6 Tips for Creating Holiday Facebook Ads that Convert

The holiday season can be one of the most profitable times of a year for businesses. People have their wallets open and they are ready to buy thanks to a combination of end-of-year bonuses, the generous gift-giving spirit, and some of the best sales of the year.

For businesses it is a time of profit, but also competition because everyone knows this is a time when customers are ready to spend.

You can give yourself a competitive advantage with the right social media marketing campaigns, especially when it comes to Facebook advertising. In this post, we’ll go over six tips to create holiday ads that convert on Facebook, setting you apart from the competition.

1. Have a different ad for each big sales event

Even though each holiday is lumped into the “holiday season,” you want to create ads for each individual event within said season. Black Friday and Cyber Monday, for example, should each have their own unique sets of ads.

Even if you’re using the same images and offers, switching up the copy to be event-specific will help you increase conversion rates. “Get three months half off for Black Friday” sounds a lot better than “Get three months half off, just sign up by next week.” It increases urgency, and when users are creating lists of what they want to blow their budget on, you want to be on that list.

When advertising sales after Black Friday, make sure users know they’re still getting a good deal. It’s still the gift-giving season, after all, and the idea of getting just as good of a deal after Black Friday can be intoxicating.

2. Create a sense of urgency

Everyone loves the gift giving season, but the pressure surrounding it… not so much. Still, brands can use this to their advantage by creating a sense of urgency.

Make it clear that you only have a limited number of deals to hand out on Black Friday with ad text like “This deal is so good, we can only offer it to the first 100 customers who convert.” Remind your audience that they don’t want to miss a gift for a single day of Hanukkah and that they’re running out of time with a “Today is the last day to order to guarantee delivery by the start of Hanukkah.”

Urgency always sells, and it can be especially effective around the holidays.

3. Utilize retargeting as much as possible

Retargeting allows you to reach out to customers who you know are already interested in what you have to offer, and that’s a particularly big advantage come the holidays.

One strategy you can use to increase sales is to utilize segmented lists based on purchase history. Show customers the products and services you know that they’re most likely to be interested in.

For example, Verizon’s best bet would be to show apple headphones only to users who had purchased iPhones for example; Android users should be shown something else.

Perhaps the most effective holiday retargeting strategy is to focus on website retargeting, where you create custom audiences based off users who have visited your site within a set time frame. Why? Because it may not be your normal customers buying from you this time of year—it may be their friends or family purchasing them a gift. Retargeting ads to keep showing the product to individuals doing gift research can help you boost sales this time of year.

4. Focus on conversions and traffic to your site

The holiday season is the time to sell, and brand awareness or social engagement campaigns should take a back seat to actually getting sales and traffic to your store—whether it’s online or a physical location. All of your ads should contain links.

Just as importantly, you should be choosing the right ad objectives. Facebook’s algorithms take your objectives into heavy consideration when distributing your ads, and they’ll show the ads to the people they believe most likely to fulfill your stated objective.

The best objectives you can use to drive conversions and traffic are:

  • Conversions
  • Product catalogue sales
  • Traffic
  • Store visits

5. Use holiday-specific copy

When I was worked in a jewelry store several years back, we were told to push these $20 necklaces that people weren’t typically interested in when buying $600 pieces. Then I realized by saying “they’re perfect stocking stuffers,” I went from selling about four a day to nearly 50.

Phrases like “the perfect gift” and “wait until you see their face light up when they open it” will make customers consider your products as gifts, even if they wouldn’t have otherwise.

Make your copy holiday-specific. In a weird way, it’s like giving customers another use case for your product. It isn’t just a new set of headphones; it’s a stocking stuffer. That new watch isn’t just a watch—you’ll wow them when they open this gift under the tree.

6. Keep a close eye on the ads you’re running

It’s easy to forget to check in how your ads are performing, especially if they’re running on a set schedule and you have a million other things to handle before the end of the year. Still, this task must not be overlooked.

Pause any campaigns that aren’t performing well in an ad set, and allocate that budget to a campaign that’s working. This will help increase sales while lowering your cost per click (CPC) and giving you the best possible ROI.

This year I was hired to tackle inconsistent ad campaigns for a client, and we paused the campaigns costing $7.95 a click and moved the budget to the campaign costing just under $1.50 per click. With the increased budget and a few small changes to improve the ad’s targeting, we ended up getting the CPC down to $0.31.

This strategy is particularly powerful during the holidays, when you have a limited time to get results.

You should also keep a close eye on the engagement your ads are getting. Potential customers in a time-crunch may ask a question on your ad, and move on if they don’t get an answer. Address any questions to increase the likelihood of conversions, and to show would-be customers that you’re engaged and attentive to their needs.

The end-of-year sales season is your chance to finish the year strong. Customers are ready to buy and you want to make sure they buy from you.

By creating strong Facebook ad campaigns, you’ll be able to set yourself apart and put your products and services in front of a highly engaged, ready-to-purchase audience.

Get the most out of your Facebook ad budget with AdEspresso by Hootsuite. The powerful tool makes it easy to create, manage, and optimize your Facebook ad campaigns.

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Image optimization 101: How to rank higher in image search

SEO is not only about optimizing written content.

The increasing dominance of visual content online has brought with it new opportunities for increasing a site’s search traffic by optimizing videos and images.

Optimizing your images gives your website an additional chance to be found via image search, and a good logo or some eye-catching graphics can be just as effective at attracting visitors to your website as your written content.

But even if you’re highly familiar with optimizing written content for search, you may not know where to begin with optimizing images. What factors do you need to bear in mind? Does keyword usage still apply?

In this guide, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about optimizing for image search.

N.B.: This is an updated version of a guide by Dave Davies that we originally published in 2013: Image Optimization: How to Rank on Image Search

Image size

The size of your images can have a big impact on your overall site speed (which is an important search ranking factor), and big, heavy images are one of the biggest culprits for slowing down websites – particularly on mobile.

However, because you also want your images to look good and be eye-catching, especially if they’re the first part of your website that people see in image search, you also don’t want to sacrifice quality. Thus, finding a balance is necessary.

Matt Owen’s article on how to optimize your page images to increase site speed gives some useful pointers here, particularly with regard to not uploading images which are larger than the user will ever see, as this will just slow down your site with no benefit to you or the user.

Which file types are going to be most helpful here? GIF, JPEG and PNG are the three main image file types, which make up 96% of the Internet’s image traffic.

PNG offers a good combination of compression ratio and image quality, and as such is usually your best bet. JPEG can have a compression rate of up to 10x more than the other two formats, but is a lossy format – meaning that it reduces the quality of your images as it compresses them, so consider whether this is a sacrifice you need to make.

Saving your image as a GIF won’t result in a loss of image quality, but it can sometimes reduce color detail, making GIFs most suited to animated images, logos and any other small, simple images.

Google’s PageSpeed Insights offer some more guidelines on how to optimize your images for maximum site speed. 

Image name

The name of your image file can help search engines discover your content in context. This is where keywords enter the picture (as well as in the alt attributes, which we’ll cover below).

If you’re uploading a photo of nature photography, a relevant filename like nature_photography.png has a better chance of ranking well in search than than DSC_1977.png. If it’s possible to be even more specific, such as Hong-Kong-botanical-gardens.png, then that’s even better for SEO.

If you don’t enter a separate title for your image upon upload, the filename will also serve as the image title, which makes it all the more important to be clear and accurate with your filename.

For more on how to optimize your image title text and alt text, read on to the next section.

Alt attributes

Alt attributes are the text alternatives to your image which will appear if your image fails to load, or if the user is accessing your site with an assistive device such as a screenreader. Because web crawlers don’t have eyes, they’re also what search engines “see” instead of an image, making them important for both accessibility and SEO.

As such, the alt text and title text tag fields are the best place to put any keywords relevant to your image, BUT: do not keyword-stuff! This is a poor practice in image SEO just as in text-based SEO, and will do the screenreader users accessing your website no favors.

Title text

The title text is effectively the name of your image, and as such serves a very similar purpose to your image filename. The main difference is that it needs to be human readable as well as machine readable – so use spaces to separate the words in your image, not underscores or dashes (or nothing at all).

There are certain circumstances in which title text is all you need to substitute for your image – if the title text alone describes the image, you don’t always need alt text.

For example, if the image is a headshot of a person, their name alone is sufficient for title text – as it tells both people and search engines what the image is of – and no additional details are necessary in the alt text. Alt attributes are important, but you don’t need to go overboard!

Alt text

This is the field that describes what your image depicts. Alt text can help search engines work out not just the content of an image but the topic of the surrounding text – so it’s important to get it right.

If possible, at least one image on your page should contain your focus keyword, but it’s important not to shoehorn it in. Image alt text should be clear, descriptive, and written in natural language. Imagine it as if you were telling someone who couldn’t see the image what it was about. Which key details would you highlight?

Some guides will place a recommended length on alt text, such as 80 or 150 characters, but in truth the alt text should be as long as it needs to be in order to get the image content across. Try to be succinct, but don’t sacrifice necessary details for the sake of length.

Here is an example of an article graphic (courtesy of Shutterstock) that we uploaded for a recent article, ‘Beyond Google Analytics: 10 SEO analytics and reporting tools‘. The WordPress backend clearly indicates where to input title and alt text:

A screenshot of an image attachment in WordPress with the title text and alt text fields filled in. The caption and description fields are blank.

The alt text we input for this image is as follows: Image of a person typing on a laptop with paper and pens by the side, and a variety of different analytics icons sketched above it, such as graphs, charts and a clipboard.

Page URL and domain authority

The URL of the page that the images are hosted on can affect the image search traffic. If an image is hosted on an optimized page URL on a page which contains quality and relevant content, your chances of image SEO success will be much higher.

Along with the page URL, the page’s domain authority that also can affect an image’s performance in Google Image Search. If a domain already has a reputation for offering quality and relevant content, your image will do better in search. Image SEO is no different to text-based SEO in this regard.

Surrounding content around images

Image optimization doesn’t happen in a vacuum. As such, the copy that surrounds an image on your page is also important for SEO. The relevance of the content, its quality, and the keywords that are used can all affect how the image ranks in search.

The most important copy is the text that immediately surrounds the image. This might be an introductory sentence which precedes the image (for example, “Below is a graph showing the results of a survey carried out among 500 marketers…”) and/or a caption below it which gives some additional context.

Search engines like Google will use this copy to determine how well the image matches the topic of the page. For example, if the focus of the content is on plumbing, an image of a tree has decreased chances of ranking high for the keyword “plumbing examples” (and is likely to confuse your users to boot).

In addition to this, Google’s image recognition AI has become much more sophisticated in recent years, to the point where it can often identify whether the image subject matches up with the rest of your content.

Stock photography

There has been a long discussion over the years on whether using stock photography has a negative effect on your ranking. Google’s Matt Cutts went on the record back in 2013 to state that stock photos do not harm your search rankings, and therefore there is no difference in using them instead of original photos, SEO-wise.

However, there are a couple of caveats to this. One is that stock images are by their nature generic, and so the visual experience of your website will be a lot more generic as a result, particularly if you use a lot of them. This will also not help your image stand out in search results, and a stock image is unlikely to grab the user’s attention – unless of course you’re a stock photography vendor.

The second thing to bear in mind is that there will be countless other copies of the same image as yours out there on other people’s websites. As Dave Davies pointed out in the 2013 version of this guide, “Google doesn’t want to rank multiple copies of the same image any more than they want to rank multiple copies of the same content. If you’re using the same image that’s been found on a hundred other sites before you, why should yours rank?”

For example, if you’re writing about your company’s business culture, you can either pick a stock photo of happy people in an office environment, or simply upload a high-quality photo of your own office with your team members during a meeting. The latter is personal, relevant and interesting, and gives users a sense of what your company is really like.

Content quality is also important in images as it is in text. Matt Cutts pondered in 2013 whether original images might be used as a future quality signal to indicate a trustworthy website, leading to a higher search ranking:

“Who knows – maybe original image sites might be higher quality, whereas a site that just repeats the same stock photos over and over again might not be nearly as high quality.”

While we don’t have concrete confirmation as to whether Google went on to use this as a quality signal in image search, the impression on the user is worth taking into account.

Image engagement and popularity

Search engines value content with high engagement. This means that if you have a high-quality, relevant and original image that starts becoming popular among users, you have more chances of seeing it higher on search results. As with any text post, the popularity of your content can help it reach higher on the SERPs.

The principles of link-building also apply to image search: the more people link to your image, the higher the chances of increased search traffic coming from it. This can also be facilitated by the use of sharing buttons alongside your images. Once your image gets shared on many sites, its popularity will contribute to its success in search.

The popularity of an image can derive from clicks to your site, embeds and shares on other pages, or even social shares. All of them make the image more popular, while also indicating its relevance to the topic it describes. This ultimately makes search engines pay more attention to it.

Overview

In summary, here’s how you can optimize your images to rank higher in search results:

  • Try to reduce the weight of your images, but not to the detriment of quality
  • Pick a relevant filename
  • Use alt attributes to describe your content as accurately as possible
  • Pay attention to the content that’s surrounding your images
  • Try to use original graphics or photography
  • Aim for engaging images that will encourage sharing

Related reading

The ultimate guide to choosing keywords for ROI

Let me say this first – keyword research is hard! Every SEO has done it, but few will ever master it completely.

This is not supposed to be just another keyword research post. This post is about going beyond raw search volume data, using metrics which will help you choose keywords which deliver the best ROI for you right now.

To start with I am going to assume you have carried out your keyword research already, and are starting off with a comprehensive list (if not, our complete guide to keyword research for SEO will help you do this).

The more keywords, the better: you want to start with a massive data set and then use the below points to whittle down your keywords.

Here is the full list:

1. Get Cost Per Click data

Cost Per Click, or CPC data is invaluable to SEOs. Why should we have to test one keyword’s effectiveness against another’s when the PPC guys have already got it figured out?

If marketers aren’t spending money to appear on the keyword, it’s clearly not commercially viable. We want to be using CPC data to exclude keywords.

Any keywords with less than 50p CPC clearly isn’t commercially viable, so ditch them from your list, and prioritize all those keywords with over £1 CPC.

2. Focus on what you already rank for

This point is about prioritizing short term goals. There is no point focusing on a keyword, no matter the search volume, if you don’t rank for it.

Moving a keyword which isn’t ranking to page 1 is going to take time, and will only start delivering traffic right at the end. Moving a keyword from position 11 to position 9 can take no time at all, and you will see the traffic coming through instantly from managing to get on the first page of Google.

Below is the classification we use at Zazzle Media to secure short-term wins for our clients and to help them to manage their expectations too. The position range column refers to the ranking position of each keyword on Google.

Click-through rate studies all show that it’s page one or nothing, and as ‘Short Term’ and ‘Quick Win’ all sit on page 1 & 2, the vast majority of your traffic will be coming from these.

Long term keywords should not be ignored, especially if they can deliver significantly more traffic than other keywords, however your keyword optimisation strategy should reflect the effort-to-benefit ratio which the above classification will identify.

3. Choose the easy options

SEO is not done in a vacuum. For every campaign you invest in, there is always going to be a competitor out there investing more than you.

Ranking above a bigger brand is hard, very hard! If you’re not up for going toe-to-toe, budget-wise, with the big players in your field, then you’ll need to go after the easier keywords.

You can outrank more authoritative sites with more specific, more engaging content. However, as a rule of thumb we use referring domains as a signal of competitiveness on the keyword.

We use Majestic’s Open Apps to get referring domain data at scale. However, any backlink audit tool is sufficient. It’s best to look both at domain and URL level with this, with extra weight put on URL level (a 75/25 split).

Compare the average difficulty score for your keyword set against the URL on your site you wish to target the keyword on, and rule out any keyword massively out of reach.

4. Focus on traffic, not search volume

So, if I’m searching for a fashion item… I type in ‘dresses’ only to see that the results page is full of women’s dresses – this isn’t what I wanted! I then have to change the search to ‘men’s dresses’ to get the desired result. Think about the thousands of other men in my position!

But seriously, some keywords will have more clicks per search, some less. Did you know the clicks per search for the phrase ‘Chelsea Boots’ is only 0.64? This means that out of every 100 searches, it only results in 64 clicks.

A search volume of 25,000 looks absolutely massive, but a clicks per search of only 16,236 massively reduces what was a huge keyword.

We get this information from Ahref’s keyword explorer, and it really is impossible to do it any other way. You can get a lean towards how strong a keyword is through inspecting the SERPs and seeing the conformity of the ranking URLs. Are all the websites similar? Or are we seeing informational mixed with commercial results, mixed genders, etc.?

Google is all about delivering the best results for its users, and a mixed bag of results is a quick indicator that it doesn’t know what the user wants, so we’d anticipate lower click volume. It’s impossible to do it this way at scale, but will help you choose between a few keywords.

5. Use seasonal data/trends

Lots of businesses rely on seasonal traffic, which will completely invalidate average search volumes. Make sure your traffic estimates are based on when you are busiest, and focus your strategy on delivering growth at that point in time.

This means on-page and technical changes made months in advance, before consolidating link equity to key pages when they need it most.

Equally so, Google trends is your friend; go after keywords with an upward trend (obviously), don’t prioritize a dying keyword. You can get exports of your top keywords and use a SLOPE formula to determine whether your keyword is increasing or decreasing.

This is especially handy for your long-term keywords, to determine their true value.

6. Focus on keyword categories, not individual keywords

When completing keyword research, your keywords should be tightly categorized and mapped to individual URLs or directories. This allows us to see opportunity at a grander scale, helping you redraw the boundaries, and think more naturally about optimization.

Optimizing for individual keywords is so far outdated – content marketing helps us move beyond this and optimize for topics (this guide will help you do so). This helps us to be more informative and more comprehensive than our competitors. By grouping keywords by tight semantic relationships, you will not only have the head term, but also all the queries people have.

Think about it: what is more relevant and more authoritative than a directory/website that has great, in-depth content for every stage of the funnel?

Focusing on groups of keywords is not only more natural, but will deliver more opportunity for traffic growth as your supporting content ranks for keywords in its own right. If you have done enough to capture the right keywords, you can get conversions through bottom of the funnel, informational keywords.

The above six points will help you to have a more strategic approach to your initial keyword research, which enables you to get the best out of the resources you have – and get above the competition.

Related reading

SPI 290: Affiliate Marketing: An Insider Look at My Most Successful Long-Term Campaigns

This whole month is all about affiliate marketing here on SPI and I couldn’t be more excited about today’s episode. Affiliate marketing is something I’m incredibly passionate about: It’s helped me make millions of dollars and it’s absolutely changed my life. Today I’m taking you through my process for getting started.

I’ve learned so much in my time as an affiliate marketer, and most importantly I’ve learned how to do it right—and by do it right, I mean doing it in a way that isn’t slimy. That kind of affiliate marketing annoyed me when I was getting started; it just didn’t feel right and it made me feel that people didn’t know what I wanted. But through my journey I’ve discovered that my early experience doesn’t have to be the affiliate marketing experience. If done the right way it can be a huge win for everyone.

In this episode, I’m giving advanced affiliate marketing tips. These tips aren’t advanced on a technical level—they’re advanced in that no one is doing them. I’ll also be breaking down a case study based on a product I’ve recommended a lot recently: ConvertKit. [Full Disclosure: I’m a compensated advisor and an affiliate for ConvertKit.]

This week’s episode is all about finding long-term resources that you can offer your audience that will be there for a long time, and hopefully earn you some money for a long time too. I wish you good luck and success on your own affiliate marketing journey—enjoy!

And, to download my free guide to mastering affiliate marketing, check out AffiliateMarketingtheSmartWay.com.

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9 Ways Your Brand is Wasting Time on Facebook

We’re all familiar with the dangers of wasting time on your personal Facebook page, but you might not realize all the ways your business is also wasting time on the network.

To avoid any potential hurdles to your Facebook productivity, we’ve come up with a list of ways you could be mismanaging important social media minutes.

Continue reading to find out:

  • The dangers of republishing without reformatting
  • Why failing to test your ads is a costly mistake
  • How to save time in the future by spending more time now

9 ways your business is wasting time on Facebook

1. Creating overly promotional content

You’ve probably heard this advice before, but it’s worth repeating. Content creation is time-consuming, and you don’t want those hours of hard work to go to waste. If you’ve been wondering about the reason for that drastic dip in your business’s organic reach, you probably haven’t heard our calls to halt the creation of overly promotional content.

Facebook has been encouraging content creators to replace the straight-up promo material with stories that add value or provide more history for your business’s products and services. Facebook’s algorithm favors posts that aren’t overly promotional Helpful and shareable content has a higher likelihood of being seen by bigger audience

2. Republishing content on Facebook without reformatting

Here’s a thought process that might sound familiar: Instagram runs on beautiful images. Images increase engagement on Facebook. Instagram is part of Facebook. So I should repost all my Instagram photos automatically on my Facebook Page, right?

Even if it may seem like a time-saving technique to automatically post the same update to multiple networks, it might cost you reach on both networks. For starters, your brand’s Instagram profile and Facebook Page may be serving different purposes, so content from one may not fit the overall tone of messaging on the other.

Your audiences on different networks may also be drastically different, so what resonates with your Instagram followers may not quite jive with your Facebook fans. If you want to reuse a photo, make sure to provide enough context so that it is actually of value to your audience.

Finally, these posts just don’t look great a lot of the time. When you automatically share a post to Facebook from your Instagram account, your caption and hashtags go along with it. If you’ve tagged anybody by their Instagram handle, this will look odd in a Facebook post as Instagram usernames are not the same as they are on Facebook. If you’ve used a ton of hashtags, these will also look strange on Facebook.

3. Getting in comment wars

As of April 2017, Facebook Messenger has 1.2 billion monthly active users worldwide. With so many Messenger users, there’s a good chance you can engage with any disgruntled customer here instead of the comment section under a post. If a disgruntled customer comments on your Facebook post, reply quickly and reach out to them via Messenger.

It might go without saying, but it’s also a good idea to stay away from any negative Facebook comment threads from competitor brands. It’s important to be aware of these conversations, but participating in them isn’t necessary—especially if none of the negative claims are substantiated. You risk doing more damage to your online reputation if you do get involved in a comment war with your competition—especially if this is done at the expense of your engagement with followers and fans.

4. Liking irresponsibly

Just like any other Facebook user, Facebook Page managers can like other people’s posts and Pages. In a similar fashion, businesses you’ve liked on Facebook show up in a Liked sidebar on your Page, so you must exercise caution when pressing the ‘Like’ button. You don’t want visitors to your Page to see brands you wouldn’t necessarily endorse as a business.

Select a few partners or clients to like, and let your Liked sidebar highlight your professional relationships. Plus, liking a Page authorizes new updates to appear on your News Feed, and you don’t want to create distraction by liking Pages that will share irrelevant content.

5. Not taking advantage of Automated Rules

Constantly monitoring and optimizing your Facebook ads can be time-consuming. With automated rules, “you can create rules in Ads Manager that automatically update or notify you of changes to your campaigns, ad sets, or ads.”

Instead of constantly having to check and optimize your active campaigns, automated rules can do this for you. For example, you can create rules that:

  • Turn off your ad when it doesn’t perform well
  • Increase the budget of your ad when more people click on it
  • Send a notification to your email address when the number of people who view your ad over a certain period of time decreases past a certain number

Automated rules can help you save time optimizing your ad, but it’s still important to keep tabs on the overall performance of your campaign to ensure success.

6. Skipping A/B tests for your Facebook ads

Facebook allows businesses to run split tests on ads to see which one performs better. This means sending out two slightly different versions of an ad to see which one receives more engagement.

Key areas to test include the:

  • Call to action: Try out different ways of asking your audience to engage. For example, you could test whether “buy now” works better than “learn more.”
  • Text: Test the length of your ad copy (number of characters), style (a question versus a statement), use of emoji, punctuation, and tone of voice.
  • Visuals: Test different images and video, text-only posts versus those with images, a regular image versus a GIF, images of people or products versus graphs or infographics, and different video lengths.
  • Format: Test different formats against each other, such as carousel ads, canvas ads, app install ads, video ads, lead ads, collection ads, slideshow ads, and regular photo ads.
  • Hashtags: Find out whether hashtags are helping or hurting your conversion potential. Test out the use of multiple hashtags versus a single hashtag, which industry hashtags result in the best engagement, and hashtag placement within the messaging (at the end, the beginning, or the middle).
  • Target audience: Test your ads against the different audience segments to see what works best for your business objectives.

Try out different variations with each ad you create, and note the winner of that category. Not only will this save you some time—you’ll also increase the ROI of your Facebook ads.

7. Taking too long to create a Facebook update

There’s nothing wrong with taking your time to create quality content for your audience. But busy social media managers often don’t have hours to spend creating a single update. If inspiration doesn’t strike, do some productive social media browsing to find ideas.

Another solution is asking your colleagues for advice. Run existing posts by knowledgeable coworkers to see what improvements can be made, and what suggestions they have for new content.

You can also take a look at posts that have performed well in the past to repurpose this content for a new post. Try looking for content that can be updated with new information, visuals, or a new angle.

If you’re still not satisfied with your Facebook post it might be a good day for some curated content. If you need help with this, the Right Relevance app (available through the Hootsuite App Directory) lets you easily search and share the most authoritative content currently trending on the social web.

8. Reposting videos from external sources

Social media analytics organization Quintly took a look at 6.2 million posts in 2016 and found Facebook native videos performed better than embedded content. Videos uploaded natively on Facebook saw an average of 110 percent more interactions, and 611 percent more shares.

Additionally, the autoplay feature within Facebook’s native video tool encourages your followers to spend more time engaging with the content. This registers with the network’s algorithm and helps your video get seen by your target audience.

9. Not completing your About section

Sometimes it’s best to invest more time upfront so you can save time later. If you don’t include all the necessary information about your company on your Facebook Page, you risk creating confusion among those who turn to that social account for details about your business.

If you want to avoid spending time answering the same questions, provide a detailed description on the About section of your Page. This includes a brief description of your brand mission, list of products and services you provide, link to your official website, and physical address (if your company has one). Think of this as a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section.

Another way you might be wasting time on Facebook? Page management. Hootsuite makes it easy to schedule posts, share video, and monitor conversations so you can spend time on what matters—connecting with your customers.

Learn More

SPI 289: How Live Video Can Play a Role in Your Business (and How It’s Helped Mine)

Today I’m addressing a question I keep getting asked: What am I doing with my new live video studio? Why did I set it up, what’s my plan for it, and should you be investing money in live video? Today I’m answering all those questions. We’ll be talking about live video strategy, but also how to set up a space to record in.

I knew for a while that video was going to be part of my entire business strategy, especially because courses were going to be so integral. Live video can be a game-changer—it’s a really organic way to connect with your audience. And it’s especially potent on Facebook. If you go live on Facebook, you’ll get more reach than with a text update, or even an image; Facebook’s really favoring live video right now.

Investing in live video is smart. Experts say that by 2020, about 90 percent of content consumption will be via video. Live video is definitely going to be a big part of that—it’s something we need to pay attention to. So join me today as we talk about all things live video: How to get started, how I set up my studio, the results I’ve seen, and a whole lot more. Enjoy!

Thanks to our episode sponsor, Ahrefs, we have a contest this week! Register to win a free annual account (a $3,990 package!) by answering the following question in the comment section below: What is one amazing piece of advice that you’ve heard in a previous episode of the SPI Podcast?

Leave your answer below for a chance to win. To start your free trial today, go to Ahrefs.com. I’ll pick my favorite comment from all entries; contest closes on December 7, 2018 at midnight Pacific. The winner will be notified via email using the email address associated with the comment.

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  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
  • Subscribe on iTunes or download our mobile app.

We Tried Running Ads on Instagram Stories. Here’s What We Learned

In March 2017, Instagram released the Instagram Story ads feature to all business accounts. Hootsuite’s social marketing team quickly ran a series of tests using the new ad format. In this post we share with you what our team learned so that you’re set up for success when you give it a try.

Running ads on Instagram Stories: 7 lessons from Hootsuite’s social team

1. It’s best to start with existing content

Creating high-performing Instagram content is about trial and error. It can be expensive if you don’t know what your audience wants.

Before you put time and effort into creating Instagram-specific ads, repurpose content that you’ve shared organically so you have an idea of what kind of engagement it will get. Trying running a few tests with different types of repurposed content. Define a set of criteria for each ad so you understand exactly what you’re testing.

We used graphic videos as our first set of ads because we already had that content on hand. After seeing that they weren’t performing, we switched up our strategy—but having that initial test helped us understand what our audience wanted and why.

2. Live action videos convert better than graphic videos

The vast majority of Instagram Stories feature real life scenes (i.e. live action). Graphic videos break up this user experience. It didn’t match the aesthetic of what people were seeing in other Stories, and as result, clearly stood out as an ad.

When you’re creating your story, think about user experience. What would they expect to see? Make sure you create ads that don’t divert too much from that experience.

3. Existing fans are more likely to engage with your ad

Facebook, which owns Instagram, allows you to target people with Instagram ads that have liked your content on either platform.

We saw success when we served our Instagram Story ads to people who already engaged with our content—they liked a Hootsuite video on Facebook or a photo on Instagram, for example. Advertisers can use this engagement data to create custom audiences.

This re-engagement method is super effective because we know we’re engaging people that are already interested in our content.

You can also share and target audiences across Facebook and Instagram. For example, if you have a popular video on Facebook, you can retarget that Facebook audience on Instagram with a Story ad.

4. It’s important to follow the recommended ad specs

Reviewing Instagram Story ad spec requirements is an important (but often overlooked) part of creating ads. Instagram Story ads have different requirements than other ads, so it’s important that you know exactly what the specs are before you create new content.

Important ad specs to keep in mind:

  • Maximum file size
  • Video length
  • Dimensions
  • Supported codecs

If you want to use existing videos, make sure that they meet all the requirements of the ad format before you repurpose them.

5. The Story format offers new brand opportunities

Instagram Stories are shorter (only 15 seconds) than other social video formats. They also tend to be more personalized and intimate.

Take advantage of the Story format by having some fun. Show a side of your brand that your audience hasn’t seen. We recommend taking a brand awareness and storytelling approach to build engagement.

6. UTMs are the easiest way to track performance

Make sure that you have a clear call to action (CTA) that encourages people to swipe up for a link. Include a UTM parameter to track how people are engaging with your content.

We tried arrows, stickers, and action-oriented copy signalling to the viewer that they need to swipe up to get more information—and they’ve all worked really well.

7. Ads designed for mobile perform better

More than 80 percent of social network users access social media on a mobile device.

That’s why every Instagram Story ad should be optimized for a mobile viewing experience.That means thinking about things like vertical ad units, responsiveness, and text size. You should also create ads that are optimized for silent viewing (with captions and the like), so that people can watch without earbuds.

Instagram Story ads are a fun way to reach new audiences on social. With audience targeting features made available by Facebook, along with Instagram’s growing user base, these ads are definitely worth a try. Follow these tips while running your own Instagram Story ads.

Want to take your social advertising skills even further? Sign up for Hootsuite Academy’s Advanced Social Advertising course now and start learning for free.

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SPI 288: Interview with Bec and Joe from The 4 Blades

This is a fun one! I’m sitting down with Bec and Joe Winston, the brains behind The 4 Blades, a brand in a niche that I never knew existed. What is that niche? It’s a kitchen appliance called the Thermomix. You’ve probably never heard of Thermomixes, but Bec and Joe have built a vibrant digital publication, podcast, and community around them.

Bec and Joe’s brand is an incredible success story, and it just goes to show what you can accomplish when you focus on what you’re passionate about. They have a successful brand because of their amazing personalities and perseverance—all in a realm I never even knew about. They are truly living the lifestyle they want, and it’s all because of the action they’ve taken and the value they provide. Hopefully you’ll all be motivated and inspired after hearing this episode. Enjoy!

And don’t forget to check out my new Build Your Own Brand Challenge-Course, launching on October 16. It’s a free, five-day challenge and course that will help you go from no website to a branded website so that you can start making a mark in the online world. Go to SmartPassiveIncome.com/byob to learn more!

(If you’re reading this in the future, don’t worry; the challenge will stay open as evergreen content, even after it ends on October 21, 2017.)

Thanks for Listening!

To share your thoughts:

To help out the show:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
  • Subscribe on iTunes or download our mobile app.

Special thanks to Bec and Joe for joining me this week. Until next time!

Google Shopping: What do marketers need to know about the latest updates?

Google Shopping

In the battle with Amazon, Google is betting on its Shopping services to attract merchants and customers alike. A raft of product announcements has arrived just in time for the holiday season, including new ad formats and AdWords reports.

What do marketers need to know, and will these new products be enough to take market share back from Amazon?

Google has announced a variety of upgrades to its Shopping offering with a clear focus on improving the mobile experience, utilizing automation technologies to synchronize product information, and uniting voice search with ecommerce.

The search giant quite correctly pointed to “rising consumer expectations” as a driving force behind these innovations, especially as the Amazon juggernaut continues to gather pace.

Shopping seems the most suitable vehicle to compete with Amazon as an ecommerce business, but recent months have brought both successes and controversies for Google in this area, including:

  • The hefty fine doled out by the EU to Google for antitrust violations.
  • New partnerships with both Walmart and Target, with the aim of monetizing the growing voice search market.
  • Rumors that a direct rival for the Amazon Echo Show is in the works and may even launch this year.

There is a lot for Google to figure out here, but the news that Amazon has become the number one starting point for product searches requires a reaction.

The survey results below provide useful context as we analyze the latest Google Shopping updates. The areas where Amazon excels (choice, seamless payment and shipping, price) are arguably areas of weakness for Google Shopping.

why-shoppers-start-on-amazon-768x562(Source: Power Reviews)

To compete with Amazon means removing some of the friction from Google Shopping payments, providing more choice, and creating a model that promotes value for the consumer over aggressive bidding by advertisers.

The updates outlined below are certainly aimed at achieving these complex goals.

Showcase shopping ads

Showcase ads are targeted at the “exploration phase” of the purchase journey, in an allusion to the land Pinterest has been aiming to grab of late.

Google’s research has found that 40% of search queries exhibit a broad purchase intent, for example in searches such as [men’s shoes]. These queries could imply a range of different intents, from the informational to the transactional.

This new, swipe-able ad format gives brands significantly more space to highlight their products and benefits. It is therefore a fitting update for advertisers that want to capitalize on those broader search intents.

Google is encouraging advertisers to display lifestyle images that encourage users to further consider their products. This is a far cry from the pure, direct response model that underpins AdWords, but it is in keeping with the search industry’s attempts to broaden its horizons.

The official announcement from Google provides some clear insight into the functioning of these ads:

A Showcase Shopping ad appears on Google when someone searches with a more general term, such as “backpacks”. Then, Showcase Shopping ads show relevant products together with lifestyle images that you choose to represent your brand or business.

When someone clicks a Showcase Shopping ad, it expands revealing your products that are most relevant to the search terms they’ve used, which you connect to the ad using product groups. You can advertise a few dozen products or a whole category of your inventory with your Showcase Shopping ad.

We recommend that you start with a larger set of products (hundreds) first, and then create smaller groups as you see what works. To see how many products are targeted in a Showcase ad group, use the Products active column on the Product groups page.

Showcase Shopping ads use maximum CPE bidding, which means that you set the highest amount that you’re willing to pay for an engagement. Specifically, you’re charged when someone expands your Showcase Shopping ad, and spends 10 seconds within the ad or clicks a product or link in the expanded ad before then.

This new ad format will also be integrated with DoubleClick Search, Kenshoo and Marin, as well as AdWords.

Local inventory via Google Assistant

Google’s strategy has always been to get the products right and then find ways to make money from them once they know they have a hit with consumers. With regards to anything search-related, it has been pretty successful in this regard.

Voice search brings with is a whole new set of monetization challenges, but Google has kept its focus on getting the experience right before tackling these.

Google Assistant, the AI-driven and voice-enabled digital assistant at the core of so many Google products, can now be synced to the inventory of local stores. A consumer can therefore ask the Assistant where they can purchase a product nearby and Google can fetch the most relevant results, then display the locations via Google Maps. AdWords Device local inventory

These are some important initial steps for Google as it grapples with the slick purchasing experience offered by Amazon’s Alexa assistant. Creating a seamless link between the Google Assistant and store inventory levels will start to bridge this gap and encourage some consumers to start their voice search journey with Google rather than Amazon.

Again, the idea is to encourage greater adoption of the Assistant rather than force mechanisms that could drive a short-term profit.

As long as brands have created a local inventory feed, their results could start showing up in these listings soon.

Automated pricing and product availability

Google has acted to resolve one of the seemingly minor, but persistent, frustrations with Shopping. In the past, it was possible for a consumer to see one price in the Google listing, then see another altogether when they arrived at the merchant’s website. Even worse, sometimes the product would be sold out by the time the consumer clicked through to buy it.

Launched on October 31st, automated pricing and product availability will ensure consistency between the ad and the merchant’s website. Advertisers will no longer need to add Schema.org mark-up to keep this in check.

Combined with a new payment system known as Pay with Google (first announced at Google I/O earlier this year), these innovations should create a much more seamless experience for consumers and a more insightful platform for advertisers. Furthermore, we should expect Pay With Google to integrate with the Google Assistant to make purchases even simpler for consumers.

Image result for pay with google

Store visits measurement

Accurate measurement of the impact of online advertising on offline behaviors, and vice versa, has long been an ambition for Google and many other tech companies. We are slowly moving towards making this a reality, however, and Google has announced new measurement options for display advertisers.

The aim of this update is to tie impression-based data with store visits and therefore arrive at a conclusion about the effectiveness of display marketing campaigns.

Users who have opted into Location History measurement will share their data with Google, allowing more accurate reporting within AdWords and DoubleClick.

Three new reports will be available for advertisers:

  • Time lag report — Shows the time between an ad click and a store visit
  • Demographic report — Users can add store visits as a column to existing demographic reports
  • New vs. returning customer report — This will show how many of store visits come from repeat customers.

Key takeaways

There is still a long way to go if Google Shopping is going to provide a better ecommerce experience than Amazon, but Google certainly has the resources and the ambition to do so.

All of these updates go some way to addressing existing issues with Shopping for consumers and advertisers, while also building on Google’s inherent advantages. Consumer behaviors can change quickly, as we have seen in the transition from Google to Amazon as the go-to destination for product searches.

If Google can encourage users to engage with its new hardware and its AI Assistant, that trend could certainly reverse in the near future.

With the holiday season soon upon us, we won’t have long to wait to see whether Google’s new Shopping products have their intended effect.

Related reading

visual search engine

A Guide to LinkedIn Ads: How to Run a Successful Campaign

Wondering how to best integrate LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, into your social strategy? LinkedIn advertising could be just the ticket, especially if you are a marketer.

The great advantage of LinkedIn is that it is a uniquely focused social network—it’s all business, all the time. This makes it the ideal network for B2B organizations in particular. And with LinkedIn ads, businesses can choose from a range of ads to target and reach the right people when they’re in a business-y frame of mind.

Find out how LinkedIn went from buttoned-up digital resume platform to content marketing rockstar, growing to 500 million users in the process. And learn why and how you can use LinkedIn ads to join the party… sorry, business meeting. (Don’t forget the doughnuts.)

Table of contents

Why use LinkedIn ads?

Types of LinkedIn ads

How to advertise on LinkedIn: a step-by-step guide

Self-serve LinkedIn Ad tips and best practices

General LinkedIn ad tips and best practices

Why use LinkedIn ads?

It hasn’t been easy for LinkedIn to find its place in the world. In fact, for a long time it was hard to get the point of the network. You signed up, tried to find a semi-professional looking photo, and added your coworkers. Then what?

Today, LinkedIn is a different, much more interesting and useful place for users—and marketers, especially with the help of LinkedIn ads, the ins and outs of which we’ll get to shortly.

What changed?

LinkedIn introduced some pretty significant feature and usability upgrades to help build its community to the point where 40 percent of users visit the site every day. These include:

  • Better mobile apps.
  • Slicker desktop version.
  • Richer content features.
  • Better spam management.
  • Video.

The richer user experience now makes LinkedIn somewhere people want to hang out. According to LinkedIn’s stats, those people include 61 million influencers, 40 million decision-makers, and 10 million opinion leaders—in other words “the world’s professionals.” (Read our posts on LinkedIn demographics and LinkedIn statistics to dive deeper into the network’s user base.)

In an AdWeek article charting LinkedIn’s growth, Jessie Liu, senior analyst at Forrester Research, said: “More than most social networks, LinkedIn has very robust and deep user data. It’s collecting your location, educational history, professional history and interests. That makes it far more valuable than, say, Twitter.”

LinkedIn advertising lets marketers leverage this gold mine of data, offering several hard-to-ignore benefits:

LinkedIn ads even offer guaranteed impressions. Before you pay a dime, you can create your LinkedIn ad and see exactly how big of an audience you are going to reach.

But does it work? Do people use LinkedIn to discover and engage with content? According to LinkedIn’s own data, content gets 15 times the interaction of job postings.

The benefits of LinkedIn and LinkedIn ads to marketers are clear. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to advertise on LinkedIn, starting with our guide to LinkedIn ad formats.

Types of LinkedIn ads

Whether you want to target executives, influencers, or job seekers, there are various ways to advertise on LinkedIn through different ad types, including self-serve, partner programs, and other options. Each type of LinkedIn ad comes with its own benefits and best practices.

LinkedIn self-serve ads

You can create and publish your own ads through LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager. Campaign Manager allows you to schedule campaigns in advance, target the right audience, and see the industries, job functions, and seniority level of users who click your ads. If you have the time and resources to do that, this could be the easiest option for you. It’s also a great way to dip your toe into LinkedIn advertising.

There are currently three ad options to choose from, with video ads said by LinkedIn to be rolled out in 2018:

Sponsored Content

How to advertise on LinkedIn

Sponsored Content lets you share posts to your Company Page with a targeted audience on LinkedIn. It helps you amplify company news, promotions, relevant industry articles, SlideShare presentations, and Vimeo and YouTube videos.

The ads appear in the homepage feed (on desktop, mobile, and tablet) and on the right side of the desktop homepage. For example, if you have a one-day-only sale or a video of a recent company charity event, a sponsored update is the best way to get that content out to a wider audience.

Why use Sponsored Content?

  • Extend the reach of your content.
  • Attract more Company Page followers.
  • Capture eyeballs and clicks on desktop, tablet, and mobile.
  • Integrate LinkedIn’s lead generation forms.

View LinkedIn’s advertising specs and guidelines for Sponsored Content.

Text Ads

LinkedIn ads

 

Text Ads let you advertise on LinkedIn to drive traffic to your LinkedIn Company Page or your website. This is a quick and easy desktop-only option that lets you feature a compelling headline, a description, and an eye-catching image in a variety of ad formats. Your ads may appear under “Ads You May Be Interested In” and as text link advertisements found at the top of the page. If you want to grab the attention of a busy professional browsing LinkedIn, including promoting a job opening, Text Ads are a good way to go.

Why use Text Ads?

  • Fast and easy to get started.
  • Set your own budget.
  • Choose your audience with laser sharp B2B filters.
  • Track conversions.

View LinkedIn’s advertising specs and guidelines for Text Ads.

Sponsored InMail

LinkedIn ads

Sponsored InMail enables you to send personalized messages to targeted LinkedIn users through LinkedIn’s email client, LinkedIn Messenger. Recipients only receive Sponsored InMails when they are active on LinkedIn to help them get noticed. It’s an effective option if you want to go for a more personalized approach to drive conversion rates.

Why use Sponsored InMail?

  • Send personalized invites to webinars and other events.
  • Target promotions to the right audience.
  • Promote content, such as downloadable ebooks and white papers.

View LinkedIn’s advertising specs and guidelines for Sponsored InMail.

Video ads (coming soon)

In October, 2017 LinkedIn announced they were testing video ads. After a beta phase with a limited number of advertisers, the plan is to roll them out to everyone in the first half of 2018—initially on mobile and then desktop.

Video ads will be available through Campaign Manager, offering the same targeting, budgeting, and reporting tools as the other ad options. Watch this space for updates.

LinkedIn Display Ads

LinkedIn ads

Display Ads is LinkedIn’s programmatic advertising solution. This means you can purchase ads through your preferred advertising platform or a private or public auction.

Display ads allow for a greater variety of media, including text, audio, video, and images, which makes them more eye-catching and interactive.

This is a good option to help you get your business in front of your desired audience early in the buying cycle and increase awareness on a large scale.

Why use Display Ads?

  • Reach more professionals, thought leaders, decision-makers, and influencers.
  • Create more engaging and eye-catching ads.
  • Get ad placement on high-traffic LinkedIn pages.

View LinkedIn’s advertising specs and guidelines for Display Ads.

LinkedIn Dynamic Ads

LinkedIn ads

Dynamic Ads are highly customizable personalized ads. They are dynamically generated according to your audience’s activity. For example, if LinkedIn knows someone is searching for a job in your industry, you can target them at the right time with the right messages. You can write your own ad copy, choose your call to action, and use dynamically generated images from LinkedIn member profiles.

This kind of advertising is especially useful for building relationships and delivering personalized messages to the most influential members of your audience. It’s a great way to really make people sit up and take notice.

Why use Dynamic Ads?

  • Deliver compelling, personalized messages to increase response.
  • Choose from a range of targeting criteria.
  • Generate specific actions through customized calls to action.
  • Grow your Company Page’s followers.

View LinkedIn’s advertising specs and guidelines for Dynamic Ads.

LinkedIn Marketing Partner ads

You can also work with a LinkedIn partner. Each partner offers different tools, such as ad technology, content creation, and media buying, to help you run successful ad campaigns on LinkedIn and achieve a greater ROI than you might get through Campaign Manager.

Hootsuite is proud to be a LinkedIn marketing partner, helping users bridge the gap between paid and organic campaigns to provide end-to-end insights on LinkedIn campaign performance .

Why work with a LinkedIn ad partner?

  • Meet specific marketing goals.
  • Increase engagement and achieve more with LinkedIn ads.
  • Work with experts in LinkedIn advertising.

How to advertise on LinkedIn: a step-by-step guide

Before you can do anything, you need a LinkedIn account. Here are a few quick tips to setting up a LinkedIn account. You also need a Company Page to run Sponsored Content ads, and it’s a good thing to set up in any case. Here’s our guide to creating a LinkedIn Company Page.

How to advertise on LinkedIn with self-serve ads

After you do the above, getting started with self-serve LinkedIn ads is easy. Follow these six steps, which are outlined in more detail here.

Step 1: Set up a Campaign Manager account

This really does just take a couple of minutes. You can create multiple accounts.

LinkedIn ads

Step 2: Choose your ad type

Select the type of ad you want to create. You can create an entire campaign using all three formats for maximum impact and reach.

LinkedIn ads

Each of the three options will require you to create a campaign name and choose your target audience language. With Sponsored Content ads you also need to select a call-to-action option:

LinkedIn ads

Learn more about LinkedIn lead generation forms here (tip number three).

Step 3: Create your ad

Campaign Manager walks you through the process of creating the various different ads, providing ad specs and tips along the way. For example, here are the options for creating a Text Ad:

LinkedIn ads

Step 4: Target your ad

Next you get a range of options for targeting your ad to the right people, including location, company names, school names, job functions, skills, and other filters. You can save your choices as a template to speed things up when creating other campaigns.

LinkedIn ads

Step 5: Choose your budget and schedule

You can choose from cost per click (CPC) or cost per impression (CPM), or cost per send for Sponsored InMail ads (which means you only pay when your message is delivered). For CPC and CPM, you can set a daily spend limit and a bid price, which is the most you want to pay per click or impression. You can also choose a start and finish date for your campaign.

At this stage you can also add conversion tracking (Sponsored Content and Text Ads only). It lets you track specific actions so you can better measure, and then improve, ROI. These include sign-ups, installs, downloads, and purchases.

LinkedIn ads

Step 6: Measure and refine your LinkedIn ads

LinkedIn ads Campaign Manger gives you access to a range of metrics to help you measure and optimize your campaigns. These include impressions, clicks, and spend. LinkedIn also lets you measure “social actions,” which capture how LinkedIn members interact with your content.

How to advertise on LinkedIn with other types of ads

To advertise on LinkedIn using the other other options, follow the links from these pages to get started:

Self-serve LinkedIn Ad tips and best practices

Succeeding with each of the self-serve ad types involves focusing on a few key areas in particular.

Sponsored Content quick tips

Text Ad quick tips

  • Make use of the image option to attract eyeballs.
  • Include a strong, specific call to action.
  • Write a compelling headline.
  • Talk directly to your audience and use active language.

Read 10 Quick Social Media Ad Writing Tips From an Expert for more social ad writing tips.

Sponsored InMail quick tips

  • Address the recipient by name.
  • Keep it concise (under 1,000 characters).
  • Include a clear call to action.
  • Write a compelling subject line that shows the value of your offering.


Read
How to Write Effective CTAs on Social Media: A Guide for Marketers for more conversion copywriting tips.

General LinkedIn ad tips and best practices

Here are some more general LinkedIn ad tips and best practices.

Write strong, compelling copy

Strong copy demands the attention of the reader. The best way to do this is to offer interesting insights while keeping your message simple. Demonstrate your understanding of the industry, but keep jargon to a minimum or you’ll generate “zzzzz”s instead of clicks.

To help with this, check out our post 8 Writing Tools for Crafting the Perfect Social Media Post and 12 Quick Editing Tips for Social Media Managers.

Include relevant images

Relevant images are an essential part of social media content marketing. But finding a great image to catch the eye of your prospect can be tough, especially if your budget is tight.

Our roundup of 20 free photo sites for stock social media images is a great place to start.

Target by group

Targeting by group is a great way to reach people who may be interested in your product or service. To make sure you target the right groups, you’ll need to dig around a little before you get started. It’s helpful if you’ve already taken some time to build audience personas. Discover which groups your ideal buyers belong to and then compile a shortlist of professional or trade associations you want to target.

According to a webcast with LinkedIn content campaign strategist Pavels Kilivniks and team lead Katerina Ram, breaking up your B2B target audience by demographic can be a helpful tool for targeting. Here are three good ones to consider:

  • Job title and function are key professional attributes of your audience. LinkedIn ads allow you to search and create audiences composed of specific criteria. So if you want to sell specialized medical equipment to radio brain surgeons in Kalamazoo, Michigan, LinkedIn will help you find them.
  • Industry and company size tell you who your next buyer could be. Do you want to sell to a large company or a small business? Are you targeting all the software engineers in Silicon Valley or dairy lobbyists in your home state? Refine your aim with a precise target.
  • Seniority is a great way to target influencers with your LinkedIn ads. LinkedIn pulls data from member profiles even if they don’t have the word “senior” in their title.
    For example, if a person has been with a company for more than two years, that person will be mapped as an individual contributor and will appear as “senior” in the Campaign Manager tool. The algorithm is able to determine if a particular member is entry-level or not because it accounts for their entire career path.

Test, test, and test again

Test a different version of each LinkedIn ad to see which one brings in the most business. With the text ad option, you can you can create up to 15 variations of one ad. Change the image, headline, text, and destination to see who bites and when.

Budget and bid wisely

Budgeting and bidding effectively is crucial. You can choose to set your LinkedIn advertising bid and campaign budget by cost per click (CPC) or cost per thousand impressions (CPM). If you choose to go the CPC route you can specify the maximum amount you’re willing to pay for each click. This is the best option if your campaign is direct response. If you decide to go with CPM, you pay up to your maximum bid each time your ad is shown 1,000 times on LinkedIn, no matter how many clicks you receive. This is the method LinkedIn suggests if your advertising strategy is creating brand awareness.

Measure to improve ROI

Measuring your LinkedIn ads’ performance helps you maximize your social media ROI. You can use the LinkedIn ads Campaign Manager to track performance by monitoring impressions, clicks, costs, and other metrics. With each new campaign you’ll learn what’s working and what’s not.

The cost of LinkedIn ads tends to run a little higher than other social media platforms so you will want to pay close attention to your analytics.

That’s our guide to LinkedIn ads—a great way for social marketers to reach professionals. Now go update your profile pic. That one of you on vacation with the straw from your Pina Colada showing just won’t cut it anymore.

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With files from Sydney Parker