Facebook Marketing-Setting up your first campaign

facebook marketing

The internet user database is huge, and a major chunk of these internet users Hangout on Facebook daily. In fact, Facebook represents one of the largest user bases on the entire Internet.

Being a marketer or a business owner your biggest challenge lies in letting people know what you offer.

Your target audience or prospect customers hang out at different places on the web. The majority of your target audience is on Facebook, it being the largest social network in the world.

And this very fact makes social media marketing crucial for the success of any business. You can love it, you can hate it, but you cannot ignore it.

In this large sea of internet users, you have to know the way to bring your content, your product, your service in front of your prospect customers. The way to do it is “targeting”. Because, once you’ve found your target audience, it’s just a matter of finding a way to get your content in front of them.

By far the most effective & main way of doing it on Facebook are Facebook Ads.That is the reason companies have started to invest considerably on social media advertising.

Independent market research company, BIA/Kelsey has forecasted U.S. social advertising revenues to grow from $4.7 billion in 2012 to $11 billion in 2017.

Despite the success stories of many small & big businesses that have used or I must say harness the power of Facebook advertisement, some people still claim that it is not effective.

It is obvious that these people were not able to bank on the high potential of Facebook ads to garner eyeballs for their businesses.

The effectiveness of advertising depends on your knowledge, skill, & most importantly your experience.

The more you advertise on platforms like Facebook, the better you become. You learn what’s working or what’s not for you.

If you’ve been considering to start advertising on Facebook, but are held back by apprehensions of getting failed at Facebook. This post will help you overcome your fears & will guide you set up your first successful campaign.

Let’s walk step by step to understand what are the ingredients of a successful Facebook campaign.

No one like boring or usual stuff

 

The first & the most important thing which you have to understand as an advertiser is that your content has to stand out from the crowd.

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When it comes to the typical news feed of a user, there are hundreds of things vying for a click. There is news feed of hundred of post from friends, & brands. On the left-hand side, there are links to messages, events, Groups, Pages, etc. On the right-hand side, there are Trending topics, Games & sponsored Ads.

Summing up all, there is a lot going on.

So in order to garner some eyeballs you ad need to stand out from all these competing elements.

Most important element of an ad which  gathers attention.

So which part of the above Facebook ad caught your attention first. Undoubtedly the Image was the first thing which garners your eyeballs.

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Most Facebook ads have typically 3 important elements.

  • an image – which takes up 50+% of the ad space (which could be anything or everything. Except banned stuff)
  • a description – above the image in a newsfeed ad, or to the right in a sidebar ad
  • a headline – which let the user have a taste of your offering.

 

The most important element of an ad is an image, not only it takes up more than 50% of space, but it is the only thing which can make your ad stand out from the crowd.

Creating custom creatives quickly from stock photos might be the easiest & quickest way, but it is surely not the best way.

An Ad with a great image which can stand out from hundred of different things in some one’s Newsfeed vying for clicks is the most important key to the success of any Facebook advertising campaign. While an Ad with a usual or not so great image may hurt your campaign from the start.

 

This does not mean that your images have to be a work of art, but they should be created by a designer. If you are not a designer than hire one. Believe me, it’s worth it.

If you are investing a significant amount of money in your campaign then you should invest in images too.

 

What all a great image consists of?

 

Size matters:

Ads with squished or cut off pictures will look ugly.If you upload an image that doesn’t match the dimensions that Ad pictures are supposed to be, then the ad will have a cutoff picture that is sure to look bad.

So always follow the size guidelines given by Facebook.

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Using an image of the correct size will give you a fighting for the success of your campaign.

 

Play with colours, but with caution.

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Colours and contrast are the most important way of attracting attention.

Use colours which can make your ad stand out from the crowd. Clever use of contrast can help you gather some extra attention too.

You can take help of basic colour wheel shown above.

Since Facebook is basically blue & white it is a good idea to have orange in your Ad image.

But there is an exception too, maybe some of your competitors already know about the optimal use of colours & contrast.

You could end up having a similar color scheme to a competing ad, which will reduce your ad’s effectiveness.

Include a message in your image, but ..

Although the main purpose of an image is to attract attention ,but it can even contribute to your message.

When you have a really exciting offer, try to mention it in the picture since the user will see that text before deciding to read your description or not.

But be aware that Facebook has a rule regarding the text in an image. The text in an image cannot exceed 20% of image space.

Include things in your image to get shared:

People are more likely to share images which have something cute in them like kids or pets. So if you can squeeze something cute in your Ad image, then just do it. People like funny & unexpected things, try to make your images shareable by incorporating these things.

Use custom Illustrations instead  of Stock Images

Getting the custom illustrations done instead of using stock images is one thing which can help you stand out from the crowd and get the much-wanted attention. So try to create something unique & unexpected.

Writing an attention grabber description

At this point, there is no denying of the importance of Image in an Ad. It sure is the first thing which attracts the viewer, but to make your message clear to the viewer you have to craft an intriguing description.It is where you have to write your bulk message. It’s difficult to communicate a message in a picture, which is why your description is so important.

Your Description should be interesting enough for the user to click to your content or offer.

Avoid writing long, boring descriptions. Just make clear the biggest benefit of clicking through your Ad.

 

How to use targeting to filter all those users for whom you do not matter, neither they matter to you.

Targeting and I must say correct targeting is very crucial for the success of any campaign. There is no sense in showing  an Ad of nonveg restaurant to a vegetarian foodie. You need to specify the type of people you want to show your ads to Facebook advertising is all about “audiences” now.  Facebook takes care of the rest.

There are basically 3 ways of creating your audience

  1. Creating A Custom Audience
  2. Creating Lookalike Audience
  3. Targeting By Interest

 

Creating Custom Audience:

facebook-ad-targeting-create-custom-audience

Reach people who have a relationship with your business, whether they are existing customers or people who have interacted with your business on Facebook or other platforms.

 

  1. Creating Custom Audience from customer list: You can use your own file to upload one or more kinds of customer information or import email addresses directly from MailChimp. This option allows you to upload the email addresses of your subscribers and customers. Facebook matches these to users so that you can advertise to those subscribers and customers as a custom audience.

Fb Ad

 

  1. Creating Custom Audience from Website Traffic:

Once you choose this option, a new screen with Java code will appear. The code will look something like this-

view-custom-audience-pixel

Copy and paste it in the head section of your website pages, just like you do while installing google analytics code.

Creating Lookalike Audience

Since creating custom audience yield list of a high-quality audience, which has the  highest chance of clicking your Ad. But what happens when the traffic to your website isn’t that high or the email subscription list is very small. This can limit how far your Facebook ads can reach. It is here that the option of creating lookalike audience come into the scene.

Facebook analyzes the custom audience, which we have  already made. They consider their demographics, the pages they like and the content they post (among other things).

Then, After looking at its billions of other users and finds other people who share similar traits to our custom audience list. This exercise creates a list of the highly targeted audience who are same as our customers or subscriber.

facebook_lookalike_audience

Targeting Audience By Interest

When you create an ad, there are a few different areas that allow you to pick options that filter down Facebook users (that fit into it).

It starts with demographic options, which consists of data like age, gender, location, etc.

The better that you know your target audience, the better you’ll be able to fill out the demographics that you want to target.So know your audience better to target better.

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After entering the preferred location under demographic targeting have the option of targeting people based on the interest. This lets you be a bit more specific, by entering the pages of your competitors. Your audience will consist of people who have liked those competing pages.

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You can also explore the options of  “advanced combinations” from the drop-down menu:

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Bids & Budget For Facebook Ads

Don’t  Start with a very big budget, 4-5 $ per day is sufficient to start a campaign for a newbie. Start collecting the sample and examine the campaign, if after few thousand impressions  the Ad do not start performing end it, it is not worth the try. You can try different targeting options, different ads with different images, description ,etc. Select the one which performs better and gradually increase budget over time.

You have different 3 different option while bidding.

  • Cost per click (CPC)
  • Cost per mille (CPM: Cost per 1,000 impressions)
  • Optimized CPM

It is better to go with CPC bidding.

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You can also optimize your campaign for an event.But be very careful while using this option. For Example, If you optimize for clicks, Facebook is going to show your ad to users who click on things the most. These are usually the lowest quality traffic (but not always), because they’re always ready to click on the next thing.

You will get a suggested bidding amount. If your brand is new to advertising start from the lower range of bidding. You can always increase your bid later.

Know your purpose

Never start an advertising campaign without a specific purpose.

Purpose can be anything like You may want to drive traffic to your website.

You may want to get more likes on your Facebook page.

Pick a goal that you think is important.

Know The Value Of Your Goal

If you’re trying to convert that traffic into email subscribers, you need to have a very good idea of what a subscriber is worth.

The same thing goes for a Facebook like; how much is one worth to you?

If you don’t know this, you’ll never know if your advertising has a positive ROI or not. Estimate this value as accurately as possible.

You want to be able to go into your Facebook reporting, see the “cost per action” (click or like) and instantly know if you’re profitable or not.

Amazing ROI from the first campaign is unlikely

Most Ads are losers, at least initially.

Your goal should be to get slightly profitable or even break even results because you can always improve your conversion rates by split testing those ads.

You simply duplicate an ad that you’ve created, keeping everything the same.  Then, you change any one of the following parts and check the results.

  • The image
  • The description
  • The heading
  • Your targeting options

The biggest change in conversion will be noticed by a change in image, as we have already concluded that image is the most important part of an Ad.

The Moral Of The Story

Facebook advertising is one of the most powerful means of spreading your message to your targeted audience but if you are not smart enough you can lose money.

This blog post will surely help you to minimize mistakes & take care of things important for a success of any campaign.

Write to me with you experience of Facebook Ad campaigns, what all worked for you and what all didn’t work.

SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION/SEO GUIDE FOR BEGINNERS

Search engine optimization

Search Engine Optimization/ SEO: Things You Should Know As A beginner


Search Engine Optimization as described by Wikipedia is

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine‘s unpaid results—often referred to as “natural,” “organic,” or “earned” results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search, academic search,[1] news search and industry-specific vertical search engines.

If you are new to SEO, it is very important to keep in mind that you don’t know it all yet. Seo is a discipline that require constant learning and keeping oneself updated with latest changes in the field. A Good SEO is the one who has never finished learning.

Being a Beginner in  SEO requires you to know some important concepts and technical terms thoroughly.

SEO
search engine optimization step by step guide

Search Engine Optimization Important Concepts And Strategies

 

Basically, the process of optimization for Ranking higher in search engine is divided into two parts or factors:

On-Page SEO

On- page SEO

On-site Optimization which is basic changes which you made to your website which Include type of content that is to be published, HTML clues for search engines to determine the relevance of a particular page in reply to a search query, Building a search engine friendly site structure.

Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO

Off-Site Optimization is everything else like links and social media.

To know more about these two factors in details read this blog post on SEO Strategies

SEO Foundation Is Laid On Quality Content

Quality content in SEO

All your SEO efforts are very much dependent on Quality of content you produce. Every Search query comes with an intent to either Do, Know or Understand something. Crafting fulfilling, thorough content that addresses searcher’s needs improved your chance to earn top rankings. Quality Content is one which engage the user in reading your page for more than few seconds. Web pages with Quality content offer a substantial value to its reader that is unique and useful.

Keyword Research

KEYWORD RESEARCH TOOLS

A good content can get away unnoticed if it fails to convey search engine that it is about a particular subject or it fulfill the intent of a particular search query.It is here where the role of keyword research come into play. Obviously, if you want your page to have a chance of ranking in the search results for “wedding dress,” it’s wise to make sure the word “wedding dress” is part of the crawlable content of your document. There are a variety of tools like Google Adwords Keyword planner available to help you know what exactly people type in search engines while searching for a particular product or service.You want to create content using those keywords, the actual search terms people are using, so you can produce content that effectively “answers” that query.

SEO Sucess Depends On Right Placement Of Keywords

PLACEMENT OF KEYWORDS

Keyword Research will result in a list of keywords you want to target for a particular topic, so now the question is where and how to use those keywords?

Title Tag

Title acts in much the same way as the title of a book to your prospective customers.So it is meant to be an accurate, concise description of a page’s content. It is critical to both user experience and search engine optimization.Below are listed some recommendations for optimizing title tags for search engines.

  • Write a catchy and compelling Title tag.Title tags should be descriptive and readable.
  • Be mindful of the length of Title tag, Search engines display only the first 65-75 characters of a title tag in the search results.
  • Place the primary keyword right at the beginning of Title tag.
  • Relevancy of primary keyword to the content of your page is very important, Don’t Piss off your reader by showing and delivering 2 different things. Keywords in Title tag should be strictly in line with the content on your page.

 

Meta Description

A description is a summary of what your web page is about, giving a more sneak peek into the content of your web page than a Title can tell.

  • Limit your Meta Description character length to 160 characters as search engines generally will cut snippets longer than that.
  • Try Placing your primary keywords near the beginning of your description.
  • Meta Description should reinforce the intent expressed through Title.

URL

A good URL is one which is appropriately Descriptive and through which it is easy to predict the content you’d expect to find on the page.If your page is targeting a specific term or phrase, make sure to include it in the URL but Keyword stuffing can effect negatively.

Header tags: H1, H2, H3

Try putting keywords in the header tag H1-H4, have only one H1 tag per page. Make your headline attractive and user engaging.

Images And Alt tags

Images, Flash files, Java applets, and other non-text content are often ignored or devalued by search engine crawlers, despite advances in crawling technology. Giving Alt Tags to Images help search engines know what your page is about as Alt tag is a text description of the visual content.It is a good idea to place your keyword in alt tag.

 

Search Engine Friendly Site Architecture

CRAWLABILITY OF A SITE

The right site structure can help your SEO efforts flourish while the wrong one can cripple them.Below are listed some important factors which can effect Ranking of a website on search engine.

Crawlability of a site

Search Engines like Google use bots or Robots to crawl sites.Search engines “crawl” websites, going from one page to another making copies of your pages that get stored in what’s called an “index,” which is like a massive book of the web. To be in the book, you have to be crawled.It is very difficult to achieve good search engine rankings if you have poor crawlability.The use of robots.txt, internal link structures and specifically telling search engines not to crawl pages with certain URL parameters can all improve crawl efficiency. It is a good practice to use sitemaps, both HTML and XML, to make it easy for search engines to crawl your site. To know more about Site Crawling and Robot You can visit this particular category on searchengineland.

Duplicate Content And Canonicalization

DUPLICATE CONTENT IN SEO

Search Engines are troubled by duplicate content, which is basically the appearance of identical content at different web pages on the internet.  It is difficult for search engines to decide which version is more relevant to a given search query.When duplicate content is present, site owners suffer rankings and traffic losses, and search engines provide less relevant results.

CANONICAL

Canonicalization is the practice of organizing your content in such a way that every unique piece has one, and only one, URL.

CANONICALIZATION

To know more about the problem of Duplicate content and Canonicalization and its solution read this very informative post on Moz.com.

Mobile Friendly Site

 

With 50% of traffics coming through Mobile devices, it has become necessary for a site to be mobile optimized. Google is rewarding sites that are mobile friendly with a chance of better rankings on mobile searches while those that aren’t might have a harder time appearing. So Ensure that your site is Mobile Friendly.

Sites Which Loads Faster Rank Better

FAST WEBSITE SPEED FOR SEO

Neither Humans Nor Search Engines Appreciate sites which take time in loading. Google has declared that speedy sites get a small ranking advantage over slower sites. So make sure that your site doesn’t fall in the category of those lazy sites which are slow.

HTTPS Making Internet A Safer Place

HTTPS FOR SEO

In order to provide better security to web surfers, google rewards sites that use HTTPS with a small ranking boost. So moving to HTTPS is a good Idea and a step towards future of the internet.

 

Link Building

All though there has been chatter in SEO Industry in last few years regarding the Importance of Links in overall ranking factor and even recommendation by Google to not focus on link building. But the important part is Google Still uses Links as part of their ranking algorithm, so there is no question of not doing Link building, but you have to be cautious. Over the years, it has become evident that Quality of Links is more Important than Quantity of links. Avoid Bad Links and in order to do so you have to be sure that a link you’ve manually built isn’t just going to get your website penalized?

Click to know more about link building guidelines 

Social Media Role In Ranking

Social media optimization
Social Media strategy

There is no denying the rising importance of social channels in last few years.Social media is important, easily accessible medium to amplify your content, site and brand.Participation in social sharing sites is crucial. If you don’t have a Twitter account, a Facebook fan page or Google+ Page you’re missing out. Getting references from well reputed social accounts and getting quality social shares is ideal, but being shared widely on social networks is still helpful and can be a big plus in lifting your search ranking.

 

  • Post share-worthy content, Engage, Talk, Comment with the users
  • Get Buzz from Experts, If you have any expert in your field reach out to them and get them talking to you on your social media profile or get them commenting on your post or twits.

 

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Congratulations! If you’ve been reading through this guide from the beginning, you’re done!Best of luck with your SEO efforts!

Know the trick to optimize your website for driving traffic by watching Complete Video Guide For Beginners on SEO

 

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Do write with your Feedback on the same

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEO UPDATES & SECRETS CONFIRMED BY GOOGLE

Google core ranking update

Google core ranking update

Yes There Was A Google Core Ranking Update

The firestorm Online over the weekend when people started seeing massive changes in Google ranking and speculations of an Algorithm change by Google have now been confirmed. In Response to one of the tweet by Jennifer Slegg  Gary Illyes Confirmed that there was a Google Core ranking update.

The changes were confirmed again by John Mueller during the Google Webmaster Central office hours hangout Yesterday. You can check the video at 2.57 min for the same here.

Google Panda Is Now Officially Part Of Google Core Algorithm

Google panda is now rolled in Google core algorithm

Google Panda which was launched as a spam filter aimed at downranking Low-quality pages has now become a part of Google Core Algorithm and that is official now. As John Mueller confirmed during Webmaster hangout. You can check the video at 3.16 min for the same here.

The same was even confirmed by a Google spokesperson to  

Panda is an algorithm that’s applied to sites overall and has become one of our core ranking signals. It measures the quality of a site, which you can read more about in our guidelines. Panda allows Google to take quality into account and adjust ranking accordingly.”

So the Core Algorithm changes we have been seeing over this weekend and which have also been confirmed by Google can also be panda changes. Although we have no confirmation of whether it is or isn’t.  But now there is a possibility of any core ranking changes could be connected to Panda.

Panda/ Core Algorithm Stuff Is Not Real Time

All the chatter and discussion on twitter regarding the Core Algorithm/Panda being real time were put to rest by  Gary Illyes when he replied to the tweets questioning the same.

 Google Penguin Update Is Still Awaited

Google Penguin update which was expected to release in End of 2015 as was confirmed and later delayed due to the holiday season in December is still awaited by webmasters.

@Andrew_Isidoro yes

This version of the Penguin algorithm is expected to be real time.This Implies that as soon as Google discovers that a link is removed or disavowed, the Penguin algorithm will process it in real time, and you would be able to recover from a Penguin penalty incredibly quickly. However, you could end up with a Penguin penalty just as quickly.But It seems It will take some more time for Google to release it.

I will update you as I hear more.

Keep watching the space for more news and updates happening in Digital Marketing space.

7 Digital Marketing Trends To Dominate In 2016

DIGITAL MARKETING, SEO, MOBILE, SOCIAL
Digital marketing, local marketing, mobile marketing
Digital marketing trends

Digital marketing in 2016 will be all about delivering on cross-channel, cross- devices and mapping different touch points of the complex customer journey.Following are the trends which will dominate Digital marketing space in 2016.

Local Marketing

Mobile computing has reached an all-time high, capturing 50% of the total space.This rise has led to new opportunities in location marketing. According to SIM Partners proprietary research, 20 percent improvement in accuracy and reach of  location resulted in traffic to increase up to 450 percent to location pages and on-page action conversion rates increase by 216 percent for enterprises.

There is no denying the fact that by unleashing relationship with data aggregators such as Localeze and publishers such as Apple and Foursquare location data can be amplified across the digital world. So Year 2016 is certainly going to be the year of location marketing.

Searchengineland has listed 6 trends which will shape location marketing in 2016, Read it here.

CPC For Mobile Advertising Will Increase

Searches done  largely on mobile devices, all with higher-than-average purchase intent have tremendous value for advertisers, searchers  The rise of targeted, localized, the high-value search will result in increased CPCs. Mobile SERP results are far more space-constricted. Local businesses will need to fight, scrape and “invest” in making sure their results are appearing early in the scroll in a mobile experience. This will, of course, mean CPCs for mobile should rise in 2016.

Social Networks: The New Place For Search

Search is moving beyond Google, Bing and Yahoo and onto social networks where search capabilities are expanding.

Pinterest jumped into the search engine game, expanding its search algorithm and incorporating “guided searches.” Pinterest isn’t the only one in the search game either; Facebook is already working on tests for its own search engine and Twitter is, once again, being indexed by Google so that public tweets are seen on both the micro-blogging network and the wider Internet.

Expanded search means that your business needs to invest in expanding your listings and start monitoring social more closely. Not only should your local businesses claim a social profile on every popular network (Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yelp and LinkedIn), but you also need to be Actively engaged with your customers.

Video’s As Means Of Advertising And Engagement

As marketing becomes more targeted and more immediate, live video streaming apps like Periscope and Meerkat will continue to gain ground. The value of small businesses is the personal relationships they forge and whether it’s offering a behind the scenes peek at how their business operates or what happened at the latest book signing or wine tasting, video streaming can build that customer connection in a really fun, engaging way.

Apps such as Periscope and Snapchat can support advertising and direct response at a national level. Dunkin’ Donuts recently included Snapchat as part of a promotion to celebrate National Coffee Day. Taco Bell used Periscope to promote a biscuit taco giveaway across its locations.

Mobile Payment Is The Flavour Of The Season

In 2015, nearly 15% of Starbucks customers already began paying for their daily latte fix with their mobile devices. As a whole, nearly 60% of consumers use their smartphone to pay, so that they receive some sort of reward or benefit from the business.

Consumer acceptance of mobile wallets, coupled with the widespread uptake of Apple Pay, has already inspired businesses such as Pep Boys to create compelling mobile wallet offers that increase foot traffic and sales.

As mobile technology becomes more affordable, mobile payments will continue to penetrate the market.

Wearable Devices

Wearable “smart” devices should start gaining more traction into 2016. 2015 saw the unveiling of the Apple Watch, a first-generation smart watch, but more smart watches and similar wearable devices should start emerging next year. Such devices will change the landscape of local marketing.This growth in “self-data,” which includes physical and emotional signals, is just starting to be used for brand messaging and targeting. This data is also extending the ability of neuroscience market research to move beyond panels and studies to quantitative data. Marketers will need to keep in mind that we buy wearables because we want to know ourselves and not because we want advertising. We want recommendations for us – reminders for what we need to do, what we may have forgotten or a nudge to ensure we are staying healthy.

Beacon Fever

Business Insider predicted that beacons would directly influence $4 billion in in-store sales in the United States in 2015, a figure that would increase by tenfold in 2016.Advances in beacon technology and a growth in marketer awareness will make it a solution that early adopters or new marketers incorporate in their 2016 plans.

But early adopters are already discovering the drawbacks of beacons, which include limited range and high maintenance, especially for brands with hundreds and thousands of locations.

In 2016, brands will take a more measured approach toward beacon adoption as they weigh other options to generate in-store traffic and sales, including GPS and emerging technologies such as the IndoorAtlas indoor positioning system (IPS), which relies on a building’s “magnetic signature” to help shoppers locate products and other people inside large buildings such as shopping malls.

These seven trends aren’t the only ones that will emerge over the course of the next year, but they will be some of the most significant. There’s no guarantee exactly when or how these trends will manifest, as much of that is driven by consumer adoption, but it’s worth hedging your bets in at least a few of these tent pole technologies and strategies. The earlier you start, the more time you’ll have to adjust and reap the full benefits of your forward-thinking campaign.

For more update and latest news on Digital marketing, SEO, Mobile Marketing, Content marketing, & Social Strategy keep watching this space

Search Engine Optimization Strategies For Success In 2016

 

Planning For SEO Success In 2016? Do you have a digital marketing Plan in place with clearly defined objectives or goals? A 2015 study by Smart Insights showed that 50 percent of businesses doing digital marketing had no form of digital marketing plan or strategy. It’s a little crazy that they were doing digital marketing, yet they do not have a digital marketing plan or clearly defined objectives or goals.

Digital Marketing: An Ever Changing World Of Challenges

Failing To Plan Is Planning To Fail.Certainly, the digital landscape is changing at a very fast pace. The digital channels and marketing opportunities are changing so fast that most businesses find it too difficult to keep up with its pace. Those that have attempted to keep up have an ad hoc approach and simply dive in at a tactical level and throw money at SEO, PPC, display, social and even content marketing.

For many, this  approach fails. This leads to businesses becoming more out of touch and stuck in the sinking ship of yesterday’s marketing methods.

SEO & PPC: Tools, Tactics,  & Strategy Go Hand In Hand

A strategy is of no benefit to us if we don’t have a detailed plan or tools to implement that strategy. Equally, if we are applying marketing tactics such as SEO and PPC without an overarching strategy, then we are likely seeing the bad result and excessive cost.Focusing on only the hyper-competitive elements like on the commercial keywords that we believe to drive our business while doing SEO or PPC is ignoring the bigger picture and a Blunder.

Let me give you a brief example of how assumed strategies and an over-reliance on tactics rather than strategy can lead to poor results.

Let us assume we have a client that operates the biggest restaurant and outdoor party venue in the Noida region of the  India. The business has historically had a roughly 15-mile radius of customers. Over the last 5 years or so, several new venues and large chains have set up shop, and there are now likely 15 other venues in that radius. The search strategy, however, has never changed — and it basically boils down to targeting users looking for the party venue in this 15-mile radius. This is done with local SEO on a micro level and PPC on a macro level.

Despite a  top-of-the-page results in the local and organic listings & a large spend on PPC, party venue business is dwindling.The answer to this been to spend more and more on PPC to continue to target those local and not-quite-so-local customers.

Anyone who parties regularly will know that this is the best venue in the area. These folks know and will go the extra journey. To everyone else simply searching for a party venue, the primary factor is location and price. Sure, our client really is better, but every company boasts of greatness online, and prices are much the same across the board.

This strategy of reaching farther and farther afield to convince potential customers to bypass several more conveniently located venues is simply not working, especially for the casual or first-timers.

The solution lies in our research which has shown that location is the key factor, then why not focus on prospective customers within five miles rather than 15 miles? Would our marketing be more successful if we focused on building awareness with the local market who don’t currently plan their parties outside, letting local customers know that an amazing party venue that too at an affordable rate is literally on their doorstep?

We have made a conceptual change from trying to persuade searchers looking for party venue to drive an extra hour past other venues to raise awareness with the local audience and creating new customers.Without thinking about strategy or reexamining our objectives and goals, we would never have made this tactical change.

Planning Digital Marketing

I want to briefly outline the methodologies which can be used with customers large and small to improve strategy and boost results of their digital campaigns.These are some proven models and methodologies for digital marketing planning.

SOSTAC® Planning

PR Smith’s SOSTAC® Plan is a marketing methodology developed by  useful for developing overarching digital marketing plans and can be used to create an overall strategy or apply at a tactical level.

Situation Analysis — Where are we now?
Objectives — Where do we want to get to?
Strategy — How do we get there, broadly speaking?
Tactics — How exactly do we get there? Which channels?
Actions — Systems, processes, guidelines and checklists.
Control — Measurement and metrics to ensure we are making progress.

Digital marketing methodology

 

Image reproduced with kind permission of PR Smith’s SOSTAC® Plan

Asking this questions is very important.The insight from a solid situational analysis covering the who, why and how elements of your audience and detailing that into customer profiles is as valuable as Gold.

 

SOSTAC® is a registered trademark of PR Smith.For more information visit  http://prsmith.org/sostac/

RACE

RACE Planning System for Digital Marketing is another model that can be utilized to create your entire plan.RACE is a practical framework to help manage and improve results from your digital marketing. Ultimately it’s about using best practice web analytics techniques to get more commercial value from investments in digital marketing.It is so easy to apply to a single channel like SEO, or even Local SEO.

RACE consists of four steps or online marketing activities designed to help brands engage their customers throughout the customer lifecycle.There is also an initial phase of Plan involving creating the overall digital strategy, objective setting and plan, so sometimes members call it PRACE.

Reach — Buyer Stage: Exploration
Act — Buyer Stage: Decision-making
Convert — Buyer Stage: Purchase
Engage — Buyer Stage: Advocacy

 

race model
Image courtesy Smart insight

 

Reach

Reach is brand awareness covering paid, earned and owned media. To reach our customers, we must ensure visibility across search engines, social media and relevant blogs and content hubs.

Act

It’s about persuading site visitors or prospects take the next step, the next Action on their journey when they initially reach your site or social network presence. It may mean finding out more about a company or its products, searching to find a product or reading a blog post. You should define these actions as top-level goals of the funnel in analytics.

Convert

It involves getting your audience to take that vital next step which turns them into paying customers whether the payment is taken through online E-commerce transactions or offline channels.This is conversion to sale.

Engage

we want to build on that initial conversion and build a long-term relationship with our customer. We want to sell other services. We want to retain that customer over the long term. We want to keep that customer happy and maximize the lifetime value of that customer. We also want to drive advocacy and ensure our happy customers become part of our marketing arsenal through reviews, social shares, and referral.

Success Of Digital Marketing, SEO, & PPC

The Importance Of Strategy And Planning for the Success of any Digital Marketing Campaign cannot be overlooked in any case. A more strategic approach to SEO and Digital Marketing is required for success in 2016.

For digital marketing managers, I strongly recommend looking into both of the above models, and I would love to hear of any frameworks or models you have used for digital marketing planning within your own organizations.

Watch a video on SEO Strategies which can help you build a successful

Article idea Courtesy SearchEngineLand

 

MOBILE MARKETING: ESSENTIAL GUIDE

MOBILE MARETING

Mobile marketing according to Wikipedia is

Mobile marketing is marketing on or with a mobile device, such as a smart phone.[1] Mobile marketing can provide customers with time and location sensitive, personalized information that promotes goods, services and ideas.[2] In a more theoretical manner, academic Andreas Kaplan defines mobile marketing as “any marketing activity conducted through a ubiquitous network to which consumers are constantly connected using a personal mobile device”.

Practically the entire world has a mobile phone and a whole bunch of them are smartphones.We all know that every single day more and more people turn to their smartphone, tablet, etc. to do pretty much everything they can do on a computer.

There is no shortage of statistics to back up and support the fact that the use of mobile as part of an overall marketing strategy is no longer a luxury but is, in fact, essential.

Following stats are sufficient to understand the seemingly never-ending rise to the proliferation of mobile among consumers.

  1. 150* Number of times consumers check their mobile devices a day
  2. 79% Smartphone owners use their mobile devices to buy products or services

According to Econsultancy, that there will be a 67% increase in mobile marketing budgets in 2015.

The following 5 key things you need to know when it comes to Mobile Marketing:

  1.  Unifying mobile technologies to deliver orchestrated experience
  2. Use smart data and signals to inform your mobile communication strategy
  3. Create a holistic view of customer interactions
  4. Personalized marketing experiences
  5. ROI of  mobile marketing strategy that can be proved

Let’s discuss each one of them in detail.

 

Unifying mobile technologies to deliver orchestrated experience

mobile tech

The first and the foremost move to be made is the move from a focus on single-channel marketing campaigns—to focus on the entire customer journey, you need to do it now.

The solution, however, isn’t in buying a slew of individual mobile technologies to execute—such as SMS, push, mobile advertising, and Passbook. Operating in silos can only deliver fragmented experiences that frustrate customers and result in missed opportunities for marketers. Instead, the opportunity lies in unifying mobile technologies and delivering orchestrated experiences that monitor signals from all channels (including connected devices).

These experiences speak to customers offering solutions based on who they are as individuals and how they’re interacting with your brand in their moments of need. By having the ability to send marketing campaigns out across channels, you can also track results that aren’t limited strictly to mobile. Automation makes the options for measuring success and running marketing campaigns a much more robust offering.

Push Messages as an example

Let’s look at Push as one example of how to create a cross-channel orchestrated mobile experience.

Push is a permission-based, mobile customer communication channel. By opting into your Push messages, a customer gives you access to their most intimate communication channel.

Today, there are more than 8.7 billion connected devices. This has led to a huge marketing investment in mobile apps—they command 80% of the time people spend on mobile.Mobile devices are fundamentally changing the way customers interact with businesses.As a result, customers expect to engage with brands to get any information or service they desire immediately, and in the right context. To capitalize on this opportunity, marketers need to take an orchestrated approach to mobile interactions and push notifications to make them part of their integrated, cross-channel marketing efforts.

  1. 70% of consumers find all types of Push notifications—including order updates and location-based messages—to be valuable for their engagement with brands.
  2. 50% higher open rates on Push notifications 50% versus email

The solution lies in technology that enables marketers to extend their cross-channel marketing strategy to the world of apps—technology that collects all user behaviors and unlocks valuable information about how and when your app is being used. By understanding the behaviors of your mobile users, marketers can better inform all their other channels and drive more valuable conversations with prospects for improved sales effectiveness. Integrated with the right technology, marketers can, in turn, deliver Push notifications across devices as part of an orchestrated customer path, helping to drive new revenue, improve loyalty, and strengthen customer relationships.

MOBILE COMMUNICATION STRATEGY USING SMART DATA

Smart-Data-Graphic-850px

MOBILE MARETING
MOBILE MARETING

Apps on connected devices can collect information such as: Device Type, App Engagement, App Operating System, Loyalty Information, and Geographic Location. By focusing on collecting these new types of smart data, marketers can sense and respond to real-time contextual information about the customer, giving them the ability to deliver relevant information in a way that was never before possible—both on the mobile device and in an orchestrated way across traditional marketing channels. This information gives you the ability to further develop customer profiles and improve customer journeys.

 DELIVER DISTINCT CUSTOMER JOURNEY

customer journey

The way to do this is to centralize all of your customer data and connect customer identities across touch points and channels. Marketers can’t deliver a personalized experience if they don’t know who their customers are and what they’re buying, when they’re buying, and how they prefer to buy. Today’s technology enables marketers to collect information on how individual customers are interacting with distinct channels and to analyze those interactions to glean information on what customers want. Marketers now have the ability to know not just what their customers are purchasing but also the different ways they use mobile to live daily lives. For example, maybe they prefer to use their laptops in the morning to shop for household products before they head to work and their tablets in the evening for entertainment and consuming content. What’s more, you can use that information to deliver distinct customer journeys. For example, if a customer clicks on a dress offered in an email message, a mobile marketer can know whether the best next step is to send a Push or an SMS offering a discount on that same dress.

Two Important Points

SEGMENTATION

The needs of each customer differ, so it makes sense that marketers create different offers for each segment of the market. Consumers in each segment should exhibit similar types of behavior as shown by the data, ensuring that they can be marketed to in a similar way. Mobile offers a unique opportunity for marketers to capture their prospect’s device type, physical location, in-app usage, and behaviors. Marketers can now capitalize on this rich customer data gathered to identify ideal customers and target specific audience segments. Segmentation is vital when it comes to establishing engagement trends. With the ability to identify the physical location of consumers, marketers can now even segment their audience by location, enabling them to connect with their audience at the right time and place. Behavioral targeting allows marketers to reach out to customer segments based on behavioral patterns such as past actions and purchase intent. Once segmentation is in place the insights derived can ultimately ensure campaign success.

Data Management Platforms (DMPs).

Advertisers need a sophisticated technology platform that addresses the unique challenges of mobile data collection, media organization, and campaign execution. This technology tool is called a data management platform, or DMP.

A DMP is a centralized platform that ingests, organizes, and segments an advertiser’s first- and third-party mobile and desktop audience data assets in one place for audience creation, analytics, and execution. Mobile DMPs give brands control of their ever-growing mobile advertising programs. Mobile advertising offers a huge opportunity to capture a consumer’s immediate location-based, in-the-moment interests. Customized mobile advertising, when done effectively, delivers extremely high brand engagement and conversion rates. The most sophisticated mobile DMPs enable marketers to integrate mobile campaigns with wider digital and offline advertising initiatives to improve cross-channel targeting. For example, a brand could target a consumer on her smartphone after she takes an action on her laptop, or target a user on his computer after he visited a retail store (as captured by his mobile device), and then track conversion across the device.

DELIVER PERSONALIZED MARKETING EXPERIENCES

Let’s take a look at SMS messaging as a tool to deliver personalized messaging with content that matters to the customer and offers that are based on their needs at that moment in time to strengthen customer relationships and loyalty. In recent years, mobile SMS marketing has pushed forward to become one of the most desirable forms of marketing available. The number of people with cell phones capable of texting has grown rapidly in the past few years and so it makes sense that texting is swiftly becoming the best way to reach a customer. The low cost and flexibility make it great for businesses while its ability to deliver offers instantly leave customers wanting more. SMS is lightning fast, literally putting your message into subscriber pockets or purses seconds after you send. The average time for all mobile carriers and SMS services is less than 7 seconds from send to receive.

Compared to email marketing, SMS has a staggeringly high open rate. Essentially, almost every SMS sent is opened (and read), whereas only a fraction of emails sent are read. When a subscriber feels that friendly buzz in their pocket or hears that Pavlov’s Dog tone signaling a text message, they always look. In some cases, text messages are automatically opened, where emails aren’t. Subscribers have a choice to open your email. Consumers can get thousands of emails a month. Empowered by the technology at their desks and in their hands, consumers can fast-forward, delete, or tune out any messages they don’t like.

Planning an interactive SMS promotion is a good way to make your message fun and engaging, and there are plenty of ways to do it. Posing your message as part of a questionnaire or poll encourages your target audience to read more closely and become an active participant. Offering up a toll-free SMS reply option is an extra incentive for users to engage with your brand. Meanwhile, including a link to an entertaining video or images with more details about your promotion encourages users to investigate further.

PROVE THE ROI

ROI

Many mobile marketing platforms now have a link tracking capability which allow marketers to embed branded short URLs in their SMS messages to get deep insights into how well campaigns perform by monitoring SMS click through rates, conversions, and click recency. SMS click recency behavior is recorded at the individual level and can be used for targeting. For example, marketers can use a mobile-specific landing page toward which they direct customers that will allow them to glean metrics on conversion, geo tracking, and device detection. Or a specific call to action such as “Order now and you’ll receive a $5 credit toward your next purchase” alongside a point-of-sale code specific to one particular mobile campaign can track the success of that campaign.

Marketers can then use response data to monitor, track, and create more relevant campaigns. This results in better conversion rates and a faster return on investment. It is important to set clear goals that are tied to business objectives from the outset. Marketers should set up custom events based on KPIs, such as installs, in-app purchases, or time spent on the app. If the custom events are set up properly, these third-party tracking companies are invaluable tools to measure which traffic sources drove the most revenue at most efficient ROI. This then allows marketers to optimize their marketing spend and shift their budgets accordingly.

MOBILE MARKETING: POINTS TO REMEMBER

  •  Your website must be web friendly.
  • You need the SMS and Push features.
  • You have to have the data from both online behaviors and offline purchases.
  • You need to track and use preference information to truly personalize the experience.
  • You’ll probably be asked to quantify to justify and show ROI.

 

Note: This ARTICLE is broadly based on a white paper published by Oracle cloud.You can get the complete Research white paper here

 

SEO & Link Building: What To Avoid?

Link-Building
Link-building
How To avoid bad links and stay safe?

Google’s webmaster trends analyst, John Mueller, in Feb 2015 through a live Google+ hangout recommended to not focus on link building and warned if you do, it may lead to more harm for your website than anything good. Certain aspects of the link-building process have already proven to be pointless and obsolete. But one thing that will never change is human desire to connect with other humans, to share, cultivate, curate and collect useful, valuable and helpful pages, apps, or whatever the digital content is, with each other. If that wasn’t the case, there would be no Twitter, which is tailor-made for link sharing.

But this is not the complete story, There is another part of it which should not be missed. The other part can be understood while going through this transcript of the Video.

 

In general, I’d try to avoid that.

So that you are really sure that your content kind of stands on its own and make it possible for other people of course to link to your content. Make it easy, maybe, put a little widget on your page, if you like this, this is how you can link to it. Make sure that the URLs on your web site are easy to copy and paste. All of those things make it a little bit easier.

We do use links as part of our algorithm but we use lots and lots of other factors as well. So only focusing on links is probably going to cause more problems for your web site that actually helps.

So the important part is Google Still uses Links as part of their ranking algorithm, so there is no question of not doing Link building, but you have to be cautious. Avoid Bad Links and in order to do so you have to be sure that a link you’ve manually built isn’t just going to get your website penalized?

Bad Links: How To Identify Them?

Avoid these characteristics, all of which can make a link “bad,” and stay Safe.

Avoid Links From Low Authority Or Questionable Domain

It’s in our best interest to get links on the high-authority sources we can find, and avoiding links from Suspicious or low authority domain.The higher our site’s authority is, the higher we are going to rank in Google. Links on already-high authority sites pass far more authority to our site than those on low-authority sites. If our link appears on a site with a poor reputation, it could do active harm to our organic search visibility.

Link From Sources Which Is Irrelevant To Website Content

If you are a cable and wire manufacturer and a website dealing in pizza delivery is linking to your website then this for sure is going to raise a red Flag.Context is important in Google’s modern search algorithm. It’s not enough to have a link pointing to your site, that link needs to be associated with content that’s somehow relevant to your site, as well.

Do Not Match A Current Spam Pattern

An appropriate quantity of links are Important, don’t match current spam pattern.If Google sees too many links pointing back to your domain on a certain site, it may flag that as suspicious.Quantity is important when it comes to links, but more links aren’t always better. Multiple sources pointing to your domain is Good, Try to diversify your link source.

Avoid Links From Multi-Topic Sites

You should avoid links from multi-topic sites or a site which already is linking to a large number of other sites. If a site is already having 50 links to some other sites you certainly don’t want to get a link from that site.

Link Embedded Keyword-Matched Anchor Text

There was a time when It was a best practice to embed your link in anchor text using the exact keyword you wanted to rank for but today that isn’t going to work. With Artificial Intelligence of Google search, Google has an intricate understanding of semantics link context, and it strongly favors links in natural journalistic context.

Buying Links Or Link Scheme

Do not fall prey to sites selling hundred of links to you for few dollars, They are all spam sites. Participating in complex systems like link wheels or link pyramids is a violation of Google’s terms of service & you could earn a bona fide Google penalty.Although the popularity of Link scheme has hit a low, but somehow they’re still floating around.So better avoid them.

The Take Away

Create Awesome, Share-worthy content and make it easy for other people to share it.You can use Moz’s Open Site Explorer, Ahrefs, Majestic or any other tool that functions as a search engine for links.If you notice any Links that are questionable, work to remove them. It’s better to remove a Suspicious link than leave it and suffer the potential consequences. Ensure your future link building efforts avoid these factors at all costs.

 

 

Facebook Improves UX For People With Slower Connections

Facebook is seeing its fastest growth in the developing world & that’s where the social network is signing up most of its new users, and because many of those people are connecting via slower 2G mobile connections, Facebook is making technical accommodations. Using a Facebook-created open-source “Network Connection Class,”  Facebook is able to sniff out how fast a person’s connection is and serves content in the News Feed accordingly.

While on Facebook people on slower connections see fewer bandwidth-hogging videos and more text and photo updates. They are also able to read the story they are looking at while the rest of the News Feed is loading in the background, but in a way that prioritizes the content currently in view. Facebook has now been displaying photos in progressive JPEG format, meaning that it can display lower-quality versions of images while they are loading.

In it’s continued effort to improve the mobile experience for people with slower internet connections, Facebook has made another accommodation. Now Facebook will look at all the previously downloaded stories that have not been viewed yet, rank them based on relevance and display them for users. It will also factor in whether images associated with the story are available.Previously, people with sketchy cell signals had to wait for stories to load in Facebook’s mobile app.

Here is excerpt from the latest updates from Facebook BLOG POST

We are now testing an update in which we look at all the previously downloaded stories present on your phone that you have not yet viewed, and rank them based on their relevance. We also factor in whether the images for the story are available. This way we can immediately display relevant stories you haven’t seen yet, instead of showing a spinner while you wait for new stories. When we receive new stories from the server when you’re back online, we load and rank those stories normally.

You can now also comment on stories you see when you don’t have an internet connection. While the ability to like and share posts when you’re offline has been available for some time, now you can comment on posts and the comment will be posted whenever you next have a connection.

Facebook said the updates won’t affect the overall News Feed ranking algorithm.

Accelerated Mobile Pages: Google Update

amp

Google Accelerated Mobile pages (AMP)  initiative  was Launched on October 7, 2015, with the primary objective of delivering faster-loading mobile web pages and thereby improve the mobile web user experience (and the Google search experience).

Accelerated Mobile Pages: Project Update

Google held a meeting on 9 dec, 2015 to provide updates about its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) publishing initiative.

  • The company previously said that it will support AMP within Google search “early next year.” It confirmed that it “will begin sending traffic to AMP pages in Google Search as early as late February 2016.”
  • Twitter will begin to experiment with linking to AMP content provided by publishers early in 2016.
  •  AMP pages load four times faster and use eight times less data than traditional mobile-optimized pages found out by Pinterest, currently testing publisher AMP pages in their iOS and Android apps.
  •  Messaging apps LINE, Viber, and Tango will link to AMP content in early 2016 as well.
  • WordPress will support all publishers that wish to enable AMP pages beginning in January.
  • Analytic tools like comScore, Chartbeat, Google Analytics, and Parse.ly will have AMP support in their tools by late February.

Google also updated on four key areas of the AMP Project: Advertising, Analytics, Subscriptions, and Content Format Innovation.The key updates covered in the meeting are explained in the company’s blog post. Here are a few Important excerpt of each of the four area as explained on marketingland.

Advertising:

Faster ads, ads that can resize, and support for viewability; as well as integration with certain data management providers, and sponsored content providers is the way forward for advertising

Analytics:

Implementation for a richer analytics framework is in progress, with the initial functionality landing in December and more coming in the subsequent weeks.End-to-end testing for publishers and analytics vendors is expected to start in late December, with full testing happening in mid to late January.

Subscriptions:

The proposed solution covers metering and access for subscribers. Engineering is working out technical details on the spec and on prototyping the solution.

Content Format Innovation:

Highlights include amp-iframe, which now has a resizing capability, and amp-click-to-play to enable a rich experience within an iframe once a user interaction has occurred.

Support From New Publishers

Network18, NDTV, and DNA India in India; Tempo and Kompass in Indonesia; Chosun, Joongang, Maekyung, Yonhap, YTN, Newstapa, and Slow News in South Korea; Inquirer in the Philippines; Televisa and Grupo Expansión in Mexico; Fox News in the US; and LINE, Nikkan Sports, CINEMATODAY, and IID, Inc. in Japan have come on board to express their intention to support AMP next year. LinkedIn intends to support AMP in early 2016 by serving faster-AMP alternatives to its published content when available.

Here You can also create your own first AMP page.

 

Google+ Breakup With Google+ Local

Google+ started life as a social network, but for a number of reasons it never really took off and Slowly and steadily Google is systematically breaking it up and keeping only the pieces that did work – e.g. Photos, Communities, and Collections as is evident from the latest Google+ changes.

Google+ Local piggybacked on G+ and became the place that Google displayed local business data. It always felt like an odd association – social features with business information – and now that association is ending.

The New Google+

The official Google blog post define the changes as Google+ that puts Communities and Collections front and center. Now focused around interests, the new Google+ is much simpler.

These changes are entirely centered on Google+ Local pages. Up until recently these pages displayed all the useful & important data that Google holds about a business, and Google linked to these pages from local and map search results. They no longer think that Google+ is the right place to display business information.In terms of marketing, businesses that want to reach people who are passionate about something will find it easier to do so with the new changes to Google+.

Google+ Ambassador Denis Labelle  is very positive about theses changes “The new Google+ is all about the interest graph, the open web but mostly, about people’s passions.” If your marketing is geared towards passionate people, you will find great ways to connect with them in the new Google+.

Google My Business: If You Are Local Business

The annual Local Search Ranking Factors study, Google My Business signals made up 14.7% of the overall ranking factors (see image below).

local-search-ranking-factors

So Google is still very much focused on local, and there is little need for SEOs and local business owners to worry about changes to Google+.The data from your GMB dashboard will show up everywhere that Google deems necessary; notably in Google Search, Maps, mobile search, and the Knowledge Graph.

Power Of Google/Local Search

Google+ Changes: The Take Away

So Their is no denial of the fact that Google Local search is very powerful, but Google+ is no more a place to display business information.Still marketer can leverage the benefit of New Google+ with Communities and Collections section, businesses that want to reach people who are passionate about something will find it easier to do so with the new changes to Google+. For a more detailed look at the changes check this Blog post.

What do you think about the latest changes to Google+? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!