Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Facebook Ads: Create Audiences of Those Who Engage on Instagram

Several updates are rolling out that improve custom audience creation related to Facebook ad targeting. Most of these updates are related to Instagram. If you’re a business on Instagram, you are bound to benefit!

Let’s take a closer look…

Engagement Audience Updates

Engagement Audiences make up the newer family of custom audiences available for Facebook ad targeting. Up until recently, you could create audiences based on the following types of engagement with your brand:

If you’re one of the lucky ones, if you start the creation process for an Engagement custom audience today, you will see the following…

Facebook Engagement Custom Audiences

You’ll notice “Updated” for Video and Lead Form. The primary update for both audiences is that they now include engagement with your videos and lead ad forms when shown on Instagram.

When creating a Facebook lead form custom audience, you’ll notice a note about Instagram engagement…

Facebook Lead Form Custom Audience

When creating these audiences, Instagram engagement is available beginning in June of 2017. It’s not clear if this also applies to video, but I will assume it does.

There are a couple of other updates to lead form engagement custom audiences, but they aren’t related to Instagram.

First, you can now select multiple forms when creating your audience…

Facebook Lead Form Custom Audience

Previously, a single audience could only include engagement with one lead form. Now you can include multiple.

In fact, you can add in “include” and “exclude” logic to these audiences now…

Facebook Lead Form Custom Audience

The audience can be as simple as engagement with a single or multiple forms. You can make it more complicated by adding “OR” logic to include a different type of engagement with another form. Or you could make sure to exclude engagement with yet another form.

These are all good updates. But the star of this update (and this blog post) is related to your Instagram business account…

Instagram Business Profile Custom Audience

If you go back to the first image at the top when creating an engagement custom audience, you’ll notice the addition of Instagram Business Profile. That’s potentially huge for brands who are heavily involved on Instagram.

When creating such an audience, simply select your business profile that is connected to a page you manage.

Instagram Business Profile Custom Audience

The types of audiences you can create are very similar to those created for Facebook Page engagement custom audiences…

Instagram Business Profile Custom Audience

Create audiences based on the following types of engagement:

  • Everyone who engaged with your business (on Instagram)
  • Anyone who visited your business profile (on Instagram)
  • People who engaged with any post or ad (on Instagram)
  • People who sent a message to your business profile (on Instagram)
  • People who saved any post or ad (on Instagram)

Note that durations of 1 to 365 days can be used here. However, once again, the data only goes back to June of 2017.

Instagram Business Profile Custom Audience

As a result, this audience may be quite small unless you get significant activity on your business profile — at least for the time being.

Connecting a Business Profile

If you have problems with this, it’s likely that your Instagram profile does not appear. If that’s the case, it may be because your Instagram profile wasn’t converted to a business profile.

That’s the problem I had. While I have an Instagram profile and I run Facebook ads to Instagram as a placement, a profile didn’t initially appear for me. That’s because the Instagram account that I use wasn’t technically a business profile.

When viewing your Instagram account, click on the gear icon. You should then see an option to convert to a business profile. You’ll be instructed to log into Facebook and then select the Facebook page you’ll want to connect to this account.

Ultimately, that’s how an Instagram business profile appears when creating custom audiences.

Your Turn

While I do run ads to the Instagram placement, I’ll admit that I’ve been slow to getting heavily involved with Instagram otherwise. That may be a mistake. And this addition may be the motivation I need to get into it more.

Do you have a business profile on Instagram? Have you started creating these audiences yet? I’d love to hear how you’re using them!

Let me know in the comments below!

The post Facebook Ads: Create Audiences of Those Who Engage on Instagram appeared first on Jon Loomer Digital.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Facebook Metrics: New Ways to Measure Ad and Page Engagement

Facebook has announced several metrics that will give marketers better insights into user engagement with their ads and page. These metrics will roll out over the coming weeks, though no specific timetable was provided.

Here’s what you need to know…

Landing Page Views

This may be the most useful addition of the new metrics. It’s one more step to further clarify click engagement.

Click engagement often confuses advertisers. When promoting a link to an external website, advertisers regularly misunderstood a click to mean any click to their website. But a “click” included any click on the ad.

During the past year, Facebook provided further clarity by separating clicks into the following categories:

  • Clicks (All): All clicks on an ad, including those not on a link
  • Link Clicks: All clicks on links, including those to Facebook endpoints
  • Outbound Clicks: All clicks on links that drive people away from Facebook

This was helpful, but advertisers continued to see discrepancies between Outbound Clicks and the number of people reported to visit their website from other services (like Google Analytics, for example). While there are many reasons why these numbers weren’t matching up (and they’ll never match up), there was one more metric that was needed.

A user can click on an outbound link but never make it to the destination. Or more accurately, they can abandon that visit before Facebook or Google Analytics can record their visit (the pixel load doesn’t complete).

To account for this, Facebook is rolling out Landing Page Views. This way, advertisers will see not only how many people clicked their outbound link, but how many actually made it to the landing page.

The addition of Landing Page Views not only gives advertisers a better understanding of number of people who completed a visit, but it will allow them to spot potential issues in load time and mobile optimization. A large discrepancy between Outbound Clicks and Landing Page Views would suggest a problem that requires investigation.

Facebook says that advertisers will also be allowed to optimize for Landing Page Views. Currently, when using the Traffic objective, advertisers can optimize for link clicks, impressions or Daily Unique Reach.

Facebook Ads Traffic Optimization

The addition of Landing Page Views as an optimization option will allow advertisers to optimize to show it to people not only most likely to click but actually reach the landing page.

Pre-Impression Activity Breakdown

This new metric will allow advertisers to see how many of those who interacted with an ad were those who new visitors or those who previously engaged with their app or website. This is done by determining whether the pixel fired or app events occurred previously for that user.

Facebook says that this will be most useful for Dynamic Ads when advertisers expand into broad audience targeting, moving beyond their own customers.

Page Interactions

Facebook Insights Page Interactions

Facebook is also rolling out three new metrics related to page engagement. These can be found in the Overview of Page Insights.

Follows: Page admins can already see the total number of follows (the number of people who choose to see updates from their page in the news feed) their page has. This new metric now shows the rise and fall of this total over time.

Previews: Some people may interact with your page without visiting your page at all by simply hovering over your page name from desktop. This metric will help you understand how many people are doing this.

Recommendations: If your business receives Recommendations, this metric will chart how often this is occurring.

Your Turn

Do you have these metrics updates yet? What do you think of them?

Let me know in the comments below!

The post Facebook Metrics: New Ways to Measure Ad and Page Engagement appeared first on Jon Loomer Digital.

Friday, June 9, 2017

How to Find Customer Lifetime Value

Last week, I told you about a new way to target Facebook users similar to your most valuable customers with Value-Based Lookalike Audiences. In order to take advantage of this feature, you need to upload a complete customer list with a column for each customer’s lifetime value.

So the question ultimately arises: How do you find customer lifetime value?

To create such a file, you either need to be able to easily generate a report of lifetime value by customer or do so manually with the help of spreadsheet formula magic.

Let’s walk through both methods…

Find Customer Lifetime Value in Infusionsoft

I use Infusionsoft, so I’ll focus here.

I’m not an Infusionsoft expert, but I’ve fumbled through it for about four years. After poking around contact filters unsuccessfully, I reached out to Infusionsoft support and was directed to a very easy solution.

Select “Reports” under “E-Commerce” in the main Infusionsoft menu…

Infusionsoft Reports

Within the main templates, you’ll see a link for “Customer Lifetime Value Report.” You’ll want to click that.

Customer Lifetime Value Report

Under “Search Criteria,” you may want to set a minimum total purchased or paid of $1.00. I’d also recommend filtering to only include those purchases where no refund was issued.

Customer Lifetime Value Report

Select the columns that you want to appear in the report.

Customer Lifetime Value Report

Make sure that you include the following information:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Email
  • Phone 1
  • City
  • State
  • Postal Code
  • Country
  • Total Paid

You can include other columns as well (like additional email addresses and phone numbers) if you collect it. This will help with your match rate when creating the Custom Audience.

Check the top checkbox to select everyone within your report and then click the “Actions” drop-down and select “Export.”

Customer Lifetime Value Report

You’ll again want to select the columns of data that you want in your exported report.

Customer Lifetime Value Report

We can now use this file to generate a Value-Based Lookalike Audience. We’ll get to that in a minute.

Find Customer Lifetime Value Manually

One issue that I have is that not all purchases have gone through Infusionsoft. I’ve also had purchases go directly through Stripe without the Infusionsoft integration.

As far as I can tell, Stripe doesn’t provide a simple report of customer lifetime value. But I can create one manually. Whether you use Stripe or something else, you should be able to do something similar as I do below.

Within “Payments,” I filtered to only include successful payments that were neither refunded nor disputed.

Customer Lifetime Value Report

I then click to export the report.

Customer Lifetime Value Report

This will be a full report of all purchases that have been made. You’ll first want to clean up your report to only include the data we isolated earlier when generating it in Infusionsoft. You won’t have a column for total paid either. We’ll need to find that.

Now we’ll need to aggregate all purchases made by the same customer. We’ll do that with an Excel formula to add up all purchases made under the same email address.

Sort by email address so that all purchases for the same email address are together.

Customer Lifetime Value Report

Let’s assume that the customer email address is in Column A and the product purchase price is in Column I. We add Total Purchase Price in Column J.

Assuming a header row, place the following formula in the J2 cell…

=IF(A2=A1,””,SUMIFS(I:I,A:A,A2))

Customer Lifetime Value Report

In other words, if the email address in this row is the same as the one in the row above, leave this cell blank. Otherwise, add up all values in Column I for this email address.

All rows with a blank cell in Column J won’t be needed. But first, we’ll need to copy Column J…

Customer Lifetime Value Report

Then paste “special”…

Customer Lifetime Value Report

You’ll paste values only back into Column J to remove the formula while keeping the values.

Customer Lifetime Value Report

If you don’t do this, the cell values will change when you remove blank rows.

Next sort by Column J to separate out the blank cells that won’t be needed.

NOTE: I realize there is probably an easier way to do this. I’ve been an Excel hack for many years and find my own — probably complicated — solutions to problems.

Customer Lifetime Value Report

Select all rows that consist of a blank cell in the J column and delete those rows.

Customer Lifetime Value Report

You will now have a clean file of customer lifetime values.

Create a Value-Based Lookalike Audience

Reminder: The Facebook advertising purpose for this is to create a Lookalike Audience where Facebook analyzes the lifetime values of your customers to find other users similar to those who are most valuable.

All of the details are provided in last week’s blog post, but since I now have this feature (and I didn’t when I wrote last week’s post), I’ll walk through it again here.

Before creating a Lookalike Audience, we’ll need to create a Custom Audience to be the source. We’re creating a Customer File Custom Audience.

Value-Based Lookalike Audience

Select “Customer file with lifetime value.”

Value-Based Lookalike Audience

Upload the file that we created earlier.

Value-Based Lookalike Audience

Map data by selecting what each column represents that you want to upload.

Value-Based Lookalike Audience

Once Facebook is done uploading that data, click the “Create Lookalike” button.

Value-Based Lookalike Audience

Select the country or countries that you want use as well as the size of the Lookalike Audience that will be generated. I tend to select the top 13 countries that represent my customers and focus on the top 1%.

Value-Based Lookalike Audience

It will take a few minutes to generate. Once the audience is ready, you can use it for targeting!

Your Turn

Since this is a new feature for me, I have only begun to test. Facebook recommends using this audience for bottom of the funnel targeting (product sales). I am going to experiment with it across multiple objectives.

Have you started using this feature yet? What results are you seeing?

Let me know in the comments below!

The post How to Find Customer Lifetime Value appeared first on Jon Loomer Digital.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Facebook Ads: Create a Value-Based Lookalike Audience

One of the primary struggles for new advertisers with a small audience is uncovering the most effective groups of people to target. Facebook is providing yet another tool for advertisers with the addition of the value-based Lookalike Audience.

As I type this, Lifetime Value (LTV) Custom Audiences and value-based Lookalike Audiences are available to select advertisers. Help Center pages dedicated to these features (here and here) are evidence that this is more than a test, but a new roll-out.

Let’s take a closer look at what Lifetime Value Custom Audiences and value-based Lookalike Audiences are, how to create them, and how you might use them.

NOTE: I don’t yet have this feature, so the screen grabs I provide below are from Nick Platt and David Herrmann, members of my Power Hitters Club – Elite community.

Lifetime Value (LTV) Custom Audiences

Customer lifetime value is the net profit you’ll earn from a single customer over the lifetime of your relationship.

Value-Based Lookalike Audience Facebook

Your customers aren’t all created equal. Even when uploading a list of customers who purchased a particular product, context is being obscured. Some customers are more valuable than others due to their lifetime value.

Some customers make a single purchase. Some come back again and again and again, ready to give you a credit card. It’s important to provide Facebook with lifetime value to help find other potential customers like them.

We’ll get to the details of how to create this in a bit, but understand that the Lifetime Value Custom Audience isn’t a new audience for you to target. It simply provides another column of data for an audience of your customers that you should already have.

The star of this update is the value-based Lookalike Audience that you can now create based on this.

Value-Based Lookalike Audience

The first step will be to provide Facebook with a lifetime value for all customers within a data Custom Audience. You should not focus only on the most valuable customers, but provide a comprehensive list to help differentiate the most valuable from the least valuable.

You will then be able to create a value-based Lookalike Audience. This allows Facebook to focus on those who provide the most value when finding others across Facebook with similar characteristics.

The end goal is to create a cold audience that is most likely to lead to positive results.

Create LTV Audiences

When creating a Custom Audience, select “Customer File.”

Value-Based Lookalike Audience Facebook

If you have this feature, you’ll then see an option for “Customer file with lifetime value (LTV).”

Value-Based Lookalike Audience Facebook

After selecting that, you’ll get what is similar to the typical process for creating a data Custom Audience off of your customer file.

Value-Based Lookalike Audience Facebook

You’ll notice a couple of differences.

First, you’ll need to “include a column with a range of customer values.”

Second, you’ll see a final step to create a Lookalike Audience. So the entire purpose of this, once again, is to create that Lookalike.

A few tips from Facebook…

1. Use dollar values only. Don’t include ratings or rankings, for example. You should be assigning a dollar value for each customer.

2. Include a full range of customers, from low to high value. This allows Facebook to be able to “hone in on what might distinguish an average customer from a great one.”

3. Don’t use negative values to signify undesirable customers. Facebook won’t count those.

4. Make sure you’re using the same currency throughout. Facebook will assume you are using the same currency otherwise.

5. Decimals for cents, but no other punctuation.

This file should include as much customer data as possible that can be matched to a Facebook user. There are 15 identifiers (including first name, last name, email address, and phone number) that can be used to increase your match rate.

Your file may look like this…

Value-Based Lookalike Audience Facebook

Notice the final column is for “value.”

Calculating Lifetime Value

This whole process assumes you know how to calculate lifetime value of your customers. This is most likely a manual process. And as I consider this for my own audience, it’s not all that easy to execute.

When in doubt, keep it simple. When generating your customer file, add columns for products purchased and price of that purchase. Use a formula to add up the values of those purchases.

This may be easier for some CRM software than others.

Create a Value-Based Lookalike Audience

Now that Facebook has a customer list including values, you will be able to generate a Lookalike Audience of those similar to your most valuable customers. You’ll need to select the country for each audience you create.

At this moment, I don’t have a screen grab for this process. However, I assume it’s no different than creating a Lookalike Audience off of any other source.

How to Use Value-Based Lookalike Audineces

Facebook recommends that you use this audience for lower funnel targeting. For example, use it for promoting a product instead of promoting a blog post or opt-in.

Facebook also says that your cost per result may be higher than usual initially, but that you should focus on the overall return on ad spend. Since Facebook is generating an audience of people most likely to have a high lifetime value, your focus shouldn’t be primarily on a single action.

This is all theory, of course, that needs to be proven in real life. And how we use a feature isn’t always as it’s intended.

My recommendation: Experiment. Try it for promoting content. Try it for promoting opt-ins. Try it for promoting products. You may or may not get great initial results. But you won’t know until you try.

But Facebook’s point concerning return on ad spend (ROAS) is a good one. If the focus of creating these audiences is on lifetime value, we should look beyond the initial action and monitor what these people do over the course of days, weeks, or months.

Future of Lifetime Value Audiences?

When I first heard about this, I assumed it would be based on the Facebook pixel. I’m surprised that the process is entirely manual, forcing advertisers to calculate and upload customer value.

It’s somewhat surprising that this is necessary. Facebook knows who hits a conversion page. They have the capability to assign a lifetime — or at least long-term — value of a single customer over days, weeks, months, or years.

The limitation could be “lifetime.” They can ditch website data after six months for Website Custom Audiences, so they may not have access to more than that at this time. Requiring more could be a storage issue (though I’m certainly no tech person).

Regardless, come on… This could easily be simplified for the advertiser who has routinely used Custom Conversions and events.

Your Turn

Do you have value-based Lookalike Audiences? How are you using them, and what types of results are you seeing? If you don’t have them, how might you use them?

Let me know in the comments below!

The post Facebook Ads: Create a Value-Based Lookalike Audience appeared first on Jon Loomer Digital.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Geography and the Problem with Facebook Ads Optimization

If you’ve been reading these pages for long, you know that my Facebook advertising strategy is focused on targeting those who are closest to me. I decided to take myself outside of this comfort zone recently, and it led me to a better understanding of a major problem with Facebook ads optimization.

Let’s take a closer look at that experiment and how I used current data to solve the problem…

The Experiment

I run 15 Facebook ad campaigns for each stage of the funnel:

  1. Traffic
  2. List Building
  3. Sales

Up until recently, I mostly avoided interest and Lookalike Audience targeting, even at the top of the funnel.

I could do this because I have a large audience of people who visit my website. The success rate when targeting this group of people provides little motivation to expand beyond it.

But if I would use such “cold” audiences, it would be at the top of the funnel. In theory, I could spend more to target people who don’t (but possibly should) know me with helpful content, slowly bringing them through to eventually register and buy.

One place in particular where this could be helpful was when promoting my content for entrepreneurs. I don’t have as large of an audience on that topic as I do for Facebook ads. So I could spend more targeting interests to introduce these people to my content. And if successful, I may even try to go straight for an opt-in.

With the help of Audience Insights, I isolated a group of entrepreneurship interests to target when promoting a blog post that may appeal to that group. To help uncover which would be most effective for my audience, I broke them into separate ad sets.

  • 4-Hour Workweek interest
  • Gary Vaynerchuk interest
  • Marie Forleo interest
  • Tim Ferriss interest
  • Other “general” entrepreneurship interests

The Results

It didn’t take long to find a clear top performer. Following are the costs per link click for each ad set (remember that my goal with this campaign was driving traffic):

  • 4-Hour Workweek interest: $.25
  • Gary Vaynerchuk interest: $.06
  • Marie Forleo interest: $.16
  • Tim Ferriss interest: $.31
  • Other “general” entrepreneurship interests: $.14

Those Gary Vaynerchuk results were insane. The cost was even better than what it costs me when targeting people who visit my website and read an entrepreneur post (tends to be between $.10 – $.20).

Maybe I struck gold here. Maybe there’s something to this audience. So I also targeted this interest when promoting a free video series for entrepreneurs with a Facebook lead ad.

The results were startling. I quickly got 593 leads at $.29 per lead.

That cost was so good that it was half of the cost I am getting when targeting my readers of entrepreneur posts ($.58) — and that cost is pretty freaking good, too.

This discovery shook me and everything that I thought I knew about Facebook advertising.

Too Good to Be True?

A part of me knew to be skeptical from the start. This doesn’t make sense. But another part of me wanted so badly for it to be true that I tried to ignore it.

Finally, I dug deeper. Something just isn’t right here. Good these results be too good to be true?

The one thing that I wanted to check was geography. Where are the people from who are registering for this video series? Is it consistent with the geography of those who visit my website, subscribe, and ultimately buy?

The short answer: Uh oh…

Using the Breakdown feature within Facebook ad reports, I was able to uncover where these registrations were coming from.

Here’s a look at the top 10 countries:Facebook Ad Results by Country

There are four countries in particular that are missing from this list. I typically see high volume of traffic from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. So, how many registrations are from those countries?

  • United States: 0
  • United Kingdom: 0
  • Canada: 0
  • Australia: 0

Not a single registration from those countries. But it’s not because the people in these countries weren’t converting. Facebook wasn’t even trying.

The highest spend for these four countries came from the United States, at a grand total of $.21. Not a particularly solid sample size.

This was alarming, to say the least. This also coincided with a higher volume of spam to these ads than is typical. Way higher.

Typically, I would have greater faith in conversion results. However, we’re dealing with Facebook lead ads here, and one weakness of that ad unit is that it’s insanely easy to convert.

However, I also don’t like to be too presumptuous regarding where my customers may come from. I decided to dig deeper to uncover where people are from who visit my website, register for something, and buy a product.

Maybe more people from these countries are buying from me than I think. It’s possible that this is a time to re-think everything.

Who Is Visiting My Website?

By far, the largest chunk of my traffic comes from the United States, at 30.1%. Here are the only countries that represent at least 4% of my website traffic:

  • United States: 30.1%
  • United Kingdom: 7.6%
  • India: 6.2%
  • Australia: 4.1%
  • Canada: 4.1%

At this point, the inclusion of India in my conversion results isn’t completely crazy, but the exclusion of the other four countries certainly would be a head-scratcher.

Who is On My Email List?

It’s also possible that the composition of those who visit my website and are on my email list is different. So let’s take a closer look at that, too.

Interestingly enough, the composition of email subscribers isn’t much different…

  • United States: 31%
  • India: 8%
  • United Kingdom: 6%
  • Australia: 5%
  • Canada: 4%

I can’t help but think that this campaign also padded these numbers a tad for India.

Who Are My Customers?

The end goal is to get sales, after all. So I want to see if I’m wasting my time with people from particular countries who subscribe for free content.

Here are the only countries representing at least 4% of my sales:

  • United States: 52.9%
  • Australia: 9.0%
  • United Kingdom: 8.9%
  • Canada: 5.7%

My audience from the United States is far more likely to buy from me. Interesting.

But what happened to India? Registrants from India make up 8% of my email list. Yet, only 1.2% of purchases is composed of customers from this country.

If you’re curious about the other countries that represented registrations for that test ad set, here you go:

  • Nigeria: 0.1%
  • Pakistan: 0.1%
  • Philippines: 0.1%
  • Malaysia: 0.8%
  • Bangladesh: 0.0%
  • Indonesia: 0.5%
  • Egypt: 0.1%
  • Morocco: 0.1%
  • Ghana: 0.0%
  • Kenya: 0.0%
  • Nepal: 0.0%

The 12 countries that made up 74% of my registrations for this ad set make up a total of 3% of my sales.

Of the countries above, India is the only one that represents a reasonable amount of traffic. But even in that case, those who visit from India are far less likely to purchase.

Here’s a comparison of purchase to visit ratios for India, along with the other top traffic countries:

  • Australia: .10 purchase vs. visit ratio
  • United States: .09
  • United Kingdom: .06
  • Canada: .06
  • India: .01

In other words, a visitor from Australia is 10X more likely to purchase than a visitor from India. Even in the case of Canada and the United Kingdom, that rate is 6X higher.

The Problem With Facebook Ads Optimization

Facebook’s goal when optimizing for leads is to get the most leads for the lowest price.

Facebook Lead Ads Optimization

Quality is not part of the algorithm. Only cost and volume.

This may be less of an issue for a conversion that results in a sale. The value of those conversions is much more clear and obvious.

This may also be less of a factor when remarketing. Assuming, of course, that the bulk of your traffic and email list isn’t built on an audience that resulted from a campaign like this one, your results should be more controlled.

But when targeting interests and lookalike audiences, in particular, Facebook will naturally focus on clicks (when optimizing for traffic) and leads (when optimizing for leads) for the lowest cost. And those lowest cost leads and clicks, for me, come from countries that do not typically lead to sales.

How to Fix This

The fix should be quite obvious: We need to filter using countries that tend to be most productive for our business.

For me, it’s the four countries mentioned earlier (United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia). However, I’ve also added countries that have a .05 purchase-to-visit ratio while also providing decent volume.

I updated my ad sets to only include these countries. The results, as you can imagine, are quite different.

The cost per website click for the ad set promoting a blog post to the Gary Vaynerchuk audience went up from $.06 to $.32. Obviously, not nearly as effective — and a cost that wouldn’t be worthwhile for me.

The cost per lead for that same audience increased from $.29 to $1.79. While that rate is significantly higher than targeting my website visitors, it’s at least within the right ballpark to watch it for a while longer.

Your Turn

This experiment provides a couple of primary lessons:

1) Be skeptical of results that appear to be too good to be true. Dig deeper.

2) Don’t assume anything. Research customer composition to better understand your results.

Anything you’d add here?

Let me know in the comments below!

The post Geography and the Problem with Facebook Ads Optimization appeared first on Jon Loomer Digital.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

How to Onboard Your Selected Search Agency [Checklist]

How to Onboard Your Selected Search Agency [Checklist] was originally published on BruceClay.com, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

Whether for the first time or the tenth, reducing the ramp up period when onboarding a new SEO agency is going to save you time and money. Plus, an effective onboard process lays the path to a productive partnership.

There are two parts to effectively onboarding a selected new agency:

1. Educating your agency about your business, and
2. Understanding their process, workflow and digital strategy for your business.

Here you’ll find a checklist and expanded description of checklist items for both steps.

Search Agency Onboarding Checklist

1. Educating Your New Agency

At my agency, we use a new client questionnaire to build a brand brief for all our clients. Whether you or your agency is compiling the brief, the end product should provide clear answers on your audience, marketplace, competitors, marketing strategy and history, unique differentiators, and success metrics.

To get to know everything about one another, you’ll want to share everything about how you work and learn everything about your new agency’s processes. Even before your first meeting, put together a brand brief about your business to give to your agency.

Here’s your checklist for educating your new agency.

✓ Company overview
✓ Value proposition
✓ Competition and positioning
✓ Goals and KPIs for digital marketing
✓ Analytics setup and KPI tracking
✓ Website hosting and CMS
✓ History of marketing campaign service providers
✓ Audience
✓ Brand voice and messaging
✓ Writing style and tone
✓ Types of content
✓ Any other context

Company overview: Along the way from interviewing the prospective agency to inking the deal, you’ve given the 30-second elevator pitch of your business to people at your new agency, for example, their sales team. This brief is a great way to assure communication of your company’s background to your new agency’s operations team.

Value proposition: What sets you apart from anyone else in your industry or selling a similar product or service? What value do your customers hold when they align themselves with your business?

Competition and positioning: Who are your main competitors that court the same audience as you do? How do you position yourself as distinct within your industry?

Goals and KPIs for your digital marketing: What concrete and defined goals would you like accomplished through your SEO and digital marketing activities? What will you use to measure project success?

Analytics setup and KPI tracking: What analytics software is in place to track the accomplishment of your goals and KPIs? What formal conversions and microconversions are being tracked in your analytics setup?

Website hosting and CMS: How and where is your website hosted and content managed? Will your SEO agency have access to the system?

History of marketing campaign service providers: Who have you worked with before — agencies and vendors — for content, SEO, SEM, web development, design and other digital marketing work? Can you summarize the projects and what worked and didn’t work about them? Be sure to explain if you’ve ever suffered a traffic loss.

Audience: Describe everything you know about your customers — demographics, what they value, what they need and want. Of course there could be a few different types of customers who you speak to.

Brand and messaging: What exercises have you performed to clearly state what your brand stands for and the voice and messaging you use to convey it in graphics and text?

Writing style and tone: Humor, authority, stories, complexity of language — what guidelines can you convey to your SEO agency that communicates the tone of the brand? Inform them of any words that are taboo.

Types of content: What do you want your agency to know about the content you’ve created before and of competitors’ content you’d either like to emulate or avoid?

Any other context: If there’s anything else of note to convey to your agency, this is the place to include it.

2. Understanding Process, Workflow and Strategy

Step 2 of onboarding a new agency is finding out their process and workflow in order to create an expectation for receiving deliverables and responses for requests. You’ll need to get a concrete outline of the search strategy they will be using for your site.

Soon after selection of your agency, you want to become familiar with the inner workings and processes of your analysts and others on your production team, expanding your knowledge of the selected agency beyond their sales team that you’ve been speaking to before this. Here’s your checklist for understanding the process, workflow and strategy to be driving your search campaigns.

✓ What is the timeline of deliverables?
✓ How often is the project plan updated?
✓ How often will you be in communication?
✓ What processes do they have for editing your website?
✓ What schedules and forms do they have for reviewing new content and design changes?
✓ How do their capabilities for implementing recommendations align with your needs?
✓ What commitment to service do they make?
✓ Is your SEO a senior or a junior analyst?

What is the timeline of deliverables? When can you expect to see the project plan, have scheduled calls, and receive audits and reports? Do they run in sprints? You want to understand their tactical scheduling.

How often is the project plan updated? As a living and evolving document, at what interval will the project plan be updated? This is strategic in nature and is key to accomplishing your project goals and KPIs.

How often will you be in communication? What is the communication cadence of your agency team members? How often can you expect to hear from them? How quickly can you expect to hear back from them when needed? Is there a dedicated point of contact for your project?

What processes do they have for editing your website? Do they work through your staff to avoid errors? By a similar turn, what do their processes look like for evaluating links, server performance and other SEO levers?

What schedules and forms do they have for reviewing new content and design changes? In what format can you expect to receive new content or site edits? How are recommended changes tracked as the document passes hands?

How do their capabilities for implementing recommendations align with your needs? Who and what is available regarding labor and resources for education, mentoring, development, content and so on?

What commitment to service do they make? What assurance do they make regarding your dedicated staff and the meeting of your KPIs?

Is your SEO a senior or a junior analyst? How many years of experience do members of your team have? As a point of context, Malcolm Gladwell famously said it takes ten thousand hours of practice to become an expert.

Keys to a Good Partnership

It’s been said before, but the key to a lasting relationship is communication. Ensure you’re communicating with your partner and they with you, and come prepared to do the work to see the gains you want.

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