January 6th, 2016

Facebook advertising is very hot right now and that’s because if used correctly it is one of the most effective small business lead generation channels going.

But here’s the  catch – just like every form of lead generation – if you don’t optimize conversion all the traffic in the world won’t do much but burn up your budget.

Oh, and here’s another key, just because it’s easy to set up and run an ad on Facebook doesn’t mean you should skip the care and thought that must go into any form of advertising.

There’s no question that Facebook is a no brainer for certain industries, but let’s face it – today everyone is on Facebook and targeting tools built into the platform can help you find your target market no matter how large or small.

My guest for today’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Adrienne Richardson, marketing and advertising consultant and Facebook marketing guru. We discuss Facebook advertising and how it can apply to any business or marketing strategy.

Richardson and I discuss several case studies during the call including several B2B marketers.

Questions I ask Adrienne:

  • Are there any industries for which Facebook advertising doesn’t work?
  • Where do people go wrong with Facebook advertising?
  • Does Facebook work for B2B Businesses?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • Why you have to plan when you advertise on Facebook
  • Why the lead conversion process is as important as the ad itself
  • How to get started with Facebook advertising
December 2nd, 2015

The crises hitting the ad industry keep multiplying. Ad-blocking stories have topped the trades and mainstream press for weeks. Talent shortages abound, though the great work produced by top talent is rarely properly rewarded. Twenty years after the first banner ad debuted, we still can’t agree on what an impression is. There are crises of confidence matched by crises of competence.

Every crisis breeds opportunity. Here is a simple guide to solving every major predicament in our industry.

1. Agree on impressions. This is easy. An ad must be fully viewable on the screen for it to count. Publishers can charge a premium when consumers take actions on those ads, provided there are rigorous measures in place to prevent bots from taking such actions.

2. Fix video views. No, a split-second impression doesn’t count as a view. P&G defined the “first moment of truth” — the time it takes a shopper to make up his or her mind about a product when encountering it on a store shelf — at three to seven seconds. Granted, other research cited by Malcolm Gladwell and others say opinions are made in a split second. Let’s split the difference and call three seconds the minimum for what counts as a video view. A bonus: The shortest popular form of video today is Vine, running six seconds, so even Vine would only have to charge for half a view for a promoted post.

3. Fix video placements. Stop putting video ads in the dumbest possible places, like 30-second spots in front of 60-second movie trailers (which, by the way, are ads), or overloading ads on kiddie music videos (the whole point of letting kids watch those videos is to let parents do something else, so 99% of those clicks are from toddlers trying to get to Elmo).

4. Reject short-term opportunism for long-term gains. Can you cram another ad on a page or between pages or every 12 seconds during a video? Sure. What will that do to the user experience? And even if today you can get away with it because you’re the only game in town with a certain kind of content, you’re making people hate us all more. See also: the Tragedy of the Commons.

5. Vow full disclosure — about everything. Want to know where your impressions are being run? You got it. If any kind of influencer hawks a product for a fee, or because they received it for free, the disclosure should be as clear as the promotion. Making a change to a privacy policy? Instead of burying it in the fine print and waiting for someone to discover it, declare in advance what the changes will be and gauge feedback from customers. Getting kickbacks? Great. Just tell the buyer about the incentives for what you’re selling so the buyer can decide if it’s a conflict of interest.

6. Don’t <adage_no_lookbook_links>steal. That means ideas. That means work. Don’t ask for something for free when you would have had to pay for it by other means, and then use it as if you have the rights to it. Anything of value has a cost. Pay a fair rate.

7. Reward great work. Instead of constantly nickeling and diming partners and vendors, offer a premium on truly great work, whether it hits a specific goal or achieves some kind of breakthrough success.

8. Be open about what work costs. “Work” is defined broadly here — whatever it is you’re selling. Don’t shy away from making your case. If it really can be done as well by someone in the Philippines or a college kid on Fiverr, you’re fighting a losing battle anyway.

9. Accept where the race to the bottom leads. If your only goal is to shed costs, you will get the worst of all the industry has to offer. If you’re the seller though, your focus should be charging what your offering is worth — not what you can get away with charging for the time being.

10. Uphold security at all costs. The Ashley Madison hack won’t stop people from doing stupid things online, especially when it comes to their personally identifiable information. We have to accept that we are all Ashley Madison: We are all trusted with customers’ information, and we have a duty to protect it. Even if the stakes are lower, given that most of our businesses don’t have Ashley Madison’s moral issues, we all must make the head of security the best-known person at our organizations. Without security, nothing we do matters.

11. Eat our own dog food. It seems people in the ad industry were early adopters of DVRs and Netflix (TV’s ad blockers) but late adopters of ad blockers used online. Perhaps rationalization is the cause; on TV, ad skipping or avoidance is an ancillary benefit, rather than the entire purpose as it is with ad-blocking software. We can no longer afford to be blind to the tools used to get around us.

12. Put trust first. That’s where all of this leads. Our industry ranks somewhere down there with ambulance-chasers and Congress in terms of least trusted institutions. At our constant galas, we’re so busy patting ourselves on the back that we don’t consider how despised we are. What would it take to become one of the most trusted industries? Much of the time, we’re helping people find out about stuff they probably want, while subsidizing media that would cost far more without our efforts. All that we’re missing is a consistent effort to earn the trust of our customers — and each other. A reputation for trustworthiness, more than anything we can ever offer in terms of salaries, would do wonders for our talent crisis as well.

There you, crises solved. Now we can get back to our day jobs.

October 28th, 2015
It appears that the days of organic growth and engagement for brands on Instagram could be coming to an end. At the end of September, Instagram opened their advertising platform to all marketers. Since then, users have seen an influx of ads in their feeds, and many of those ads have been met with negative sentiment. However, if brands want to continue to see the results they once were getting,organically, they may need to start considering incorporating paid into their Instagram strategy.

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September 30th, 2015

Google announced new dynamic callout extensions for AdWords ads. These are an automated extension that highlights specific business and product information in Google search ads. Read the rest of this entry »

August 26th, 2015

If there’s one thing a social network needs to be successful and significant, it’s users. Secondly, it needs a revenue stream. And here’s the thing about a revenue stream, it rarely excites the network’s users. That’s because it almost always involves marketing being blasted to us at full force. However, if the product is great and our friends are there (and stay there), we usually adapt to the marketing that starts appearing in our feeds and eventually just keep on churning on the network, keeping its lights on for years to come. Read the rest of this entry »

July 22nd, 2015

Microsoft announced the beta launch of Bing Native Ads, which let advertisers target intent outside of search. According to the company, the strongest intent signals on the web are users’ interests expressed by prior search queries, signals from the content of the experience in which they’re at at any given point, and user actions like looking for products or taking actions on advertiser sites. Read the rest of this entry »

June 16th, 2015

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has a new study out finding that long-form video is doing well on mobile screens. The study looks at data from 24 countries, and finds that 36% of smartphone users say they watch videos that are five minutes or longer on their phones on a daily basis if not more frequently. Many watch even longer videos, such as movies, on their mobile devices regularly. Read the rest of this entry »

May 27th, 2015

Last summer, Twitter unveiled its objective-based campaigns, reports, and pricing, which it described as a new way to optimize ad campaign performance. They enable advertisers to only pay for actions that are “aligned with” their marketing objectives. Until now, these have been in beta, but the company announced on Wednesday that they’re now available globally to all advertisers.
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April 28th, 2015

YouTube is likely still the first platform that comes to one’s mind when thinking about videos. However, more advertisers will run video campaigns on Facebook this year than on YouTube, according to a new report from video and social advertising company Mixpo. Read the rest of this entry »

April 1st, 2015

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  The power behind running successful pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns lies in the knowledge of the platforms and the knowledge of how online advertising and marketing works.  So when a PPC manager like myself can find ways to make the hard work of implementing our golden knowledge easier, my heart leaps for joy!  One of those leaps came courtesy of Google AdWords in the form of AdWords Scripts. Read the rest of this entry »