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January 2014

Facebook Showing Fewer Posts In Newsfeed

 by ryan on 22 Jan 2014 |
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Facebook today announced changes to their news feed algorithm. These new changes will mean that text-based status updates from Pages will appear in the Newsfeed less often and users will receive more status updates from friends in the Newsfeed instead. This is the latest in a series of changes aimed at making it harder for businesses to market on Facebook organically (ie for free). For instance, in 2012 Facebook announced that a status update from a Page would typically reach only 16% of that Page's fans. Worse, a study by Ignite in December 2013 reported that this figure was actually closer to 3% That's right, you post a status update from your Facebook page and only 3 out of every 100 fans will ever see it, much less convert into a sale. If you rely on Facebook as a major marketing channel it's probably time to re-think your strategy.   The Sky Isn't Falling I'm not saying you should abandon Facebook. With over 1 billion users - yes, billion - Facebook is still the largest social network in the world. What's more, that user base is very active, with 728 million daily active users. That adds up to a whole lot of potential customers you can tap into - it's just that you're probably going to have to spend more on advertising to reach them. There are lots of other benefits to having an active Facebook page as well. It's an easy and convenient way to interact with customers, ask for feedback and deal with any problems they might have. Also, this latest update apparently only affects text-based status updates. You can probably expect better reach if you're posting images or videos with links attached (which you should be doing anyway).   Where To From Here? Firstly, it might be time to change your Facebook strategy. Either start spending more on advertising, start spending less time on creating and sharing text-based content, or switch from text-based content to images, videos and links. And definitely do not buy Facebook likes. As far as alternatives are concerned, Pinterest is much better than Facebook for generating sales. One study found that the average order referred from Facebook was worth $40; the average order from Pinterest was worth twice as much at $80. If your customers are female and you can show off your product visually, Pinterest might be a lucrative marketing channel for you. It's worth mentioning Twitter, Instagram and in particular YouTube as other low-cost marketing channels. YouTube in particular is useful; video content boosts search engine rankings and is easily shareable across other social networks. It can help explain to potential customers how to use your product, or why your product is better than a competing product. And there are heaps of product review channels on YouTube with big subscriber bases you can tap into cheaply. As with all online marketing, test, test and test again. Does posting on Facebook drive a lot of traffic and sales for your online store? Will this latest change impact on your business? Let us know in the comments below.

One Effective Tactic To Lower The Cost of Google AdWords

 by ryan on 15 Jan 2014 |
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Google AdWords is often a very effective channel for bringing traffic to your online store - particularly when your store is new and you have not had time to build up an email list or create enough content to boost your search engine rankings. Unfortunately, AdWords are getting more and more expensive and for many online stores with lots of competitors, clicks are just too expensive on many keywords to be viable. Sound familiar? Well, there is some good news - by using a little-known feature called Ad Scheduling, it is possible to optimize you AdWords campaigns so that they only display when people are most likely to buy. Some Background Every day, over a BILLION searches are performed on Google. These searches are made by people going about their daily lives - going to work, taking a lunch break, going to te gym or spending time with friends or walking their dog or picking up their kids from school etc. Why is this important? People's willingness to buy is affected by what time of day it is and what they are doing at that point in time.  If you know when people are most likely to make a purchase from your online store, you can use Google's Ad Scheduling to specifically target those times/days. Google's Ad Scheduling is a simple tool built within the Adwords framework which allows you to control when your ads should show and when they should not. For example, if you know that your AdWords campaigns produce the most sales on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings, you can tell Google to only display your ads from 6pm-9pm on Tuesdays and 8am-11am on Saturdays. That way you're not wasting money on clicks that don't convert. The trick of course is collecting the data to create a productive Ad Schedule. The good news is, if you've been using Adwords for your online store then you most likely already have the data necessary to make an informed decision.   How to Figure Out The Best Time To Schedule Ads The first step is to run a report of key metrics for your Adwords campaign, broken down into all 24 hours, as follows: Select a time period to analyze and upon which you want to base your future Ad Schedule. Log into your Adwords account. Select the campaign you'd like to analyze. Enter the relevant time period into the date field at the upper right hand corner of the screen. Click on the Dimensions tab. Click on the View: tab. Select Time then Hour of the day The report that is generated will include metrics including hour of the day, clicks, conversions and cost per conversion, amongst others. Just by glancing at the report you will immediately spot high conversion hours, low or zero conversion hours and the all important cost per conversion. Analyze this data carefully and determine which hours of the day are generating the highest cost per conversion and / or the lowest ROI. These are the hours you may want to consider not running your Adwords campaign. Once your analysis is complete, the hard work has been done. The simple part is to implement your conclusions in the form of an Ad Schedule. To do so select your campaign, click on the Settings Tab, then the Ad Scheduling tab and lastly the + Ad Schedule button. Setting up an Ad Schedule solely requires "adding" days to the schedule and subsequently selecting the time periods during which you want your ads to run. It's all very intuitive so I won't delve into it any further. This last step is simple but important; follow up. Watch your campaign closely on a daily basis and make sure your ads are running exactly as scheduled. Don't forget to also analyze the results of your Ad Schedule to confirm that your initial analysis was correct. Within a month, you should be able to pat yourself on the back as you see a substantial reduction in your Adwords bill.   Best Use of Ad Scheduling Ad Scheduling is most useful for impulse purchases - think anything under $100 that does not require a lot of research or consideration to purchase. People probably won't buy a car online during their lunchbreak. They might buy a funny t-shirt though. If your conversions take place after several initial visits then Ad Scheduling could inadvertently cut off some of your budding customers. As with any online marketing, the key is to test, test and test again.  By properly managing a Google Adwords campaign your advertising costs could be reduced substantially, creating a greater profit margin for your on-line sales.  Ad Scheduling is just one of many tools available to improve your ROI, many more will be discussed in weeks to come. Have you used Google's Ad Schedule before? What results did you get? What products and times performed best?      
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