The Local SEO Holiday Checklist – You Could Even Say It Glows

Posted by MiriamEllis

“You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Citations…”

If you’re in charge of the local search marketing for a business, you’ve got two groups to please at the holidays: your clients/superiors and consumers. You don’t want to be kicked out of the reindeer games on January 2nd, so let’s dive into an organized checklist of the most important things you can do to maximize outreach and profits in the coming weeks, making everyone (including you) a winner!


☑ Local business listings accurate

If you’re not already on top of this (maybe using SaaS like Moz Local to ensure your listings on the key platforms are accurate), potential shoppers may end up someplace other than your storefront. Weird versions of your name, old phone numbers, and former street addresses can misdirect your customers or contribute to your failure to be found in the local packs at all. The truth is, November can be a bit late to sign up for a local listing management product in time for holiday victories, so you may have to make fast manual fixes where you can. The Moz Check Listing tool can help you quickly hunt down inaccurate listings. Found a ton of them? Fix whatever data errors you can this year, and make a New Year’s Resolution you’ll keep to undertake professional citation management in Q1 so bad data isn’t still undermining sales and rankings in Q4 2018.

☑ Duplicate listings closed

Related to item one, if you didn’t get duplicates closed earlier in the year and Check Listing is showing you a bunch of them, the fact is that you may not get this completely squared away by the holidays. It can take weeks (sometimes months!) to get certain platforms to resolve duplicate listings. This is the case whether you’re doing it manually or via software, so do what you can as quickly as you can (Google can be surprisingly quick at this) and vow to get this task nailed down completely before the first jingle bell rings next year.

☑ Google My Business special hours added

Extended hours can make a fundamental difference in revenue, and happily, adding them to your GMB listing is a quick fix. Google offers this list of holidays for which they support special hours (including Kadooment Day which Google just taught me is a harvest festival in Barbados!) Here’s Google’s complete tutorial on adding special hours via a variety of methods, including mobile and bulk uploads. Accuracy across all locations matters, of course, as the last thing you want is to create negative brand impressions if customers arrive, gift-list in hand, only to find doors closed for the day. Negative brand impressions lead to negative reviews, which lead to negative trends in conversions, so check your own list of corporate-approved extended hours twice before adding them to GMB.

holidaylocalseo2.jpg

☑ Website pages updated

Doubtless, the brand you are marketing has plans for featuring holiday specials on its website, but while you’re adding extended hours to local business listings, be sure website landing pages/contact pages/home pages display updated hours, too, dispensing with potential confusion. Dealing with multiple locations? Landing pages are a great place to highlight holiday specials specific to certain branches of a business.

☑ Complaint-ready, both on and offline

While many people cherish seasonal shopping trips, others find the holidays to be stressful, and psychologists continue to weigh in on how proposed phenomena like Seasonal Affective Disorder factor into changes in winter mood. Suffice it to say that even the jolliest of us can get frazzled in a crowded shopping mall and may not be at our most forgiving when customer service lets us down. Don’t leave it up to chance whether unhappy shoppers will let disappointments go or vent their frustrations in a stinging and costly negative review.

Urge management to hold a first-time or refresher course to train all public-facing staff in complaint resolution, equipped with a clear hierarchy for escalating problems, and publish your complaint phone/text hotlline on in-store signage and on the company website. This holiday season, I highly recommend giving your clients or higher-ups the gift of Mike Blumenthal’s free eBook, Build a Better Business with Complaints to fully explore the vital role offline sentiment management plays in digital marketing.

☑ Google Posts brainstormed and ready to go

Speaking of gifts, Google is giving one in the form of microblogging right on your Knowledge Panel in 2017. Google Posts is a perfect way to instantly highlight your Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals, your philanthropic outreach, holiday events and other newsworthy items. There are so many options when it comes to social outreach, and other platforms may be stronger performers for you, but I’d use this year’s holiday season to experiment with the new Google Posts feature. Line up some short, exciting content and schedule it.

Best image size is around 750 x 750, only the first 100 characters appear live on your post, and posts stay live for 7 days, unless you schedule an event which will remain live until the event ends. For more tips, I recommend Joy Hawkins’ 12 Things to Know to Succeed with Google Posts.

☑ Other social media ready to go

Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or Pinterest that your customers rely on most, having your messaging pre-planned the stress of last-minute scrambles to think of something to say. Make a spreadsheet and schedule for your outreach, refined down to the last pixel and character. And don’t just sell; look at how creative agencies told compelling social stories this time last year.

☑ Analytical tracking in place

UTM codes added to the links in your socially-promoted URLs? Google Analytics set up to help you analyze traffic and conversions to local landing pages? A nod to GMB Insights or your Moz Local dashboard’s Insights component so you can evaluate how many clicks-to-call, clicks-for-directions and clicks-to-website your listings are driving? What about call tracking that doesn’t interfere with NAP consistency? If tracking local campaigns is new to you, Nick Pierno’s recent post will get you started swiftly. The goal here is that, when the confetti settles, you’ve got data to analyze so that you can strategize for new-year improvements.

☑ Empathy engaged

It has been one rough year in North America. We’ve experienced life-altering man-made and natural disasters. Even if a given shopper hasn’t personally suffered losses in a fire or hurricane in 2017, chances are good in our interconnected society that they know someone who has. Sadly, these tragedies are going to be in the minds and hearts of many as they set out to make spirits bright for their loved ones this holiday season.

I can’t think of a better time to acknowledge reality and offer a proactive means of some consolation for everyone involved. Encourage clients and management to dig deep into their brand’s store of empathy, letting shoppers know that a percentage of sales or some other benefit is going towards relief and recovery in affected communities. Give people a chance to feel that they are taking care of neighbors while also taking care of their own. Knowing we can help is a powerful step along the healing path.


Good service is your guiding light!

The good news is, if you make a best effort at a lot of little things on the checklist in an organized fashion, they total up to a bright local business that’s covering its customer service bases. If there’s one thing the digital marketing industry has become increasingly aware of with each passing year, it’s how everything circles back to the customer.

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You can do this! If you can envision shoppers interacting both online and offline with the business you’re marketing, you can see how to serve them best, and seriously — then all the reindeer will love you — clients, customers, teammates, and CEOs included! Wishing you success and satisfaction in your work as we put a bow on 2017.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

Reblogged 1 week ago from tracking.feedpress.it

Power up! How to prepare for APAC’s holiday season

It’s that time of year when our customers in Asia Pacific are prepping to bag holiday sales for their own answer to Black Friday and Cyber Monday: Click Frenzy in Australia, and Singles’ Day in China (the world’s biggest online shopping day of the year!).[1] The former, modeled on the US’ Cyber Monday bonanza, centralizes hundreds of online deals on one website built to withstand enormous concurrent traffic volumes. Many Australian vendors have jumped on the trend, holding sales on their own sites around the Click Frenzy Period. Singles’ Day started as an ‘anti-Valentine’s’ celebration back in the 1990s and was snapped up by e-commerce giant Alibaba in 2009.

  • Singles’ Day – Saturday, November 11, 2017
  • Click Frenzy – Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Last year, Singles’ Day racked up almost US$18 billion in sales in 24 hours on  Alibaba, [2] while Click Frenzy day saw a 100% increase in emails sent from dotmailer compared to 2015.

With so many retailers looking to benefit from these, it’s crucial that your marketing strategy is well-planned and fine-tuned ahead of time. Email deliver

s £30 for every £1 spent, making it the obvious choice for bringing in ROI from your holiday efforts.[3] Here are some tips for making the most of Click Frenzy and Singles’ Day 2017:

  • Get noticed with a winning subject line

Your customer’s inbox is a noisy place at the best of times, but during retail holidays the sound is deafening. Cutting through the din of sale announcements and discount-driven messages is crucial, and a stand-out subject line puts your campaign in with the best chance of securing an open.

There are three key ingredients to whipping up a winning subject line, and the first is to ensure you’re promoting something of value. If you’re running a dedicated Click Frenzy or Singles’ Day email program, use your subject line to shout about the value of your proposition – whether that be special holiday editions of content, access to interactive media, or time-limited offers.

Make sure your subject line acknowledges where a customer is on their journey with your brand; this drives relevancy and fulfills the one-to-one communication experience. Segment customers by pathway actions, like date of signup or most recent purchase, and devise subject lines that speak directly to the customer’s experience.

 

Finally, with 54 percent of consumers now opening their emails on their phones, it’s crucial that your subject lines (and emails for that matter) are designed with mobile in mind.[4] 20-30 characters provides a general rule of thumb for subject line length, but thorough testing is always recommended.

  • Warm customers over time

Getting deals on beloved brands is truly exciting for your customers, so make sure you leverage this in your warm-up strategy. Tantalize customers with teaser campaigns that hint at what’s to come in the run up to the big day; make sure that you fully utilize all your channels to build the hype. Think too about incorporating rich media like video to provide customers with valuable and engaging content they won’t get elsewhere.

 

 

This 2016 Christmas shopping campaign from Australian fashion footwear brand, Spend-Less Shoes, uses an advent structure to nurture recipients to conversion. Each campaign is bolstered with an Instagram competition that adds value to the proposition and gives customers even more ways to connect and celebrate.

 

  • Close sales like a pro

Nurturing customers and building loyalty is all very well, but to smash sales targets for the holidays you need to rack up customer conversions. The relevance of your email marketing strategy will be the deciding factor in the revenue race this year, so bake it into your strategy early and become the anticipated highlight of the inbox. The data your ESP collects on your contact list provides the key to highly relevant email marketing. You can easily personalize your emails and landing pages with all kinds of information you already hold on your customers, from gender to geographical location. Make use of dynamic content blocks to automatically display pertinent product images based on each customer’s web behavior, and include images, titles and descriptions of previously purchased products to prompt reviews that’ll help other customers convert.

  • Rescue lapsed sales

In a similar way to the stateside stretching of Black Friday to incorporate the days pre- and post- Friday, the boundaries of Click Frenzy and Singles’ Day are ever-blurring, giving you extra time to drive wayward customers to complete last-minute purchases.

Follow up with customers who showed buying intent; you might want to extend your offer for a limited period, or offer new incentives like free delivery or extra loyalty points. Your abandoned cart strategy could provide the perfect vehicle for this rescue mission. Here are three ways to deck your program out for the big event:

  • Pull in a live countdown timer to maximize on customers’ fear of missing out (FOMO).
  • Include dynamic content from your ecommerce store, like product images and stock availability.
  • Bring some relevant user-generated content (UGC) into the mix to boost brand trust.

Still got a list of lapsed conversions after the holidays? Send a personalized feedback email asking for details on why customers didn’t feel like they were able to purchase, and collect valuable data to further refine your strategy.

The more customers you have in your database, the more opportunity you’ve got to bag serious revenue. Check out our free resource: 6 ways to grow your list this season.

 

[1] http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20170616-the-worlds-biggest-online-shopping-day

[2] CNBC, Alibaba’s Singles Day is Amazon’s Prime Day — on steroids., 2017.

[3] UK DMA, Consumer email tracker report 2016.

[4] Litmus, 2017 State of email.

The post Power up! How to prepare for APAC’s holiday season appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 1 month ago from blog.dotmailer.com

A little bit of Christmas magic – Barbour’s heartwarming holiday campaign

At dotmailer, we love a creative challenge, so when Barbour approached us with their idea for a holiday email campaign, we couldn’t believe our luck; we must have been very good this year!

Barbour and Sons Ltd was founded in 1894, and is synonymous with waxed cotton and country wear, enjoying a reputation for quality and durability. Barbour is sold in over 40 countries worldwide and has over 30 of its own retail stores in the UK, Germany, US and Japan.

The brand also boasts an impressive email marketing initiative. Here’s an awesome statistic: by adding a popover to their website using dotmailer’s surveys and forms tool, the company grew its engaged contact list by 20,000 contacts in just three months! If you subscribe to their list, you’re in for a refreshing treat; the brand is keen to use their email marketing to inspire customers with their collections, rather than send out batch and blast, cut-price campaigns.

We’re ecstatic to announce that our four-year relationship with Barbour has reached new heights of success this holiday season. Working with dotmailer’s talented Creative & Managed Services team, the company has produced a wonderfully dynamic and festive marketing email to accompany their TV holiday campaign: The Snowman and the Snow Dog. Elaine Taylor, Barbour’s Global Ecommerce and Digital Manager, describes why dotmailer was the only choice for the company:

“This year’s Christmas campaign with The Snowman and The Snow Dog is the biggest we have undertaken and we really wanted every element of it to feel special.  We reached out to the guys at dotmailer to see if they could help us launch the holiday campaign with an email that was a little bit magical.”

Based on the famed story The Snowman by Raymond Briggs, the design for Barbour’s nostalgic advert provides a heart-warming sequel; the now grown main character and his dog, both clad in matching Barbour, recall a memorable bygone Christmas in the snow.

Our CMS team got stuck in with the illustrated assets, producing a holiday campaign that perfectly complements its TV counterpart; the design features an animated snowfall header and Snow Dog, an embedded video, and beautifully illustrated CTA blocks.

Elaine continued “We gave them a tight deadline but Brett (our key Account Director) and his team rose to the challenge and came up with some great ideas. The end result was a beautiful animated email designed to work on all devices that captured our theme perfectly. The email campaign went out on time and in the first four days generated a real buzz around the website and on social media.

The result was a real success. The overall campaign has already been seen by 2 million people online, including a whopping 1.2 million users on Facebook – a truly multi-channel achievement for the brand, and a fantastic experience for the dotmailer team.

The expertise, creativity and knowledge that the team at dotmailer brought to the project was fantastic and we wouldn’t have been able to produce something like this without them.”

Check out Barbour’s case study to find out more about the brand’s achievements using dotmailer.

 

 

 

The post A little bit of Christmas magic – Barbour’s heartwarming holiday campaign appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 11 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Holiday Email Marketing Q&A: Your Planning Questions Answered

Need help planning your holiday email campaign? You’re not alone. In our recent webinar, How to Get Holiday Ready: Your Festive Email Plan, Matthew Potter, Regional VP EMEA at Movable Ink and Skip Fidura, Client Service Director at dotmailer, talked about developing an email campaign that has the stamina to last the full holiday season.

We received lots of questions from attendees about how to plan their festive campaigns – everything from when to send to which type of email content works best. Skip and Matthew kindly compiled them all into this blog post. Here are your holiday questions, answered!

Q – How important is it to integrate a Christmas campaign with non-Christmas related content in the build up?

Matthew: As ‘Christmas’ comes further forward it is really important to add non-Christmas content into it. Your first campaign may be in September, personally I’m still only just getting over summer and I’m not ready for Christmas, so whilst you can seed it into my head, I really don’t want to only hear about Christmas for the next four months.

You should also consider the diversity of your client base, its is very difficult to discern religion, ethnicity, age, gender, marital status and more from an email address and people choose or choose not to celebrate a number of holidays. Most people like a discount or an offer, but not everyone responds to specific imagery and wording for a variety of holiday events.

Skip: Unlike Matt, I have started thinking about Christmas, not in any specific way, but in a, “I must be better organized this year” way. Now is the time to reinforce the breadth of your product line. If you typically segment on previous purchase, relax those rules a bit to give me new ideas rather than just focussing on what I have bought for myself in the past.

Q – What was your favorite festive campaign EVER? And why?

Matthew: Across Black Friday in 2014 and 2015 a US client of ours, ‘RadioShack’, did a truly innovative campaign. Their email detailed 24 deals in 24 hours. On opening the email the deal of the current hour was displayed. A timer showed how long this deal had to run and when the next one was due.

Finally, using a provided clue, recipients could tweet what they thought the next product on offer was going to be for the chance to win it. Recipients of the email re-opened it multiple times to see what the next reveal was and the people who only opened once saw the very latest content.

Skip: Call me sentimental but I always like the campaigns that remind me that the holidays are about spending time with friends and family and not all about “BUY THIS! BUY NOW!” More than any other time of year, campaigns that make my life easier through better customer service, reinforce that message AND get me to buy.

Q – When do you recommend sending the first holiday email?

Matthew: You haven’t sent it already? What are you waiting for? I think it is important to consider the content, why are you looking to send the email? What are you hoping the recipient will do with it? How long is your average purchase cycle? How considered a purchase is one of your products? What is the lead-time on delivery? What is your returns policy? If you are asking people to keep an eye out for specific dates, bookmark events, arrange delivery slots etc… you should send now as well.

If you are selling lower value impulse purchases, you can wait some time yet. The answer to this question unfortunately is ‘it depends’. However, as Skip and I both said during the webinar, do make sure you don’t leave it too late; evidence suggests the inbox will not be any less crowded this year, so don’t get lost in the noise.

Skip: When my wife and I first moved to the UK she always did our Christmas cards really early. At first it was to ensure they got there in time but after a year or two we realized that some family member would come over at Thanksgiving and we could send the cards back in their suitcase and save the overseas postage. The result for the recipients was a bit of envy for “how could she be so organized” but it also served as a reminder for them to do their own Christmas cards.

In addition to not leave it too late, Matt and I also stressed in the webinar that you should not treat the Christmas period as a series of discrete events but as a journey. For existing customers this is just a continuation of the relationship you have already built. For new customers, this should be the start of a series of purchases; not just a one-off. You should probably have already started planting the Christmas seeds even if you have not sent an email featuring a jolly man in a bright red suit.

Q – Are these percentages specific to a certain country/market or they are global? Black Friday figures vary wildly depending on niche and country.

Matthew: They are UK and US centric numbers. I completely agree that they can vary wildly by geography and a number of other variables and should only be used as a guide. Trends however, can be taken, some obvious, some less so. If you appreciate that there is a minimum 12 week extended purchasing period across the holiday season and that people will be buying for themselves and others, they will be buying across mobile and to a lesser extent desktop and they will not hold to brand loyalty unless you can provide an exceptional service (or price) then you will be thinking the right way.

These questions were submitted during the live recording of How to Get Holiday Ready: Your Festive Email Plan. The full recording is available to watch now.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Darryl, the man behind dotmailer’s Custom Technical Solutions team

Why did you decide to come to dotmailer?

I first got to know dotmailer when the company was just a bunch of young enthusiastic web developers called Ellipsis Media back in 1999. I was introduced by one of my suppliers and we decided to bring them on board to build a recruitment website for one of our clients. That client was Amnesty International and the job role was Secretary General. Not bad for a Croydon company whose biggest client before that was Scobles the plumber’s merchants. So, I was probably dotmailer’s first ever corporate client! After that, I used dotmailer at each company I worked for and then one day they approached a colleague and me and asked us if we wanted to work for them. That was 2013.  We grabbed the opportunity with both hands and haven’t looked back since.

Tell us a bit about your role

I’m the Global Head of Technical Solutions which actually gives me responsibility for 2 teams. First, Custom Technical Solutions (CTS), who build bespoke applications and tools for customers that allow them to integrate more closely with dotmailer and make life easier. Second, Technical Pre-sales, which spans our 3 territories (EMEA, US and APAC) and works with prospective and existing clients to figure out the best solution and fit within dotmailer.

What accomplishments are you most proud of from your dotmailer time so far?

I would say so far it has to be helping to turn the CTS team from just 2 people into a group of 7 highly skilled and dedicated men and women who have become an intrinsic and valued part of the dotmailer organization. Also I really enjoy being part of the Senior Technical Management team. Here we have the ability to influence the direction and structure of the platform on a daily basis.

Meet Darryl Clark – the cheese and peanut butter sandwich lover

Can you speak a bit about your background and that of your team? What experience and expertise is required to join this team?

My background is quite diverse from a stint in the Army, through design college, web development, business analysis to heading up my current teams. I would say the most valuable skill that I have is being highly analytical. I love nothing more than listening to a client’s requirements and digging deep to work out how we can answer these if not exceed them.

As a team, we love nothing more than brainstorming our ideas. Every member has a valid input and we listen. Everyone has the opportunity to influence what we do and our motto is “there is no such thing as a stupid question.”

To work in my teams you have to be analytical but open minded to the fact that other people may have a better answer than you. Embrace other people’s input and use it to give our clients the best possible solution. We are hugely detail conscious, but have to be acutely aware that we need to tailor what we say to our audience so being able to talk to anyone at any level is hugely valuable.

How much of the dotmailer platform is easily customizable and when does it cross over into something that requires your team’s expertise? How much time is spent on these custom solutions one-time or ongoing?

I’ll let you in on a little secret here. We don’t actually do anything that our customers can’t do with dotmailer given the right knowledge and resources. This is because we build all of our solutions using the dotmailer public API. The API has hundreds of methods in both SOAP and REST versions, which allows you to do a huge amount with the dotmailer platform. We do have a vast amount of experience and knowledge in the team so we may well be able to build a solution quicker than our customers. We are more than happy to help them and their development teams build a solution using us on a consultancy basis to lessen the steepness of the learning curve.

Our aim when building a solution for a customer is that it runs silently in the background and does what it should without any fuss.

What are your plans for the Custom Tech Solutions team going forward?

The great thing about Custom Technical Solutions is you never know what is around the corner as our customers have very diverse needs. What we are concentrating on at the moment is refining our processes to ensure that they are as streamlined as possible and allow us to give as much information to the customer as we can. We are also always looking at the technology and coding approaches that we use to make sure that we build the most innovative and robust solutions.

We are also looking at our external marketing and sharing our knowledge through blogs so keep an eye on the website for our insights.

What are the most common questions that you get when speaking to a prospective customer?

Most questions seem to revolve around reassurance such as “Have you done this before?”, “How safe is my data?”, “What about security?”, “Can you talk to my developers?”, “Do I need to do anything?”.  In most instances, we are the ones asking the questions as we need to find out information as soon as possible so that we can analyse it to ensure that we have the right detail to provide the right solution.

Can you tell us about the dotmailer differentiators you highlight when speaking to prospective customers that seem to really resonate?

We talk a lot about working with best of breed so for example a customer can use our Channel Extensions in automation programs to fire out an SMS to a contact using their existing provider. We don’t force customers down one route, we like to let them decide for themselves.

Also, I really like to emphasize the fact that there is always more than one way to do something within the dotmailer platform. This means we can usually find a way to do something that works for a client within the platform. If not, then we call in CTS to work out if there is a way that we can build something that will — whether this is automating uploads for a small client or mass sending from thousands of child accounts for an enterprise level one.

What do you see as the future of marketing automation technology?  Will one size ever fit all? Or more customization going forward?

The 64 million dollar question. One size will never fit all. Companies and their systems are too organic for that. There isn’t one car that suits every driver or one racquet that suits every sport. Working with a top drawer partner network and building our system to be as open as possible from an integration perspective means that our customers can make dotmailer mold to their business and not the other way round…and adding to that the fact that we are building lots of features in the platform that will blow your socks off.

Tell us a bit about yourself – favorite sports team, favorite food, guilty pleasure, favorite band, favorite vacation spot?

I’m a dyed in the wool Gooner (aka Arsenal Football Club fan) thanks to my Grandfather leading me down the right path as a child. If you are still reading this after that bombshell, then food-wise I pretty much like everything apart from coriander which as far as I’m concerned is the Devils own spawn. I don’t really have a favorite band, but am partial to a bit of Level 42 and Kings of Leon and you will also find me listening to 90s drum and bass and proper old school hip hop. My favorite holiday destination is any decent villa that I can relax in and spend time with my family and I went to Paris recently and loved that. Guilty pleasure – well that probably has to be confessing to liking Coldplay or the fact that my favorite sandwich is peanut butter, cheese and salad cream. Go on try it, you’ll love it.

Want to meet more of the dotmailer team? Say hi to Darren Hockley, Global Head of Support, and Dan Morris, EVP for North America.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com

The SEO Advent Calendar: 24 Tips For Local SEO Success

Give your business the gift of local optimization this holiday season with columnist Marcus Miller’s Local SEO Advent Calendar!

The post The SEO Advent Calendar: 24 Tips For Local SEO Success appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 year ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

8 Ways Content Marketers Can Hack Facebook Multi-Product Ads

Posted by Alan_Coleman

The trick most content marketers are missing

Creating great content is the first half of success in content marketing. Getting quality content read by, and amplified to, a relevant audience is the oft overlooked second half of success. Facebook can be a content marketer’s best friend for this challenge. For reach, relevance and amplification potential, Facebook is unrivaled.

  1. Reach: 1 in 6 mobile minutes on planet earth is somebody reading something on Facebook.
  2. Relevance: Facebook is a lean mean interest and demo targeting machine. There is no online or offline media that owns as much juicy interest and demographic information on its audience and certainly no media has allowed advertisers to utilise this information as effectively as Facebook has.
  3. Amplification: Facebook is literally built to encourage sharing. Here’s the first 10 words from their mission statement: “Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share…”, Enough said!

Because of these three digital marketing truths, if a content marketer gets their paid promotion* right on Facebook, the battle for eyeballs and amplification is already won.

For this reason it’s crucial that content marketers keep a close eye on Facebook advertising innovations and seek out ways to use them in new and creative ways.

In this post I will share with you eight ways we’ve hacked a new Facebook ad format to deliver content marketing success.

Multi-Product Ads (MPAs)

In 2014, Facebook unveiled multi-product ads (MPAs) for US advertisers, we got them in Europe earlier this year. They allow retailers to show multiple products in a carousel-type ad unit.

They look like this:

If the user clicks on the featured product, they are guided directly to the landing page for that specific product, from where they can make a purchase.

You could say MPAs are Facebook’s answer to Google Shopping.

Facebook’s mistake is a content marketer’s gain

I believe Facebook has misunderstood how people want to use their social network and the transaction-focused format is OK at best for selling products. People aren’t really on Facebook to hit the “buy now” button. I’m a daily Facebook user and I can’t recall a time this year where I have gone directly from Facebook to an e-commerce website and transacted. Can you remember a recent time when you did?

So, this isn’t an innovation that removes a layer of friction from something that we are all doing online already (as the most effective innovations do). Instead, it’s a bit of a “hit and hope” that, by providing this functionality, Facebook would encourage people to try to buy online in a way they never have before.

The Wolfgang crew felt the MPA format would be much more useful to marketers and users if they were leveraging Facebook for the behaviour we all demonstrate on the platform every day, guiding users to relevant content. We attempted to see if Facebook Ads Manager would accept MPAs promoting content rather than products. We plugged in the images, copy and landing pages, hit “place order”, and lo and behold the ads became active. We’re happy to say that the engagement rates, and more importantly the amplification rates, are fantastic!

Multi-Content Ads

We’ve re-invented the MPA format for multi-advertisers in multi-ways, eight ways to be exact! Here’s eight MPA Hacks that have worked well for us. All eight hacks use the MPA format to promote content rather than promote products.

Hack #1: Multi-Package Ads

Our first variation wasn’t a million miles away from multi-product ads; we were promoting the various packages offered by a travel operator.

By looking at the number of likes, comments, and shares (in blue below the ads) you can see the ads were a hit with Facebook users and they earned lots of free engagement and amplification.

NB: If you have selected “clicks to website” as your advertising objective, all those likes, comments and shares are free!

Independent Travel Multi Product Ad

The ad sparked plenty of conversation amongst Facebook friends in the comments section.

Comments on a Facebook MPA

Hack #2: Multi-Offer Ads

Everybody knows the Internet loves a bargain. So we decided to try another variation moving away from specific packages, focusing instead on deals for a different travel operator.

Here’s how the ads looked:

These ads got valuable amplification beyond the share. In the comments section, you can see people tagging specific friends. This led to the MPAs receiving further amplification, and a very targeted and personalised form of amplification to boot.

Abbey Travel Facebook Ad Comments

Word of mouth referrals have been a trader’s best friend since the stone age. These “personalised” word of mouth referrals en masse are a powerful marketing proposition. It’s worth mentioning again that those engagements are free!

Hack #3: Multi-Locations Ads

Putting the Lo in SOLOMO.

This multi-product feed ad was hacked to promote numerous locations of a waterpark. “Where to go?” is among the first questions somebody asks when researching a holiday. In creating this top of funnel content, we can communicate with our target audience at the very beginning of their research process. A simple truth of digital marketing is: the more interactions you have with your target market on their journey to purchase, the more likely they are to seal the deal with you when it comes time to hit the “buy now” button. Starting your relationship early gives you an advantage over those competitors who are hanging around the bottom of the purchase funnel hoping to make a quick and easy conversion.

Abbey Travel SplashWorld Facebook MPA

What was surprising here, was that because we expected to reach people at the very beginning of their research journey, we expected the booking enquiries to be some time away. What actually happened was these ads sparked an enquiry frenzy as Facebook users could see other people enquiring and the holidays selling out in real time.

Abbey Travel comments and replies

In fact nearly all of the 35 comments on this ad were booking enquiries. This means what we were measuring as an “engagement” was actually a cold hard “conversion”! You don’t need me to tell you a booking enquiry is far closer to the money than a Facebook like.

The three examples outlined so far are for travel companies. Travel is a great fit for Facebook as it sits naturally in the Facebook feed, my Facebook feed is full of envy-inducing friends’ holiday pictures right now. Another interesting reason why travel is a great fit for Facebook ads is because typically there are multiple parties to a travel purchase. What happened here is the comments section actually became a very visible and measurable forum for discussion between friends and family before becoming a stampede inducing medium of enquiry.

So, stepping outside of the travel industry, how do other industries fare with hacked MPAs?

Hack #3a: Multi-Location Ads (combined with location targeting)

Location, location, location. For a property listings website, we applied location targeting and repeated our Multi-Location Ad format to advertise properties for sale to people in and around that location.

Hack #4: Multi-Big Content Ad

“The future of big content is multi platform”

– Cyrus Shepard

The same property website had produced a report and an accompanying infographic to provide their audience with unique and up-to-the-minute market information via their blog. We used the MPA format to promote the report, the infographic and the search rentals page of the website. This brought their big content piece to a larger audience via a new platform.

Rental Report Multi Product Ad

Hack #5: Multi-Episode Ad

This MPA hack was for an online TV player. As you can see we advertised the most recent episodes of a TV show set in a fictional Dublin police station, Red Rock.

Engagement was high, opinion was divided.

TV3s Red Rock viewer feedback

LOL.

Hack #6: Multi-People Ads

In the cosmetic surgery world, past patients’ stories are valuable marketing material. Particularly when the past patients are celebrities. We recycled some previously published stories from celebrity patients using multi-people ads and targeted them to a very specific audience.

Avoca Clinic Multi People Ads

Hack #7: Multi-UGC Ads

Have you witnessed the power of user generated content (UGC) in your marketing yet? We’ve found interaction rates with authentic UGC images can be up to 10 fold of those of the usual stylised images. In order to encourage further UGC, we posted a number of customer’s images in our Multi-UGC Ads.

The CTR on the above ads was 6% (2% is the average CTR for Facebook News feed ads according to our study). Strong CTRs earn you more traffic for your budget. Facebook’s relevancy score lowers your CPC as your CTR increases.

When it comes to the conversion, UGC is a power player, we’ve learned that “customers attracting new customers” is a powerful acquisition tool.

Hack #8: Target past customers for amplification

“Who will support and amplify this content and why?”

– Rand Fishkin

Your happy customers Rand, that’s the who and the why! Check out these Multi-Package Ads targeted to past customers via custom audiences. The Camino walkers have already told all their friends about their great trip, now allow them to share their great experiences on Facebook and connect the tour operator with their Facebook friends via a valuable word of mouth referral. Just look at the ratio of share:likes and shares:comments. Astonishingly sharable ads!

Camino Ways Mulit Product Ads

Targeting past converters in an intelligent manner is a super smart way to find an audience ready to share your content.

How will hacking Multi-Product Ads work for you?

People don’t share ads, but they do share great content. So why not hack MPAs to promote your content and reap the rewards of the world’s greatest content sharing machine: Facebook.

MPAs allow you to tell a richer story by allowing you to promote multiple pieces of content simultaneously. So consider which pieces of content you have that will work well as “content bundles” and who the relevant audience for each “content bundle” is.

As Hack #8 above illustrates, the big wins come when you match a smart use of the format with the clever and relevant targeting Facebook allows. We’re massive fans of custom audiences so if you aren’t sure where to start, I’d suggest starting there.

So ponder your upcoming content pieces, consider your older content you’d like to breathe some new life into and perhaps you could become a Facebook Ads Hacker.

I’d love to hear about your ideas for turning Multi-Product Ads into Multi-Content Ads in the comments section below.

We could even take the conversation offline at Mozcon!

Happy hacking.


*Yes I did say paid promotion, it’s no secret that Facebook’s organic reach continues to dwindle. The cold commercial reality is you need to pay to play on FB. The good news is that if you select ‘website clicks’ as your objective you only pay for website traffic and engagement while amplification by likes, comments, and shares are free! Those website clicks you pay for are typically substantially cheaper than Adwords, Taboola, Outbrain, Twitter or LinkedIn. How does it compare to display? It doesn’t. Paying for clicks is always preferable to paying for impressions. If you are spending money on display advertising I’d urge you to fling a few spondoolas towards Facebook ads and compare results. You will be pleasantly surprised.

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Happy Holidays from Moz

Posted by FeliciaCrawford

Ah, the holidays! This is the time of year when we give our thanks and make our wishes, when new and old meld happily together like hot buttered rum and Grandma’s pistachio fudge.

There’s been a lot of newness this year for Moz. As the smilin’ face behind live chat, I’ve had the good fortune to meet many of you as you embark upon your Mozzy journey for the first time. And throughout 2014 alone, we welcomed more than two dozen new Mozlings into our family!

With all this wonderful change, we’ve added a few things to our list of office holiday traditions. Party with us as we celebrate the old and the new, the weird White Elephant gifts and the lumpy sweaters from your aunt, and all the good intentions and warm, fuzzy feelings of the season!

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

Reblogged 2 years ago from moz.com