How to use Google’s new demographic targeting for search ads

Through AdWords, Google has given advertisers a lot of control over when their ads are shown, by means of the different match types and using remarketing lists for search ads.

Until recently, however, you were unable to target users based on demographic – a function that has been available for a while now on both Facebook and Bing.

The new feature allows advertisers using Adwords to target users based on:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Parental status

This feature will be particularly useful where user intent varies considerably based on these variables. For example if you were selling high-end investments or watches, it is unlikely that young people under the age of 25 would have the necessary capital to purchase them.

However when using this feature, it is important to make sure that your conclusions are based on data as opposed to your gut feelings. A study by Google has shown that some of our preconceived ideas about which demographics purchase which items may result in us missing out on a considerable proportion of buyers.

Image: Google

For example if you were running a campaign selling home improvement products and excluded women on mobile devices, you could lose 45% of your traffic.

One thing to bear in mind is that your customer might not always be your customer. For instance, the study by Google showed that 40% of baby products are purchased by households that do not contain parents.

Here you can see that a considerable proportion of some markets are not the consumers themselves, but people purchasing on behalf of consumers.

How to set up demographic targeting in AdWords

The demographic targeting options can be found within the audiences tab alongside your remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) data. To add bid modifiers take the following steps:

STEP 1. Go to the “audiences” tab and then to the “demographics” sub-tab as shown below.

STEP 2. You can switch between demographic data for “age” and “gender” using the two sub-tabs that are located under the graph.

STEP 3. Bid modifiers can be set within the “bid adjustment” column by clicking on the dashed line.

Once you have done this you should see a popup like the one below where you can enter your bid modifier.

STEP 4. To calculate your bid modifier you should use the following formula: divide the age conversion rate by the ad group conversion rate, subtract one, and multiply by 100.

So for example if the conversion rate for people aged 25 – 34 is 3.52% and your conversion rate for the ad group overall is 2.76%, then your bid modifier would be 28%. Note that you need to round up your modifier to the nearest whole number.

When you are faced with “Unknown” data where Google is unable to match the user to their data, you will in most cases not want to exclude this audience.

In some cases we have found that Google can’t match data to a large chunk of your traffic, which can be frustrating, but if you exclude this you are likely to miss out on a considerable portion of your traffic.


Overall, demographic targeting for the search network gives advertisers another dimension with which to narrow down their audience to target the most relevant people.

Google’s example of baby products being bought by households that do not contain any parents is a perfect example of why it is necessary to follow the data as opposed to your gut feeling when using this feature. Otherwise you run the risk of losing a considerable portion of your audience.

Finally, when you are faced with the dreaded unknown column, think twice before excluding this data. In the vast majority of cases this will account for a considerable chunk of your traffic so it is best not to exclude it.

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6 Ideas to Borrow from Creative Social Media Carousel Ads

If one picture is worth a thousand words, a carousel ad is worth 10 times that. Literally. According to data found by Kinetic Social, advertisers using carousel ads see a click-through rate 10 times higher than other ad formats on Facebook and Instagram.

Carousel ads allow advertisers to use up to 10 photos or videos within a single paid post on Facebook or Instagram. Each image has its own link, which means more space for advertisers to stretch their creativity.

On Facebook, carousel ads drive 30 to 50 percent lower cost-per-conversion and 20 to 30 percent lower cost-per-click than ads with a single image.

Want to test your own carousel ad campaign? Read on for some examples and ideas to get you started.

6 examples of creative carousel ads

1. Airbnb

Airbnb repurposed one of their slideshow posts on Instagram as a creative carousel ad promoting their new Experiences offerings.

The post is a beautiful panorama photograph of a long paddle boat, divided into three shots. The text accompanying the post highlights the hosts and how they use Airbnb to give guests a once-in-a-lifetime experience.


With this carousel ad, Airbnb shines a spotlight on their valuable hosts while showing users the unique benefits of traveling with Airbnb. The post’s call to action includes a link to other San Francisco experiences available through Airbnb.

Like Airbnb, your brand can use a panorama format with carousel ads to:

  • Show off your new office space
  • Share an event experience
  • Give a behind-the-scenes look at your team with a series of team photos
  • Showcase long product shots such as a tablescape, or a line-up of different products
  • Share a lifestyle image featuring your product, for example, a scenic mountainscape with your brand’s hiking boots visible in one of the frames

2. Tanishq

Tanishq, one of India’s most prominent jewelry brands used carousel ads to boost sales and reach a broader Facebook audience. Tanishq has both online and brick and mortar stores and they wanted to use Facebook to marry these two spaces for their customers.

For their one-month campaign, Tanishq showcased stunning close-ups of their products and offered special discounts through carousel ads on Facebook. They also included a “Shop Now” button to further entice their audience to take action.

With their carousel ad campaign, Tanishq saw a 30 percent increase in in-store sales and a three times higher return on their ad spend.

You can entice your customers with visuals like Tanishq by:

  • Following Facebook’s recommended image size of 1080 x 1080 pixels
  • Using product imagery to target returning or high-intent customers
  • Using lifestyle imagery to target new customers
  • Using images related to one theme for each ad sequence
  • Making sure that every image within the carousel format has a similar visual style created through lighting, colors, and composition
  • Demonstrating your brand identity throughout images with a watermark or recognizable branding, colors, and tone

3. Wondermall

Wondermall is a mobile app that gives shoppers access to over 100 stores and 1 million products. As a fashion-focused platform, Instagram was a great fit for Wondermall’s carousel ad campaign.

Wondermall used highly-targeted carousel ads to reach American women aged 18 to 44 who have summer-based keyword interests (sunglasses, sandals, swimsuits, etc.) and like relevant Pages.

To appeal to their audience interests, Wondermall used carousel ads to feature curated summer goods available through the app. The ads featured a call to “Download on the App Store” and a “Shop Now” button.  With a goal of increased mobile app downloads, Wondermall partnered with Facebook Marketing Partner Taptica to launch and measure the campaign.

The nine-week campaign drove 36 percent conversion rates, 28 percent of shoppers putting items in their carts, and 8.5 percent completing the purchase.

Wondermall got to know their customer before they tried selling to them, a tactic you can apply to your own carousel ad strategy. Like other Facebook and Instagram ad formats, you can reach your target demographic with:

  • Location targeting, including a radius around your business
  • Age targeting
  • Gender targeting
  • Interests targeting (based on what they’ve Liked)
  • Behaviors targeting (based on what they’ve previously purchased, device usage, what they click, etc.)
  • Connection targeting (to reach people based on if they Like your business Page, app, or event)

4. Fido

Fido is a Canadian mobile service provider aimed at young millennials. To promote the introduction of new streaming and mobile services, Fido launched their #GetCurious carousel ad campaign on Instagram.

As Instagram explains, Fido’s “#GetCurious campaign had a handmade, whimsical quality that was consistent throughout their ads.”

Using a specific hashtag for the campaign, the brand was able to easily monitor post engagement and encourage their followers to submit their own #GetCurious posts.  

With the campaign, Fido reached over 2 million people, saw a 21-point lift in brand awareness and a 19-point life in ad recall. Their target demographic accounted for 53 percent of their impressions, and they saw a four-point boost in brand recommendation across every demographic.

Use the power of hashtags like Fido did, by:

  • Gathering user-generated content
  • Creating a carousel ad highlighting customers’ grouped by features such as geographic location
  • Telling a story through the images contributed by your audience
  • Grouping user-submitted images by color (or your brand colors) for a fun aesthetic effect

5. Kit and Ace

Technical apparel brand Kit and Ace used Facebook’s carousel ad format to introduce a new model of their cashmere pants.

The ads featured numerous images of the garment in different scenarios. Each image was from a different angle and highlighted one specific feature of the pants. As Facebook says, “The more information you give customers right away, the more reasons they’ll have to click.”

In addition to the focus on features, Kit and Ace incorporated images of the pants on models. This allowed audience members to imagine how they would look in the pants and how the pants could fit into their lives.

6. Target

Target’s Style department used carousel ads to help launch their new Marimekko home and lifestyle collection. The ads show a model moving through the different “rooms” created with the multiple frames of the carousel ad.

In each room, she is wearing a different outfit from the collection, and interacting with the household products. The ads featured colorful homewares and clothes with buttons encouraging customers to click directly through to the product purchase page.  

This immersive approach is not only creative and engaging, but helps the audience imagine themselves using the featured products.

As a business creating your own carousel ads, think about creative ways you can use the format to your benefit. A seamless movement between frames such as Target’s might be an option to consider for your future campaigns.

Carousel ads are a great way to showcase your brand’s best products and features.

Easily schedule Instagram content and manage all of your social media accounts with Hootsuite.

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What’s new with Earth? First impressions of the relaunched Google Earth

Google has just re-designed, revamped and re-launched its Earth product, and it has certainly been worth the two-year wait.

Earth is now built into Chrome, so there is no longer a need to download a cumbersome desktop app to access this global repository of images, videos, and knowledge cards.

The Android app has been updated too, with support to follow soon for mobile browsers and iOS.

So what’s new?

A lot.

First impressions of Earth are simple: this is a hugely impressive feat, one that truly celebrates the world – both natural and man-made – by capturing its farthest corners in finite detail.

So, let’s get started. We begin with a zoomed-out view of the planet, before a short introduction from Google on some of Earth’s upgraded features.

These features work in a cumulative fashion, each adding to the last and building up to three-dimensional, customizable, multimedia experience of our planet.

First up, the search function. The foundation of any great Google product, this deceptively simple search bar leads to any location in the world:

This is given extra potency when combined with Google’s vast inventory of knowledge cards about cities, rivers, buildings, and basically just about any landmark you can think of.

These are typically pulled from Wikipedia and appear as a clickable carousel, although other resources are cited on infrequent occasions.

It is possible to zoom in to the level of Google Street View to get a closer look at the palace in this screenshot, as has been available via Earth and Maps for some time now. This is labeled the ‘Photo Sphere’.

Added to this is the “I’m Feeling Lucky” feature, which takes the user to a random point on the map and works like the button of the same name in traditional Google search.

My first trial of “I’m Feeling Lucky” took me from Lagos to Legoland in just one click. It can be quite a dizzying trip, depending on your screen size and propensity for motion sickness, but the speed of flight can be adjusted in the settings menu.

Layer by layer, this builds up to Voyager, the section most likely to keep users engaged with Google Earth.

Voyager contains a wealth of curated content from sources as diverse as Sesame Street and the BBC, but we should expect many more publisher partnerships in future.

This is significant, as it takes Google into the realm of visual storytelling and opens up a host of new opportunities for publishers willing and able to get on board.

There is already a good variety of content on here, including city guides, nature trails, and the work of specific architects like Frank Gehry. That said, this is an inexhaustible resource that will play host to a lot more experimentation soon.

One highlight is the ‘Revealing the Center of Life’ tour, which takes us on a journey underwater to explore coral reefs.

As an educational center, this offers unparalleled scope for exploration and will undoubtedly spark much healthy discussion. Some of these knowledge cards are accompanied by videos and behind-the-scenes features too, providing further context to the images.

The implications for marketers

Brands should really be thinking about how to avail of the storytelling possibilities that this brings. For travel and tourism companies the opportunity is perhaps a little more obvious than for other industries, but in truth there is an opening here for almost everyone.

The Argentinian artist Federico Winer has partnered with Google to create a photographic series on airports, for example.

There is also a history tour that traces the steps of characters in the novels of Charles Dickens, and another that visits some of Ernest Hemingway’s favorite haunts.

With consumer attention spans at an all-time low, Google Earth should now be viewed as an incredibly powerful, engaging tool, should publishers have the imagination to avail of its potential.

In perhaps more prosaic terms, local search remains just as vital as it has been for some time now – perhaps even more so.

Typical searches like the one below for [book store near me] will bring up an interactive 3D map of the local area with some options, so it is vital to have business names, addresses, opening hours, photos, and phone numbers up to date.

Customizing Google Earth

And it doesn’t stop there. Users can import KML (Keyhole Markup Language) files to overlay images and charts onto Google Earth. Google even provides an example of this in action, with an overlaid image of Mount Etna erupting.

KML is based on the XML standard and provides a few extra functionalities, like paths and polygons, that are particularly useful for Google Earth.

Google provides a sample file and comprehensive guide to get started, although this should be pretty familiar to anyone accustomed to creating custom Google Maps.

In summary

The new Google Earth is more than the sum of its features; at its best, it can both distort and inform our perception of space and time.

A historical echo of this project would be the eighteenth-century Encyclopédie, a Herculean effort by Denis Diderot, Jean le Rond d’Alembert, Voltaire, and many others, to catalogue and categorize all human knowledge.

Combine that persistent thirst for knowledge with the technology at Google’s disposal and the product is something as engrossing and enlightening as the new Google Earth.

It seems fitting to give the final word to Google:

Related reading

Vector graphic showing hands holding up smartphones in front of a globe, which is surrounded by floating icons representing digital concepts like shopping, music and email.

The Facebook Pixel: What It Is and How to Use It

If you’re using Facebook ads—or you plan to use them in the future—there’s one key tool you should start using right away to get the most out of your social ad budget: the Facebook pixel.

What is a Facebook pixel?

A Facebook pixel is code that you place on your website. It helps you track conversions from Facebook ads, optimize ads based on collected data, build targeted audiences for future ads, and remarket to qualified leads—people who have already taken some kind of action on your website.

It works by placing and triggering cookies to track users as they interact with your website and your Facebook ads.

Benefits of using a Facebook pixel

There are several ways you can use data collected from Facebook pixel tracking to refine your Facebook advertising strategy.

Track conversions

The Facebook pixel allows you to monitor how people interact with your website after viewing your Facebook ad.

You can even track customers across their devices so you know, for example, if people tend to see your ads on mobile but switch to a desktop before making a purchase—or maybe it’s the other way around. This information can help you refine your ad strategy and calculate your return on investment.


Pixel tracking data allows you to show targeted ads to people who have already visited your site. You can choose to get really granular here—for example, you can show people an ad for the exact product that they abandoned in a shopping cart or added to a wishlist on your website.

This capability is why you should create a Facebook pixel now, even if you’re not using Facebook ads yet—so you have retargeting capabilities from your very first Facebook ad.

Create lookalike audiences

Facebook can use its targeting data to help you build a lookalike audience of people who have similar likes, interests, and demographics to people who are already interacting with your website, helping you expand your potential customer base.

Run effective ads

Using a Facebook pixel can make your ads more effective by improving the quality of the ads you run, and by improving the targeting of the people who see them.

In addition to improving your ads based on tracking their effectiveness, you can use Facebook pixel data to ensure your ads are seen by the people who are most likely to take your desired action.

For some examples of companies using the Facebook pixel effectively, check out our post 5 Surprising Ways to Optimize Your Facebook Ads.

How to use a Facebook pixel

You can use Facebook pixel tracking to collect data on two different kinds of events: a set of nine standard events that Facebook has predefined, or custom conversions that you set up yourself. An “event” is simply a specified action that a visitor takes on your website.

Standard events

The nine standard Facebook pixel events for which you can simply copy and paste standard Facebook event code are:

  • View content: Someone lands on a page on your website.
  • Search: Someone uses the search function to look for something on your site.
  • Add to cart: Someone adds a product to their shopping cart on your site.
  • Add to wishlist: Someone adds a product to a wishlist on your site.
  • Initiate checkout: Someone starts the checkout process to buy something from your site.
  • Add payment info: Someone enters their payment information in the purchase process on your website.
  • Make purchase: Someone completes a purchase on your website.
  • Lead: Someone signs up for a trial or otherwise identifies themselves as a lead on your site.
  • Complete registration: Someone completes a registration form on your site, such as for a subscription product.

Custom conversions

You can use custom conversion events in place of standard events, or to collect more details than Facebook pixel standard events can provide.

Custom conversions use URL rules based on specific URLS or URL keywords. So, for example, you could use Facebook pixel tracking to record views of a specific category of merchandise on your website, instead of tracking views of all content using the “view content” standard event—perhaps to separate dog owners from cat owners based on which sections of your pet supply website they viewed.

Before you can use Facebook pixel custom conversions, you’ll need to help Facebook understand the details of the conversion event you want to track. To do so, head to your Facebook Ads Manager, then go to Custom Conversions and click Create Custom Conversion to define your custom conversion event using URL rules.

You can also create Facebook pixel custom events by adding more details to standard events using additional bits of code called parameters. These allow you to customize the standard events based on:

  • How much a conversion event is worth
  • Product name, category, or ID
  • The number of items someone adds to their shopping cart
  • A specific search string
  • The status of a registration

How to create a Facebook pixel and add it your website

Now that you know what you can track, and why you would want to do so, it’s time to create your pixel and put it to work on your website.

Step 1: Create your pixel

1. From your Facebook Ads Manager, click the hamburger icon (≡) and choose Pixels.

The Facebook Pixel: What It Is and How to Use It | Hootsuite Blog

2. Click Create a Pixel.

The Facebook Pixel: What It Is and How to Use It | Hootsuite Blog

3. Name your pixel, accept the terms, and click Next. When choosing the pixel’s name, keep in mind that you only get one pixel for each ad account, so the name should represent your business, rather than a specific campaign.

The Facebook Pixel: What It Is and How to Use It | Hootsuite Blog

Step 2: Add the pixel code to your website

To put the pixel to work gathering information on your website, you now need to install some code on your webpages. There are two ways to do this depending on the tools you have incorporated into your website. We’ll use the copy-and-paste method here. The other option is to use an integration or tag manager.

1. Click Copy and Paste the Code.

The Facebook Pixel: What It Is and How to Use It | Hootsuite Blog

2. Copy and paste the pixel base code into the header code of your website—that is, post it after the <head> tag but before the </head> tag. You need to paste it into every single page, or into your template if you’re using one. When you’re finished, click Next.

The Facebook Pixel: What It Is and How to Use It | Hootsuite Blog

The Facebook Pixel: What It Is and How to Use It | Hootsuite Blog

3. Copy the appropriate event code based on the actions you want to track on your website. For custom conversion code, click Custom Event. This Facebook help article can help you figure out which type of setup is best for you: basic, recommended, or advanced.

The Facebook Pixel: What It Is and How to Use It | Hootsuite Blog

4. Paste the event code in the appropriate location on your webpage based on the action you want to track. It should go just below the </head> tag for a new page that opens as a result of the tracked action (like a thank you page). Or, you can attach the code to specific HTML elements like buttons that trigger actions within a page. When you’re done, click Next.

The Facebook Pixel: What It Is and How to Use It | Hootsuite Blog

Step 3: Confirm your Facebook pixel is working

Before you start relying on the data from your Facebook pixel, you should confirm that it’s working properly.

1. Download the Facebook Pixel Helper extension for Google Chrome.

2. Visit the page where you have installed the Facebook pixel. If the extension finds the pixel, the </> icon will turn blue, and a popup will indicate how many pixels are found on the page. The popup will also tell you if your pixel is working properly. If not, it will provide error information so you can make corrections.

The Facebook Pixel: What It Is and How to Use It | Hootsuite Blog
Image via Facebook for Developers.

Note: The current Facebook pixel combines two older pixel versions: the conversion tracking pixel and custom audience pixel. Facebook discontinued the conversion tracking pixel on February 17, 2017. If you were using the Facebook conversion pixel, you’ll need to switch over to the new Facebook pixel. You can learn how to do so in this Facebook business help article. If you were using the old custom audience pixel, these instructions for Facebook pixels explain how to upgrade to the new version.

Get the most out of your Facebook ad budget with AdEspresso by Hootsuite or Hootsuite Ads. Both are powerful options that make it easy to create, manage, and optimize campaigns.

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A guide to setting up Google Analytics for your WordPress site

Of the many tools available for tracking visitor behavior, Google Analytics is one of the most famous ones.

This free tool provides website owners with insightful information about the traffic driven to their website, helping them to determine exactly where each user originated and how they ended up on the site.

So, if you are an enthusiast who is setting up a website or a new blog using WordPress as your CMS, it is highly recommended to install Google Analytics to your WordPress site.

Why Google Analytics?

A lot of visitors and subscribers visit your website daily and hence, it becomes increasingly important to track information about their visit. If you are focused and determined to monitor your website’s traffic statistics, data drawn with the help of Google Analytics can be extremely useful.

This tool helps you track how your visitors are moving ahead and navigating through your website. This information is vital because it will help you identify the key areas of your website which are doing well and the others, that need a little more attention.

After installing Google Analytics on your website, you can learn about the geographical location of your visitors, their browser information, their duration of stay at your website, pages visited and much more.

With so much information available to access, we hope that we have answered your question as to why you even need this tool. In this blog post, we will provide a step-by-step guide to help you use Google Analytics with your WordPress site. So, let’s read on.

Getting started with your Google Analytics account

For the very first step, you are required to create a Google Analytics account by using your Gmail account. A Gmail account is imperative if you want to start using the Google Analytics tool with your WordPress site.


  • Visit the signup page for Google Analytics. You will be presented with the Gmail login page. Simply, enter your Gmail account login credentials to move forward with the process.
  • You will be asked to provide information regarding what would you like to track with this service. You can either track statistics for your website or your mobile apps.
  • Since this blog post is about tracking results for your WordPress website; select the ‘Website’ option.
  • Fill in the other relevant information to start tracking with the Google Analytics.


  • Enter your website’s name, its URL and the type of industry it is related to.
  • Select your time zone so that the service can accurately track the results as per your requirement.
  • Finally, get your Tracking ID by agreeing to Google’s terms of service usage.


  • Once you have your Tracking code, copy it and keep it handy.

Adding Google Analytics to your WordPress site

There are several methods that will help you add Google Analytics to your WordPress website. We will mainly discuss two methods here that are suited to readers with a non-technical approach to blogging.

Using the plugin ‘MonsterInsights’

A very popular plugin with over 13 million downloads, MonsterInsights has proven its worth when it comes to seamlessly integrating Google Analytics with a WordPress site.

With a free and a premium version on the shelf, this Google Analytics plugin works well for even the most basic users. Let’s see how you can use this plugin to add Google Analytics to your WordPress site.

  1. Download the plugin and activate it on your WordPress site.
  2. Once the activation is confirmed, the plugin will add a new label to your admin dashboard by the name, ‘Insights’.
  3. For configuration of the plugin, visit the ‘Settings’ tab under the ‘Insights’ label.  
  4. A tab will be presented to you that will read ‘Authenticate with your Google Account’. Click on it and then you will be asked to enter a Google Code.
  5. Above it will be a tab that will ask you to click on it, in order to receive the code. Click on it and then click on the Next button.
  6. Allow ‘MonsterInsights to access your Google Analytics data’. Finally, provide the plugin with the permission to view and manage your Google Analytics data.
  7. A Success Code popup will follow. You will be required to copy it carefully and paste it on the popup (discussed above) in point number d.)
  8. In a final step, select the profile that you want to track with the Google Analytics plugin.

Whenever you want to view reports regarding your site’s visitors and subscribers, you can simply go to ‘Reports’ tab in the ‘Insights’ label of your Admin dashboard.

Using your WordPress theme

In the process discussed earlier, you received a Tracking ID from Google Analytics signup procedure. To use this method, locate the Theme settings option of your WordPress site’s theme. Then, find the label that leads you to a tab asking you to add a Footer Script.

You can simply paste the Tracking code to this section and you will be good to go. Always save the settings in order to confirm your changes.

Once your settings are done and you are ready to take off with your Google Analytics tools, always wait at least 12 hours to let the tool reflect proper results.

Other alternatives

There are other ways to add Google Analytics to your WordPress site. The ones mentioned above are easy to pursue and are highly recommendable. The following are methods that can involve some technical briefing.

  • You can manually add the tracking code by editing the header.php file
  • If you don’t want to edit your theme file, you can install and activate the Insert Headers and Footers plugin to insert the Google Analytics code
  • You can also use the Google Analytics + plugin to access the visitor performance of your WordPress website.

Summing up

Google Analytics is of huge help when you are looking to track results about a recent marketing campaign and are expecting some conversions to take place. This tool will also help you identify the keywords that are relevant to your site’s search engine optimization.

With so much to offer, Google Analytics is a must-use tool for all website owners out there. I sincerely hope that this detailed guide will help you make the right decision without having to expend too much time and energy on the implementation.

If you still have questions, feel free to drop them in the comments below. We are always open to receiving feedback and awesome suggestions.


Lucy Barret is a Sr. WordPress Developer at HireWPGeeks, a WordPress Development Company, and a contributor to SEW.

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6 Places to Buy Cheap Ads Online (That You Haven’t Thought Of Yet)

Everybody knows about Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter ads. But are there overlooked places online to buy inexpensive ads?

In 1905, a pharmacist by the name of Claud A. Hatcher worked late into the night on his new formula for a sweet, bubbly liquid. Soon, grocery stores around the world would be selling this new trendy cola. Hatcher came up with a name for his cola—and if you shouted Coca Cola, you would be wrong. He invented RC Cola, the much cheaper and far less famous version of Coca Cola.

In this article, I’ll present you the RC Cola of online advertising options. They might not have the brand power of Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube ads—but they’re a little cheaper and still get the job done.

Use these advertising options to boost your content, impress clients with a cheap media buy, and experiment with your paid media strategy.

My criteria for picking these advertising sites:

Hootsuite wasn’t paid to mention any of these advertising options. I selected these sites based on two criteria.

  1. They weren’t well-known. For example, everyone knows that Reddit offers cheap advertising. Or that Pinterest advertising works really well for certain products. Or that Snapchat geofilters are wonderfully inexpensive. I don’t go into those sites.
  2. They weren’t super obscure. You might recognize a few of the brands here. I didn’t want to go too niche. They needed to be broad enough to work for most businesses.

1. Rent someone’s land

With Syndicateads you can buy ad space, rent email lists, and gain social media promotion from industry publications such as Search Engine Journal, CodePen, and LaughingSquid, as well as social reading sites like Digg and Pocket.

How much will it cost?

Prices range from $350 to $4,500 for different campaigns.

Interested? You can browse their directory of sites. You’ll need to create a free account before you can view the list.

Here are a few examples of how far your money will go. I’ll move from most expensive to dirt cheap.


Pocket is a popular app where 18 million users share and save articles they find online. I personally love and use Pocket every day. For $3,750 you can buy placement on Pocket’s popular “Weekly Hits Newsletter”—reaching 1 million email addresses. You can increase your send (for more money, of course).

  • Option 1: Send to 1 million for $3,750
  • Option 2: Send to 1.5 million for $5,500
  • Option 3: Send to 2 million for $6,950
  • Option 4: Send to 3 million for $10,250
  • Option 5: Send to 4 million for $13,500

According to Pocket, these paid promotions deliver a seven percent open rate, 21 percent click rate, 4.4 percent clickthrough rate, and “dramatic increase in engagement even if original content might not have significant organic traction.”

Brands like Squarespace, Hipchat, Asana, and Docusign have used Pocket’s campaigns. You can see examples on their website (you’ll need to create a free account to view).

Search Engine Journal

For $1,200 you can get a sponsored post on Search Engine Journal including prominent placement in their weekly newsletter sent to 31,000 subscribers. This includes social promotion to their 270,000 followers via Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook (with mentions of your social handles).

The LaughingSquid

The LaughingSquid is a popular blog with 2.6 million page views per month and a large presence on social media (600,000 Twitter followers and 589,000 Facebook fans). For $800, you can purchase a sponsored blog post. Your post will also be promoted on their social channels.

Startup Curated

You could promote your new app for $575 by partnering with Startup Curated, the startup community’s newsletter with the best content from and for founders, which goes out to more than 20,000 subscribers every week.

2. Reach ‘real’ people

Targeting Facebook and LinkedIn groups is a common strategy for marketers. But these groups are often resistant to sales pitches and expensive to reach via social media advertising. This is where advertising on can help.

In the old days, social media involved “meeting” people and shaking hands and making eye contact. People still do this—and they use to organize their groups. From local entrepreneur meetings to drunken knitting groups, offers you direct access to about every buyer persona you could ever possibly conceive of.

How to buy advertising with

You can’t directly buy advertising on the site. But you can sponsor a local group. For example, your new productivity software tool could sponsor a popular small business meet-up group in San Francisco.

Find out more about sponsoring Meetup Groups on Meetup’s website.

How much will it cost?

Totally depends. Make an offer to the group’s organizer. I suggest low-balling.

3. Feed a starving artist on Instagram

“I always had the show. But it took me a while to learn the business,” says Snoop Dogg. If you scroll through Instagram, you’ll see that musicians, independent bands, and authors are good at creating content that attracts huge audiences. But do you know what they’re bad at? Figuring out how to monetize those audiences. This is where your opportunity lies.

It’s a common strategy to approach popular celebrities or industry influencers for advertising partnerships. But fewer businesses approach independent artists and musicians—even though these artists have sizable audiences.

How to buy ads from Instagram influencers

Look for moderately famous musicians, authors, and independent artists with more than 100,000 followers on Instagram. Approach these influencers with a direct message (DM) and get them to promote your product for a fee.

In particular, focus on personalities that are better at building audiences than building their business (such as musicians) as these will be cheaper than celebrities or industry influencers. Getting started with influencer marketing? We’ve written a concise guide.

Tools to help find the right Instagram influencers

Use TrendSpottr to find the best Instagram influencers for your products or services.

We’ve also created a popular toolkit for building your influencer marketing strategy. In this free toolkit, you’ll get a guide and spreadsheet to help you specifically target influencers who can influence the decision-making process of your customers.

4.Get creative with Dribbble

Skip this one if you’re not trying to reach creative professionals. Dribbble is a popular community for designers (and people looking to hire designers). It gets millions of views per month and offers access to some of the world’s top design influencers and talent.

There are a few ways to advertise on Dribbble.

  • Buy an ad unit. Promote your products to millions of creative professionals. Your ads will show up across Dribbble’s website.
  • Email sponsorship. Dribbble sends a weekly email to their community with around 220,000 subscribers. If you have a new design tool or offer for creative professionals, this is a good channel.
  • Podcast and meetup sponsorship. You can create a 30-second spot on Dribbble’s bi-weekly podcast. You can also sponsor one of the 150 Dribbble Meetups that take place every year in cities around the globe.

How much will it cost?

Traditional options (display ads, email sponsorship, podcast sponsorship) are in the $2,000 to $3,000 range. You can also buy high-quality, community-focused sponsorships (contests and events) that start in the $10,000 to $15,000 range.

You can place an order or ask for more details on Dribbble’s website.

5. ROI = Radio On the Internet

You’ve probably heard: podcasts are really hot right now. Hootsuite has one. Snoop Dogg has one (82 episodes and counting). Even Shaq—known for his quick mind and elocution—has one.

Podcasts are easy to create. But hard to monetize. That means there are lots of cheap advertising options out there. And who knows, you might land a sleeper hit like our friends, MailShrimp.

How to advertise on podcasts

Sites like Advertisecast help you find popular podcasts to advertise on. Search for a podcast, check out their audience, and then make a deal. Ask the podcast to throw in promotion on their social media accounts. With Advertisecast, you can search the results with a filter. Select “YouTube”—this means you can buy advertising on YouTube shows as well as podcasts.

6. Make your logo bigger

This final one isn’t a social media ad platform. But it’s still cool. The company is called MilkMoney. They offer heavily discounted billboards.

According to their site, thousands of incredible billboards go unsold every day. MilkMoney sends you these last-minute opportunities, offering billboard advertising at “highly discounted prices.”

They also take care of the printing and installation. You can sign up on their website.

Manage your social ads campaigns with Hootsuite

Hootsuite acquired Adespresso—the world’s most popular tool for managing Facebook and Instagram campaigns. Now, it’s really easy to target your Facebook and Instagram ads, run A/B tests, and optimize your ad campaigns with Hootsuite.

Learn More

The State of What are the biggest challenges surrounding Schema markup?

Using markup, a form of structured data which helps search engines to interpret your webpages, is widely agreed to be beneficial from an SEO standpoint.

While it may not correlate directly to an increase in ranking, using markup allows search engines to pull through rich snippets and rich data like images, reviews and opening hours, making your site appear more attractive on the SERP and thereby increasing click-through. markup is also becoming increasingly important in the age of voice search, acting as a signpost that points digital assistants towards the information that will correctly answer a user’s voice query. Voice queries depend heavily on implied context, and Schema markup can help give that context to an otherwise ambiguous page of text.

But while the advantages of using seem obvious enough on paper, actually implementing it can be much more challenging. As a result, a startlingly small minority of website owners make use of

The figures vary as to exactly how many;’s website claims that “over 10 million websites” use markup, which translates into less than one percent of all websites; an investigation by ACM Queue put the figure at 31.3%, while a study by Bing and Catalyst found that just 17% of marketers use markup.

Either way, even the highest estimate of adoption still comes in at less than a third of websites.

With being a well-known advanced search technique with well-established benefits, what is holding SEOs and website owners back from implementing it?

The state of Schema markup

Schema App – a provider of tools to help digital marketers use Schema markup – recently ran a survey which sheds some light on this question. The study, ‘The State of Schema Markup’, surveyed users of markup on the size and type of their business, how frequently they maintained their markup, the challenges they experienced in using, and any tools they used to tackle these problems.

It’s worth noting that the survey results were drawn from a fairly small sample of only 75 respondents, which limits our ability to generalize them too widely, but they nevertheless give some interesting insights into the use of Schema markup among marketers.

Perhaps surprisingly, respondents from the smallest companies – those with five or fewer employees – made up the largest percentage of users, with two-fifths of respondents reporting that they carry out Schema markup for companies of just five employees or fewer.

It’s hard to say exactly why this is – maybe smaller, more agile companies are better at keeping up to date with advanced search tactics; or maybe they will do whatever it takes to stand out on the SERP in order to increase their competitivity with larger organizations.

The second-largest group, conversely, was made up of companies with more than 1,000 employees, although this group still only amounted to 13% of respondents.

A third of respondents to the survey came from digital marketing agencies, while 28% said they came from small or medium businesses. Sixteen percent of respondents were from enterprise organizations, while a fraction under ten percent were from start-up companies.

The job titles of respondents to the State of Schema Markup survey revealed that it’s not just SEOs who are doing Schema markup. While more than half of respondents to the survey were search specialists (either SEO specialists – 45% – or Heads of Search – 8%), digital marketers, business owners, CTOs and even CEOs were among the remaining 47%.

Another interesting finding was the frequency at which respondents update their Schema markup. Judging by the frequency of posts to the official blog, updates to are fairly sporadic, sometimes coming two or three months apart, other times going six or seven months without an update.

Google updates like the recent introduction of rich results for podcasts to the SERP can also give marketers an incentive to add new coding, as can regular site maintenance. However, I was surprised that close to a fifth of respondents (19%) said that they update their Schema markup every day.

A further 31% of respondents update their markup weekly, while the largest proportion (39%) update their markup once a month. An unstated percentage (which visually looks to be about 8%) say they work on their markup once only.

The biggest challenges surrounding Schema markup

Anyone who has tried to tackle markup (or write a blog post about it), particularly without much of an understanding of code, knows that implementing it can be easier said than done. Even tools like Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper have their limitations, making it necessary to understand markup if you want to fill in the gaps.

This reality was reflected in the comments from marketers who took the Schema App survey. One respondent wrote,

“When I first learned about the existence of schema, I was so confused on how to implement it. I am not a developer. After trying many online generator tools and finding them unsatisfactory, I turned to my programmer hoping he could take over this task for me. He explained it was a different code altogether than what he writes. I felt overwhelmed when he confided he had no idea at all how to do it, even after spending a little time looking at it.”

Another respondent observed that “The examples given on were not clear and sometimes it seemed they did not follow even their own rules.” A third described markup as feeling “a bit like witchcraft”.

Although a number of search blogs like Moz, WordStream, Yoast and indeed yours truly have set out to write guides on how to use markup, there are still a limited number of resources available to help with this process; and comments on the State of Schema Markup survey reveal that many of those which do exist are flawed.

“Worse is that some of the schema is supported … but not in the Structured Data Testing Tool,” one respondent wrote.

Another wrote that, “It’s still very much a trial and error process for me as I find that some of the guides out there, when put through Google’s tool, don’t actually parse correctly. Very frustrating…”

Overall, the most widely agreed-upon problem experienced by survey respondents was “Showing the value of doing schema markup – reporting the impact and results” (reported by 45%). Close behind this was “Maintaining ‘health’ of Schema markup when Google makes changes” (reported by 42%).

Two-fifths of respondents cited difficulties in developing a strategy around what to mark up with Schema, while 37% struggled with how to implement Schema markup at scale – few solutions exist for the bulk markup of webpages, which can create huge challenges for companies with large websites, on top of the difficulties that we’ve covered already.

 Although it ranked near the bottom of the list of concerns cited by survey respondents, close to a quarter (24%) of respondents still cited “Understanding Schema markup vocabulary” as one of their biggest obstacles to carrying out Schema markup.

And as we’ve seen, this is coming from a group of marketers of whom the majority use Schema markup habitually – no wonder the wider marketing community is having trouble getting on board with

Tools for tackling Schema markup

Finally, respondents were asked what tools they use to solve the problems they experience with Schema markup, from a range of options including WordPress plugins, Wordlift, Web JSON-LD generators, Schema App’s own tool, or no tools at all.

The last of these options was the most common by far, with 40% of respondents asserting that they do all of their Schema markup manually. I can’t help but notice that this corresponds exactly to the percentage of respondents from small companies with 5 or fewer employees – I wonder if there could be some correlation there.

Fifteen percent of respondents said they make use of Schema App’s own tool, while 13% use WordPress plugins. Another 8% use Web JSON-LD generators, while 24% use tools other than those listed in the survey.

One business owner wrote that they tend to solicit help on Schema markup from online communities: “I ask for help in online communities and usually get answers. The definitions and examples have become better over time in both and Google.”

A Head of Search at an enterprise company wrote that they use “Internally developed tools and markup checkers that were developed for our specific needs.”

For those two-fifths of respondents who opt to do their Schema markup without the aid of automated tools, this could be due to a lack of technical resources, a lack of confidence in automated solutions, or perhaps because they simply don’t know that these tools exist.

But we can clearly see that there is a demand in the marketing and search community for more accurate and helpful resources surrounding, whether these be in the form of web generators, apps, or how-to guides and tutorials.

Perhaps needs to take the initiative to make its markup language more accessible by creating these, or perhaps they will be created by an interested third party. Either way, without them, we are unlikely to see the dial shift much on the uptake of Schema markup among marketers and SEOs, no matter how useful it is.

Related reading

Graphic showing a microphone next to the Google logo, against a background of brown fading to black at the edges.

Social Media Image Sizes: A Quick Reference Guide for Each Network

James Mulvey, a fellow writer here at Hootsuite, once said: “Unlike spandex, social media is not one-size-fits-all.”

Despite feeling uncomfortable about picturing my colleague in spandex, I think this quote rings true in every way. Each social network has its own nuances and specifications—especially when it comes to images.

If you don’t tailor your images to each social network, you can run into issues like blurry pixelation or awkward cropping that will diminish the perceived quality of your content.

Below, you’ll find the most recent image size specifications for different social media networks. To jump ahead to a specific social network, use these links:

Social media image sizes in 2017

Instagram image sizes

Twitter image sizes

Facebook image sizes

LinkedIn image sizes

Pinterest image sizes

Tumblr image sizes

Google+ image sizes

Instagram image sizes

Profile photo sizes:

  • Your profile photo will be cropped as a circle, 110 pixels in diameter. Keep your company logo in the center of the image, to avoid any of it being cropped out by the circle.

Social Media Image Sizes: A Quick Reference Guide for Each Network | Hootsuite Blog

In-stream photo sizes:

  • Landscape: Width of at least 1080 pixels with an aspect ratio of up to 1.91:1
  • Portrait: Width of at least 1080 pixels with and an aspect ratio up to 4:5
  • To avoid having to crop your photo, aim to make it 320 x 1080 pixels with an aspect ratio between 1.91:1 (landscape) and 4:5 (portrait). ‹

Social Media Image Sizes: A Quick Reference Guide for Each Network | Hootsuite Blog

Thumbnail sizes:

  • Your photos appear on your profile in a grid layout, at 161 x 161 pixels.
  • Even if you upload a landscape photo, it will still appear as a center-cropped square (meaning don’t leave important info or visuals close to the edges of the photo).

Social Media Image Sizes: A Quick Reference Guide for Each Network | Hootsuite Blog

Ad sizes:

Ads in feed sizes:

  • Square ads should be a minimum of 600 x 600 pixels and a maximum of 1936 x 1936 pixels.
    Landscape ads should be a minimum of 600 x 315 pixels and a maximum of 1936 x 1936 pixels.
  • Vertical ads should be a minimum of 600 x 750 pixels and maximum 1936 x 1936 pixels.

Social Media Image Sizes: A Quick Reference Guide for Each Network | Hootsuite Blog

Ads in Stories sizes:

  • Vertical photo (and video) ads should be at 1080 x 1920 pixels (however, the minimum is 600 x 1067 pixels) with an aspect ratio of 9:16.
  • Maximum image size is 30MB.
  • Your images will display for five seconds—so make it count.

Social Media Image Sizes: A Quick Reference Guide for Each Network | Hootsuite Blog

Twitter image sizes

Profile photo sizes:

  • Use a square image that is ideally 400 x 400 pixels.

Social Media Image Sizes: A Quick Reference Guide for Each Network | Hootsuite Blog

Header image sizes:

  • This will be the largest image on your Twitter profile—1500 x 500 pixels—so make sure it’s a high-resolution image.

Social Media Image Sizes: A Quick Reference Guide for Each Network | Hootsuite Blog

In-stream photo sizes:

  • Images included in tweets should be a minimum of 440 x 220 pixels with a 2:1 aspect ratio—although the optimal size is 1024 x 512 pixels, since photos can be expanded once clicked on.
  • Maximum file size is 5MB for photos and 3MB for animated GIFs.

Social Media Image Sizes: A Quick Reference Guide for Each Network | Hootsuite Blog

Ad sizes:

Facebook image sizes

Profile photo sizes:

  • The profile photo for your Page will be cropped as a square, and display at 170 x 170 pixels on desktop and 128 x 128 pixels on smartphones.

Social Media Image Sizes: A Quick Reference Guide for Each Network | Hootsuite Blog

Cover photo sizes:

  • On desktop, your Page’s cover photo displays as 820 x 312 pixels, and 640 x 360 pixels on smartphones.
  • At minimum, your cover photo must be at least 399 x 150 pixels.

Social Media Image Sizes: A Quick Reference Guide for Each Network | Hootsuite Blog

File types:

Timeline photo sizes:

  • The recommended size for photos shared on your Page is 1,200 x 630 pixels.
  • When you post a link, the image preview will be scaled to fit a box of 470 x 246 pixels. While the preview is auto-generated, you have the option to replace this image.

Event cover photo sizes:

  • When you create an event on Facebook, you have the option of adding a cover photo. Facebook will scale that down to 470 x 174 pixels.

Social Media Image Sizes: A Quick Reference Guide for Each Network | Hootsuite Blog

Ad sizes:

  • Facebook has a complex advertising offering, so check out all the specs, sizes, and guidelines in their Adverts Guide.

Social Media Image Sizes: A Quick Reference Guide for Each Network | Hootsuite Blog

LinkedIn image sizes

Profile photo sizes:

  • An ideal profile photo on LinkedIn is a square image, 400 x 400 pixels.
  • The maximum file size is 8MB.
  • Your personal profile photo should simply be your face. That means no logos, landscapes, animals, words, etc.

Social Media Image Sizes: A Quick Reference Guide for Each Network | Hootsuite Blog

Background photo sizes:

  • Recommended dimensions are 1536 x 768 pixels. (Note: Your background image may be cropped to a height of 220 pixels when people view it on desktop. To ensure your profile always appears how you want it to, test how it looks on both desktop and various mobile devices.)
  • The maximum file size is 4MB.

Company Page sizes:

  • Your logo image should ideally be 300 x 300 pixels and your overview tab image should be 360 x 120 pixels.
  • An ideal Company Page cover image is 1536 x 768 pixels (although you can get away with a minimum of 1192 x 220 pixels).

Social Media Image Sizes: A Quick Reference Guide for Each Network | Hootsuite Blog

Shared photo sizes:

  • Ideal image size is 698 x 400 pixels, but any image you upload directly to LinkedIn will appear at a maximum width of 350 pixels.
  • Thumbnail photos will display at a maximum of 180 x 110 pixels.

Social Media Image Sizes: A Quick Reference Guide for Each Network | Hootsuite Blog

Ad sizes:

  • Company ads: Minimum logo size is 100 x 100 pixels. Smaller logos may not perform as well, and larger logos will be scaled down to 100 x 100 pixels. Logos that are not square will be reduced so that the largest dimension will fit.
  • Spotlight ads: Same logo size requirements as Company ads, but there is also an alternative custom background image option that must be exactly 300 x 250 pixels.
  • Sponsored content: Images must be more than 200 pixels in width or else it will appear as a thumbnail on the left side of the post. Recommended size is 1200 x 627 pixels with a 1.91:1 aspect ratio.

Social Media Image Sizes: A Quick Reference Guide for Each Network | Hootsuite Blog

Pinterest image sizes

Profile photo sizes:

  • Your profile photo will display at 165 x 165 pixels on your homepage, but it will appear as a 32 x 32 pixel image across the rest of Pinterest—so make sure it looks good once shrunk down.

Social Media Image Sizes: A Quick Reference Guide for Each Network | Hootsuite Blog

Pin sizes:

  • Pins should be 600 x 900 pixels with an aspect ratio of 2:3.
  • The minimum width for a pin is 600 pixels and the maximum is 735 pixels.
  • On boards (and in a preview), pins display at 236 pixels wide, at a scaled height.
  • Vertical pins take up more space so they tend to stand out more, according to Pinterest. However, if your pins are too long, they risk getting cut off (especially on mobile).

Social Media Image Sizes: A Quick Reference Guide for Each Network | Hootsuite Blog


Ad sizes: 

  • Promoted pins should be 600 x 900 pixels with an aspect ratio from 2:3 to 1:3.5.

Social Media Image Sizes: A Quick Reference Guide for Each Network | Hootsuite Blog

Tumblr image sizes

Profile photo sizes:

  • Your profile photo will display at 64 x 64 pixels next to your posts.

Social Media Image Sizes: A Quick Reference Guide for Each Network | Hootsuite Blog

In-dash image sizes:

  • In dashboard view, images are 500 x 750 pixels, with a maximum of 1280 x 1920 pixels.

Social Media Image Sizes: A Quick Reference Guide for Each Network | Hootsuite Blog

Photoset sizes:

  • One image in a photoset row will display at a width of 500 pixels. Two images will display at a width of 245 pixels. Three, at a width of 160 pixels.

Social Media Image Sizes: A Quick Reference Guide for Each Network | Hootsuite Blog

Images in a shared link or text post:

  • The thumbnail image in a link will display at 130 x 130 pixels.
  • Images in a text post display at a width of 125 pixels, but expand when clicked on.

Social Media Image Sizes: A Quick Reference Guide for Each Network | Hootsuite Blog

Ad sizes:

  • Recommended size is 1280 x 1920 pixels with a maximum size of 10MB.

Social Media Image Sizes: A Quick Reference Guide for Each Network | Hootsuite Blog

Google+ image sizes

Profile photo sizes:

  • Minimum of 250 x 250 pixels.

Cover image sizes:

  • Optimal size is 1080 x 608 pixels.
  • The minimum size for your cover image is 480 x 270 pixels and the maximum is 2120 x 1192 pixels.

Social Media Image Sizes: A Quick Reference Guide for Each Network | Hootsuite Blog

Shared image sizes:

  • These will display at 426 pixels wide and at a scaled height.
  • The minimum width is 497 pixels.
  • The thumbnail image of a shared link displays at 150 x 150 pixels.

Social Media Image Sizes: A Quick Reference Guide for Each Network | Hootsuite Blog

More advice about social media images

Beyond sizes, here are some other important things to know about creating images for social media:

Don’t feel like memorizing all this info? Our photo editing app, Hootsuite Enhance, offers cropping templates that make it easy to resize images for specific social networks.

Download for Free

How to use Search Console for quick SEO wins

SEO doesn’t have to be complicated. Here’s how a closer look at Google Search Console can lead to quick SEO wins.

There’s no need to have a lot of technical knowledge to achieve quick SEO wins. Google’s Search Console, for example, can lead to great insights, provided that you’re eager to explore them.

Laura Hogan, Head of Search at Rice Media, shared her own tips at Brighton SEO on how to use Search Console.

There are four key areas in Search Console where you can find quick wins for SEO, and all of them can make a huge difference in your search optimization.

1)  Internal Crawl Errors

It’s easy to take advantage of crawl errors and use them as a way to come up with new link opportunities. Crawlers can help you get an overview of the errors to correct them and improve your site’s performance.

This can be particularly useful after migrating a site or changing URLs, which gives rise to more reasons for quick fixes.

This is a good reminder that every error can turn into an opportunity, provided that you’re willing to:

  • discover all the errors
  • proactively work towards fixing them

2)  Internal Linking

When it comes to internal linking, there should be some “priority pages”, the ones we want to focus on. This makes the optimization easier by allowing you to interlink depending on the level of priority for each page.

It’s a good idea to have a look at the Search Console to examine whether your top priority pages are already on top of the list. If not, time to link them with more pages to improve their presence.

Internal links can also enhance CTR, though it’s not recommended to use too many footer links, as they tend to look messy and spammy, decreasing their chances of being clicked on.

3)  Data highlighting

Schema markup should be the first choice for adding structured data markup to your site, but data highlighting can offer an alternative solution. Data Highlighter is a tool for teaching Google about the pattern of structured data on your site.

The first step is to decide the data you want to highlight. What makes your business stand out? What do you need to focus on? By using Data Highlighter, you can simply tag the important data fields on your site with a mouse.

Then Google can present your data more attractively on the SERP, and in Google features such as Knowledge GraphData highlighting offers a bigger SERP presence and increased CTR, all while being simple and requiring no coding to carry out.

This makes it easier for Google to discover your most important data, which leads to another SEO win.

4)  Search Analytics Report

Search Analytics Report should be a great ally in the attempt to get an overview of your site’s performance.

You can use it to explore your top performing pages, or the ones that have the potential for improvement. Moreover, you can find data and proceed to layer comparisons.

Is your old content working better than the new one?

Is the CTR from mobile traffic high?

This is a detailed report of your actual data, which means that it can lead to actionable steps:

  • improving CTA
  • keeping content up-to-date
  • pushing blog posts in social media
  • including blog post in next newsletter

If you haven’t explored this function of Google Search Console in depth before now, here are some of the best ways that you can make use of Search Analytics Report:

Top 5 uses of Search Analytics Report

  • Check click-through rate

A closer look at the click through rate can indicate whether there is a problem with the positioning and the current optimization of a page. For example, if positioning is high, but the CTR is lower than expected, then maybe you need to edit the current meta description.

  • Check rankings

An analysis of the rankings at the top 25 or top 50 search queries can offer great insights on what’s currently working and what needs to be improved. This can lead to many quick SEO wins.

  • Apply data findings through other channels

The analysis of your data findings can help you improve the performance of other marketing channels, such as Adwords, or social media. Your report can offer new directions towards your marketing campaign, or it can even help you understand your audience and their habits.

  • Understand your audience

Filtering the report by questions (“who”, “what”, “where”, “when”) can help you learn more about your audience. What are they really searching for? What’s the best way to find the best keywords to target them?

This may lead to interesting insights and more targeted content that will drive traffic, depending on what your audience types into a search engine.

  • Check trends

An analysis of the impressions and the queries can indicate the trends that affect the traffic to your site. There could be a difference between a 30-day and a 90-day report, offering you new ideas on what content you should create.

5) Disavow

September’s Penguin update has made disavows more important than ever. The good thing is that they are now picked up a lot quicker and the results can be seen in less than two weeks.

It’s a good idea to keep your disavow up-to-date to make it easier for Google to understand your current ranking.

This could even work art a keyword level, as it may also lead to boosted traffic.


As we’ve seen, you don’t need to have in-depth technical knowledge to achieve SEO wins for your site – you just need to know how best to use the tools at your disposal. Laura Hogan summarized her presentation with the following takeaways:

– Use the crawl errors report for link opportunities

– Increase internal links to priority pages

– The search analytics report is your best friend for usable data

– Mark up your data, whether with or Data Highlighter

– Disavows work, and are picked up quickly by Google.

Related reading

Graphic showing a microphone next to the Google logo, against a background of brown fading to black at the edges.

How Ecommerce Brands Can Drive Qualified Leads from Social Media

Effective lead generation is key to success in ecommerce businesses. But you don’t want just any leads for your business—you need highly-relevant and sales-qualified leads. How do you accomplish this?

With an ecommerce business, you spend loads of time and money in digital marketing, trying to get your website found and used by consumers. Are you happy with your results?

To truly attract and retain customers to your ecommerce website, you need to be strategically active on social media. More importantly, you need to know how to use social media to drive qualified lead generation.

With this article, you’ll learn eight ways you can use social media marketing to generate leads for your ecommerce business. You’ll see that the time and resources you put into social media can lead to a valued return on investment as long as you follow these best practices.

1. Know your audience

An ecommerce business would want to attract buyers to their site, but how do you know which consumers would be interested in what you offer? Having a clear understanding of who your audience is and what their needs are is critical for social media marketing success.

To truly know your audience, you need to research them thoroughly. Understand the difference between consumers based on the buying cycle. You’ll want to use social media to reach people at each stage of the funnel.

When researching your social media audience, keep the following points in mind.

Fill a need

Look for what is missing or needed in your consumers’ lives that you can offer. Your ecommerce website offers products that can help your social media audience resolve a need or problem. Use audience research to find which social users would be most likely to buy from your site. You’ll then be able to focus your efforts on them.

Create personas

Create an actual persona document for each of your consumer types. A social media persona document should be a fictional but research-based description of your ideal consumer. This persona represents a buyer category for your business. A persona can help you pinpoint the actions to take that’ll attract qualified consumers to your website.

Make use of tools

The tools available to you for proper audience research will give you what you need to monitor and respond appropriately to targeted actions. You can focus on specific keyword mentions or your own brand account mention. This will allow you to respond to those users in a timely manner, offering your solutions to their problems. Use tools to help you better understand your audience and their pain points, such as Hootsuite and Mention.

Only when you know your most qualified audience will you be able to bring in the right consumers to your site via social media.

2. Optimize your profiles

Your social media profiles, especially your bios, are what can attract and keep potential buyers. Each social media platform has its own profile design, but let’s go through how an ecommerce business can optimize two of the biggest ones: Facebook and Twitter.


Your Facebook Page gives you plenty of options for how to make it fit your business type and the audience you’re targeting. Start by choosing a page template. For an ecommerce business, you’ll likely want to choose the Shopping theme. This will allow you to create a user experience targeted toward online shopping.

In your About section, you have several sections you can use to attract buyers.

First, your Mission is where you can explain your business’ purpose in a way that is benefits-focused for your ideal consumer. Keep your mission pinpointed on how your business helps the consumer.

Your Company Overview is probably the best place to give your page visitors a reason to click through to your website. Explain who you are and what you have to offer. This isn’t the place for self-promotion but rather for explaining how your business is designed to solve [insert problem type] for [insert buyer type]. This section is a good place to add a call-to-action (CTA) that prompts people to go to your website. Add a URL to make it easy for people to click through.

Facebook offers businesses a place to list their various Products. In this section, you can highlight your best or most popular offerings (or all of them) for your visitors to see. This section is URL-friendly, so give your visitors a reason to click.

You also have a section for Contact Info. Many times, you’ll see this section neglected, but it’s important that you fill this out as much as possible. Give visitors a phone number that’s answered by a human being and an email address leading to a person that gives prompt replies. Even if it’s just a 1-800 number or an info@ email address, make sure it’s monitored before you include it.

The last section of importance in the About tab is your business’ Story. Use this section to share information about your business’ origins or fun facts about your workplace setting. It’s a good place to make your business sound more human, so add content here that shows personality.

On your Facebook page itself, you have the CTA button, which can be customized based on what works best for you and your visitors. Yes, this works both ways. Your CTA needs to work for your business goals, but if it is set up in a way that your visitors don’t like, they won’t click on it. To say it another way: if your visitors prefer to contact you by phone, don’t make your CTA an email link.

For an ecommerce business, your CTA will likely work best if you choose a type that leads people to your site. “Shop Now” is pretty standard and quite effective, but don’t be afraid to experiment.

Also on your Facebook page, you have your own visual elements. Your profile icon should be recognizable as your business logo. This is not the place for other types of imagery, but you can always tweak your logo based on a promotion or a season of the year as long as it’s still recognizable.

Your cover image is different from your logo. This is prime real estate for convincing anyone on Facebook—whether they’re fans or just visiting your page—that your ecommerce website is worth their investment. Use custom imagery that shows anything convincing, even if it involves some words, to give people a reason to seek more information. Some brands even include arrows to their page’s CTA for good measure. You can use tools like Canva or your own graphic designer to make these images.

It’s important to note that your cover image can, and should, change regularly. Use the space for a sales promotion or change it based on a thought leadership offering. Whichever you choose, make sure you have your audience personas in mind.

One last point about your Facebook page’s setup: Facebook offers businesses the opportunity to verify their account. Although you have more than one way to do this, the fastest is to use a phone number. With a verified account, you get a check mark next to your name, which makes your page more legitimate and trustworthy to your fans and visitors.


Your Twitter profile has highly effective opportunities for attracting other users to your account. You have several areas of your profile that you can optimize as an ecommerce business to attract the right audience.

You want your Twitter name and handle to be your business name, as long as it isn’t too long. If your name is, in fact, too long, find a good way to shorten it without making your account unrecognizable. Be careful with these two profile sections because they’re not easy to change later on.

Your Twitter bio is the best place for targeting your ideal audience. You have 160 characters to use, and you should use as many of them as possible to fully optimize your bio. In this section, you can add hashtags, other Twitter handles, and website links. You can explain who you are and what you have to offer.

In your Twitter bio, try using relevant, targeted hashtags to reach the right audience (the people who are likely to buy products from your website). As an ecommerce business, you likely want to focus on hashtags that relate to the products you offer. You also can use hashtags that you know shoppers are using from their accounts. Both of these methods will help you attract potential buyers.

Also in your bio, you may want to add your customer service handle, if you have a separate account for it. People will then know which account to contact should they have a question or issue. In addition to this, you may want to include a shortened link that leads to a relevant landing page on your website. Use this as an opportunity to promote certain products or offerings.

Always include your website in the section reserved for it. Ideally, you should use the full URL, and hopefully it’s short enough to appear in full on your profile. Most of the time, your website homepage will suffice.

As an ecommerce business, you may not have a single location to include in your bio. Thankfully, Twitter allows you to write whatever you want in this space. You can even just write “online” or “global,” if that’s what works best for you. It doesn’t have to be a geographic location. If you prefer not to include a location at all, that’s fine too.

Now, there are the visual elements: your profile icon and cover image. Your profile icon should be your business logo, and it should match with your other social media accounts to maintain consistency. Your cover image can be used the same way as with Facebook. You can use the space for a simple design or make it more promotional. As long as the image is high-quality and relevant, it will work.

The last part about optimizing your Twitter profile is very important: you want to get it verified by Twitter. When you do this, you’l get a blue checkmark next to your name. This will show other users that you’re a legitimate business account which can help you increase your follower count and improve the reach of your tweets. This, in turn, will increase the click-through rate to your website.

Other accounts you can optimize as an ecommerce business include:

  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Snapchat
  • LinkedIn

Note: LinkedIn may not work for your business unless your target buyers are B2B. You should focus your efforts on the platforms where your buyers are actively searching for what you offer.

3. Work closely with your sales team

The sales team is often an untapped resource and a missed opportunity for useful, proven lead generation strategies. Sales staff handle the qualified leads you bring in. They get to know what makes your customers tick. In the later stages of making a sale, they are the ones who discover what can and cannot convert leads into customers. This is highly valuable information for you as a marketer.

Ask your sales colleagues what they know about your existing website shoppers. What are they most interested in? What do they like about your website? What is it about your business that gets them to buy from you? These are all questions that can help improve your lead generation efforts.

An ecommerce business cannot grow in silos. Marketing and sales teams need to work together to complete the full customer picture. It starts with marketing, attracting and converting leads. Then sales picks things up to close the deal. Both sales and marketing need to work together to nurture and support your customers—working together throughout the inbound process is key.

4. Provide value first

Social media is a conversational, value-based platform where sales pitches are frowned upon. It’s important to offer assistance more often than you promote yourself. You’ll still be able to generate leads by offering value in exchange for visitors’ info.

Social media is all about being social. Use it to communicate value in the form of real-time conversations, blog content, gated offerings, promotions, and more. Focus first on helping shoppers solve a problem, and the sales will come with time.

The important point to remember is that social media isn’t a broadcasting tool. It isn’t one big press release platform. You need to offer something to help your target audience until they feel ready to buy from you.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t promote your ecommerce offerings at all. You certainly should. It’s about balancing your content in a way that attracts customers instead of pushing them away. If you’re wondering how to determine this balance, hop on over to this SEMrush article, where they dive into the “perfect” ratio of social media posts.

When you focus on value before promotion, you can still bring in leads to your website. People are more likely to give you their private information when you offer something of value that they can use immediately. With your products and website as a whole, you can create a limited-time offer that can generate an immediate sale. Alternatively, you can create a gated resource behind a landing page, requiring contact information to acquire the asset. The sales team can then approach this new lead to work on turning them into a customer.

5. Use persuasive calls-to-action

Your social media content should always have some form of call-to-action (CTA). It’s with these social CTAs that you drive your fans and followers to your online store. These are just a few of the best practices for using CTAs on social media:

Fit the CTA to the platform you’re on

What works for Facebook may not fit well with Pinterest, for example. Twitter has a restrictive character limit while Instagram offers more room. Your CTA should be formatted to fit with the different platform features as well as the audience there.

Use to-the-point, actionable copy

Especially on Twitter, where the feed moves so quickly, you need to grab attention right away. Your CTA needs to convince users to click or respond, but it won’t work if your copy is too long or vague.

Tell your audience where the link will lead them

Clickbait and deceptiveness will only hurt your lead generation efforts and may even hurt your brand image. Be clear why people should go to your website by promoting the value of the destination.

Speak directly to the individual

If you’re thinking of writing in the third person, you’ll be making a mistake. Using second-person language, such as “you,” targets the person as an individual. People want to see brands speaking directly to them, and taking this approach will help.

Make sure you’re tracking and testing your CTAs

When you’re using a standard CTA and not seeing results, it’s important that you test changes (one at a time) to it. Track the metrics that you can acquire in the platform analytics or Google Analytics to see how your CTA performs. You don’t want to keep the same CTA design and copy forever, so make sure you’re experimenting and measuring regularly.

Your call-to-action as an ecommerce business may often lead to a product page. That’s fine if your CTA copy effectively shows that product’s value. However, as a social media CTA, it may prove more worthwhile in the long-term to lead people to your blog offerings or a gated resource. This is as long as your social media purpose is to build relationships first, lead generation second.

6. Send your audience to optimized landing pages

Above, you learned the importance of persuasive calls-to-action. Now it’s time to learn where those CTAs should lead to and how to optimize these pages for lead generation.

When you’re sharing something on social media, such as a promotion or event notice, you’ll need to include a link. This link should lead to a landing page relevant to that topic. It shouldn’t lead to your homepage or an off-topic product page. You don’t want to trick your audience if you want them to become customers.

Your landing page must be fully optimized to make the user experience flawless and effective. Your landing page has important elements—copy, website reliability, responsiveness, and overall design—that must be of the highest quality.

Landing page design

When you’re promoting a free trial, ebook, discount, or anything from your ecommerce website, make sure your social media design matches well with your landing page. This is true for your copy as well, which we’ll dive into next.

Your landing page should catch people’s attention and keep it as soon as they arrive on your site. Website design is key for that.

You may want to focus on these design elements:

  • Colors
  • Imagery or video
  • Formatting

Landing page copy

When you’re creating a social media post, you’re trying to convince your audience to click through to your landing page. But what if your social media copy doesn’t match with your landing page? People are more likely to bounce right off your website.

On your landing page, make it clear what the page’s purpose is and how it will benefit the visitor. On social media, you may have told them that they can get a free trial of your loyalty program. Your landing page should clearly say that filling out the form or making the purchase will give the visitors what they came to get.

Landing page reliability

People expect fast website load times and that’s not just true for desktop browsers anymore; mobile responsiveness is now essential too. If your product pages or free trial page doesn’t load immediately, you’re going to see a much higher bounce rate in Google Analytics.

As an ecommerce business, you’re trying to get people to shop from your website, so it needs to be reliable and responsive. People don’t have the patience for glitchy, slow, or anti-mobile websites, so make sure your landing pages are fully optimized for performance on all devices.

7. Advertise your best offerings

Social media advertising is now essential for getting your content seen by a large audience. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all have feed algorithms that dramatically reduce organic reach. Advertising has now become an integral part of any social media marketing strategy.

When you have an ecommerce website, you want to attract your social media audience to products, trials, and any other key offerings you have. Use advertising to bring the attention from those social media users you can’t reach organically. This primarily includes those users who aren’t currently fans or followers of your accounts.

When you’re trying to make a decision, focus your advertising on your best-performing organic content or any gated offerings where you can collect contact info. You may have published a new product line post on Facebook that you want to boost. Or, you may have a new loyalty program for shoppers that you can advertise via a full lead generation advertising campaign.

Before you commit to an advertising campaign, always check your purpose to see if it aligns with your overall social media goals. You want to drive social media users to your ecommerce website with the goal of seeing them make a purchase. Your advertisements should clearly support that. Otherwise, you’re going off track, wasting resources, and missing opportunities.

8. Keep going strong

Social media lead generation takes time for any business, including ecommerce. It’s important that you commit to the process over time. Don’t give up if you don’t see immediate results. You need to continuously work on your strategy to see the return on investment you’re seeking.

To keep your social media focused on lead generation, you have options for what you can do:

  • Participate in social trends, such as #MotivationMonday, when appropriate, to reach people beyond your followers. As an ecommerce business, this is an effective way to promote your offerings in creative ways. This, in turn, will attract people who otherwise wouldn’t know who you are and what you offer.
  • Engage in real-time conversations with your prospects and existing customers. Don’t just respond to them. Remember to initiate conversations when possible.
  • When setting up your online store, ensure a seamless user experience. Make the transfer from social media to shopping quick and easy. It helps to have a connector on your website that relates well to your social media content. Landing pages are great for that.
  • Monitor mentions of your business and any relevant keywords that relate well with your online store products. This is an important opportunity to engage with prospects and bring them to your website. In exchange for offering value, your social engagement may increase your conversion rate.
  • Be sure to have a customer support strategy in place for your current customers. There’s nothing worse than seeing a complaint go viral on social media. To prevent this, have a system in place where both complaints and praise are recognized. Resolve the issue quickly to keep your customers happy. Show gratitude for praise to build brand loyalty.

You now know eight helpful ways to bring in leads to your ecommerce website from social media. These are proven ways to increase the quality of your lead generation. Your marketing leads will be more likely to become qualified sales leads, which helps you see the return on investment (ROI) of your social media activity.

No matter what platform you’re using, Hootsuite can help you drive—and track—leads from social media. Try it free today. 

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