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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 Live Maps

Facebook Livemap: visualizing globalization through user-generated TV

Facebook Livemaps

keeps on packaging user-generated content to offer new product and create new potential advertising spaces. This time the news is called Facebook Livemap. No big announcements before revealing a collection of user-generated live broadcasts from all over the world. The fact that it is endless and unpredictable makes it addictive.

This format is something different than on-demand (think of Netflix), a concept that caused a lot of suffer to specialised traditional channels, not to mention the old generic traditional channels.

Traditional channels might get a space over there, maybe in the future they can also have the option to pay in order to gain prominent visibility, but they will always face competition of a potential army constituted by more than a billion users that can broadcast whatever they feel (or need), anytime, (almost) anywhere. Advertising is not interrupting the show, but is just “sustaining” it, or in the future it might be just the show. A different model, much less invasive and able to target users with unprecedented precision in the television industry.

Users can choose what and when the big brother can watch, but there is always a small brother hidden inside algorithms that knows what’s in the shadow, often more relevant for marketing than what’s publicly shown.

Geography is the channel and content is random. There could be a leak from a Bilderberg meeting, a pre-recorded footage, a real-time suicide, sex, cheating, violence, a baby that is just born, one who is dying, a natural disaster, a revolution, in involution, the biggest lie ever that will cause a revolution or just bullshit, most of the time – useful material for contemporary anthropologists. What’s the next show?

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Facebook Pages, get more likes for free

Facebook business pages: how to bypass paid advertising to get more likes and engagement

Facebook Pages, get more likes for free

This post is for business that own an ecommerce site, a Facebook page and possibly other channels. Nothing unethical or forbidden: it’s just a soft trick to get more likes and engagement avoiding paid advertising.

Steps

  1. set up a voucher code (e.g. a 20% discount) for certain or (better) all products on your ecommerce platform
  2. invite your visitors to Like your Facebook page and send a private message with a standard sentence (to avoid confusion with other private messages)
  3. answer them sending the voucher code

Alternatives: make the voucher viral

If you want to be viral instead of sending the voucher code in text use a dedicated landing page on your site, where potential customers can find out the code and also share with their friend a message that replicate the above procedure (Like the page, send a message….)

Alternatives: other promotions instead of vouchers

If you don’t have anything to sell, why not running a similar campaign to send an ebook or a voucher for another company? Many companies already run similar campaigns to get user personal data, but at some point I think that a Facebook like worth more than personal data when they can be unreliable (e.g. unsubscribe after receiving the ebook or using a secondary email opened only to avoid spam), whilst usually a person don’t unlike a page after receiving its ‘present’.

Promote the initiative with a CPC campaign outside Facebook

So far promotional efforts have been free (ok the voucher can be considered a cost, but it comes after a conversion after all). If you have some budget to spend, why not using a CPC campaign outside Facebook? For example, the same landing page can be associated to an AdWords campaign and get three opportunities instead of one.

Usually a CPC campaign is linked to a landing page with some offer. This way it is linked to a landing page that contains

  1. a bunch of products that are ready to be sold
  2. an invite to Like your Facebook page and send a message to receive a voucher (engage)
  3. an invite to share this opportunity with friends, immediately and even after receiving the voucher

And what about getting personal data? 

And what about other personal details like email, city, etc? Well, they will be needed later any way, to activate/benefit the voucher.

Track the voucher!

Don’t use a standard voucher but differentiate depending on what’s the path to get to it. To assign some criteria you can use the standard sentence that users has to send you through a FB Page private message in order to get their voucher:

  1. invite posted on site, blog, social media etc. OR CPC ads – each invite can have a standard sentence depending on criteria you want to track (mostly source/medium)
  2. user to Like FB page
  3. user to send private message using a standard sentence taken in stage 1
  4. Facebook page manager replies sending a textual voucher code or a link to specific landing page with more content and voucher code related to standard sentence