But I wouldn’t write social media off that quickly.
We know that people are spending more and more time on their phones, and a lot of that time is spent on social media apps. We also know that social media users regularly interact with companies they are interested in or already do business with. So not only is social media free, but your customers and prospects are already there waiting to hear from you.
A quick perusal, or a dark hole of scrolling.
For small businesses focused on community and individual customers, this makes social media a powerful platform for connecting directly with an audience to build brand awareness and brand loyalty. Even better, social media is also an effective platform for lead generation. You can create the content and resources that will provide added value to your prospects and customers, all the while nurturing their brand affinity. When users click on your content or offer, they are actively looking for it or opting in to receive updates by following your business. Because these people have already opted in, they’re likelier to convert than a random person seeing an ad or offer unrelated to what they need.
Social media is a free and easy tool for businesses to connect directly with people interested in their brand, and it’s fun (c’mon, we have gifs!). Free, easy, and fun doesn’t mean that you can just log in and start posting, though. Before that, you need to set a social media strategy.
Let me tell you why.
Why your small business needs a social media strategy
Back in the day, with only a few options for social media, and before each social platform had been defined by its own specific value-add, businesses could just pop in and post whatever, whenever. The world of business on social media was sparse, and the capabilities of businesses to connect with their target audience even more so.
Not the case today, my friend.
Social media is now an important part of an inbound marketing strategy. Creating valuable content and ranking well for...
Facebook quietly launches an Opportunities tab
Last Friday, our paid advertising expert, Kristina, as well as one of the account managers on our Managed Services team, Scott, noticed something new in the Facebook Ads UI: an Opportunities tab, much like the Recommendations tab we all know from Google Ads.
As you can see from the screenshot Scott sent me, the new Opportunities tab features two sections: Recommendations and Success Stories.
In the Recommendations section, Facebook Ads provides optimization tips as well as pieces of content that can help you learn more (and make a more informed decision). In the Success Stories section, you’ll find case studies of other advertisers that leveraged the optimization tip Facebook Ads has given you.
This new Opportunities tab is Facebook Ads’ attempt to draw your attention toward the things the platform thinks you should be doing. Although we’re firm believers in the effectiveness of machine learning, if you notice this new tab in your Facebook Ads account, you should definitely educate yourself on each recommendation before implementing.
Here's what Kristina had to say about it:
"Similar to Google Ads' Recommendations tab, it seems like Facebook Ads is making a play to drive adoption of new features. While Google Ads also offers optimization tips in their Recommendations section, Facebook Ads is displaying success stories. I'm excited about this section because I can filter through and find advertisers like me, which creates inspiration for new strategies and tests for our account."
Google releases new shopping ad formats in Images
In order to deliver better search experiences to online shoppers who want to consume visual content before making purchases, Google has begun testing shoppable ads in the image results.
According to the announcement post linked above, half of all online shoppers say that images inspire them to make purchases. That’s why so many consumers turn to Google Images when they’re hoping to discover new brands and products. This new ad format that Google has introduced enables you to tag several products in your sponsored image result and let users know that they’re available for...
We’re back for a third year. This time, we asked more questions than ever before. If you’d like to know more about the services agencies offer, the fees they charge for those services, the biggest challenges they face, and more, you’ve come to the right place.
We collected the data you’ll find below by surveying our agency customers (who represent roughly a third of the companies who use WordStream Advisor). We heard back from hundreds of agencies, many located outside the US.
Ready to learn more about how internet marketing agencies run in 2019? Let’s get started!
No time to read this report now? You can download it for later.
1. How does your agency price your paid search services?
Whereas roughly half of our agency customers use a flat fee model to charge clients for their paid search services—we observed nearly the exact same thing in 2018—34% charge according to percentage of ad spend. This marks a sizeable jump; only 25% of respondents reported using a percentage of spend model last year.
In step with last year, 11% of agencies charge for paid search with billable hours. The percentage using an alternative model has fallen from 12% to 5% year-over-year. Ostensibly, many of those who used an alternative model in 2018 have made the switch to percentage of spend.
The chief advantage of the percentage of ad spend model is that your revenue automatically jumps as soon as your client boosts their monthly budget. The big downside, though, is that some clients will change their budget every month—thus forcing you to deal with some volatility in your revenue.
2. What percentage of ad spend do you charge?
Nearly 70% of our agency customers who use the percentage of ad spend model for their paid search services charge somewhere between 10 and 20%. 6% charge less than 10%, and 14% charge over 20%.
3. Does your agency charge additional fees for any of the following?
Last year, we found that one out of every five agencies charges no additional fees. This year, that figure is down to one out of every seven.
As was the case last year, nearly two-thirds of agencies charge their clients extra for...
They’re both full of hidden gems.
When you’re in dire need of some sweet tunes to throw on while you cook Sunday dinner, do you simply put Led Zeppelin IV on shuffle and call it a night?
Heavens to Betsy—I sure hope not. You should be playing songs from across all eight albums, basking in the glory of early covers like “Dazed and Confused” and late-career triumphs like “Fool in the Rain.” It’s the only way to get the most out of one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll catalogues of all time.
You should approach WordStream Advisor the same way.
Adding keywords via the 20-Minute Work Week.
Sure—the 20-Minute Work Week is a hell of a tool. The ability to check in once a week and quickly add negatives, optimize bids, and add extensions is super convenient. In minutes, you can effectively streamline some of the most mind-numbing parts of PPC account management.
But there’s so much more.
For example, if you navigate to the Manage tab, you can customize the metrics columns to your liking. If you want insights into auction prices, conversion values, or return on ad spend (ROAS), you can make it happen.
Or maybe you could use a closer look at the keywords that are frequently triggered by users’ search queries. If you head over to QueryStream, you’ll see a small information icon next to each target keyword. Hover over it, and you’ll discover its Quality Score, its maximum CPC, and the corresponding SERP.
Perhaps you’ve mastered the art of static text ads and you’re ready to venture into more dynamic media. Did you know that WordStream Advisor enables you to create unique, engaging Facebook video ads in a matter of minutes? Now you do.
Want to zoom out for a bit? Head to the Dashboard and check out your Biggest Movers. Here, you can get a bird’s eye view of your performance across metrics and platforms. Whether you want to evaluate your Facebook CPA over the past month or your Google Ads conversion volume over the past year, the Dashboard makes high-level analysis easy and comprehensible.
The point: WordStream Advisor is full of hidden gems. Regardless of your goals, your scale, or your industry, there’s always additional value to be discovered. If you’re unsure of where to start your journey, check out the wonderfully gamified infographic below—...
You understand that people aren’t going to search for you on Google or Bing unless they know you exist, right? That’s awesome!
So you see the value in display advertising, and you want to learn more about the Display Network. Well, you came to the right post.
Whether you are setting up a new display campaign or trying to squeeze all the worth from your current campaigns, there are many nuances to the Display Network that can make or break an ad group’s performance. Here are the top four facts that I share with anyone who wants to work with Display ads.
Fact #1: Placements don’t have to stick to websites
Most advertisers think of the Display Network as a collection of websites where we can show ads. While this line of thinking is mostly correct, it’s not fully complete. Yes, we can show ads on websites, but our ads can also appear on YouTube channels, YouTube videos, relevant apps, and app categories.
Just as exact match isn’t truly exact, your managed placements might not be as exact as you want them to be either. If the website you choose as a related app, your ads can also show up on that app even if you do not select it as a placement. Even if you are choosing specific placements, monitor your placement reports often to really make sure your ads are showing up on the websites you want them to be.
I recently wrote about some of my favorite ways to find new placements to target for the Display Network. Check it out if you are looking for a new approach to find and test placements.
Fact #2: Keyword targeting can work in a couple ways
Before you even consider picking keywords in your Display campaign, you need to understand the keyword settings. If you are currently running Display campaigns with keyword targeting, the two settings we have are Audiences and Content. Here is what a current keyword setting looks like for an ad group I have been running for a while.
The Audience setting will show your ads to users are have an active interest in your selected keywords. If you have this option selected, it’s important to know Google started changing the Audience setting to have users create custom intent audiences instead. Google advises how to manage this change on the Google Ads help page for Display keywords: “To continue showing your ads to...
Here at WordStream, we’re committed to helping businesses like yours launch effective and profitable campaigns across search and social. Towards that end, we took it upon ourselves to identify five online advertising campaigns (two on Google, three on Facebook) that struck marketing gold.
Each of the following campaigns is a high-performer in its own right. From Facebook lead ads, to Custom Audience creation, to search network omnipresence, to account structure refinement—these campaigns leverage strategies you’re probably familiar with. They just do so in an extraordinarily effective way.
So while myself and fellow content specialist Conor Bond will be diving way deeper into each of these five campaigns (and what makes them successful) in our live webinar on March 20, today, we’re going to give you an exclusive sneak peak at the strategies that helped take them from middling performers to the cream of the crop.
Let’s dive in!
1. New Jersey Devils score with Facebook lead ads
If you’re familiar with the New Jersey Devils franchise, or with hockey in general, you may be aware that the Devils were a National Hockey League powerhouse in the early 2000s. You might also be aware that the last few iterations of the team have been, well, a mixed bag. Prior to last season, the Devils had missed the playoffs five years running; any playoff drought that long is going to do a number on season ticket sales. But the Devils did make the playoffs this past year. And though they didn’t make it out of the first round, the team created quite a buzz in New Jersey.
The Devils decided to try to capitalize on their success by leveraging Facebook ads in the 2018 offseason to increase season ticket sales. Specifically, they leveraged Facebook lead ads.
The lead ad is a streamlined, in-app ad format that allows prospects to submit their contact information without ever leaving Facebook. Lead ads convert to leads at a 2.07% higher rate than landing pages. The Devils didn’t just use them all willy-nilly, though. The campaign was executed in three steps:
The Devils created a Facebook event for a team-hosted open house where prospects could learn more about season ticket membership. They then leveraged Custom Audiences to deliver that ad to previous subscribers.
They created two variations of lead ads—one with a...
Yesterday, Facebook announced that it’s sunsetting Relevance Score—the ad-level metric that basically tells you whether your ad is any good—and replacing it with three new metrics:
Engagement rate ranking
Conversion rate ranking
Let’s dive deeper. After looking more closely at Relevance Score and the metrics that will replace it, we’ll talk about why Facebook is doing this, why it’s good news, and how to go forward.
What is Relevance Score, and what’s replacing it?
Something I tend to think of as a more confusing version of Google’s Quality Score, Relevance Score tells you how relevant and engaging your ad is. It’s Facebook’s way of telling you whether you’re doing a good job or not.
Relevance Score is measured at the ad level and it determines both how much you pay for a click and how often your ad is served to Facebook users. If your ad isn’t terribly relevant to the audience you’re targeting, Facebook charges you a premium for serving it to them—and serves it somewhat infrequently, too. Alternatively, if your ad is highly relevant to the audience you’re targeting, Facebook rewards you by charging you less and serving your ad more.
“This is all pretty straightforward, Conor. Are you sure you’re not just dumb?”
Hold your horses. When it comes to the components of Relevance Score, things get a little less intuitive. Facebook will assign your ad a Relevance Score after it’s been served a couple hundred times—thus giving Facebook enough data to make educated performance predictions.
Every time your ad runs, Facebook looks at your campaign goal and your target audience to determine how likely people are to do whatever it is you want them to do. In other words, your ad’s Relevance Score is based on expected performance. Sort of vague, no?
We’ll talk about that more in a minute. In the meantime, here’s a closer look at the new metrics that will replace Relevance Score:
Quality ranking measures the quality of your ad in comparison to the others competing for the same audience.
Engagement rate ranking measures the expected level of engagement your ad will drive in comparison to the others competing for the same audience.
Conversion rate ranking measures the expected conversion rate your ad will drive in comparison to the others that are pursuing the same...
Here are the top seven video advertising trends you can expect to see more of in the new year.
1. Shorter video ads
Today’s abundance of video content creates an endless amount of competition for advertisers. Customers with the ability to watch virtually anything will only watch an ad if it is relevant, attention grabbing, and valuable. As a result, the amount of time people spend watching ads has declined across nearly every medium. Similar trends are leading brands to test short video ads that aim to beat the skip button and serve short attention spans.
Short bumper ads present a creative challenge for marketers who must tell a brand story in under 15 seconds. The format calls for impactful content that can induce an immediate emotional response from a viewer. Below are two examples of prominent brands using humor, shock, and action to create compelling short and effective pre-roll ads.
Concise video ads like these have started to become a staple in video-focused marketing. According to a study by Google, 90% of bumper ad campaigns boosted global ad recall by an average of 30%. It’s a safe prediction that more brands will jump on the trend this year.
2. OTT advertising
Over the top (OTT) is a term used to describe content providers that distribute streaming media over the internet. These services are disrupting traditional broadcast television and have led a new generation of consumers to “cut the cord” with satellite and cable services.
There are three video on demand models currently dominating the OTT industry:
Subscription VOD: Netflix, Hulu, HBOGo
Transactional VOD: iTunes, Amazon, Google Play
Ad-supported VOD: YouTube, Twitch, Vimeo
Marketing through these platforms offers benefits similar to those gained from conventional online advertising. Unlike traditional commercials, OTT allows marketers to utilize targeting, ad insertion, and advanced analytics to create shorter more personalized ads. This...
It’s 4 o’clock in the afternoon on a crisp October Saturday. Gorgeous, brightly colored leaves are falling outside the window, patiently making their way to the damp grass with enough grace to make angels weep.
Suddenly, our hero enters the room. He was responsibly enjoying some light beers while tailgating the football game when he was struck with a sudden realization.
He needs a new shower curtain—like right now.
You specialize in shower curtains, of course. Yours can compete with the best of ‘em. But when our hero, being the wacky Gen Z’er he is, Google searches “rad shower curtain,” he doesn’t see yours in the Shopping ads.
Why? Because you haven’t started running Shopping ads yet. You haven’t gotten around to learning how they work, and you’ve only been running text ads. Due to your lack of visibility at the top of the SERP, you’ve lost a potential customer.
We don’t want that to happen. That’s why we’ve put together this here guide to ecommerce PPC—so you can learn the fundamentals of Google Shopping, Bing Shopping, and Amazon advertising. By the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll have learned:
How Google Shopping, Bing Shopping, and Amazon advertising work
How to set up and structure accounts on each platform
How to optimize your bids on each platform
Let’s get to it.
An Introduction to Google Shopping
When Google users search for products, they're served Shopping ads. On desktop, they’re shown in a grid format on the right side of the SERP.
And on mobile, they’re shown in a carousel format at the top of the SERP.
According to Search Engine Land, Shopping ads account for roughly 75% of clicks from non-branded product searches. All queries considered—branded and non-branded—Shopping ads drive around 52% of ecommerce advertisers’ clicks.
Elsewhere, Smart Insights reports that American ecommerce vendors who advertise on Google drive 85% of their paid clicks from Shopping ads.
Translation: failing to leverage Google Shopping is a mistake.
How does Google Shopping work?
Short answer: a whole lot differently than does the rest of Google Ads.
To become a Shopping advertiser, you have to link your Google Ads account to Google Merchant Center. Don’t worry—it’s a super simple process. You can take care of it here.
Once that’s settled, it’s...