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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.

 

Changes on the Google Display Network: “Other Interest” category will be turned off in January 2015

google display network categories

The “” (GDN) (formerly referred to as the “content network”) shows AdWords ads on sites that are not search engines. These content network sites are those that use AdSense and DoubleClick, the other side of the Google advertising model.

Digital advertisers have been using interest category marketing since 2009 to connect with people across the based on their interests.  Since then, Google has added new and more powerful interest-based capabilities: affinity (for enthusiasts), custom affinity (for niche segments), and in-market audiences (for ready to buy shoppers).

As these more sophisticated audience tools offer advertisers more flexibility and control, “Other interests” will no longer be a targeting option for new and existing audience campaigns starting on January 15, 2015.

 

Categories of the Google Display Network

  • Affinity audiences: Reach TV-like segments at scale to drive brand awareness.  Kraft used affinity audiences to reach cooking enthusiasts to build awareness for their new ‘Fresh Take’ brand.
  • Custom affinity audiences: Find niche segments that you custom-tailor for your brand. Electronic Arts used custom affinity audiences to engage fans of specific NFL teams in their recent Madden GIFERATOR campaign. They created 32 custom affinity audiences, one per NFL team, to reach fans of particular teams with display ads timed to the real-time action on the field.
  • In-market audiences: Reach consumers while they’re actively browsing, researching or comparing products related to a category you choose. For example, the online car dealership Autobytel uses in-market audiences to reach customers actively researching specific models, price comparisons, and consumer reviews, as opposed to casual car enthusiasts.

Tips to promote mobile apps through digital channels

Promoting mobile apps

Making a app is not the final step to reach a broad mobile audience. In fact, your amazing app can be discovered only by a few friends if you do not push it in the market – or better, in the right market segment(s) – hopefully catching the right multipliers to benefit from a viral exposure. Here are some guidelines to boost your app reach.

 PLATFORMS (Facebook and Twitter)

  • Ok, an obvious but fundamental step: always check if links to app stores work, in particular if you are using short links like bit.ly or goo.gl
  • If you have Facebook Page(s) or Twitter profile(s) you can add covers to promote your App. Please consider covers do not have a broad reach since users tend to engage with your social media content directly on their timeline.

FACEBOOK ONLY

  • Geo-target posts by selecting only people in the country with a relevant age range (e.g. 17-30). This way the target audience will be smaller but more consistent, increasing the conversion rate of relevant goals (e.g. clicks to the App store, downloads, usage of the app, clicks to your transactional site, transactions=hard goal) and the engagement rate (likes, shares, comments). As a result, there will be an increased post’s edge rank and, consequently, its organic reach. Geo-targeting is also a good way to avoid reaching fake fans that in some pages can easily be spotted by looking at the country of origin, different than your primary target country (in particular for pages with a high geographical focus).
  • Image size matters. Ideally, shared images for Facebook posts (free or paid) should be 1200×1200 (they will have a max width of 504 with a variable height) while shared links should be 1200×628 (they will be 484×252). Remember the 20% text rule: no more than 20% covered by text or they will not be enabled to be boosted as promoted post/image/app/whatever.
  • After changing the Facebook Page cover you should add a brief description with a short link to so if people click (or tap) on the cover to find out more, they will still be able to get straight away to the app store. I have noticed that Facebook page visitors on average about 1% of all page like(rs) and, if you are running promoted posts reaching a wide audience, page visitors can be something like 0.05% of your total Reach. A social media page should never be considered as a website; you can look at it as a repository of content that will be seen from another point of views, surrounded by other content that you cannot expect because each social media user has a different surfing experience. You can now add call-to-actions to Facebook covers but please remember to keep text under 20% of the entire space – check your cover here.
  • offers ways to promote directly. Please do not boost links to app stores because they will not be approved as ads since they would violate their regulations. Here are the guidelines to run Paid Ads for Apps through Facebook Advertising platform:
    https://developers.facebook.com/docs/ads-for-apps
    To go further and measure App downloads, the Apps has to be registered and linked to the FB Ads account. More info here:
    https://developers.facebook.com/docs/ads-for-apps/mobile-app-ads/register-your-app

Anyone running Google Adwords campaigns can benefit from Ads extensions to enrich their content. Such extensions also include links to App stores (iTunes or Google Play respectively, depending on the user device).

Here is an example:

App extension

Google Adwords App Extensions, an example

APP POPULARITY AND RANKING

App ranking is made of many factors. No. of downloads is just one of them, and it varies by country. Number of Downloads are not a good indicator of an app popularity, whose ranking is influenced mostly by “current installs per user”. Important indicators are also rating (up to 5 stars), positive comments, no. of app uninstalls (negative factor) and how fast users delete the app (it tells how attractive it is). A boost in the first 72 hours, benefitting of being listed among “new” apps, is just one of the factors in effect.

I am sharing a screenshot of Google Play insights. This app has more than 100 downloads but in fact, the number of real users is about 50%:

Android app insights

Android app insights

For this reason, it is important to invite people to download and give five stars plus an excellent comment and possibly keep the app on their device(s).

The App should be categorised in the right category (free or paid), and its description and associated keywords should be relevant and translated into as many languages as possible otherwise, they will not be available in some App Stores (either iTunes or Google Play). Therefore, when a user clicks on an ad in a given country he/she will see an annoying message saying something like “App not available in this country”.  The description and keywords should include relevant words also in foreign languages if appropriate wherever needed to increase the chances to be found by prospective users.

There are a few ways to check App ranking in different country mobile stores. One is Applyzer.com where you just have to create a free account to access details by country and sector.

For example, these are the top Education apps for iPhone in Italy in October 2014:

App ranking checker

App ranking checker

It is interesting also to check performance of the same app in different countries:

Check your app performance in different countries

Check your app performance in different countries

Unsplash: free do-whatever-you-want hi-res stock photos

Unsplash free photos

In the era of copyleft and open source, there are still many cases when people steal images for their private purpose with no quoting, no link (or not followed link), no request for permission not to mention economic contributions.

If not the ultimate solution it seems an excellent resource for anyone looking for great, catchy, free, high-resolution images for posting. The risk is that some of them might get very popular at the end, reaching an iconic status, but it worth trying unsplash.com, as I did here.

Here is their “legal stuff”:

All photos published on Unsplash are licensed under Creative Commons Zero which means you can can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.

free image stock

 

How to add a Facebook Conversion Pixels through Google Tag Manager

Facebook Pixel in Google Tag Manager

The right way to implement Facebook Pixel through Google Tag Manager

Facebook Conversions Pixels are great tools not just to monitor website or mobile apps conversions – those can also be controlled through after tagging URLs – but they are also one of the tools needed to optimise campaigns (e.g. cost per conversion) or to build Lookalike audiences (see image below) that tend to reduce your spending on Facebook advertising by creating target audiences made of users whose interests are similar to the ones of whoever has already reached a goal relevant to your business. On average I have noticed a conversion rate always higher than other generic audiences, sometimes even double.

Facebook Lookalike Audiences

To implement Facebook Conversion Pixels (FBCP) you have to create it for a particular Ads account activated in your site and populated with users info (it is said that you need at least 100 conversions to build a lookalike audience list). Once created it can be shared with other Ads Accounts and it can work for different Facebook Pages managed through the same Ads Accounts.

Google Tag Manager makes possible to add Conversion Pixels whenever and wherever you need, into any web page or mobile apps, depending on specific conditions. The Conversion Pixel has to be placed into the HEAD of your web page but, as you know, Google Tag Manager (GTM), has to be placed immediately after the opening BODY tag.

The question is: will Facebook Pixel works if implemented through a GTM Custom HTML tag?

The answer is yes! After implementing FBCP, you can check if it is working using the FB Pixel Helper, a free extension for Google Chrome.

Facebook Pixel inserted through Google Tag Manager is working (source: FB Pixel Helper, Google Chrome free extension)

Facebook Pixel inserted through Google Tag Manager is working (source: FB Pixel Helper, Google Chrome free extension)

NOTE – However, I have noticed that if “support for Document.Write” is not active for the HTML tag, the FB Pixel apparently takes longer to load – however, it still work – and the result is as follow:

GTM support document.write off

GTM support document.write off: FB Conversion Pixel takes too long to load

How to increase Facebook organic reach: content and audiences are two key factors

Facebook Organic Reach, October 2014

Organic Reach is still alive if content is interesting.

IS FACEBOOK ORGANIC REACH DEAD? Interesting insights by Kimanzi Constable in his post “5 Reasons Why Social-Media Marketing is Overrated“. However, I don’t take for granted his first assumption telling that “Organic reach is pretty close to zero” because evidence can show something different (see above screenshot). For example, I could still reach more than 20% through organic, in October 2014, way more than the 2.71% declared in the article.

SWITCHING TO PAID CONTENT – It is true that Facebook organic reach has been decreasing year after year, in parallel with the growing Facebook Ads market – Twitter to follow very soon – but organic reach can still have a relevant impact regarding engagement and conversions if wisely managed.

DON’T FORGET THE LONG TAIL – It is good to monitor content performance periodically but not constantly because the long tail should always be taken into account: posts’ reach is not always skewed. A good exercise is to identify and classify by topic and type the top performers, rather than posting like a machine. We are dealing with humans after all and our prospective customers don’t want to be overwhelmed with content that is not bringing them any real opportunity, inspiration or value in general. Patronising users’ expectations is still a good way to gain support, but apparently Facebook knows that such content is not valuable, but only aimed at generating a soft engagement (e.g. Likes) by confirming a point of view biassed in a particular custom audience.

CONTENT RULES – If you post too much content the average page engagement rate will decrease, also penalising good posts. Same if you target the wrong audience, therefore your activity has to be very focused or, if exploring new target audiences, modified. To reach new users, build your audience with paid content first, then play with free content later. Paid content has better targeting features than organic; you might guess why… Think of good content, use words and images that catch your target audience attention or inspire them, add relevant if needed and make your post length short (try to be under 90 characters). This way you can quickly increase your organic reach.

INSPIRE YOUR (VERY WELL TARGETED) AUDIENCE – Post content reminding about opportunities like competitions, free resources or local free events, using strictly geo-targeted audiences and city tags (sometimes adding photo of the most recognisable places): it will show a higher engagement rate and, in many cases also higher conversion rate when talking about business and the whole page will benefit, also gaining new likes for free. Sometimes users spread the work simply by tagging their friends in a comment on a post telling about exciting opportunities. Empower your current users by giving them the chance to spread the word of what you are offering them: they will be glad to contribute to your success.

QUALITY FIRST OF ALL – These facts lead to the conclusion that Facebook tends to boost the organic reach when the content sounds interesting/attractive/inspiring for its users, despite it has not been paid. Always ask the magic question: what’s in it for me?

TAG TO TRACK – Last but not least, in particular if you have an e-commerce or a site where you try to lead users: do not forget to add URL parameters when linking to your site or you won’t be able to track your social media content ROI on . Use standardised and meaningful tags for campaign, source, medium and, to go deeper, also content and, when moving from organic to paid, just update them through tools like the PowerEditor to measure differences in performance for the same content.

 

MoreMetrics imports additional Social Media metrics into Google Analytics

 * The service MoreMetrics has been discontinued * 

MoreMetrics is a new free service provided by the Italian startup Bryo to help you importing some core Social Media metrics like Facebook fans or Twitter followers into any Google Analytics property.

Wouldn’t be nice to have Facebook Page Fans stats in Google Analytics? Tired of checking your KPIs on different sites? Do you love Google Analytics as much as we do? Let’s give MoreMetrics a try.

At the moment of launch there are the following options: Facebook Likes/Fans, Twitter Followers and Youtube Views/Subscribers. MailChimp is expected soon.

more metrics options

MoreMetrics options available (June 2014)

Once such data is imported into your GA, you can then create a Widget in a custom GA Dashboard to show a timeline of your SM trends.

Here is a step-by-step guide:

  1. Click on Dashboards, choose a dashboard and click on Add Widget.
  2. Give a Widget title matching the type of SM metric, for example “Facebook fans”
  3. Choose Standard/Timeline
  4. Choose “Event Value” in Graph the following metric over time
  5. Filters using the following three conditions:
    a. Only show Event Category Exactly matching MoreMetrics
    b. Only show Event Action Exactly matching the type of metric you want to show (e.g. FB Fans)
    c. Only show Event Label Exactly matching the [Event Label]
  6. Save

Some additional notes:

  • normally such metrics are not available in Google Analytics, not even in the Acquisition/Social report.
  • data are sent once a day therefore data will be available in about 24 hours
  • Universal Analytics is needed since the tool uses Measurement Protocol
  • Event value is the sum of all likes (or followed) day by day therefore you need to look at the daily value, not its aggregate: you need a dashboard widget to explore such data into Google Analytics

Update – some examples of GA dashboard widgets built through MoreMetrics:

more-metrics-google-analytics-social-media-facebook-likes-twitter-followers

Timeline and daily amount

 

more-metrics-google-analytics-social-media-facebook-fans-twitter-stats

A comparison between Facebook and Twitter

Try MoreMetrics now.