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It’s not you. Organic Facebook Reach is on a free fall for the last five years.

During this long and steady Facebook reach free-fall, the only question is: Is there a parachute? Or is your reach going to meet the ground – at point 0?

Bear with me to learn how you can make your very own parachute and increase your Facebook organic reach for this year to come.

Introduction What is Organic Facebook Reach?

Before we move any further, let’s take a step back and give a definition, in case you are not familiar with the definition.

In general, organic reach is the number of users who will see on their screens what you posted, with $0 spent on your side.

On the other hand,  paid reach includes the users who see your content as a result of paid promotions.

In our case, the number of users that your content from your profile reaches is the number of your Facebook organic reach.

Why Organic Facebook Reach Is Declining

Organic reach is steadily on the decline, and there are two major reasons for that:

  1. There is more content than ever before. The size of content is now counted by the billions, the competition is high, and only getting higher day by day.
  2. Facebook provides only the most relevant content to each user. To increase engagement and optimise user experience, the content shown is tailored to each user’s individual interests.
Is Organic Facebook Reach Dead?

If I had to give one answer, then this would be a big No.

It’s only maths – a small number does not equal zero.

Should you care about that 1%-3% and how you can make that number bigger? Absolutely.

With 1-3% of your most engaged fans still consuming your content, there is still hope for organic content.

The 2018 Change

Now back to the algorithm change. One year ago, at the beginning of 2018, Mark Zuckerberg made a post on his profile about how Facebook’s algorithm would be changing its News Feed algorithm. This change would prioritise content from friends and family over the content of businesses and corps. More than it used to do that is.

What does Facebook’s algorithm changes practically mean?

If there is one thing social media platforms want from you, other than your data of course, is your time. But, according to Facebook, this has changed. It no longer cares how much time users spend on its platform, as long as that time is “quality” time.

Facebook doesn’t want you to be a passive content consumer who is scrolling mindlessly and endlessly on their News Feed until they find something they care about. Facebook wants its users to be active. Thus it’s promoting posts that promote active engagement and demotes those that don’t.

Now, the purpose of this post is not to decide whether Facebook means what it says or not. It’s about facts; so let’s take everything Facebook says at face value, move on, and stick with our plan about how you will increase your Facebook reach.

Comments = Win

Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook deem “conversation” the most important outcome of this algorithm update. This is why posts that become the occasion for discussions through comments will be in favour. Replies to comments also are a proof for the algorithm that said post makes a good piece of content for its standards. What this means is that you want to be publishing content that inspires users to tag their friends in comments and start a conversation.

As a result, brands should create quality content, with the intention of sparking conversations between users. Try including questions in your posts, or writing about timely, relevant topics that users are sure to have an opinion on.

If one of your fans/followers comments on one of your posts, then it’s more likely that the friends and family of the user will also see your post.

Now, there are possibly already some gears on your head spinning, thinking ‘Hey, this is easy, I’ve seen, or even made, many posts where I ask my audience to leave a comment. I hate to break it to you, but this counts as comment baiting for the algorithm. And the algorithm is a machine learning.

To help the Facebook teams foster more authentic engagement, they have reviewed and categorized hundreds of thousands of posts to inform a machine learning model that can detect different types of engagement bait. Posts that use this tactic will be shown less in the News Feed.

Love > Like ?

Just as in life, to love something is rarer than liking something, thus it is more valuable. The same goes for Facebook’s reactions. If a user puts in the effort to do something different than the default ‘Like’, this gives the signal to the algorithm that this post is not just another post and it creates more complex reactions from the users because it’s interesting and engaging.

‘Haha’, ‘Wow’, ‘Sad’, and ‘Angry’, Facebook considers those “active” emotions and the kind of emotions you should create to your audience if you want to see your organic reach increase.

As with comments baiting, vote baiting and react baiting posts are going to be demoted as well, for the same reasons.

Messenger > Wall

Messenger, apart from its dominant role as an app, also plays a complementary role for Facebook’s algorithm. A message counts as ‘a meaningful interaction’ because it shows that the user believes that the link they are sharing is in the interest of the recipient(s).

Enough theory for now, though.

Let’s dive into what you can practically do to increase your Facebook reach.

1. Get verified

To begin with, there are two different types of Verification: The blue one and the grey one.

Blue Checkmark

As AdEspresso mentions, the blue checkmark indicates the confirmed authenticity of Pages, public figures, and brands. This checkmark indicates that the account it “decorates” is the official account for a brand, business, or person. Profiles and Pages alike can get the much-wanted blue checkmark. Obtaining Facebook verification for a personal profile is significantly harder, and to do so, you must have a ton of friends on your account and meet other requirements

Grey Checkmark

In theory, Grey check marks show a confirmed location for a specific business. A grey check mark is location-based is much easier to obtain than the blue one. But why did I say “in theory”? Because, as of January 2019, this feature is broken.

Only some types of Pages can be verified. Having a physical location helps a great deal since the grey badge is location-based and much easier to obtain than the blue badge. Local Business, Organizations, Companies, and Public Figures are all page types that can obtain Facebook verification.

This is what blue badges and grey badges look like in action. The American domestic retail colossus Bed Bath & Beyond has a blue badge for its Page and a grey badge for every physical store that belongs in the brand.

Source: AdEspresso Can’t get verified

Can’t find the option to verify your business? You are not alone.

As of January 2019, don’t bother trying to get the Grey Badge if your business doesn’t belong in one of these countries:

?? Argentina ?? Australia, ?? Austria ?? Brazil ?? Canada ?? Chile
?????? Columbia ?? Dominican Republic ?? France ?? Germany  ?? Indonesia ?? Italy
?? Japan ?? Malaysia ?? Mexico ?? New Zealand ?? Peru ?? Philippines
?? Portugal ?? South Africa ?? South Korea ?? Spain ?? Taiwan ?? Thailand
?? United Kingdom ?? United States

2. Let your customers know they can hear more from you

What if your Facebook page was above the social media’s platform algorithm? What if your posts could be at the top of your follower’s news feeds? Except they can.

About three years ago Facebook decided to give its users more control over who and what they follow. Since then, all Facebook page followers have the option to ‘See First’ the posts of the pages they opt to. The average Facebook users don’t know this. This is what it looks like:

So first, your users need to make sure that they follow your page.

Second, they have to select the ‘See First’ option.

Again, the average user doesn’t know about this so this is where you should come in by letting them know: Make a piece of content along the lines of ‘Hey, if you want to hear more from us and never miss a post, this is how you do it’.

3. Videos are Good

According to social bakers, Video is the best format for organic reach, when compared to statuses, links and photos.

Videos on Facebook are engaging and make visitors more likely to stop, watch, and maybe even unmute when they spot them in the News Feed. Use videos with captions, animations, and engaging visuals to draw in Facebook users’ attention.

Keep note that you should take the extra step and design the videos you want especially for the Facebook platform. Posting your videos from your YouTube channel just won’t cut it.

A study from Quintly shows why native videos are flat out superior, compared to the linked videos from other video platforms such as Youtube and Vimeo:

Compared to YouTube videos, Facebook native video received on average 530% more comments.

Facebook native videos had on average a 477% higher share rate compared to YouTube videos

Native Facebook videos have a 186% higher engagement rate

In addition, they are shared more than 1000% more than videos linked to from other hosting sites.

4. Live Videos are Even Better

If Video is the king, then Live Video is the Emperor. Using live videos can offer you serious benefits such as:

Unique content: With Facebook Live, you are producing unique content the second you start a stream. This way you can provide an instant, real-time source of content for viewers, that’s like nothing else.

Cost-effectiveness: A Facebook Live video is, more often than not, cheaper, compared to regular video production. This happens because a Facebook Live video usually doesn’t need a high production value: a set, lighting, an expensive camera and editing come in second place, behind the live experience.

Direct Audience Connection: Engaging with your audience live, in public, brings a whole different level of connectivity. Live Q&A’s and AMA’s show that a business or brand has nothing to hide and wants to engage with its audience. According to Sprout Social, 90% of millennials and 79% of baby boomers say answering social media questions is ‘cool instead of annoying’. Responding and engaging with your audience should be at the top of your to-do list.

A sense of importance: Just the word ‘Live’ on whatever is on the screen, makes the broadcast look important. Think of you and your good ol’ TV. During your regular channel surfing, it was more possible to pause to a channel that was ‘Live’ than to one which was not.  Facebook Live implies a certain level of priority. If it’s Live, it’s important.

Agorapulse did an experiment regarding Facebook Live videos.

Their hypothesis was this: Facebook Live video will have a higher engagement as well as reach than uploaded videos.

Long story short, their hypothesis was correct, as they measured reactions, comments and shares from the Facebook fan page, comparing live to uploaded videos. In numbers, this looks like this;

Reactions: Facebook Live 431% higher

Comments: Facebook Live 7044% higher

Shares: Facebook Live 2538% higher

5. Try different post formats

Although this isn’t proven, Facebook’s algorithm tends to promote posts that use newer formats. The logic behind this claim is this: If Facebook doesn’t promote its ‘new cool features’, then who will? The platform wants its users to know that ‘it has created something new that they will like’.

So what’s new right now? Facebook Live, and especially Facebook 360, is what you should be experimenting with to achieve greater organic reach.

A lot of different formats to experiment with 6. Start a Contest

Although a lot of things have changed in the ‘contest land’ of Facebook, a contest remains a valid way to increase your organic reach in 2019. There are some things you should look out for.

First, you need to make sure that your contest isn’t an engagement bait like in the cases you saw above. You also shouldn’t make ‘tagging a friend’ a mandatory for your contest, as well as avoid by any means to ask from your audience to share your contest on their or their friends’ Timelines.

Last but not least, your prize should be related to your products or services. If you sell tents, don’t do a smartphone giveaway. Increasing your reach and engagement to people who don’t really care about is a waste of time and resources.

If you want to learn more about Facebook’s official policies on pages, groups and events, you can visit the official page here.

7. Don’t buy any Likes

This is technically not something you should do to increase your organic Facebook reach but something you should avoid at all costs.

Here’s a thought experiment: Name one of the benefits you think you’d have if you were buying Likes on Facebook (apart from having more Likes).

More Comment/ Shares/ Impressions/ Total engagement?

Less Cost per Action?

Higher organic reach?

No, no, and no (respectively).

Unless you are a social media manager and your boss wakes up one day and tells you “Listen, you either buy some Likes today or you lose our job”, you should avoid buying Facebook Likes like the plague.

You know how much I like a good experiment over any piece of text, so here is the experiment from AdEspresso that measured the impact bought likes would have, compared to paid advertising. This is the second part of the experiment:

Source: AdEspresso

Genuine interest is something you can’t buy, and one shouldn’t be able to buy regardless.

8. Your number of posts

This is another instance when less can mean more. How often should you put content out there?

You can be the only one who can answer this question through experimentation. You can, for example, try posting as often as once a day and lessen your number of posts every few weeks until to the point when you post once a week.

Then, with the help of Facebook Business, calculate the average organic reach and the average amount of engagement per post. Which post performed better?

This is what AgoraPulse has to say about finding your perfect “post to Facebook” number:

Knowing your audience and adjusting your strategy to meet their needs is the number one thing that will keep you competitive today and through any future algorithm changes. Starting with 1-2 posts per day will allow you to create a good baseline and begin testing and experimenting with more frequent or less frequent posting.

External factors are going to influence user engagement so take time zones, national and regional holidays and current events into account when analyzing your data.

The most important thing is to never let your Facebook posting strategy stagnate. Using these tips should be a good way to keep things fresh.

Source

9. Quality over Quantity

Less is More… Engagement

Spray and pray is not so much a tactic as the lack of one. Regardless, ‘spray and pray’ should not be considered as a possible option anymore. What you should be striving for instead is the highest possible interaction from a single post.

Keep in mind that each post published to a brand Page can be targeted to a specific audience regardless of whether it’s sponsored or not. By experimenting with your targeted audiences can improve overall interaction with that post, among other people who are likely to find it more interesting and relevant.

10. Find the best time to post

According to Buffer, a few searches show the best times to post on Facebook.Thursdays and Fridays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. are the best times to post on Facebook [Hubspot]

  • Thursday at 8 p.m. [TrackMaven]
  • 1–4 p.m. late into the week and on weekends [CoSchedule]
  • Early afternoon during the week and Saturdays [Buffer]
  • Off-peak times are best [Buzzsumo]

You guessed it right: there is no single best time to post on Facebook.

As Brian Boldan explains:

“On average, there are 1,500 stories that could appear in a person’s News Feed each time they log onto Facebook. For people with lots of friends and Page likes, as many as 15,000 potential stories could appear any time they log on.

As a result, competition in News Feed — the place on Facebook where people view content from their family and friends, as well as businesses — is increasing, and it’s becoming harder for any story to gain exposure in News Feed.”

This is exactly why you should experiment on your own.

The simplest way to do that is this:

At your Homepage, click on the ‘Insights’.

On the next screen, to the left, there is a ‘Posts’ button. Go there.

Now you will see something like this.

What this data shows now are the times our audience is online. In our case, the time most users are online is from 11 am to 10 pm, like my pro MS Paint skills indicate. Therefore we shouldn’t post anything in the morning or at night. Which is what we do, as we usually post from 12 pm to 8 pm.

11. A simple Call-To-Action

Too often we overlook what’s right under our nose.

Adding a call-to-action (CTA) can be as simple as adding a reminder to “Please Like and share” at the end of your posts.

Simple as that.

12. Edit and re-publish your content

Let me tell you this: Your content is valuable and deserves a second chance.

You waste a lot of time and effort to create your content. Occasionally, it takes more than one try for your content to shine. Not all content..

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In 2018 we read a (big) number of Digital Marketing & Growth Hacking articles and blog posts. Which posts where the most popular though?

We researched and gathered the top 3 posts of popular blogs, by their number of total engagements on social media and their total number of upvotes in their communities.

This is what most digital marketers learnt this year. If you didn’t have the chance to read these posts, you now do.

Bookmark this page and read the blog posts at your pace.

With no further ado, here are, in alphabetical order, The Top 3 Posts of The Top 15 Blogs regarding Digital Marketing for this year, and their authors.

1. Ahrefs

> 9 Best Marketing Groups on Facebook (to Level Up Your Skills) – By Helen Stark

> What is SEO? (As Defined by 40+ SEO Experts) – By Rebekah Bek

> How Many New Backlinks Do Top-ranking Pages Get Over Time – By Tim Soulo

Ahref’s blog wants to help you get better at SEO and marketing: detailed tutorials, case studies and opinion pieces from marketing practitioners and industry experts alike are what you are going to find. Apart from being a powerful tool, Ahrefs through its blog offers readers detailed articles that push the SEO know-how forward.

2. BuzzSumo

> How to Create a Successful Content Marketing Funnel – By Eric Delima Rubb

> Content Marketing: Beginners Guide for Maximum Success – By James Blackwell

> Content Curation: The Best Way to Stay Top-of-Mind for Your Audience – By Dustin Stout

BuzzSumo’s Blog headline reads Data-Driven Marketing Insights. BuzzSumo is the best combo of content marketing + technology. If you are a content writer/creator in growth hacking BuzzSumo should definitely be in your Bookmarks. Besides content marketing, BuzzSumo’s blog also features SEO and Social Media – related posts.

3. Content Marketing Institute

> Blog Content Promotion with Social Media – By David Zheng

> 50 Best Social Media Tools – By Aaron Orendorff

> Digital Marketing Strategy – How to Save Yours – By Robert Rose

Who would have thought, only a few years ago, that content marketing would have its very own blog? Content Marketing Institute is one of the first blogs with a clear content marketing direction. Its blogs ultimate goal is to equip you with anything you need to know to craft and implement your very own marketing strategy.

4. GrowthHackers

> 50 Best Social Media Tools Selected by 50 Top Marketers – By Aaron Orendorff

> SEO for early-stage startups – Must-dos and FAQ – By Jeff Chang

> AMA with Alexandra Shapiro, Chief Marketing Officer at Intercom – By Alexandra Shapiro

A community founded by the man behind the marketing success of Dropbox, Sean Ellis, who also coined the term ‘growth hacking’. The purpose of GrowthHackers.com is to give experiment driven marketers a place to share and discuss what truly matters in driving sustainable customer acquisition growth. Discussions are often prompted through popular marketing articles and AMA’s posted by the community.

5. Hubspot

> 59 Female Marketing and Growth Experts You Should be Following – By Caroline Forsey

> Here Are the Top Marketing Design Trends for 2018 [Infographic] – By Amanda Zantal-Wiener

> Your Google Rank Doesn’t Matter Anymore – By Matthew Howells-Barby

Hubspot is one of the best all-around marketing blogs you will find. Hubspot’s has a clear four basic categories: Marketing Sales, Service and News & Trends. Its main focus though can be considered to be Inbound Marketing, as Hubspot’s co-founder, Brian Halligan coined the term.

6. Indie Hackers

> Why I Quit Google to Work for Myself – By Michael Lynch

> From Idea to Profitable Business on the GitHub Marketplace and Slack – By Abi Noda

> Running a business is 80% marketing and only 20% product – By Eelco

Indie Hackers is one of the friendliest communities of founders, entrepreneurs, developers and marketers share their stories transparently. It’s a place where individual “indie hackers” can come together to share their experiences, give and receive feedback, and rely on one another for support. On indiehackers.com you can also see what everyone is working on, listen to the numerous podcasts and find out where indie hackers meet across the globe.

7. Kissmetrics

> My New SEO Strategy: Blog Less, Spend More on Technology – By Neil Patel

> My New SEO Tool: Ubersuggest 2.0 – By Neil Patel

> How to Get Around Google’s Latest Algorithm Change – By Neil Patel

Kissmetrics, aka the company that made infographics its primary marketing tool, is already ten years old. The man behind the company is no other than Neil Patel, and his mission is to make you win, or suck less, at SEO. You can also check his other blog about more topics besides SEO, name Quicksprout.

8. Marketing Land

> Study: Telecoms have been throttling YouTube and Netflix since demise of net neutrality – By Greg Sterling

> Exclusive: Facebook will no longer show audience reach estimates for Custom Audiences after vulnerability detected  – By Ginny Marvin

> Google is retiring the AdWords & DoubleClick brands in a major rebranding aimed at simplification – By Ginny Marvin

Marketing Land is a daily publication that covers all aspects of online marketing, including analytics, social media, mobile marketing and more. The Editor-In-Chief Michelle Robbins, along with his team, bring you articles regarding digital marketing such from the categories of social media, search engine marketing & optimization, analytics, as well as from more traditional topics like display advertising and retail.

9. Marketing Week

> How Macmillan made the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning even bigger online – By Marketing Week

> How Gymshark mastered Instagram to drive instant sales – By Marketing Week

> Mark Ritson: Leeds United’s badge u-turn reveals a brand with values – By Marketing Week

Although not clearly “digital marketing”, Marketing Week is a tradition; it’s been around since the late ’70s. The popular media brand that sits at the heart of the senior marketing community provides news, trends, intelligence, jobs and networking opportunities. Its blog keeps up with the times, so more often than not, what you read will be about the digital world.

10. Moz

> How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing – By Sherry Bonelli

> What Does It Mean to “Write for SEO” in 2018? – By Rand Fishkin

> 9 Predictions for SEO in 2018 – By Rand Fishkin

Moz will most likely be the place that anyone who wants to learn about SEO will end up to. For beginners and advanced alike, the Moz blog is of the of the best sources to about SEO trends and best practices. It comes at no surprise that the three most read blog posts at Moz for 2018 are all about Search Engine Optimization.

11. Occam’s Razor

> Five Strategies for Slaying the Data Puking Dragon. – By Avinash Kaushik

> Six Nudges: Creating A Sense Of Urgency For Higher Conversions Rates! – By Avinash Kaushik

> Unsexy Fundamentals Focus: User Experiences That Print Money – By Avinash Kaushik

If Google Analytics is your thing, or you’d like it to become your thing, then Occam’s Razor blog is a no-brainer. Occam’s razor offers in-depth how-to guides and information on a wide range of topics, including qualitative analysis, competitive intelligence analysis, analytics tips, web metrics and more. From the basics to more advanced topics, Avinash Kaushik’s blog is a big help for the audience of Analytics.

12. Search Engine Journal

> Google Introduces New Search Engine for Finding Datasets – By Matt Southern

> Yoast SEO Plugin 7.0 Bug Causes Ranking Drops – By Roger Montti

> Google Sets Deadline for HTTPS and Warns Publishers to Upgrade Soon – By Roger Montti

Search Engine Journal wants to educate and empower the SEO community by providing the freshest news and latest best practices via the industry’s smartest practitioners. SEJ often goes beyond that, with its main categories, other than SEO, being PPC, Content and Social Media.

13. Social Media Examiner

> 17+ Social Media Marketing Predictions for 2018 From the Pros – By Lisa D. Jenkins

> Facebook Ads Summit 2018: Social Media Examiner – By Michael A. Stelzner

> 18 Apps and Tools for Social Media Marketers – By Michael Stelzner

Social Media Examiner’s mission is Social Media Examiner provides high-quality social media content and is a common place-to-be for many social media experts around the globe. In addition to its blog, Social Media Examiner produces podcasts and hosts conferences, as part of their mission “to help you navigate the constantly changing social media jungle.”

14. Social Media Today

> Facebook API Changes Mean You Can No Longer Auto Post Tweets to Facebook – By Andrew Hutchinson

> New Facebook News Feed Algorithm Updates You Need to Know – By Mendenhall

> Facebook Will Now Allow Pages to Join Facebook Groups – By Andrew Hutchinson

Like the name gives away, Social Media Today is one of the must blogs that social marketing adepts and inepts alike visit more often than they will admit. Marketing, social business, communication, customer experience, content marketing and digital strategy are also common topics of the platform. Social Media Today creates and curates conversations around the world’s most innovative business practices with a clear focus on social media.

15. Zest

> LinkedIn Ads: Everything You Need to Know to Get Results (Smart Strategies Included) by Ana Gotter

> How Much Money Can a Brand Ambassador Program Save Your Company? By Mack Collier

> The Psychology of Colour in Marketing: The Ultimate Guide to Landing Pages, Branding and CTA Power Colours by Josh Barney

Zest is a “distilled content” platform that combines human-reviewed content and approval flow, along with machine learning. This 18k weekly active community suggests and filters professional marketing content. Only the most valuable articles are being scheduled and published in the Zest’s feed. So what you will get now effectively from these links is the distillate of the distillate.

The post The Top 45 Digital Marketing Articles for 2018 appeared first on GrowthRocks.

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As its name implies, shopping cart abandonment is when a user adds one more or products in the e-shopping cart, and they don’t carry on to the purchase.

The metric that measures the shopping cart abandonment is called “abandonment rate”, and you can calculate it using this formula:

Cart Abandonment Rate = (Transactions Initiated – Transactions Completed) / Transactions Initiated

So has Cart Abandonment always been like this?

With one word – Yes. Cart abandonment is a thing since the dawn of eCommerce, and its rate is 10% higher than it was 10 years ago.

Cart abandonment by year / Source: Statista

But is your cart abandonment high or low?

Shopping cart abandonment differs from industry to industry.

Cart abandonment by industry / Source: Statista

It looks like it’s easier to find a cheaper flight but harder to say no to a new pair of shoes. You never have enough shoes anyway, am I right?

Most statistics agree: Global cart abandonment is around 75%.

So what are most frequent reasons that lead to cart abandonment and what can you do about it?

Cart Abandonment Reason #1: Shipping Cost

There are many reasons a customer might abandon their cart, but this one takes the cake.

Shipping cost is by far the #1 reason that prevents your customers from completing their purchase. More than half carts are abandoned due to the extra cost, which is usually shipping cost, but it also can be tax and fees as well. There are dozens of different currencies around the world, but all customers agree: Hidden costs suck! Hidden costs annoy them, irritate them and make them feel stupid.

Shipping cost causes cart abandonment through multiple ways: In most cases, the added cost of shipping that customers don’t see until the end of their purchase journey caught them by surprise.

In other cases, customers abandon their carts because their total purchase wouldn’t reach the minimum amount to qualify for free shipping.

– Solution

Since shipping is the most significant factor in cart abandonment, it should be your #1 priority in the no-purchase battle. If you see a high number of abandoned carts on your eCommerce store, here’s what you should do:

Leave no hidden cost for the last purchase tab. State all costs from the outset. Be 100% transparent. Transparency as a value is highly appreciated by most consumers and is crucial for your store success. Eliminate every surprise. Learn from the best – ask yourself: what would Amazon do?

Let’s say I want to purchase this pair of Sony headphones from London; it will cost me £80. Also, I don’t have to pay anything for shipping, as Amazon is letting me know what deliveries within the UK borders are free. On the other hand, things change if I want to buy from Athens because in this case, free shipping is not a thing anymore. What’s important here though is that Amazon lets you know it’s not. Not only that, but it also breaks down the shipping cost and provides extra info regarding the total cost. Furthermore, I can see the total purchase cost, as the sum of Product + Shipping.

Is by any chance tipping the courier mandatory by law in your country? Then say it!

Coming in second, offer more than one shipping carriers.

Delivery is a very demanding and highly competitive industry to be in. One single mistake on the delivery company’s part can ruin customer experience and make the customer never to want to trust this company again. If the customer has had a bad experience with the one shipping carrier you collaborate with, then in a certain way, you force them to reject your product as well.

Apart from providing more shipping carriers to choose from, you should also –

Give more shipping options, including delivery speed and rates. This choice, of course, will overlap the choice of any carrier.

Offer them free shipping. For this strategy to be profitable, you can either:

Include the shipping price in the final price.

This pic says it all

Or offer Free Shipping when customers order over a certain amount.

This common tactic not only reduces your cart abandonment rate, but it also increases your average order value (AOV).

Entice your shopper to add a few more items in their cart by offering them free shipping over a certain amount.

Creator: The Awkward Yeti Cart Abandonment Reason #2: No Guest Checkout

So, your customer did their research, browsed your store, decided what they want to buy, added everything they wanted, and now they are absolutely ready to give you their hard-earned money. For some reason though, you’d rather take their address than their money. Why?!

Unless you believe postal codes can be a valid currency in any sort of market, you should stop bothering your customers with questions regarding their profile.

Profiling your customers is vital for your marketing strategies, alright. But you should not prioritise some data over a purchase. You can always ask for more data at the end of the checkout process.

– Solution

Enable guest checkout. Unless you own some kind of elitist members-only only club, you shouldn’t close your e-store door to non-members. Imagine a brick and mortar shop. Do you have to be a member to shop from your local grocery stores? Being a member usually comes with benefits, but it’s not mandatory if you want to buy a bag of tomatoes and lettuce.

Enabling guest checkout might be easier than you think.

This is how you can enable guest checkout on WooCommerce:

WooCommerce guest checkout option

And this is how you do it on Shopify:

Shopify guest checkout option Cart Abandonment Reason #3: Complicated Checkout Process

This one is similar to the lack of guest checkout option, but it’s not the same. A complicated checkout process is about when the checkout process takes more than it should.

Every form field you ask is one more obstacle between your customer and the finish line.

If you had to take only one piece of information, that should be your potential shoppers’ email. Making anything else a priority is just a bad idea at this point.

The email address of your customer is digital gold. It’s about opening a direct channel between them and you.

– Solution

Only ask for necessary information.

Additionally, streamline your site’s navigation. Reducing the “number of screens” from initiation to completion is a great way to reduce time.

Show the steps your customer will have to make to the checkout and let them know where they are at. You can write it, e.g. “Step 2 of 4”, or show it like here…

Example 1 Example 2

… or even better, do both.

Can you do what Dribble, the popular designer community, does when the time comes to ask for your money?

Dribble keeping it minimal

Well, then, good for you!

The fewer things you ask, the higher the percentage for the customer to make it to the ‘I’m Giving Yoy My Money’ button.

In addition, you can pre-fill fields when(where)ever you can.

You don’t have to ask customers to fill out both a billing address and a shipping address when, more often than not, they are identical. Instead, give them a simple check box that customers can click so that the billing address fields are filled out with the information from the shipping address fields.

Also, asking for their zip code should automatically pre-fill other forms like region, city and state. Let those fields be editable, though, in case your customer wants to make any changes regarding this info.

Cart Abandonment Reason #4: Payment Security concerns

Long story short, I was searching for a particular (obscure) pair of shoes and found it on an eCommerce store. I hit ‘Add to Cart’ and went for the checkout. Now, I never had bought anything from that website before neither did I know or have heard the retailer’s name. So I wanted to make sure that everything is OK. The first thing my eyes do in situations like these is to look for the SSL certificate.

If you are new to the internets, an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate can be found in an address bar on the top of your browser. SSL is a  method used to secure and encrypt sensitive information like credit cards, usernames, passwords, and other private data sent over the Internet. Website pages secured with SSL are those branded with the HTTPS in their URL address. Like the one, you are on right now! Now back to our story.

So I looked for a certificate, but there was none. Alarm #1 went off. I looked at the header and footer for an ‘About Us’ section. None. Alarm #2 went off. Then I visited the company’s Facebook page. 200 Likes. Alarm #3 went off, and at that point, I was sure the page was a scam. I would have to find the shoes elsewhere.

Keep note that I played Sherlock because I was looking for something that was hard to find. If I were looking for something more common, then the moment I would notice the absence of the green lock at the address bar, is the moment I’m leaving the site and look somewhere else.

What if your eCommerce store is 100% legit, but your customers bounce due to something as basic as an SSL certificate?

When it comes to your new customers, you have to earn their trust.

Lack of SSL certificate, missing images, design flaws, old layouts. All of these can be enough to scare a potential customer off – him and their $€¥.

– Solution

Get an SSL certificate. If you didn’t get it along with your domain purchase, you can add it anytime you want by visiting ssl.com.

Be as transparent as possible. Provide full contact information, such as a phone number and an address, besides your social media info.

Write an ‘About Us’ section. Truth is most customers don’t give a damn about who you are and what you’ve done. They are on your website for your stuff – not your character. Nevertheless, some of them will want to learn more about you to feel reassured or because they are just curious. You have to give them this option. Spend a few paragraphs to talk about your business and the people working for the firm.

Enable reviews. Allow your customers to talk in public about your products and services. And when the shit hit the fan, this is how you can deal with angry customers on social media. Again, it’s about transparency. Show your potential customers that you care about their opinion, no matter if it’s good or bad.

Fix every flaw you can find on your website. Check the copies, check the designs.

Cart Abandonment Reason #5: Not enough payment methods

Different customers prefer different payment methods. Customers expect multiple payment methods. For security reasons, many of your shoppers don’t want to use their credit or debit cards for their online reasons. They may prefer a different method. Here are the preferable payment methods in a few European countries:

Online payments in Europe / Source: financesonline.com

If you are Irish, but your e-business has a global audience, it doesn’t really matter if your fellow countrymen prefer debit card payments over Paypal.

In general, the more payment methods you give, the less cart abandonment you should expect.

– Solution

It comes as no surprise that the solution to not enough payment methods is more payment methods. Such methods include:

  • Credit cards
  • Debit cards
  • Mobile payment apps
  • Payment gateways
  • Online banking

And while you’re at it, you can also include a money-back guarantee. A money-back guarantee creates trust and credibility for your product and your business. Protip: only a few customers ever return to ask for their money back.

Epilogue

To sum up, the Top 5 reasons for cart abandonment are:

1. Shipping cost

2. Lack of guest checkout option

3. Complicated checkout process

4. Payment security concern

5. Not enough payment methods

Abandoned carts can be seen as the extension of your customer service. In growth hacking, regarding a Growth Action Plan, cart abandonment is about Retention. Take the time to invest your cart abandonment rates.

The post The Top 5 Cart Abandonment Reasons – With Solutions appeared first on GrowthRocks.

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Maybe what’s happened is your company’s fault.

Maybe what’s happened is not your company’s fault.

Regardless, one of your customers has now gone bananas.

And what better way to vent some of their frustration through some good ol’ angry social media posting! On your official business page that is.

The question is: What do you do?

How do you deal with angry customers on social media?

Apologise

It’s not a coincidence that this is the first point on how to deal with angry customers.

Was what happened your fault?

Apologise.

Was what happened not your fault?

Apologise.

Most of the time you should apologise, no matter if it’s your fault or not.

Remember: You aren’t apologising for a mistake you made or didn’t make. You don’t apologise for not meeting your customer’s standards either. You apologise for the bad experience they had.

Did your customer lose any money? Did they spend much of their precious time for nothing? Are they left empty-handed? Show them exactly how you empathise with them. Be specific and write something along these lines:

“We’re sorry for keep you waiting for X hours…”

“I’m sorry you couldn’t find the Y thing you were looking for your husband…”

“We’re sorry that in the end Z cost you $12 more than it should…”

Photo: Lina Trochez

Be specific about what happened and address precisely the bad experience of your customer was. Validate and relate to the customer’s feelings. That way, you will come across as compassionate and understanding of the customer’s issue.

Use their names in your sentences

This is a classic social engineering hack.

It’s when someone instead of saying

“Hey, can you do me a favour“?

you say

“Hey, Nick, can you do me a favour“?

Can you feel the difference? The second sentence is so much stronger and here’s why:

Using someone’s name in a discussion is about recognising their presence. It’s like telling them “OK, my focus is 100% on you. I acknowledge that you are important, please listen to me”. It will make them feel validated as an individual, which makes it more likely that they will like you or the business you are working for.

This is what also gets their attention. The sweetest sound to a person’s ear is their own name.

Whenever someone is personally addressing you, you react emotionally and gives you the feeling that the speaker cares about who you are.

This technique explains why you see your name so often on emails from newsletters you receive in your Inbox or chatbot messages in your Messenger.

Including the first name, or in more formal situations their last name as well, is what we do as well. Every time Roxie, our chatbot, sends a message, she addresses our subscribers with their first name.

Writing our chatbot’s broadcast

For those unfamiliar with email, messaging and marketing automation, I hope I’m not the one who breaks it to you: Marketers don’t write a separate email for every person in their lists. They write {{First Name}}, and they leave the rest to their email marketing platform. It’s magic!

Addressing someone with their name is a powerful tool, that if used correctly and is not abused, can help you charm your listener or audience, both in the physical and digital world.

So the next time you see an angry customer writing on social media, don’t forget to include their name in your response.

Don’t make any excuses

If there is one thing a customer doesn’t want to hear when they are angry is this: a bad excuse.

Customers don’t contact you so they can listen to you excusing yourself. They called because they were looking for someone to offer them a solution.

Common excuses include ignorance, blame shifting and statements of inability.

“Sorry, I’m unfamiliar with [your problem]…”

It’s ok being ignorant, but in this case, it’s never ok to let others know that you are. The least you can do is ask someone, a colleague, your supervisor, your consultant – anyone- before telling your customer you ‘don’t know’.“I Can’t…” should be banned words for customer service. Try starting your sentence with these words instead: “I would love to…” or “I want to do…”. You can’t say can’t.

On another instance, say your customer has told you about their problem, and it’s clear to you that you, as in one person from that particular position, can’t help them. If they want their problem solved maybe they have to fill out a form or talk to a supervisor etc. So what do you do? Well, you do it for them. You should be that someone who will contact any person necessary to fix the problem. You should fill out that form and you should be the one to talk to your boss. Take the first step and let them know you did. It’s only then you should leave them to their own devices.

Image: geralt

After you’ve apologised and made sure that you’ve helped the customer as much as you could, you can then go on and excuse yourself. You are fully entitled to briefly explain why your customer didn’t receive the standard of service they expected. However, it shouldn’t precede the previous steps.

Offer a solution

Let the customer know that you are going to handle the issue, regardless of whose fault it is. Introduce yourself as “the one who is now in charge of the situation”. Let them know what you are going to do to solve the problem.

If possible, consider offering more than one solutions and options.

If necessary, ask the client to propose a solution. Doesn’t their problem have a straightforward answer, you can ask them: “What would be an acceptable solution for you?”. More often than not, they will appreciate the gesture, and they will be more favourable towards you or any suggestion you may offer next.

At any given point, you should know your company’s guidelines and what is it you can, and you can’t do. Making a promise, you cannot commit to will only set you back.

Be quick in your response

Convinceandconvert.com did a research with 690 persons from a sample of over 3,000 American social media users. It found that 32% of customers that contact a brand or a company through social media for customer support, expect a response within 30 minutes

Furthermore, 42% of them expect a response within 60 minutes. There is a gap between customers’ anticipated response time, and your actual ability to respond.

To make matters worse, the research states that among those respondents who have ever attempted to contact a brand or company through social media for customer support, 57% expect the same response time at night and on weekends as during normal business hours.

You have to be honest with yourself: Can you handle such high customer service demand?

Your overall digital activity should keep pace with your support. If you are going to post a new Facebook piece of content every day, make sure that responding to an angry customer doesn’t take you more than a day.

Quick response matters no matter what industry you’re in. Same goes for B2B. When your customer has a question, they want an answer. When your customer has a problem, they want it resolved. And fast if they are angry – faster.

Be proactive

Be informative

Keep your customers informed about what’s going on in your business.

If it’s something positive, you can to share it with your audience so they can also be happy about you.

If it’s something negative and it’s going to affect them, you have to share it with your audience, to provide them with some protection from yourself.

Keep your customers informed about any negative changes that you know they will happen in the future.

This can benefit you and your business two-ways: For one, the more customers see your message, the less will complain down the line about said change. Second, even if they miss your message, they can’t blame you later on that you didn’t inform your audience.

Image: rawpixel

– Is a particular function not working as should?

– Is your website going to be down for a while?

– Are your delivery dates going to be affected due to force majeure?

Let your customers know!

Be transparent

Being honest and upfront makes your customers trust you.

Buffer, the popular social media manager, is a company known for its transparency. Transparency for Buffer is a page on its own. This is where you can see Buffer’s salaries, revenue or even what boos Buffer’s employees. Maybe you want their code instead? Go ahead, all of Buffer’s code is free for anyone to use.

“For us, transparency is a core value we’ve chosen to have and we strive to live by that value regardless of whether we are seeing great growth or are going through a more difficult period. We’ve certainly seen some useful benefits of being transparent and we’ve even been lucky to gain some attention as a result of our sharing.

The top benefit we’ve seen is that being transparent has increased the level of trust both between team members and also with our customers. We have shown we are dependable and will keep customers informed of important issues the moment we know about them.”

— Joel Gascoigne, Co-founder of Buffer

Customers value transparency. Transparency is a great way to engage your customers and generate trust. Being transparent means showing what’s happening inside your company. Not being transparent enough could be one of the reasons your customers don’t like you. Transparency is a value on its own.

Source: labelinsight.com

According to labelinsight’s research, nearly all consumers are likely to be loyal to a brand that

offers complete transparency. Furthermore, transparency ranked highest in a list of factors that motivate consumers to be loyal to a brand, with 25 per cent listing it as their top factor.

Handle every complaint

By the end of the day (or week, or month) one thing is certain, regarding the angry and negative comments your customers make: The number of unanswered negative comments should be no bigger than 0.

Leaving 1 negative comment unanswered could easily mean 1,000 bad impressions.

An unanswered comment signals that the brand is inactive. It also makes it appear that brand is in no position handle the complaint of one of their customers.

On the contrary, responding to complaints has the exact opposite effect. It shows you are responsive and care for your customer, regardless of the opinion they have about you.

Follow-up

After the initial response, follow up a week after, as you would do in any circumstance you’d personally be invested in (e.g. for a job interview). Tell the customer that you are just checking in to see if their problem is addressed.

Granted that their problem is addressed, are they happy with the solution? If yes, thank them for taking the time to reach you and allowing you to resolve their issue. If their problem is still a problem or they are not happy with the given solution, ask them what you can do to assist them furthermore.

A follow-up makes you come across as someone who cares about their entire experience, not just addressing the specific complaint. You give a good impression both for said customer and the public.

To sum-up

To handle angry customers on social media:

  • Apologise first and foremost. Be specific about what you apologise for.
  • Use their name in your sentences. Show that they have 100% of your attention.
  • Don’t make any excuses. If you have to, wait til the right time comes for a brief explanation.
  • Offer a solution. More than one solutions if possible.
  • Follow up. A week later ask them if everything is alright.

As a general rule of thumb:

  • Be proactive. Being informative and transparent can pave the wave for a future event crisis.
  • Be quick in your response. If you can’t respond in less than 24 hours, you are doing it wrong.
  • Handle every complaint. Unconditionally.
Why is dealing with angry customers important?

People influence people.

A customer talking about their experience with you is worth ten times that which you write or say about yourself. A recommendation from a trusted friend has a higher impact than any advertising message.

Source: livechatinc.com

You should keep in mind that word of mouth is the future of marketing.

As an epilogue, I’ll leave you with this story. This is a real story that went viral about an angry yelp reviewer and the restaurant she visited. Enjoy.

An exception to everything you read. The original one-star review (left) and the response that launched a thousand clicks (at right).

The post How to Deal with Angry Customers on Social Media appeared first on GrowthRocks.

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With Black Friday being around the corner, we already know what to expect: ‘40% Off’, streets filled with consumers, ‘60% Off’, some doorbuster drama and ‘80% Off’.

But how did we end up here?

Why is Black Friday ‘black’?

When did it become about sales?

How did shopkeepers and police officers compete unofficially for the name?

And why is it on a Friday anyway?

Why is it a Black Friday?

Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving, so to answer why Black Friday is on a Friday, we should first explain why Thanksgiving is on a Thursday.

Thanksgiving began as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and the preceding year.

J.A. Brownscombe: The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth, 1914

However, prayers and ceremonies as a public religious demonstration of piety were not appropriate for a government type of holiday in a country based in part on the separation of church and state – the US.  As such, Thomas Jefferson believed that it shouldn’t be a national holiday. Therefore, the celebration date was different from state to state.

Nationalisation of the holiday didn’t come until A. Lincoln’s era, in 1863. Influenced by the 40-year campaigning of author Sarah Josepha Hale, President Lincoln made a proclamation marking Thursday, November 26, 1863, as Thanksgiving. He called upon his countrymen to “set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise”. In practice, due to the ongoing civil war, the nationalisation was completed in the 1870’s.

Two centuries later in 1939, on the tale-end the of Great Depression, President F.D Roosevelt tried to change that day. Roosevelt was looking for ways to boost the economy. Extending the holiday shopping period, creating more chances for shopping by one week could help.

FDR carves a Thanksgiving turkey, 1935 / Source: Franklin D. Roosevelt Library

And so it happened: Thanksgiving was changed from the fourth to the third Thursday in November. Nevertheless, his proclamation proved to be quite unpopular. Two years later, the president and Congress established Thanksgiving as a United States federal holiday to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November.

Black ‘Anything’

Unlike in the case of Black Friday, the word ‘black’ before any day is used to describe a highly unpleasant or turbulent event in history. The biggest economic disaster in the 80’s.

Black Monday refers to Monday, October 19, 1987. What started as a stock market crash in Hong Kong, then spread to Europe and hit the US.

Black Tuesday happened on October 29, 1929, during the first days of the Wall Street Crash. Due to panic, selling reached its peak: About 16 million shares were traded that date, an unbreakable record for the next 40 years.

Black Wednesday took place on September 16, 1992. It was when a collapse in the pound sterling forced Britain to withdraw from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM).

Black Thursday, October 24, 1929, marked the beginning of The Great Depression. It started when the market lost 11 per cent of its value, and the rest is history.

Black Friday, September 24, 1869. 1869. On that day, Jay Gould a railroad developer (and a speculator) and James Fisk, a stockbroker (and a speculator) created a boom-and-bust in gold prices. Prices fell 20 per cent, and the stock market crashed. As a result, commodity prices dropped by 50 per cent.

Panic at the Gold room(!) on Black Friday

Black Saturday happened on 7 February 2009 in Australia. A series of bushfires that ignited or were burning across the Australian state of Victoria and up to this day it’s Australia’s all-time worst bushfire disaster.

Black Sunday, well, Black Sabbath.

When Black Friday still meant something bad.

As early as the 19th century, Thanksgiving signalled the start to the holiday shopping season. As marketing was becoming a thing, department stores realised that there are many things they can do to grab the attention of their potential customers. One of these early ‘campaigns’ which became a tradition, was Macy’s parade. 1924 was the year when everything started for the now-popular tradition and strange as it may seem, it was actually a Christmas parade.

The first Macy’s Parade ad / Source: The New York Times

As we saw, Black Friday first appeared in the 60’s. The 1860’s. The term was losing its relevance year by year until it pretty much wasn’t used by anyone. About 100 years later though, the term was resurrected to describe a different situation. For the first time, it term was linked to the post-Thanksgiving period. The city of Philadelphia was responsible for this change.

The streets of the city, like the streets of most major cities in the US during this booming period, were transforming into human rivers, as shoppers and visitors flooded the streets the day after Thanksgiving. But Philly had one more thing going on: The Army/Navy football game.

Pennsylvania Railroad after the game

Τhe American college football rivalry game was happening on the Saturday of the same weekend. Apart from business owners, all this mob also meant more business for another particular group of professionals: police officers. Unlike most other people during those festive days, many officers not only couldn’t take the day off – they also had to work overtime to control all this carnage. Therefore, police officers used the term Black Friday and Black Saturday to describe their living hell to describe the post-thanksgiving days.

Source: BBC

After the police officers linked Black Friday to the chaos in Philadelphia, the shopping craze became more widespread every year with shops attracting huge crowds.

Shopkeepers and merchants of Philadelphia attempted to change the name the days following Thanksgiving and rebrand them as “Big Friday” and “Big Saturday”, which indeed have a more sales-friendly tone.

However, the term Big Friday never really took off. Black Friday still had a negative connotation.

Black Friday = Win

It was not until the 1980’s that the term ‘Black Friday’ was used to describe a fortunate event.

Back when things were less digital, bookkeeping and every other financial record was happening on a piece of paper rather than a PC screen. The negative amounts were shown with a red wink while the positive amounts with black ink.

Retailers traditionally operated at a financial loss for most of the year – January through November. They only began to make a profit at the beginning of the holiday season, which is the day after Thanksgiving. This was when they would no longer be “in the red”; they would put the red pen in the drawer and pull out the black pen. It was profit time, and they were now “in the black”.

In the coming years, the term gained popularity. As the hype around Black Friday grew, so did the crowds. Up to the early 2000’s, the biggest shopping day of the year was the Saturday before Christmas, aka Super Saturday.

Until then, Americans, like most of the rest of the world, loved procrastination more than sales.

Source: International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

But in the early 2000’s Black Friday took the throne of Super Saturday and became the frenzy we know today.

Black Friday Today – Statistics

It’s time for some numbers – because you like numbers.

Last year, U.S. retailers made a record $7.9 billion in online sales on Black Friday and Thanksgiving, up 17.9 per cent from 2016, according to Reuters.

Online retail has grown 300 per cent between 2000 and 2018, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. During the same period, department store sales have dropped almost 50 per cent.

People prefer shopping digitally, so it comes at no surprise that they also do that on a day when shopping from a physical store is like shopping from Hell.

Year Spent per Shopper   Total Spent Per cent Increase
2002 N.A. $416.4 billion 2.1%
2003 N.A. $437.6 billion 5.1%
2004 N.A. $467.2 billion 6.8%
2005 $734.69 $496.2 billion 6.2%
2006 $750.70 $512.6 billion 3.2%
2007 $755.13 $525.9 billion 2.7%
2008 $694.19 $501.7 billion -4.6%
2009 $681.83 $503.2 billion 0.2%
2010 $718.98 $529.4 billion 5.2%
2011 $740.57 $553.8 billion 4.6%
2012 $752.24 $568.7 billion 2.6%
2013 $767.24 $584.1 billion 2.9%
2014 $802.45 $608.0 billion 5.0%
2015 $805.65 $626.1 billion 3.2%
2016 $935.58 $655.8 billion 3.6%
2017 $967.13 $682.0 billion 4.0%

Source: thebalance.com

So how much is the actual foot traffic increase on Black Friday from a typical November day? 65%, says the statistics of expendableramblings.com.

According to the same source:

  • 174 million is the number of people that shopped in the US on Black Friday weekend in 2017.
  • In-store traffic doesn’t really peak early in the morning, but rather at 4 pm.
  • The percentage of Black Friday searches that take place before the stores open is 59%
  • The percentage of US internet users that would shop digitally at the Thanksgiving table to “Get an amazing deal” is 51%
  • Also, Black Friday is responsible for 10 deaths and 111 injuries, according to the Black Friday Death Count.
Black Friday Consumer Habits

Until recently, Black Friday used to refer to Black Friday alone.

It now means more than a single day. Black Friday is only the starting point for the shopping frenzy that peaks on Cyber Monday.

Let’s take a look at what people usually buy on Black Friday, as reported by pwc.co.uk.

And this is where they buy from on Black Friday.

It’s a fact that consumers usually first browse through their potential buys from their phones and proceed to buy from their laptop or desktop.

This is who they buy for:

Well, you can’t spell ‘Man’ without ‘All the presents are mine’, right?

Last but not least, this is why they tend to buy on Black Fridays:

Source: Statista Advice for Black Friday Shopping

Whether you are ready for some serious door busting or you are the click-from-a-sofa kind of buyer, consider this for this year’s Black Friday shopping.

Do your research — Do your research beforehand and don’t go for choices on the spot. Be prepared to shop around to get the best price.

Set a budget — Have a figure in mind you are willing to spend. It can be easy to get carried away if you don’t set a spending limit for yourself, especially with online shopping, where one click can mean one purchase.

Long-term buying — Shopping on Black Friday could save you from last-minute shopping before Xmas. Most of the time, a need for a present will come on the surface just before Xmas. Black Friday shopping can mean more free time during Xmas.

Sign up for email newsletters —Make sure your email is in the lists of brands and shops you are interested in. Most sellers send a Black Friday exclusive email that can give you a heads-up on the deals in advance. Also, this is why

Know your rights — Goods should be of satisfactory quality, fit to do the job intended and be as described. For more about the matter, you can visit the Federal Trade Commission if you are a US citizen or the European Commission Portal for European consumers.

The post The True History of Black Friday: It May Surprise You appeared first on GrowthRocks.

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Web scraping, sometimes called data scraping, data extraction, or web harvesting is merely the process of collecting data from websites and storing it on your local database or spreadsheets.

For the uninitiated, web scraping may sound like one of these scary tech buzzwords, but it’s not that big a deal, technically speaking. To do any web scraping though, you need the right tools. Web scraping tools come in handy not only for recruitment purposes but also for marketing, finance, e-commerce and many other industries.

The tools we are going to examine are import.io, webscraper.io and data-miner.io.

Before we move any further, I can hear you asking “Why should I spend my precious time to learn how to web scrape”? This is why –

Why Learn Web Scraping?

Lead Generation

Leads can be either direct customers or influencers who will help you represent your brand. You can search for leads by yourself, looking through websites and social media.

But all this research takes time. So what if you could leave this research to the machines while you were focusing on more on strategic and vital tasks?

Web scraping is the cutting-edge technology that is aimed to gather your leads’ contact information from millions of web pages within the shortest time.

Customer knowledge

This is an information age, and a lot of buyers base their judgment on online reviews. So, it is very important to find out what people say about your brand, your products, your services, and those of your competitors. Web scraping tools can help you gather all this data and help you know how to improve.

Price Comparison & Optimization

Aka spying on your competitors.

Usually, the biggest challenge for a small business is how to increase the prices without losing clients. However, without raising prices, it will be impossible to get more profit.

This is where you can use web scraping tools to increase profit:
– keep you informed of any competitors price changes to quickly react and optimize your prices.
– track the success of promotions and campaigns made by your competitors to know what works best.

Web Scraping Tools
Tool Cost Interface Usage Competitive Advantage
import.io Paid (with free trial) SUPER user-friendly Online App Live Dashboard
webscraper.io Free Familiar with sitemaps and Inspector Browser Based Sitemap
(import-export)
data-miner.io Free User-friendly Online
App
Ready-made recipes
Import.Io

First on our web scraping tools list is Import.io.

Import.io is an enterprise-ready platform that extracts and transforms data. With Import.io you can first extract the data you need, wrangle the data to the format you want and gain insight through data visualisation. This tool allows people to convert unstructured web data into a structured format for use in Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Retail Price Monitoring, Store Locators as well as academic and other research.

So how does web scraping work with this tool?

Step 1: First, find the page where your data is located. For instance, a product page on Amazon.com.

Step 2: Copy and paste the URL from that page into Import.io, to create an extractor that will attempt to get the right data.

Step 3: Click Go and Import.io will query the page. It will use machine learning to try to determine what data you want.

Step 4: Once it’s done, you can decide if the extracted data is what you need. In this case, we want to extract the images as well as the product names and prices into columns. We trained the extractor by clicking on the top three items in each column, which then outlines all items belonging to that column in green.

Step 5: Import.io then populates the rest of the column for the product names and prices.

Step 6: Next, click on ‘Extract data from the website’.

Step 7: Import.io has detected that the product listing data spans more than one page, so you can add as many pages as needed to ensure that you get every product in this category into your spreadsheet.

Step 8: Now, you can download the images, product names, and prices.

Step 9: First, download the product name and price into an Excel spreadsheet.

Step 10: Next, download the images as files and you are ready to put them to good use!

What else can you do with Import.Io?

What we just examined was hot to transform a basic list page of data into a spreadsheet.

There’s much more you can do, such as:

  • Link a listing page to data contained on the detail pages for each product.
  • Schedule a ‘change report’ to run daily to track when prices change, or items are removed or added to the category.
  • Compare product prices on Amazon to other online retailers, such as Walmart, Target, etc.
  • Visualise the data in charts and graphs using Import.io Insights.
  • Feed this data into your internal processes or analysis tools via the Import.io APIs.
Webscraper.io

Using webscrape.io  extension, you can create a plan (sitemap) about how a website should be inspected and what should be extracted. Using these sitemaps, Web Scraper will navigate the site accordingly and extract all data. Scraped data later can be exported as CSV.

In the demo below we will scrape the data from Macy’s website and export the data to a CSV file. We will concentrate on how to get product detail information from their Home category.

Let’s get started!

Step 1: You’ll need to download the Chrome browser if you don’t already have it along with WebScraper.io, which is a Chrome extension. After downloading the extension, you should see a spider web icon on the right side of the browser toolbar. If it isn’t there then, try restarting your browser.

Step 2: Select the hamburger menu at the far right side of your toolbar, go to “More Tools” and then select “Developer Tools”. This will open up a developer tools window at the bottom of the browser.

Step 3: Select “Web Scraper” from the developer tools and then select “Create new sitemap” from the options. The sitemap is the blueprint for how you want the scraper to navigate through the website and obtain the data you want. Give your sitemap a name along with the URL where you want the scraper to start.

For our Macy’s example, we will be starting at the Homepage. Also, make sure to go to the page in the browser. Since this tool works in the browser, we navigate through the site while setting up our sitemap.

Step 4: After setting up the initial starting point, you’ll be able to add the first selector. A selector is essentially what you want the web scraper to do next. This is where we will tell the web scraper to navigate from the Macy’s Homepage to their Home category where we’ll look to get product detail data from their home goods section. Make sure that you’re inside the root selector and select the add new selector button.

Step 5: This step is about setting up the Home link selector. We want the scraper to select the Home category from Macy’s Homepage so we can then enter the home goods section of the website. The type of selector will be a link since selecting this button will link us to that section of the site. We give the selector an ID and choose the type of the Type field.In our case, this will be a Link type.

What we do then is click the Select button, which brings the Element preview, which is a toolbar that will obtain the information (link and the href attribute of the link) of the element you are selecting on the page. If you select “Enable key events” on the toolbar, you’ll see an “S”, “P”, and “C”. If you hold down S on your keyboard while hovering over the area you want to select, it’ll get the information needed from that link. Here, we will hover over the Home category button, which gets the element’s info and places it in the Element preview.

Then select the “Done selecting!” button, which will take that element info and place it in the Selector field of your selector creation window. Then save the selector.

Step 6: Next, we have to create a selector for the subcategories of the Home category. This selector will allow the scraper to get the product detail from each subcategory as it iterates over each one. Similar to the last step, this will be creating a link selector, but this will be for multiple links. In our sitemap be sure to select the previous selector, “home_link”.

We do this because it is a hierarchical setup in which we navigate the site so this new selector will be a child of the previous one. Once we’re inside of “home_link” we add a new selector. In the browser navigate to the Home category, and you should see on the left side of the page subcategories under “Home Categories”.

Fill out the ID field (I call it home_categories_links) and the Type field as Link. Select “Multiple” underneath the Selector field and then enable key events in the Element preview. Then hold S on your keyboard and start selecting the links under Home Categories.

After you select two of the links, the scraper is smart enough to detect the pattern and select the rest of the links that have common element information for every link. This way when the scraper is navigating the site, it’ll know it has to go through all of those subcategories and get product info. Be sure that the element’s info is in the Selector field and then save the selector.

Step 7: Select the product links under the subcategories. To get a product’s details, we need the scraper to select the product from each subcategory. Once again similar, to the last step, let’s make sure we are now inside of our previous selector “home_categories_links” and then add a new selector. In the browser, select one of the subcategories, so we are on that page.

Give the selector a name (I called it “item_links”). We will be selecting multiple links again. So set up the selector in the same way as the previous step. In this case, you can either link to choose the product’s title or the image since both links to the product detail page.

I choose to select the image. Once you start to select multiple product images while holding down the S on your keyboard, you’ll notice that similarly to the previous step, all of the image boxes will be selected and the common element info will be in the element preview toolbar. Verify that this info is in the Selector field and save that selector.

Note: A quick recap of what the parent/child relationship of our sitemap graph would look like at this point:

Step 8: Select the product detail information you want. Make sure you’re inside the “home_categories_links” selector and create a new selector. In the browser select one of the products from the subcategory so that you‘re on that product’s detail page. We are going to get a product’s name, price, colour and image, which will be a URL to the image.

We will create four selectors for these, which will all be children of the “home_categories_links” selector. So add a new selector for the product name and give it an ID (I called it “item_name”). The selector type will be Text.

Bring up the Element preview and select the text of the item’s name to obtain the element info and then save this selector. The same steps will apply for the price, colour and image selectors. Regarding the image, the only difference will be the selector’s type, which will be Image instead of Text.

Step 9: Verify your sitemap navigation. You can view your sitemap’s parent/child relationship by selecting the sitemap’s drop-down and then selecting “Selector Graph”.

Step 10: Scrape dat_data! To start scraping select “Scrape ” under the sitemap’s drop-down. This will take you to a screen that allows you to adjust the request interval and page load delay times in milliseconds. The default is 2000, but in the case of Macys, I noticed that it had to be increased to 3000, to allow the product detail page to fully load in time before trying to get the information from the page. Once you select “Start Scraping”,  a secondary browser will launch that allows you to observe the scraping in progress.

Step 11: Export as CSV. While the website scraping is in progress, you can refresh to show the data collected so far. After the scraping is finished, you can then export the data into a CSV, which is located under the sitemap dropdown, and then you’re done!

Data Miner

Date Miner is our second web scraping tool for today. It is is a chrome extension software that assists you in extracting data that you see in your browser and saves it into an Excel spreadsheet file.

Data Miner is a personal browser extension that helps you transform HTML data in your browser window into a clean table format.

When using Data Miner, the data you scrape is always private. Your data or your credentials never leave your browser and never touch Data Miner’s server. Only you have access to the data you scrape whether you have the tool.

Data miner features a function called ‘recipes’. Recipes are data extraction instructions that Data Miner uses to extract data from websites. Recipes contain name and position of HTML elements on a web page. Recipes do not include actual data or private information about you.

When you visit a website, Data Miner automatically filters thousands of recipes that users have created and shared and shows only the ones that are appropriate for the site you are currently viewing.

How to use Recipe Creator:

Step 1: Visit the site you want, launch Recipe Creator and pick your page type.

Step 2: List pages require rows and have multiple pages while detail pages only have one page and only need columns.

Step 3: Starting with a list page, hover your mouse over the data until a highlighted box encloses all the information you are looking to scrape.

Step 4: Once the Row is highlighted, press shift, then on the tool select one of the suggest classes to lock in the selection.

Step 5: You can now start selecting your individual data. Click on the Column tab and select “col1”.

Step 6: Give the column a name, hover over the data you wish to extract in this column and press Shift.

Step 7: Pick the class that highlights the data the best. (Helpful tip – use the Up Parent button for more options if the data isn’t selected correctly).

Step 8: Once the data is highlighted correctly, click on the class name confirm it and click Data double check your work.

Step 9: Continue creating by clicking “+ Column”.

Step 10: Once you have all columns, finish by clicking the Save tab at the top. Give the recipe a name and click Wave.

Step 11: Recipes will save over each other unless you start a new recipe. Start a new recipe by clicking the new recipe button on the save tab.

Recipe Creator Selector Tricks and Tips Basic Selectors

Advanced Selectors and Selector Combos

Before you go

There are many web scraping tools to choose from. I encourage you to research which tool or service to use based on your needs and budget.

To sum up, web scraping can be used in any sphere of business: e-commerce, education, healthcare, real estate, research, marketing, etc. Thanks to web scraping..

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It started with How to find anyone’s email.

It now continues with how to find anyone’s email address, email campaigns creation, content creation, and social media boost.

All in one.

Let’s see each of these functions.

Intro

This B2B lead generation tool is called Anyleads.

Like the name gives away, Anyleads promises to bring you one thing: Leads.

Anyleads is a lead generation infrastructure for small and larger companies. It’s a platform that allows you to find emails, send drip campaigns and sell more. With Anyleads, you can build a highly targeted database of contacts and prospect them. It allows you to increase your sales team productivity, generate more leads and skyrocket your sales.

Anyleads includes three different categories: Prospecting, B2B Exchange and Content Creator.

Prospecting

Through the menu of Prospecting, you can either go to your Inbox, Dashboards, Find Leads, Contacts, Emails, or Add rules for the Zapier integration.

On Inbox, you can import contacts and receive a notification whenever you have a new reply, based on the active filters.

Through the Dashboard, you can find metrics such as the number of your contacts, lists, campaigns and overall performance.

Contacts is a list of all your leads which can save and display a number of different data about them, such as company domain, job position, LinkedIn number of connections, etc.

Then comes the ‘Find Leads’ function.

Find Leads

Through this function, AnyLeads will convert names to domains.

Thus, if you upload a list with the names BBC, Unesco and GrowthRocks, you will get bbc.com, unesco.org, and growthrocks.com respectively.

This feature will make you feel like a real spy. And, all you have to do is type the URL of the company.

I typed in ‘growthrocks.com,’ so I got back info about us, the company’s employers. Sixteen to be exact, which is a pretty good number, considering our company’s size. Some of the essential data Any Leads retrieved is:

First name

Last name

Headline

Job title

Location

Business email

LinkedIn profile URL

This is where you will insert a company’s domain, and the B2B lead generation platform will search only for emails that belong to the company’s domain.

Company miner is a more focused and refined email retriever, as long as you provide more info. In this feature you can upload data files with ‘First Name,’ ‘Last Name’ with either a ‘Company Name’ or ‘a Company domain’ and you can get valid email addresses.

This Bulk email checker tool helps you validate emails from your API. And like with every one of these functions, you can export the final list to either CSV, XLSX or XLS.

Emails

Say you found the number of emails you wanted. Now what? Now it’s campaign time!

First, connect your provider and select the sender you want to use.

For every App sender you have, you can send 2,000 emails.

It goes without saying that the more senders you have, the more emails you can send.

Once you connect your provider, you are ready for the fun part. This is where your drip campaign begins.

Drag and drop the trigger, which is going to be your list. Once it’s on the grid, push the orange gear icon and select a list (in our case CEO USA Part1).

Now it’s time to add some actions.

Once you are happy with your flow, you have to decide when you are going to send these emails.

Through the “schedule configuration,” you set your custom range. You can also select the business hours per region.

Congratulations! You are ready to launch your campaign.

Once you do that, you will have a global overview of the campaign with a lot of information such as sent rate, open rate, click rate, conversion rate, reply rate, and bounce rate.

B2B Exchange

The B2B Exchange function is about getting LinkedIn virality.

But first, let’s take a step back here and see why you should aim for LinkedIn virality in the first place.

According to Kissmetrics, LinkedIn is responsible for the 80% of B2B leads on the social media landscape. What that means is that 4 out of every five social media leads come from LinkedIn.

LinkedIn’s feed has its own algorithm and LinkedIn’s algorithm beauty is this: as long as your post is performing well, it will keep showing up in the feed.

Source: LinkedIn Engineering Blog

Part of the LinkedIn algorithm’s uniqueness is that it uses real humans to filter through user-generated content and to learn more about what makes a post noteworthy.

This is the stage where those humans determine whether your post is valuable enough to continue displaying in the LinkedIn feed. If your post continues to get engagement, the cycle continues, and it keeps being shown. There’s a lot of speculation that, at this stage, if your content is amazing, it may get a boost and reach more people. It might even show up on a LinkedIn Channel. However, it takes a lot of work, and even some luck based on what LinkedIn defines as good performance. No matter what, you need some initial traction.

Back to our B2B Exchange feature, you first have to add your LinkedIn status link to start receiving Likes and Shares from the Anyleads community. You may have as many as five statuses at a time.

I created mine 3 hours ago, and I’ve already received 100 Likes and 18 Shares.

In the meantime, you should start liking or sharing, or both, the statuses of others as well. This is a community after all, so the fewer people engage, the less effective the community becomes. There is no reason not to do that anyway, as the procedure is automatic! The point system goes like this: For every Like, you get 1 point and for every Share 2 points.

Here, I open the LinkedIn Exchange system on a different tab and leave it to Like automatically the statuses of the rest of the community members every 30 seconds.

I can then return to whatever I was doing while the LinkedIn Exchange system does its thing.

There is also the option to create a group, where you can add your co-workers and friends from the B2B lead generation platform. As with everything with this platform, you won’t have to click more than two buttons to make that happen: You can send to as many as 100 emails and invite them to your group.

Since this is your group, you also have the power to remove them if you have to.

Content creator

Content creation takes time. And most of the time, there are no shortcuts for this.

You either go for plan

  1. You want high-quality content, so you have to spend a lot of time and resources to make it.
    Or you go with plan
  2. You simply want some content of lower calibre so that you can do something else with your time.

Of course, there is the cheap way – plan for C. C stands for copy-paste in our case, because this is what this plan is all about.

Besides any possible ethical barriers, one could have, Google doesn’t like plan C. Through Google Alerts, Google Search Authorship and tools like Copyscape and Trackback Notifications, both Google and the original author will know when someone is… lending some of their content.

This is where Anylead’s Content Creator comes into play and introduces a plan D.

According to plan D, you start with the Create Content button. Then, you type your query and start your research. For this example, my query is: ‘Why is it raining?’. So I now get the results and click on the headline I like the most. What I see next is the content I’m looking for, which is not indexed by Google – or anywhere else for that matter.

I can take this content as is, freely, and I don’t have to worry about duplicate content issues.

I know what you’re thinking: “Where does all this unindexed content come from”?

The answer is Youtube.

What Content Creator does is scraping YouTube for videos related to your keyword. Each video has subtitles, and those subtitles are what you will get.

In our case, this part of the text –

Comes from this part of the video:

Also, the editor has two more features.

With Images, you can copy – paste images from imgur and GIFs from giphy directly into the editor.

Here I’m browsing through rain gifs from giphy without leaving our B2B lead generation platform. Then drag and drop them to enrich my content easily.

The second feature, Spinner, replaces a word of your choice with another. For example, let’s say you are writing a piece of content about tornados. And you found a source which is American, but your audience is European. You can easily replace the words “miles per hour” with “kilometres per hour”, every time they appear.

Anyleads & GDPR

So is everything you read about this B2B lead generation tool in compliance with GDPR?

Like Anyleads states on their site, they have 8 points. For each point, they explain how they handle their compliance for every one of the citizen’s rights:

  • Information: Anyleads clearly informs its users about the use that will be made of their data.
  • Access: Anyleads’ users can access all their data, without restriction.
  • Rectification: You can contact Anyleads anytime and process all your rectification queries.
  • Erasure: You can contact Anyleads and they will process all your erasure queries.
  • Processing restriction: Anyleads doesn’t process the data of its customers (and their customers end-users).
  • Data portability: Anyleads’ users may contact them anytime if they wish to get an export of their data (this may take time, however, as the data is fragmented amongst multiple isolated data-stores).
  • The right to objection: Anyleads handle all requests on this matter from their users and users’ end-users.
  • The right not to be subject to automated decision-making including profiling: Anyleads doesn’t do that.

Anyleads deals only with publicly available web data. Any information removed from a website is also removed from its database. Also, all Anylead’s data is held on servers hosted in the European Union.

You can learn more about about Anyleads & GDPR or the tool in general on Anylead’s website.

The post This is How B2B Lead Generation Becomes Easy appeared first on GrowthRocks.

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The #1 social media platform globally comes with the most complete social media ads manager.

The Facebook Ads platform grants you with a remarkable set of tools. Getting the hang of the platform and acquiring the essential know-how, usually comes with a little bit of trouble and a shitload of mistakes.

Thankfully, you can learn from the mistakes of others, so you don’t repeat them yourself.

Get the most out of your or your clients’ dollars starting now.

Not Setting a Specific Goal

An ad campaign is not an end in itself. An ad campaign is a mechanism that will let you achieve your goal through exposure. The million dollar question is What is your goal?

You shouldn’t go any further with your campaign if you haven’t answered that first.

Facebook’s got your back and covers your advertising needs for every part of your funnel. From awareness to conversion, your marketing objective should be at the beginning of your thought process and execution.

The question is what do you want to achieve?

You can either try to reach the maximum possible number of people in your audience, get the most Likes for your page, increase the number of your app downloads, and so on. Your goal has to be specific and predetermined.

So can Facebook help you with that?  Facebook gives you a lot of options to choose from, through 3 different categories. Each category represents a different stage on your marketing funnel.

Awareness

  • Brand Awareness
  • Local Awareness
  • Reach

Consideration

  • Traffic
  • Engagement
    Post Engagement
    Page Likes,
    Event Responses
    Offer Claims
  • App Installs
  • Video Views
  • Lead Generation

Conversion

  • Conversions
  • Product Catalogue Sales
  • Store Visits
Advertiser Help Center Using The Wrong Ad Format

When it comes to advertising, Facebook is the social media platform with the most choices. You have a plethora of formats to choose from so you should experiment first and draw conclusions later.

Do you want to showcase up to ten images within a single ad? Try Carousel.

Would you like to get people shopping from you? Then offer them a deal via the Offers format.

Is info collection what you seek? Then a lead generation campaign is what you should be looking for.

Example of a Lead Generation campaign

Different formats serve different purposes. A campaign based on a copy and a single image is fine. But will it suffice every single time? Open more doors for creativity. Experiment with them whenever you can and learn what’s suitable for each possible case.

You can find all of Facebook’s ads formats here.

You can’t make the best decision for each campaign if you don’t know your options first.

Setting Too Narrow or Too Broad of an Audience

A too narrow or too broad audience can cost you. Try to find the golden spot.

If your target audience is too broad, you can expect a waste of most of your budget on unqualified prospects. Trying to find your next customers in a target audience that’s too broad is like looking for a needle in the hay, except when you do find the needle you’ve paid for all that hay, too.

Targeting anyone with a pulse is not a good idea; targeting ‘Londoners who like fishing and guns’ and is not a bright idea either. If your target audience is too narrow, you don’t give Facebook’s algorithm adequate volume to make the necessary optimisations. You should also expect a much higher CPM (CPM = Cost Per Mile = The cost for every 1,000 impressions).

Source: AdStage

Use Facebook’s Relevance Score. Relevance score can help you reach the audience that is more relevant to your ad, thus lowering your cost. Facebook’s Relevance Score is not an end in itself though: your ultimate KPI remains the same, and it shouldn’t come in second.

If your target audience is too narrow, try adding more ‘Interests’ into your targeting so that you can get your audience number higher. If it’s too loose, you can use the ‘Exclusions’ filter to reduce that number.

High Ad Frequency

You check your news feed daily, days go by, but for a particular ad, it’s groundhog day. For some reason, the same Facebook ad appears over and over again. Don’t let this happen to your ads – it’s only a waste of resources.

To know the Frequency of each of your ads, you first have to add it as an option. You can find it at your Ads Manager columns from the ‘Column Customization’ options.

Ad Frequency is the average number of times your ad was shown to each person of your audience. To find that, you have to divide the number your ad was served to each user (impression) with the number total unique users your ad reached (reach).

Frequency = Impression/Reach

The number you get is an average, but it should suffice, since the larger the audience is, the lower the variations become. In the end, they become irrelevant.

An ad fatigue happens when the frequency is high. So how is a frequency calculated and what does ‘high’ mean in this context?

AdEspresso analysed 500 campaigns to show the correlation between frequency and performance (CTR & CPC).

Source: AdEspresso

So what’s the maximum frequency your ad should have?

Truth is there is no fixed answer for that; it depends on your industry. AdEspresso advices that under no circumstances should your frequency be above 10.

Your budget should be in line with your campaign’s audience size. A $1,000 campaign needs a bigger audience than a $100 campaign.

Every time the frequency of your campaign is going above 5 and the performance becomes too low, you have two options:

  • Redesign your ads. Change the visual as well as the copy to counter banner blindness. Presenting your ad from a different angle allows the user to see it from a fresh angle as well.
  • Stop the campaign. Pause the campaign for the current audience and target a totally different one. After a few weeks try targeting the former audience again. The results should look different, for the better.

You should also not forget to exclude converted users: A user saw your ad in their newsfeed, they thought about it, and in the end, they became customers. Congratulations! Now, why would you want to show him the same campaign again? That’s right, you don’t. You can, and you should change that, through Custom Audiences. This is where you will exclude existing customers from unless of course, you are looking to make an upsell.

Going All-In on Day 1

Since you made it thus far, here’s some strategy guidance from one of the veterans of GrowthRocks, Sotiris.

  Sotiris, AdWords & Analytics Expert
“Say you just finished your audience research and you found what your ideal audiences are. Your budget is $1,500. What would you do next?

What I usually do is spend $10 to $15 for every one of the Facebook interests I’ve selected. After 3 or 4 days I collect all the data and analyse them. I keep the most high-performance audiences and discard the rest.

I then gather all these high-performing interests and create an ad set. Now I’m going to spend more money, around $20 to $30 to this ad set for another 3 or 4 days. Then I’m going to gather some data and analyse them again. What usually follows is a 20-30% daily spending increase on what performs the best and a decrease on what doesn’t.“

Unoptimised Landing Page

Great! You managed to give a user a good enough reason to click on your ad. But this was only the beginning. An ad that leads to a bad landing page is a waste of money.

If a Facebook ad is a portal, then you should be aware of what’s going on on the other side of the portal. Optimise your Landing Page.

Landing page optimisation should be an entire article on its own, but here are a few things to keep in mind when the time comes to make some changes on your page:

  • Ensure the least loading time
  • Present a clear value proposition
  • Post relevant and persuasive content
  • Deliver a consistent message
  • Balance your content and images
  • Create a user-friendly layout
  • Use emotional triggers
  • Remove, distractions
  • Don’t ask for too much information
  • Use testimonials
  • Provide a Call to Action
Treating Mobile and Desktop the Same

The year 2014 was the turning point for desktop and mobile audiences. It was when the total number of mobile users exceeded desktop users. So naturally, you would want most of your campaigns to be more effective on mobile. But this is where things get tricky. Despite the ongoing rise of mobile devices, users overall prefer buying from their PC’s and laptops than their mobile phones.

This research from SaleCycle shows that sales on desktops are higher, in spite of traffic being more in mobiles.

It looks like people prefer to browse on mobile, but most of them purchase through a desktop. But why is that? For one, it’s more challenging to make a decision when you are on the go. You are more likely to buy a new kitchen appliance from the comfort of your home than from inside a bus where things are usually… tight. Also, a bigger screen allows for easier navigation and the ability to view images in more detail. Some reasons though are unreasonable, such as the feeling of better security on PCs and laptops than in mobiles. Which is precisely that – a feeling. In reality, mobile phones are usually safer than desktops.

Solution: Use the strong points of each platform to your advantage.

For example, you can warm-up your audience with a campaign for awareness purposes which will go live on mobile. Then you can follow-up with a retarget of those users: Create a campaign that’s all about call-to-action, clicks and conversion which users will see through the monitors of their desktops. This is when you will give them coupons, discount codes and incentives.

Having Low-quality Visuals & Copy

So your Facebook Ad is a disaster. You’ve tried everything but maybe you’ve missed this: The very essence of your post. Copywriting and design are what makes an ad what it is, and it is possible that they can’t deliver what they should.

Copy matters. For once, you ought to know how to craft a compelling copy. If you want Facebook not to truncate the text, it should be below or equal to 90 characters (including spaces). No matter the size, the most important or best part of your copy should be at the beginning.

Apart from that, you should also be familiar with the technical side of Facebook’s copywriting rules.

Keep the text on the visual at a minimum: More than 20% can harm your reach.

This is what low text looks like:

And this is what medium and high texts look like:

You want your Facebook ads to look like those in the first row.

It should be noted that visuals such as book covers, album covers, product images, event posters count as exceptions so don’t be too stressed about that label on the biscuits you want to advertise.

If you want to know if the text in your your image will receive the blessings from Facebook’s algorithms, Image Text Check is your best friend.

As for the visual, Facebook’s recommendations are as follows:

File type: jpg or png

Image ratio: 9:16 to 16:9

Resolution: at least 1,200 x 628px

Minimum Image Width in Pixels : 600

Minimum Image Height in Pixels : 600

Aspect Ratio Tolerance : 3%

Conclusion

To sum up, the Facebook ads you should stop making are:

  1. Not Setting a Specific Goal
  2. Using The Wrong Ad Format
  3. Setting Too Narrow or Too Broad of an Audience
  4. High Ad Frequency
  5. Going All-In on Day 1
  6. Unoptimised Landing Page
  7. Treating Mobile and Desktop the Same
  8. Having Low-quality Visuals & Copy

The post Stop Making These 8 Rookie Facebook Ads Mistakes appeared first on GrowthRocks.

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Influencer marketing has been around for way longer than we believe.

Celebrity endorsement aka celebrity branding is almost three centuries old. And it started with pottery.

In the 1760’s, Josiah Wedgwood was a potter, but he also had a mind for business. He was so good at his craft that some of his customers became members of the royal family and Queen Charlotte herself. Most other traders would have stopped there: you are getting commissioned by the royal family, what more could you ask for?

But Josiah made a step forward: With the Queen’s “OK”, he named a line of pottery “Queens Ware”. Also, every piece of pottery Josiah would design for the Queen would exhibit in museums around the country. Soon enough, he became known as ‘the man who made pottery for queens’.

The promotion of “Queens Ware” really made a difference for his business and it became one of the most successful in the industry.

Josiah Wedgwood became the first entrepreneur to leverage influencers for his business.

1928 Ad – Josiah Wedgwood & Sons Inc

For the record, Josiah Wedgwood and Sons are still open for business, as part of the legendary Finnish company Fiskars.

Why influencer marketing?

If you work in the marketing or the advertising business, you should have noticed a common trend with your clients by now: More and more of them want to include in their campaigns the latest hot marketing trend, the influencer.

Or it could be the other way around. Maybe you are the one who will often suggest to their clients that “this dude with 2m subscribers will bring to your service massive awareness” or “that gal with 20k followers has built an audience that will love your product”.

Is this only a shallow trend? Do the results of influencer campaigns live up to their hype?

Benefits of Influencer marketing

They are content machines

They say the content marketing is the king of marketing. It so happens that influencers are good at it. Content marketing is about two things – content generation and content distribution. Influencers excel at both. Influencers are experienced with user-generated content, and it’s become second nature to them.

Their high and daily engagement with social media content creation has put them in a spot where they can generate content successfully: they know what works and what doesn’t; they know what sells and what doesn’t.

And then there’s the bane of so many content creators: distribution. A bane that influencers don’t share because they can share content naturally: through their own digital channels from their own profiles.

All across the marketing funnel

Influencer marketing has proven to be a valuable method for marketing a brand or product, with a number of different outcomes: improving brand advocacy, increasing awareness, reaching new audiences, and improving sales conversion are the most notable.

In any successful influencer campaign, from the moment the influencer advertises a product or service, they should expect from an immediate sale to a long-lasting awareness and everything in-between.

They are trusted

Consumers trust influencers just as much as friends. 92% of consumers trust recommendations from personal connections, while only 33% of them say they trust ads.

A friendly and familiar face usually builds more trust than a catchy slogan or a polished video production.

When an influencer is mentioning a product of yours, they’re vouching for your brand in terms of integrity, reliability, and overall credibility.

Photo: rawpixel

They encourage interaction

The everyday life of the influencer revolves around how they can engage more with their audience, how they can deliver to their audience what they came for, entertainment, information, etc.

They know how to engage with their audience

Is the primary audience of an influencer housewives, pet owners or gym enthusiasts? No matter the type of audience, influencers know how to engage with it: how to talk, what to say, and how to persuade.

They boost your SEO

Beyond the traffic on your site, ecommerce shop and social media channels, an influencer can also help you with your SEO through backlinks. While Google doesn’t take into account social shares, their blogs can help you with link building that can boost your SEO.

Through influencer marketing, you can create links with more authority.

Traffic opens the door for new opportunities

Thanks to a successful influencer campaign, you know have people coming on your site to buy or get whatever the influencer said or displayed. Congratulations, I guess, but this shouldn’t be your final goal because this shouldn’t be the end of your potential customer’s journey.

Try to get their email with a widget, tag them with a facebook pixel, you know, all things growth hacking.

Influencer Marketing in Numbers

According to collectivebias.com, 30% of millennial consumers are affected positively in a buying decision when a non-celebrity blogger endorses a product. In this study that fielded 14,000 adults, only 3% of them would consider making the same purchase if it was endorsed by a celebrity. Those results point to the current ineffectiveness of traditional ways of advertising and the need for alternative mechanisms of marketing to drive sales.

Also, Facebook and YouTube are the most effective channels. About 19 per cent of consumers says that Facebook influences their purchasing decision the most, with YouTube coming in second at nearly 18 per cent. Youtube, in particular, having the most robust content format, video, influences younger generations in such a way that 40% of them say their favourite creator understands them better than their friends. In addition, 70% of them relate to YouTube creators more than traditional celebrities.

Source: thinkwithgoogle.com

Bonus statistic: YouTube is especially popular with men compared to women. Women love Pinterest and Instagram, but men rule most of YouTube parts.

Source: filmora.wondershare.com

So do marketers give in the influencer frenzy? This study by Linqia states that almost 40% of marketers plan to increase their influencer marketing budget in 2018. By the end of the year, we will know if this was the case, but still, the intention for a budget increase is more common than a budget decrease or even indecisiveness.

Source: linqia.com

From the same study, Instagram is portrayed as the platform king of influencer marketing, with Facebook being the runner-up. Most marketers agree – Snapchat Twitter and Pinterest are not among their top preferences.

Source: linqia.com

Over the past year brands have spent more than $1bn (£776.7m) on Instagram influencers according to Mediakik, which tracked the number of sponsored posts on the platform. It expects this figure to double soon.

Influencer Marketing vs Paid Ads

Some marketers say that word of mouth, not paid ads, is the future of marketing.

Studies show that word of mouth advertising generates double the amount of sales of paid advertising.

According to Viral Loops, Word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20% to 50% of all purchasing decisions.

But why is word of mouth so effective?

“Word of mouth is a phenomenon where people love something so much; they just cannot stop boasting about it, until everyone gets to try it. And if anybody has something bad to say about it, then these passionate fans are able to go full berserk in order to protect it.”

People rely on word of mouth more when they are buying a product for the first time when they consider the purchase expensive, or when they don’t know a lot about the product.

Influencers are so powerful because they practice word of mouth. Most of the time, influencers are the guys and gals next door who share the experience they had with a product or service with their followers. This has the same impact on their audience, as influencers simulate the opinion of a friend or family member. That’s why thirty per cent of consumers are more likely to buy a product recommended by an influencer. Because someone from their flock recommends it.

When influencers brand your goods, they create an open a discussion which encourages more people to talk about your brand.

Often, your audience won’t even see your paid ad. Almost 70 million people int he US use ad block software. The US is not alone in this:

Source: Statista

And the percentage of ad blocker is even higher, considering that kids and the elderly don’t know or don’t care about using an ad-blocker on their internet browsers.

So how much will an influencer cost me?

As you’ve probably guessed there is no standard answer to that.

The number 1 factor of the cost is, of course, the size of the influencer’s audience. The bigger the size, the more $€¥ you will need.

Marketingprofs.com make some estimations regarding how much two different types of influencers will cost you, micro and macro per social media platform – youtube, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter.

A one-off fee is not the only way to compensate or pay an influencer in marketing business though. The most usual models are these:

  • Pay per post/ video: This is the standard pricing model. The influencer is paid a one-off fee for creating and publishing the agreed content.
  • Cost per engagement: The influencer is paid on the number of engagement their content gets (likes, comments, shares).
  • Free products/ services: Instead of money, the influencer is paid in freebies, usually what the brand is selling.
  • Cost per click: The influencer is paid on the number of engagement their content gets.
  • Cost per acquisition: This works similar to a commission: The influencer is paid based on the number of sales/ subscriptions/ sign-ups they make.

For more about Instagram’s influencers and how much one could cost you, you can try an ‘influencer money calculator’, like this one from Influencer Marketing Hub.

Conclusion

Influencer marketing is on the rise. Marketers around the world integrate influencer marketing with other digital channels and leverage influencer content, as influencers:

  • Are content machines that both create and distribute content for you.
  • Can help you with awareness as much as with sales.
  • Are trusted and thus give credibility to your brand.
  • Can boost your SEO and traffic.
  • Can be more effective than paid advertising.

If you haven’t experimented with influencers, maybe the time has come, but do a research first.

Pick the influencer according to your audience. The target audience of the influencer should be your target audience.

Photo: Roman Koester

Get to know more about your potential collaborator:

  • What is their reach – their total numbers of followers?
  • What’s their engagement rate – what percentage of their followers actually engages?
  • What kind of work have they done for previous brands?
  • Are their personality and style align with your values and aesthetic?
  • Is their niche the same as yours?

The good news is that you can start experimenting for cheap, compared to the cost of other marketing channels. So what you are waiting for?

The post Influencer Marketing: Just a Trend or Real Value? appeared first on GrowthRocks.

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