized. 

Malicious scrapers frequently arrive on websites to scan for information and extract data or content to use elsewhere. Because of this, the way they navigate throughout a website appears more erratic than typical human behavior. Bots tend to jump from page to page, rapidly click on various modules, and exit quickly once they have stolen the information they were looking for. Because of the nature of these actions, these harmful automation tools can have much higher bounce rates and shorter time on each page than a standard user. Furthermore, because the end-game of a scraper is often to duplicate content or data somewhere else on the internet, they can also lead search engines to believe that the original content is actually duplicate content. When this type of activity is factored into the overall user behavior on a given website, it can reduce page rank and leave search marketers frustrated and confused. 

2. Site speed slows down. 

Site speed is also largely impacted by various types of bots and fake users. When malicious bots arrive on a website, they often preoccupy servers with high volumes of requests within short periods. This can overwhelm a website and make the experience slower and more difficult for legitimate human users. Slow website speeds then also harm the website’s ability to rank highly on SERPs, which can be devastating for search marketing key metrics. Additionally, when search rankings drop, the website becomes more difficult for potential customers to find and businesses may begin to lose those customers to competitors and alternative solutions.

3. Keyword strategy is misinformed. 

Both SEO and PPC marketers habitually perform keyword research before launching a new initiative or campaign. However, since bots and malicious human users frequently click on both paid and organic links at a large scale, marketers might misunderstand which keywords are actually the best performing. For example, high click-through rates on a given keyword are typically seen as a positive indicator – but if a high percentage of those clicks came from bad actors, the marketer should probably avoid that keyword. The presence of malicious traffic can cause implementation of misguided strategies, which will continue to harm the business’s overall ability to drive quality traffic to the site.

Trying to run an effective marketing operation in the era of the Fake Web can be intimidating at times. Still, the good news is that many organizations are beginning to fight back against malicious traffic. Today, more businesses are starting to implement go-to-market Security technology which can help mitigate these risks and allow marketers to focus on what they do best.

The post 3 ways bots and fake users are killing your search efforts appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Reblogged 1 week ago from searchengineland.com

10 great thank you page examples – and how to create your own

Thank you pages are one of the biggest missed opportunities in digital marketing today. The moment after someone says “yes” to you – whether they’ve just placed an order, signed up for your mailing list, or whatever action they’ve taken – is an opportunity to show them they just made a great decision. It’s also an opportunity to get them to keep saying yes to you, and to make sure they follow through on the action they just took.

That’s a lot to ask of one page, but the best thank you page examples pull it off. They go way beyond just saying, “thanks for doing [whatever action they just completed].”

In this post, we’ll walk through all the things thank you pages can do and can include, and show you examples of thank you pages so you can see what’s working today. By the end of this post, you’ll know everything you need to know so you can start getting way more results from your thank you pages.

But first, let’s get on the same page. 😉

What is a thank you page?

A thank you page is the page that appears after someone has completed an action (or, in marketing lingo, after someone has completed a “conversion”). 

Thank you pages typically appear on websites, but not always. Anywhere on the web where you ask visitors to take an action, and then the visitors are shown a new page after they’ve taken the action – that new page is an example of a thank you page.

Different types of thank you page examples

Thank you pages can appear after someone has:

  • Placed an order
  • Signed up for your email newsletter
  • Requested a lead magnet
  • Signed up for a webinar
  • Sent you a message via a “contact us” form
  • Scheduled an appointment with you

We’re going to focus on thank you pages used after someone signs up for a lead magnet or a newsletter here, but all principles and thank you page examples we’ll cover also apply to all the other types of thank you pages listed above.

You can do a ton of interesting things with thank you pages – as you’re about to find out!

10 ideas for thank you pages that rock with examples

Let’s work from the basics to the fancy stuff, with thank you page examples sprinkled in along the way. 

1. Ask people to confirm their email address

Using “confirmed opt-in,” also known as “double opt-in” is an email marketing best practice. It does require subscribers to take an extra step to double-confirm that they want to get emails from you, but email lists that use confirmed opt-in get much higher opens, clicks, and sales. (There’s a reason why it’s a best practice!)

Here’s what the sequence of onboarding emails looks like for confirmed opt-in versus regular opt-in:

How thank you pages and confirmation emails fit within the email onboarding sequence


Find out more about confirmation emails, see our blog post, How to write confirmation emails your audience will love.

The one problem with double opt-in is that you have to get people to confirm their email addresses. Fortunately, this is the perfect job for a thank you page.

Here are two thank you page examples that do this well. One is from AWeber customer, Nomadic Matt. Matt tells his subscribers that they will only receive his great travel tips if they confirm their email address. He even tells them to check their spam folder if they don’t see the email within five minutes. He’s covering every possible scenario to make sure his subscribers see the confirmation email. 

Example of a thank you page from Nomadic Matt

This thank you page example from Ryan Robinson’s thank you page goes one step further by showing new subscribers exactly what the confirmation email will look like in their inbox.

Thank you page from Ryan Robinson

Want a thank you page like this, but don’t want to set it up? AWeber customers can use this default page for their lists.

The default AWeber thank you page when a list is set to confirmed opt-in.

Pro tip: Also ask new subscribers to add your email address to their address books to make sure your emails make it into their inbox.

2. Set expectations

The moment someone subscribes, they’ll want to know “What happens now?

You can’t assume that your subscribers are going to jump into their email inboxes right away to read your first email. Or that they’ll know what “from” address your emails will be coming from. Or that they’re going to do whatever you want them to do in that first email.

Don’t keep them guessing or let them jump to conclusions. Set the expectation up front on your thank you page to help your new subscribers take action and stay engaged over time. To do so, make sure you answer these questions for them:

  • When do I get my first email?
  • What “from” name and email address will it come from?
  • What is the subject line going to say?
  • What’s inside the email?
  • How often will you email me?
  • What type of information will you be sending?

Using a video is also a helpful way to answer these questions for your new subscribers.

Here’s one of the best thank you page examples of this we’ve seen. Felicia Ricci, a vocal coach and AWeber customer, uses her thank you page to not only thank her new subscribers but to spell out what they can expect next. We love the bulleted format, too – it makes the text easier to read. And she also uses a video to provide a more personal feel.

An example of a thank you page from a coach

3. Ask people to buy your book, or subscribe to your podcast or YouTube channel

When people first sign up for your list, they’re really interested in you. They want to see your work! So show them how they can do that, either by prompting them to buy your book/s or to subscribe to your podcast or YouTube channel.

See it in action: Lewis Howes, an entrepreneurial coach, invites new subscribers to buy his book and to subscribe to his School of Greatness podcast. He uses images of the book and podcast as well as videos introducing his purpose for the School of Greatness.

A thank you page from Lewis Howes.

4. Prompt people to follow you on your social media accounts

Social media is a lot of work – so here’s your chance to get more out of it. Boost your following on social media by asking new subscribers to follow you on social.

Here’s how HoneyTrek does this on their thank you page:

Thank you page showing a prompt to follow on social media

5. Move subscribers further down the funnel

Sometimes, offering something for sale right away won’t work. Some customers may take longer to make a purchase decision than others. Offering them an additional incentive helps them progress through your marketing funnel, better qualifying them as potential customers and moving them even closer to making a purchase.

Chalene Johnson, a business and life coach, uses this principle on her thank you page. She encourages new subscribers to sign up for her free, on-demand webinar. This educational webinar provides her subscribers additional value, moving them closer to a potential sale.

A confirmation page with a prompt to watch a webinar.

6. Sell something

“The thank you page is a dead end on many businesses’ sites. However, when it’s used correctly to offer an upsell, it can be one of the highest converting pages on your site,” says AWeber’s CEO Tom Kulzer.

That’s because new subscribers display three characteristics that mean they’re ready to buy from you: 

  1. They know and understand who you are.
  2. They understand the problem that you’re solving for them.
  3. They’ve already given you their email address. 

Offering something additional that you can sell to them can generate a tremendous amount of new revenue. If you’re not using this page, it’s a huge missed opportunity.”

Here’s one of our favorite thank you page examples of this. This is email marketer strategist Meera Kothand’s website. She’s offered a nice lead magnet in one section on her site’s homepage. And immediately after people subscribe, she offers them a paid product.

Here’s what her opt-in sequence looks like:

Let’s break this down. She’s got:

  • A standard lead magnet offer that takes up a full section of the home page on her site. 
  • A call to action (CTA) button for people to click to get the lead magnet (aka the “freebie” she’s offering)
  • A pop-up sign-up form that appears once people have clicked the CTA button.
  • The thank you page – which lets people know their lead magnet is on its way to their inboxes, but is also a full-fledged sales page.

7. Offer a discount

If you can offer something for sale on a thank you page, you can offer something for sale at a discount.

This simple, unexpected gesture may be what your new subscribers need to close the sale. The key is adding an expiration date. Make this an impulse decision, don’t give them too much time to think about it.

Meera’s thank you page example is doing just this: Note that the product is temporarily on sale; Meera is using a countdown timer to boost urgency so people will act immediately to get the discount.

Also note that she’s using a notification tool (it slides into the browser’s lower left-hand corner) to show that other people are buying this product, too. We’ve seen a lot of thank you page examples that are adding these type of “social proof” widgets.

8. Cross-sell

This is yet another play on the “sell something” thank you page: Sell a related or complementary product. For example, if someone signed up to your list because they wanted to get weight-loss tips, use the thank you page to offer a training video or related product.

Meera’s also using this principle on her sign-up sequence, too. Her lead magnet is for an “Online Marketing Roadmap.” The cross-sell on her thank you page is a “Content Marketing Template Pack.” 

9. Embed a welcome video

Nothing pops like video. So if your message is clear and your videocam is nearby, make your thank you page into an embedded video. There are plenty of examples of thank you pages that use this format to sell all sorts of things.

Codie Sanchez of the newsletter Contrarian Thinking uses her welcome video as a way to introduce her paid membership. 

A thank you page with a video pitch for a course.

10. Embed a survey

This can be especially helpful if you’re just starting out. A short embedded form placed on a thank you page is likely to have a high completion rate. So if you want to know a few things about who’s signing up for your list, consider embedding a survey. Just make it short — the shorter it is, the more likely it will be completed. Aim for three to five questions.

Ideas for what to ask:

  • A pull-down menu question that lets subscribers categorize who they are (could be useful for list segmentation or personalization in your emails)
  • An open-ended question like “what’s your biggest question about [topic x]?”
  • A question about content formats, like “would you rather a) read a blog post, b) watch a video, or c) listen to a podcast”?
  • The subscriber’s zipcode (helpful for brick and mortar businesses)
  • “Which social media platform are you most active on?”
  • “What’s your experience level with [topic X]: beginner, intermediate, or expert?”

How to make your own custom thank you page with AWeber

To convert subscribers into customers using the thank you page, you have to move beyond simply saying “thank you” (although that’s important too).

Many email marketing providers give you a basic thank you page. We offer one to our customers, too. This is what it looks like. 👇

AWeber's default thank you page

But you also have the option to direct your new subscribers to a custom thank you page on your website or blog.

For the most part, creating a custom page on your website is pretty easy, especially if you’re using AWeber’s landing page builder, WordPress, or another hosted solution.

There are two main advantages of creating a custom thank you page on your own website or blog:

  1. It provides your new subscribers with a consistent experience because your thank you page looks like the rest of your website and has the same domain as the page where people are subscribing.
  2. You can control what content you put on your page. (This is the biggest benefit. I’ll tell you why in a minute.)

For an exact, step-by-step guide for how to create a custom thank you page in AWeber, watch this:

{ “@context”: “https://schema.org”, “@type”: “VideoObject”, “name”: “How to create a custom “thank you” page”, “description”: “While not every subscriber will open your welcome email, you can almost guarantee they will see your “thank you” page. How much thought have you put into your thank you page? In this video, you’ll learn how to create a custom “thank you” page with the AWeber landing page builder. A thank you page is what a new subscriber sees immediately after signing up to your email list ⏤ a pivotal moment in your new subscriber’s experience. For that very reason, it has huge potential for nurturing your leads and increasing your sales. Don’t let your “thank you” page be an afterthought. This page should do more than simply saying “thank you” (although that’s important, too). Use your “thank you” page to deepen the relationship you have with your new subscriber. For example, you can: – Asking them to complete a survey or share something about themselves. – Sharing your best blog posts, podcast episodes, YouTube videos, or more. – Sharing testimonials from your best customers to create social proof. – Showing them a personalized welcome video. – Inviting them to connect with you on social media. – Asking them to share their excitement on social media. – Presenting them with products or services you offer. – Offering discounts or special “subscriber only” offers. – And more! Need help creating a custom “thank you” page in AWeber? Contact our award-winning Customer Solutions team, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. https://www.aweber.com/contact-us.htm Get started with AWeber for free. No credit card. No time restriction. Create a free account now: https://bit.ly/3diIbcM”, “thumbnailUrl”: “https://img.youtube.com/vi/XOV6l4wAAug/maxresdefault.jpg”, “uploadDate”: “2020-05-22”, “duration”: “PT5M13S”, “publisher”: { “@type”: “Organization”, “name”: “AWeber”, “logo”: { “@type”: “ImageObject”, “url”: “https://www.aweber.com/assets/img/aw-logo.png”, “width”: 270, “height”: 58 } }, “contentUrl”: “https://www.youtube.com/watch?XOV6l4wAAug”, “embedUrl”: “https://www.youtube.com/embed/XOV6l4wAAug” }

Want more sales, confirmed subscribers, leads, and other goodness? Thank you page examples to the rescue

If you’re serious about monetizing your email marketing, you need to start leveraging thank you pages so you can turn new subscribers into customers.

The examples of thank you pages we’ve shown you covered a lot of what can be done to get more out of your own thank you pages. But it’s only the beginning. Smart marketers are always coming up with new ways to use thank you pages. So now it’s your turn: How are you using your thank you pages to convert? Have you seen any great thank you page examples lately? Tell us about them in the comments!

The post 10 great thank you page examples – and how to create your own appeared first on AWeber.



Reblogged 1 week ago from blog.aweber.com

PPC survival: Handling inflation and being ready for a recession

If you’re in the U.S. and haven’t been living under a rock, then you’re probably aware that the economy isn’t in the best shape (I blame it on abandoning the Gold Standard in 1933, but I’m not an economist).

So between increasing inflation and a looming recession, advertisers are saying to themselves: “How do I afford to stay online with search?”

Two scenarios with two impacts

While there is a district correlation between inflation and a recession, you can only do so much, and the solutions aren’t the same.

First, let’s break it out, and how it relates to search marketing:

Inflation

In PPC, most commonly, this is referring to a noticeable uptick in costs (CPCs), whose growth, grossly outpaces that of traffic demand.

The impact will be directly on front-end metrics, but can directly lead to declines in back-end efficiency (An informal analysis of my current client’s data, showed 75% saw YoY CPC increases, and 50% saw CPC increases of 20% or more.) 

In conjunction with this, you may also see: 

  • No change, or even a decline in competition.
  • A flat or decline in search impression share.
  • A decline in impressions while clicks remain constant or go down, does not have a positive impact on your Quality Score.
  • Unless return/ROI downturns substantially (~25%), this is unlikely to impact an enterprise-level advertiser search budget.

Recession

For PPC, this typically impacts demand.

As searchers stop to review their own personal finances, leading to a decline in search volume for “non necessities” (think: luxury goods, new cars, international vacations, etc.).

A decline in search volume often leads to declining search volume, which means proactively or reactively, PPC budgets will decline.

When this is observed, expect the following:

  • As much as 50% of advertisers (typically non-enterprise brands) will bow out of the marketplace.
  • CPCs will not decline substantially; at best they will remain flat to -5%. However, those remaining live will become more ruthless in their bidding, and there is a chance CPCs may increase out of annual cycle growth.

Historically during financial crisis in the past, we’ve seen demand increase and decrease, with a direct correlation to unemployment rates. The higher the unemployment, the higher likelihood ad budget is pulled back and/or decline in demand for your keywords. 

In my 17 year career, I’ve seen one or the other hit advertisers, now we’re in a perfect storm, where a number of brands will feel the pinch of both, at the same time.

What should you do

Concerned? Good, this impacts almost every advertiser under the sun in a negative way.

But being concerned doesn’t mean you need to panic. There are many other things you need to get worked up over, such as but not limited to:

  • Facebook changing its name to Meta.
  • Declining demand in Pinterest despite a great ROI.
  • How disappointing my NY Jets will be this year.
  • Spending 30 minutes trying to understand GA4.
  • Attempting to understand any degree of insights on Pmax and then feeling confident in it.

Now that I have that soap box rant off my chest, let’s talk about how to deal with rising CPCs and declining demand.

Approach to inflating CPCs

There are various theories as to why they are going up (especially brand keywords), ranging from big G and M/B messing with algorithms around RSAs, to more aggressive competition.

Which is true? Not for me to say. But we have found ways to combat these upticks in costs:

Brand keywords

Unless you share a name with a popular brand in a completely unrelated category, we have found the solution is a bit on the simplistic side (and honestly a lot of folks may already be doing it): Migration of strategy from [current bid strategy x]-> manual with first page bids->max clicks with an uncapped CPC->max clicks with a capped CPC (last phase is optional)

  • Max clicks are set to stretch your dollar out the furthest, so it is in the engine’s best interest to seek the cheapest CPC possible.
  • If you aren’t already in manual, you’ll want to spend at least 1-2 weeks in it, to get a good baseline of data.
  • Max clicks should be a minimum of 2-3 weeks before considering a CPC cap.
  • If possible, based on budget (or other factors), I recommend setting up mirror brand campaigns, using remarketing lists, for repeat visitors/converters vs. first timers, you’ll see them perform and act very differently.
  • If you’re targeting max impression share at the moment, then rising CPCs are your own fault and you get no right to complain.
  • Max conversion strategy on brand is often pointless as you have granular/niche keywords that are considered high intent, coupled with rising costs lead to rising CPA’s which will drive down spend volume.
  • Conversion value, same issue as a max conversion strategy.

Non-Brand keywords

This gets dicey and incredibly nerve racking fast.

Yes, a max click may help reduce your CPC’s, but depending where in the funnel/the niche level of the keywords sit in the sales funnel, you may be forced to do a few different approaches.

So I like to break them into standard marketing 101 categories:

Bottom of the funnel/long tail

Call these “brand junior”. They are high intent, just not as cheap.

I recommend going the brand route on these as noted above. However, the capping of the CPC is mandatory here.

Mid-funnel

We do a cyclical strategy here, kind of a “reset.”

Odds are, you’re doing a max conversion or TCPA strategy, and that isn’t wrong. But if you look over time, you may see CPCs rise considerably (if they aren’t then keep on keeping on). If they are, and you are in a max conversion or TCPA strategy, then make a circling approach.

Migrate from current strategy to manual with enhanced CPC for 7 days (no more/no less). Then 2 weeks at max clicks. Check week two CPCs vs pre-rule changes (if they aren’t lower, give it another week, if they are, then progress to the next step).

After max clicks, return to max conversions for 2-3 weeks. After max conversions go to TCPA, with a CPA cap 20% higher than you started, and walk it down by 5% points every 2 weeks.

Why do all this to end with the same rule as you started?

Simple, CPCs rise when competition increases and/or volume decreases.

TCPA rules can stifle volume. So here, you are able to reset, throw more volume on it, and get more conversions (yes, you will take an “L” on their efficiency for a bit), and this allows the conversion and TCPA rules, to start operating off the higher volume, making them learn faster, and become wiser.

High funnel

The reality is, that you likely don’t convert all that well on the high funnel, but you can.

So the key here is to split the high funnel into 2 groups:

  • First-time visitors: First-time visitors move to manual CPC->Max clicks->Max clicks with CPC cap. Why? Because this is the highest volume, and if your ad copy is on point, it’ll do the filtering, so you want as much of these as possible, for as cheap as possible.
  • Repeat visitors: once the remarketing list is deemed substantial enough, follow the first-time visitors’ approach, but replace the final step with max conversions. A CPA target will stifle volume at the top of the funnel, so the key is to move max conversions. This group shouldn’t be all that high of volume, as they are more likely to filter onto mid-funnel rather than repeat.

Approach to the impact of recessive behavior

For brands that plan on “staying in the game,” there are typically two approaches you can take. First though, you need to have a direct and honest conversation with the leaders with the brand on what could happen and decide if you want to stay in or not.

There are no trademarked names for these approaches, so I am literally going to call them “Cash in the Bank” or “Profit”. Interestingly, the two approaches go in opposite directions, but do make a horseshoe and will intercede down the road.

Cash in the bank

Fairly straightforward method, ignore declining demand, and press on. If anything you take on more funds that are being reallocated (if not from offline, then from the display, or social).

With searches slowing, your new focus is to be front and center for all possible searches and get that revenue.

Yes, the CPCs will go through the roof, and ROI will likely turn negative. That is fine, get that money to pay the bills first.

Plan to do this for at least two fiscal quarters, but potentially three. Then, slow everything down, and focus less on the revenue (by now the bills are paid).

Become less aggressive on the bidding, CPC’s to come down and then focus on your ROI. Expect to reduce, if not cut outright non-brand and/or high funnel keywords, to help make up the ROI.

Profit

Fairly straightforward, make yourself as profitable as possible. This does not necessarily mean more revenue, but just higher ROI. Here is where you expect to cut everything but the bottom of the funnel non-brand (even that should be reviewed) and brand keywords.

Stop spending in auctions that are competitive, and costs are rising. Just wait it out, and be quiet.

Capture the bottom of the funnel/brand-aware audience, and make a little money as well. But essentially, hold out until everyone else in the category has spent it out trying to get a tiny bit of traffic.

Then, in two quarters, open up and return to normalcy. By then, you have a high enough ROI (hopefully), that you can focus on maximizing revenue at think profitability (or even break even), to get you back to what you consider solid footing. Only do this, if you have enough revenue on hand for normal business operations for two to three quarters.

There are some that will have a good time

I should note, based on history and common sense, that this is always true. Financial issues cause stress. Consumers turn to what will make them feel better/less stressed. This is why I say it impacts almost every advertiser. 

A small number of verticals will avoid suffering in this scenario and actually thrive.

We put this into an umbrella category of “vices”. Not to sound morbid or predatory, but if you run pharmaceuticals, QSR/fast food, alcohol and/or gambling brands, you might see an uptick in CPCs, but for the most part, you will be fine.

In the end

You know your business the best (or so I hope). You need to decide with your operation the best approaches to dealing with all this.

Yes, rising costs and dwindling demand are scary, but they aren’t insurmountable.

You just need to make sure you plan out in advance, which issue you want to tackle, do you have a contingency plan in place, and what you can truly afford to pull off.

The post PPC survival: Handling inflation and being ready for a recession appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Reblogged 1 week ago from searchengineland.com