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Author Archives: Dustin Peterson

ByDustin Peterson

Goal Setting & Tracking [Digital Capitalist]

You’ve established your online presence. You have a great website, several social media pages and a well positioned digital brand. Now it’s time to set some goals and layout a plan to achieve them.

Setting a CPA Goal

Your goal is going to change depending on the nature of your business. For example, if you are a blog that specializes in news the goal is going to be driving page views, maybe subscriptions, etc. The end game in this situation is developing a large audience that will facilitate advertising dollars. On the other hand, if you’re trying to sell handmade jewelry through an e-commerce site your goal is not sheer volume of audience but audience that’s looking to buy handmade jewelry. As you can see the nature of your goals are variable based on what you want to accomplish.

We borrowed this graphic from a Google training deck because it’s the perfect summation of most online business models. Take a look at this chart and find the one that most closely matches what you are doing.

Common Digital Strategies

Different types of conversions

 

Using Industry Benchmarks

One of the things we run into quite frequently is unrealistic CPA goals. As an example, if you’re a doctor or a lawyer the price of clicks and leads is going to be higher for your service than say, someone selling a toaster. The reason for this is that the cost of the product or service is so much different and the pay off for converting a legal lead is much higher than it is for selling a $20 dollar toaster.

Still a lot of people will come to us and say “Hey I want to get leads for less than $1.00!” – And while this is possible, the old addage: “you get what you pay” for holds true in digital advertising. I would seriously question the quality of leads for under $1.00.

Use Industry Benchmarks as a Pricing Guide

So how can you vet the price of leads? Well Google AdWords is a great start and there are plenty of documented benchmarks for different industries. You can even use Google’s pricing to keep other vendors honest. The industry averages in Google should be relatively similar for most, if they are not I would do some digging.

One of my favorite sources of industry benchmark information is WordStream. Here are their benchmarks on Cost Per Action:

AdWords Industry Benchmarks - CPA

WordStream created this infographic

 

So how do you calculate your ad budget or your “Cost Per Acquisition” using this information? In order to keep it neat – We’ve put the steps into a numbered list for you, this is the step by step process we would use to find a good starting CPA goal.

  1. Look at industry benchmark data
  2. Consider on average, how many “actions” it takes to convert a user to a customer. How many calls do you get on average before one closes? How many email form submissions result in actual business or sales for you?
  3. Multiply the average amount of leads you need to get for a sale by average cost per action number: If I run an automotive website the average cost per action is $63.00 in search. I know that 1 in 10 of my inbound leads on average will result in a sale. so $63 x 10 = $6300. I know that I will likely need to spend $6300 to get a lead that closes. 
  4. Make sure that your cost is less than your net profit. If the only cars you have for sale are $10k $6300 might be a lot to spend to acquire that user. You may want to consider alternate routes that will result in better margin. On the other hand if your car’s are $50,000 – $150,000 models $6300 is not much to spend on that customer.

Google Analytics & Search Console Are Your Best Friend

Google offers everyone it’s basic analytics service for free. Attached to that is Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools). Search console shows you first hand what keywords you’re ranking for in organic search as well as which ones are getting you traffic. The value of this tool cannot be overstated and it’s not incredibly difficult to set up and manage.

Analytics goes incredibly deep as well allowing you to create conversion events on your website and track users paths to those events. This can show you where you’re getting the most and best performing traffic from so that you can focus on developing those sources further. It has several other invaluable features as well, the ability to release site maps being an example.

Google Search Console

Search Console

 

Good Data, Strategy & Persistence Produces Results

If you build a solid plan with realistic goals and follow through with it you will see results. The quality and magnitude of those results depend on a multitude of variables, but that’s the fun part. Once you have the goals in place you can begin to look at data and make adjustments that will help you to yield the most from your efforts.

Click here to read - download "The DIgital Capitalist" e-Book

Click here to read – download “The Digital Capitalist” e-Book

ByDustin Peterson

Social Media Marketing – Quality vs. Quantity

With social media marketing on the rise there are a lot of agencies out there with different methods to help you grow your audience. Some of them are extremely effective and others are not. When we work with companies on social media audience strategy we always focus on quality. Getting quality at scale is possible, especially if you have a decent advertising budget. Getting quality in social media marketing without a large ad budget is also possible though, if you are consistent and stick to best practices.

One of the more popular method in recent years is buying likes or followers. There are a lot of different services out there that can in fact grow your audience to be very large rather quickly. This comes at a price though and I often question whether or not that price is worth it.

The reason is that buying followers or likes is not a good long term investment. There are a few reasons for this, but in the interest of time I’ll give you the 2 most important.

  1. Purchased followers are typically fake accounts created by media companies. These profile farms are composed of people who are paid to click, like or follow or sometimes can be completely automated.
  2. Social Media platforms like Facebook, Twitter & Instagram regularly purge their systems of phony accounts. One day you might buy a couple thousand followers for a great price. Then a week later all of those accounts will be deleted by the platform.

We discussed how the fraud ecosystem works at length in our video “The Wonderful World of Fake Traffic” a lot of the principals discussed here apply to social media.

For Businesses Social Media Marketing Should Be About Relationships

“Long-term relationship building is the cornerstone of any business and brand. Here, I think more than ever, organic and authentic conversation wins out over forced social media sharing through strategic plans and content management systems.”

The above statement from Jeremy Harris Lipshultz’s recent article at Huffington Post sums up the key to great long term, effective social media marketing. We tell our clients “think like a farmer” because a farmer has to get up and do a long list of things every day to keep their crops growing and produce a good harvest. Social Media marketing & content are no different. There are key things that you should be doing each and every day to help grow your audience.

So while you can “cheat” and buy followers or likes the value in that is greatly diminished. The numbers are impressive on the surface but once you look past that you will clearly see they are not real people. For a business if you’re going to invest in real social media marketing, you will want quality over quantity. Real, genuine conversation and interaction between potential and existing customers will win the day even if it comes in small amounts.

ByDustin Peterson

Understanding Programmatic Advertising

There’s been a lot of buzz around programmatic advertising over the past 3 – 4 years. But what exactly is programmatic advertising? The simple definition is that it is an automated method of buying, selling or fulfilling advertising. Apparently it’s caught on because it already makes up more than half of US digital display advertising spend.

Aside from just simple banner advertising, programmatic has begun to rapidly expand in areas such as video and mobile.

From Digital Ad Networks to Programmatic Advertising Exchanges

A few years ago if a digital media buyer wanted to run a branded display campaign they would go to an ad network that had tags running on a long list of websites. The buyer would usually procure a list of these sites and pay a CPM (Cost Per Mille or Cost Per 1,000 views to be accurate) to run their advertising on these sites.

But nowadays buyers are purchasing by the impression. What this means is that CPM’s have increased but rather than buying bulk page views, advertisers are now able to buy large targeted data-sets through programmatic exchanges.

programmatic-openrtb-ecosystem

programmatic open rtb system

 

It’s quite simple, many ad networks already run tags on thousands of publisher exchanges. These ad networks sell this inventory through programmatic vendors that in turn buy and sell these impressions in a real time auction to the highest bidder. It sounds complicated, but it’s a simple auction just like one you would go to in order to get art or antiques. The difference is that these auctions happen in fractions of a second via programmatic DSP’s or Demand Side Platforms. Just like at a regular auction the winner of these light speed auctions gets their ad shown to the user.

Based on recent data compiled by AdRoll. Last year, the bulk of US marketers, (62%), automated 10% to 50% of their digital advertising budget. Just about one third of those marketers also said they invested 50% or more of their digital ad budgets programmatically, up from 7% in 2013.

Other Benefits of Programmatic Advertising

Programmatic is visibly efficient. All data points to this fact. This method of advertising has an unmatched ability to pair audience data with digital content to target the right users with the right message at the right time. This has made digital media buying more cost effective and improved the amount of spend for web publishers.

While programmatic advertising still has issues related to fraud and viewability (cross-device visibility has been an issue) there is a healthy conversation being had about them. The current benefits of these ad buys also far outweigh the risks if you’re a brand or business looking to really get yourself in front of a highly targeted audience demographic online.

Whatever the case, keep an eye on programmatic to keep evolving and improving in the weeks and months to come.

(source: http://www.emarketer.com/Article/US-Advertisers-Investing-Heavily-Programmatic-Obstacles-Remain)

ByDustin Peterson

Snapchat Dominates SXSW Without a Presence and 6 Other Marketing Stats

According to AdWeek: 
The ephemeral app didn’t throw a South by Southwest Interactive party, hire a popular band or even give away cool gadgets—it didn’t have a branded presence at the Austin, Texas, festival. Instead, it was a topic of conversation on nearly every marketing panel and was constantly used by attendees to document their SXSW experiences. In fact, it garnered more impressions on Twitter than any other brand, coming in with 192 million from March 6 through March 16, per Sysomos. Indeed, all Snapchat had to do to win SXSW 2016 was just be Snapchat.

AdWeek went on to cite Snapchat as the most talked about brand at the whole conference and was actually used by a lot of attendees to document their experience.

AdWeek has this and 6 other interesting marketing stats from the past week here.

 

ByDustin Peterson

The Art of Social Customer Service

In today’s digital ecosystem, social media is a great way to drive awareness about your brand or business. It’s also a great way to engage with existing or prospective customers but a lot of companies are starting to discover that it’s also a great way to handle customer service.

This can be a bad thing for some companies. Take the example of the case of Hassan Syed who’s father lost his luggage on British Airways. He spent $1,000 on sponsored tweets to make sure that as many people as possible saw his distaste for British Airways handling of his problem. Unfortunately for BA the onslaught started afterhours while no one was manning their social media accounts. So for 8 long hours they allowed this problem to fester and grow without any response. By the time they were back at the office Hassan’s tweets had already been seen by over 75,000 people.

Knowing that social media is critical for into the modern age for customer service you need to be thoughtful and creative about how you represent your business online and that includes the customer service aspect. Here are a 5 quick tips to help you ace customer service on social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook.

Don’t Leave Complaints Unchecked

If someone’s complaining about your brand or business on social media it’s important to engage them right away. The longer you let them complain and get noticed the more difficult the issue will be to resolve. Responding quickly is key but you also want to do your best to drive the conversation off social media so you can talk person to person. Move the conversation to a forum where the public can’t see every last comment that is made.

If you are an international business it might be wise to have someone manning your accounts at all hours. As mentioned in the scenario above with British Airways, overseas complaints could be after hours for you and cause you to miss an opportunity to shape the conversation in a way that has the least amount of damage to your brand.

Show Some Empathy

Just because you are working on a computer through a social media channel doesn’t mean you shouldn’t act like a human being. When a customer comes to you with a problem make sure that you express interest and show that you care about the problem. If customers see that you recognize the problem and are working to fix it they feel that you’re listening to them. Responding to these issues with the motive to understand and assist will definitely help you resolve the issue and gain trust.

Surprise Your Customers

Not everyone who goes on social media to complain about a brand believes that they’re going to get a response. A lot of people will tweet or post something just to vent about a bad experience that they had. If you have a brand manager who is on top of things this can be used to your advantage by quickly responding to customer complaints. If a customer quickly receives a thoughtful response to a complaint that they didn’t think anyone was listening to, it can quickly turn their attitude from combative to friendly.

Respond Quickly

You’re probably seeing a common theme through a lot of these pointers – time is of the essence. If it takes you a couple days or a week to respond to a customer complaint it looks like your company is either lazy and slow or that you don’t care. Slow response time also makes it look like you’re not really paying attention to what’s going on or worse, avoiding conversations about your brand altogether. The longer that complaint lingers without response the worse you look regardless of what you say. So be quick on the draw.

Turn Critics Into Brand Advocates

If you are able to engage your customers and fix these situations quickly you will have a happy customer who can be turned into an advocate for your brand. They’ll respond with gratitude and if you’re lucky, maybe even delete the original complaint messages. People talk and by solving the problem you will have a customer who goes out and tells others that they are satisfied with the actions you took to quickly resolve their complaint. Most people who complain about a brand on social media are just looking for a quick solution to their problem, so if you can offer that to them and you’re going to win.

To sum, be open honest and quick to respond. Understanding these principles will ensure that social customer service helps to drive new customers to your brand.

(source: https://www.upwork.com/hiring/customer-support/social-customer-service/)