Prepare for holiday season

The holiday season is approaching, fast, and we’re stepping into a hectic season full of possibilities and opportunities, but also risks. There are some crucial elements that retailers and e-com need to act on to be as successful as possible with their Facebook Advertising and here are Zalster’s best pointers to do so 💰.

Last years data shows that mobile shopping is growing bigger and bigger. Which is why it is important to take this into account in your marketing strategy.

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Mobile shoppers tend to start their Christmas shopping earlier than others and we can see start from October through mid-november. It gives us an indication of the importance to start planning and executing earlier than before.

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As you might know It is not only Christmas we need to keep in mind, below follows a few important dates you need to highlight in your calendar.

11/ 11 SINGLES DAY 💖

What is singles day you might ask? Singles Day comes from China and is a day to celebrate being single. A day which is getting bigger and bigger each year. Make tailor made messages for singles and mimic the way you communicate around Valentines Day. Push singles to splurge and pamper themselves.

23/11 BLACK FRIDAY

Discounts, discounts, discounts! Take advantage of the whole week and build up towards Black Friday.

26/11 CYBER MONDAY 💻

Special discounts keeps on going until Cyber Monday. Prepare something extra for this day and do not leave it out of your strategy.

24/12 25/12 CHRISTMAS🎄

Gift advice increases and peaks right before Christmas, take advantage of this give value to your customers in your ads. People also do not care as much about offers ( compared to Black Friday) as they do about quick delivery. Emphasize delivery times in your ads.

STEPS TO SUCCESS

Numero. 1:  CREATE CREATIVE CREATIVES 🎨

We can’t stress this one enough. The visual play a big role in the world of social media, where your potential customers constantly consume images and videos. You need to stand out to convert and engage. 

Rules to follow: 

  • What makes your audience tick?  

  • Size of discount ( Black Friday)

  • Big font (look how big it is!) 

  • Super clear bold 

  • High contrast 

During this period we can recommend you to put focus on immediate creatives such as: 

  • Cinemagraphs and GIFs 

  • Short videos 

  • Stories 

  • Carousel

  • Collections

It doesn’t have to be an expensive production. For example you should have a look at Facebooks Video Creation Kit, which provides different templates to play around with.

For more specifications and more info about different Ad formats, visit Facebooks Ads Guide here.

Numero 2: STRATEGY AND PLANNING 🎯

Without a well oiled strategy you might loose out on some amazing ROI. As I said; be prepared and start early. What’s the perfect strategy for you? Well it depends on factors such as budget and goals.  Starting early allows you to investigate which target groups that works best for your company.

Make sure to have up to date customer lists (GDPR compatible) and fresh lookalike groups.  A good seed audience will probably be your golden ticket to success.

To really take advantage and make the most out of this period, you should really think about increasing your ad spend leading up to the peak times mentioned in this article. 

Numero 3: GET THE BASICS 🌈

Make sure you have all your basics right. That your pixel is implemented correctly, your Product Catalogue is up to date and is running without issues. And last but not least; make sure your website is working properly, revise loading times and mobile compatibility.


KEY TAKE-AWAYS FOR THIS BUSY PERIOD

  1. Have your basics right - pixel, catalogue, audience, webpage. 

  2. Start early - mobile first shoppers starts in October

  3. For Christmas focus on delivery rather than deals - of course use deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 

  4. Help customers find the perfect gifts and give advice

  5. Create ads for stories and use the video creation kit. Play around with boomerangs, GIFs etc.

  6. DO NOT create 24 calendar campaigns. The system is not used to to optimize in this way. 

  7. Planning is key!



 

How to increase followers on IGTV

Instagram launched IGTV with the purpose to enable a place for vertical videos of an increased length to be shared by creators of various kinds. Creators, could for example be; Musicians, dancers, comedians, influencers, actors, TV shows, brands and so on. The list is, of course, infinite. 

IGTV enables a new way of growing your audence, by increasing following. The challenge, is though, to know how to increase followers on IGTV in an optimal way. You wany qualitative followers - but also in a high quantity.

The best practices below will continously be updated to guide you on how to increase your following on IGTV. You should also discover our other articles on how to connect your brand’s content between Instagram posts, Instagram Stories - and IGTV. These three different ways of uploading content gives you three very different ways or communicating and engaging with your audience. 

USE INSTAGRAM STORIES LIKE A PRO

Ever been jealous of all those fresh Instagram stories popping up on your mobile screen? Ever wondered how they do it? Well we’ve got you covered. With this short article you will be running successful Instagram Stories Ads quicker than you can say hypernervokustiskadiafragmakontravibrationer (which is hickups in swedish). 

We have previously covered the importance of creating quality content, since graphics plays a vital role in capturing your audience’s attention. The principles are the same for Stories. So lets look at how to create Instagram Stories like a pro. 

What is Instagram Stories? 

Instagram Stories is a feature that allows users to share moments of their day to day life - since not all content belong in the profile feed. Also, stories disappear 24 hours after you posted and wont appear on your profile or grid, if you don’t want to. Now it is possible to save stories to your profile as a highlight. A place where you can archive happy and special moments for you and others to re-visit.

You can share images, videos and live video and bring them to life with different text, drawing tools, images and gifs. There are even possibilities to make polls about anything to interact with your audience. Another awesome thing about Stories is that it allows you to take up full space of the mobile screen. So placing ads within this placement has shown successful since its launch in 2017. 

Every day 300 million users are active in Instagram stories - so just think about those opportunities waiting for you as a company… 

Guidelines

  1. Be quick - deliver information about the brand in a quick manner and be as brand specific as you can. Fast pacing videos tend to perform better, and make sure to showcase branding early on. 

  2. Video length for Instagram is max 15 seconds, this goes for Instagram Stories as well. 

  3. Relevance - both to your brand and target group.

  4. Lightning is key! What ever you do, do not post an image or a video taken in bad lightning. Does this mean you need to buy expensive equipment? No, of course not. Work with natural light. Hardcore tip: The best light is provided just after sunrise or about one hour before sunset. 

  5. The camera. As mentioned there is no need for expensive equipment,  you’re phone is probably ready for the job, if you don’t have and old brick in your pocket ;) 

  6. Planning is key! Create a content calendar as you probably (hopefully) have for your other social channels. No one wants to see crappy content with no thought or creativity behind it. 

  7. Brand recognition - reflect your brands identity in your stories. The color pallet, fonts and imagery. 

  8. Location and hashtags For hashtags think strategic and be specific. You will disappear with a common hashtag like #food

  9. Native effects such as different filters, stickers and emojis. Instagram has a wide range of these you can use! 

  10. Go live - use stories live function to showcase a product launch or event.

  11. Trial and error - To figure out what works for your audience, of course there needs to be testing involved. 

 

Another simple hack to create a compelling ad is to create your story as you would when posting organic content and press save —> Go to your business Manager and then use the video/image as an ad for the Instagram Stories placement. Simple as that and no need for expensive tools! 

Don’t be afraid to be creative and experiment as much as you can. But. Stay true to your brand. Work with the full screen and immersive way of storytelling. 

Tips follow Instagram Business for the latest updates and news regarding the plattform. 

 

 

Consolidating Ad Variations for Better Performance

You might have heard about Automated Placements in Facebook Ads. It basically means that you allow Facebook algorithms to utilize all available ad placements in Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Audience Network - in order to find the cheapest conversions. 

Running Automated Placements has since it's launch been one of our main best practices, since it's driving great value to consolidate the data points into fewer ad sets - contrary to splitting up creatives for different ad placements into various ad sets. 

How to maximize customization

As of the spring of 2018, a new option is available in Ads Manager - where you simply can click on "Select all placements that support asset customization". This enables a new option to customize the creatives to each and every of the placements - in a single ad.

This means that you in a single ad unit can run several ad creatives with different visual appearance. I.e. you could have one creative customized for Instagram Story Ads at the same time you're running a square creative for the Facebook feed. 

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How to

1. Go to an ad set
2. Click on "Edit placements"
3. Click "Select all placements that support asset customization" (bottom of image).

Why is this better?

The biggest benefit is consolidating the conversion data into fewer ad sets, resulting in a higher statistical significance and quicker learning phase for the Facebook algorithms. 

Why Google Analytics and Facebook Ads shows different conversion data

The simple answer: Google Analytics and Facebook Ads will never ever show the same data. This is because it's a vast difference in everything from tracking to attribution modeling. 

Let's start out by looking at the specific reasons to why there's a discrepancy in the numbers:

  • Facebook are using people-based measurement, instead of cookie-based. (A further explanation on this will follow later in this article.)

  • Google Analytics under-reports cross-device conversions, due to their cookie-based tracking.

  • Google Analytics can't see post-view data from Facebook.

  • Facebook reports conversions based on time of impressions - and not the time of conversion (which Google Analytics does). 

  • The attribution models in Facebook Ads and Google Analytics might be different, depending on your settings.

  • Google Analytics often uses sampled data. (More info)

  • If you're using UTM-links, this information disappears if the tab is closed between the click and the conversion. This conversion is instead categorized as "Direct" in Google Analytics.

  • The conversions can be categorized as "Direct" in Google Analytics if the user is going between different protocols (HTTP & HTTPS). According to researches, this might result in an under-report in up to 40%. 

A highly common mistake

If you're used to evaluating the performance of various channels through Google Analytics, you're not alone. It's the most common analytics tool, which of course has made it to an authority. It's therefore easy to think that Google Analytics is reflecting the truth.

This is mainly due to what's called "People-based measurement". As you probably know, Facebook has a lot of user data through their platforms: Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. These platforms in addition to the Facebook Pixel enables Facebook to build a comprehensive overview on how users are viewing, clicking, browsing and converting from ads. It's hard to beat.

Compare this to Google Analytics and their cookie-based tracking. Google sees that someone is entering to a website through a UTM-parameters and referring domain (such as Facebook.com). Although, already here - the data could be corrupt and the visit could be categorized as "Direct" (due to any of the last two bullets in the list above). 

Discrepancies in reporting

As stated in the list of reasons, there are also a lot of differences in the evaluation of the data. Facebook Ads attributes the conversions to the time of the impression, while Google Analytics attributes it to the time of the conversion. There's no right or wrong here, just different ways to attribute a conversion to a specific time stamp.

The attribution models used are also different in Google Analytics and Facebook Ads. 

How to relate to this

In the world of online marketing, we're far from knowing the exact truth. Although, we can always use our common sense to find some kind of personalized model to evaluate various channels. Google Analytics is very far from the truth, while Facebook Ads is closer to it. Same goes with other channels where the advertising platform knows more about the uses than Google Analytics knows about the cookies. 

Try to nuance the bigger picture with your common sense.

More reading

Understanding attribution

To understand attribution is to understand your business. It's a vital instrument for being able to execute marketing strategies in the most optimal way. 

No matter if you're a beginner at attribution, or advanced. This article will give you our thoughts on how to use attribution in the most optimal way.

How to use attribution

Attribution should be used to understand the journey of your customers, along with evaluating the performance of various campaigns. Since we're primarily working with Facebook Ads, this is what we're focusing on in this article.

The standard attribution model in Facebook Ads is 28 days post-click and 1 day post-view. This means that conversions made in your website or app, after a user has clicked or viewed your ad - will be reported in the data of your specific campaign, ad set and ad.

  What kind of business do you have?

What kind of business do you have?

Depending on what kind of business, market penetration and customer journey you have - it's up to you to choose an attribution window that's suitable for you. It's also a good idea to separate the attribution window for prospecting from the attribution window for retargeting - since they often reflect different kind of journeys before the conversion.

A highly common mistake is that performance is evaluated before the attribution window is ended. 

Example: Evaluating performance for an E-commerce

Let's say you're running a prospecting campaign with the attribution window: 7 day post-click. You won't be able to correctly evaluate a time period with this attribution window before 8 days after the last date in the time period.

If you're eager to quickly understand the performance of your prospecting campaign before the ending of the attribution window of 7 days - you could use the 1 day post-click attribution window. This enables you to be able to look at the data 2 days after the last day of the time period.

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Adapt your analysis

Learn your customer behavior by looking at various attribution windows to see the development in number of conversions over time.

By doing this, you can allow yourself to analyze performance already two days later - even if your standard attribution window is 28 days post-click.

 

Google Analytics & Facebook Ads - what's the difference?

Another common mistake is taking a 3rd party service as the "truth". Google Analytics is the most used online marketing analytics system, even though it's far from the truth. The data in 3rd party services like Google Analytics should therefore be used as theoretical guidelines used in a bigger picture with data from other sources as well. (More info here).

Briefly, the reason to a discrepancy in the numbers between Google Analytics and Facebook Ads are:

  • Facebook are using people-based measurement, instead of cookie-based. 

  • Google Analytics under-reports cross-device conversions, due to their cookie-based tracking.

  • Google Analytics can't see post-view data from Facebook.

  • Facebook reports conversions based on time of impressions - and not the time of conversion (which Google Analytics does). 

  • The attribution models in Facebook Ads and Google Analytics might be different, depending on your settings.

  • If you're using UTM-links, this information disappears if the tab is closed between the click and the conversion. This conversion is instead categorized as "Direct" in Google Analytics.

  • Google Analytics often uses sampled data. (More info)

  • The conversions can be categorized as "Direct" in Google Analytics if the user is going between different protocols (HTTP & HTTPS). According to researches, this might result in an under-report in up to 40%. 

The power of synergy

Facebook Ads is powerful, we all know that. But what many advertisers tend to forget is the power of synergy between having an optimal campaign structure along with proper optimization & delivery settings (bids, budget, optimization goal, billing event and so on). 

Huh?

The best way to explain what this actually means is of course - some examples.

Example: Campaign structure & budget

The synergy between the campaign structure and the budget you have is huge.

Let's say you're an E-commerce with an average cost per purchase of $50. Let's say your total daily budget for Facebook Ads is $200 - what would you afford? An average of 4 purchases per day. If you, in this scenario, would set up 2 campaigns each containing 3 ad sets - that would give you an average daily budget per ad set of (200/6) = $33. In other words; you would afford 0,66 purchases a day - on average. 

Just by giving you the premises for this example - I hope you see a big flaw in the campaign structure. Being able to afford only 0,66 purchases per ad set and day - that won't get you far. Even on campaign level (0,66 * 3 ad sets), being able to afford 2 daily purchases isn't enough.

For Facebook algorithms to be able to learn who are actually converting (and therefore enhance the cost efficiency further) - they need at least 50 weekly conversions (in this case: purchases) per ad set. By having this as a rule of thumb, you can easily calculate how much budget you should have on your campaigns/ad sets.

Let's say you have a retargeting campaign with 3 ad sets. Your average cost per purchase in retargeting is $15. Your daily budget per ad set would in that case be (15*50/7) $107. 

If you're a Zalster user, our Budget optimization algorithms takes care of this for you, meaning you only have to make sure that you have enough daily budget for 50 weekly conversions on campaign level. Then it's up to our algorithms to distribute your budget properly between ad sets and campaigns chosen in the optimization algorithm.

Example: Budget & Bid

The collaboration between budget and bid is also crucial. The bid you set, determines what part of your audience you'll reach. The budget you set, also determines this. Together, they determine who you reach - and with what "self-confidence" the Facebook algorithms will have when delivering.

Same thing here, if your bid is $20 per conversion and your daily budget is $50 - you will probably not end up with great results. Not compared to if you could actually afford at least 5 daily conversion.

The key take away here is having a proper ratio between budget and the bid. The difficult thing in this is knowing what budget and bid is the most optimal to maximize performance and delivery. This changes from day to day, due to a myriad of reasons. If you're a Zalster user, running our Optimization algorithm - you won't have to care about this, since we make sure that the settings are optimal 24/7. 

Example: THE NUMBER OF ADS

Another common mistake is having over-belief in the number of ads that you can have in an ad set, if the goal partially is to learn which of them works. That's why there's a problem when a tool gives you the opportunity to "create 100s of ads in just a few clicks" - without talking about the risks of doing this.

If your daily budget on an ad set is $200 and your average cost per conversion is $20 - you will afford 10 daily conversions. Let's say you have 10 different ads in this ad set. If ad impressions were delivered equally - each ad would get an average of 1 conversion per day. Just by doing this simplified math, we can discover that it will take a huge amount of time - just to get enough data to actually have a statistically significant result. 

This is why the number of ads running also is a factor relevant to take into consideration. Don't overdo the number of ads (in relation to the budget) - and of course, don't have too few. 

example: time & NUMBER OF CHANGES

Another great variable in what results you'll get is how often you're doing changes to your campaigns. Major changes (such as targeting, bids, budgets and delivery settings) will reset the "learning phase" of the Facebook algorithms. Therefore, you should avoid making changes too often (especially if you don't know exactly what constitutes a "major change"). 

Time passed without any major changes is regularly a good thing for your campaigns. So try not to micro-manage the optimization algorithms of Facebook (and Zalster, if you're using us). 

Key takeaways

  • An optimal campaign structure (number of campaigns, ad sets and ads) is crucial for great performance.
  • Make sure you can afford 5+ daily conversions on ad set level (at least on campaign level).
  • Bids and budgets not only determines costs, but also what part of your specified audience you're reaching.
  • Avoid having too many ads, compared to your daily budget.
  • Don't make changes too often (if it's not crucial).
  • Use common sense :) 

 

 

Create creative creatives

Advertising means competing for users attention!

Whether it’s just adding text to an image, graphics play a vital role in capturing your audience’s attention – and that is exactly what you want to do!

Here are some tips on how (and why) to make your ads pop, your copies appeal to your audience’s psychology and to help you win over your fans.

I. Image

First of all, use the right image size. Facebook allows advertisers to upload images in different sizes, so make sure your Facebook ad design is at least the standard. By following the guidelines you make sure that your ads look good on every screen.

Color psychology

Audiences online have limited attention spans. They’re powering through websites and newsfeeds, digesting information at a million miles an hour. One of the most effective ways to capture their attention is to use certain colours. People associate certain colours with certain emotions. Do some research on how different colours affect the human brain and use that knowledge to make the human brain work for you instead of against you. 

Highly contrasted colours 

Higher contrasts helps draw more attention to your ad. Create ads that contrast with the entire newsfeed. 

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Add your value proposition in your ad image

Your ad image is probably the first thing people notice, therefore it’s a smart idea to place your key message right there in the image. Just remember Facebooks “20% rule” regarding the amount of text allowed on ad images. So try not to have too much text in your images and videos, but just right. 

 

People like people

There’s a well known psychological effect called Pareidolia that causes humans to look for faces in everyday objects. Studies show that there’s even a specific group of cells in our brains that fire only when we see a face. With other words, people love to see faces – so use that in your Facebook ads.

II. Video

Here goes the same as for images – make sure you are using the right size! You can’t capture your audience’s attention with a video that has the same quality as one of “Americas Funniest Homevideos”. 

According to Facebook 75% of all mobile data will be video by 2020. A video ad should be as short as it can be, and as long as it needs to be. Keep in mind, though, that shorter videos of 15 seconds or less have eligibility across all Facebooks placements and have an advantage in the feed environment. 

So, how do you capture attention and deliver a full message in 15 seconds or less. Well, it isn’t always a piece of cake. 

Jump-start
It’s smart to start with most attractive elements and hook people with your most engaging content. Make your audience feel captivated about your message and choose your thumbnail wisely. If you have a celebrity or a recognizable product – let people know right away!

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Design for sound off

As much as 85% of Facebooks video views happen with the sound off, according to multiple publishers. The news shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, with the Auto-Play function in mind.

With that being said, you should capture attention and deliver the message within the first couple of seconds - without sound! 

Try to tell your story visually, sight and motion are the foundation of feed. Text and graphics are great tools to make your message easier to understand in a sound-off environment, if your customer chooses to watch it with sound it should add value!

Experiment with framing

Remember that your story doesn’t need to be limited to the newsfeed frame. Be creative and experiment with framing. Try to make a vertical video, crop the video to square or why not to a fullscreen Instagram Story format?  

III. Copy

Make sure you tie your text to the visual material; your copy and image or video should complement each other while delivering a clear message. 

Less is more

The “less is more” concept rings true when it comes to getting your message across the world of advertising. You need to make your ad easy to scan and understand in seconds. This is hard for some marketers to accept. They spend a lot of time writing and adjusting the text, explaining everything about the product – but instead they end up getting the audience bored. Keep it short, exciting and concise! 

Rational and emotional

An important thing to remember when you’re creating your Facebook ads is that people are emotional creatures, not only logical ones. Sure, a list of product features might sell to the rational part of some users, but you should tell your audience about the benefits they are going to experience. Find the pain they are struggling with and tell them about how your product or service will change that. 

Ask questions

Asking a question is one of the most powerful techniques to retain a person’s attention, it tends to engage users and divert their attention from the fact that they view an ad.

The power of the word free

Free beer, free money, free food. We love the word free and are always on the lookout. This is an effective technique when it comes to advertising. For example, you could make something for free that’s a part of a buying product. You can also use free as a lead generation device. Give away helpful information for free is an effective way to spread your content.

Add urgency
There is nothing we hate more than missing out on a great deal just because we were a little late and when we see an opportunity arise, we don’t want it to slip.. Use words and phrases that indicate time like “Only today”, “Now” and “This week”.

Be credible
Without trust and credibility you’ll never convince a user to buy your product, give out their email address or establish any relationship.

 

Never assume, always test

When you’re creating an ad, take the time to come up with a couple of different versions and test them. Try ads with different copy, different colours and different formats for different audiences. 

The final, and most essential key is to track your progress. You need to know what’s working and what’s not – and why. 

Get started with offline conversions

How does it work?

With Facebook offline conversion measurement solution you can better understand which events such as purchase in your retail store, orders made over the phone or leads by email happened as a result of your Facebook advertising. By uploading offline event data from your customer system you can attribute this to people who saw and clicked on your Facebook ads to better understand the effectiveness of your ad campaigns and return on your ad spend. 

Get started!

1. Create Offline Event Set:

Go to main menu and select offline events under measure & report. Click button ”Get Started”. Read threw terms and conditions and if you are OK with them click accept. Name your event set and add a description if you like.

2. Assign Ad Accounts For Tracking:

Select ad accounts you want to assign to the offline event set for tracking. For the ad accounts you select, you can enable Auto-Tracking so that all future campaigns within those ad accounts will automatically use this offline event set.

3. Upload Offline Event Data:

Go to offline events. Click the name of you offline event set and then click upload offline events. Click Select File to select your data file (.csv)(.txt) from your computer. You need to prepare your offline data before you upload it. Click View Examples under Customer DetailsEvent Time, or Event Details to learn more about the types of data you can provide. Hover over a data type to see formatting examples or download example file.

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4. Map Data:

Click Next: Map Data. Review each column to verify it has been mapped correctly, and resolve any errors or warnings. Errors and warnings may appear if your data is missing, incorrectly mapped or improperly formatted. Click View Examples to review recommend data and formatting examples. Make sure all of your columns are mapped correctly for best results.

5. Review:

Click Next: Review. Review your results and decide whether to continue with your upload, or go back to modify your file and/or mapping. Click to expand a warning to see more details about the issue and recommendations for resolving it. Offline events that are uploaded cannot be deleted or updated, so Facebook recommend resolving as many issues as possible before uploading. Learn more about troubleshooting offline event upload issues.

6. Complete Upload:

When complete, you’ll see the final number of rows that were uploaded and/or skipped. If rows were skipped, you'll see the reasons why they were skipped. Depending on the size of your file, it can take up to 15 minutes for your results to display.

7. View Results:

Go to Ads Manager. Click the columns dropdown menu and select Offline Conversions to load the columns in the offline conversion reporting preset to see your results.

8. Customize Columns:

Click the columns dropdown menu and select customize columns. Select the offline-columns you would like to see and choose your attribution window. Click apply. Go back to columns dropdown menu if you want to save your customized column.

If you like to learn more about offline conversions visit Facebook Help Center.