Category : Facebook Ads
Updated Facebook Ad Costs to Google Analytics connection
As part of Littledata’s focus on Facebook Ads data this year, we have rebuilt our Facebook Ad Costs connection to be more dynamic and more robust. If you've been asking how to track Facebook Ads or Instagram Ads in Google Analytics -- or doing cost imports manually with Google Sheets and other tools -- your life just got a whole lot easier. Littledata's new and improved Facebook Ad Costs connection automatically imports cost and campaign data from Facebook Ads to Google Analytics, giving Shopify merchants an unbiased view of multi-channel marketing attribution, user journeys and real ROI on PPC campaigns. The Facebook Ads to Google Analytics connection now has added functionality including: Handles up to 100,000 active Facebook Ads, imported daily to Google Analytics Interprets dynamic campaign parameters Imports up to 90 days of campaign history on the first import Works for both Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads Import multiple Facebook Ad accounts to one Google Analytics property Import one Facebook Ad account to one multiple Google Analytics properties Recommends improved campaign URL parameters when none are given Of course the core functionality remains the same: easily pull campaign details and cost data into GA from your FB Ad accounts. Thank you to our customers who gave feedback to help improve the connection -- we couldn't have done it without you. The updated Facebook Ad Costs connection is available on all paid plans at no additional cost. Start a free trial today and start analyzing your campaigns more accurately.
Littledata acquires Facebook Feed and Pixel Perfect apps for Shopify
Littledata is pleased to announce the acquisition of two Shopify apps focused on Facebook advertising: Facebook Feed and Pixel Perfect. As customers increasingly turn to Facebook and Instagram for a seamless shopping experience, we're here to help stores give customers what they want: the right product at just the right time, no matter which marketing channel brought them in. Pixel Perfect automatically sets up an accurate Facebook Pixel for Shopify stores, along with numerous features to support dynamic product ads -- including a product catalog feed. If you're only looking to sync the Shopify product catalog, Facebook Feed is a smart product feed that supports unlimited products without timeouts or delays. Our expert analytics team is already providing customer support for both apps, and our product team is working to improve functionality for Facebook Pixel and Facebook catalog feeds, which are essential parts of running dynamic product ads across the Facebook network -- in other words, the keys to automated personalization. To quote Littledata's CEO, Edward Upton: "We believe stores investing tens of thousands in Facebook Ads need more reliable tools to target that spend. Littledata is able to improve upon the integration announced with Facebook and Instagram this week, and enable enterprise-scale stores to track their customer journey on Facebook." Shopify and Facebook Shopping Facebook and Shopify made major announcements recently about the many ways that customers find (and now purchase) products on Facebook and Instagram. They've emphasized that these new features will help small businesses succeed, and that's definitely a potential benefit. But let's be honest -- we all knew this was coming, COVID-19 or otherwise. There's just too much ad spend at stake. These updates and new features include: Facebook Shops: a new, complete storefront experience, integrated with Shopify (among other platforms, such as BigCommerce and Woo, Shopify is clearly the most significant: Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke was on the video call with Mark Zuckerberg) Instagram Checkout: a previously closed beta experience for direct shopping and checkout, now slowly rolling out for everyone At Littledata we're most excited about Instagram Shopping. It's not just a little experiment. Instagram's Vishal Shah told TechCrunch that almost 1 million stores are already signed up and ready to implement Instagram Checkout, so it's much more than its previous incarnation as a beta test with large brands like Zara and Adidas. Shopify is deprecating the Facebook Shop channel and will be pushing merchants to create these new Facebook shopping experiences (either ad campaigns or the full FB storefront). Stores that had product tagging set up through the Instagram channel before the announcement can already access Facebook Shops (the new feature -- different from the previous Facebook Shop channel, ahem...this is starting to get confusing). But like many Shopify announcements of the past, the overall timelines are unclear. And while they have improved the setup for their default Pixel implementation, we still see the same common issues like Product ID and revenue mismatches. Either way, these new features aren't necessarily a great fit for larger DTC brands by default -- they'll need something more reliable and customizable. That said, why not just go direct to the source? Facebook Dynamic Ads are already open to everyone, and they're a proven model for high-ROI retargeting and engagement. What do you need to run Dynamic Ads on Facebook for a Shopify store? Actually just a few things, which don't take long to set up if you haven't already: Facebook Business manager account Facebook Pixel (or SDK) on your site Product catalog feed That's where the new apps come in. Pixel Perfect Pixel Perfect is a popular Shopify app for automatically configuring a Facebook Pixel on your Shopify store. Facebook Pixel allows you to measure the impact of Facebook Ads on revenue, and calculate Cost Per Acquisition (CPA). It also allows you to build website custom audiences based on what users have seen or added to their shopping carts. Shopify has a native Facebook Pixel integration, but as noted it has numerous known issues, in areas such as product and revenue matching. Pixel Perfect fixes this automatically. Key benefits include: Send data to up to three Pixels (e.g. to use a backup pixel) Includes a matching catalog feed to serve Facebook Dynamic Ads 'Niche' product tags for building custom Facebook Audiences Order logs for comparative attribution Questions about Pixel Perfect features or how Shopify works with Facebook Ads? Read the Facebook Pixel Perfect FAQ in our help center. Facebook Feed If you're looking for a free product feed that works automatically with your Shopify product catalog, check out Facebook Feed. There are a number of Facebook catalog feed apps out there, but we were drawn to Facebook Feed because it is extensible and reliable. The app makes it easy to launch dynamic retargeting ads for Facebook users who engaged with your Shopify store. It works for product ads and catalog ads and it can support huge catalogs for Shopify Plus stores. Key benefits include: Up-to-date XML product catalog in the exact format recognized by Facebook Unlimited numbers of products and SKUs (no timeouts for large product sets!) Sync many products with Facebook and avoid pagination Compatible with Facebook page shops and Instagram Shopping Questions about setup or features? Read the Facebook Feed FAQ in our help center. What's next Littledata purchased Facebook Feed and Pixel Perfect from Tony Redfearn, an entrepreneur based in the UK. Tony is excited to see where we take the apps: "I am delighted to hand over the reigns to ensure success in this increasingly complex area. Littledata was the natural partner to take this tech to the next level!" As Littledata's Shopify customer base continues to grow, we are always looking at new connections and integrations. Our plan has always been to integrate Facebook Ads and Facebook Pixel more deeply into the Littledata ecosystem, and these popular apps turned out to be a great starting point. Our immediate plans are to improve both apps to make them even more powerful and extensible. Over time, we plan to fold this functionality into our core analytics app for Shopify merchants. For now, we are working closely with a broad range of merchants to understand their needs and how Facebook Pixel and Google Analytics can work in tandem for better ecommerce analytics, segmentation, remarketing and personalization. Audience building is one of our focuses, but we're also looking into the improved shopping experiences announced (ie Instagram Checkout), to see where events from our server-side Shopify tracking might best improve ROAS, AOV and customer LTV on these new channels and checkout experiences. Is there something you just can't wait to do with Shopify and Facebook? Let us know.
Introducing our new Facebook Ads connection
We're excited to announce a new Facebook Ads connection in the Littledata app! The integration automatically pulls ad costs and campaign data into Google Analytics, and it's available for Littledata users on all plans. How do you know if you're getting the highest possible ROI on your Facebook Ads? For ecommerce sites, it's a difficult question. By their very nature, PPC platforms can provide only a limited amount of reporting, tied to their own network and performance data. Ecommerce sites need an outside view of marketing channels, and a way to connect that ad performance with shopping behaviour and product performance. But where should you start? You can trudge through Facebook's limited reporting, make endless spreadsheets and play guessing games. Or you can take advantage of the latest data tech for automated reporting in Google Analytics. New Facebook connection We built a robust Facebook integration to automate everything so you can get back to business. Our goal is to show you the real ROI on your Facebook Ads. And to do so as painlessly as possible. It's an easy connection in the Littledata app, with numerous core benefits: Fix your campaign tracking Automatically pull ad cost data into Google Analytics Complete view of how your ad spend contributes to product and subscription revenue This new Facebook connection gives you unlimited access to accurate Facebook campaign data directly in Google Analytics. Data geeks can drill down into PPC details and build models of their own as well. [subscribe] Fix your campaign tracking The Facebook Ads connection has its own succinct set of audit checks to make sure you're tracking things correctly. It's a natural extension of our popular analytics audit tool. Once you connect your Facebook Business account, the app automatically checks for accurate campaign tagging and ecommerce event tracking. Sites change and new campaigns are added or adjusted on a regular basis, so our app takes care of the busy work to monitor your campaigns and keep everything up to date. Not a Littledata user yet? Find the plan that's right for you, whether you're on Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento or any other platform. Every subscription plan includes at least two free report packs, and enterprise plans include custom tracking and reporting. Plus, integrations like ReCharge, CartHook and Shopify are included at no extra cost. Try the new Facebook Ads connection today and let us know what you think! We're confident that this powerful new integration will help you get a higher ROI on your ad spend, with more sales from your best types of customers.
What's the real ROI on your Facebook Ads?
For the past decade Facebook’s revenue growth has been relentless, driven by a switch from TV advertising and online banners to a platform seen as more targetable and measurable. When it comes to Facebook Ads, marketers are drawn to messaging about a strong return on investment. But are you measuring that return correctly? Facebook has spent heavily on its own analytics over the last three years, with the aim of making you -- the marketer -- fully immersed in the Facebook platform…and perhaps also to gloss over one important fact about Facebook’s reporting on its own Ads: most companies spend money with Facebook 'acquiring' users who would have bought from them anyway. Could that be you? Here are a few ways to think about tracking Facebook Ads beyond simple clicks and impressions as reported by FB themselves. The scenario Imagine a shopper named Fiona, a customer for your online fashion retail store. Fiona has browsed through the newsfeed on her Facebook mobile app, and clicks on your ad. Let’s also imagine that your site -- like most -- spends only a portion of their budget with Facebook, and is using a mix of email, paid search, affiliates and social to promote the brand. The likelihood that Fiona has interacted with more than one campaign before she buys is high. Now Fiona buys a $100 shirt from your store, and in Facebook (assuming you have ecommerce tracking with Pixel set up) the sale is linked to the original ad spend. Facebook's view of ROI The return on investment in the above scenario, as calculated by Facebook, is deceptively simple: Right, brilliant! So clear and simple. Actually, not that brilliant. You see Fiona had previously clicked on a Google Shopping ad (which is itself powered by two platforms, Google AdWords and the Google Merchant Center) -- how she found your brand -- and after Facebook, she was influenced by a friend who mentioned the product on Twitter, then finally converted by an abandoned cart email. So in reality Fiona’s full list of interactions with your ecommerce site looks like this: Google Shopping ad > browsed products Facebook Ad > viewed product Twitter post > viewed same product Link in abandoned cart email > purchase So from a multi-channel perspective, how should we attribute the benefit from the Facebook Ad? How do we track the full customer journey and attribute it to sales in your store? With enough data you might look at the probability that a similar customer would have purchased without seeing that Facebook Ad in the mix. In fact, that’s what the data-driven model in Google Marketing Platform 360 does. But without that level of data crunching we can still agree that Facebook shouldn’t be credited with 100% of the sale. It wasn’t the way the customer found your brand, or the campaign which finally convinced them to buy. Under the most generous attribution model we would attribute a quarter of the sale. So now the calculation looks like this: It cost us $2 of ad spend to bring $1 of revenue -- we should kill the campaign. But there's a catch Hang on, says Facebook. You forgot about Mark. Mark also bought the same shirt at your store, and he viewed the same ad on his phone before going on to buy it on his work computer. You marked the source of that purchase as Direct -- but it was due to the same Facebook campaign. Well yes, Facebook does have an advantage there in using its wide net of signed-in customers to link ad engagement across multiple devices for the same user. But take a step back. Mark, like Fiona, might have interacted with other marketing channels on his phone. If we can’t track cross-device for these other channels (and with Google Marketing Platform we cannot), then we should not give Facebook an unfair advantage in the attribution. So, back to multi-channel attribution from a single device. This is the best you have to work with right now, so how do you get a simple view of the Return on Advertising Spend, the real ROI on your ads? Our solution At Littledata we believe that Google Analytics is the best multi-channel attribution tool out there. All it misses is an integration with Facebook Ads to pull the ad spend by campaign, and some help to set up the campaign tagging (UTM parameters) to see which campaign in Facebook brought the user to your site. And we believe in smart automation. Littledata's Facebook Ads connection audits your Facebook campaign tagging and pulls ad cost daily into Google Analytics. This automated Facebook-Ads-to-Google-Analytics integration is a seamless way to pull Facebook Ads data into your overall ecommerce tracking -- something that would otherwise be a headache for marketers and developers. The integration checks Facebook Ads for accurate tagging and automatically pulls ad cost data into GA. The new integration is included with all paid plans. You can activate the connection from the Connections tab in your Littledata dashboard. It's that easy! (Not a subscriber yet? Sign up for a free trial on any plan today.) We believe in a world of equal marketing attribution. Facebook may be big, but they’re not the only platform in town, and any traffic they're sending your way should be analysed in context. Connecting your Facebook Ads account takes just a few minutes, and once the data has collected you’ll be able to activate reports to show the same kind of ROI calculation we did above. Will you join us on the journey to better data?
10 possible reasons Facebook disapproved your ads
It happens. Every now and then, Facebook disapproves ads when they violate the platform’s terms and conditions in some way. When this happens, you, of course, want to know exactly why so you can avoid ad disapproval going forward or make appropriate adjustments to a recently disapproved ad. It’s how we learn. Most ecommerce sites have a huge Facebook presence for both branding and sales. Whether you're selling directly through Facebook with BigCommerce and advertising for those products, or running FB ads for a Shopify plus store or any other kind of website, here are 10 possible reasons Facebook disapproved your ad. This article will describe each reason in detail to help you determine why Facebook rejected the proposed ad, and how you can avoid these issues going forward. Reason #1: A non-functioning landing page There’s nothing more frustrating than clicking on an ad only to be directed to a web page that doesn’t function. How annoying would it be if you can’t click on the “Contact Us” tab because the tab wasn’t linked to the right web page? How frustrating would it be if a video in the landing page wouldn’t play? If your ad leads users to a non-functioning landing page containing poor navigation or broken links, Facebook will disapprove your ad. To prevent a non-functioning landing page, you or your web developer should conduct a thorough examination of the landing page to ensure it’s easy to navigate and to ensure it contains no broken links. Reason #2: A landing page that doesn’t match the ad content More commonly known as clickbait, ads promoting content that doesn’t match the landing page violate Facebook’s advertising policies. Clickbait is deceptive, promising users one thing but then giving them something completely different and unexpected. Facebook is especially cracking down on clickbait ads in light of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the prominence of “fake news.” To avoid disapproval because of clickbait, make sure your ad content accurately indicates what users will see on the landing page. If you're having trouble figuring out which ads to run, try creating user personas to understand your customers, then create and optimise ads based on those personas. Are you advertising to the right buyer personas? Reason #3: Inappropriate or offensive ad content Ads that contain profanity, sexual innuendo and discrimination are considered inappropriate or offensive and will be disapproved. Since the earliest age a user can join Facebook is 13, the network strives to foster a family friendly environment that everyone can enjoy. If your ad contains inappropriate or offensive content, consider altering the ad and the angle you want to take to deliver your message. Reason #4: Content encouraging illegal or unethical behavior Facebook is not the platform for you if your message involves promoting illegal or unethical behavior, for example, promoting spy and malware products. As previously mentioned, Facebook is focused on family friendly experiences. Ads that promote negative behaviors will be disapproved without a second thought. Reason #5: Third-party infringement Whether intentional or unintentional, sometimes ads infringe or violate a third-party’s copyright or trademark. If it does, and Facebook disapproves it as a result, you may only be required to make a slight alteration. For instance, if your ad contains a copyrighted photo, you may only need to change the photo. To avoid third-party infringement, create original content for all of your ads rather than taking, for example, an image for your ad from a stock-photo site. In addition to complying with Facebook’s policies, doing so will also make your ads unique to your brand. Reason #6: Misleading or false content Content that is false or misleading will not be tolerated, as it qualifies as “fake news.” It may be tempting to make claims about products or services that are untrue in order to build interest. But authenticity and truthfulness are essential for establishing trust and credibility with your customers. Make sure there is nothing in your ad’s text or creative that is misleading or false. For example, if your ad has the title “Kim Kardashian reveals her fitness secret,” but takes users to a landing page that only contains promotions for weight loss pills with no mention of Kim Kardashian or her fitness secret anywhere, this ad would be disapproved. Reason #7: Prohibited products or services Facebook’s Advertising Policies list all of the products or services it prohibits. Prohibited items and services include: • Surveillance equipment • Payday loans • Counterfeit documents • Tobacco • Unsafe supplements • Adult content, products, or services • Weapons • Marijuana If your business revolves around selling or promoting any products or services from this list, Facebook advertising is not for you. Reason #8: Low-quality or disruptive content If your ad contains slow loading pages, broken links, or poor grammar, Facebook will disapprove it. Yes, poor grammar is truly a reason for ad-rejection! Facebook has a standard it tries to maintain across the platform, and a big part of maintaining that standard includes putting out high-quality ads. To avoid submitting low-quality or disruptive ads, carefully review your content to make sure it looks polished and professional, as well as provides a seamless experience with no disruption. [subscribe] Reason #9: Disruptive animation that plays automatically Video ads that play automatically, taking away a user’s decision to click or not to click, are disruptive to the user experience. Soundless video ads that play automatically are acceptable if the quality is exceptional. But flashing animations or loud and obnoxious ads are not conducive to Facebook’s standards of quality and will be disapproved. Reason #10: Controversial content for commercial purposes This reason is especially important in light of the recent focus on misuse of the Facebook platform in political sectors. In one instance, Russian troll accounts distributed politically divisive ads, and in another, the Cambridge Analytica data firm deceptively collected information from over 80 million profiles to deliver manipulated messages during the 2016 US Presidential Election. In response, Facebook is not pulling any punches for controversial ad content. Ads highlighting issues like abortion or gun control for financial gain will be disapproved. What to do if your ad is disapproved Luckily, Facebook recognizes that no one is perfect and offers you two options if your ad is disapproved. Option 1: Edit your ad. Option 2: Appeal Facebook’s disapproval decision. There are three steps to Option 1: Step 1: Read the email your advertising account received when your ad was disapproved. Step 2: Edit your ad per the instructions in the email. For instance, you may be required to edit your ad’s text, images, or call-to-action. Step 3: Save your changes and resubmit your ad. If you choose option two, you can complete an Appeal a Decision form. By doing so, you’re requesting that Facebook review your ad once again to consider the possibility that a mistake was made in the decision to disapprove your ad. This option is appropriate if it isn’t entirely clear whether Facebook’s justification for disapproving your ad matches its Advertising Policies. Mistakes are an opportunity to learn. If your Facebook ad gets disapproved, simply use it as a growing experience and you will succeed. This is a guest post by Anna Hubbel, staff writer at AdvertertiseMint, a Facebook advertising company. Hubbel writes on various topics, including social media, digital advertising, and current events.
Using buyer personas to adjust Facebook ads
Facebook isn't just a social platform anymore. Even though the vast majority of users come to Facebook to keep up to date with news from friends, advertisers are finding in Facebook a real revenue stream and a platform to mine for more accurate data about their ideal customers. Around this time last year, I was struggling to use Google Analytics APIs and Google Sheets to identify user profiles for one of my top clients. This process was both tedious and time-consuming, but there was no alternative to doing it manually. I was basically making user personas by hand, and once I had established this user profile service, other customers began requesting it. By presenting it to them in my portfolio I found out just how little most companies actually knew about their user profiles and the invaluable data they provide. From a marketing perspective, most companies can’t afford not to know this information. These personas can dramatically improve ad performance because they’re based on accurate, useful consumer data. Littledata is committed to automating the most time-consuming parts of your day, so we started work on a Buyer Personas algorithm. The resulting Buyer Personas feature shows you which type of customer, on which type of marketing channel, is most likely to convert -- so you can spend smarter, not just more, on Facebook ad campaigns. Here's how to use those personas to get higher ROI on Facebook. Why it can be difficult to improve Facebook ad performance The first question you ask yourself when setting up a new ad campaign is: Who is the target audience? It seems simple, but companies often struggle to come up with an answer. I faced the same problem when I was working with Pufushop and was asked to help them set up a new Facebook ad campaign. I've set up many campaigns on Facebook, but usually the website has had a target audience in mind or the site had installed a Facebook Pixel so long ago that I could have found this out from Facebook Analytics. But for this particular project I needed to find the target audience based only on Google Analytics data. If you've read any of my blog posts you know that "feeling" is not a metric for me. We all know that Facebook and Google Analytics have different ways to define demographics and interests. And that’s okay, sometimes it’s even beneficial. On one side we have Facebook's audience definition, which is sourced from how users self-identify in their profiles and also what content they interact with. On the other hand, we have the Google Analytics audience definition, which is based on presumptions about user behaviour and less rooted in user-generated data. I created the Buyer Personas profile below directly in the Littledata app. Our algorithms generate accurate personas based on your conversion goals and ecommerce setup, broken down by specific marketing channel (in this case, Facebook ads). Using our Buyer Personas feature I was able to find out the demographics and interests of Pufushop buyers -- in under 3 minutes. That persona is the result of tens of automated permutations. Note that this sample website has relatively low volumes, so four user characteristics stand out. For higher-volume sites, more categories appear automatically. Creating effective Facebook Ads from Buyer Personas Once I had the required data, I was ready to start my campaign. Here is a step-by-step guide on how you can set up a Facebook ad campaign based on your Buyer Personas. Go to your Ads Manager in Facebook and click on "Create" to start a new campaign In my case, I used a catalog sale because the campaign was promoting some items that were sold out and all of my products were part of a Collection and had the same target audience. Once I've chosen the catalog for the products and added the campaign name, I can click "Continue" and move on to the next step. Define the Ad set and the audience I found out using Littledata's Buyer Personas that my highest conversion rate is with users from Oradea, who are bargain-hunting females aged 21 to 30, have their browser set up in Romanian, and like to shop on Monday evenings. So I will set up that exact same audience for this ad set. Using all this insight as well as my specific need to present a 5-day sale with a minimal budget, I've successfully set up an audience that should convert at a higher rate. I click ‘Continue’ and on the next screen I add the creatives for the advertisement (image and text) and then, just like that, I’m done. To top it all off, this discovery and set up was done in less than an hour! [subscribe] The many uses of Buyer Personas As you get to know Buyer Personas, you can also use them to: Create new campaigns when you're running on a low budget Narrow down your audience based on specific factors Reduce the frequency of your ads by choosing the best hour to deliver them Create a better re-marketing strategy by knowing when your abandoned carts are more likely to be converted into purchases Run territorial marketing campaigns, taking into consideration the interest and potential of each area Plus many more insights and discoveries to dramatically improve your conversion rate (doing something unique? Let us know!) At first glance a buyer persona like the sample above may seem to be only "four lines in a table," but if you look beyond the text you’ll start to really understand how users from a specific category interact with your website. And once you use your Buyer Personas to adjust and customize your Facebook ads, you'll come to the same conclusion I did: "This is so obvious, how did I miss it?" Facebook campaign reporting in Littledata If you're advertising on Facebook and want to see how your Facebook efforts are paying out, check out Littledata's Social traffic pack. The pack pulls from your Google Analytics data to create automated reports on social traffic and top-performing campaigns. Included in the pack are reports that will show you landing pages for untagged traffic from social networks, an overview of traffic from social media sources, and top campaigns from social networks that help you monitor your campaigns, enabling you to track how your traffic is being split between social channels. We've also recently launched a Facebook cost import feature (more details coming soon). The feature links your Facebook data with Google Analytics so that you can ensure accurate tracking of your Facebook Ads spend -- yet another way that Littledata helps you make informed, data-driven decisions. How are you using Buyer Personas and Facebook Ads? Leave a comment below! The buyer personas data in this blog post has been modified for illustrative purposes.
How to choose between free and paid marketing channels
This is a guest post by Patrick Rauland, co-founder of the Lift Off Summit, a free virtual conference for growing ecommerce businesses. When someone starts an online store they usually look at their bank account and if they have money they go with ads. And if they don't they go with free marketing channels. And while this makes sense it isn't the best way to think about marketing and getting traction for your store. In this post, I break down the real differences between paid marketing channels and free marketing channels to help you figure out the best route to help your growing online business reach the next level of success. The Free Channels There are a lot of free channels you can use. Just to name a few there are: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Content Marketing Facebook pages Twitter Instagram Pinterest Video marketing (YouTube) And all of these can drive traffic to your store. But you have to start building an audience on these channels first and figure that out before you start driving serious traffic to your store. This can be especially hard on some platforms like Facebook that suppress organic page posts and instead display ads. Another problem is that these strategies usually take a lot of time. One of the most effective channels for my personal blog is SEO. But it took years to get enough organic traffic. [subscribe] The Paid Channels There are just as many--if not more--paid channels. Here are a few: Facebook Ads Instagram Ads Twitter Ads Pinterest Ads Google AdWords Affiliate Marketing Influencer Marketing What all of these have in common is that they can help you speed up the growth of your brand & store. Speed Up Growth Building something from scratch is hard. It's hard and it's slow. Even if you have a compelling message you might only get that message in front of a few new people each day. And only a fraction of those are ready to buy your product today. Ads let you target the perfect audience. Facebook especially has robust targeting let you target interest, ages, genders, and locations. And you can target users at any point along the customer journey. Whether they've seen your site, visited a specific page, joined the newsletter, or added something to the cart. When you can target the perfect audience you're much more likely to make the sale. If you need 100 visitors to your website to make a sale. You might only need 50, 25, or maybe if you're really good just 5 visitors to make a sale with ads. With ads you don't just pay for leads. You pay for hot leads. What About Costs? The cost of running ads can actually be quite low. I interviewed Facebook marketing expert Megan Adams for Lift Off Summit, she made a really good point about starting small and testing the results: “In the beginning…start with $5 a day and see where that takes you. Or $100 a campaign.” Amber Turril, Chief Funnel Operations Strategist at White Coat Digital said: “You can start a $5/day campaign on Facebook and see where that goes. Or $10/day on Adwords.” For $5 a day. That's $125 a month. A very reasonable amount. Even if every single click-through fails you still learn something. You can tell which ads had the most compelling message based on their click through rates. You can try different copy & different images to learn what call to actions are the best for your audience. And then apply that to your eCommerce site improving the conversion rate site-wide. Break Even First All of the platforms can show you the ROI on each of the ads. And with your first ad you're likely to have a negative ROI - meaning you lost money on that ad. And that's okay. You're going to have ads that under perform. It may take you a few weeks or maybe a month to get to the break even stage. And breaking even is the goal for someone just getting into ads. Turrill continued: “Will that one dollar turn into two dollars? It will. But first go for break even. And then go for that positive return on investment.” Paying on the Backend I've mostly been talking about ads so far - partly because they're what everyone thinks of when they think of paid marketing channels. But also because they amplify what you're already doing. There is another strategy though. You can leverage someone else's audience entirely and after each sale you can pay a commission. That means there are no upfront costs. I'm talking about affiliate marketing & influencer marketing. If you have a product that people are willing to promote (and if you don't you should evaluate what you're selling) then reach out to influencers in your space. Who is in your industry that knows your potential customers. They should know their wants, needs, and desires. And they should already have an audience. If they understand your industry and they have an audience give them an affiliate code. And you can give them a commission on any sales made with their affiliate code. I interviewed eCommerce entrepreneur Pippin Williamson for Lift Off Summit and he said: "At it's core it's really other people saying good things about you." And I think that's why this channel works so well. It's a natural extension of word of mouth. The Three Ways to Grow In eCommerce there are three ways to grow: Get more customers Get your customers to purchase more (higher average order value) Get your customers to purchase more often And when you're a brand new store it's basically just one: get more customers. That's why I'm such a big fan of the paid channels. They obviously have a cost to run. And you should always work on organic methods like SEO & content marketing. But while you're gearing those up start playing with ads. You'll usually see immediate results and can continue to grow & tweak. Patrick Rauland is a public speaker, author, and blogger. He creates eCommerce content for LinkedIn Learning/Lynda.com. He loves helping people start their own businesses and take control of their own financial future.
Shine a light on ‘dark’ Facebook traffic
If Facebook is a major channel for your marketing, whether sponsored posts or normal, then you’re underestimating the visits and sales it brings. The problem is that Facebook doesn’t play nicely with Google Analytics, so some of the traffic from Facebook mobile app comes as a DIRECT visit. That’s right – if a Facebook user clicks on your post on their native mobile app they won’t always appear as a Facebook social referral. This traffic is ‘dark Facebook’ traffic: it is from Facebook, but you just can’t see it. Since around 40% of Facebook activity is on a mobile app, that means the Facebook traffic you see could be up to 40% less than the total. Facebook hasn’t shown much interest in fixing the issue (Twitter fixed it, so it is possible), so you need to fix this in your own Google Analytics account. Here are three approaches: 1. Basic: use campaign tagging The simplest way to fix this, for your own posts or sponsored links on Facebook, is to attach UTM campaign tags to every link. Google provides a simple URL builder to help. The essential tags to add are “utm_source=facebook.com” and “utm_medium=referral”. This will override the ‘direct’ channel and put all clicks on that links into the Facebook referral bucket. Beyond that, you can add useful tags like “utm_campaign=events_page” so you can see how many click through from your Facebook events specifically. 2. Moderate: use a custom segment to see traffic What if much of your traffic is from enthusiastic brand advocates, sharing your pages or articles with their friends? You can’t expect them to all use an URL builder. But you can make a simple assumption that most users on a mobile device are not going to type in a long URL into their browser address bar. So if the user comes from a mobile device, and isn’t visiting your homepage (or a short URL you deliberately post), then they are probably coming from a mobile app. If your website is consumer facing, then the high probability is that that mobile app is Facebook. So we can create a custom segment in GA for traffic which (a) comes from a mobile device (b) does not have a referrer or campaign (i.e. direct) (c) does not land on the homepage To start you need to create a segment where source contains 'facebook'. Then add the 'Direct mobile, not to homepage' segment: Next, you can create a custom report to show sessions by hour: You should see a strong correlation, which on the two web properties I tested on resulted in doubling the traffic I had attributed to Facebook. 3. Advanced: attribute micro spikes to Facebook Caveat: you’ll need a large volume of traffic – in excess of 100 visits from Facebook a day – to try this at home The final trick has been proved to work at The Guardian newspaper for Facebook traffic to news articles. Most Facebook activity is very transitory – active users click on a trending newsfeed item, but it quickly fades in interest. So what you could do, using the Google Analytics API, is look for the ‘micro spikes’ in referrals that come from Facebook on a minute-by-minute basis, and then look at the direct mobile visits which came at the same time, and add these direct spikes to the total Facebook traffic. I've played around with this and it's difficult to get right, due to the sampling Google applies, but I did manage to spot spikes over around 5 minutes that had a strong correlation with the underlying direct mobile traffic. Could these approaches work for your site? I'm interested to hear. (Chart: Dark Social Dominates Online Sharing | Statista) Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.
Subscribe to Littledata news
Insights from the experts in ecommerce analytics
Try the top-rated Google Analytics app for Shopify stores
Get a 30-day free trial of Littledata for Google Analytics or Segment