All posts by Marketing Team

Linkedin Targeting – How to Create Targeted Audiences That Scale

With hundreds of millions of followers, Linkedin is practically the biggest social media platform for professionals. Targeting the right audience on linkedin is key and needs to be done with precision. Truth is, it is easy to target so many people and still not reach the people relevant to your business.

Reaching your target audience

Sponsored content ads are a great way to reach out to your target audience. Unlike regular audience targeting that makes use of age, gender and other less specific details, sponsored ads allow you to use more detailed demographics such as geographic area, type of industry, position and experience and even certain companies and groups.

Interestingly, audience size matters, but so does audience relevance. If your sponsored ad is too specific, you may miss out on a significant part of your audience, and if it is too generic, you may be wasting resources with little effect.

To create an audience that is wide enough and is relevant as well, the following tips would be great to use.

Basic Linkedin research

When you have figuredout what audience group you want to reach out to, get information from their profiles to see what common features they might share.These features include their geographic region, job titles, positions and so on. This information can help you decide if you can focus your ads in certain areas.

Merge your target features

Given that users rarely give all of the information you need to find them easily, you could run similar ads for several audiences. This will give you enough data to determine which audience you should spend time and resources on.

Try job title against skills. Job titles are relatively easy and there quite a lot to choose from, but skills can give you a broad audience with relevance as well. Try job function and seniority, specific industries and regions, skills and seniority, and so on.

Multiple campaigns allow you target the same persona on a larger scale, making sure you do not leave out any relevant audience. With these campaigns running, you can figure out what works and what adjustments to make at lower costs.

Use your retargeting options

Linkedin retargeting options allows you to make follow up moves on potential customers who may have checked out your page or taken some other relevant action.

The algorithms come into play

The audience expansion option on Linkedin helps you create a wider and relevant audience using the analysis on the features of your target audience.

Don’t forget to…

  • Use matched audiences to get the details of your existing contacts
  • Create specific audiences using the Demographics tab in campaign manager

Keep experimenting and working on your ads

Publisher Group Blasts Google Over Forcing GDPR Liability On Small Publishers

A couple of months ago, Google indicated how they intend to comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into effect in May 2018.

The new GDPR law addresses the years old legal question concerning the use and ownership of data created by visitors when they interact with websites. Google’s response to this new GDPR law was to publish a letter to its partners and publishers informing them of their responsibilities in informing and obtaining consent from users of their websites and apps. This caused a furor as publishers accuse the search engine giant of shifting the responsibility of managing the process on to the shoulders of publishers and partners when they are the one using the data more.

Since the receipt of the letter from Google, publishers have decried the way Google intend to handle the process even going as far as releasing a 5 page letter jointly written by at least 4 major publisher groups addressed to the Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google.

The basic message of the joint letter is that the group is not impressed with Google’s proposal which they say will undermine the primary purpose of the GDPR, making it difficult for publishers to fulfill the letter and spirit of the law. The letter signed by the group made up of The European Publishers Council, Digital Content Next, News Media Association and News Media Alliance altogether representing about 4000 media and newspaper companies located primarily in Europe and North America, including the Telegraph Media Group, New York Time, Axel Springer, Thomas Reuters and Associated Press ended by posing a series of questions to Google.

These questions which they say they need answers to include:

  • How and why Google believes it can legally play the role of data controller in relationship to publishers’ data?
  • Will the search engine giant will seek and receive publishers’ input before making future changes to its terms concerning accessing advertisers’ services?
  • How Google’s services can be integrated into an industry accepted management platform should the publishers decide to make use of one?

The publishers also accuse of Google of anti-competitive tendencies because the proposal states that Google may stop placing ads on a publishers’ websites if it feels that their compliance with the new rule is insufficient.

“Google wants to eat its cake and have it” says Executive Director of the European Publishers Council, Angela Mills Wade. “It wants to control data provided by publishers without the accompanying legal liability and with the total freedom to do what it likes with the data, Google is essentially preventing publishers from choosing which partner to work with by imposing their personal standard for regulatory compliance” she said.

Other players in the digital advertising industry also express concern that Google is pushing publishers to interpret the GDPR only the way Google themselves see it.

Google Starts Letting Anyone Register ‘.app’ Domains

More than thirty-six months after Google paid $ 25 million for the limited rights to the TLD “.app” the company is finally allowing .app domains to be available for registration until May 7 at 09:00 PDT using its Early Access Program. The next day, May 8th, the domains will be put on sale to the public, also through other registrars.

The new top-level domain (TLD) is an apparent choice for application programmers and developers in the technology sector because it serves as an easy and identifiable alternative to .com, where for a while now popular words has been running low.

In addition to the expected application, Google requires HTTPS for every. app websites. This in-built security safeguards against the injection of malware advertising by Internet service providers and protects against eavesdropping on open Wi-Fi networks, says the Company.

Google has been a supporter of web promotion to HTTPS adoption, and said last fall that about 64 percent of the traffic flow that passed through its Chrome browser on Android was secure, 42 percent more than the previous year. Chrome’s traffic on Mac was up to 75 percent and Windows up to 66 percent at the same time. The increases are due to a number of Google actions, including the decision to flag all websites that use HTTP to transmit private information as “unsafe”.

This year, Google said it would mark all pages without HTTPS encryption as hazardous as of July, with the release of Chrome 68.

Given the company’s plans, it is logical that the new addition to the Google domain also includes integrated HTTPS protection.

Still, it’s something of a milestone, Google says.

“Because .app is the first top-level domain, with greater security available for general registration, it is helping to move the site to an HTTPS-worldwide future,” reads the announcement of the company’s new top-level domain.

Prior to the public appearance of .app, Google had contacted possible candidates, giving them a first chance to get a .app domain to show possible use cases. A few of those who have started using .app domains include, Cash App, Outdoor Voices, Bark, Sitata, Picnic, Trail, MenaVR, BNEXT, The Podcast App, Albert, CallApp, Pickle, amongst others around the globe.

The corporation has also eliminated the domain requirement restricted to application developers, although Google suggests that the name makes more sense in that market.

In an interview last month with Domain Name Wire, Google said its goal is to make .app domains cheap and accessible – expect the price to be lower than other TLDs such as .come or .song, for example. The site said that would mean that the wholesale prices would total $ 10-12 and registration would be $ 20 (However, prices were not detailed in the announcement).

If you are interested in the .app domain, you can register your preferred domain until May 7, 2018 from 09:00 PDT, if you wish to pay an additional fee for early access before the launch of the public domain through other registrars.

Grow Your Business with a Chatbot

The business world is constantly adapting by incorporating technological advancements in a way that furthers productivity. One such form of technology that is rapidly gaining attention is the chatbot.

What is a chatbot?

A chatbot(also called chatterbot) is a software that performs an automated function in the form of simulating conversations, via voice or text interactions. As the name suggests, their primary function is to chat with the customers.

They often appear on sites and applications with a chatting platform. They begin conversations with customers or give responses, usually in the form of helpful tips, advice, recommendations and instructions.

How does it work?

Chatbots work by giving preprogrammed conversational prompts and responses to customers. While this might sound limiting, many sophisticated chatbots are able to handle a wide variety of conversational cues.

Of course with chatbots the goal is to seem human in dialog, but it is fine if they fall short of this. Apart from the fact that AI technology hasn’t quite reached that level of sophistication, it is also not the key selling point of a chatbot. In a world as automated as the one we currently live, the human touch is simply not as important as functionality and effectiveness.

There are three generally accepted types of chatbots; stateful, semi-stateful and stateless bots.

  1. Stateful bots are able to retain information given during conversation and will make responses based on this conversation. That means they learn and evolve based on each conversation.
  2. Stateless bots are unable to retain any information and will respond to each message independent of any previous message. In this case, their responses are not linked to any previous message.
  3. Semi-stateful bots are able to retain some information in responding to messages but only for that particular conversation. With each conversation, the user must start over.

It’s Effect on Your Business

As messaging programs, chatbots are able to run indefinitely needing no breaks, no time to think, and no need to consult any other source of information. This means they are able to perform conversations instantaneously and they are always available. Many customers would appreciate this interaction as it means they can obtain relevant information anytime while skipping the wait.

Chatbots are especially beneficial to small businesses because of their capabilities. One simple software will attend to the needs of multiple customers simultaneously with no loss of effectiveness relative to the number of customers. This is incredibly useful, especially for businesses with small staff who can’t field every question.

This software is capable of performing more than just messaging functions. Depending on the software programmers they can receive payments, make adjustments, contact administrators, make orders, and collect statistics. Like any other form of software, they can be programmed to perform a host of functions beyond their primary use.

Considering these and more, it seems a good idea that every business online strongly consider adding a chatbot to their platform if they want to see it grow.

Google On GDPR Pop Ups Notices With Search & SEO

Today, implied consent or the ones given just by visiting a site is no longer enough. This same directive goes for your pop ups too. There is now the need to make sure that your pop ups comply with the new General Data Protection Regulation. The result is that there have been tons of emails on GDPR flooded to user’s address over the past few weeks. Now, many fear that the GDPR pop ups will affect search and SEO. However, Google has said that it doesn’t necessarily have to. Websites do not need to use intrusive interstitials to let your visitor know of GDPR changes on your website.

Well, the short account is that Google has no exception for the interstitial penalty for GDPR requirements. This means that you can use them provided they are not intrusive. What it means by this is that it is okay if you have the pop up on top of the content itself. For instance, if you load with an HTML and you are using  JavaScript to show the pop up on it, then that is good. This way, the user can still see the main content behind the pop up.

However, if the user has to click another button to actually get to the content itself, Google will frown upon it. This is the case when you replace the entire content with an interstitial or redirect to an interstitial making Googlebot click a button to access the content. Of course, this way, the content will not pass the mobile-friendly testing tool. Mobile is emphasized since it is most affected by intrusive pop ups.  While checking with the mobile friendly tool, it should show the content alongside the interstitial. In the event that the content does not appear even after double checking in the HTML, then, it can’t work as far as Google is concerned.  Also, Google doesn’t like when a website uses a layout where the above-the-fold part of the page is similar to a standalone interstitial while the main content is beneath the fold.

What is the penalty for those websites who might have breached this policy? Simple, it will significantly affect their search ranking of their site. What this means is that a strict adherence to the Google policy on GDPR is also part of search engine optimization since failing on it will significantly affect your site’s visibility. Therefore, make sure your content is easily accessible to a user right from search results especially on mobile and you would have nothing to worry about.

Facebook No Longer Allows Ads Targeting with Third Party Data

In a continuation of the fallout to the Cambridge Analytic a privacy scandal, Facebook announced the shutting down of its Partner Categories – a section in its advertiser tools that allows third-party data brokers like Experian, Oracle and Acxiom to sell targeting data to businesses and companies.

What this simply means is that these third-party aggregators will no longer be allowed to match their data against Facebook’s audience and then sell the information gleaned – usually purchasing activities- to businesses and companies for improved ads targeting purposes.

There are three available data sources used in ads targeting – From Facebook, from business themselves and from third-party data brokers. These data brokers get their data from Facebook users’ other online (purchasing) activities outside Facebook. This third source is what Facebook is shutting down in the next 6 months as they have decided they are a jink in their privacy security armour as they have less control over how and where these firms get their data.

So what exactly does this change mean for stakeholders -Facebook, Facebook users, third-party data aggregators and businesses that advertise on Facebook?

For Facebook, it means they will jettison the partnership they have with major data brokers. The Social Media giant is hoping that this move, as well as other moves – will go a long way in assuring its users as to their online security. On the flip side, this move may negatively affect Facebook’s earnings from ads as businesses may seek alternative ways of advertising to potential clients. Apparently however, Facebook has decided that the earnings are not worth any potential troubles that may arise.

For Facebook users, it means they will be less targeted with those “too perfect” ads as their online activities outside Facebook will no longer be matched with them on Facebook. That creepy feeling of being watched will be reduced.

For third data aggregators, it means a loss in business revenues. Already, there is a wave of worry among these third party data brokers and agencies about the ban. The impact was seen in Acxiom stocks as it dropped by 30% following the announcement. In fact the company now expects “total revenue and profitability to be negatively impacted by as much as $25 million” in 2019 as a result.

For businesses that purchase these data for improved advertising on Facebook, they will have to rely solely on the data collected by Facebook together with their own data. As most businesses have at best scant data, they will be heavily reliant on whatever data Facebook is able to provide. Bottom line, their advertising efficiency on Facebook will be drastically reduced.

Although Partner Categories was not how Cambridge Analytic a got their data – and the outcome of the ensuing scandal, Facebook has taken this step nevertheless, as a precautionary move. They have responded well to the public backlash and are removing potential frailties from their system.

Bing Ads Editor Adds Account Level Ad Extensions

The new features rolled out by Bing Ads earlier this year now comes with the ability to manage ads campaign directly from your ad editor. Bing had announced that it would roll out new features, and here we are with the account level ad extension.

This feature saves advertisers lots of time in managing campaigns efficiently as it supports scheduling of campaigns. Though they are only available on windows, Bing announced that the Mac versions would be available later this year. There are also rumours that new extensions like the Price Extension would be released later.

Here are 5 things to should know about the Account level Ad extension

Directly Manage Ad Extension

The account level ad extension allows an advertiser to directly manage ad extension at the account level. What this means is that you don’t have to navigate out of the account dashboard to extend ads campaigns. Unlike any other desktop ad editor, the Bing Ad Account level Extension saves you time, and its uniqueness from any other ad editor ensures you automatically apply extension to all your existing and new campaigns.

New and Improved Interface

The user interface had undergone minor changes to accommodate the new features and extensions. Though the dual column division (with the master pane on the left and the result pane on the left) has remained unchanged, the improved interface now accommodates the added extensions. The left sidebar is divided into two columns, with the campaign and everything relating to it at the top and the shared library “Manage” pane at the bottom. This bottom left pane accommodates all the editing and managing features, including the new account level ad extension.

The result page on the other hand highlights the output of whatever action taken on the left sidebar. This also displays errors on the account level ad extension associations in red if there are any.

Advanced Search Algorithm

The added extension also comes with new feature/upgrade in terms of producing search results. First the new algorithm would ignore stop words like “an, a, the on for” if they do not have any impact on the intended query.

Similarly, the algorithm has an exact match keyword that matches the same query as entered by the advertiser. In other words, you don’t need to manage and build any reordered or reworded variations of your keywords to get your required coverage.

Conclusion

The account level ad extension came at a time an advertiser needed it most, and every feature and function added is would always be useful at one point or the other. The improved interface and algorithm makes it easier to use and saves a lot of time.

Instagram Brings back GIFs in Stories

Latest updates show that Instagram is bringing back GIFs in stories, after they were first launched on the social media platform around the first month of 2018. Two “consumer facing” updates were released recently by the platform. The second update shows that short length ads will also enjoy full screen support in Instagram Stories. Users are ecstatic about this, as they had showed displeasure with the removal of the GIF stickers earlier on.

You can recall that Instagram had removed GIF stickers around March when a sticker tagged as “really offensive” was posted on the platform. Giphy, the brand that develops the stickers, claimed to have sorted out the issues arising and looked forward to their suspension being lifted and the stickers integrated back into Instagram Stories. According to a statement put out by the Giphy team, they said that their stickers were being affected by “a bug” discovered in the content moderation filters. They further added that their whole sticker library was re-moderated more than 3 times, and even another level of moderation added to the already existing one.

Giphy had earlier sent out an apology to users, condemning the act and promising it will not happen again. In an interview with TechCrunch, the app said “GIPHY condone or support this kind of content. We have also finished a full investigation into our content moderations systems and processes and have made specific changes to our process to ensure something like this does not happen again.”

Instagram’s Response

Instagram responded by bringing back GIFs on its Instagram Stories feature. But this time it was done in a way that the platform also has some form of access to the Giphy stickers database. A statement released by Instagram said that they have “been in close contact with GIPHY throughout (the) process” and they were sure that Giphy had “put measures in place to ensure that Instagram users have a good experience.”

Snapchat on the other hand said they don’t have any plans of bringing back the GIFs yet. Critics believe they are probably waiting to see how good it will fair on Instagram during this second sojourn, before putting out a formal statement as to whether they will bring the stickers back or forever let it go.

Remember the two social media networks (Instagram and Snapchat) had earlier condemned the racial slurs that came with the GIFs (which led to removal/suspension of the Giphy stickers). Snapchat had earlier released a statement saying, “as soon as we were made aware, we removed the GIF and have disabled Giphy until we can be sure that this won’t happen again . . . while we wait for Giphy’s team to take a look at it.”

Meanwhile, Instagram users can enjoy the GIFs while they last. Perhaps, Snapchat might reconsider it’s stance overtime.

Creating a Seamless Pre- To Post-Click Experience

When starting a new Pay Per Click campaign many business owners often ignore their customer’s experience and focus on selling their products alone. A PPC campaign cannot be successful without properly analyzing the experiences your customers would have.

Pre to Post click experience is the overall experience a user has from viewing an ad to clicking and buying a product online.

Your PPC campaign should put into consideration what the user would experience from the pre-click stage to the post-click stage. In other words there must be consistency and transparency all through the stages. Here are 3 beginner’s guides for a better user experience PPC Campaign.

Transparency and Consistency

These are very important when carrying out a successful PPC campaign. The user experience is the focus here, so, advertising a product with inconsistent price tag and contents that lacks consistency would lead to bad user experience.

Imagine clicking an ad that claims a product for $25 and offers 20 of such product in a pack, only to be disappointed when visiting the site that the product is $30 for the 20 packs. This shows a high level of inconsistency which would only make your users believe the ad is a deceptive one.

Brand Recognition

Sharing their experiences on how likely they might click an ad or buy products online, an online user narrated how she was tricked into clicking an ad on Facebook only to be disappointed that the brand name she saw was different from the site she clicked. For instance, a brand with the name “XYZ” on ad, turning out to be “XZY” on their website; such ads can be termed deceptive, as the user only clicked the ad because he/she was acquainted with the XYZ brand.

Post-click experience

The post click experience matters to the users as much as product sales matters to you. A user wants to buy a product because he knows such product would bring satisfaction, but the question is what are doing to enhance such experience and make them come back for more?

The interface of your site says a lot about this. Apart from the earlier mentioned consistency, transparency and brand recognition, a user wants to spend less time buying a product and checking out. Constant pop-ups urging the user to buy other products are distracting and should be avoided. The post-click experience also involves the final satisfaction they get after buying the product; your PPC campaign extends to the customer care you offer.

Conclusion

Your brand is not valuable if your product does not guarantee an above average user experience. Consistency and transparency are keys to avoiding deceptive ads. Users want to get exactly what they are attracted to and not the other way round.

3 Simple Ways to Drive More Website Conversions

It’s great if your website traffic is booming, but what is the point if that traffic is not converting? Make a quick search online and you’ll find tons of tips on how to make your site convert. Undoubtedly, it can be confusing and maybe even chaotic to try to make your way through all those tips and strategies, so why not start with a few simple strategies you can focus on for results? Before we carry on, let us be clear on what is meant by “conversion rate”.

What is conversion rate?

Your conversion rate refers to your ability to get a certain proportion of your website visitors to complete a specific action that you have defined as a conversion. Your conversion can be anything from an email opt-in to a sale. The higher the percentage of your visitors that subscribes to your list or makes a purchase, the higher your conversion rate.

Now, what should you do to drive more conversions?

1. Make it easy to get to the endpoint

The endpoint of your user journey depends on what your conversion is. If it is the completion of a sale, then you’ll need to make it easy for visitors to get to the purchase page. In ecommerce, that means reducing the number of clicks. Actually, that applies to a number of different kinds of sites as well.

Nobody wants to have to click through several pages to get to what they want, so your focus should be on making it as easy as possible for your visitors to get to that point. Reduce the number of pop-ups you use or eliminate them entirely.

2. Send emails to customers who abandon carts

Once you notice that a visitor has filled their cart but abandoned it at some point, you need to make moves to ensure that this opportunity to make a sale does not pass you by. You can set up an automated email sequence to specifically target customers like this.

One effective way of bringing such a customer back is by sending them an offer via email. If they don’t take action the first time, continue to send them offers.

3. Avoid springing ugly surprises

Any buyer will almost certainly be disappointed when they realise they have to pay extra fees after they have taken the time to fill their cart and made it to the checkout page. In fact, they may leave your site in disgust and decide to never come back. It is better to be upfront with any fees because trying to be dodgy will only backfire.

Remember, your website is there to serve your visitors. Do those well and conversions should get better.