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The Ultimate How-to Guide on Google Ads A/B Testing

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Cross-Channel Engagement Benchmarks for 2022

The Ultimate How to Guide on Google Ads AB Testing

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When it comes to online marketing, it’s difficult to know what will make for an engaging campaign. You’ll always find that some images, tones, and wordings appeal more to some people than others. 

We all have our individual preferences. That’s why the success of a well-made campaign can often depend on it finding the right demographic. A/B testing, or split testing, can help you narrow down the preferences of your key demographics. 

To give this guide some context, we’re going to talk about Google Ads A/B testing. You could apply these principles to any area of online marketing. However, 90% of organic search traffic on the web comes through Google, so it’s a good place to start. 

1652105476 844 The Ultimate How to Guide on Google Ads AB Testing1652105476 844 The Ultimate How to Guide on Google Ads AB Testing

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What Is A/B Testing?

In marketing, this is a simple but versatile form of testing. It involves running two versions of the same campaign simultaneously and analyzing the results. Your “A” and “B” versions are demoed to different groups of the same audience. 

As audience responses come in, you analyze the response to each version of the campaign. If it’s a Google Ad, then this could be how much traffic clicks through to your landing page, for example. 

When the campaign is over, look at which version drove the most traffic to your site. Then, take note of the differences compared to the successful campaign and use these to refine your marketing material. 

With Google Ads, you can run these kinds of tests natively through the Google Ads tool. You might be looking for the highest click-through rates to judge success. You might be looking at which campaigns lead to the most conversions or the highest lifetime order value. 

When you test in this way, “A” will often represent your current content, while “B” will be any changes you want to make. Whatever way you want to judge the success of A or B, Google Ads can provide the analytics you need.  

Why Do I Need to Test My Marketing?

Marketing is not an exact science. Even the best marketing campaigns can be refined and tweaked to optimize them. Testing your marketing gives you solid data on to base your refinements on. This leads to much more efficient campaigns and ad placements.

There are other practical benefits to testing that are difficult to achieve without a test plan in place. Some of these are specific to Google Ads, but some are true even if you’re using in-house tools for web services testing.

Budget Control

As your financial department will be keen to tell you, budget control is vital to successful marketing. The key to a successful campaign is your return on investment (ROI). 

Think of it this way. A big flashy ad campaign might bring in a lot of traffic. But if you spent more on the campaign than the extra revenue from that traffic, the campaign failed. 

This is an extreme example. Testing will, mostly, help you make small incremental changes that optimize your ROI over time. It can help avoid big mistakes like the example above, too, though.

With Google Ads A/B testing, budget is very important as ad spend can directly affect impressions. When you run a split test, you need to make sure that each version of the campaign is still budgeted to receive enough impressions for a viable test.  

1652105476 699 The Ultimate How to Guide on Google Ads AB Testing1652105476 699 The Ultimate How to Guide on Google Ads AB Testing

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AI Learning

Google Ads A/B testing helps the AI to learn your audience’s preferences. As you test more and more campaigns, you’ll gain a deeper analytic view of your audience segments. As well as the marketing they respond to best. 

The way that Google’s machine learning works means that it can optimize to your audience. But, if you run a new campaign, it won’t necessarily make use of data from existing campaigns. 

If you run a split test, the AI recognizes its link to the previous campaign and can use your existing marketing data. 

Marketing Optimization

Google’s AI is quite advanced, but it still can’t work by itself, though. You need to remember that AI will optimize to the goals you set for a campaign. So if you’ve optimized for clicks and you’d rather concentrate on cost per acquisition, remember to switch your goals.

Once you’ve set your campaign up correctly, the machine learning portion of Google software will optimize toward what works. Whether you’re a multinational or selling on Amazon, you can use this to your advantage.

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Using A/B Testing With Google Ads

Different kinds of marketing require different parameters for testing. If you’re testing keywords on a landing page, your tests will be very different from mobile compatibility testing for the same page. 

Where to Start

Start by looking at what your campaign entails and deciding what its focus should be. This will tell you what kind of test you need. If you’re looking at the features of an ad, like its headline, wording, or images, then you need an Ad Variation Test. 

Maybe you want to experiment with the dynamics of a campaign. Say, for example, you want to see how a campaign works with different core audiences. In that case, you would need to run a Campaign Experiment. 

You can do both of these things from within Google Ads, so let’s look at Ad Variations first. 

Setting up an Ads Page for A/B Testing

Here’s your step-by-step walkthrough for setting up an Ads page. If you haven’t set up a Google Ads account yet, do that first. Then follow these instructions.

  1. In your Google Ads account, you’ll need to go to the “All campaigns” tab. 
  2. Start by selecting the campaign you want to run the test within. 
  3. Note that if you want to run tests for multiple campaigns, you’ll need to set up each campaign individually.
  4. Once you’ve chosen the campaign, you’ll need to go to “Ads & Extensions.” You can find this on the left sidebar.  
  5. Then click the Option for “Ads” when this appears.
  6. On this new page, you’ll see a + sign. Click this to create a new Ad.
  7. Select “Ad Variation” as the option here.
  8. Now, you should be on the Ad Variation page. Here, you’ll have to select the Campaign and Ad type, then hit continue.
  9. Now, we need to find the text we want to replace with our variation. Use the Find and Replace function to search your original headline, etc. 
  10. Match it up with the correct part of the Ad using the right-hand sidebar’s “In” function
  11. Here, you’ll see the “Replace With” section. Put your variation text here and continue.
  12. Name your test, and set the run time (Use an absolute minimum of two weeks.) 
  13. To balance impressions of your original and variation equally, set the “Experiment split” to 50%.
  14. Don’t forget to hit “Create Variation” when you’re done. The page you see now will also show you your variations and the analytics for your A/B test. Use this to keep track of your key metrics.

This is how to set up an Ads page. There’s another function that can be used for A/B Testing in Google Ads, too.  

Experiments: Everything You Need to Know

Drafts and experiments can be used both for Ad variations and campaign testing. The method for Ad variations is very similar to the steps above, so we’ll cover that first. 

Experiments for Ad Variations

Setting up an Ad Variation in Experiments is just like setting up an Ads page. But instead of going to Ads and Extensions in All Campaigns, you’ll go to “+More” on the left sidebar. Then select “All Experiments.

From here, you can add a new Ad Variation in the same way we described above. This is also where you can set up a new campaign experiment.

Experiments for Campaigns

Google Ads used to call these “drafts and experiments”. Now they’re known as “Custom Experiments.” Experiments for campaigns are used for: 

  • Bidding optimization 
  • Keyword optimization
  • Landing-page A/B testing
  • Demographic testing
  • Audience segmentation

You can easily follow the steps above to create a new campaign experiment. The only real differences are that you’ll be setting parameters like Ad spend and audience segments. 

Remember to always give your tests at least two weeks to run, ideally more for conclusive results.

1652105477 10 The Ultimate How to Guide on Google Ads AB Testing1652105477 10 The Ultimate How to Guide on Google Ads AB Testing

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Results: Analyze, Implement, Improve

The nice thing about using Google Ads A/B testing is that it will perform the analytics by itself. However, that doesn’t mean you can just leave it to its own devices. You’ll need to implement continual testing to learn what works and what doesn’t.

Don’t forget that in marketing, your failures can teach you as much as your successes. There are different types of reports in software testing, and it’s important to get to know what you should be looking for. 

Conclusion

You wouldn’t neglect testing in research and development. So why would you neglect it in marketing? A/B testing should only be one part of your overall testing strategy. But it’s a small and integral part that often gets ignored. Follow this guide to avoid that mistake. 

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How to Do a PPC Audit in 8 Simple Steps

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How to Do a PPC Audit in 8 Simple Steps

My computer’s desktop, to most, appears to be cluttered and disorganized. My teammates are constantly begging me to clean it up. To me, there’s a method to my madness. But if someone else tried to use my desktop, they’d spend weeks trying to decode my scattered thought process.

The same can be said for many PPC accounts. Oftentimes, the original owner creates and manages the account in their own, unique way. When someone new takes over, they have to navigate the existing account without fully understanding its historical background and why it’s been organized the way it is.

The best way to overcome this gap is to do a PPC audit any time you take on an existing Google Ads account. And that’s just one reason you might want to perform a PPC audit. From time to time, it’s just good hygiene to make sure your pay-per-click accounts are in healthy shape.

But how do you actually do a PPC audit? What’s the right process to audit your Google Ads account? That’s exactly what we’re going to cover in this step-by-step PPC audit guide. These are the steps I follow when I dive into a newly acquired search ads account. You can use this checklist as a handy tool for all future account audits.

🚨 Fast-track your PPC audit! Use the Google Ads Grader to automatically audit your account for free.🚨

Table of contents

Click to jump to each step of my PPC audit guide:

  1. Check your conversion tracking
  2. Review your targeting
  3. Assess your ad group relevancy
  4. Check how many ads are in each ad group
  5. Dive into ad assets
  6. Review your keyword match types
  7. QA your negative keywords
  8. Create a game plan

First, let’s get clear on what a PPC audit is. A PPC audit is an evaluation of the structure and performance of your paid ad accounts in platforms such as Google Ads, Microsoft Ads, and Facebook Ads. A PPC audit looks at the setup of key account components like ad groups, campaigns, ads, and more. Regularly auditing your PPC accounts can help you stay ahead of performance trends and optimization opportunities to maximize your marketing ROI. Let’s look at the steps that go into a PPC audit next.

1. Be sure conversions are being tracked (properly)

Are you tracking conversions properly? This is an essential question to ask in any PPC audit. Neglecting to track conversions is one of the biggest mistakes a PPC manager can make. Without this data, it’s impossible to understand whether all of your hard work is paying off! While this should be one of the very first tasks completed after setting up an account, a report from Disruptive Advertising found that only 58% of the 2,000 accounts featured in their study had at least one conversion registered.

ppc audit - google ads conversion tracking screenshot

Google has made this setup easier and easier through the years. Use it!

That’s bad, but this is worse—of this group, only half of the accounts that were “tracking conversions” had the code implemented correctly. Meaning, only 29% of all accounts reviewed passed muster when it came to tracking conversions.

Be sure that your newly acquired account doesn’t fall into this group. If conversions are registered in the account, be watchful for these tell-tale signs that the tracking has been set up improperly:

  • Your click count and conversion count are identical. If this is the case, you either have the most amazing products in the world or your conversion tracking code was added to your landing pages, rather than your thank you/order confirmation page.
  • Your conversion rates are super-high, despite low sales numbers. If so, your conversion tracking may be measuring visits to a product page or home page, rather than an order confirmation.
  • Your conversion count is suspiciously low, suggesting that you’re missing conversions. In this case, the former account manager neglected to track phone call conversions or forgot to add tracking codes to new landing pages.

If no conversions are registered on the account, generating and implementing conversion tracking code should be your first order of business! With this first PPC audit step conquered, your Google Ads conversion rate optimization is off to a good start.

🌱Get more tips on how to grow your PPC strategy with our free guide to hacking Google Ads!

2. Review campaign-level settings

Setting your campaign targeting settings is a simple activity that takes five minutes, tops, but one small misstep in this section can have a profound impact on your account performance. (You can see how some of our clients learned this the hard way here.) Dive into each of your newly-acquired campaigns to review the previous owner’s targeting settings and ensure they make sense for the business.

Google Ads account setting updatesGoogle Ads account setting updates
Key items to check in on are:

  • Network Settings: The goals, expectations, and overall performance of ads on the Search Network are significantly different than those running on the GDN (get the low-down on each network here). The audit/optimization process that you follow will be dependent on the network you’re targeting.
  • Mobile Bid Adjustments: Do you want to show on mobile devices? If so, make sure that your bid modifiers are high enough to score you visibility for mobile searches. To determine this, segment your performance by device to assess the effectiveness of your existing mobile bids. Is your new company not quite ready for mobile traffic? Set the bids to -100%, until you get your mobile-preferred ads and mobile landing pages up to snuff. I recommend prioritizing this, given the ever-growing percentage of searches occurring on mobile devices.
  • Target Locations: Check to ensure that your company services the regions that your account has opted into. Then, take this one step further and review your geo-reports. You may find that a particular area performs ridiculously well (or ridiculously poorly) and can fine-tune the account to prioritize that location.

Congrats! Another step your PPC optimization checklist knocked out.

3. Assess your ad groups

The general rule of thumb is that an ad group should never contain more than 15-20 keywords and, for auditing purposes, I think this is a good jumping-off point. Scan your newly inherited account to find ad groups that hold more than about 20 keywords. These are likely the groups that will require the most clean-up.

You’re probably thinking, why the heck does the number of keywords matter so much? Realistically, your ad groups’ keyword count won’t impact performance. However, keep in mind that you’re serving the same set of ads for every keyword in a given ad group. If your keyword list is huge, it is likely includes various themes, meaning you’re forced to write generic ad copy.

Instead, your goal should be to populate each ad group with a list of super-granular keywords that all share the same semantic theme. You can then create hyper-specific ads for each ad group that are truly reflective of what the searcher is looking for.

keyword groupingskeyword groupings

I think we can agree that it’d be way easier to write an ad for the second keyword group than the first!

Despite the best of intentions, it’s easy to wind up with a few big ad groups in your account. Even if you start with small, tightly-knit keyword combinations, as more and more terms are added, your ad groups can grow to an unwieldy size. It’s important to QA them regularly and move terms that aren’t a good fit into new ad groups.

💡Find more ways to clean up your campaigns during your PPC audit using our free guide to Google Ads Account Structure.

4. Check how many ads are in each ad group

If the account you inherit only has one active ad in each ad group, it’s an indication that the previous manager was not testing ad variations, which severely limits account optimization. On the flip side, having multiple active ads per ad group can also be detrimental. Likely, the previous owner was a testing zealot who dreamt up plenty of ad creative and tried to test it all at once (fail) or he just never bothered to end any of his tests (double fail).

The sweet spot you should be shooting for is two to three ad variations per ad group. This is a manageable number of ads to run tests with. Once you’ve identified your winner, pause the losing ad and try testing a new variation.

5. Dive into ad assets

If your Google Ads account doesn’t have any ad assets (formerly known as ad extensions) set up, hop to it! In this day and age, ad assets are not a nice to have, they’re a must for creating competitive ad copy.

ppc audit - google ads asset examplesppc audit - google ads asset examples

Ray-Bans has the right idea. This ad features callout and sitelink assets.

Luckily, since Google’s announcement that assets officially do impact ad rank, most advertisers have gotten their act together and implemented them. However, just because these asstess exist, doesn’t mean you can cross them off of your to-do list.

Confirm that the assets running are appropriate fits for the business itself. For example, if you’re using call assets, be sure that your company’s phone lines are staffed to handle incoming call volume. If you don’t have someone to answer incoming calls around the clock, schedule the assetss to only appear during your hours of business. If you’re advertising for an e-commerce company with no physical storefront, be sure to eliminate any location assets so your ads don’t appear in Google Maps. Finally, check to ensure that your sitelinks, callouts and structured snippets are truly representative of your offerings and not overly repetitive.

Don’t forget about automated assets! You can view the performance of any automated assets that Google has served alongside your ads from the assets section of Google Ads. Typically, we see that these yield positive performance but, if any appear to be negatively impacting the account, stop the bleed by opting out of them in the advanced extension options settings!

6. Review keyword match type settings

A well-run Google Ads account typically includes keywords set to a variety of match types. Each serves a unique purpose, for example broad match is great for keyword research, while exact helps to ensure you’re only connecting with the most highly-qualified searchers.

ppc audit tools - keyword match type guideppc audit tools - keyword match type guide
One of the most common (and dangerous) account faux-pas is running all keywords on the same match type. We see this most commonly with broad match (since it is Google’s default). Although these broad-match keywords yield plenty of traffic, many of their impressions are from people searching terms that are loosely related to the business, resulting in disastrous click-through and conversion rates and poor Quality Scores. Although broad match is usually the culprit for this problem, using all phrase or exact match can be just as damaging, as they may limit volume considerably.

If the account you’ve inherited is already using mixed match types, it doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. Take the time to dive in and understand the previous owner’s strategy and ensure that it was implemented correctly. Just because they’ve attempted to enact an advanced strategy, like tiered bidding per match type, doesn’t mean they did it right!

🔍 Perfect your keyword strategy using our Free Keyword Tool!

7. QA your negative keyword lists

Negative keywords are your best defense against impressions and clicks from unqualified searchers. If the previous account manager was not utilizing negatives, your work is cut out for you. You can proactively set negatives by doing some guesswork, but with an active account, I like to take more of a reactive approach. Try heading to your query reports to understand exactly what terms have been triggering your ads. Be on the lookout for terms that you do not want to continue showing for and set them as negatives.

Google Ads master negative keyword listGoogle Ads master negative keyword list

As you can see, we have a robust “master list” of negatives that we use for all campaigns!

If the former account manager added negatives already, review the list with a fine-toothed comb. Confirm that all of the negative terms are genuinely a good fit for the business and are not blocking impressions for any of your keywords. In addition, check your negative keywords’ match type settings to ensure that they are operating as anticipated. I can’t tell you how many accounts I’ve seen with negatives set to “exact” match that are doing absolutely nothing for them. These settings can drastically affect the impact of your negatives.

8. Create your game plan

Now that you have all the groundwork done, you know exactly what you need to do to whip the account into tip-top shape. It’s time to start optimizing! Once you’ve cleaned it up, the real fun begins. Happy auditing! If you try the tips in this PPC audit guide but still want to squeeze more out of your accounts, see how our solutions can help you maximize your PPC success!

Looking for a PPC audit tool?

If you’re tight on time and resources, let a PPC audit tool do the work for you. Get a free, instant account audit with our Google Ads Grader.

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What is Social Selling? (+How to Sell on Social Media)

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What is Social Selling? (+How to Sell on Social Media)

If you sell things to people who spend time on social media, you need to learn about social selling.

Social selling lets you use social media to find perfect prospects, build a genuine connection with them, and become the automatic choice when it’s time to buy.

It’s not rocket science. But you can’t go in guns blazing with the hard sales tactics. There’s more nuance required.

In this extensive guide, you’ll get a complete plan to launch your own social selling strategy. What to post, when to connect, and how to get more conversions with less pitching.

Table of contents

What is social selling?

Social selling is a lead generation strategy where you find, qualify, and connect with new prospects on social networks. The strategy includes using social listening to know what topics are important to prospects and then joining or generating conversations to build relationships with them.

Let’s say you work for a commercial contractor. Someone on X (formerly Twitter) talks about expanding their business in your area and has a question about building codes. You give an answer with some helpful links. You’re at the top of the list when they ask for a bid to upgrade their new building.

Notice that social selling focuses on generating new leads rather than quick conversions. You want to build trust through genuine connection, not complete an impersonal transaction.

The best part of social selling is that it’s like a free, always-on networking event you don’t have to fly to. You get to generate and nurture 1:1 relationships at a scale you never could with in-person networking or cold calls.

💡 Want more oomph in your outreach? Download this huge list of emotionally charged marketing words and phrases.

Social selling vs. traditional selling

Social selling differs from traditional sales strategies by where it happens, who you target, and how you connect.

Social selling - differences between social selling and traditional selling

Social selling happens on social media platforms. Traditional selling often takes place in person or via cold calls.

With social selling, you directly target product users or decision-makers. Traditional sales strategies usually start with engaging a gatekeeper before you speak with the person writing the checks.

Social selling uses warm introductions and personalized conversations to engage with targeted prospects. Traditional sales tactics rely on generic scripts and shotgun outreach.

Social selling vs. social media marketing

Social media marketing is usually a one-to-many broadcast. In contrast, social selling is more about building relationships with one-to-one conversations.

Social media marketing can also be conversion-focused and even include social shopping, where people can buy right from the social media platform. With social selling, you’re meeting and interacting with prospects, but the conversion happens outside the social network.

While they have differences, social media marketing and social selling do support each other. You may write some generally helpful social media posts as part of your social media marketing strategy, but when a prospect comments, they move into your social selling funnel.

Who is social selling for?

Social selling is for any company that sells products to people who spend time on social media. That is to say, it’s for just about every company since over 62% of the global population (and over 90% of the US population) is on social media.

Any size business can use social selling. A Fortune 500 software company might interact with chief technology officers who make million-dollar purchasing decisions. A local physical therapist can provide health tips to weekend warrior athletes in their network.

What are the benefits of social selling?

Social selling isn’t hard (we think it’s fun), but it takes some time. Are you on the fence about trying it? Let’s see if these social selling benefits convince you.

You connect with people where they’re comfortable

The average person spends about 2.5 hours each day scrolling social media platforms. Many are there to catch up with friends and family. But a large percentage of people head to social networks to learn about products and get content from brands.

Social selling - Graphic showing the reasons people use social mediaSocial selling - Graphic showing the reasons people use social media

Source

That audience of information seekers presents a perfect opportunity to jump in and be the helpful authority when they need you most.

Builds trust through conversation

An older study from HubSpot showed that a dismal 3% of consumers consider salespeople trustworthy. Ouch!

Social selling - LinkedIn post about rude salespeople.Social selling - LinkedIn post about rude salespeople.

Source

You’re unlikely to overcome the trust gap in the first few seconds of a cold call. But on social media, it’s possible to create relationships that generate trust over time.

Think about it this way. Say you need to hire more people. Would you be more likely to use a recruiting company that’s answered several hiring questions for you on LinkedIn or the company that cold-called you?

Lets you time outreach perfectly

In general, success on social media means posting at the right time. And that’s why social selling is so great. You use social listening to tell you when someone’s talking about your brand, your competitors, or some aspect of your business. Then, you can connect with them at the exact right time.

Social selling - Tweet from BiothermSocial selling - Tweet from Biotherm

Every major social media platform has a search bar. You can use it to search for hashtags, company names, or job titles that lead you to excellent prospects.

Plus, social media bios often hold lots of information about the people they represent. With a quick glance, you might learn where someone works, their job title, and what types of things they’re interested in.

You’d have to buy one heck of a cold-calling list to get all of that!

It’s a proven technique

LinkedIn data shows that sales teams who use social selling are more successful.

According to the research, social selling leaders:

  • Create more opportunities
  • Are more likely to reach quota
  • Outsell peers who don’t use social media

Social selling - stats from LinkedIn graphciSocial selling - stats from LinkedIn graphci

Source

What’s more, your competitors are already taking advantage of social selling. Compared to 2015, sales reps spend 12% more time connecting with prospects and customers virtually.

EveryoneSocial, a brand advocacy software provider, says that social sellers close 48% larger deals than their nonsocial seller counterparts.

Delivers a fantastic ROI

All you need to get started with social selling is a free social media account, a little time, and a strategy. There’s no significant initial investment, ads to buy, or travel to pay for.

As you start to generate quality leads from social media, you can invest in tools that make you more efficient, which we’ll cover in a bit.

What are the four pillars of social selling?

There are four concepts that, when taken together, form the foundation of a social selling strategy.

Social selling - Four pillars of social selling in a graphicSocial selling - Four pillars of social selling in a graphic

  1. Establish your brand on social media: Before connecting with prospects, create an engaging profile and publish relevant content that cements your brand as the expert in your space.
  2. Fill out your network: Identify your current customers, future potential customers, thought leaders, and influencers that you’d like to connect with.
  3. Engage them with insights: Become the go-to source for information by sharing thought-provoking directly with your prospects right when they need it.
  4. Build relationships: Strengthen your connections by establishing trust with the people who make decisions and influence others.

Which social selling platforms are best?

The best social selling platform for you depends a lot on the things you sell and where your audience hangs out.

That said, LinkedIn and Twitter are more geared towards social selling. People go to those networks more often for professional conversations. Plus, those platforms have some great tools to make creating a sales network easier.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the best platform for B2B social selling. Not only does the platform have more than 1 billion users, but most of them are also there to talk shop. That means your conversations about professional topics will fit right in.

LinkedIn makes it really easy to grow your professional network. You can use the search bar at the top of the page to look for specific job titles or people working for a company. Then, you can refine the list to only show people connected with your current network. Hello, warm introductions!

There’s also a really powerful tool called LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Use it to prioritize your prospects, find advocates who’ll help you connect, and even surface accounts showing high buying intent.

And the pièce de rèsistance is LinkedIn’s social selling index (SSI).

Social selling - LinkedIn SSI dashboardSocial selling - LinkedIn SSI dashboard

Source

The SSI is a metric from LinkedIn that measures your success against the four pillars of social selling. Just log into your account and head to your Social Selling Index dashboard. You’ll get an overall score and see how you fare against others in your industry.

X (formerly Twitter)

X is built for public discussions, which makes it a perfect place to jump into conversations and establish your brand’s expertise.

Finding those conversations is easy since many users add hashtags to their tweets. Search for hashtags using the bar at the top or click a hashtag from someone you already follow and see who else is using it.

Say one of your customers uses the hashtag #HRIssues on their Tweets. Click it, and you’ll likely find a host of other prospects who need your human resources software.

But what’s really cool about X is the List feature. With Lists, you can quickly find whole groups of people in your field.

Social selling - A list on Twitter XSocial selling - A list on Twitter X

Follow existing lists to grow your network. Or create your own private lists to keep tabs on competitors or customers.

Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram

Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram are popular social marketing platforms. But they’re less hospitable to social selling since people gravitate to them to get away from work. You can still see some benefits there, depending on what you sell.

Social selling on Facebook

The challenge with Facebook is that its privacy controls make it more difficult to engage with new people. Unless someone has made their post public, you won’t be able to interact with it. One potential workaround is Facebook groups. Look for existing groups that align with what you do, or build your own Facebook group.

Social selling - A group on FacebookSocial selling - A group on Facebook

Once you’re in the group, remember to be friendly and helpful. Most groups have admins that will boot you out if you get all salesy.

👀 Speaking of Facebook…Want to know how your ads compare to the competition? Download our latest Facebook ads benchmarks!

Social selling on TikTok

TikTok is growing as a sales channel because more people now use it to find new products and services. But it’s a very visual platform that kind of buries comments. So, it’s not ideal for generating conversations.

Your best bet is to post entertaining videos that follow trends on TikTok and build awareness of your brand.

Social selling on Instagram

It isn’t easy to find individuals to connect with on Instagram unless they’re a celebrity or you know their handle. Plus, starting an organic conversation there is hard, especially since it’s such a visual platform.

Like TikTok, your social selling play here is to post helpful content that attracts people who would eventually use what you sell. You could also try following complementary brands (think of cosmetics companies if you’re a fashion brand) and reply to the comments you see there. Just don’t go too hard. No brand wants another company harassing its followers.

9 tips to become a pro-level social seller

We’ve got the pillars down and seen how they work on different social media platforms. Now, let’s look at nine ways to accelerate your program.

1. Provide value and prove your expertise first

Before trying to make direct connections, you’ll need to build a foundation of credibility. Remember, you don’t want to be the person who meets someone new and instantly starts blurting out a sales pitch.

The easiest way to start is simply posting helpful, insightful content. Make it a mix of new content and posts you’ve shared from others.

Social selling - Real estate agent's helpful post.Social selling - Real estate agent's helpful post.

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Social sharing is built on two-way, mutually beneficial relationships. Before you ask for something like scheduling a demo or booking an appointment, give something first to keep the scales even.

2. Be an active social listener

Social listening gives you the superpower of knowing what people are talking about online. That way, you can get in on the conversation and engage with prospects organically.

On LinkedIn, you can set alerts to notify you when an account posts. Over on X, you can be notified anytime someone uses a specific hashtag.

For more robust social listening, use a social media management tool. They’ll let you monitor:

  • Brand mentions
  • Product mentions
  • Competitor mentions
  • Trending keywords
  • Branded keywords
  • Relevant hashtags

3. Optimize your profiles

    What’s the first thing people do when they see your social media account pop up for the first time? Many of them head right to your profile.

    That’s why a professional and complete profile is critical.

    Social selling - Jabil LinkedIn profile.Social selling - Jabil LinkedIn profile.

    Source

    Each social network has different profile styles, but in general:

    If you’re connecting through your personal LinkedIn account, gather some recommendations. In fact, it’s a good practice to trade LinkedIn recommendations with people you work with.

    4. Personalize connection requests

    After you’ve built a rapport by sharing content and conversing in the comments section, it’s time to formalize the relationship with a connection request. The best introduction messages are specific and relevant to the recipient. That’s true in social selling since you’ve done so much to create a personal connection.

    Here are a few ways to personalize your connection requests:

    • Mention people you’re both connected with
    • Call back to a recent interaction you’ve had
    • Provide something of additional value (like a link to a relevant article)
    • Use their name and reference their company or job title

    5. Continuously grow your network

      Social selling isn’t a one-and-done strategy. It’s a long-term play that gains steam over time. Set weekly goals for the number of posts, comments, and replies you publish. Block out time dedicated only to tending to your social media network.

      And most of all, don’t rush it. Many of your new connections won’t need what you sell right now. But they will eventually. And even if they don’t, they could offer a warm introduction to other people in the future.

      6. Be active in comments and replies

      This is a foundational tactic of social selling. A well-timed, relevant comment is your first foot in the door with a new prospect. You are adding to the conversation, and your engagement helps boost the post with the platform’s algorithm.

      Don’t forget to listen out for people who’ve already bought, too.

      Social selling - Post reply from Away brand.Social selling - Post reply from Away brand.

      Source

      Jumping in to save the day is the ultimate social selling tactic.

      7. Strike up conversations in your posts

      You don’t always have to seek out people to converse with on social media. You can bring them to your posts with questions and polls.

      Social selling - LinkedIn post with a pollSocial selling - LinkedIn post with a poll

      Source

      Whether they’re funny or serious, questions get people talking. Make a note of who shows up and what their opinions are. And always reply to keep the discussion going.

      8. Engage with influencers

      Influencers in your industry can be beneficial allies in your social selling campaign. They have an audience of people that you’d like to know. Plus, the topics they discuss could be great fodder for your posts and outreach.

      Social selling - TikTok from Shopify with an influencerSocial selling - TikTok from Shopify with an influencer

      Source

      You don’t need a formal agreement to engage with influencers. Just start liking and commenting on their posts. Reference and link to them in your own posts. Mine their comments sections to take the pulse of your industry and get new ideas. And invite them to collaborate on content.

      9. Find communities to join

      There are loads of online communities, both on social networks and elsewhere, just waiting for you to join. These groups are ideal for social selling since they’re all about conversing and providing mutual support.

      Social selling - A helpful post in the Maverick Truck ClubSocial selling - A helpful post in the Maverick Truck Club

      Source

      You can learn much about your target audience by observing what happens in an online group. But the real magic happens when you jump in, answer questions, and celebrate successes with the other members.

      If you don’t see a group you like, build your own brand community.

      What are the best social selling tools?

      Social media management tools help you to become more efficient and effective at selling online. Here are a few such tools to consider.

      LinkedIn Sales Navigator

      It’s not surprising that LinkedIn would offer one of the best tools for social selling. What’s unexpected is just how robust LinkedIn Sales Navigator is.

      Social selling - Screenshot of LinkedIn Navigator.Social selling - Screenshot of LinkedIn Navigator.

      Source

      One of the best features on Sales Navigator is the Relationship Explorer. With this tool, you’ll quickly find people who can help you get “in” with an organization—like people who share connections with you. It also helps you find the most relevant people to target and notifies you of important events like a change in management.

      Meltwater

      Meltwater is a leader in the social listening space for good reason. Its purpose-built tool lets you track brand, product, or audience mentions across all your social media accounts. You get audience sentiment data, and it can even recognize images.

      Social selling - Meltwater dashboard.Social selling - Meltwater dashboard.

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      The social listening alerts on Meltwater are worth noting. Set an alert for your brand, and you’ll get a notification when it’s mentioned. That’ll help you respond while the conversation is hot.

      EveryoneSocial

      EveryoneSocial is a brand advocacy platform that makes it easy for employees and executives to plan, post, and share content about their business. The tool has features designed to help sales professionals grow their pipeline on social media channels.

      Social selling - Screenshot from everyonesocial websiteSocial selling - Screenshot from everyonesocial website

      Source

      With EveryoneSocial, you get a hub of content anyone on your team can share through their social channels. You also get an analytics dashboard that shows the team’s engagement, reach, clicks, and more from all the accounts linked to your plan.

      3 stellar social selling examples

      Here are a few real-world examples of businesses big and small selling on social media with flair.

      TruMotion Therapy

      Here’s an example that proves social selling isn’t just for the Fortune 500. TruMotion Therapy is a local physical therapy practice that regularly posts on Instagram. They’ve built a loyal following of people looking for solutions to aches and pains.

      Social selling - Social media replies from TruMotion Therapy.Social selling - Social media replies from TruMotion Therapy.

      Source

      The activity after the post is published transforms this strategy from social media marketing to social selling. TruMotion Docs take time to continue the conversation with individual commenters. Many of the replies are personalized advice and answers. And when it’s called for, the TruMotion team will take the chat to DMs, moving the new connection further down the funnel towards becoming a client.

      Starbucks

      You may not think of chain restaurants or consumer brands as social sellers, but some are really good at it.

      Scroll through Starbucks’ feed on X, and you’ll see an endless stream of interactions the brand has with its fans. Most are simple “cheers,” while others are more personal.

      Social selling - Starbucks TweetSocial selling - Starbucks Tweet

      Source

      Either way, social media lets Starbucks connect with a singular customer one-on-one in a way other marketing and advertising strategies don’t.

      Zoetis CEO

      Kristin Peck is the CEO of Zoetis, a pharmaceutical company specializing in pet care. She regularly comments on posts from people in her industry, especially when they mention animals.

      Social selling - LinkedIn post from the Zoetis CEOSocial selling - LinkedIn post from the Zoetis CEO

      Source

      It’s a quick and easy way to generate camaraderie among people in your network. Plus, you can use your comments to inspire future posts to help establish your brand on social media.

      The 30-day social selling launch plan

      Let’s bring all of this down to ground level. Follow this step-by-step plan for the next 30 days to have a fully functioning social selling strategy.

      Day 1 to 5: Get set up

      The first week is about picking the tools you’ll use, setting them up, and creating the rules for your social selling strategy. Some of this may already be done if you’re marketing on social media.

      To get set up:

      • Decide which social media platforms you’ll use
      • Create a social media style guide
      • Find relevant hashtags
      • Create and optimize your social media profiles
      • Pick your social selling tools
      • Set up social listening for brand, competitor, and industry mentions
      • Review five competitor social media accounts

      Day 6 to 15: Establishing credibility

      Now, it’s time to lay the groundwork with your audience. Go into this phase looking for ways to help and show off your expertise (without bragging, of course).

      To establish credibility:

      Day 15 to 25: Begin outreach

      We’re getting more proactive here. Let’s find some people and social media accounts to lightly engage with.

      To begin outreach:

      • Search for people in your industry that post often
      • Narrow the list to 10 targets
      • Reply to 2 to 3 posts from each account
      • Go beyond agreeing and add to the conversation
      • Repost or retweet content from at least one of those posts and tag the account

      Day 26 to 30: Make contact and analyze

      For this last phase, you’ll connect directly with one new contact and check the results of your efforts so far.

      To make contact and analyze:

      • Send a connection request to one new contact
      • Review the metrics on your social selling tool of choice
      • Note which posts, comments, and replies get the most engagement
      • Use the data to plan out month two

      Now, keep growing your network!

      👋 Plan out your entire year’s marketing strategy with this free must-have marketing calendar.

      Social selling FAQs

      Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about social selling.

      Does social selling really work?

      The data proves social selling helps you fill your sales pipeline and close bigger deals more often.

      For example:

      • Instagram found that 78% of social sellers outperform peers who don’t use social media
      • EveryoneSocial says a lead generated through social selling is 7x more likely to close than leads from other tactics.
      • 51% of Baby Boomers, 69% of Gen X, and 86% of Gen Z have interacted with a company on social media.

      What is social selling the inbound way?

      An inbound marketing strategy attracts new buyers to you instead of chasing them through ads and cold outreach. Social selling is inbound by nature. So, “social selling the inbound way” is another way of saying social selling.

      Is social selling creepy?

      Social selling is not creepy if you do it the right way. That means engaging at appropriate times and offering help instead of leading with a sales pitch.

      Grow your business with social selling

      The days of knocking on doors and cold-calling prospects are numbered. Generic sales scripts turn buyers off. And impersonal outreach gets ignored in the inbox. Replacing these old-school sales techniques are genuine connections and authentic relationships built on social media.

      It doesn’t take a considerable effort to give social selling a try. Just start reading posts that interest you and add your two cents. People will notice, and you’ll be off and running.



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6 Google Ads Performance Max Pre-Launch Optimizations

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6 Google Ads Performance Max Pre-Launch Optimizations

Google Ads Performance Max campaigns can be a great tool to help you reach further into the Google network and attract new customers as well as convert existing ones. But this campaign type is also quite a bit different from many others that Google has rolled out in the past. Rather than focusing on one network, like Search or YouTube, Performance Max campaigns can run across nearly all Google-owned properties, meaning your ads could look very different from one place to the next. Additionally, the user’s intent and/or state of mind could also be very different on each platform.

For these reasons and others, I suggest having a few things checked off a list before rolling out Performance Max campaigns, just to make sure you’re being cautious with your funds and putting yourself in the best position possible to see success:

  1. Use brand exclusion lists
  2. Control placements with brand suitability
  3. Take advantage of all creative options
  4. Don’t be shy with audience signals
  5. Confirm all conversion tracking and set clear goals
  6. Track lead quality performance

Google Ads Performance Max campaigns: 6 pre-launch optimizations

Let’s take a deeper look at the six optimizations you should make before launching Google Ads Performance Max campaigns.

💡 Already running Performance Max campaigns but not sure if they need to be further optimized? Find out with our free Google Ads Grader!

1. Utilize brand exclusion lists to avoid search cannibalization

If you’re running traditional search campaigns and Performance Max is a planned expansion, I encourage you to add a brand exclusion list to your Performance Max campaigns. This list will provide added control so your Performance Max campaign will not show for branded queries, meaning your search and shopping campaigns won’t have any internal competition for those terms.

google ads performance max campaigns - brand exclusions navigation screenshot

These lists are very simple. First, navigate to the tools portion of the left-hand navigation, then shared library, and click brand lists.

google ads performance max campaigns - brand list screenshotgoogle ads performance max campaigns - brand list screenshot

From there, you’ll be prompted to create a new brand list. You’ll be able to give that list a name, which could be useful if you have multiple brands being advertised in the same account. Next, start typing in your brand name and select the box next to the brand that matches yours.

You may be surprised how many brands Google already has available in the list, but if you don’t see your brand identified here, you do have the option to Request a New Brand down at the bottom.

google ads performance max campaigns - brand exclusionsgoogle ads performance max campaigns - brand exclusions

Once you’ve created your list, you’ll need to apply it to your Performance Max campaign in the campaign settings section. This is nearly always hidden under “additional settings” toward the bottom. Select the brand lists you want excluded from that campaign and you’ll be on your way.

2. Control placements with brand suitability

As I mentioned earlier, Performance Max campaigns can be shown across the whole Google network, and with each of these platforms comes its own worries about what your ads will show up next to.

Search and shopping exclusions

In addition to the brand exclusion lists mentioned above, you can also control the queries your Performance Max campaigns will show for with account-level negative keywords.

google ads performance max campaigns - negative keywords list google ads performance max campaigns - negative keywords list

While this is a great improvement over no negative keywords, you still need to be cautious. Adding negative keywords at the account level prevents every campaign in your account from showing on those queries. That includes Performance Max, but it also includes your regular search and shopping campaigns as well.

If there are terms that are not suitable for your brand to show up for in any scenario, adding them at the account level can help control both your traditional campaigns as well as Performance Max.

google ads performance max campaigns - screenshot of admin account settingsgoogle ads performance max campaigns - screenshot of admin account settings

Account-level negative keywords can be found in the account settings portion of Google Ads (under Admin) in the main navigation and function the same as regular negative keywords.

Display and YouTube exclusions

Beyond search and the control of keywords, we also need to monitor the content our ads are showing alongside on YouTube and the Google Display Network.

google ads performance max campaigns - content suitability in navigation panelgoogle ads performance max campaigns - content suitability in navigation panel

The best way to prevent your brand from showing on unsavory content is to use controls available in the content suitability section of Google Ads.

google ads performance max campaigns - screenshot of excluded contentgoogle ads performance max campaigns - screenshot of excluded content

Toward the bottom of the page is a list of additional exclusion categories you can utilize. Each of these settings will apply to its intended network type, meaning they’ll help control either the display placement, YouTube placement, or both for your Performance Max campaigns.

google ads performance max campaigns - content exclusionsgoogle ads performance max campaigns - content exclusions

You can use the broadest set of controls and select exclusions based on their sensitive content category (shown above), or you can add in content keyword exclusions or even individual placements like websites or YouTube channels if you know where you want to avoid.

🌱 Get more ways to grow your business across all your marketing channels with our free growth strategy guide!

3. Take advantage of all creative options

Since Performance Max campaigns have many different options for placements, there are tons of different forms your ads could take. You’re given space for text, images, videos, brand identifiers, and ad assets all in the same location. Take advantage of them!

google ads performance max campaigns - screenshot of performance max ad editorgoogle ads performance max campaigns - screenshot of performance max ad editor

Both fortunately and unfortunately, your ad itself is what the user has to make their first impression of you. If your ad looks clunky and boring, you’re not really creating any sort of appeal.

Utilize the review tool in the right-hand portion of the builder to get an idea of what your ads will look like in all of the available placements. If one is slacking, go find new assets to slot in and make sure you’re creating the impression you want, not just the one you have to settle for.

4. Don’t be shy with audience signals

In the same asset group builder, you’ll find where you can influence the audience that Performance Max campaigns target.

google ads performance max campaigns - audience signals screenshotgoogle ads performance max campaigns - audience signals screenshot

As you can see above, you have quite a bit of options when it comes to providing audience signals. These can be from your data sets, like remarketing lists or customer uploads. It can also be based on additional signals like interests that include in-market and life event audiences as well as detailed demographics like parental status and household income.

google ads performance max campaigns - search themes examplegoogle ads performance max campaigns - search themes example

Additionally, you can provide search themes, which are keywords (up to 25 per asset group) that you identify as some words or phrases users may look for when searching for your products or services. They’re best used when you’re launching a new product or your site doesn’t have complete details about your offerings to help guide Performance Max to find more qualified users. These are optional but can be useful in the scenarios mentioned above.

google ads performance max campaigns - screenshot of google ads performance max network explanationgoogle ads performance max campaigns - screenshot of google ads performance max network explanation

However, both of these sets of directions only go so far when you’re trying to influence your audiences. As Google states: these are just a starting point and they’ll serve ads based on what the algorithm says is a qualified user.

I encourage you to add as detailed insights as you can in this section as they will work in conjunction with the next optimization to make sure your ads are showing to the right users across the Google environment.

5. Confirm all conversion tracking and set clear goals

Performance Max campaigns are driven heavily by the goals you set at the campaign level. On every placement, they’re trying to help you drive either sales, brand awareness, content downloads, or some other goal. But for Performance Max to be successful, you have to feed it accurate conversion data.

performance max campaigns - conversion goalsperformance max campaigns - conversion goals

In the campaign setup process, you’ll be prompted to choose the goals you want to optimize for in this campaign. Be sure you have all of your conversion actions and goals set up properly so you can easily opt into the actions you want for this campaign. (If you need more guidance on conversion goals in Google Ads, you can watch this video.)

This also opens up a new world of optimization with Performance Max. For example, if you wanted to have one Performance Max campaign optimizing for brand awareness and another focusing on your bottom-funnel conversion actions, this is where you would set that up. Don’t hesitate to be creative with how you can use this machine learning to influence your portfolio of campaigns rather than just one at a time.

6. Track lead quality performance

From my own experience as well as that of others I’ve talked to in the industry, Performance Max does really well for direct sales and ecommerce types of campaigns. All of the sale and revenue data is available directly from the platforms and product feeds usually have tons of creative and copy to work with.

google ads performance max campaigns - screenshot of Google Ads lead quality tipsgoogle ads performance max campaigns - screenshot of Google Ads lead quality tips

Unfortunately, that means lead generation campaigns have a harder time. (Don’t they always?) The quality of leads can be, well, really terrible from Performance Max if you’re not careful. There are some strategies Google suggests you employ to improve lead quality, but you’ll notice these are all on your site, not directly through PMAX controls.

Regardless, I think these are all very valid suggestions and can help you prevent your forms from getting flooded with bot leads and annoying your sales department. If you’re running lead generation campaigns, I highly suggest you leverage at least one of these tactics to help avoid junk leads and keep the data clean.

Get ahead of your Google Ads Performance Max campaign optimization

Performance Max campaigns can be great tools to extend your reach beyond single network campaigns and can help drive results, but they almost always need handholding to make sure they’re hitting the targets you want. This list of optimizations should help you focus your campaigns right from the start and see decent performance after launch rather than starting without any controls and hoping things turn out.

Here are the six ways to optimize your Google Ads Performance Max campaigns before they go live:

  1. Use brand exclusion lists
  2. Control placements with brand suitability
  3. Take advantage of all creative options
  4. Don’t be shy with audience signals
  5. Confirm all conversion tracking and set clear goals
  6. Track lead quality performance

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