International Media Leader Hamish McLennan Joins Hyperlocal Social Ad Pioneer, Tiger Pistol

Some of you may have read the great news about Hamish McLennan joining Tiger Pistol. The story was published on June 19th in The Australian, but as the article requires a subscription, we thought we’d give you the skinny on our blog.

McLennan has a long and prestigious career in the global advertising and media space, including as Executive Vice President, Office of the Chairman at News Corp and global Chairman & CEO of Young and Rubicam (Y&R), which is part of WPP, the world’s’ largest communications services group. Currently, he is Chairman and non-executive Director of REA Group Limited, a multinational digital advertising company that specializes in property and is listed on the ASX. He is also a Director of the leading ASX listed funds management company, Magellan Financial Group. Prior to REA and Magellan, and the aforementioned roles at News Corp and Y&R, he was Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ten Network Holdings. He joined Y&R in 2002 as Chairman and CEO of Y&R Brands Australia/New Zealand, one of the largest marketing services groups in Australia, and led the firm’s global business operations from 2006. He has previously served on the Boards of Directors for the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and the US Ad Council.

Accustomed to being part of large-scale, global media and advertising companies, McLennan decided to join Tiger Pistol because of his long-held interest in tech startups that address immediate needs in the marketplace.

“Tiger Pistol is a great Australian success story. The founders have created a world-class ad tech platform. I can help forge some strategic partnerships, and hopefully do some deals and open some doors,” McLennan said. “From my 30 years in the media and marketing industry, the holy grail has been to deliver hyperlocal communications at scale in an automated fashion. Tiger Pistol can now deliver it.”

McLennan went on to say that Tiger ­Pistol’s proprietary technology platform will help “instil confidence in marketers about the effectiveness of their digital spend.”

Specifically, Tiger Pistol makes it possible to rapidly scale Facebook and Instagram ads run at the local level. Large brands with multiple locations can now more effectively drive business to local stores, while maintaining consistency and control at the brand-level. For digital agencies that provide advertising services to local businesses, they can now quickly add Facebook and Instagram ad products to their digital portfolio and scale immediately and effectively for their customers.

Steve Hibberd, co-founder and CEO of Tiger Pistol said, “We’re delighted to have Hamish join our team. Through his many years in the global media and advertising space, he brings immense knowledge and insight.  His clear belief in what we’re doing is a resounding endorsement and he is already having a positive impact.

Local Activation Meets Brand Consistency

Large, multi-location brands struggle with the competing need to both retain brand-level control and consistency while ensuring that each individual location can achieve success. This is especially complicated when Facebook advertising enters the picture. Most locations have already created their own Facebook Business Page and want to drive ads directly from it to garner attention to their location. And that make sense when you factor in things like:

  • Driving customers to the correct address
  • Location-specific offers
  • Local events, such as a high school football game that could impact foot traffic on a Friday night

What About Brand-Level Needs?

Those legitimate desires to drive location-specific messaging are complicated when you add in the brand’s desire to put out a consistent message, look and feel and overall experience in each of their locations.

Furthermore, if funding for ads is done at the brand level, it makes the logistics of location-based ads tricky for everyone involved. And if the brand wants to disperse the advertising budget dynamically across the locations, such that under-performing locations can get larger percentages of the spend, well, then the brand is forced to figure out how to manage each location’s needs centrally.  For brands with 5 or 10 locations, that may be doable. But for brands with hundreds or thousands of locations, that scenario simply isn’t an option. The time and resource needed to manage the setup and management of that many  campaigns would be, flatly, impossible. It’s a dilemma.

But Does it Really Matter?

At Tiger Pistol, we wanted to figure out if this dilemma was real or imagined, anecdotal or scientifically proven. We decided to do some testing to see if, in fact, ads run at the local level really did outperform those managed centrally by the brand – which means, they  included no location-specific details. We ran tests with several hundred locations and learned quite a lot.

The Results Are In

In short, it DOES matter.

Aggregate Results: on average, ads run off the local Facebook Business Page outperformed the ads run at the brand level by at least 2x. This, while also decreasing costs by 50%.

Case Study #1: National Home Builder
Ad Objective: Local Awareness (Reach)

The ad run at the brand level had a cost per thousand (CPM) of $12, while the ad run at the local level with local-specific copy, achieved a CPM of $2.51.

Case Study #2: Local Retail
Ad Objective: Traffic

The ad run at the brand level delivers a cost per click (CPC) of $0.62 while the ad run at the local level delivered a CPC of $0.43.

Case Study #3: Real Estate
Ad Objective: Traffic to Website

The Ad run at the brand level delivered a click through rate (CTR) of 1.28% while the ad run at the local level delivered a CTR of 3.51%

Now What?

If you’re a multi-location brand operator, you’re probably left feeling a little bereft by this news. We just validated what you probably already inherently knew or had seen happen with a handful of your locations. When done well, local ads drive local activation better than a generic ad promoting the brand as a whole.

Here’s the good news: Tiger Pistol can help you run brand-level campaigns that can be localized for the highest impact (and sorry for the shameless self-promotion, but it’s true). If you’re working with a partner or agency to help with your digital marketing, let them know this is what you need and ask them to get in touch. If not, give us a call and we’ll give you a demonstration!

The Low Cost, Insanely Easy Way to Get Great Results with Facebook Advertising

Small business owners are busy people. In addition to running a business, they can usually be found trying to also run HR, marketing, sales, finance, operations and dealing with every imaginable administrative task.

That’s why when social media exploded on the scene many small business owners were slow to adopt. Once they finally did, they often went with a “if I build it, they will come” approach, creating a page for their business and leaving it at that. And while you can share content and engage your fans using your business page, it’s simply not sufficient for promoting your business in a big way. Not only is it time consuming to create interesting, engaging content and then remember to reply (in a timely fashion) to anyone who responds, it’s limiting your potential reach, with only 2.6% of your fans seeing your page posts at any given time (according to adweek.com, 2015).

In today’s world, if you aren’t leveraging social advertising, you’re missing out. Everyday, 1.23 billion (that’s right, billion with a B) people access Facebook, but if you aren’t letting them know you’re there, they won’t know it.

That said, running ads on Facebook does require a fair bit of skill and even more time to get it right. Sure, you can create your own ads, but creating, managing and A/B testing social ads takes a ton of time, as well as design and copywriting skills you may not have in house. The chances of getting a good return on your investment are depressingly slim.

Instead, why not leave it to professionals who specialize social advertising for small and local businesses just like yours. Companies – like those we partner with – are very comfortable working with small and local businesses that have small budgets and can provide solutions to ensure your ads are driving real business results. They can use images that are amazing, copy that is compelling and target the audience that will convert! Then, they can A/B test different iterations of your ad to see which one works the best, to make sure your budget is always being spent effectively.

If you think they can’t achieve great results with your small budget, you might be surprised. One of the great advantages of advertising on Facebook is how clear they can get on who to target, which allows you to spend a little and get a lot in return. Here are some great examples of small businesses just like you who worked with a 3rd party to launch some incredible campaigns with outstanding results:

Success Story #1

A spa based in Delaware worked with their media agency to run a social campaign on Facebook for a 6-week period. They spent $250 in total and received 268 total leads – that’s just $.93 per lead!

Success Story #2

Another small business customer ran an ad offering a coupon to their audience that said, “Spend $100 and get $40 off.” It was the holidays, so the timing was great. The ad ran for a mere 2 weeks with a budget of just $300. From that small amount, they generated over 2,600 transactions and over $185,000 in sales!

Success Story #3

In a 3rd example, a small vineyard needed to get rid of some surplus stock they had on hand. With just $200 spent on Facebook ads, they received 700 clicks to their website and made $7,000 in revenue.

Now of course, no one can guarantee results like this with every campaign. However, these examples show how great things can happen with small budgets. All you need is the right partner!

Facebook vs. Instagram

You may already know that Facebook and Instagram are now fully integrated for advertising, but have you ever wondered which platform is best for your business? With continual updates to Instagram as an advertising platform, the platform has closed the gap between Instagram’s ad type availability when compared to that of those available on Facebook. But even as the platforms become more similar in their advertising offerings, the question remains, when is it best to choose Instagram over Facebook, or vice versa?

At Tiger Pistol, our philosophy is:

It’s often best to leverage both Facebook and Instagram, to get the widest reach. Facebook also recommends this approach to drive the most success for placement optimization; essentially, you’re giving Facebook the power to find the most relevant person within your target audience, on either platform, for the cheapest cost and estimated highest return. Plus, experience has shown that ads run on both platforms reinforce one another, and therefore yield better results overall – as in a15% increase in brand awareness!

The Case for Instagram

The wealth of targeting options across Facebook carry over to Instagram. However, the Instagram platform on it’s own has many unique advantages:

  1. It’s almost exclusively mobile. When was the last time you viewed Instagram via Instagram.com? Instagram was built for mobile users, and for a long time wasn’t even available on desktop. And since 80% of people now access social on mobile, it’s where your audience lives.
  2. It has high user engagement. According to Izideo, Instagram users are the most engaged on any social platform. Even more astounding, 80% of Instagram users follow at least one business, and 60% of userslearn about a product on the social network.1  Furthermore, a recent article in VentureBeat suggests that brands fare better on Instagram when it comes to engagement (it should be noted, however, that the article is referring to content posts only, not ads).
  3. It’s image centric. This one is probably obvious, but Instagram is, first and foremost, a visual platform. These qualities make Instagram a sound choice for any e-commerce business, or even local retailers, restaurants, and bars. Any business with products, especially ones that photograph well, are more likely to thrive using Instagram ads.

But what about Facebook?

Facebook offers an advantage in that it allows for users to have access to more information about the business without taking the user off the platform, instead directing them to a Facebook Business Page or providing more detail via the ad copy itself. Facebook continues to be the go-to platform for ads for more service-based industries such as law firms, or home services. Other benefits include:

  1. Facebook offers an expanded range of  ad types not available on Instagram, such as instant articles.
  2. It has a slightly older user base (more on this later!)
  3. It offers integrated messaging. Facebook has expanded options to use Messenger as a marketing and customer support tool.

Go Native

An important consideration when choosing between Facebook and Instagram when it comes to social media advertising is how well each platform displays ads. One key advantage that exists with Facebook and Instagram is that ads are placed where most people spend their time: their respective feeds. With both Facebook and Instagram, ads can appear as native content. Given the more limited creative options and focus on imagery, some might say Instagram has an edge because ads emulate the user-generated content already being shared to the platform. But if having your ads look more like native content is your primary concern, both platforms are flexible enough to allow you to do so.

Your Target Audience

One final consideration in deciding on which platform is best for your needs, is the user base itself. The demographics of each platform do differ slightly, as the latest demographic breakdown on Facebook from Pew Research shows:

 

Instagram skews a bit younger:

 

When it Comes Down to it…

Choosing between the two platforms doesn’t have to be difficult. Campaigns targeted to a more diverse customer base will mostly likely benefit from leveraging both platforms. At Tiger Pistol, we can publish to both Facebook and Instagram via our automation platform, so our campaigns work to reach the largest audience possible, dependent on the advertiser’s needs. But as indicated in the review above, each platform does offer some unique features of its own. Still, rather than second guess the largest, most influential social media platform in the world, the best choice may be to let Facebook do its magic and choose for you.

Ultimately, advertising on either platform – or both – is a wise business decision for nearly any business of any size. Give it a test drive, and if you need some expert advice, read the low cost, insanely easy way to get results with social advertising.

1 Facebook Partner Bootcamp, April 2017

Insider Info from Facebook’s Partner Bootcamp and F8 Conferences

A couple of weeks ago, three of us from Tiger Pistol’s Client Management & Operations teams attended the Facebook Marketing Partner Bootcamp, and two of our engineers attended F8. Both events were fantastic, and there are some really exciting product enhancements and updates that we’re looking forward to leveraging to further enable our clients to drive success with Facebook ads at scale.

Facebook is Still the Clear Winner in the Social Space

Sure, there are those who say, “What about Snapchat? And Twitter?” I’m not discounting them as irrelevant. However, when it comes to social dominance, there’s no question that Facebook and Instagram have it, and even more evidence to that effect came out today in this article by VentureBeat.  At the conference, they reiterated their user-base numbers, which never cease to amaze:

  • Facebook – 1.9B active users each month (209M in US). 1.2B on mobile each day (151M in US).
  • Instagram – 700M monthly active users (108M in US)
  • Messenger – 1.2B+ active users
  • Whatsapp – 1.2B+ active users

Instagram is Making it’s Mark

While there is, of course, plenty of overlap between users of Facebook and Instagram, Instagram is attracting users who want a more visual and mobile-centric platform. What’s even more amazing is that ads on Instagram – perhaps because they tend to put a lot of focus on imagery – perform incredibly well. Just check out Instagram’s jaw-dropping stats, including the one that notes that 80% of all Instagram users follow a business:

  • 400M daily active users
  • 80% beyond the US
  • 1M active advertisers
  • 200M+ users using stories
  • 8M businesses
  • 80% of users follow a business
  • 60% of users learn about a product and 75% of them take an action

Placement is Key

If the previous insight about Instagram wasn’t convincing enough for you, this ought to do it. Ad placement on Facebook & Instagram together has seen:

  • 15% increase in brand awareness
  • 6% increase in video views
  • 28% increase in post engagement

The Rise of Mobile Brings a Content Deluge and the Need to Outsmart the Horde

We already know that 3 hours a day are spent consuming content on mobile, and that mobile is absolutely part of the purchase decision – in fact, 88.5% of digital shoppers are mobile shoppers, and ⅓ of all US retail sales are influenced by mobile.

But with the rise of mobile and social networks, we’ve also seen the rise of content creation and distribution. The pace of content creation is literally surpassing our ability to consume, and attention really has become a scarce resource.

What does this mean for businesses? Now more than ever, advertisers need to spend their marketing dollars wisely – and should  be spending where they can target real people who are likely to be interested in their products or services.

Easier Offer Redemption

Facebook has listened to feedback from advertisers and consumers alike, and identified where they could enhance the Offers product to drive better business outcomes that are trackable. They’ve also made it easier for consumers to claim and redeem offers easily without having to download a coupon, print an email or remember a unique code. The Offers product can now be configured to drive online and offline redemption, each enabling two separate user flows. Plus, users can easily sort through offers they’ve claimed via the new Offers Tab (similar to Marketplace and Events). Users will be organically reminded about Offers they’ve claimed, making it even easier for advertisers to drive success without a hefty price-tag.

Lead Generation Improvements in Trackability

Did you know that it takes approximately 38.5% longer to fill out a form on mobile than on desktop? This is usually because businesses aren’t optimizing web forms for mobile. Optimizing forms for mobile is critical to driving form submissions, and Facebook is absolutely in tune with this. Enhancements include improved trackability, such as leveraging the Facebook Pixel and Offline Conversions API to not only inform advertisers of ad performance, but also provide valuable data back to Facebook to further enhance ad targeting.

Other Products & Enhancements

Being a Facebook Marketing Partner has so many benefits, one of which is early access to information about new products and the enhancement of existing products before they go public. As Facebook says, they’re only 1% done, and their roadmap is looking stronger than ever. While we can’t actually share what’s on Facebook’s roadmap (sorry, we’re under NDA!), what we can tell you is:

  • They are continuing to invest in their targeting and optimization tactics, including updates to Custom/Lookalike Audiences
  • They’re committed to allowing advertisers to realize true return on ad spend, and are doing things in the attribution space to support this
  • There are three new ad products on Facebook & Instagram that are not only genius, but are already being tested in beta and are driving great results
  • Bots will enhance the way we message with each other, and how advertiser’s connect with consumers
  • They’re committed to leading the way in virtual reality, with a focus on products that continue to connect the world

Watch for more insights from the world of Facebook right here on the Tiger Pistol blog!

Sources: All data in this post not otherwise referenced came directly from Facebook Partner Bootcamp and F8.

Best Practice Makes Perfect

They say ‘practice makes perfect’, and in this blog we’ll talk about the best practices and recommendations in developing Facebook ads that actually work.

Last we checked in there were 1.86 billion monthly active users globally on Facebook which is a double digit growth of 17% from the previous year+. With this current trajectory, it’s estimated that Facebook will hit 2 billion monthly active users by June 2017!*

With the audience clearly congregating on Facebook, connecting and getting them to take notice of your efforts isn’t always easy and you won’t always have the luxury of practicing until you get it right. So take our best practices, harnessed from servicing thousands of small business advertisers, which has led to our deep understanding of how consumers engage on social media and the best ads to use. In other words, it’s not just what we think, it’s what the data tells us!

LEAD ADS:

  • Generate leads by highlighting an offer or incentive to prompt the viewer to submit their contact information.
  • Use a promo code to track ROI.
  • Make it easy for your audience to submit their contact details without ever having to leave their Facebook Newsfeed.

LEAD ADS – BEST PRACTICE:

  • Highlight your unique selling point to differentiate from competitors.
  • Use a ‘first time’ offer to incentivize the user to submit their contact details.

LOCAL AWARENESS ADS:

  • Increase awareness in your local area
  • Generate leads with a ‘Call Now’ Call to Action Button
  • Have your target audience contact you directly with a ‘Send Message’ Call to Action Button

LOCAL AWARENESS – BEST PRACTICE:

  • Highlight your unique selling point to differentiate from competitors.
  • Use a ‘first time’ offer or incentive to generate leads.

WEBSITE CLICK ADS:

  • Target people who live near your business.
  • Increase awareness about your services or special deals on your website.
  • Generate leads via your website.

WEBSITE CLICK ADS – BEST PRACTICE:

  • Highlight your unique selling point to differentiate from competitors.
  • Use a ‘first time’ offer or incentive to increase clicks and drive more leads.
  • Align your ad with action you want the audience to take online, such as “Learn More”.

In essence, the golden rules are:

  1. It has a clear call to action: Don’t assume your audience knows what to do next.
  2. Unique selling point: Why should your audience click on your ad and not your competitors? With 4 million active advertisers on Facebook and more than 70% marketing outside of the U.S.# it is crucial to success that you clearly differentiate yourself.
  3. Memorable visuals: A post is more likely to be noticed and shared if there is an appealing visual.
  4. Targeted: You want your relevant audience to actually see your ad and not just everyone. On Facebook, you will literally pay for everyone who sees and clicks on your ad, so targeting the right people is key.

Again don’t take our word. Based on the above best practice tips, our clients reported 4+ leads on Lead Ads, 14,000+ impressions on Local Awareness Ads and 55+ website clicks on Website Click Ads.

Practice truly does make perfect!

Success with Facebook Ads: Is it as Easy as You Think?

By now we all know that Facebook’s advertising capabilities are extremely accessible when it comes to doing it yourself – you can create your Business Page for free, and then with little effort start running ads with as much or as little budget as you like, to pretty much whoever you like, wherever you like.

Sure, I’d definitely say it’s easy to create and launch an ad on Facebook. But is it easy to do it well, and in such a way as to see significant return on investment? Not so much.

To give you an idea, these are the kind of questions you should know the answers to in order to run a well thought-through Campaign, that is likely to give you real, business-value results:

  • Do I want to run an Awareness ad, a Consideration ad or a Conversion Ad?
  • Do I want to include an offer in my advertising?
  • Do I want to use a Custom Audience in my targeting? Would this be better than demographic, interest or behavioral targeting?
  • Where do I want to place my ad?
  • Should I set my budget to Lifetime or Daily? What’s a good budget?
  • Shall I optimize for link clicks, leads, daily unique reach or impressions?
  • Do I want to be charged for clicks or impressions?
  • Do I want standard or accelerated delivery for my ads? Should they run continuously in my set time frame, or only at key times of day?
  • What format do I want my creative? Carousel, Single Image, Single Video, Slideshow, Canvas or maybe Collection?
  • What makes a good ad image? How do I best describe my offering in the limited characters I have available?
  • Which Call To Action button is best suited to my objective?
  • How do I analyze the results and use my learnings to better my next campaign?

Know all the answers? Awesome! You’re all set to go make your business some money with Facebook Ads. Don’t? Let’s break it down and see if we can bring some clarity to some of these key factors.

Objective

On the surface, this one isn’t rocket science. Do you want an ad that increases awareness of your offering, boosts consideration of your offering, or converts users to your offering. You should know that. But which ad type is most effective for each of these three objectives? There’s no straight answer for that one – it depends on your industry, your business, your budget, and your expectations.  You can learn loads more about the different ad types and when to use them in another post by Tiger Pistol’s Laura Sebo.

You also need to consider the long game – of course you want loads of new customers straight away. But will loads of users who’ve never heard of your business jump on board and convert at the first site of your ad? Unlikely.

Many people expect Facebook Ads to be a miracle cure, providing them with immediate ROI where other marketing has not. And while you certainly can get incredible results on Facebook, you have to be clever about how you go about it – running a one-off campaign targeted at the people you think will like your offering just won’t cut it in the long run. You need a well thought out strategy that looks at getting users through the funnel over a period of time, adapting with each campaign to produce a steady increase in customers and ever-increasing ROI.

Offers

Again, simple on the surface. Do you want to use an offer as part of your advertising as an added incentive? Some say no, it cheapens your brand. Some say yes, an introductory offer may help persuade users who are unaware of your business to give it a chance. Is an offer relevant or appropriate to your business? Is it an efficient way of getting new customers or will it just see an influx of one-off buyers rather than loyal, returning customers?

Targeting

The immense detail with which you can target your ads to users is what makes Facebook Ads so special, and unlike any other marketing out there.

But with so many options to choose from, it’s hard to know the best approach. By now you probably have a pretty good idea of your typical customer, so you could just input these parameters into Ads Manager, lining up their demographics, interests and behaviors, and see if they respond. But by doing this, could you be ruling out other potential new customers, without even giving them a chance to consider your offering? Maybe it’s better to start broad. Or you could use that database of emails you have stored away, to see if past customers would consider your new offering. Or maybe a Lookalike Audience of these people? Or perhaps just retarget people who have visited your website recently, because they’re obviously at least slightly interested. But then are you sure you’ve installed your Facebook pixel correctly on your site?

Placements

You could just set this to automatic, because Facebook obviously knows the best place to put an ad. Although, is placing your ad in the right hand column as well as the main feed a waste of your budget? It doesn’t really look that good in there. You could maybe rule out desktop – not many people look at Facebook on desktop these days (do they?). And Instagram is pretty cool, you can put ads on there too, that is if Instagram is appropriate to your audience… And then there’s the Audience Network, Instant Articles and even Facebook Messenger! Do you put your ad in all these places therefore casting the widest net possible, or narrow it down to the most appropriate channels to try and use your budget more efficiently?

Budget

It could be best just to set a daily budget so that you know what you’re spending each day, and then you can just turn it off whenever you want. Or you could set start and end dates, so you don’t accidentally leave it on in the background racking up a big bill. Although it has been said that Lifetime budget can produce better results – Facebook optimizes delivery depending on performance. But what if it was doing really well? You’d probably want it to just keep ticking over bringing in results, rather than turning off at the height of its game. Hmmm. And wait, how much are we even spending here? What’s an appropriate budget for the kind of ad you’re running?

Optimization & Charging

Link clicks, leads, impressions or daily unique reach – in other words do you want your ad shown to people who are more likely to click on it (than the average user, which tends to cost more), shown to as many people as possible (potentially multiple times), or shown to as many unique users as possible?

And when it comes to the breakdown of what you’re paying for, do you want to get charged every time someone clicks on the ad, or every time someone sees the ad? Which would give the best results whilst being the most cost effective?

Scheduling & Delivery

You could have your ads run continuously throughout your selected time period – this is probably the easiest. Although if you’re promoting a specific offer that’s only available on a certain day or at a certain time, is it worth spending budget when the user can’t act upon the ad when they’re shown it? You could instead run the ad at specific times of day, for example if you had 2-for-1 lunches at your restaurant on certain days, you could just run the ads on the morning of those days. But then again running ads on and off like that could mean the ad often doesn’t pick up traction, so you may see better results running a continuous ad…

Format

OK, so we’ve finally decided who you want to show your ads to and how. But what does the ad actually look like? You could just use a single image – clear, to the point, no messing about. But then again having multiple images in a Carousel format could allow you to get your point across better, seen as you only have limited text to work with. You could animate multiple images into a slideshow format – we all know how users are attracted to moving images – so in fact you could just do a video ad (if you have a good video to use). Or else there are those fancy Canvas ads, where you could include text, images, gifs, videos – whatever you like! Now that would impress users. But it might be tricky to create one that looks really good, or at least have the time to do one properly.

Creative

Do you know the best kind of imagery to use in Facebook Ads? Would a user be more likely to click on a really high-quality professional image, or would they rather see a more candid image of your team doing what they do best? Then you’ve got to figure out how best to describe your business, your offering and what you want the user to do with your ad, in very limited characters. They might not even see all the text, depending on what device they’re using and how much you choose to write. Should you be straight to the point and use the ad to get them towards a conversion, or would it be better to go for a soft sell approach, enticing them to your site and allowing your offering to do the talking in its own environment?

Which also begs the question of which Call-To-Action Button is the most appropriate. ‘Learn More’ is a bit wishy washy – it could be better to get them to ‘Shop Now’. Yeah, you may get less clicks, but then the people who do click have shown that they’re willing to potentially buy something. But then, could it be better to use a less direct approach; get as many people to your site as possible, casting the net wider with the possibility of converting those who may not have even considered it originally? Worth thinking about.

Learning & Applying

So now you’ve run your first ad. It went well. You think. Aside from the number of desired actions, and the cost per action, how do you know if your ad has done well? Because, in the world of Facebook advertising there is more to success that the amount of people you managed to send to your website, or the amount of leads you got.

And now what? Do you run the same ad again? Or could you use insights from your last one to make the next one better, reach more people, potentially lower your cost per desired action or get more of them?

As you can see, there is a heck of a lot to consider when it comes to running Facebook Ads. Yes, they can work miracles. Yes, they can give you great ROI, boost your customer numbers, make you money and the rest. But – and it’s a big but – you’ve got to know how to set them up properly, run them properly, and analyze them properly to allow them to do that.

Not to worry though – we can help with that too. Check out our post, “The Low Cost, Insanely Easy Way to Get Results with Facebook Advertising” to learn the secret sauce behind small and local social ad success!

The Low Cost, Insanely Easy Way to Get Results with Facebook Advertising

If you’re a small business owner, you’re busy. Really busy. In addition to running a business, you can probably be found trying to also run HR, marketing, sales, finance, operations and dealing with every imaginable administrative task.

That’s why, when social media exploded on the scene, many small business owners were slow to adopt. Once they finally did, they often went with a “if I build it, they will come” approach, creating a page for their business and leaving it at that. And while you can share content and engage your fans using a business page, it’s simply not sufficient for promoting business in a big way. Not only is it time consuming to create interesting, engaging content, you must also then remember to reply (in a timely fashion) to anyone who responds. More importantly, content posting alone limits potential reach, with only 2.6% of Fans seeing page posts at any given time (adweek.com, 2015).

In today’s world, businesses that aren’t leveraging social advertising are missing out. Everyday, 1.87 billion (that’s right, billion with a B) people access Facebook, but if you aren’t letting them know you’re there, they won’t know it.

That said, running ads on Facebook does require a fair bit of skill and even more time to get it right. Sure, you can create your own ads, but creating, managing and A/B testing social ads takes a ton of time, as well as design and copywriting skills you may not have. The chances of getting a good return on your investment are depressingly slim.

Instead, why not leave it to professionals who specialize social advertising for small and local businesses just like yours. Companies – like those that are our partners – are very comfortable working with companies that have small budgets and can provide solutions to ensure your ads are driving real business results. They use images that are amazing, copy that is compelling and target the audience that will convert! Then, they can A/B test different iterations of your ad to make improvements over time to make sure your budget is always being spent effectively.

If you think they can’t achieve great results with your small budget, you might be surprised. One of the great advantages of advertising on Facebook is the ability to target effectively, which allows you to spend a little and get a lot in return. Here are some great examples of small businesses just like yours who worked with a 3rd party to launch some incredible campaigns with outstanding results:

Success Story #1

A spa based in Delaware worked with their media agency to run a social campaign on Facebook for a 6-week period. They spent $250 in total and received 268 total leads – that’s just $.93 per lead!

Success Story #2

Another small business customer ran an ad offering a coupon to their audience that said, “Spend $100 and get $40 off.” It was the holidays, so the timing was great. The ad ran for a mere 2 weeks with a budget of just $300. From that small amount, they generated over 2,600 transactions and over $185,000 in sales!

Success Story #3

In a 3rd example, a small vineyard needed to get rid of some surplus stock they had on hand. With just $200 spent on Facebook ads, they received 700 clicks to their website and made $7,000 in revenue.

Now of course, no one can guarantee results like this with every campaign. However, these examples show how great things can happen with small budgets. All you need is the right partner!

Want to learn more about our amazing partners? Drop us a line and we’ll hook you up!

The Facebook Eco-System: Why It’s Top Of It’s Game

Every now and then articles crop up stating “Facebook is dead”, or “young people don’t use Facebook anymore”, or “LinkedIn is the new Facebook”.

But none of these are true. Nor have they ever been, since its launch in 2004.

Facebook has gone from strength to strength over its thirteen years, leaping over various hurdles, molding its offering and diversifying extensively to suit its users’ needs with each passing year.

It now sits at the top of its sector, boasting 1.87 billion monthly active users and four million active advertisers. What started essentially as an online yearbook now manages to take up a fifth of all time spent on the internet. But this is not referring to Facebook as a stand-alone application but rather to the Facebook Ecosystem as a whole; while Facebook itself is the biggest and most notable of the ecosystem’s applications, ‘Facebook’ now includes Messenger, Instagram and Whatsapp – three more of the most popular social apps – all under one roof.

So why is having these fellow high flyers a big deal for Facebook? Let’s take it one at a time:

Instagram: To up its Photo Game, Quash Competitors, Collect More Data and Improve its Mobile Experience

Acquired for a cool $1 billion in April 2012, Facebook made sure no competitors could snap up the super-popular photo-sharing platform and just like that, Instagram (IG) ceased to be its biggest market threat.

At the time, sharing photos was one of the most popular activities on Facebook, and thus the acquisition helped to cement this, linking the platforms and merging the filters and effects that users loved so much with their favorite and most-used social platform. Storytelling is what makes social media tick, and nothing does this better than photos and videos. Thus, Instagram helped to put some feeling into Facebook, which had previously been judged as somewhat soulless within the social space.

Furthermore, Facebook is all about the data, which is what helps to make so much of your Newsfeed content so relevant. Acquiring Instagram meant a whole heap more user data; the photos and hashtags posted by IGers brought another level of user-knowledge for Facebook to harness, including friend lists, facial recognition and location data as well as specific user interests.

What’s more, mobile-only Instagram – and the impressive mobile development team that came with it – helped transform Facebook’s app from clunky and not remotely pleasurable to use, into the sleek user experience that it has today.

And finally, we can’t deny the cool factor. Sure, Facebook is popular with everyone – your mum’s on it, your grandad’s on it, your old teacher’s on it… but five years since the acquisition, Instagram withholds its hipster image helping to give Facebook that little bit of extra street cred.

Whatsapp: For World Domination

Well for starters this bad boy was acquired in 2014 for a not-so-tiny $19 BILLION. An unimaginable amount of money. But why? At the time many called out the decision as ridiculous or stupid, but was it? I don’t think so.

Believe it or not, Whatsapp users are even more active than Facebook users. The usage statistics explained in our recent blog Why Facebook is An Essential Tool for Any Small or Local Business were pretty mind boggling, but get this – Whatsapp users are even more active, and their number of users grew more than twice as fast as Facebook’s.

Source: Facebook

Aside from its user numbers and its position as the leader in the global instant messaging arena (any platform with so many users is of course extremely valuable), an apparent stand-out factor for Zuckerberg was the geographical location of Whatsapp’s users. As of January this year the platform had 1.2 billion users, many of which are located in developing countries.

In the last few years, it’s been no secret that Facebook has been keen to boost its numbers outside of the US & Europe, and acquiring Whatsapp has allowed it to do just that. The acquisition helps with Zuckerberg’s vision to connect the whole world, aiding its internet.org initiative and allowing the Facebook Ecosystem to reach parts of the world that it had barely featured in before.

Oculus: For the Future

Now this one’s a little different, as Virtual Reality is not something we’ve seen a lot of up to this point. While Facebook already dominates the now, acquiring the leader of the VR space suggests that Facebook is also looking to dominate the future, where it’s expected that the main technology platform will no longer be mobile but instead, augmented and virtual reality(!). On acquiring the company for $2 billion in 2014, Zuckerberg said in this TechReview article, “There are not many things that are candidates to be the next major computing platform… [This acquisition is a] long-term bet on the future of computing.”

So it looks like the lenses and filters that are so cherished today will eventually be replaced with immersive augmented and virtual reality. In fact, augmented reality is already managing to sneak in a little bit in the form of the interactive filters that we most commonly associate with Snapchat, but are as of this month, also on Facebook’s native app.

And while it would seem Facebook is looking to continue to rule not only social but computing on a greater scale, it is only to be expected that it’ll use this acquisition to do what Facebook does best – capture data. Could we see our facial expressions being tracked to learn how we react to certain things in coming years?! Spooky.

And finally to Facebook Messenger, which was not an acquisition but rather a strategic transition from part of the native platform to a stand-alone application. Which begs the question, why have your own competing app when you’ve just bought the world’s leading messaging platform?

Messenger: Because it Can

Similar to acquiring Whatsapp, having a separate messaging platform to its native app allows it to reach yet more users, like those who do not want a Facebook profile. Messenger allows you to sign up with just a mobile number, meaning people who don’t want an account can still chat with their Facebook-using friends. Which of course means yet more data for Facebook, and a reasonably high chance that they’ll get pushed over the edge and sign up for a fully-fledged account anyway.

Plus, removing chat features from the native app and forcing users to a separate platform means a third additional location through which to reach more of the world. And if the news from this year’s F8 conference is any indication, Messenger will continue to grow, evolve and add features well into the future.

To summarize, by acquiring these social leaders but keeping them separate, plus creating its own standalone messaging app, Facebook continues to expand its global reach and dominate not just social media as a whole but the greatly important sectors of instant messaging and photo-sharing. With it’s team of MVPs it’s now hitting almost every corner of the Earth, it can’t be long before almost the entire population is connected via the vast Facebook Ecosystem.

Sources
10 Reasons Why Facebook Bought Instagram; Hill, K
https://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/04/11/ten-reasons-why-facebook-bought-instagram/#64532a2dd1b1

Why did Facebook buy WhatsApp?; Swider, M
http://www.techradar.com/news/internet/web/what-s-up-with-facebook-buying-whatsapp-it-s-about-the-developing-world-1226429

 

Why Facebook is an Essential Marketing Tool for any Small or Local Business

Gone are the days when Facebook could be passed off as the latest fad. With 1.87 billion active users each month and four million active advertisers, the social platform is not only here to stay, it’s also completely dominating the world of social networking.

What’s more, it’s entirely transforming the way small and local businesses market themselves. As a business leader, if you don’t want to fall behind and lose out to your numerous competitors, ignoring the phenomenon that is Facebook advertising is a seriously bad move. Here’s why you really should consider jumping on the social media bandwagon.

It’s Got the Numbers

Not only are Facebook’s user-numbers ridiculously high, but people are engaging. According to Facebook’s own data from December 2016, 78% of users return to the site daily and check their Newsfeed 15-20 times a day1. You’re probably thinking, “Pfft… I don’t check mine nearly that much”. You may well be right. So, then think about just how many times some people must be sneaking little peeks at their News Feed throughout the day to bring that average up. Frankly, the level to which some people engage with Facebook is a little scary.

Plus, despite nearly everything moving online, Facebook is still managing to take up a fifth of all time spent on the internet (again, according to Facebook’s own data from Dec 2016). What’s more, users are no longer just mindlessly scrolling, nor are they simply posting selfies and checking what their mates are up to anymore.

Instead, they’re diversifying the way they use the platform; they’re actually engaging with the content. From consuming relevant news articles, searching for events, and clicking on promotions and sales, there’s no end to what this multifaceted site has to offer. As a result, Facebook ads have an average click-through-rate that is almost ten times higher than regular web ads.

Amazingly, the platform generates a quarter of all website traffic. And users aren’t just clicking; they’re more than happy to engage and convert so long as you provide them with the right content to drive your desired outcome. With intelligent targeting and content that ties in with the interests and purchasing habits of your typical customer, it could be easier than you think to open up a treasure chest full of new prospects, as well as re-engage your existing customer base.

It Works

Businesses are continuing to see success from Facebook Ads. Sixty-five million businesses have used Facebook Pages in the last 30 days (an increase of around 15 million from this time last year, according to Business Insider) and at the last count, the platform reported four million active advertisers – almost double that of 2015.

While these numbers are increasing, there’s also a shift in the amount that people are willing to spend on the platform. The truth of the matter is that many savvy businesses are moving their marketing budget from other, arguably less effective channels, to where they are seeing the highest ROI – on Facebook.

But does all this actually convert to real money-in-the-bank results? Well, take it from the horse’s mouth – 42% of Americans say Facebook is their number one influencer of purchases, while a recent study by Facebook (of US shoppers who recently made a purchase) found that:

  • 30% discovered a new product on Facebook
  • ⅓ said Facebook & Instagram were good places to find out about a new product or service
  • 20% said Facebook led them to buy a new product/service online

What do these stats tell us? Well, not only are Facebook ads proving successful when talking growth, user-numbers, click-through-rates and the like, but it’s also translating into real, successful business results.

It Boosts Other Media

While Facebook ads are an amazing tool, they are the not the magic solution to all your problems. It would be naive to believe that they are. Sure, they can be effective as a stand-alone marketing method; however, they work best when supporting other media, and have been proven to boost other efforts and help propel other channels towards greater success.

For example, if you’re currently running TV ads, you could back them up with video ads on Facebook. There’s a 30% increase in brand awareness and consideration when using Facebook video to complement other media.

Or, on the other hand, if you’re trying to improve your SEO and boost traffic to your website, you could backup your search ads with Facebook ads. People who see ads on Facebook are more likely to search and click through to an advertiser’s website, with campaigns experiencing a 6.3% lift in mobile search traffic.

No matter what your current objective, chances are there’s an ad type for it. Soft-sell, hard-sell, raise awareness, find new subscribers, get more traffic to your website, get more people into your store, get more downloads of your app, find a new member of staff, run a competition…I could keep going, but I think you get the idea. There’s little limit to what you can do with Facebook ads – the trick is figuring out how to nail them, and allowing them to slot in nicely to your current marketing strategy.

Convinced Yet?

The reality is that Facebook isn’t going away. The sheer numbers can’t be ignored and the fact of the matter is, your audience is on Facebook.

While Facebook ads do work on the same pay-per-click/pay-per-impression idea as most online advertising does, there’s one striking difference. The scary amount of data that Facebook has on each user means that your ads can be put in front of people that are much more likely to actually engage with your ad, and take the action you want them to. Facebook knows who’s more likely to click, who likes to watch videos through to the end, who’s happy to leave the app and do a bit of mobile-shopping, and so on. This means that when you choose to run ads on this platform you’re essentially spending your advertising dollars far more efficiently, by reaching those most relevant to your offering.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em – and why wouldn’t you when there’s so little to lose? Organic content is all well and good for representing who you are on your social platforms, but with the average reach for posts by Facebook Pages being 2.6%, you really have to pay to play.

Likes, comments and shares might make you look good amongst your peers, but do they mean more customers? Not necessarily. If you focus on getting real business results on Facebook through clever targeting and ad types that tie in with your existing strategies, you’ll be amazed how quickly you start to see the value.