Smart Goals In Google Analytics

I was excited to find out Google has announced and started rolling out  smart goals last week. This new feature is a valuable tool for many small to medium sized businesses who don’t have a way of tracking conversions on their website.

Smart goals are a type of goal within Google Analytics. So what’s so smart about these goals? For some websites you may not have a thank you page or any sort of goal that you can set. This is where smart goals are valuable. Smart goals use machine learning in order to pull data from other websites to determine which visits to your site would likely convert. By pulling data from those thousands of websites (which by the way are anonymous at this time) Google is able to determine what behavior on the site correlates with users converting. An example of this might be a user spending over 10 minutes on your site while also navigating to 4 or more pages.

Another aspect of this new feature which makes it incredibly compelling is the fact that it is relatively easy to set up by setting it up within Google Analytics (please note smart goals are only eligible in your account if you have your Adwords account linked to Analytics). There is no need to add a piece of code to your site, a task that might hinder many small businesses from being able to track conversions in the first place.

One you have smart goals set up you can then pull the data into Adwords and optimize for smart goals as your conversions.

In my opinion, smart goals are a win for Google in two respects. First, by being able to show some form of conversions Google gives many of those small and medium business advertisers a chance to see the return on their ad spend (potentially for the very first time).

Second, indirectly Google is further aiding businesses in improving their user experience on the site. Even if a small business owner doesn’t change a single thing on their website if they know that their existing landing pages convert better on 5 specific keywords out of the 100 keywords they have in their campaigns, that advertiser is likely to focus future spend on those 5 terms. This in turn drives the most targeted traffic to their site, which at the end of the day is what Google wants for users clicking on ads.

It’s also good to see such a valuable feature ,aimed at benefiting mainly small business owners, roll out not long after the not so local-friendly Google+ update around Thanksgiving.

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4 Facebook Advertising Strategies For Local Businesses

Facebook Advertising is an ideal platform for local business owners because of its low cost and local targeting capabilities. Furthermore, Facebook friends tend to live and work near you. Therefore, for the most part, your Facebook newsfeed is a “main street” of sorts in your town’s digital world. Similar to putting up a billboard on a local highway, Facebook Advertising can allow a small business owner to quickly get his or her brand in front of a whole community.

But wait – what about investing in pay per click ads in which you can go after people already looking for your service? While Facebook can definitely target users a great deal, it is a different platform than a search engine. People go on Facebook to connect and share with their friends. As a result, people are spending more time on Facebook: currently, the national average is 40 minutes per day. Therefore, it’s completely possible that your ad could appear multiple times on an individual’s Facebook page, each of those times building your brand awareness in a similar fashion to that billboard you see every day on your way to work.

You may, in fact, be showing your ads to someone who already has a barber they go to, but then again… would that same person likely be looking for a barber in a search engine? With a compelling FB ad, you can get your brand in front of that potential customer who would not have found you otherwise.

After working with dozens of local small businesses as well as a few national brands, I’ve noticed what works for a national client doesn’t always work for the local ones. In order to create that compelling Facebook ad, I’ve compiled 4 strategies to help a local business owner.

  1. Take Advantage of Local Awareness Ads

Local Awareness Ads were really one of the first methods in which Facebook truly made it clear that they were an advertising platform for local small business owners. This ad objective – which is actually titled “reach people near your business” in Facebook Ads Manager – is definitely one worth taking advantage of if you are a local business.

The greatest advantage comes from the fact you can make your targeting hyper-local, targeting Facebook users as close as within 1 mile of your business. In contrast, traditional Facebook advertising location targeting only lets you get as granular as targeting a particular city.

This feature is great to capture individuals who may be dining near your business, working near you, or even traveling in the area. In the above ad, we call out the fact that the user is nearby. The user’s proximity to your business makes the ads automatically personalized to your user at that exact moment. G/O Digital surveyed users and found that 60% of users looked at a local business’ Facebook page before they visited that local business. This indicates there were quite a few users looking on Facebook prior to visiting a particular location.

One critique of local awareness ads is the lack of more robust targeting segmentation, which is often praised as one of the strengths of the Facebook Advertising platform overall. The lack of more robust targeting segmentation is in reference to the fact that, at this point, you are not able to specify beyond gender, age, and location whom your ads will show to for Local Awareness Ads. While it is true this targeting is missing, it stands to reason your audience size for an ad like this would be incredibly small.

Additionally, unlike the other Facebook ad objectives available, the ad objective for Local Awareness Ads is to go after people near your business. The local targeting is the main objective of the ad itself; therefore, it would be deviating from the point of the ad to include interest-based or behavior-based targeting.

Local Awareness Ads also allow you additional call-to-actions, namely “Get Directions” and “Call Now.” The reason the calls-to-action are a little different with this ad objective is because you are reaching customers who are nearby, oftentimes on a mobile device. In the example below, I included a “Call Now” button and indicated that the potential customer could call and book their service appointment within the ad text.

facebook local awareness ad example

 

  1. Use Images Of Your Storefront In Your Ads

When it comes to Facebook Advertising, images really are a crucial part of your ad. A lot of my clients obsess over what image they should be using in their ads. A few spend a great deal of money on graphic designers to bring to life what they think is the perfect image often times including a great deal of text. However, most of my local clients simply don’t have the resources to spend on creating a custom image.

One engaging image you can use without the help of a graphic designer – and one that most local businesses have – is a picture of your storefront. If you are targeting local customers, whether through a Local Awareness Ad or simply a city, chances are that the person has passed your business at some point. Seeing your storefront in the ad should immediately look familiar to them. Just as you scroll through Facebook and stop to look at a picture of your friend in front of a new car they just bought, you’ll immediately stop and look twice at an ad with a familiar place in the image.

This is one of those advantages that not all national brands can leverage and one that a local business owner should consider adding into their Facebook ad.

It’s also worth noting that Facebook actually has a 20% text rule for their ads. This means that if your image has over 20% text on it, it cannot be used in your ad. This rule exists because Facebook wants you to use engaging images not covered in text. They want this so much that they even provide stock photos within their ads platform. So don’t worry about all the text in your images – a high-quality photo is worth a 1,000 words.

  1. Provide Local Context In Your Ad Text

While you may be ditching text in your images, you can convey your message in your ad copy. In a Facebook ad, there are a few places to include ad copy, depending on which ad objective you choose.

What makes a local business unique is your proximity to your market. Leveraging this information in your ad copy is a no-brainer, but you don’t have to just take my word for it. A recent study found that 4 out of 5 consumers want ads customized to their immediate surroundings.

Consider including the name of the shopping center your business is situated in or even local landmarks near your business.

  1. Leverage Videos In Your Ads

Earlier this year Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg outlined the benefit in video ads specifically for small business owners. Sandberg spoke to the fact that video ads on Facebook present an opportunity for small business owners who might not have the resources to hire a film crew and buy a television ad. Sandberg has a point. Facebook, much like television, is a form of entertainment that has a large captive audience. Getting in front of that captive audience with a video that is engaging is a new ad format worth exploring.

But can a video ad on Facebook viewed on your mobile phone really compete with a television commercial on a 50-inch television? An interesting study, released this past June, actually examined the neuroscience behind viewing ads on a smartphone versus a television. The study found that people were more attentive and tended to feel more positive towards information presented on a mobile phone. I suspect part of the positive impact on those viewing the ads may simply be because the ads shown to users on Facebook may be more targeted to that specific user.

In order to begin introducing video ads to your local businesses’ Facebook advertising campaign, it’s good to go back to a point that Sandberg made reference to earlier: that you do not have to hire a film crew to put an ad on Facebook. Video ads can be completely unique to your business. A car dealership might highlight the inside of a vehicle in a video ad, whereas a bakery might show footage from the kitchen of a variety of pastries being made.

Keep in mind that this ad is showing up in someone’s newsfeed; therefore, you want engaging content that is going to catch a user’s eye. While you can include sound with your video, it’s important to note that 65% of Facebook video views occur on mobile phones. So take a second to think about where your users might be if they are on their mobile phone, such as waiting in line at Starbucks or taking a break at their desk at work. The user may not be able to listen to audio. That being said, having a video that can convey your message without sound is incredibly important.

In Conclusion

Whether you employ all or just one of these local Facebook advertising strategies, you will help your local business build brand awareness in the populous digital highway that Facebook has become.

 

The Simple Guide To Multi-Channel Funnels In Google Analytics

No Conversion Is An Island

Just like no man is an island, no conversion happens without the help of multiple marketing channels. True, there are plenty of these “assists” that we cannot track. For instance, word-of-mouth is nearly impossible to track. If a friend tells you she loves her new shoes, and you go buy the same pair of shoes that shoe company may never know that it was your friend’s endorsement that got you to type their brand name into a google search bar. However, in the online world we do have the ability to track these assists to some extent, we call them “assisted conversions.” So what is an assisted conversion?

Here’s the technical definition via Google:

“This is the number of sales and conversions the channel assisted. If a channel appears anywhere—except as the final interaction—on a conversion path, it is considered an assist for that conversion. The higher these numbers, the more important the assist role of the channel.”

And here’s another way of explaining things, let’s say instead of hearing about that shoe company from your friend offline, instead you saw her comment on a photo on their company’s Facebook page. I go to that shoe company’s Facebook page, decide I really want to know if the shoes worn by the model in the cover photo come in red so I venture over to the site. BINGO! I get to the site and see that yes in fact they do come in red. But before buying, I just want to be sure there’s no other place I can find these shoes for less. So I check out a few department stores online, but they carry this specific red shoe I want. At this point I google the name of that shoe company again (because its’ easier to google things than type out the whole URL, right?) and I end up ordering those red shoes. In Google Analytics, organic search will be the channel that gets credit for this conversion, but since my first interaction with the shoe company was on social it will be considered an “assisted conversion.”  Social assisted organic in making the final conversion.

So why does this matter? Because oftentimes the assisted conversions provide us with some of the most valuable insights and we ignore it because frankly its hard to see. However, Multi-Channel Funnels in Google Analytics is here to solve that problem!

If you think “multi-channel funnel” is slightly intimidating, don’t worry, it’s actually one of the easiest things to understand in Analytics (in my opinion). You can get to it by navigating to the conversions tab on the bottom left hand side of your screen and then clicking Overview under “Multi-Channel Funnels.”

On the first half of the page, itScreen Shot 2015-04-15 at 9.23.17 PM breaks down how many conversions you had and how many were assisted.

As you scroll down to the second part of the page this is where things get interesting. You can place up to four channels in your Venn Diagram. It will show in the time frame selected how many times Direct & Social, Direct & Organic, and so forth assisted each other in making a Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 9.27.24 PMconversion.

I normally only look at two channels at a time. You can scroll over the shaded area where the two circles overlap to see the percentage of conversions the two channels assisted each other on, as well as the actual number (in case you didn’t want to both doing the extra math).

This is a fantastic way to see which of your various channels are assisting each other in Google Analytics. And the best part is Analytics does all of the work for you!