digital marketing

Countdown to Chrome warning for non-https websites

HTTPS is a secure protocol that helps defend your visitors’ info by encrypting knowledge traveling between the internet browser and the server.

SSL protocol

Google AdWords already recommends (and in some cases, requires) that every one URLs use the HTTPS protocol rather than HTTP to shield customers’ personal and money info.

As of April 2018, more than 57% of the Internet’s 137,971 most popular websites have a secure implementation of HTTPS (source: Alexa).

Starting from Chrome 68, expected to be released in July 2018, all HTTP pages will be market as “not secure”. This might cause a significant drop in traffic.

 

Not Secure website on Google Chrome

In terms of SEO, HTTPS is among the top Search Engine ranking factors.

If your website supports HTTPS and you run AdWords campaigns, make sure that the final URLs and mobile final URLs start with HTTPS – you can bulk edit this step wither on the platform, through Adwords editor or API.

If your website doesn’t support HTTPS speak with your webmaster or the CMS administrator and make sure that HTTPS is enabled on your server (double check with your hosting provider), then make sure that all internal links are HTTPS (on WordPress you can force them with specific plugins).

A free SSL service is LetsEncrypt, trusted and supported by the major hosting providers.

Any help? Get in touch!

 

Facebook Local Search

Facebook Professional Services, the next big thing for Local Search? (2018)

Facebook Professional Services

Facebook Professional Services

Facebook Professional Services is a new feature – still unannounced – that can be the next big thing for local search in 2016.

Update: it’s 2018 and the feature hasn’t been announced or promoted yet, but it’s still there, quite useful.

With this move Facebook is entering as a direct competitor of platforms such as Google Places (recently re-shaped as My Business), Yelp, Foursquare, Tripadvisor and others in the #local search market.

All Facebook Pages with a physical location will be listed in their respective primary business category and cannot avoid users rating/reviews – in fact, to remove the possibility that users leave reviews the page does not have to be associated with any physical location (e.g. brand pages).

All pages can be linked to up to three categories, but only the main one will be relevant for indexation in Professional Services – mind that if you do not see your Page listed yet.

Ranking high and with a good rating is crucial to business success. Many prospective customers look for confirmations about their possible choice right before they are going to buy – what Google calls micro-moments. This fact applies in particular in mobile local search, but at the moment, Facebook Professional Services are only available on the desktop. Maybe a dedicated app will be released at some point?

In Facebook Professional Services, ranking level is determined by a combination that takes into account number of reviews and rating (and possibly other variables such as engagement, page authority, reviewers authority, etc.). Therefore, having many reviews is the first step to being sure that a local service ranks in the top ten – there are ten results per page/category/city. Besides, rating from relevant users is also important: generally a page with 70 reviews and an average rating of 4.4 ranks better than a page with 20 reviews with 4.9 average rating.

Are you looking to improve your local search ranking? Have a look at this Local SEO Guide for Businesses by Brad Richardson (Caseo, Canada).

Facebook to discard Conversion Tracking Pixel in the second half of 2016

Features of Facebook Pixel

All digital advertisers that are currently using Conversion Tracking pixels have to move to Pixel by the second half of 2016.

 pixel is a better solution for both building Custom Audiences (e.g. remarketing) and tracking any conversion (see image).

Custom Audience pixel will remain. However, it is advised to move to the new Pixel that enables to build everything.

The FB pixel can be implemented through Google Tag Manager or other tag management services, covering all pages of the website(s) along the customer journey.

There is no need to create and implement multiple Pixels as one can be shared among different Ad Accounts. Consequently, Custom Audiences and Custom Conversions can be created directly into each Ad Account according to specific needs.

* the Conversion tracking pixel will be disabled by the second half of 2016 as announced by .

Linkedin Ads

How to re-target LinkedIn users through other channels

Ok, this method might break some rule, but it can be an effective solution for specific goals, like a very focused lead generation campaign. Let’s imagine that your goal is to reach outside , some workers of a few competitors based in country x or y, or anyone that studied at university z.

Just follow these steps:

  1. (alternative/1: choose this at your risk) Create a fake user profile on , possibly a high profile consultant;
  2. (alternative/2) use your real profile;
  3. If you go for alternative 1, you need to get new friends: define your target audience and add  users through the most appropriate search fields (industry, company, country, etc.);
    LinkedIn Profile Search
  4. Dig into Groups

    (extra/1) you can extend your contact list by joining the most relevant and popular groups that are related to your audience(s) industry and adding people that actively engage in conversation over there;

  5. Chase people suggested

    (extra/2) you might further extend the list by adding people suggested by , if having profiles matching your target audience;

  6. Export your contact list from LinkedIn

    Once you reach a certain amount of contacts (let’s say at least 300), export the contact list from to a CSV format file, format it through a spreadsheet software using the function “text-to-column”, choosing comma as delimiter and save a new CSV file with just a column of emails;

    LinkedIn Export Email CSV

  7. Split the contact list to create different targets

    (extra/3) Let’s suppose that you want to target all HR people of company X but you want to advertise in French and German, depending on where are they based. In this case, you can split the list into many by selecting specific job titles, country and/or company, the only fields relevant for such purpose, to create multiple remarketing lists (see next steps) but only if the sub-lists contains enough contacts;

  8. Create a remarketing list on Adwords

    Google Adwords audiences email
    On go to Shared Library, then Audiences, then select Customer Email and upload the CSV (one or many). Choose the duration up to 6 months, the time that your LinkedIn contacts will be able to be targeted with your textual and visual ads through the Google Display Network (that includes sites like Gmail and Youtube).
    Google Adwords audiences email

  9. Create a Customer List on Ads

    On Ads, select Audiences, then Custom Audience and import the CSV file(s) – you will be able to target LinkedIn users also through Instagram (if they have an account).
    Facebook Audiences
    Facebook Upload Emails
    Facebook Custom Audiences

 

Important Notes

  • if the list is too small you cannot do any remarketing: the list should contain at least 100 contacts;
  • this operation implies serious privacy issues (therefore, take at your risk) in fact, target contacts should be previously and adequately informed about this (either if you choose option 1=fake profile or 2=real profile).

Opportunities

  • you can extend the list by using Lookalike audience on (with a similarity percentage from 0% to 10%) and Similar users on Adwords: this is an excellent opportunity in particular if your target audience is the right one;
  • if you want to target LinkedIn users on Gmail, just add mail.google.com as Placement and the domain of companies that might send them an email as Display Keyword.

 

Key Elements of a Digital Marketing Agency Proposal

What elements a client expects to see in a agency proposal for a campaign aimed at promoting a certain product? Find out the essential elements here.

You will get a better idea about questions should be answered by the proposal, an ideal structure to adopt and some details that you might want to outline.

Customer Email list on Adwords: social is getting closer to search

Customer Emails Lists Adwords

Customer Emails Lists Adwords

New powerful targeting opportunity available in .

Customer Emails List (aka digital stalking) allows digital marketers to show ads on Google Search, Display Network, Gmail (new format available through the GDN options) or YouTube (now fully integrated into Adwords) to users who have provided their email addresses matching a Google account.

For example, you can retarget current or past customers or particular event attendees that agreed to receive commercial information – mind always privacy issues.

This way, it is possible to create a Custom Audience (as done with Remarketing lists) available for all accounts under a particular MCC.

It’s an interesting option for cross-country campaigns. The Customer Email list can be further narrowed at campaign-level with usual variables (geographic, demographic, placements, keywords, etc.) Email addresses have to match the ones of signed-in Google users.

Difference between emails lists and remarketing lists

This opportunity is more “powerful” than cookies-based lists (e.g. remarketing). With this offer, Google is getting closer to Facebook (where this option is already available), matching social with search. If you plan to pilot such campaign, it is fundamental to provide an opt-out service through which users can ask to be deleted. I think that the best option is to use a Solas form, sending possible requests to a campaign manager responsible for a prompt action whenever needed. Once uploaded, email addresses cannot be visualised by Adwords users (including admins) therefore to delete them it is necessary to re-upload a simple CSV list with the email address(es) that do not have to be targeted anymore.

Opportunities

An interesting option is to create different emails lists depending on segmentation (for example geographic, demographic, buying habits, etc.). In fact, this tool works very well with CRM tools.

If your budget is limited and your goal is to extend your reach among people that know your brand but don’t know some of your most recent products, its best use is to target emails list(s) excluding past visitors (remarketing list).

Further reading

Further information about Customer Emails lists on Adwords

Upload campaign cost data into Google Analytics: a new free tool available

Import cost data into Google Analytics

Importing click and cost data for non-Google search engines and campaigns into  allows to compare performance data for Google and non-Google campaigns.

OWOX, a Partner, has created a free add-on that helps you quickly and easily import data from Google Sheets into Google Analytics. It is not the first tool for this scope, but it’s worth mentioning because it is free and easy-to-use.

Here are few simple steps to take to see your non-Google campaign cost data (for example Facebook Ads, Twitter, Linkedin or Bing Ads) into GA Views.

Here is a step-by-step guide:

  1. Create a Cost data schema on GA
  2. Download the schema (Excel template) as guidance. A typical format is:
    ga:datega:mediumga:sourcega:impressionsga:adClicksga:adCost
     ga:campaign ga:adGroup ga:adContent
  3. Export cost data from Facebook Ads
  4. Install the Google Chrome Add-On, it will be available on Google Sheet (you need to access with a Google account that has been granted GA editing rights)
  5. Copy and past FB cost data into Google Sheet making sure that it matches columns of the GA schema (point 2)
  6. Start the Add-On from the menu and upload

Once done, cost data will be visible under GA / Acquisition / Cost Data enabling interesting business metrics.

Two final notes:

If something goes wrong data can be re-uploaded, they will be overwritten.

The cost data has to be daily, and the format of its first column (date) needs to be yyyymmdd.

Last but not least, a perfect correspondence between Facebook Ads URL parameters (medium, source, campaign and content) and the cost data spreadsheet is needed to match data on Google Analytics. Differently, you will find a mismatch between uploaded metrics and Sessions. Ideally, you can add two columns for medium and source while for the others, it’s advised to use the same name both in the URL parameters and in the FB Ads level (for example Adgroup matching Ad set).

 

 

Google Adwords hint: add a free advertising space on Youtube videos through CTA-overlay

Youtube Call to Action CTA overlay

You have a account, and you have linked it to a account. Why don’t exploit the opportunity to get free Call-to-Action overlay link placed on your (s)?

If you have an AdWords for TrueView ad, you can now create overlays for video plays across (whether the video play is triggered by a video ad or not). The overlay will appear as soon as the video begins to play and can be closed by the user. You can use the overlay to share more information about the content of your video or to raise interest in your channel, other videos, or additional websites. When users click on the overlay, they are directed to your external website as specified in the overlay’s destination URL.

There is no additional charge for this feature.

CTAs currently remain on the video for as long as the video owner chooses, even if the video is no longer being promoted.

(Source: Google, March 2015)

Here I’m not talking of the recently launched Youtube Cards, six different type of overlays that can appear on the right area of your video. In fact, you can run both CTA-overlays and Cards, tracking them differently (e.g. using a different “medium” parameter like youtube-cta and youtube-card) to find out which link is generating more visits to your website.

CTA appear in the bottom-left, clicks are not charged, can be tracked and work even when you do not run any campaign. Here is an example:

Youtube CTA overlay free

Step-by-Step:

  1. Link Youtube and Google Adwords (from its Video advertising section)
  2. On Google Adwords, create a video ad using one of your Youtube videos (even with a very small Cost-per-view and daily budget and you can even pause the campaign immediately after)
  3. Go to Youtube Video Manager and you will find an extra-tab called “Call-to-Action overlay”.

You are allowed to add a small logo 70×70 (ideally with an arrow pointing right!) that can also be transparent and the link does not have to be contextual, in fact, it’s a small free advertising space – despite the more contextual it is, the higher your CTR will be.

Some negative aspects:

  • links are not auto-tagged therefore, you need to add URL parameters;
  • a Youtube account can be linked to one Adwords account per time – it is a problem when having many Adwords account (e.g. one per country or SBU) and only one Youtube account (e.g. a global repository for all corporate videos);
  • there is no automation available therefore to add/edit/remove any CTA-overlay you have to create a video campaign for each video where you want to add the CTA overlay, then edit every single video – if a Youtube account has too many videos, it’s worth adding a CTA-overlay only to the most popular, whilst the others are not expected to generate many visits .

About URL parameters that will allow to identify (on ) which channels/videos/campaigns are bringing more (qualified) visits to your site(s), the structure could be as follow:

  • source: youtube-channel (you can have many Youtube accounts linked to an Adwords account);
  • medium: video-cta-overlay;
  • content (optional): your-video (name or id);
  • campaign: here express something related to your cta that can be different than the video.

 

Top engagement drivers: how to get viral on Facebook

 

How to boost Facebook organic reach

Page Insights, among other things, help to identify what is the most engaging content for your audience. Some content gets viral, while other doesn’t get noticed at all.

Every content is a meme: some memes survive, going viral or being the source of new memes, while other doesn’t get noticed at all and disappear.

In this sense, are not only a memetic machine, with their constant production or reproduction of memes, but also a memetic cemetery (despite some memes of the past can always come back to life, under any circumstance).

This analysis is neither exhaustive nor definitive but tries to offer an overview over factors that affect the viral reach of Facebook posts, either on pages or profiles.

Results are summarised in the above scheme that is the outcome of frequent observations through different Facebook pages.

Why do we post?

The scheme starts from publisher’s intentions, either posting as an individual or for an organisation/brand.

Drivers of our publishing activity could be divided into three main, groups:

  1. Individualism – it tells how we feel or how we want to represent ourselves to the world (or, at least, our audience)
  2. Altruism – it is probably the most valuable content because it is aimed at creating/sharing value with the audience
  3. Opinion – this can be the outcome of either an individual attitude or a wish to start/join a conversation and affect the public opinion

Most of what we post contains elements of any of the above factors.

Content focus: individual vs. general

While Individualism can be categorised as material embedding a personal element and focusing on the poster (e.g. a selfie), the other two categories (Altruism and Opinion) relate to the external environment (e.g. tech, politics, sport, arts, science, culture in general, etc.).

Unless talking about VIP’s (including social stars, even in very narrow fields) or well-known brands that despite talking about themselves have a strong influence on the external environment, general content has more chances to get viral than the individual.

Engagement factors

The expected consequent actions (reactions) made by our audience, will increase the reach of our content: this is the viral effect, an enormous benefit because it does not cost anything, differently than promoted posts. Quality has value.

To get a high viral reach, it is important to engage people that are social stars, since their actions on your posts usually are more effective regarding reach, but, in general, every little helps.

  • Individualist content might be shared because of Empathy
  • Altruist content can be multiplied when it is perceived as Useful
  • Opinions tend to encourage Participation (either with a positive or negative feedback)

The actions that we expect from this are likes for an individualist content, share for a useful altruist content and comment for an opinion that drives participation.

How to categorise Facebook posts: some examples

We can try to attribute each content we see on Facebook to one of the following three categories and imagine what can be the expected reaction.

  • Individualism: selfies, feelings, travel, self-made content, etc.
  • Altruism: pets, recipes, reviews, guides, invitations, etc.
  • Opinion: politics, violence, VIPs, activism, etc.

Some content stays in between two or even all three categories. For example, a video clip of a song can be posted to represent a personal feeling (individualism) and at the same time to help other people discover that particular content (altruism) and express an opinion that reflects the lyrics (opinion).

Support for a political leader/movement or complaints towards a brand/company’s customer services can be categorised as opinions and can have a follow up made of supporting (or detracting) comments – and relative comment-likes and comment-tags.

A selfie is an individualist content, while an is (or, at least, try to be) an act of altruism that hopefully is perceived as useful and then multiplied by being liked and shared.

Affinity to your average audience increases engagement

Everyone has a different personality and Facebook knows that. Thinking of Lookalike audiences, we have to post with our audience in mind, more than content.

Knowing our audience enables to build an ideal average that should be our main content driver. The affinity of our content to our audience’s expectations is a core virality factor.

A Facebook Page with a very generic audience tends to have fewer occasions to gets its content viral due to high engagement-rate, while as opposite, content posted on a Page whose audience is very narrow and specialised can get viral with a high engagement-rate.

All factors count

Often many pages publish great content too generic and informative: its engagement-rate (and consequently its organic reach) will be very low.

Some content is too cold (for example a link to a technical guide) or too personal (for example a personal status about facts of little interest for the audience) or too introvert (something that nobody or very few people can understand or care of).

To get viral on Facebook, content need to be a mix of all factors proposed in the scheme [ individualism + altruism + opinion ] paying attention to audience’s closeness (including language and jargon) and possibly enriching text with hashtags if the content is about places, brands or trending topics.

Write your content (make it original), try to disseminate value – a strong factor, usually appreciated by your audience – and don’t forget to express your point of view because Facebook is a conversational platform after all.

Something missing: the dark side of analytics

Not all content is shared publicly. Therefore, its virality cannot be adequately measured. Often, good content is also multiplied by private messages (e.g. Facebook, Whatsapp, etc.), channels that cannot be tracked but still can increase reach, engagement, leads, conversions.

In fact, many of us are not willing to publicly share or comment anything, but it doesn’t mean that we are not interested in debating about with our best friend through private messages. We are not aware of what happen behind the wall unless we don’t start to track and read everyone’s private messages, but such amazing advanced tools apparently are available only to very few organisations/governments..

So don’t stick to what’s measurable, ignoring the dark side of analytics. What’s behind a “direct” source can be the outcome of your efforts.

The infographic is made mainly for Facebook, but can be useful also for content marketing in general and other social media platforms, in particular, Google+ and Twitter.

Feel free to download and share Facebook Engagement Factors (PDF)

Discrepancy between conversions on Google Analytics and Facebook advertising reports: VTC vs CTC

Digital Marketing Conversions

A digital customer journey: which channel will get (most of) the credit for a conversion? (Image credit: DigitSix.com)

Have you ever encountered a discrepancy between performance reports by channel and what’s reported by advertising platforms’ reports, for example, ? The former is usually less generous than the latter, and you don’t know who’s telling the truth, right?

Let’s imagine a situation when you have been running promoted posts through Facebook and the outcome has been ten conversions according to the Report (measured through the Facebook Conversion Pixel), four Assisted Conversions according to Google Analytics (Multi-Channel funnel report) and no Direct Conversion (still according to Google Analytics). What measure can be considered more reliable?

It depends on what you are trying to sell. If you want to know what is the best target audience, then go for the Facebook report. If you want to know what is the best channel to generate leads go for the Assisted Conversions report. Differently, if you are offering something that should not require much thinking before a conversion, then focus on the Direct Conversion report – where usually Search Marketing performs much better than , in particular if targeting branded keywords.. a quick win!

The difference is explained by the methodology adopted to identify a conversion: Google Analytics takes into account only CTC (Click-Through-Conversions) while other platforms in their reports also show (or only) VTC (View-Through-Conversions).

offers both options, but CTC (more meaningful for search marketing than for display) are deducted from VTC.

Some advertising platforms (like Adroll) make a clear distinction between the two measurement methods, while others (like Facebook) state it in a more subtle way:

Facebook (then) matches that conversion event against the set of people an ad was served to/or that clicked on an ad so that we can provide you with information that helps you understand the return on investment for your ad spend.“

(source: https://www.facebook.com/help/435189689870514)

However, even on Facebook, you can still compare both methods also on Facebook report through the Attribution Window settings (image above).

Facebook Advertising report: Attribution Window settings

Facebook Advertising Report: Attribution Window settings

 

Another aspect to consider is the time frame. Facebook offer three options: 1, 7 and 28 days, while in Google Analytics Multi-Channel Funnel report you have 90 choices, from 1 to 90 days before conversion. Every platform has its options therefore if you don’t synchronise the method, you will get different results.

VTC methodology considers a digital channel like an offline channel (e.g. TV) since it takes into account all conversions completed after someone has seen an ad but has not clicked on it. Some way, it makes sense because a person might discover a brand or a product through a promoted post and still do not take any immediate action (e.g. click, comment, share, etc.) but search for it later through other channels.

Obviously, VTC is more generous towards the platform than CTC, which is a situation that requires the converted user to click on an ad, within a particular period of time. On Google Analytics, Multi-Channel Funnels take into account only CTC.

To make the story short, in a logic sequence, the highest performance regarding Conversion Rate, , , etc. is measured considering VTC, and then CTC (Multi-Channel) and eventually CTC (Direct or last-click).

Digital Conversions: VTC vs CTC

VTC will always include CTC

Digital agencies usually tend to show the best performance in their reports, but despite it might sound obvious to some people, it is always good to ask for a clear “legend” where it’s well explained what is intended by “conversion”.

The methodology applied should always be explicit and come before any attribution model. The best approach, therefore, is to produce different columns to outline the outcome of each methodology applied to determine conversions.