Key Media Insights from Merkle’s 2021 Q3 Digital Marketing Report

Merkle’s just-released Digital Marketing Report shows that the pandemic continued to impact marketers in Q3 2021 across digital platforms. The acceleration of ecommerce growth that started in 2020 kept competition and costs high, especially for retaile…

Merkle’s just-released Digital Marketing Report shows that the pandemic continued to impact marketers in Q3 2021 across digital platforms. The acceleration of ecommerce growth that started in 2020 kept competition and costs high, especially for retailers. Additionally, the unusual performance that occurred in 2020 created tricky Y/Y comps across channels from a traffic perspective.

Roadmap for Implementing an Intelligent Data Lake

An intelligent data lake is a central, structured, and integrated database. It’s where you can obtain information through analyses and then make informed decisions. For marketers, the data lake solves the challenge of providing the total customer exper…

An intelligent data lake is a central, structured, and integrated database. It’s where you can obtain information through analyses and then make informed decisions. For marketers, the data lake solves the challenge of providing the total customer experience, by answering several questions:

• How do I get a complete overview of my customer’s journey?

• How can I forecast and optimize my marketing results?

• How do I ensure personalized experiences across all touchpoints?

Why You Shouldn’t Use Your Brand Color on Buttons

Many apps use their brand color on their call-to-action buttons. Doing this may seem like a harmless act of branding, but it can actually hurt the user experience. Brand-colored buttons can lead to inaccessible text labels, button state conflicts, and …

Many apps use their brand color on their call-to-action buttons. Doing this may seem like a harmless act of branding, but it can actually hurt the user experience. Brand-colored buttons can lead to inaccessible text labels, button state conflicts, and a lower clickthrough rate. Inaccessible Text Labels Brand-colored buttons often have inaccessible text labels. Many […]

The post Why You Shouldn’t Use Your Brand Color on Buttons first appeared on UX Movement.

I Am Merkle, Vol. 15

I Am Merkle is a series of interviews that showcase the individuals who make Merkle a unique and diverse place to work. October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month to pay tribute to the the men and women with disabilities whose work helps…

I Am Merkle is a series of interviews that showcase the individuals who make Merkle a unique and diverse place to work. October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month to pay tribute to the the men and women with disabilities whose work helps keep the nation's economy strong and to ensure equal opportunity for all. Learn more about our featured employees and members of the Enablement BRG: Disability, Ronisa Rhodes and Matthew Bohlman.

1. Tell us about yourself; where did you grow up? Where do you live now?

Ronisa: I am 26 years old, born and raised in Dallas, Texas where I still reside. As a Senior Recruiter at dentsu, I support Merkle and DWA. I love adventures, white roses, and of course sushi (who doesn’t!). Outside of work I coach others on life and landing a career they love. Being able to make an impact on someone else’s life is important to me. When I have down time, I write poetry and perform locally as much as possible. Life is all about what you make of it and how you handle every situation you’re in. That is something I’ve also had to learn going through life. In summary, I’m just a young southern girl who loves to help others make a difference in life and for them to pass it on.

Matthew: Hi, my name is Matt Bohlman and I work as a Paid Search Associate for iProspect in the Detroit office. I am a native Michigander since birth, living in 25 minutes west of Detroit in Livonia since I was 6 years old. While I did grow up in Livonia, I actually attended elementary through high school in the city of Dearborn because the county’s mainstream program incorporated Deaf/Hard of Hearing (HH) students with a teacher for the Deaf and American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters. I will always be grateful and give full credit to the teachers, interpreters, and classmates for shaping who I am today. These are the people who Mr. Rodgers describes, “loved me into being” in the way they modeled positive life lessons they instilled in me as a person with a disability, not defined by it. 

2. What drew you to your current career?

Ronisa: Growing up as a kid, I always wanted to help people. As I went through college, I was set on going to law school to become a family judge, but later grew to learn that it wasn’t for me. My mom has always been an inspiration and has worked in HR for over 20 years. Therefore, I grew a strong interest and once I received my first job working within human resources, I grew a strong liking for it! As my career progressed, I niched down to recruiting, and I absolutely love what I do on a daily basis. I get the best of both worlds in a way: helping others and being in a corporate setting where we still enforce and abide by HR laws and regulations.

Matthew: Personal circumstances and curiosity are the two primary reasons I am in my career today. On a personal level, I am passionate about sharing and representing the Deaf/HH community with my words and actions as an example of success by hard work and determination. I am also curious by nature and enjoy learning the “why” behind the results. In my work, I get certain digital ads and analyze each one on its own, its intent, and discover cause and effect. Then I go online and ask myself if I would be an ideal consumer to buy the product or service, etc.

3a. What inspired you to become a part of DEI?

Ronisa: My family has always been my inspiration. Being able to be a voice for others who don’t feel comfortable or a light for those who don’t feel seen. I hear and see you all. Informing others on the importance of being educated is critical because you never know someone else’s situation as we don’t choose a disability, it chooses us. However, we also can overcome it together, leaning on each other as a community.

Matthew: I was inspired to become a member of DEI to surround myself with other professionals who have disabilities and learn from them. In their good company, I am inspired by their lives and their work to grow in my field. I believe we need to work together to communicate awareness within dentsu and the industry to build on the growing reputation of dentsu being “the place to be” if you have a disability where you can be accepted as who you are and be a part of the dentsu family who wants everyone to be successful. 

3b. What part of your new position are you most excited about?

Ronisa: Being in a new industry seeing our work impact people all over the world excites me every single day. Seeing our work take off in the media and sales is truly amazing! Also, being able to be a part of Team Porter (the recruiting team I’m apart of with Porter Chamblee as my Career Advocate) is great as we’re all very supportive of each other.

Matthew: This early in my career, I am MOST excited about getting my foot in the door of the digital advertising space where I want to build my career. In my specific role, I want to understand the “behind the scenes” view of why those ads appear on search engines to specific audiences and how platforms chose who the right fit is. Along that line, I enjoy looking at ads that have been created and learning from them.

4. What is your biggest accomplishment?

Ronisa: Starting my own side consulting business where I’m able to help everyday people land careers with the companies of their dreams. I do this by coaching them with mock interviews, resume edits, LinkedIn Optimization, and more. Being able to help and have an impact on others' lives is truly encouraging.

Matthew: I know this may come off as a cliché answer but having the opportunity to be a member of the dentsu family is my biggest accomplishment to date. I have worked extremely hard to get here academically and professionally. I have been told more times than I can count that “no company will hire you due to your hearing loss.” To know this still happens today means we need more companies like dentsu who will model this healthy dynamic and to DEI. It is why a company like dentsu that is committed to DEI will provide the opportunities, growth, and accept who I truly am. That feeling made all the obstacles worth it. 

5. To date, what has been your biggest learning or teaching moment?

Ronisa: Learning to walk fully in my purpose in life and who I am as a person. Often times we’re on autopilot, just living life and we don’t stop and ask ourselves if we’re even happy with what we’re doing. In 2019, I made a promise to myself that in everything I do I will love it or not do it at all. The lesson has been self-love.

Matthew: I am happy to say that I have had many teachable moments throughout my life and I eagerly wait for more. I am the cumulative total of my mentors, family, and friends. I like to grow and learn. I have an incredible group of individuals who not only support, encourage, and challenge me, they also inspire me. I have learned that one moment doesn’t define you, yet what you learn from it does. Learning from it will influence what you’ll do in the next moment, to create domino effect. Before being hired at dentsu I had interviews where I didn’t get the position. I went back and looked at the interview process and had family and friends hold mock interviews so I could improve.   

6. What is a moment in your life that defined or shaped who you are today?

Ronisa: September 19, 2015. While attending Sam Houston State University, the first football game of the semester I passed out later learning I was re-diagnosed with Generalized Epilepsy. In result, I broke both ankles landing me in the hospital for a week, living in a rehab for 3 months using a wheelchair while slowly learning how to walk again. My life changed in a moment. I’m excited to say I’ve fully recovered and no longer need a wheelchair!

Matthew: When I was in high school, I would go to a nearby elementary school to assist the teacher for the Deaf with their Deaf/HH students. I found I liked encouraging them to keep studying hard, stay strong and reach out for help. A little boy once shared that he was told he couldn’t do anything. I told him it wasn’t true at all and we talked about it. This always stuck with me because I went through that myself. It makes me sad to see kids with disabilities being treated so poorly and made to feel like a failure. I have made it my personal goal to live my life in such a way that Deaf/HH kids, and those with disabilities, can see what they are capable of and inspire others to do the same.  

7. What inspires you about your workplace culture?

Ronisa: Dentsu and their drive for change has inspired me since day one to be even more involved in driving change in life and the workplace. Knowing I’m in a role with a company that values change and the voice we have is so inspiring. It matters, and it always has!

Matthew: It inspires me daily to know that I am a member of a workplace where I am accepted for who I am and have the accommodations I need to be successful. Being at a company where employees with disabilities are treated with the same expectations as those without is essential to me. I also want to grow and get better in my field.  

8. If you currently weren’t doing what you do today professional, what would you be doing? (dream job)

Ronisa: I’ve always dreamed of traveling the world being a motivational speaker helping others based off my own life, encouraging them to keep going regardless of what life looks like at the current moment. You never know what tomorrow may bring as every day is unpredictable. The impossible is always possible, you just have to believe and have faith.

Matthew: If I weren’t doing advertising, I would probably be doing something with psychology. I always find people fascinating, their story, and the “whys” behind the decisions they make based on prior experiences. My dream career outside my current possession would be a food critic and/or movie critic. I love food and watching movies!

9. What was the first concert you went to?

Ronisa: ​​​​​​​Wiz Khalifa

Matthew: I am afraid to share it…Hilary Duff?! Not by choice! My sister wanted to go, and my mom was a single parent so I got stuck going to the concert! (My two favorite concerts were the Goo Goo Dolls and Bruno Mars.)

10. Rapid fire

a. Favorite food

Ronisa: ​​​​​​​Thai food

Matthew: Ribeye steak

b. Favorite TV show/movie

Ronisa: Avid YouTube watcher

Matthew: The Marvel movie, “Endgame.” There were 21 Marvel movies released prior to the movie “Endgame.” It was a blockbuster hit where you experience a roller coaster of emotions. Due to the series, by this movie you feel like you have built a connection with each of the characters who all ban together in order to stop the big villain. 

c. Favorite hobby/activity

Ronisa: Random adventures around the city 

Matthew: I am without a doubt a TV streaming person. I have a lot of favorite TV shows that I watch across various genres. I’m a big fan of Marvel. 

d. Favorite book

Ronisa: The Greatest Miracle in the World by OG Mandino

Matthew: Good to Great by James C. Collins. It’s a classic but it is insightful.

e. Guilty pleasure

Ronisa: Practicing TikTok dances in the mirror

Matthew: A Culver’s Cement Mixer frozen custard made with every type of chocolate mix-in available!

f. Best advice or mantra you live by (in your own words)

Ronisa: If you fast forward the story 5-10 years from now, will the things you're doing still matter or have an impact?

Matthew: Don’t let others decide who you are and who you will be, only you alone can decide the person you will become. You will be the person affected by that choice. 

 

Considerations for Successful Bidding on Microsoft Advertising

As Google and Microsoft have evolved through the years, both have found ways to identify users and bid more efficiently. They’ve grown to incorporate signals that only they as the search engine know about a user and can use those signals in combination…

As Google and Microsoft have evolved through the years, both have found ways to identify users and bid more efficiently. They’ve grown to incorporate signals that only they as the search engine know about a user and can use those signals in combination to identify the right bid for the right person, rather than layering bid modifier on top of bid modifier to determine a good, but imperfect, bid estimation.

How to Build & Execute a Facebook Marketing Strategy

When it comes to reach, no other social media platform comes close to Facebook. More than half of all active internet users worldwide use it, and two-thirds of users say they visit business pages at least once a week. The sheer size of Facebook means there’s likely an audience for any product. But that doesn’t […]

The post How to Build & Execute a Facebook Marketing Strategy appeared first on CXL.

When it comes to reach, no other social media platform comes close to Facebook. More than half of all active internet users worldwide use it, and two-thirds of users say they visit business pages at least once a week.

The sheer size of Facebook means there’s likely an audience for any product. But that doesn’t mean you can set up, start posting and watch the magic happen. 

Organic reach on the platform hovers around 5.2%. To succeed, you need to win the battle for attention and stay in the good graces of Facebook’s algorithm.

In this article, you’ll learn how to build and execute a Facebook marketing strategy around your audience’s interests. We’ll look at how to thrive with organic content and how to extend your reach with pay-to-play.

The building blocks of a successful Facebook marketing strategy

A successful Facebook marketing strategy is built using ingredients that are important to any digital marketing strategy:

1. Defined audience

2. Strong goals

3. Competitive analysis

4. Established voice

5. Consistent tracking and measuring

1. Define your audience

Effective engagement starts by understanding who it is you’re talking to. A lot of demographics data can be pulled from your market research, customer personas, and website analytics, such as:

  • Target audience age
  • Location
  • Job
  • Interests

Run this data against general Facebook demographics to understand how your audience uses the platform. 

For example, stats show that over half of Facebook users worldwide are male. But in the U.S. specifically, women are the bigger user demographic. Facebook is also the most popular social network with people over 65.

When you know how the general Facebook user base fits with your target audience, you can dig deeper into the details using Facebook Business Suite’s Insights (formerly Facebook Audience Insights).

Facebook’s data tool is designed to provide marketers with demographic and geographic information, such as:

  • Page Likes
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Top Cities and Countries
  • Location
  • Interests

With this information at hand, you can create better, targeted content.

2. Set clear goals

Every post and ad should work toward achieving your goal. That goal depends on how you plan to use Facebook to drive your overall marketing strategy and business objectives.

For inspiration, here are the ten most common goals according to Hootsuite research:

Infographic with common social media goals

To ensure your goals lead to real results, use a goal-setting framework like S.M.A.R.T., which stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

For example, a S.M.A.R.T. goal to increase brand awareness might be to:

Increase our post shares on Facebook by 20% in the next quarter. 

For every goal you set, choose the most relevant metrics to track. 

Facebook metrics infographic

So, if your goal is to generate leads, you’ll measure things like sign-ups and clicks on your cover photo CTA button. 

If you want to increase traffic, look at actions such as clicks, referral traffic, and conversions.

3. Research the competition

If you’re using Facebook, odds are at least one of your competitors is too. Running competitive analysis will help you unearth what they’re doing well and spot exploitable opportunities.

Pick out six to eight of your competitors and look for:

  • The kinds of posts they’re sharing
  • Which posts get the most engagement
  • What people are saying in the comments
  • How they interact with their audience in comments
  • How their Facebook Page is completed (How do they describe themselves? What category did they choose?)

Also, examine how they are talked about by the community. 

By going to More, and then clicking Community on a Facebook business page, you can read through public posts tagging them and posts shared to their page. 

Screenshot of Adobe Facebook page

This will give you an insight into the general sentiment around a company and how they deliver customer service.

Screenshot of Adobe Facebook page

Additionally, you can use social listening to understand how competitors are using Facebook.

For example, a search for “Adobe” brings up a stream of public posts and related searches. Results can also be filtered by Posts, People, Photos, Videos, Marketplace, Pages, Places, Groups, and Events to deep dive into the brand’s Facebook presence.

Facebook Page search results

Use this competitive strategy to your advantage when planning your content.

4. Establishing your voice

Before you create content, decide on how you’re going to present yourself.

Everything you do on Facebook is exercising your brand voice. It needs to be consistent with your brand personality and fitting for your audience’s personalities.

It also needs to be right for the platform. Your Facebook audience might not use the same language as your Twitter or LinkedIn audience.

Take Salesforce. The tone of its content on Facebook is conversational but professional and benefit-driven:

Salesforce Facebook post example

On Twitter, its tone is conversational but more quirky and fun. 

Facebook Twitter content example

It’s clear that the company has adapted its tone of voice to suit the specific platform.

Use your audience insights and competitive research, along with your brand guidelines, to influence how your content will look, feel, and sound on Facebook.

5. Track and measure performance

Facebook marketing is trial and error. Especially so in the early days. During this time, you’ll need to test different kinds of content with your audience.

Tracking and measuring are essential to understand what worked and what didn’t to better hone your content marketing.

Facebook makes it easy to analyze performance via Business Suite.

In the Insights tab we mentioned earlier, you’ll find overall and individual post results for organic and paid content. 

Here you can delve into metrics, trends, and visual reports. Use it to find out:

  • Post engagement (i.e. likes, comments, and shares)
  • Follower demographic data
  • Page reach

Facebook also has a Creator Studio designed for content creators. This also has an Insights tab that provides valuable data on:

  • Followers and viewers
  • Impressions
  • Reach
  • Engagement
  • Loyalty and performance  

Use this data to continually adjust your goals and see where to focus your resources. Create, test, measure, tweak, repeat.

Use content to build a community

To know how to succeed with your marketing, it helps to understand how Facebook manages its algorithm. 

In 2018, Facebook rolled out a major update to its algorithm to center it more around content from individuals’ friends, family, and groups and less from businesses. It promised that public content from businesses users did see would “encourage meaningful interactions between people.”

In 2019, it announced the widespread use of surveys to gather feedback to ensure users saw relevant content in their News Feed.

“These changes aren’t meant to show more or less from Pages or friends. Rather, the Page links that are surfaced to people will be ones they find worth their time—and the friend posts will be from friends people want to hear from most.” [via Facebook News post]

This all means that, as a business, if you want to continually show up in a user’s Facebook feed, you have to be as relevant and valuable to them as their friends and family. 

Likes, comments, reactions, and shares are all indicators that your content is valuable. The more people engage with your content, the more relevant it will be seen by Facebook’s algorithms.

So the way to achieve a consistent level of engagement is by doing what Facebook wants you to do: bring people together.

There are two ways to build a community around your organic Facebook content:

1. Publishing via a Facebook Business Page

2. Creating a Facebook Group

1. Creating a Facebook Business Page

A Facebook Business Page is your brand’s corner of Facebook. It’s where followers can come to learn more about you, find out the latest news, read your content, and ask questions. It’s also the version of you that will show up in News Feeds.

Your Page profile photo and cover photo should be consistent with your brand. The former appears every time you comment on the post or publish in the News Feed, so make this your brand logo.

Slack’s Facebook Page, for example, is in keeping with its company branding. 

Slack Facebook page screenshot

Your Page information should also be filled out completely.

Facebook will show you tips on how to do this when you create your page and remind you to include all items.

  • Description: A brief intro about your company and Page
  • Categories: Industries that describe your business and help people find your page
  • Contact information: Website, email address, phone number, etc. 
  • Location: Your address if you have a physical premises people can visit
  • Hours: Business opening times if you operate selected hours

Here’s an example of how each of these elements look on Salesforce’s Facebook Page:

Salesforce Facebook page about information

Next, you should create a username for your Page. This will make it easier for people to find and give you a neat vanity URL to share.

Slack, for example, has @slackhq. Buffer has @bufferapp:

Buffer Facebook page permalink

Finally, add a call-to-action button. This gives you one more way to get visitors to take action. 

Buffer Facebook page screenshot

It’s also worth arranging tabs so that visitors to your Page can easily find what they’re looking for.

As well as the standard About, Photos, and Videos tabs, Buffer includes Reviews, Events, and Community tabs. It also integrates its Facebook Page with its Twitter and YouTube accounts. 

Buffer Facebook page CTAs

This allows people to find information and view additional content without leaving Facebook. Thus, keeping them interacting with the Buffer Page for longer. 

Creating engaging content for your Facebook Page

Content can be driven by your audience insights and competitive analysis. Start posting and then fine-tune as the data rolls in. 

To find the right balance, follow what Hootsuite calls the social media “Rule of Thirds”:

“⅓ share posts to promote your business, convert readers, and generate profits

⅓ share posts of ideas from influencers in your industry (or like-minded businesses)

⅓ share posts of personal stories to build your brand

Sharing out content shows your followers…

You know your industry

You’re collaborative

Where you’re positioned within the industry”

In terms of the type of content to use when sharing native posts, video is a safe bet. Research from Buffer and Buzzsumo shows that video generates 59% more engagement than other types of posts. Questions are a distant second, followed by photos and giveaways. 

Interestingly, vertical videos have a higher engagement rate than landscape and square videos. This makes sense when you consider that almost four in five people access the platform via mobile. By comparison, only 1.7% use Facebook on a computer.

Keep description copy short and let the post itself do the talking. Around 50 characters or less is the optimal number.

Uber uses short-form video posts with concise copy to educate followers, including CTA links for users to learn more. 

Uber Facebook post example

Mailchimp combines video and short statuses to sell the benefits of its products and services. 

Mailchimp Facebook post example

In both cases, however, video is used as part of a wider Rule of Thirds strategy that includes links to web content, shared insights from the community, and personal stories. 

Experiment with different kinds of posts, content volume (Facebook recommends posting two to three times a week), and posting times to see how it resonates with your audience. 

But keep in mind that what you post is only one part of creating an engaged community. What you do after hitting publish is every bit as important.

Let customers know you’re there

With an engaged community, followers will often interact with each other and even help each other out.

This comment thread from a Shopify Facebook post being a prime example:

Facebook comment thread from Shopify

You joining the conversation is a great way to get closer to your audience, humanizing your brand and giving Facebook what it wants: people interacting with people. 

Take Buffer. Rather than leaving a reaction to comments, members of the Buffer team jump in and reply: 

Facebook comment thread by Buffer

This shows that real people are reading the comments. It also leaves a positive impression on the user.

Shopify does a similar thing, using comments to respond to customer problems. 

Facebook comments interaction with Shopify

This not only gives people the help they need, it shows others that a team is on hand to answer their questions. 

This is important. Facebook research shows 70% of people expect to message businesses more in the future for customer service questions, while 69% of U.S. Facebook users who message businesses say it makes them feel more confident about the brand.

So, be responsive to customer messages on your page.

Hubspot research shows that users expect a business to respond almost immediately.

If your team can’t respond quickly, it might be a good idea to set up automated replies or chatbots loaded with FAQ answers for around-the-clock responses.

Ultimately, however, most customers will want to reach a real human, so it’s essential that your Page is closely monitored by a social team.

To decide whether live chat or chatbots is the best strategy for your business, take a look at Jared Cornell’s CXL post on the questions you should ask.

Getting people to like your Facebook Page

The more likes your Page has, the more people it will reach. Over time, content engagement will help bring new followers to your Page. In the early days, you’ll need to make people aware it exists.

Facebook has some tips on how to do this:

Share your Page on your personal News Feed. Tell your friends and family about your Page. In your post, ask them to like the Page and share it with people who may also be interested in your business. To share your Page, select Share below your Page’s cover photo.

Invite friends to like your Page. Invite friends you think would be interested in your business to like your Page. Learn how to invite friends.

Ask friends to share your Page with their networks. Your friends can help you reach even more people. Ask if they’ll share a link to your Page in a post on their timeline.

Post as the Page in groups. Post as your Page in local groups or groups related to your industry. This is a good way to reach your community.

In addition to these tips, you should link to your Facebook Page from your website, as well as in email signatures and footers. Basically, anywhere outside of Facebook where you interact with your audience. 

Nanit, for example, adds social media icons and a CTA to the bottom of its email newsletter.

It also links to each of its social accounts in the footer of its website.

Nanit website footer

These links may not drive a lot of traffic, but they make it easier for people to find the Nanit Facebook Page. This is the aim of the game: remove the barriers in your customers’ way. 

2. Creating a Facebook Group

Facebook’s algorithm is geared towards showing users conversations from the groups they’re in. So, starting a Facebook Group can help you consistently show up in the News Feed.

More than that, it’s a way to build a community for networking, building customer relationships, providing support, and developing brand advocates. 

If a Page is for broadcasting to your audience, a Group is for having conversations with them.

And they’re popular too. Facebook says that 1.8 billion people use Groups every month. 

Before you create a Group, decide on its purpose. A group needs to meet the needs of a community. Therefore, you should ask yourself:

  • What unites you and your audience?
  • What are your shared interests?
  • What are you an expert in and confident talking about?

For example, CXL has a Facebook Group for Conversion Optimization, Analytics & Growth

CXL Facebook group

This is what CXL specializes in and what its audience cares about, which allows for engaging conversations on a range of relevant topics.

Once you’re clear on its reasons for existing, creating a Facebook Group is straightforward:

“To create a group:

* Click in the top right of Facebook and select Group.

* Enter your group name.

* Select the privacy option. If you selected private, select whether to make your group visible or hidden.

* Add people to your group.

* Click Create.

Once you create your Group, you personalize it by uploading a cover photo and adding a description.

Note: We recommend that group admins share any commercial or business affiliations in the group, as well as updating the group if affiliations change. You can update the group by changing the group description and making an announcement.” [via Facebook]

Before sharing your Group with your audience, you should also set some ground rules. The larger the community becomes, the harder it becomes to moderate. Rules help to keep things civil and on topic.

For instance, Canva’s Design Circle asks its members to adhere to clear guidelines:

Canva Facebook group about information

CXL’s group admins also set no-nonsense rules:

CXL Facebook group rules

If your group is set to private, you’ll also have the option of keeping bots and trolls out with member applications. Additionally, it will give you a chance to find out if would-be members are suitable.

MobileMonkey vets its members with three questions that aim to discover a person’s motivations:

MobileMonkey Facebook group survey quesitons

This ensures that incoming members are genuine and bring value to the group.

Facebook Group best practices

Once your Facebook Group is set up with a clear code of conduct, you can begin generating engagement. Here are four best practices for keeping the conversation flowing.

1. Show up consistently

Your Group is predominantly a place for members to connect and chat under the umbrella of your brand and purpose. For the most part, they can lead the conversation with their questions and replies.

However, you shouldn’t be a ghost. Remember that the majority of people sign up because they’re fans of you. Take the time to join in with conversations and provide topics of discussion.

CXL founder, Peep Laja, is an active user of the CXL group, often jumping in to answer questions:

CXL Facebook group interaction

Other members of the CXL team are also regulars in the group, posting questions and keeping engagement high:

Facebook group member post

This helps bring the community closer together, removing barriers between company and fans.

Showing up regularly also helps to ensure content is moderated, so any flagged or spam posts don’t ruin the experience.

2. Post at peak times

Use Facebook Group Insights to learn more about your members and keep them engaged.

Examine engagement data to see when people are most active in the group. This way, you’ll be able to publish posts at times when people are likely to see and interact with them.

If your group is a global community, you may find that peak times are outside of your work hours. 

In this case, you can schedule posts to engage your audience and jump in on the comments at a time that suits you. This will also help you to bump posts back to the top of the feed, prolonging the conversation. 

3. Offer a unique experience

Groups offer a feeling of exclusivity. Members are part of something that the general Facebook population isn’t.

Play into this by giving them content they won’t get anywhere else. This might include:

  • Live Q&As
  • Product and feature announcements
  • Member-only discount codes
  • Quizzes

For example, founders of The Copywriter Club Facebook Group, Rob Marsh and Kira Hug regularly host live video sessions on a variety of topics that are relevant to the community. 

Facebook live video example

This gives members a reason to be in the group at a specific time. It also gives people a reason to join: being in The Copywriter Club is the only way to hear these tips from two successful copywriters. 

4. Spread the word

Share your group far and wide with regular posts on your Facebook Page, links on your website and other social channels, and in conversations with prospects. 

For example, Beard brand Mo Bro’s includes links to its Group in blog posts.

Mo Bro's blog post CTAs

This helps them capitalize on reader engagement.

Freelance Heroes does a similar thing with its Twitter account, encouraging active and engaged followers to join its popular Facebook Group.

Freelance Heroes Facebook group event

Make cross-promotion part of your marketing strategy. After all, the more people you have in your Facebook Group, the greater engagement.

Using Facebook ads to extend reach

As rewarding as your Page and Group will be for community building and forming lasting relationships, there’s no getting away from the fact that Facebook is very much a pay-to-play platform.

With organic reach hard to come by, paying for ads is likely a matter of time.

Running ads will be particularly beneficial to you early on when you’re looking to raise brand awareness and get people interested in your Facebook presence. It will also help you attract and convert customers when your Page and Group numbers are thin on the ground.

Facebook ads are a proven tactic. Facebook offers the highest CTR of the four ad placements offered by Ads Manager (Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Audience Network). And ROI has shown to be more than 4x better than Google Ads. 

The bottom line is: Facebook wants you to spend money on advertising. That’s how it makes its money. And it’s why it puts a lot of work into helping you succeed. 

It created Facebook Ads Manager to make ad management easier for marketers. It also developed a free course to help you get started.

Using Facebook Audiences to reach more people

Within Ads Manager, Facebook provides audience creation and data gathering tools to help reach the right people at the right time to increase visibility. 

1. Core Audiences   

Core Audiences let you create audiences based on their location, demographics, interests, connections, and behavior. This is data that can all be pulled from your customer persona and target audience information.

Use this option for reaching an audience who don’t know you exist with brand awareness ads, like this one from Miro:

Miro Facebook ad example

2. Custom Audiences

Custom Audiences can be used to engage people on Facebook who are already aware of your brand. You can use sources such as customer lists, website or app traffic, or Facebook engagement to create these audiences.

Use Custom Audiences to re-engage and retarget potential customers (more on the tool that enables retargeting soon).

For example, you can run ads to target people who haven’t visited your website in a while to encourage them to check out a blog post or special offer.

You can also upsell or retarget users who didn’t complete a purchase. 

This ad from Graze shows how a Custom Audience has been used to target trial users who haven’t subscribed.

By using an incentive (“Your fifth Graze box is on us!”), Graze tempts users into giving them another try. 

3. Lookalike Audiences

Lookalike Audiences use existing Custom Audiences to reach people who are likely to be interested in your business because they share similar characteristics. 

You can model these closely to your Custom Audience so that ads reach people that match your existing audience exactly, or more broadly, to reach a wider audience. 

This tactic is best used if you know what you’re selling (e.g., a specific product) and you have a detailed list of past customers in your CRM.

The Facebook Pixel

As well as Audiences, Facebook also lets you use the Facebook Pixel. It’s a piece of code that you add to your website to improve your overall Facebook ad campaigns. 

“If you have access to your website’s code, you can add the Facebook pixel yourself. Simply place the Facebook pixel base code (what you see when you create your pixel) on all pages of your website. Then add standard events to the pixel code on the special pages of your website, such as your add-to-basket page or your purchase page.” [via Facebook]

By installing this on your site, every action a person takes on your website is reported to Facebook. 

This data can be used to automatically create Custom Audiences of people who visit your site. You can then use this to show people targeted ads for items or content they’ve previously viewed.

What type of ads should you run?

Successful ads are the result of consistent A/B testing and much time spent going back to the drawing board.

A simple way to find out which type of ads your audience will engage with is to look at your most popular content.

  • Which of your Facebook posts get the most engagement?
  • What pages or products on your site drive the most traffic?

For example, say videos get the most engagement on your page. And your blog attracts a lot of visitors to your site. Short video ads promoting your Facebook Group as a place to discuss blog topics, targeted at blog visitors, might convince them to sign up. 

It also pays to look at benchmark data and trends to find out which ads perform best.

According to Socialinsider, status ads have the highest CTR, followed by photo and share ads (ads created out of existing posts). 

Status ads work well because they mirror what people see in the news feed and therefore appear less like blatant ads.

Styling ads this way is a tactic recommended by Successful Ads Club founder Tara Zirker:

“The best ads I’ve come across—and those I’ve run for my business—match the news feed in terms of copy and imagery, making the ads feel more like organic posts. The ads blend in with the other feed content, so people are more likely to stop scrolling and read them.” [via Social Media Examiner

Statuses, however, are only the fifth most popular ad format chosen by ad creators. Share and video ads are much more common.  

For video ads, Tara Zirker suggests keeping videos short:

“Often, businesses are intimidated by the prospect of creating video, thinking they need a three-minute or longer scripted video that’s polished and professional. One way to make the process easier is to simply create shorter videos. You may be surprised at how much content you can fit into a 20 or 30-second video and how effective it can be in your ads.” [via Social Media Examiner]

Facebook agrees. They reported that 47% of the value in mobile video campaigns is delivered in the first three seconds. So keep it short and sweet.

To maximize engagement, Facebook encourages users to capture attention early:

They also offer tips on how to improve the effectiveness of ads in general, including:

  • Using vertical video for a more pleasing view experience on mobile devices
  • Limiting image text to less than 20% and using a smaller font
  • Keeping ad copy short, clear, and concise. 
  • Using multiple images, also known as a carousel ad, to highlight different aspects of your product or brand
  • Adding movement to ads, such as animating Stories ads, creating timelapse videos, and using GIFs.

Whatever kind of ad you run, the most important thing is that it complements your Facebook marketing strategy. 

This should be, as Facebook Advertising Expert Curt Maly says, to build relationships:

“Instead of just asking people to buy your stuff, we want to engage them with relevant, high-quality content in the way they want to learn.”

Use Facebook Ads Manager to measure campaign performance and optimize ads so that they’re seen by—and bring you closer to—the right audience. 

Conclusion

There’s an audience on Facebook for your business. To find it and turn it into an engaged and profitable community, play by Facebook’s rules.

Be as relevant to your target audience as their friends and family by designing content around their needs and being an active presence in their News Feeds.

Start with a strategy built on providing value to a small number of your target audience. Secure their engagement and loyalty, and over time, your reach will snowball.

The post How to Build & Execute a Facebook Marketing Strategy appeared first on CXL.

Three Ways Brands Can Cultivate Emotional Loyalty

Customers want to know that a brand appreciates them. Learn about our latest loyalty and consumer engagement research and the three ways brands can cultivate long-lasting relationships.

You may have asked yourself, “Do consumers want a relationship wi…

Customers want to know that a brand appreciates them. Learn about our latest loyalty and consumer engagement research and the three ways brands can cultivate long-lasting relationships.

You may have asked yourself, “Do consumers want a relationship with a brand?” and the answer is, “Yes.”

Jotform: How This 10 Million User Company Rebranded Itself

Many companies have the same brand image today as a decade ago. As a result, they give an outdated and unexciting impression to people. Sometimes it’s necessary to reinvent your brand to improve how users perceive it. After 15 years and 10 million user…

Many companies have the same brand image today as a decade ago. As a result, they give an outdated and unexciting impression to people. Sometimes it’s necessary to reinvent your brand to improve how users perceive it. After 15 years and 10 million users, Jotform has decided to rebrand itself. They changed their logo, tagline, […]

The post Jotform: How This 10 Million User Company Rebranded Itself first appeared on UX Movement.

Creating Impactful Post-purchase Experiences

Customer acquisition strategies can be costly, and it will always be cheaper and easier to convert an existing customer than to convert a brand-new customer. With this in mind, it is becoming clear that brands should prioritize customer retention as th…

Customer acquisition strategies can be costly, and it will always be cheaper and easier to convert an existing customer than to convert a brand-new customer. With this in mind, it is becoming clear that brands should prioritize customer retention as they grapple with ever-changing consumer trends. A good customer retention strategy should include a strong emphasis on the post-purchase journey.

This article will walk through some key considerations as you look to improve your brand's post-purchase experience.

How to Predict & Adjust Monthly Spend with Our PPC Forecasting Tool

We introduce our Short-Term Budget Pacing & Adjustments Tool to help you to forecast your PPC spend and run your campaigns more efficiently.

Budget planning and forecasting is a fundamental part of paid search advertising, regardless of which platform you’re using. 

The more you expand your campaign portfolio, the more challenging it can be to make sure you’re allocating ad spend in the right places, especially considering seasonality and other fluctuations in demand.

Today, we introduce a tool to help alleviate those challenges. We call it our Short-Term Budget Pacing & Adjustments Tool.

Not only does this new tool inform the quick changes every paid search marketer makes during the course of the month, it will also create multiple short-term forecasts, including:

  • Projected month spend, based on current spend rate
  • Suggested budget adjustments, based on remaining monthly budget
  • Budget spend allocations, based on campaign type, custom campaign segmentation, or individual campaign

By better anticipating how your campaigns will perform in a short period, we hope our tool helps you make more informed projections and adjustments on a granular level — and satisfy those clients who are always asking for spending updates.

Below, I’ll walk you through why short-term budget forecasting is important, scenarios where our tool can improve your pay-per-click (PPC) marketing, and how to use this search advertising budget calculator for your best campaign results.

Download our free Short-Term Budget Pacing & Adjustments Tool now.

Why Short-Term PPC Forecasting is Important

Many PPC marketers prefer looking at the bigger picture — how they’re scaling an account’s spend from month-to-month or year-to-year. But, if you solely focus on those long-term numbers, you can overlook the spending trends that occur within the month, such as new ad or campaign launches, seasonality spikes, and more. 

Knowing where your ad spend budget will (or can) go during the space of a month or a few weeks helps you more easily adjust your budgets on the fly — and, combined with your intimate campaign knowledge, ensure that you’re allocating budget in the most effective places.

Short-term forecasting may seem simple on its face, but it’s a valuable strategy our experts use frequently when optimizing client PPC campaigns.

Introducing Our PPC Budget Calculator: Inflow’s Budget Pacing & Adjustments Tool

Ad platforms like Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising make it easy to spend your budget — but not as easy to plan your budget for that spend. So, we created an Excel spreadsheet tool to help PPC marketers out.

Our Short-Term Budget Pacing & Adjustments Tool is all about making the most of your last-minute campaign adjustments by understanding the data available to you. By calculating forecasted daily ad spend from monthly budget history, you’ll be able to:

  • Make well-informed budget adjustments for a short period of time
  • More nimbly create accurate spending projections for customized increments of time
  • Understand allocation opportunities for limited budget
  • Create custom campaign segmentations taking into account recent trends
  • And gain a top-level campaign view of ad spend trends and projections

A note from our team: We know that budget is (and shouldn’t be!) the sole factor in budgeting your ad spend. While this tool forecasts your ad spend, you’ll need to use your own knowledge of your accounts (revenue, high-performing campaigns, seasonality changes, etc.) to determine the best optimizations for your client’s needs.

Inflow's Budget Pacing & Adjustments Tool spreadsheet overview.

How to Use Our Short-Term Budget Pacing & Adjustments Tool

Our PPC budget adjustments tool can be used for both simple and complex forecasting of monthly spend on Google Ads. You can also easily use it for Microsoft Ads, Facebook Ads, and other advertising platforms.

Start by downloading our spreadsheet tool here. We’ll walk you through the rest of the steps below.

Step 1: Add Your Campaign Data

Once you’ve downloaded our spreadsheet tool, you’ll need to add the proper historical data points:

  • Campaign
  • Day
  • Campaign Type
  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • Cost
  • Transactions
  • Revenue
  • Impression Share
  • Impression Share Lost Due to Budget
  • Impression Share Lost Due to Rank
  • Custom Segmentation (if applicable)

You don’t need to use a script to download your data set. We recommend using Supermetrics or another data platform to import your campaign reports from your Google Ads account, Microsoft Ads account, or another platform. Copy and paste this information into the “Data” tab.

Inflow's Budget Pacing & Adjustments Tool, with arrow pointing to "Campaign Data - UPLOAD YOURS HERE" tab.

Step 2: Customize Your Dashboard Data

Within the “Dashboard” tab, find the customization area:

Customization section within Inflow's Budget Pacing & Adjustments Tool. Highlighted: Lookback Window, Days in Month, Budget, Beginning of Month.

Input your own data into the highlighted sections. Add the current month to the “beginning of month” tab, as well as the days in the month, your client’s budget, and the current date.

The tool will average out your daily spend up to the current date, and then evaluate the current ad spend to calculate the PPC forecast for the remainder of the month, if all spend holds steady.

But we know PPC ad spend doesn’t always work in averages. Sharp ad spend increases and decreases can impact your forecast. Your clients may also be interested in more granular forecasts. 

That’s why we created what I call our “telescoping” feature — a lookback window that evaluates your forecasted spend based on recent days, not the monthly average. We find this particularly useful for evaluating the launch of a new PPC strategy when pushing for more budget from clients.

Here’s an example: Say your daily average spend rate is $2,000, but that daily spend has shot up to $4,000 a day in the last three days. Our lookback window will calculate your new average daily spend, based on that increase. All you have to do is add “3” into the lookback window, and you’ll see what your new monthly spend will be.

If you have a rigid budget your client wants you to hit, we have an option for that, too. Just add in your monthly budget to the customization area, and look at the “Daily Spend Target @ Budget” to see how much you need to be spending each day, based on your recent spending activity.

Customization section within Inflow's Budget Pacing & Adjustments Tool. Highlighted: Lookback Window, Days in Month, Budget, Beginning of Month. "Daily Spend Target @ Budget" included.

Step 3: Segment Your Campaign Data to Identify Spend Optimization.

If you’ve completed the first two steps, you’ll get the basic spend projections you’re looking for. But we know detailed is always better, which is why our tool offers a closer look at campaign segmentation by:

  • Campaign type
  • Campaign name
  • Custom labels
Campaign Type

Get a more detailed look at your ad spend by campaign (Search, Shopping, Display) with the first section in our dashboard. The tool will calculate all the same spend forecasts, giving you a better idea of rough PPC performance by certain campaign types and remaining ad spend for the month. 

Inflow's Budget Pacing & Adjustments Tool, with arrow pointing to "Segmented by Campaign Type" section.
Campaign Name

One of the trickiest parts of Google Ads: Google will show you the total campaign budget, but not what you’re actually spending granularly by campaign name. Fortunately, our tool will automatically segment this information when you import your Google Analytics data.

Pair the tool’s forecasted data with your internal campaign data to plan for a campaign-specific daily spend rate that meets your client’s goals.

Inflow's Budget Pacing & Adjustments Tool "Segmented by Campaign" spreadsheet section.
Custom Labels

While your imported data will automatically carry over your campaign type and names, we’ve made room for custom segmentation, too. 

Use the “Custom Segmentation” tab to organize individual campaigns by the metrics you choose (ex: top-tier, high-performer). By adding just a few labels, you can run analysis based on your internal account knowledge and get a better sense of what your accounts are forecasted to spend — and whether you should adjust those accordingly.

Inflow's Budget Pacing & Adjustments Tool "Segmented by Campaign" spreadsheet section.

Not only can this data give you enough time to make quick budget adjustments throughout the month, it can support an argument to increase monthly ad spend if you’re experiencing a surge in results across campaigns.

While staying within your allotted budget is important, it’s even more important to understand your client goals (including ROAS, CPC, conversion rate, and CTR) well enough that you can push spend aggressively when you see the opportunities to do so.

Download This (and Other Tools) Now

Unfortunately, this tool doesn’t take into account the full suite of performance metrics — yet. 

As eCommerce, we understand the importance of a full-fledged budget, performance, and PPC forecasting strategy. These aspects are so tightly related that the best campaign results can only come from a truly integrated tool set. 

That’s why we encourage a dual approach to PPC management: using tools like this to enhance the internal campaign knowledge you already have. You can’t rely solely on automation, but you can use it to inform the strategies you’re already taking (and save yourself some reporting time, too).

Start forecasting your short-term ad spend budget by downloading our tool now.

Download Our Short-Term Budget Pacing & Adjustments Tool Now. Logo: Inflow. Attract. Convert. Grow.

Want more free PPC management tools? Check out our full list of digital marketing resources, including our:

Interested in search engine optimization (SEO) forecasting, too? Check out our comparison guide to find the right tool for you.

In the meantime, let us know how this new tool works for you (and other tools you’d like to see from our team) in the comments below.

Want our team to make custom campaign optimizations for your eCommerce business? Request a free proposal anytime to see what our PPC marketing strategies can do for you.