Why Robots Will Never Run PPC Agencies

Posted by on Nov 20, 2017 in Automation
Why Robots Will Never Run PPC Agencies

Outsourcing and automating are two of the easiest ways for companies to cut costs and save time these days. Commonwealth Bank of Australia started minimizing their cyber security teams this year in favor of outsourcing the function (angering many…), and research shows that 230,000 jobs in the financial sector could disappear by 2025, filled by “artificial intelligence agents.”

Outsourcing is said to be “good for business,” and even “leads to happiness,” according to Harvard research.

Are robots and outsourced teams taking over?

ppc automation

Source: Smartsheet

For PPC Agencies, some automation like setting optimization rules or flighting ads, truly do save time and money, a benefit that directly impacts clients.

When it comes to the partners you work with, are automating and outsourcing good or bad, or is their individual impact situational?

But no matter how rigorous the vetting, or how smart the AI, there are some functions you’d never want your PPC agency to give to the robots or send out of house.

Here are four things PPC agencies will never automate or outsource:

Client Relations

Sure, some customer-facing services make sense to automate or outsource, like ATMs for example, but the power of an agency is its people. If a client isn’t happy, the agency shouldn’t be happy, and it would be impossible for a robot or third party to pick up on the emotional nuances that make people, people.

There are many synonymous words and phrases for client relations—customer service, customer success, client happiness—but every single one puts the focus on you, the customer. This relationship is crucial to the agency’s success in business, and offers room for the most opportunity.

That means prioritizing and emphasizing the importance of meetings to interpret and review results, talk about KPIs, discuss new internal developments, and anything else that might affect a client’s results. A good agency will also have a strong sense of what clients prefer and will tailor reports (see some examples in our post Make Clients Happy By Presenting PPC Reports Like This, conversations, campaigns, and anything else that can possibly personalized in order to make sure everyone is happy.

Collective Knowledge

An agency’s collective and historical knowledge simply cannot be replicated, automated, or outsourced. Like its ability to successfully manage client relationships, its experience is an inherent quality that sets it apart from other agencies, and from what a robot or third party could offer.

The years of training that come with team members at all levels and positions create the foundation for an agency’s performance. This collective knowledge is what’s used to make recommendations, shape campaigns, adjust creative, etc. and what differentiates a successful agency from one who’s not exactly sure how to help clients.

Agencies also have the advantage of being able to look across all client accounts, which encompasses different industries, marketing plans, budgets, and so forth. Valuable insight such as that isn’t something you’d ever get through automating or outsourcing.

Ad Creative

Could computers eventually outperform the millions of designers and copywriters who come up with the creative we see today? Persado, a “marketing language cloud” doesn’t exactly write copy—yet—but instead uses math to optimize sentences that drive action. Persado’s CMO calls it “algorithmic copywriting.”

Interesting, but no reason copywriters need to start looking into a career change. Even IBM, maker of Watson, a supercomputer that combines AI and analytical software to form a “question answering” machine says robots will never replace the human soul of creativity.”

Developing effective and compelling creative is an intricate task, and that’s why jobs like copywriter and designer exist. Creative development also requires tons of collaboration across teams and departments, which would be halted if any part of it was automated or outsourced.

Intelligently displaying content can be automated with ad rotations, but the actual creation and revision of creative cannot. And when it comes to custom creative, it takes an experienced human to come up with messaging that feels specifically tailored to a certain group.

Bamboo Marketing has a great case study for Ink Cards showing how they hit the right customers at the right time focusing on milestones and holidays. They used tools like Facebook’s “Life Events” targeting to identify their audiences, but their creative team then came up with specific content to resonate with each audience.

Innovation

Whether it’s platforms introducing new technologies or customer trends changing directions, PPC, and digital marketing as a whole moves quickly. PPC agencies live and breathe this world, meaning they’re on top of relevant news as soon as it’s available, and applying that information to see how they can use it to clients’ advantage.

Again, with the added benefit of being able to see across multiple accounts, PPC agencies can move quickly to test innovations and revise for best results. You can’t automate or outsource a true passion for being on the cutting edge of industry practices.

As technology improves, there may be a stronger argument to automate or outsource more of an agency’s functions. If a job is monotonous, it will soon be gone, freeing time for those that require a human element.

CTA - Q3 BENCHMARK REPORT

How to Automate Your Ad Sequences For Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Posted by on Oct 30, 2017 in Automation
How to Automate Your Ad Sequences For Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the most awaited days of the year for all online retailers. Last year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday represented over $6.5 billion in online spending, close to 2% of the total American online spending in 2016.

If you want to be prepared for this event, you must have your PPC campaigns ready beforehand. You can’t have the same campaigns than the ones during the year; you need to adapt them to the upcoming holidays. This is especially true the closer you get to Black Friday (which will be held on November 24, 2017).

An efficient way to change so is by using automated PPC advertising to sequence and flight your ads. Instead of running a static group of ads all the time, you would display a diverse set of ads that touch the different stages consumers go through before the holiday season starts.

Why You Should Prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Here’s a fact hard to ignore: Cyber Monday 2016 was the biggest day in the history of U.S. e-commerce. Consumers’ spending surpassed the initial estimates, reaching $3.45 billion online, $110 million above those of Black Friday.

In 2017, it’s predicted that online spending for Black Friday will reach $3.52 billion, an increase of 5.39% compared to last year. What’s more, Salesforce estimates Black Friday will be the busiest digital shopping day in U.S. history.

According to Forrester’s 2017 Online Holiday Outlook report for the US, there will be a 3% increase in the total number of online holiday shoppers, while consumers spending will reach an average of $689 online, 8% more than last year.

Another important aspect from last year was that mobile shopping accounted for 47% of visits to retail websites and 31% of sales. This means, if you don’t already have a mobile strategy in place, it’s time you take it seriously for this year.

Preparing Your Ads for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Thanks to the increase in the consumer’s interest in making purchases, you will be able to increase your store’s traffic and sales. One way to maximize both is by using flighting to run PPC campaigns that follow the consumer’s interest.

Flighting is a technique where you schedule your ads to run for a period of time (called a flight) followed by a period where you pause all ads for the advertised product or service. Such scheduling pattern is often used to support seasonal promotions. At first, you would select a group of ads (known as “steps”) you want to “activate” during a specific time period (which could be an hour, a day, or a week).

During that given time, you will only promote the step you want to show. Once the first steps reach the time condition, it will be paused, and the next step will be enabled. The process continues until there are no more steps in your flight.

The main benefit of flighting is that you can lead your customers throughout the sales funnels towards a higher conversion rate thanks to the increase of ad relevancy.

A smart way to leverage flighting for Black Friday and Cyber Monday is by offering progressive promotions. This means, you can start your campaign offering a promotion with low percentages off, and as the weeks go by, increase the percentage off.

If you were to create a 4-week campaign for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, a tentative campaign could look like this:

  • Step 1: From Oct 30 to Nov 5 – 20% off
  • Step 2: From Nov 6 to Nov 12 – 15% off
  • Step 3: From Nov 13 to Nov 19 – 20% off
  • Step 4: From Nov 20 to Nov 27 – 25% off

Promotions aren’t the only thing you can schedule. Another way you can implement is by showing different messages in every step. You can use a conversion framework like Chris Goward’s LIFT Model to create these messages:

ad flighting

The LIFT method has 6 elements:

  • Urgency: You can add urgency to your ads by adding time-bound (flash sales) or by showing the limited product quantities still in stock.
  • Clarity: Make the ad clear by explaining what the product is about.
  • Relevance: Relevance can be anything that makes the product closer to the consumer’s intent. In the case of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this is the percentage off, as that’s the main parameter people use to gauge the quality of the offer. By mentioning the specific percentage off, you can increase the relevance of your ads.
  • Distraction: Remove any kind of distraction from your ad. Instead of explaining what the product is about, mention exactly the product name, the percentage off, and a benefit.
  • Anxiety: It’s a common practice among marketers to mention a number of products available for sale. While good, this can create anxiety in the consumer. You can reduce the anxiety by reducing the options available.
  • Value proposition: Mention the product qualities, features, or benefits.

With this model, you can take your ads and create different ones based on each element. Combined with the progressive offers, you could end up running a powerful set of steps previous to the holidays.

(Note: You can use flighting for your Facebook or cross-channel campaigns with AdStage.)

5 Extra Tips for Flighting Your PPC Campaigns

Taking the previous ideas, here are a few extra ways you can make your ad flighting more effective for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

1.Increase Your Budget

The increase in traffic will result in an increase of the competition. To cover the increase in traffic, you must increase the budget of your campaigns, so they can get the impressions and clicks necessary. The budget increase works similar to the progressive promotions explained above: you would start with a budget slightly larger than usual, and you would increase it as time goes by. The closer your campaigns get to the dates, your budget would proportionally increase.

If you don’t know how much you should increase your PPC budget, take a look at last year’s analytics. See how much your sales increased in percentage terms, and then increase your budget for the same percentage. If you are still in doubt and you think your competition will increase their budget over this percentage, increase your budget even further.

Discuss with your boss and get her permission to have a large budget allocated specifically for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. At the end of the day, if the budget increase will bring more sales which will cover the investment, it’s a no-brainer for your agency or company.

Also, take a look at last year’s sales times and days, and see when you saw the majority of your sales. With this data, you can use day parting and bid scheduling to increase the budget even further for these times and dates.

2. Add Power Words to Your Ads

In the previous section, you saw the importance of creating different ad variations according to the LIFT method’s elements. Another way to boost your ad’s copy is by using power words. These are words that copywriters like to use to make their ads look more powerful. Some of the words you should use in your ads include:

  • Discount
  • Deals
  • Promotions
  • Savings
  • Offers
  • Free
  • Percentage Off
  • Cyber Monday
  • Black Friday

Not only these words will add a punchier look to your ads, they will also increase their relevancy. In the case of Google Adwords, if someone searches for your product plus the term “Black Friday” (or any of the other mentioned terms above), Google will bold the text that matches this term, just like it looks in the image below:

holiday campaign ads flighting

Image Source: IM Vermont

3. Know Your Keywords Positions

Along the previous point, you must be aware of the desired keyword position for your ads. If you know the specific position that brings the best cost-effective results, make sure you adjust your bids to keep it. Since the CPC increases along to the increase in bids from your competition, you need to make sure to increase your bids as well.

Since Cyber Monday happens after the weekend following Black Friday, don’t doubt on increasing your bids even further during this weekend. As you saw before, in 2016 Cyber Monday draw more sales than Black Friday, so you can expect a further increase in sales during this date.

4. Add Your Copy to the Structured Snippets

In 2015, Google released a non-clickable ad extension called Structured Snippets. Structured Snippets allow you to choose and edit the text in the extension as well as increase your ad space, something that boosts your click-through rate and ad relevancy. These ad extensions can be set at the account, campaign or ad group level.

structured snippets - holiday PPC tips

Image Source: Disruptive Advertising

Add each of the previously mentioned conversion-focused copy on these snippets. If you have any special offers, simply enter one offer in the snippet to highlight your deals. The closer you get to the date of the holidays, the more aggressive you should get with your copy.

5. Add Your Copy to Ad Customizers

A great way to increase your CTR during Black Friday and Cyber Monday is by using ad customizers. Ad customizers allow you to customise your ad text based on the keyword the user is searching for, the device they are using, the location and even the date, time of day or day of the week.

adwords ad customizers

Image Source: CrazyEgg

Because you know people are more price-sensitive during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you can use ad customizers to insert the percentage off, the remaining time left before a sale ends, and any other urgency or anxiety-focused message.

Conclusion

Your e-commerce store is facing two of the most important days of the year. Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be the time of the year where you will make a big part of your yearly sales.

To attract the most amount of traffic to your store, you must have your PPC campaigns ready. In this article, you saw how you can increase your PPC effectiveness by flighting your ads.

Remember to break down your campaigns by week, and follow the five tips shown before. This will help you have a better Christmas season and increase your sales in the process.

Flighting Feature: Sequence Ads Together to Tell Your Brand Story

10 PPC Alerts to Boost Your Performance

Posted by on Oct 11, 2017 in AdStage Pro Tips, Automation
10 PPC Alerts to Boost Your Performance

Whether you’re an agency or in-house advertiser, keeping tabs on your campaign performance across different channels is a lot of work. From spend monitoring to ad ranking, advertisers have a lot to stay on top of; and because optimization is the key to a successful campaign, ignorance is not bliss.

While I can’t speak for the entire PPC community, I know that I am certainly not by my computer all the time. My guess is that most PPCers aren’t on theirs all the time either. If living in our ad data is part of a normal day’s work, we need to have an easy and efficient way to stay on top of it all. 

Setting up automated PPC alerts that send emails accessible on mobile is a great way to stay in the know and take necessary actions to keep your advertising running smoothly.

Check out these ten alerts all PPCers should use to stay productive, optimize strategy, and make the most out of each advertising dollar.

1. Check Ad Copy

What are the tell-tale signs of great ad copy? Generally, we know our copy is doing what we need it to by the number of clicks it gets over any given period of time. Therefore, if an ad is sent out into the wild and gets no clicks, we as advertisers need to know.

Example: Alert me if an ad has greater than 100 impressions and less than 1 click.

ppc automated alerts to check ad copy

2.  Monitor CPA

In any PPC campaign, monitoring costs is a no-brainer. The cost of an acquisition or conversion is especially important to ensure not only that our ads are converting, but that they are doing so at a profitable rate for our client or company. It is important to modify an alert like this one with an impressions count to be sure that an ad or campaign has seen enough daylight to properly determine an ideal CPA.

Example: Alert me if impressions are greater than 1000 and CPA is greater than X.

automated alerts to monitor cost per acquisition

3. Ads Not Converting

Your ads may not be converting because of landing page experience, ad copy, or audience targeting. Whatever the reason, you want to stay in the know about ads that don’t guide consumers to the end goal of a purchase or sign-up — to save money and optimize your campaign for success.

Example: Alert me if I’ve spent more than $500 and conversion rate is less than 10%.

automated alerts to monitor PPC conversion

4. Getting Close to Spend Cap

Are you pacing your ad spend budget? The following alert will allow you to stay tuned-in to the pace of your ad spend while giving you the power to take action before your cap is hit.

Example: Alert me if total spend > $470 (where spend cap = $500).

automated alerts to monitor advertising spend

5. Search: Average Position is Dropping

If your strategy includes first-page search exposure, this alert is for you. By receiving a notification when an ad’s average position drops below your target, you can take the appropriate action (raise bids, evaluate keywords, etc.) before falling too far behind.

Example: Alert me if the average position is greater than 4.

automated alerts to check search position

6. Check Landing Page Performance

No marketer wants to spend money on poorly-converting campaigns. If your ads are getting clicked on at a decent rate, but for some reason, those clicks don’t convert into customers, it’s time to check your landing page experience. This alert will notify you so you can take action before it’s too late.

Example: Alert me if CTR > 8% and conversions are less than 1.

automated alerts to check landing page performance

7. Account-Level Spend Pacing

For marketers who allocate budgets by ad networks, setting up an alert like this will keep their network-specific spend on track.

Example: Alert me if total spend is greater than $2,500.

automated alerts for budget pacing

8. Search: Check Keywords

This alert is great for campaign management at the keyword level. If you’re testing out some new keywords in a few of your ad groups, use this alert to monitor their performance and iterate when necessary.

Example: Alert me if CTR is less than 2% for selected keywords.

automated alerts to check keywords

 

9. Check Facebook Relevance Score

A low relevance score could increase your cost per click and even be detrimental to a company’s brand. This alert will give you the power to keep a close eye on your ads’ relevance score so you’ll know if you need to update your targeting or copy.

Example: Alert me if my ads’ latest relevance score is greater than 0 but less than 8.

automated alerts for Facebook Relevance Score

10. Facebook: Check Video Ad Creative

Video ads take a lot of time and creative effort to publish. Make sure your efforts are not in vain by setting an alert to notify you if those video ads are being skipped over by your audience.

Example: Alert me when my video views are less than 5.

automated alerts PPC to monitor Facebook ads performance

 

Take control of your advertising with these ten alerts and leave manual performance checks behind.

In AdStage, all alerts are customizable to your strategic criteria and can be set up in less than 2 minutes. Once you’re comfortable with the action you take following an alert (e.g., pausing an ad if it’s flying too close to your spend cap), take the automation one step further and convert it into a rule. Try for yourself — sign up for a 14-day free trial.

Facebook Ad Fatigue: How to Keep Your Ads Fresh

Posted by on Aug 30, 2017 in Automation, Social
Facebook Ad Fatigue: How to Keep Your Ads Fresh

It takes a lot of testing to uncover one really good Facebook ad. Once marketers find it, they scale it, investing more money in just the top-performing ad. Facebook ad fatigue happens when an audience gets served the same ad over-and-over, causing them to ignore it and may even hide it from their feeds. This turns off audiences, hurts ad performance, and increases CPCs.

To solve this problem, you have one solution: rotate in fresh ads. By rotating your ads, you get the best ROI and decrease the chances of triggering banner blindness on your audience. In this article, we’ll show you why Facebook wants you to rotate your ads, how to do it, and five examples to inspire you.

Why Facebook Ad Fatigue Matters

People get bombarded with ads. In the U.S. alone, the average person is exposed to 4,000 to 10,000 each day. The high volume of advertising has triggered a psychological effect known as “Banner blindness.” As the name suggests, people have become blind to the advertisement banners they see in the streets, newspapers, and other media. It’s not that consumers hate ads, >they simply ignore them.

According to a 2013 study by Infolinks, 86% of consumers suffer from banner blindness. Another study from the Nielsen group found people almost never look at anything that resembles an advertisement, whether or not it’s actually an ad.

To prevent banner blindness, the Nielsen group recommends making your ads look like a native part of the site. That means you should make your ads look less like an ad and more like a message from a friend. Ironic, but effective.

Banner blindness has become our defense mechanism against information overload. While banner blindness describes users’ tendency to ignore an ad because they have grown used to it, ad fatigue refers to the decline in click-through rate and conversion after banners have been left to run for a certain amount of time. In other words, ad fatigue is a symptom; banner blindness is the cause of the problem.

In Facebook, you can measure ad fatigue with the frequency metric. The more you show your ads to an audience, the higher the frequency. When Facebook shows your ads to your target audience too many times (which means your frequency increases), your click-through rate drops and your cost per click increases.

The good news is, you can fight ad fatigue by automatically rotating in fresh ads.

How to Automatically Rotate Your Facebook Ads

As the name suggests, to rotate ads, you define a piece of your ad, which could include your creative, targeting, or bid, and replace with another piece. For example, you could rotate a headline that says “See Why +10,000 Customers Love Us” with another one that says, “Get A Free Trial of X Today.”

Facebook rotates your ads automatically. Once you create a series of ads within an ad group, Facebook makes them compete against each other for delivery. Facebook displays all the ads in your ad set until they find one that works best. When that happens (usually within the first 1,000 impressions), they will show the projected winning ad more often than the others.

There’s no right or wrong time to start rotating your ads. At the least, try to have two or three ads in the same ad group, in which case Facebook will automatically rotate your ads. Once you hit a winner and start to see a decrease in conversion and an increase in cost-per-click, create a new ad group with the same targeting as the winning one, and add more variations to the winning ad to keep your ad fresh.

With Facebook automatic rotation, you can’t choose which variation to show your audience. That can be frustrating. With the help of AdStage’s Facebook Ad Rotation and Flighting automation, you can display the variation you want in any given time frame. You can rotate one successful ad during the weekends, or you can test different ad variations every week, as well as many other combinations you prefer.

If you are having a hard time finding inspiration to rotate your ads, here’s five examples to get you started.

5 Ways to Rotate Your Facebook Ads Creatives

1) Use Power Words

how to rotate ads - example

After decades of testing sales-proof copy, copywriters have found that certain words evoke more emotional responses in the target audience. These are the so-called power words.  Adding power words in your copy increases chances of a positive outcome for your ads.

“Free,” “now,” “sensational,” and “instantly” are popular power words to use in ad copy. For more examples, check out this list of 189 power words.

Action Step:

  • Take a look at the list mentioned above. Select 5-10 words and use them in your ads.

2) Show a Giveaway

People love getting things for free. That’s the power of giveaways. Neil Patel gives away his framework for teaching marketing to convince people to sign up for his webinars.

neil patel

He could reverse his ad and focus on the giveaway in the copy or the description, and add the webinar in the title. He could also mention either the webinar or the giveaway in the image of the ad.

Action Step:

  • Think about what things you could give away for free to your audience. You can repurpose content and package it as a bonus or resource, and give it away in your ad as an extra.

3) Make an Irresistible Offer

how to rotate ads example

Sumo, the email list building, analytics, and social media tool, offers a 40% discount in their accounts with an annual subscription. The ad retargets users who have already tested Sumo and may need some extra convincing.

how to rotate ads -- example

Agoda, a Singapore-based hotel booking website, offers discounts and makes it easy to pick a hotel room right from your Facebook feed with the carousel ad.

4) Make It Exclusive

Scarcity is one of the most powerful economic drivers: what’s scarce is valuable.

how to rotate ads -- example

Foundr promoted their Foundr Club 2.0 by highlighting its exclusivity in their ad copy: “private membership for entrepreneurs.” They also use emojis to draw attention to the ad.

Action Step:

  • Make one of your offers scarce. You can show it for a limited period of time, for a specific number of people, or both.

5) Play with the Length

how to rotate ads -- example

Your ads have just a few seconds to catch the audience’s attention. Better Help’s ad keeps the message simple and highlights just the core value proposition: getting therapist help.

how to rotate ads -- example

In the second example, MentorBox promotes a video of the founders. The ad copy is longer than usual and includes all the details of their offering — a subscription box for business-related books.

Action Steps:

  • Play with your ad’s length. If you promote short ads, make them longer, and vice versa.
  • Think on the user’s stage of the buyer’s journey. If your customers are in the beginning, they may need more explanation to your ad’s message. If they are closer to the purchase, they may want to use a shorter message focused on the offer itself.

Conclusion

Facebook ad fatigue is a common and important factor to consider when running a Facebook ads campaign. Even though Facebook automatically rotates your ads to increase their relevance, you want to constantly experiment with your ads to find the best performing combination.

Throughout this article, you have seen five ways you can rotate your ads. To get you started, pick a couple and test them in your ads today.

Flighting Feature: Sequence Ads Together to Tell Your Brand Story

The Future of PPC Automation: 7 Experts Weigh In

Posted by on Jul 5, 2017 in Automation
The Future of PPC Automation: 7 Experts Weigh In

The world of PPC is going through deep changes thanks to the power of automation. Automation is helping PPC specialists and agencies free their time from mundane tasks to focus on higher-value activities.

In the past few years, the major ad networks like Google AdWords and Facebook Ads provide their Advertisers with automation tools to improve their management performance.

These new automation features provided by these networks are just the beginning. There’s a lot more that will be released in the coming years, which will impact PPC management in even more profound ways.

To discover how automation has influenced PPC management, we asked seven PPC experts how automation has impacted their workflows. Here’s what they said!

What Impact Has Automation Had In Your PPC Campaigns?

Since Google Adwords and Facebook Ads launched their automated rules, automation has been in every PPC specialist’s radar. Many repetitive tasks can now be done once and then automated, such as pausing low performing campaigns, scheduling ads, or changing bids. For this reason, automation is in the center of most PPC specialist’s work life.

Dave Walker, founder and Director of Segmatic, was the first expert to express his fascination for PPC automation:

Automation is essential to everything we do in PPC. We’ve built our own tool which automates account creation, search term analysis, ad copy creation, bidding, shopping creation. We believe that it is interesting to figure out how to execute a complicated strategy once, but after that, we want it automated.

Being able to automate tasks once to then focus on strategy has allowed the experts to focus on higher-value activities. To this extent, Jonathan Dane, founder and CEO of KlientBoost, said:

As a PPC agency, we find that automating small tasks leads us all to focus on the bigger picture. Unfortunately, it’s too easy to get hung up on the small things because “they have to be done”, before you can focus on bigger needle movers.

So automation like ad testing and bid adjustments, albeit small automations, have freed up a ton of time to focus more on what matters for us.

According to JD Prater, Head of Customer Acquisition at AdStage, automation helps him focus on potential problems:

Automation has made my life a lot easier by taking care of the repeatable little tasks. I love to run rules in my paid social campaigns that help keep my ads fresh and alerts to direct my attention to potential issues. Having the time to focus on other more important tasks has helped me increase the effectiveness of my account management.

Michelle Morgan, Director of Client Services at Clix Marketing, mentioned:

In my experience, automation has been successful in saving me time and improving my campaigns effectiveness.

Melissa Mackey, Search Supervisor at gyro, has found there are many tools that have helped her improved her ad management. From bid and budget management to scheduling and stopping campaigns to ad copy testing, she uses automation to save her a lot of time each week:

The biggest impact has come from using Acquisio for bid and budget management. We no longer have to manually manage budget pacing – saving hours each week. The technology also optimizes bids in near-real time, helping us to get better performance in our accounts. We also use automation to pause or enable campaigns automatically – no more logging in on weekends to pause a campaign that’s ending. We use AdAlysis for ad copy testing, which enables us to test faster and smarter.

Frederick Vallaeys, CEO of Optmyzr, has also found automation to be highly effective for his client’s success:

We routinely see advertisers improve their CPA and ROAS by 20% when they streamline their workflows with Optmyzr’s tools. And because they spend less time to achieve these results, they have more time to find new clients and grow their business in other ways.

Despite its benefits, PPC automation also has its limits. The fact is, there are still only certain amount of tasks you can automate. Kirk Williams, owner of ZATO, gave us a detailed look at how he uses automation for PPC management:

The impact of automation has grown significantly for our accounts over the years. We have begun to use automation in our PPC clients primarily in 5 ways: bid adjustments, ad management, negative keyword management, reporting, and notifications.

In bidding, like many agencies, we use a selection of tools and automated rules to make bulk decisions based upon historical performance for specific keywords or product groups (in Shopping Ads).

Finally, we automate notifications for certain elements of a client account to ensure we are getting the most up to date data on important elements. For instance, we have a an automated rule set up that tells us if a client’s important campaigns/ad groups have zero impressions in a day. That alerts us to the fact that something may have happened (especially important in Google Shopping when it’s not always apparent if a product got disapproved immediately).

Automation is still pretty new and it’s far from being perfect. It takes trial and error to see what tasks are best automated and which ones should still be managed by the expert. On this end, Michelle Morgan expressed her experience:

Now, that’s not to say that all automation practices I’ve tested have worked. Over the years I’ve been able to test different strategies, find what works well for me and my clients, then turn off or revert any tests that simply didn’t pan out.

How Much Do You Think Automation Will Change the Way PPC Management is Done in the Future?

Automation is still quite new in the PPC world. Given its limited scope, PPC specialists still need to focus on many important tasks. With the advent of technologies such as machine learning and big data, and with the sharp evolution of artificial intelligence, the whole industry may change soon. PPC specialists need to be aware of the future changes of automation and how it can impact their jobs.

According to Michelle Morgan, automation will increase the quality in which PPC management is done:

I think automation will continue to become more prevalent in our daily work lives, but in more sophisticated ways than they have before. Most of the basics have been covered by existing tools, so the bar has been raised.

Although automation may help companies save time and money, it won’t be easy for them to adapt to this changes. She expressed concerns:

I imagine each new automation innovation will take a bit longer for advertisers to swallow, but could eventually change the way we’re doing our jobs.

Nonetheless, there will be tasks which automation won’t affect. On this end, Jonathan Dane said:

I think that PPC by itself can truly be 100% automated very quickly. What won’t be easy is the creative side. The creative ads (not text ads) and more importantly, the landing page or website experience. Doesn’t matter how fine tuned your PPC campaigns are if you can’t get anyone to convert. And that’s why the art of getting PPC to work will always be there – at least for the near future. 😉

Even if you think automation will make PPC specialists do less and less things, you shouldn’t be scared of automation. Kirk Williams likes to see automation as an complement of PPC specialists and not a replacement. Instead of focusing on what it can take away from PPC specialists, you should focus on what it can bring to the table.

We fought this for a long time at ZATO… until we began to look at automation less as a replacement, and more as an assistant.  When this change happened in our minds, we began embracing it in client accounts. I truly think this is the way automation is going, and is why it will continue to increase in value. This goes into the difference between true AI, and machine learning (as detailed well in conversations I have had with AdStage founder Sahil Jain), but what we have primarily now is machine learning. In this, we can utilize algorithms and machine learning to increase the success of repeatable processes, and it is there that the value of automation is high in PPC.

I think the most valuable PPCers in the future are not the ones who simply “use” automation for the heck of it (efficiency is pointless if the task you are making efficient is pointless). The valuable future PPCers are the ones who will use automation to save them time in repeatable processes, so they can devote themselves to the deeper analysis points and decisions that need to be made for smarter decisions.

Even though Kirk Williams believes PPC automation won’t make PPC specialists go out of business, Melissa Mackey thinks there are certain tasks they shouldn’t be doing any more:

I blogged about this recently. I think manual bid management is already obsolete – it just doesn’t make sense when there are so many tools, many of them free, to optimize bids. Automation can help with ad copy testing too – this can be completely automated, if desired (although I don’t recommend this). One of the most important changes PPC specialists will faces is a shift from a purely operational focus (like changing bids and scheduling ads), to a more strategic role. PPC specialists will leave the execution of the ad campaigns to the automated tools.

Four of the interviewed experts agreed on this issue.

First, Dave Walker said:

Paid Search can be split into 2 parts. Strategy & Execution. I don’t expect strategy to be ever fully automated, and am skeptical of completely removing humans from the process. Machine learning etc. gets thrown around a lot as some sort of magical solution, but it will be a long-time before the role of intelligent human thought is removed from marketing. Execution on the other hand can be almost fully automated.

Later, Frederick Vallaeys mentioned that:

Automation is changing the way we manage PPC accounts very dramatically. As Google rapidly improves its artificial intelligence and machine learning, certain tasks are easier to automate, like bid management and ad testing. Account managers can also create their own automations using AdWords Scripts. And when more tasks are automated, the account management role shifts to more strategy work, and monitoring that automations deliver the expected results.

Melissa Mackey also added to this last comment:

Most manual number-crunching will be done via automation, freeing up PPC managers to focus on long term strategy and analysis.

Finally, JD Prater shared his thoughts on the topic:

Automation is really going to help account managers become strategic and diagnose issues faster. Especially when thinking about machine learning to bubble up insights and optimizations that I can take action on. I believe that automation will help my accounts become more efficient and produce better results.

What Other New Technologies Do You Think Will Impact How PPC Campaigns Are Run?

Automation is only one of the various technologies which may affect the way PPC management is done. There are many other new technologies which are likely to come up and change the industry standards.

Before we consider any new technologies, we need to remember the first goal of any new tool is to solve specific problems for PPC specialists. In this regard, JD Prater said:

There’s a lot new tools hitting the marketing technology landscape everyday. I think the ones that will win out are addressing specific problems and pain points. I’m really looking forward to the tools that empower people to optimize and be data-driven.

Similar to what JD said, Melissa Mackey thinks there are already a lot of tools that can replace the standard out-of-the-mill optimization techniques of AdWords or Bing Ads:

There are so many new technologies out there, it’s hard to keep up. I’m a fan of third party tools, rather than relying on Google or Bing to optimize. There are so many great tools out there already. Soon, the days of logging into AdWords and poring over raw data may be a thing of the past.

From all the experts interviewed, Jonathan Dane is probably one of the most pessimistic regarding the future of PPC automation. He believes a new technology such as custom recommendations can not only change the way agencies manage PPC campaigns, but also can make companies like the one he runs go out of business:

Custom recommendation engines will be the quickest way that our agency, KlientBoost, will be put out of business. Imagine a software knowing what your goals are, and then only making recommendations for you to change things – around those goals. This can come with a flair of AI, but it’s also just easy logic sometimes. That will be more of a game changer than automation or programmatic tools.

One common challenge publishers face is ad attrition; that is, how people get tired of seeing the same ad over and over. To overcome this issue, advertisers rotate their ads so their audience receive similar ads but that differ from each other. On this end, Michelle Morgan believes the next big change can be the way audiences experience ads:

I’m constantly amazed with the innovations coming out of our industry on a fairly regular basis. In my mind, the biggest trend is more from an end user standpoint, how our target audience is experiencing our advertisements. Nearly all ad channel innovations coming out are trying to help us better target our desired markets and engage with them in a more authentic manner. With that, there’s going to be all kinds of potential for new technologies that help advertisers leverage those advancements and become even more effective.

Whatever happens with the upcoming technologies in the future, no new technology will be separated entirely from each other. It’s likely that the next big new technology will be tied with other similar ones. Kirk Williams said:

I think the future of PPC will look like a combination of Paid Search, Social, Voice Search from mobile devices, Augmented Reality, and IOT. Sure, this is a long list, but the new tech in that list are definitely (1) increased intelligence with voice search assistants, (2) Augmented Reality, and (3) IOT devices.

In terms of the third, I think there are ways IOT will disrupt the paid search realm that we don’t even know about yet. For instance, buttons like Amazon’s dash button can be used to order things like water filters or laundry detergent completely eliminating the need for a search online at all (and thus no ads).

We all know that voice search is continuing to grow as “technology” that is affecting paid search but it’s worth an honorable mention because we are still in the early stages of it. I think Amazon Alexa (now on multiple devices), Apple’s new home device, Google Home, and Microsoft’s Cortana will continue to become valuable parts of our lives, though time will tell exactly what that means for advertisers.

Finally, augmented reality will certainly become a part of the future of advertising, whether that is simply looking one’s person in the mirror with an overlay of that new shirt to see what we look like, or some other clever way we think up. It would be foolish to not stay up on the changes in digital marketing.

Similar to what Kirk Williams said, Frederick Vallaeys believes the way the future technologies will improve PPC management has more to do with how they are tied to each other:

What excites me most is that Google makes scripting very accessible to marketers through AdWords Scripts and that they can tie into other Google services. I imagine the day is not far off when we can use AW Scripts to use data from Google’s new Attribution, and to write our own machine learning algorithms with Tensorflow.

The fact that we can combine Google’s technology with all the data from our business means we are not bound to cookie-cutter solutions, but can actually do unique things for our unique businesses.

Despite the fact new technologies will come and change the way PPC management is done, some things won’t change so much. Rather, the quality will improve. Dave Walker thinks automation will help companies to hire less people and improve the execution of the campaigns:

Tools, like Segmatic or others, focused on automating execution will allow for more PPC spend to be managed by fewer people. PPC will become more and more focused on strategy, rather than Excel skills alone!

Summary

Automation has changed the PPC landscape in an unprecedented way. This article has shown you how the future of PPC automation tools are impacting the way management is done by some of the top industry experts.

You have also seen how it will may impact in the future. Finally, you have how future technologies may impact the way PPC management is done.

What are your thoughts on the future of PPC automation? Please, share your thoughts in the comments below.

Focus on Campaign Strategy with Automate Bulk Actions

Posted by on Jun 20, 2017 in Automation, Product Updates
Focus on Campaign Strategy with Automate Bulk Actions

Save Time Optimizing Ad Accounts with Automate Bulk Actions

Managing your ad campaigns individually on each network is time consuming and repetitive. Instead of dedicating resources to analyze campaign performance or refining your ad creative, you’re stuck juggling multiple open tabs to perform the same tedious optimization tasks across all your active campaigns.

Introducing some automation into your ad management workflow is a sure-fire way to avoid wasting time making the same manual across all your ad creative. If you can significantly reduce the amount of time and effort you’re currently spending on tedious optimizations, you’ll be able to re-allocate that time and effort into thinking about strategy, audience targeting, and testing.

What Are Automate Bulk Actions?

Bulk actions allow you to make precise optimization, in mass, across a selected group of desired accounts, campaigns, and ad creative. Make quick, sweeping changes across accounts, campaigns, ad group/ad sets, and ad creative based on the metrics or actions using simple if-then logic to apply changes to your accounts based on the criteria you set.

Bulk Actions help you efficiently optimize your accounts:

  1. Edit bids, budgets, and statuses of any campaign, group/ad set, ad, or keyword across your ad networks all at once.
  2. Gain peace of mind with real-time status email notifications that let you know the Bulk Action task successfully applied your changes.
  3. Save and run common bulk actions across multiple campaigns, ad groups / ad sets, or ad creative at the same time.

What Are Some Common Ways to Use Bulk Actions?

Quick House Cleaning: Pause All Low-Performing Ads

It’s important to run periodic reviews of your campaign’s ad performance and pause the ads performing poorly while increase spend for the ads converting the most leads. Allowing bad ads continue to receive impressions will hinder customer acquisition efforts and result in low quality scores.

Continue refining campaign performance and use Bulk Actions to automate identifying and pausing low-performing ads across all your networks; including Bing, Google AdWords, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Use Bulk Actions to automate identifying and pausing low-performing ads across all your networks.

For example, you may want to pause poor performing ad creative that generated a high average cost per conversion.

Looking at performance over the last 14-days:

  • Spend > $400 AND
  • Conversions > 5
  • Cost per conversion > $200
  • Then pause the ad copy

Pause Ad Creative Automate Bulk Actions via blog.adstage.io

Make Keyword Bid Adjustments in a Flash

Keyword bids directly impact campaign profitability and ultimately your ROI. For example, if you bid too low, you risk missing valuable opportunities to reach potential customers. Other the other hand if you bid too high, you’re also driving up your cost per acquisition and diminishes your returns. Edit your bids according to your desired advertising goals.

Take advantage of great performing keywords, by raising their bids so they can show in higher positions and more often.

Looking at performance over the last 30-days:

  • IF average position is <3 AND
  • IF conversions are > 5
  • IF cost / conversions < $80
  • Then Increase bid by 5%, with a maximum ceiling of $8.00.

Take Advantage of High Performing Keywords Automate Bulk Actions via blog.adstage.io

Health Check for Your Quality Scores

Search marketers interested in increasing ROI have to not only understand, but also improve Quality Scores to optimize PPC campaigns. Quality Score is a grade assigned to your paid search campaigns at the keyword level, by either Bing Ads or Google AdWords. Ad networks prefer relevant ads because they offer searchers a better user experience by displaying only the most relevant results for their search intent.

Low quality score keywords can be costly to your overall account, driving up average cost per click, and inflating cost per conversion averages. Pause poor performing keywords in one sweep with a low quality score bulk optimization.

Looking at keyword performance over the last 14-days:

  • IF Quality Score <5
  • IF average CPC > $1.25
  • IF spend > $200
  • IF cost per conversion > $100
  • Then pause the keyword

Pause Low Performing Keywords Automate Bulk Actions via blog.adstage.io

Putting It All Together

Advertisers are already seeing success with Automate. One large educational organization immediately lowered costs by $18,000 in a 28 day period with one dayparting rule. Other direct advertisers, such as HIRED, have been able to decrease their costs per acquisition by over 30%; while agencies, like Inflow, see an average lift of 20% conversions using automated rules to adjust bids, budgets, and flighting across search and social channels.

Now you can instantly make sweeping changes across all your accounts, campaigns, ad groups / ad sets, ads, and keywords right inside Automate.

Create your first ‘Bulk Action’ in Automate to save time and start focusing on campaign strategy today!

 

 

Automate Bulk Actions CTA via blog.adstage.io

How to Save 10 Hours on PPC Management With Automation

Posted by on Jun 19, 2017 in Advertising, Automation
How to Save 10 Hours on PPC Management With Automation

Managing a PPC campaign takes time. A big part of that time is taken by activities you repeat over and over, like scheduling ads, optimizing bids, and keyword management.

Some of the activities you do to manage your campaigns are small and may take you 10 minutes. But aggregate all those little tasks, and you will see you are losing many hours a month you could spend in higher-value activities.

In this article, you’ll learn how to use automation to save up to 10 hours a month when managing your PPC campaigns.

Campaign Optimization

On Your Own: 6 hours per month

Optimizing a campaign is one of the most time consuming tasks of any PPC specialist. Tasks such as setting up new ads to test, changing bids to reflect a new tactic, and improving the ad copy of a set of ads take too much time. Most importantly, it can distract the specialist from the big picture of helping a business improve its leads and ROI.

With Automation: 2 hour per month

You can use automation to help you optimize a wide variety of basic optimization tasks, such as:

  • Pause ad sets and ad groups which spend over their desired limits
  • Pause low performing ad sets, ad groups, or specific ads
  • Increase the spending of ad sets, ad groups, or specific ads based on their high performance
  • Adjust the bids based on the impact (including ROAS and CPA)
  • Run ad tests

Google AdWords already lets you set simple automate ad rules. You can also use scripts and other AdWords automation tools, which usually give you greater control and more automation options.

Facebook has also released automation rules in 2016, allowing advertisers to optimize campaigns in a similar fashion than to Google AdWords. Some of the automation rules Facebook offer include:

  • Pause campaigns, ad sets or ads based on performance
  • Increase or decrease campaign budgets based on performance
  • Increase or decrease manual bids based on performance
  • Receive email alerts based on ad performance

Even though Facebook’s automation rules are good enough for companies with smaller budgets and levels of complexities, they can be too restraining for larger business. With the help of a tool such as AdStage, you can automate your campaigns with greater flexibility.

For example, you can implement your automation rules across multiple campaigns and ad sets simultaneously. What’s more, AdStage allows you to apply as many rules as you wish, while Facebook only lets you set up to 100 automated rules per ad account.

Ad Rotation

On Your Own: 2 hours per month

Ads don’t last forever. PPC specialists know this very well when they try to scale an ad that is performing well but stops performing as it should. The reason why a well-performing ad stops bringing any meaningful results is due to a process known as “ad fatigue.” When a publisher hits an audience with an ad too many times in a short period of time, the audience’s attention to that ad drops, which lowers the CTR and, therefore, increases its costs.

To fight ad fatigue you can implement a tactic called “ad rotation.” This consists on manually creating a large number of ads within one ad group (or set), with their respective images and copy for each one. Then, you could set a schedule time for each one, run them, and after a certain time has passed by, compare the results.

The problem with this solution is you would need to keep a tight schedule on each ad running time as well as manually check when they are supposed to stop. Finally, you would need to stop the ad yourself, and activate a new one. Repeat that over a dozen times, and you can imagine you can end up wasting a lot of time (without counting the mental fatigue that can give you).

With Automation: 30 Minutes per month

Automating ad rotation would help you set all your ads at once (with their respective headlines, copy, and images), set up how often you want to run them (which could be hours, days, weeks, or even months), and let the ads rotate automatically the way you set them up. You can then set up an alert (which you will see later how to do) and check the results without having to check constantly how they are performing.

Google AdWords currently allows you to use automatic ad rotation. Google offers four options:

  • Click optimization (the default option): With this option, Google would optimize your group to make it receive more impressions and clicks overall.
  • Conversion optimization: When Google optimizes your ads for conversion, they deliver the ads that have converted better more often into the ad auction than other ads in the ad group.
  • Even rotation: In this option, Google rotates your ads more evenly into the ad auction, helping your ads with low CTRs and conversion rates to show more often.
  • Indefinite rotation: In this option, Google also delivers your ads more evenly into the ad auction, but does so for an indefinite amount of time and does not optimize.

Facebook Ads rotation works differently, as they set up their ads in a way that different ads within the same ad set compete against each other for delivery. That means they display all the ads in your ad set until it’s clear one is performing better. As soon as that happens, the highest-performance ad will be shown more prominently than the others. Because of the nature Facebook rotates their ads, if you would like to have your ads display more evenly over the lifetime of an ad set, you need to separate your ads into different ad sets. Even if this rotation is automatic, it still requires a lot of work.

To this end, AdStage can help you rotate your ads with a feature called Flighting, which allows you to cycle a selected set of Campaigns, Ad Groups, and Ads. Once the first group of ads meets the time condition selected, those will be paused and the next step will be enabled.

Ad Scheduling (aka. Dayparting)

On Your Own: 2 hours per month

Unless you run a local business, showing your ads to your prospects at the right time can be a tiresome process. The prospects who live in the East Coast may be receiving ads that aren’t relevant at their time zone, which means you end up wasting money on people who aren’t likely to convert.

In some cases, it’s easy to know when your ads are more likely to be effective. For example, if you run a business with limited service hours which will be closed at certain times, you probably want to restrict your ads to run only while your business is open. In this case, you can limit your ads to run from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM Monday to Friday.

In many other cases (like in the case of an e-commerce store), it’s hard to tell beforehand when your ads will perform best. That’s where scheduling your ads to show at specific times, when they have proven to work best, can be a more efficient and time-saving process.

With Automation: 15 Minutes per month

Ad scheduling, also known as “dayparting”, show your ads to the right people at the right time. You can schedule your ads to show at specific hours and days of the week. Your ads will be served your audience’s time zone so you get the results you want.

Both Google AdWords and Facebook offer dayparting in their campaign managers. The problem is they don’t make it easy for you to turn off your campaigns.

AdStage Automate lets advertisers use dayparting through the campaign scheduler. Based on data taken from your previous campaigns, you can show your ads at specific times of the day or week when they have shown to be most effective. This helps you spend your budget as efficiently as possible. Scheduling your ads in Power Editor requires a lifetime budget. With AdStage, in contrast, advertisers have no restrictions on what budget types can be used for scheduling.

Get Alerts

On Your Own: 3 hours per month

How many times have you run a campaign and feared it would end up spending more money than you desired? If you measured how much time you spent monitoring your accounts and campaigns, you’d probably gasp at the number. Whether you check in on a campaign’s spend, on your KPIs, or simply troubleshooting problems that show you, logging into accounts to look at the numbers is time-consuming.

With Automation: 15 Minutes

You can end all your worries by receiving a curated list of your accounts and campaigns straight to your inbox. With automation you can set a threshold in relation to a certain metric, and the threshold is hit, you immediately get an email or message. Alerts do all the work for you by sending updates as soon as you over or under spend, make specific adjustments, and anticipate problems before they happen.

Facebook currently doesn’t offer alerts, while Google Adwords does. Google Adwords lets you get the following email notifications:

  • Billing alerts
  • Campaign maintenance alerts
  • Newsletters
  • Google market research
  • Customized help and performance suggestions
  • Disapproved ads and policy alerts
  • Reports
  • Special offers

AdStage also allows you to create custom alerts to your inbox.

Create Reports

On Your Own: 2 Hours per month

Reporting is a common activity any PPC specialist spends a large deal of time on. The problem is, each time they need a report, they need to log in, pull all the necessary data, organize it, and export it. If they need the same report every a specific period of time, they can end up spending more time than necessary creating those reports.

With Automation: 20 minutes per month

Both Google Adwords and Facebook Ads lets you automate your report creation. The problem with their standard reports is you can’t customize it. For example, you can’t compare the performance of your AdWords and Facebook Ads campaigns. You can’t create standardized templates for reuse. This is not to mention how confusing and ineffective creating reports can be. Neither companies allow you to add graphics or tables. To do that, you you have to export your data and work it on Excel, which can be even more complicated and time-consuming.

AdStage allows you to create custom PPC report templates, and then schedule them as a recurring report (including daily, weekly, or monthly) straight to your inbox. You can also add your team members or clients with ease.

Summary

If you are a PPC specialist with too much work and not enough time, this article has shown you the power of automation. Throughout this article, you have seen how automating five tasks in your PPC management can help you save 10 hours (or even more).

 

Why AdStage Automation

Boosting Social Media Marketing Using Content Automation

Posted by on May 31, 2017 in Automation, Social
Boosting Social Media Marketing Using Content Automation

Comprehensive automation appears to be the future trajectory of digital marketing. Email automation, for example, has become second-nature to many marketers. It’s nearly impossible to imagine writing unique emails to individual clients each day. Retaining information regarding our users in automated CRM systems allows for automation to be simplified.

This post is about social media marketing. The emphasis is on the “social” aspect, the part where relationships are built between your brand and its followers. People following your company on social media want a personal connection, not mechanically generated content cluttering their feeds and jamming their inbox! It increases your chances of success if there is a human being on the other side of every post that they view.

If you are geographically separated from a significant portion of your audience or clients, would it make sense to attempt to contact them late at night, to the detriment of other relationships? Waking up early in the morning or staying up very late at night will eventually interfere with the schedule you’re meant to keep with local clients, family, and friends.

The Case for Automation

Scheduling posts to go live automatically is an especially useful application for automation. A well-planned content calendar, with diverse content, may be the solution to lackluster relationship building and can increase brand presence and site traffic. Posting at optimal times of day can also significantly increase site traffic; it doesn’t make much sense to post while your audience is sleeping! You should also consider investing to boost posts or run more ads.

By automating your marketing, you can mitigate some of these challenges. This approach will also save you time and improve the impact of social media campaigns. Automation (and by this we mean loading up your social media calendar ahead of time so that you’re not manually posting) can only get you so far. You have a lot of things to think about when creating posts to share with potential fans and customers.

Building relationships with your brand’s consumers require creativity and continuing attention to the needs of the community. Some of the potential challenges that you will face as you develop your marketing plan for social media are listed below.

Getting the Right Visuals

In order to establish your brand, or build awareness for an existing following, you will need to create custom visuals. Sometimes this means modifying stock photos with logos or captions, or creating appropriate images from scratch.

Relatively young companies can benefit significantly by establishing strong branding early on. If you want these materials to be effective, they should appear professional and ideally contain recognizable colors, fonts, and logos. A professional appearance will create trust in your brand. It may not be necessary to hire a designer immediately or invest large sums of money.

Instead, you can create your own content with a drag-and-drop editor, easy graphic creation tool or something similar – we have recommendations if you want to seek out those options.

Try PromoRepublic (I work here), Canva, and Picmonkey to create professional visuals in minutes.

Screen Shot 2017 05 16 at 10.18.14 AM

Writing Compelling Content

If you are short on time, and can’t invest in creating catchy captions or hashtags sure to go viral, you may need to work with a creative person to generate novel ideas. Some companies spend a lot of money on copywriters, but sometimes it can be hard for those professionals to hit the mark in terms of your brand’s audience.

By automating your social media marketing, you maximize the possibility to focus on building relationships with your follower base without straining to complete more routine tasks. Let’s look at an example social media marketing strategy and discuss how content impacts growth of engagement.

Building Efficient Content Plans

Now that we’ve covered some of the things you need to think about when creating a social plan,, it is time to put them into practice! It is clear now that posts can be scheduled to go live automatically, but it may be less clear how to determine when the best time to schedule them is.

This is an example of a balanced content strategy.

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Engagement Content

Screen Shot 2017 04 25 at 12.47.38 PM
Posts meant to increase engagement should make up a significant (about 40%) portion of your total content. Examples of this type of post could include statistics or motivational quotes. They could contain polls or quizzes to engage the audience. The key features of these posts are that they grab the reader’s attention so they should be visually appealing and written well. Finally, it is critical that they reach your audience at an optimal time of day.

These posts should make up the core of your strategy because they are the content that people share with their friends and ultimately build your brand’s awareness. If this content is designed well it should inspire the strongest responses, so these posts.

Events, holidays, trends and more pre-made and ready to use. You can try content builders and schedule your posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, and even view analytics to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns.

Promotional Content

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These posts are meant to communicate special offers or other company business. These posts are necessary and but generally less inherently interesting that engagement content. Followers will eventually become former followers if your strategy relies too heavily upon promotional content. Promotional content should comprise about 30% of your posts.

Educational Content

Screen Shot 2017 04 25 at 12.53.51 PM
Educational content is often neglected in social media marketing plans. Blog posts are widely considered effective enough to communicate educational material. More-involved efforts represent too large a time commitment, … Curated content often edges out educational posts, but this is not recommended.

There are benefits of hosting content not generated by your organization, but these should not be over-valued. Your brand will not live up to its potential, and your audience benefit less if relevant educational posts are neglected. It is also likely that if you don’t love the content that you are considering hosting, your audience is unlikely to engage with it well either.

Visual material that has the potential to be informative or contains relevant information would serve as educational. Don’t limit yourself to blog posts!

Curated Content

Screen Shot 2017 04 25 at 12.52.37 PM
Only 10% of your total planned content should be curated. Curated content might be used to fill spots on your calendar that have fewer scheduled posts, as well as increasing your number of followers. Potential new clients may evolve as your existing audience interacts with content that you have curated.

Another function of curated content is to project that you are aware of the trends in your industry. This can serve to build relationships with established thought leaders in the field, and can even improve your own reputation. Make sure to carefully choose what you curate based on your audience’s interests, otherwise the effort that went into reaching out to guest writers will be wasted.

Post at Strategic Times

Screen Shot 2017 04 25 at 1.00.17 PM
What time of day does your audience engage most with your content? What hour would be most likely to find people shopping for gifts? When are exclusive offers or discounts going to be the most effective?

Holidays work well to frame your campaign as they are widely recognized, however, there is also potential in less-know events. For example, people are more likely to share special offers on pizza during National Pizza Day. Certain holidays that might be more relevant to your specific audience would be the perfect time to motivate them to pull a little extra weight by sharing or otherwise interacting with your seasonal content.

There are a lot of moving parts to a social media campaign. What to post, when to post and who to target are all part of the equation, but finding time to manually post shouldn’t be.

 

What’s New in AdStage: May

Posted by on May 18, 2017 in Automation, Product Updates, Reporting
What’s New in AdStage: May

Welcome to the May edition of What’s New in AdStage! We spent the last month building a ton of feature enhancements in Report and Automate.

Let’s take a look at the latest and greatest in Report and Automate below👇.

Report

Bring All Your Marketing Data into One PPC Report

New Table Upload Widget

Take any excel, csv, or google sheets data table you have and upload it directly to Report!

Use Table Upload Widgets to Help You:

(1) Measure Return on Ad Spend by Opportunities Closed

  • Drop in your monthly opportunity and revenue reports from Salesforce into your cross-channel reporting views.

(2) Track Top-of-Funnel Conversion Trends

  • Pull a campaign level performance report from your marketing automation system to see the landing pages or content driving the most conversions from your campaigns.

(3) Get a 360º View of Cross-Channel Top Performers

  • Add in metrics from other channels, such as email, event, or organic social performance data.

(4) Add Custom Tables with Google Sheets

  • Customize your reporting views using Google Sheets to show data from your custom formulas. When uploading a table from Google Sheets, you’ll always have the most recent data – no need to worry about data accuracy problems 🙌 .
  • Get step-by-step help with Google Sheets 👉  How do I upload a Google Sheet into Report?

Save Time Creating Reports with Dashboard Settings

Set Default Data Source at the Dashboard Level

Now you can choose to view data from specific account groups, accounts, folders, campaigns, ad groups, or ads at the dashboard level by setting a ‘Data Source’.

The data source you select in the dashboard settings, will now be the default level for any newly created widget.

Filter Your Performance Data Views Faster

New Widget Creation Layout 

The widget fields now have natural language making it easier to breakdown performance data by any level of your ad account, and uncover deeper KPI insights from your reports.

New Widget Creation Layout Filter Performance Views via blog.adstage.io

Easily Identify Top Performing Networks at a Glance

We Standardized Network Colors!

Now when you create a cross-network widget, you’ll see each network has a standardized color. These network colors will be consistent across all dashboards and reports.

Standard Network Colors AdStage Report via blog.adstage.io

Standard Network Colors AdStage Report via blog.adstage.io

See Your Copy Next to Your Ads in Performance Tables

Add Headline, Image, and Description Columns to Ad Tables

We added the ability to see ad creative next to performance metrics,  so you can diagnose which creatives are working, and what’s not, faster.

Add an ad level table widget to your reports for a side-by-side comparison of winning headline, image, and description combinations.

Automate

Sequence Ads Together to Tell Your Brand Story

New Automate Flighting Feature!

Drum roll please……introducing the latest addition to Automate: Flighting!

Now you can show campaigns, ad groups, and ads in an ordered sequence to reach your target audience at every buying stage (resulting in higher CTRs and conversion rates🤑 ).

Top Direct-Response and Brand Awareness Flighting Strategies

(1) Funnel-Based Storytelling

  • Increase CTR and conversion rates using a specific series of sequenced ads to walk potential customers down the purchase funnel with relevant call-to-actions.
  • For example start with a brand awareness message (Step 1), product information / value proposition message (Step 2), and finally use a targeted CTA to convert potential customers via signup form or make a purchase on product page.

(2) Prime-and-Remind Storytelling

  • Use different ad formats to both “prime” people with the brand’s story using video ads, and “remind” people of the video narrative with display ads.

(3) Progressive Promotions

  • If you are running a promotion with different percentages off per week, you can flight your ads to show accurately and timely.
  • Easily schedule specific times to run your first week 10% Off Promo (Step 1), second week 20% Off Promo (Step 2), and third week 30% Off Promo (Step 3).


Have questions about Flighting? Check out the full product update for Flighting templates and getting started guides.

Let Your Alerts Do the Optimizing for You

Convert Performance Alerts into Optimization Rules with Just One-Click

Now you can easily convert your existing alerts into rules to automate the same actions you’re already taking on your accounts after you receive an email notification.

AdStage Automate Convert Alert into Rule via blog.adstage.io

Automate Convert Alert to Rule AdStage via blog.adstage.io

Your converted rule will have the same conditions as your alert, but now you can specify an optimization condition to apply once the rule is triggered. In other words, you can save yourself a ton of time on performing tedious management tasks.

Common Alert → Rule Use Cases to Save Time & Boost Results

1. Avoid Wasting Spend on High CPA Ad Sets

  • IF Cost Per Result > $100 AND Spend > $250
  • Using Data from Last 30 Days
  • THEN Pause Ad Set
  • Run Every 6 Hours
  • RUN & EMAIL results

2. Pause Low Performing CTR Ads

  • IF Status is Active AND Impressions > 5000 AND CTR < .05%
  • Using Data from Last 7 Days
  • THEN Pause AD
  • Run Every Monday at 10am PST
  • RUN & EMAIL results

3. Maximize Your Daily Budget

  • IF Spend < $15
  • Using Data from Today
  • THEN Increase Bid Amount by 30% with Max. Bid = $10
  • Run Daily @ 2pm PST
  • RUN & EMAIL results

Common Alert → Rule Use Cases to Save Time & Boost Results via blog.adstage.io

Wrapping Up

We always love hearing from you! Let us know what you think about the May product updates in the comments below.

P.S. Want to check out the full product release?

Visit our product updates portal, where we’ll be keeping you up-to-date with the latest and greatest from the AdStage labs!

When and How Use Facebook Sequential Advertising

Posted by on May 10, 2017 in Automation, Social
When and How Use Facebook Sequential Advertising

The concept of sequential advertising first started buzzing in 2013 but failed to gain momentum. That could be changing as platforms finally begin to build ways for marketers to more effectively deliver the right message, to the right person, at the right time.

What Is Sequential Advertising

But first, let’s take a small step back and look at what sequential advertising is. Essentially, it’s a way to show your targeted audience a group of ads by step, with the goal of one day following consumers’ eyes as they jump between devices. It’s different (and more advanced) than rotating ads in that it uses technology to determine which ads someone has already seen and automatically serves up the next one in the series.

So instead of running the risk of someone seeing the 4th ad in your campaign multiple times (hello, ad fatigue), sequential advertising guarantees a person will see Ad 1, then Ad 2, then Ad 3, and so on, even if they’re switching between many devices.

It’s a complicated process, which is why advertising platforms have been slow to implement it. But progress is being made, like Snapchat now allowing marketers to run sequential video ads in its Discover hub. And consumers like what they see.

Facebook, Refinery29, and Adaptly held a study that found campaigns that tell a brand story before presenting a CTA were more effective than ads that only focused on a CTA. In fact, according to the study, view-through rates for sequenced ads were 87 percent higher than standard ads.

Now we’ll go over when’s the best time to use sequential messaging, how to get a campaign going on Facebook, and how to tailor your ads to this new medium.

When To Use Facebook Sequential Advertising on Facebook

The best time to start testing a new ad unit is before the rest of the digital marketers catch on, right? But seriously, sequential advertising is proving itself to be a means to forge deeper relationships with customers thanks to the storytelling structure it provides. Even if you’re just running some light tests, early adoption could give you a huge leg up.

Sequential also works exceedingly well for less well-known brands who need to build awareness before serving a CTA, and companies that are selling a complicated product or service that’s difficult to sum up in one ad. Instead of having to jam everything into one ad for fear it may be your only chance to catch someone’s attention, sequential ensures your messaging is guiding consumers down a natural funnel.

Advertising often is too focused on acquisition and ignores lead nurturing. Sequencing helps here by providing a way to better pair blog posts and email campaigns with advertising to offer more helpful, relevant ad messaging based on where a prospect is within the buying cycle.

One example is taking low friction content such as a blog post, which often doesn’t introduce your product or service, and moving on to items like a gated whitepaper, case study, then a webinar or demo.

Sequential Funnel

How To Get Started Using Facebook Sequential Advertising

Facebook is slowly rolling out access to sequential within reach and frequency campaigns, but there’s no word on when it might be more widely available. To check if you have access to sequencing, see Facebook’s step-by-step instructions and note “sequencing isn’t available until after you’ve reserved and uploaded your reach and frequency ad set.”

Because Facebook and Instagram share data, sequencing is available on both platforms, and your ads will show up on both, but you cannot control which ads are delivered to which platform.

If you don’t yet have access to sequencing directly through Facebook, AdStage recently introduced a new Flighting Feature that gives all customers access to sequencing! It includes funnel-based storytelling and prime-and-remind storytelling, discussed in more detail below, as well as progressive promotions, which allows you to run a promotion with different percentages off per week. For example, 10% off the first week, 20% the second week, and so on.

Facebook digs in deeper on funnel-based and prime-and-remind storytelling in this great overview and data booklet on tests they conducted for sequential:

Funnel-based storytelling = messages guide consumers down the purchase funnel:

Funnel

Priming-and-reminding storytelling = multiple ad formats “prime” people with the brand’s story via video ads and “remind” people of the info in the video with display ads:

PR

In the funnel-based test, Facebook used Refinery29’s conversion rates for email sign-ups. One set of ads used direct-response messages, while the other set used sequential storytelling. There was a 49% greater conversion rate using a funnel-based marketing approach. And for the priming-and-reminding test, Facebook looked at a nonprofit advertiser that used a video ad with a display ad to return a 5.97% better rate of donations. Approaches and ad combos will work differently for every brand, so test small and tweak.

Tips to Tailor Ads to Sequential

Sequential offers many more options for creative than standard ads. Because it effectively guides consumers along the funnel, test different ad formats at each point – brand awareness, consideration, conversion.

Video can help deliver more info upfront, and carousels can showcase multiple products before you serve up a simple CTA. Also, test the pacing of your ads. You don’t want to move too quickly for larger purchasing decisions, or too slowly for low price points that don’t need much consideration. Always print and lay out your creative to ensure it tells a cohesive story.

Summary

For years, marketers have talked about the possibilities and implications of sequential advertising but had no way to execute. If advertising platforms continue with the progress they’ve already made, 2017 could be the year we finally have a way to form deeper and richer relationships with customers.

 

Flighting Feature: Sequence Ads Together to Tell Your Brand Story