How to Hit a Home Run with Facebook and Twitter Ads – Infographic

Ampush, a Facebook Strategic Preferred Marketing Developer (sPMD) and Twitter Marketing Platform Partner, published an infographic with four ways advertisers can start hitting home runs with their Facebook and Twitter ads.

Maybe your ads are striking out because they don’t have eye catching visuals or relevance to the consumer, but rest assured – these tips can help you to incorporate the perfect elements for a grand-slam ad.

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Become a Best Friend Brand

You probably receive promotional and informative emails from brands daily, but you will only open a select few, let alone read it through. This is quite common and an almost obvious fact, but why is that? What causes one to open an email from this company but not that company?

Silverpop, an IBM Company, did a study to discover ways in which brands are marketing to consumers and how well the messages are being perceived. Silverpop went out and gathered the opinions of nearly 4,000 consumers in the U.S., U.K. and Germany. They looked at their shopping habits and how consumers “expect” to be communicated with.

“The most notable aspect the study has shown is a growing trend for consumers having Best Friend Brands – the companies from which they will repeatedly open email correspondence and buy products online from,” the whitepaper stated.

Being a Best Friend Brand means that you have effectively communicated with consumers in the past and have built trust and loyalty with those consumers. The study found that the average consumer has 4.5 Best Friend Brands, and that in three months’ time only purchased products online from three of those brands.

Dave Walters, product strategist at Silverpop said:

The fact that consumers have such a small number of Best Friend Brands makes a really powerful statement for marketers. The relationships consumers form with brands is, in many ways, very similar to those they form personally. Once a bond is made, a loyalty is in place which means brands can expect repeat purchases, but only as long as that trust isn’t broken. It’s a small circle of trust, but something brands can certainly achieve if they are taking care with their correspondence and communicating with consumers in a personally relevant and timely fashion. The power of email is evident here.

So what’s the key to becoming a Best Friend Brand? The study showed that nearly 60% of email recipients stressed the importance of personalization and relevancy to their needs, saying that they wouldn’t open an email if it didn’t contain those elements. Eighty-seven percent of those polled said that they would be “more likely to make a purchase” if the email was tailored to their likes and preferences. This goes for the subject line, too. Forty percent said they wouldn’t open the email if the subject line wasn’t relevant to them. Personalization is critical to becoming a Best Friend Brand.

Once you’ve achieved BFF status you’ve earned their trust, and 64% of people said they would open the email just because they trusted the brand. This was found to be especially true for U.S. consumers. However, just because you’ve earned their trust doesn’t mean you can start blowing up inboxes any time soon. Avoid “saturation” – sending out too many correspondences. In the U.K., nearly a third of those polled said they were “put off” by a company’s poor email marketing outreach, and 34% said emails would go unopened if they received too many of them. Seventy-four percent of people said a brand’s email approach has prevented them from making a purchase.

Silverpop found that in the U.S. 21% of people make a purchase directly from a brand’s email once a month and that only 14% of consumers worldwide didn’t find email as important as other communications they received from brands.

“One of the major takeaways from the research was the overall prominence of email and how important it is to consumers in the way they interact with brands. Marketers can’t treat email as an afterthought of their digital campaigns. This research shows it’s still a very crucial part of the marketing arsenal and should be treated as such, with investment put into getting it right,” said Walters.

How to Get Your Blog Shared

If you are an affiliate marketer who relies on blogging for traffic, having people share your content is an important component to your success. There’s more to having your blog posts shared than just relying on strong content, as you are probably already aware. Column Five and Onboardly created a free eBook The Ultimate Guide to Content Distribution that shares tips on how to create “killer” content strategies, achieve brand goals through content, find the best distribution channels, and more.

The free download contains an infographic with best practices on how to optimize your blog for maximum share-ability through creating engagement and other easy-to-implement tips. Check it out below and start making your content more share-friendly to start reaping the benefits!

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Facebook Revenue Hits All-Time High in Q2, $2.6B in Ad Spend

Facebook released their 2014 Q2 earnings yesterday which revealed the company’s most profitable quarter to date, earning $2.9 billion in revenue with $2.6 of that coming from the pockets of advertisers. A notable reason advertising revenues were so high in Q2 is, as expected, because of the World Cup. Revenue increased worldwide, especially in Europe and Asia.

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Max Kalehoff, SocialCode’s Senior Vice President told Inside Facebook:

Not only was it a strong Q2, but it was exceptionally strong because of both growing momentum on the social platforms as well as because of the World Cup. We had advertisers spending in the multi millions for the single World Cup event… The World Cup was, in many ways, a breakout moment for advertisers. The whole world glued in. It was like the Super Bowl, but inclusive of the whole world. We had some advertisers who were blatantly targeting 180 different countries.

Facebook also put to rest the chatter of the social network gradually losing its user base; reporting 1.3 billion monthly active users and 829 million daily active users around the world. Additionally, mobile activity increased by over 30% over the past year, with a reported 1 billion monthly active mobile users, and 654 million daily.

Click here to view all of the quarterly earnings slides.

 

 

2014 AffStat Affiliate Marketers Statistics Report

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Affiliate Summit has released its annual AffStat Report, a free PDF or free download on Kindle until Friday the 25th. The report surveyed more than 1,800 affiliate marketers about their methods, strategies, preferences, and more.

“Most affiliates work in a vacuum, and scant data exists to tell the story of the affiliate marketer. As an industry, we are rich in speculation, but poor when it comes to aggregating the facts and figures that drive this business,” said Shawn Collins and Missy Ward, Co-Founders of Affiliate Summit and the AffStat Affiliate Marketing Benchmark Report.

The report is 33 pages long and features charts of data based on the responses of the affiliates surveyed. Of those polled, here are just a few of the things we learned about affiliate marketers:

  • 67% of affiliates are male
  • The majority of affiliates are between the ages of 25-34
  • 43.9% have a 4-year degree (BA,BS)
  • 57.7% are married
  • 54.6% have children

As for their strategies:

  • The majority use SEO to drive traffic to their website(s)
  • 62.69% promote B2C products
  • 84.3% do not charge a fee to list advertisers
  • 68.7% target the USA, only 3% target worldwide
  • 6.7% of affiliates say the Affiliate Nexus Tax “crushed” their business

Their relationship with affiliate managers:

  • If denied from an affiliate program, 41% contact the affiliate manager to see if the situation can be remedied while 48.5% just move on
  • 23.1% of marketers say their relationship with an affiliate marketer is “irrelevant”
  • 81.9% prefer to be contacted by affiliate managers via email
  • 41.8% prefer direct deposit for commission payments

There’s more to see on the full report, which can be downloaded on AffStat.com.

Facebook Tests “Buy” Button

Facebook is testing a way for consumers to purchase products from businesses directly through the site’s News Feed, announced the social network yesterday. The new “Buy” button appearing on select ads allows people on desktop and mobile to purchase the item without being redirected from Facebook. This feature is currently being tested on a limited number of small and medium-sized US businesses and looks like this:

Facebook said in January that they were planning to explore new call to action options for marketers, including five new buttons: Shop Now, Learn More, Sign Up, Book Now and Download. Twitter revealed a “Buy now” button last month; however, it was limited to mobile and only appeared on products linked to a shopping site called Fancy. But most importantly, the button didn’t actually do anything when you clicked on it. It may have been an experiment or even an early accidental release. Either way, simplifying the purchasing funnel for products advertised on social media sites seems like a win-win for advertisers and buyers.

“We’ve built this feature with privacy in mind, and have taken steps to help make the payment experience safe and secure. None of the credit or debit card information people share with Facebook when completing a transaction will be shared with other advertisers, and people can select whether or not they’d like to save payment information for future purchases,” said Facebook, and that they will provide more information as feedback is gathered.

9 Awful Ways We Push Customers Away

Marketer and writer Rohan Ayyar posted a blog on Hubspot yesterday about what marketers – particularly eCommerce marketers – do that drive customers away with tips on how to fix it. The post is garnering a lot of shares on other marketing blogs and we too found the piece informative and useful, and wanted to pass along the material to our readers as well. Perhaps you will recognize that you are guilty of one or more of these common blunders; if so, CrushAds specializes in optimizing your campaigns for the highest ROI possible, so talk to us after you have read over the blog below and we can help!

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Picture this.C

You’re the owner of AtoZJeans.com.

Your customer Patty checks her email inbox and finds an email from AtoZJeans.com that tells her about a sale on patterned skinny jeans that she’s had her eye on for the longest time. She quickly clicks on the email and goes to your website.

She browses for a while, but after spending about 15 minutes checking out various options, she closes the tab and leaves your site.

What made Patty leave? She wanted to buy patterned jeans, didn’t she? What went wrong?

This is a story that all marketers — ecommerce marketers, in particular — go through every day. In fact, a checkout usability study by Baymard Institute shows that 67.91% of all shopping carts are abandoned. That’s a ridiculously large chunk of real prospects that you’re losing day in and day out. So, going back to the original question: What’s going wrong? Let’s see.

1) Poor Showcasing of Merchandise

Leading brick and mortar retailers like Macy’s and Harrods are known to spend small fortunes on window dressing their stores. After all, first impressions are crucial to draw in a potential customer. Similarly, your website is your window to the world. You might have the best products out there, but if you don’t showcase them well, even the most willing customer will get put off.

The Fix:

Aesthetics are important. Keep the site easy on the eye and don’t overwhelm the customer with disorganized merchandising.

Have a lot of variety in SKUs of each product? Showcase them, but in a sane, easy-to-navigate manner. Customers like to see what they’re buying. Use high quality images and allow customers to zoom in to see details.

2) No Trust Building Measures

A user who visits your site for the first time has no clue whether they can trust you, particularly when it comes to payment systems. With major gaffes like Target’s security breach, shoppers are extremely wary of where they swipe their credit cards and what information they share with businesses.

The Fix:

A professional-looking website that keeps up with the latest web design trends does wonders for customer confidence. It’s an indication to the customer of the level of commitment business owners have toward the ecommerce venture.

Your website probably uses various security services like Verisign, Norton, etc. Online shoppers are subconsciously tuned to recognize these logos on ecommerce sites as a measure of security. Give them what they need, and display logos of your security partners across your site.

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Image source: Baymard.com

Additionally, if you have a customer protection program, by all means highlight it. eBay reinforces its buyer protection messaging on the homepage (in some countries), on the product listing pages, during checkout, and on emails sent out to customers to reinforce their confidence in the brand.

Product reviews by existing customers are also a great way of telling a prospective buyer how good a particular product is. Don’t skip including customer reviews in your product page to ensure conversion.

3) Painful Navigation

Imagine walking into a basement filled with old junk. You’d probably spend hours combing through the mess if you had to try and find something. This is exactly what you put your customer through when you don’t have a clear site navigation structure.

The Fix:

Keep it simple. Avoid overwhelming the user with unnecessary pop ups and flashing banners. Spend time and resources on perfecting product groupings and creating logical and easily comprehensible categories, sub categories, variants, color choices, and SKUs.

(You can also put in a prominent search bar on your homepage so that even if your navigation is not the best in the world, a user can still search and find what they’re looking for.)

4) Inventory Issues

Let’s say you have a customer buying an elusive first edition copy of Batman: Shadow of the Bat on your site. Just as they’re about to complete the transaction, they get a message saying, “Sorry, item not in stock.” They get frustrated and leave your site. Probably for good.

This is an inventory nightmare for any retailer. It could happen because the item got sold on a different platform (maybe a traditional brick and mortar store?) owned by the retailer, it could be because inventory positions are not linked to the checkout process, or could even be a straightforward error on the part of the retailer.

The Fix:

Use technology to your advantage. If you have an offline and an online presence, don’t depend on luck. Manage the inventory between the two using smart tools — such as Shopify’s online POS system. You can also use inventory as a tool to create urgency. By showing the number of items left for a particular product, you can encourage a customer to buy right away instead of postponing the purchase.

Expedia does a great job of communicating the exact inventory available and motivating the user to buy right away:

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When you’re running short on a particular item, cross-sell a similar item that has decent stocks. Cross-sells are a powerful tool that can generate tons of revenue if applied correctly. In fact, according to Amazon, 35% of their sales in 2006, came from cross-selling items.

5) No Guest Checkout

How many different websites have you shopped on to date? Five? Ten? More? And how many login IDs and passwords do you remember for these? A very small handful is my guess.

Jared Spool from User Interface Engineering talks about a client who lost over $300 million dollars a year in sales due to the absence of a guest checkout option.

The Fix:

It’s really simple. Allow guest checkouts.

In the case of first-time customers, guest checkouts avoid diverting them into a new process. For returning customers who may not remember their passwords, they prevent frustration and drop-offs.

In the case study referred to above, Spool and his team found that 40% of returning customers requested password resets. Of these, only 25% actually reset their passwords and of these only 20% completed the purchase. 

6) Long Checkout Process

Most of us dread going to a supermarket or a big box retail store, thanks to the serpentine queues at their checkout counters. So what do we do instead?

Go online, right?

The trouble is, ecommerce businesses sometimes don’t realize how their frustratingly long checkout processes are actually counterproductive and replicate the same problems that traditional retail suffers from.

The Fix:

There are verifiable merits in shortening your checkout process. A study of the top 100 ecommerce sites conducted by Baymard Institute, showed that their checkout process was an average of 5.08 steps long. As the checkout process grows longer, user satisfaction with the purchase process starts to drop.

Ask only for information that is absolutely essential to complete a purchase. Most organizations never use the tons of information they collect from their customers, and customers find it highly annoying to part with irrelevant personal details.

Additionally, autofill entries wherever possible to reduce the overall time taken by the customer to check out. For example, when a customer provides their ZIP code, prefill country and state based on the given information.

Do not ask for the same information twice. If you’ve already collected the user’s shipping information, ask if you can replicate the same address for billing, instead of creating a new form for billing address and forcing the customer to refill it all over again.

If you do not have a one page checkout process, include a checkout progress indicator prominently in your checkout section to inform the customer exactly how many steps away they are from the purchase.

Finally, add a “Save for Later” option. There is only so much pruning that you can do to a checkout process. For customers in a real hurry, this option will allow them to save the items they want to buy and come back to them later. A good way to use this feature and ensure the customer returns would be to send a follow-up email within 48 hours of the customer creating the saved cart.

7) Hidden Costs

How do you think a customer reacts when the price of their purchase jumps up by 10-15% by the time they reach the end of the checkout page? Not very kindly at all.

Research shows that hidden or unexpected costs are the #1 cause of abandoned shopping carts.

Unless mentioned alongside the price of the product, “hidden costs” in a customer’s book include

  • Convenience fees
  • Shipping & handling costs
  • Taxes

In fact, according to a ComScore study, at least 61% of users are likely to cancel their entire purchase if they eventually find that free shipping is not offered.

The Fix:

Being as upfront as possible about all costs related to a purchase is the safest way to go. Include all additional costs on the product page to avoid any ambiguity. The online travel industry was plagued with bad customer experiences in the past when just base fare used to be displayed at the start, and on entering the checkout process, numerous other fees like fuel surcharge, airline fees, and airport terminal user fees were added on to the original price. This is now changing with bundled fares being displayed at the search stage itself to ensure complete clarity.

Shipping is an unavoidable cost in ecommerce, so if free shipping isn’t possible at all times, build in shipping cost calculators so the customer can check the actual cost of shipping before heading to checkout. eBay is a good example, which has been offering a shipping calculator for years on every product page.

8) Limited Payment Options

Imagine a shopper who’s found exactly what she wants, at the right price, at the right time, but not being able to complete the purchase just because her preferred payment mode was not offered by your site.

After doing everything right in terms of attracting the right customer, guiding them through the entire search and checkout process, only to fail at the final step is truly a criminal waste of the marketing resources spent on getting the customer to your site in the first place.

The Fix:

Research by WorldPay shows that alternate payments will account for over half of all payments by 2017. They already account for over 22% of all ecommerce transactions worldwide.

Given these numbers, the only real alternative that any ecommerce business has is to incorporate as many different payment options into their system as possible.

Clear messaging about the various payment types accepted is also equally important to ensure that the customer does not miss the options and move on.

9) No Live Help

Who do you turn to when you’re shopping for a shirt in a department store and can’t find the right size? The sales assistant.

While ecommerce sites are obviously handicapped in terms of providing in-the-flesh guidance to a confused customer, most do provide a call center number or email contact details. Unfortunately, both of those communication modes are time consuming — it usually takes at least 24 hours to respond to customer queries via email, while call center numbers are notorious for their long wait times, ruining the customer experience.

The Fix:

Offer Live Chat as an option to customers. According to a study by Forrester Research, 44% of online shoppers considered live chat one of the most important features of ecommerce sites. An eMarketer study shows that most buyers who use live chat — a whopping 63% — were likely to return to the site for a repeat purchase.

So these were some of the big ways product marketers and online retailers have been shooing customers off of their sites. Did you recognize anything on this list that you’re guilty of, or any big ones I missed?