linkedin for beginners

You can now advertise on LinkedIn through Google Display Ads

To be honest, I'm not sure when this happened. But in my 2 years working with a digital agency, LinkedIn was always a "premium ad" platform. We basically had to go through a media outlet to place ads there. As a matter of fact, I remember we had some form of exclusive agreement to be the advertising partner in Nigeria.

And to give you an idea of why this is important, we had only 2 ways of advertising on LinkedIn. Advertisers had the choice of self served ads, little ads that promoted sponsored posts for example. Or they could put up display type advertising (which went through the agency). The self served ads would usually go for about $1/click, on an average. And premium display advertising used to cost me about 15x more than regular Facebook / Google ads.

No more $1/click for LinkedIn ads! You can now serve ads directly through Google AdWords :)Click To Tweet

Just to be sure I never noticed it and it was there all along, I looked for similar queries online. Here's a recent answer to someone asking about advertising on LinkedIn through Google. PS: This was accepted as correct by a Google Employee

linkedin answer

 

Now that display ads are possible, here's what the ads look like

linkedin google ads

 

What does this mean for advertisers?

  1. Advertising for one on LinkedIn will now be significantly cheaper
  2. Since display advertising is now on an open platform like Google, small businesses with lower budgets can now reach the platform
  3. Clients with a more business oriented message now have an extra platform they can use for managed placements
  4. LinkedIn will accept text, leaderboard, skyscraper and video ads

Here's the current inventory listing as seen on the Google Display Planner.

linkedin inventory

What this means for LinkedIn as a platform

What I found a bit troubling about this, outside of the obvious good that it means for us advertisers, is that the platform loses some level of integrity. Seeing that Jiji ad advertising bikes... that just ruined the LinkedIn feel for me. But this is my personal opinion.

The most likely scenario is that LinkedIn realized premium display advertising wasn't working out for its Nigerian audience. And I say Nigerian because I do not think that LinkedIn has opened fully to Google ads in all African / West African countries. I checked Kenya and I still see only text ads. I'd likely be trying out ads on this platform, will be sure to put up my findings on performance.

What do you think of LinkedIn's move to start running Google Display ads? Let me know your thoughts


facebook-location-targeting-experiment

Can Facebook target specific Nigerian cities? Here's your answer

This post is a result of a campaign a colleague asked me to run. The campaign goal was to get people to attend a praise/worship session at the University of Lagos. As usual, I started thinking of campaign mechanisms and what targeting will work best. What I had concluded was that the easiest people to get to come to this event would be those closest to its venue.

As you'd expect, I tried to target Yaba, but I wasn't sure of the results because I hadn't done anything like this before. Which gave rise to the need for an experiment. In the coming weeks, I ran one experiment to decide if this could work or not.

If you're all about seeing the results, you can jump to the infographics below. Otherwise, here's the experiment that was run.

Experiment Hypothesis

The basic hypothesis behind this experiment was simple, and shockingly spot on.

  1. Participants who see the ads will be of two types, people who live in Yaba/Ikeja and people who were in Yaba/Ikeja at the time but do not live there
  2. At least 70% of the participants will indicate they were in or lived in Yaba / Ikeja

Experiment Design

Here's the simple process the experiment followed.

  1. Lead form ads were used to collect user data
  2. These ads targeted specifically the cities of Yaba and Ikeja on 2 different days
  3. Leads were collected over a 2 day period for both cities
  4. Users were asked where they saw the ad, and where they lived

Without further ado, here's the result from that experiment.

facebook-city-targeting-test-nigeria

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2 use cases for city based targeting for paid ads

 

Brick & Mortar Stores

Think about Shoprite, they have stores scattered around Lagos and other states. What if we could target the cities where these store are? Assume for a moment that different stores needed to get "rid" of specific stock peculiar to that store. Instead of running ads to everyone in Lagos saying sales, I could run a campaign for Ikeja saying 80% off electronics with directions for the store through Google Maps. Now someone who steps into Ikeja sees the ad and knows they can participate in the sales. Imagine this scaled to multiple cities, providing data on store performance across states and cities. Just pure bliss man

Remarketing + Location Targeting

Debras Grace, a female fashion store in Yaba recently launched their ecommerce website. If I were to be asked to drive in store traffic, outside of just running ads targeting Yaba, I could go one step further. Imagine I took the remarketing list of all engaged website visitors, people who added to cart but didn't purchase. Now all I'd need to do is setup an ad for this audience specifically in Yaba with an offer of 10% off when you purchase in store. Now users who see the ad while in Yaba have HUGE context already. If conversions aren't high on that ad, its probably jazz

These are just a few among many, I can think of three other ways right now, but we can keep those for later.

As the market continues to grow and demand more performance based marketing campaigns, things like this will become invaluable to marketers and SME owners. Next up, we'd be testing the limits for Google.


facebook blueprint now live

Facebook Blueprint Certification is now live. I scored 100% in the test

I owe this one to a Facebook connection that I can't seem to find anymore. He shared a link to the live certifications.

Facebook's Blueprint has always been around, I remember it as far back as 2014. Maybe I'm wrong, but I remember where I was when I read about it. To put it in a nutshell, the Blueprint program is similar to Google's Partners program. Only that in this case, there was no certification, at least till now.

The Facebook Blueprint program has two basic certifications.

  1. Facebook Certified Planning Professional and
  2. Facebook Certified Buying Professional

But to get the certificate in any of these two, you must pass a Facebook Advertising Core Competences exam. Along with one other exam specific to your certification. You can consider the Core Competence exam to be like AdWords Fundamentals. And like Google Partners, you get a badge after successfully passing the exam

The Facebook Blueprint program is primarily a catalog of learning materials that show you how to use Facebook's tools. This catalog also prepares you for taking the exam

Taking the Facebook Blueprint Exam

I use Facebook Ads Manager on a day to day basis. And in some cases, I've had to manage thousands of dollars everyday. Campaign objectives range from app installs to website conversions and in rare cases, just plain awareness. So usually when I see things like this, my first thought is "Of course I can pass this without reading"

So I jumped into the "Schedule an exam" tab and started snooping around. I did feel like something was off immediately I saw the "schedule" word though. After much roaming around, I got to this screen. Effectively, the exam costs £50 which translates to roughly N25,000 in this FX regime. Which isn't bad, its exactly how Google started till they figured it wasn't worth it.

facebook blueprint certification feeWell, I wasn't taking an exam on a whim of luck that'll cost me 25k. So I took the "mock" exam :P

The exam had 19 questions in it and cut across several topics. Its annoyingly similar to the Google Partners Video Advertising exam, too many English tricks going up and down. But I kept clicking at those answers and I got a 100% score! Booyah!

100 percent score Facebook BlueprintSafe to say the exam itself wouldn't be so hard (if you're a regular user like me). Maybe I'd be taking this exam soon, or maybe I'd just wait for Mark and his team to feel giddy enough to remove the £50 price mark.

Who knows these things.

Have you had a chance to take the Facebook Blueprint exam yet? Let us know in the comment box below


share ad preview with client

Marketing for Beginners: Search Network Vs Display Network

People often get confused when planning a campaign. Figuring out the difference between search network and display network because they are both generally referred to as “Google ads”. For a PPC novice, its gets more confusing when he is setting up a campaign and he sees the Search Network with Display Select (SNDS). Before I go into details of the differences between search and display let me run you through what SNDS is about briefly.

SNDS allows advertisers to opt their search campaigns into the GDN in a limited fashion. Although, AdWords claims that it will use “improved signals and methods of predicting where your ads are likely to perform best” to ensure that display ads are only shown in locations that are highly relevant to the advertisers’ “ideal” user. For example, a search ad might show on punchng.com

Here's a video to explain this a bit more

This ad option pushes advertisers to expand their reach and appeal to a broader range of customers. For less savvy PPCers who have limited time to dedicate to account management or optimization, this option is good because it passes all the bulk of the work to auto pilot. That been said it comes with a price. So, if you an avid advertiser, I strongly recommend sticking with the traditional practice of managing search and display networks as separate campaigns.

When To Use Search Network

Advertising on Search Network is the most common and well-known form of PPC advertising. With this network selection, your ads will be eligible to appear on the first page of Google’s search engine result page otherwise known SERP. You have an option to choose Google search only or Google search partners which include AOL and Ask.com. That means when someone searches for one of your keywords AOL or Ask then your ad might pop up.

Typically before getting to this phase you must have done your keyword research, fix your landing page (responsive) and also must have a budget in mind. When you set your ad and it’s been approved (usually less than 24hrs), your ad is good to go.

Then comes the question of ad ranking. Ad rank determines where on the Search Results Page your ad shows up. Competitors are also using the same keywords as you because you sell the same product or offer the same services, so how does Google get to decide to show your ad over theirs or vice versa? Google uses an algorithm called Ad Rank. A value that is used to determine your ad position and whether your ads will show at all. Ad rank is calculated using your bid amount, the components of quality score (expected CTR, ad relevance, and landing page experience), expected impact of ad extensions and other ad formats.

Here's a video explaining Google's Ad Rank

KPI's for search Network includes

  • Clicks
  • Conversion Rate
  • Cost per acquisition
  • Impression
  • Click Through Rate (CTR)
  • Ad Rank
  • Calls
  • ROI

You should be running a Search Network campaign if:

  • You’re working with a limited budget: In general, when clients are restricted to a small budget, I recommend starting with the Search Network. This format is more likely to drive direct conversions, making it easier to measure and justify your PPC efforts. Once you’ve mastered Search, it may be advisable to expand to the Display Network, which can boost visibility, leading to an uptick in search volume for your business.
  • You sell an “emergency” product: If your product or service offering is something that users look for on a when-needed basis (party planners, saloon, restaurants), you should be advertising on the Search Network. For these industries, it is imperative that your ad appears when the searcher is in need of your services.

When To Use Display Network

In addition to search advertising, Google also gives advertisers the opportunity to place their ads on a variety of sites across the internet. This collection of websites, which ranges from blogs to online newspapers, emails, in apps, YouTube and other Google ads enabled website known as partners, is referred to as the Google Display Network (GDN). According to Google, the GDN includes over 2 million sites that reach over 90% of global internet users. Given the expansive audience of this network, it is incredibly appealing to advertisers who are looking to widen their visibility online.

When users are on the GDN, they may not necessarily be in “shopping mode.” Instead, they are going about their daily internet activities. Catching up on news, reading blog posts, watching video clips, etc. In order to gain traction on the GDN, your ads must attract the users’ attention and entice them enough to click through to your site, leaving the content that they were originally engaged with. Accomplishing this is no easy feat—even with top-notch ad creative, it’s tough to draw users to click on ads while they are surfing the net.

But don’t write the GDN off yet—while clicks may be scarce, ad space on the network is plentiful. It is the ideal space to promote brand awareness and its vast reach is appealing to advertisers who are looking to broaden their fan bases. By increasing your brand’s visibility, you may reap more clicks on organic listings or see an uptick in brand-specific searches. The clicks on GDN are also sometimes cheaper than clicks on the search network.

KPI’s for Display Network include

  • Impression/reach
  • Click Through Rate (CTR)
  • Impact on brand search
  • Top of mind awareness (although this can’t be measured directly on long term basis this as variation sticks to our subconscious)

You should be running a Display Network campaign if:

  • You want to familiarize people with your brand: Many advertisers leverage the Display Network to promote brand awareness. Since the GDN is so expansive, it offers many opportunities for advertisers to connect with their audiences. AdWords provides a variety of targeting options, ranging from managed placements (specific sites selected by the advertiser) to website groupings based on audience characteristics and more. By appearing on reputable sites that are popular amongst your target audience, you can quickly familiarize these people with your brand.
  • You have a lengthy sales process: If you sell a product or service that consumers are not likely to purchase immediately, you need to ensure that your brand stays top-of-mind for prospects as they consider making a purchase. To do this, we recommend utilizing remarketing, through the GDN. This strategy allows you to show ads to anyone who has visited your site in the past, encouraging them to return and convert. For example, when you check a red skirt on Jumia or Konga and you leave without buying it. You start seeing the skirt on other websites you visit and a top that will fit nicely with the skirt or shoes to match even if you buy they show you other things you might like.
  • You have an attractive product: Since the GDN allows advertisers to display image ads, it is ideal for advertisers who sell luxury products whose ads are enticing to the eye. Since display advertising relies largely on distraction, it’s helpful to have an appealing product to promote.

In Conclusion

To truly reap the benefits of each network, break them into separate, network-specific campaigns. From a strategic standpoint, this will allow you to craft your messaging based on the scenario in which your consumers are viewing your ad. This segmentation is critical, not only does it allow you to set specific budgets and bids per network, but it will keep your data “clean” and make it easier when optimizing.

Let’s take CTR for example, ads on the Display Network typically get lower CTRs than Search Network (which comes as no surprise, given the context in which they are shown). If the campaigns are not segmented, the CTR data can be too much, making it really difficult to analyze performance.

What's your experience with using Google Search and Display ads so far?


ppc part 1

Marketing for Beginners - PPC (Pay Per Click) Part 1

Introduction to paid advertising.

PPC stands for Pay Per Click. It’s simply a means of online advertising that charges you each time a potential customer clicks on your ad, just as the term implies. So, essentially, it’s a means of buying visits to your site, App, YouTube channel, Facebook page and whatever landing page you choose to use.

Now that we’ve gotten the definition out of the way, lets delve a little deeper.

There are multiple forms of PPC Advertising, but they are commonly classified into 2.

  • Search Engine Ads.
  • Display Advertising.

Search Engine Ads

So you know those search results that come up first when you put in a search query on Google? Those ones that are usually short and have a yellow (now green) “Ad” beside them, those are search Ads. It uses texts to advertise to customers. And is usually charged primarily on a CPC basis. (Cost Per Click). A lot goes into creating these kinds of Ads and it can be a great way of driving traffic to your site, selling a product and even growing ROI. It is most effective because you’re reaching the exact right people at the exact right time. It’s exciting, believe me! We would look into this later on.

Display Ads

Display Ads uses graphic Images/banner ads to advertise as opposed to text. So you’re trying to get customers to see the products you have for sale or your services you have to offer, they aren’t actually searching for it, display advertising is your best bet. Display Ads are primarily charged on the CPM basis and are displayed on the Display Networks: A collection of website, blogs, Apps that allow banner ads.

There are a number of platforms used to create and manage PPC ads, However, Google is king, Google is Queen. Google rules the entire digital advertising kingdom via an advertising system called Google Adwords.

Next up, we’d be looking into what it takes to launch and manage a PPC campaign that actually generates you ROI.


share ad preview with client

Google now lets you share ad previews with your clients

I worked with an agency for a year and half, and there are certain things I can tell you for sure that happen. One recurring topic that comes up is a client tasking to see their ad. And if you work in an agency, you're probably tired of hearing this too.

The problems with looking for a clients ad are quite simple.

  1. You stand a chance of reducing your CTR/quality score if you keep doing random searches
  2. Sometimes a screenshot is not enough, your client somehow wants some other proof
  3. Your client's ad wouldn't always show. Smart targeting is what rules digital.

But that doesn't stop your average client from going bunkers on you. "I'm not seeing my ad" is the most common complaint.

Thankfully, Google just released a fix for that. Welcome the new and improved Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool.

How does it work?

Lets say I work for Konga for example. And the Konga team needs to see that their ads are up. In the past, we'd search for the Konga keyword on the ad preview and diagnosis tool and take a screenshot. But now you can also share this screenshot!

share this report

Here's the link to the shared search.

I think this is a huge add for agencies. Sharing the ad experience with clients is now as simple as the click of a button.

What we'd really love to see though (without sounding too greedy), is an ad preview tool for Display advertising. Because to be frank, that's where a lot of clients get the most anxious. They want to see the ads on website so bad, that poor account managers are stuck at their tables refreshing a targeted page.

We hope that Google will also consider putting this in the works.

Do you work at an agency right now? Let us know if you think this is helpful enough.


using Google Search

Google Search Ads: Its costs and measuring ROI

In the previous post, we talked about search ads and their value to your business. And I'm sure that by now we're all familiar with the reasons why you need to have a good SEM campaign for your brand.

If any of these sound like gibberish to you, head over to the part one of this post.

Now that you understand the value behind this marketing channel, the next logical question is "How much would it cost me?". I like to think of that question in a different way.

The general best practice of any marketing campaign is to spend more as long as Return On Investment (ROI) remains positive. And that is precisely how you think about online marketing. If you spend ₦50,000 on marketing and you get ₦100,000 in profit, not revenue, I'd say throw the ₦100k back in. But lets not get ahead of ourselves, lets start with the basics.

How you are charged for search ads

Before moving ahead, keep one thing in mind, Google is the king of search. Which means, whatever Google does, everyone else (Bing, Yahoo and anyone else out there) follows. So when we refer to Google while talking about search ads, we kind of mean everyone.

Google search ads are charged on a simple cost-per-click (CPC) model. Which means that you as an advertiser only gets to pay when a user clicks on your advert. This means that if you run a search ad and it shows up 1,000 times, but only gets clicked on once, you only pay for that one click. This provides a lot of transparency for search advertising, and is one of the reasons for its success.

But how much do you pay for each click? That's where things get interesting. First lets define a few terms

  1. Cost per click (CPC) is the amount you pay as an advertiser for every click
  2. Maximum cost per click (Max CPC) is the most you're willing to pay for a click
  3. Ad rank is the position of your search ad on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP)
  4. An impression is your search ad shown to a user once

 

 The Ad Auction

To determine your cost per click, Google carries out an auction. This auction is bid on by you as an advertiser, and your competition. Lets take a simple case study.

You, Advertiser A, sell red shoes (the expensive ones :) ), and you setup an ad for the keyword "red shoes". Which means that every time someone searches for something related to "red shoes", you want your ad to be shown. Advertiser B also sells red shoes and has a search ad setup for the same keyword.

A Google search user, John, decides he'd like to get red shoes for his girlfriend's birthday. So naturally, he goes to Google to look for "where to buy red shoes online". Immediately John hits enter, an ad auction takes place. All advertisers (you, advertiser A, and advertiser B) bidding on this keyword are included in this auction. Assuming that while setting up your campaign, you set your Max CPC as $1, which means you're not willing to pay more than $1 per click, and advertiser B says they're only willing to pay $0.5 as a maximum CPC, Google charges you just enough to beat advertiser B. In this case, you might get charged $0.51, even though your maximum CPC is actually $1.

Other factors that affect your CPC

Your maximum CPC isn't the only thing that impacts your actual cost per click. Other factors like your ads quality score come into play, although we will not be going into that today. A few factors that can affect your ads quality score are

  1. The quality of the page you send users to after clicking on your ad (landing page)
  2. The speed at which your website or landing page loads
  3. The rate at which people click on your adverts (Click through rate or CTR)
  4. How relevant the keyword is to your search ad and landing page

We'd elaborate on those in other posts, be sure to be on the lookout for them.

Calculating ROI on your search ads

When do you know if running search ads make sense for your business? How do you make a business decision to continue running it for longer periods when you start out? Simply by calculating its Return On Investment, popularly called ROI.

To get the ROI on your search advertising, you'd need to calculate the cost for running your ads and how much revenue they bring back for your business. If the revenue is greater than your ad spend, that's a good first step.

Next you need to calculate the profit on each purchase from your search ads. If you run at a profit and not a loss, then you're on the right path. If on the flip side you don't make any profit after spending $500 on search ads for example, you'd like to rethink your approach to your search ads.

Like we mentioned in the first post, search advertising is about reaching people actively looking for your product. Hence you ideally should get quality users who are in the best stages of the purchasing cycle. Search ads are not an awareness medium, you don't announce your products with search advertising, you get people who are already reaching for their wallets (metaphorically speaking), so treat it that way.

Do you already use search ads for your business? Share your findings and thoughts with us in the comments box below.


using Google Search

Google Search Ads: What are they and how can you use them?

Photo credit: searchengineland.com

Every second, over 2.3 million searches are carried out on Google, and a huge percentage of those searches also display paid advertising results. These paid ads will show up on desktop devices, tablets and on mobile, ensuring that advertisers get maximum reach. Google search ads can be a very good way to drive relevant and quality traffic to your website or business.

In this article, we'd be discussing Google search ads, what they are and how your business can leverage this robust platform.

The value of Google Search

Think of the last time you needed a product, not some groceries, but an actual high end product - like a gadget - that'll probably cost you more than N100,000. Think of what you did immediately you made a decision, in your mind, to get that gadget. Chances are, you didn't buzz your friend to ask him how and where to get it and to know if it was worth it, you most likely went to Google Search. Same as the rest of the world.

Lets go one step further, look for your product or service on Google search, if you are a photographer for example, search for photographer in Lagos. You'd most likely still be looking for yourself on the 5th page (which no one ever gets to by the way), and just like that, you just lost potential business, money goes to the guy at the top of the list.

A significant amount of people go online to search for products / services you can deliver to them, believe it or not, whether you're visible during that search can make or break your business. Doesn't matter if you're an agency, freelancer, small business, marketing professional or even an enterprise class organization. More people are looking for you everyday.

What are Search Ads

Search ads are paid / sponsored or promoted search results that show up within the Search Engine Results Page (the page you see when you carry out a search on Google). These paid ads come above the organic search results and can drive immediate ROI for your business if implemented right. Here's an example differentiating paid advertising and organic (free)

paid and organic identify

As you would have probably seen before now, paid advertising search results have a little green "Ad" button beside them. This separates them from organic (free) search results below. While organic search ads get most of the traffic (an estimated 70% on Google Search), they take some time to bring in the amount of traffic you typically want. Paid search ads on the other hand can be deployed immediately and you can start getting traffic same day they go live in most cases.

Now imagine you run an ecommerce website like Konga, your typical search strategy should contain both Paid Search ads and Organic (free) search ads. A mixture of these two is what we refer to as Search Engine Marketing.

Why is search important

One word differentiates search from every other marketing channel, and that's "intent".

When you check out your favorite blog every evening and you see an ad for a mobile phone starting at ₦20,000, you might click on it, doesn't mean you want to buy it. However, if you went to Google and searched for mobile phone for ₦20,000, you're in the buying stage. That's the difference between any other advertising channel and search, and that's what makes it so important.

What's the reach for your business

I'm sure that by now the most important thing for you is how you can use it to your advantage, and that's good thinking.

To find out how much traffic your business can generate, you'd need to use a tool called Google Keyword Planner, which is free :D . The keyword planner helps you find out how many people within a region are looking for words that are similar to your business or service. Take a website that sells shoes for example, lets see how many people in Nigeria search for related keywords to that

search traffic for buy shoes

Over 11,000 searches in June alone, and this is just an estimate, likelihood is that there are more searches than that. Go ahead and try this out for your business, let us know if you have any issues doing so in the comment box below.

On the flip side, looking at reach on a state level tells you how many unique individuals Google can reach in those states. Take a look at a short list below. Be mindful that this is only an estimate

reach by state

 

More targeting control on paid search

Among many other things you can do with paid search advertising, a few important ones are targeting specific locations and times of day.

You can decide to target locations in three different ways

  1. Show ads to people in, looking for, or viewing pages about your specific location: This is selected by default and means that if you are targeting Lagos only, and someone in Abuja searches for restaurants in Lagos, your ad for restaurants is eligible to show up, and I'm sure you can see how that makes sense.
  2. You can instead opt to show ads to people in your target location: This will only show ads to people physically located in the location you have targeted. An emergency tow service, for example, will only want to reach people within a defined location where it operates.
  3. Or you can show ads to people looking for, or viewing pages about your target location: In this case, people physically located in your specific target location don't get to see your ads. Take for example a tourist attraction like Obudu Cattle Ranch, you most probably wouldn't want to advertise that to people already in Calabar, my guess is, most of your visitors come from outside Calabar.

 

Targeting by time

Another interesting targeting option for Google Search is time scheduling. This gives you the ability to make ads show at specific times of different days, or show all the time. Assuming your business operates between 8AM and 5PM for example, you can schedule your ads to only show at these times. Here's a picture of what the ad schedule settings look like

ad schedule for Google Search

Next, we'd look at how you're charged for running paid search ads, and how you can ensure you're actually making money not loosing it.

Move on to Understanding Search Ads - Part 2


AdWords Update: Converted Clicks no longer supported

As of yesterday, 25th July, 2016, Google announced that it will stop reporting converted clicks on AdWords. This is important news for most people already running AdWords and here's why...

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