The Westmark Group Blog

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Nearly a year ago Facebook introduced slideshows, allowing advertisers to seamlessly compile a collection of images into a video. Video consumption online whether it be through a desktop or mobile device, continues to increase daily. After a year of understanding and experimenting with this unique feature from Facebook, advertisers have suggested changes and improvements that could be introduced to make the entire process more effective. Facebook is now introducing several new features that will allow advertisers to more easily display products and market their ideas.

Stock Images:

Facebook has long had a stock image database free to us through ad manager, but now this feature has been added to the slideshow tab. Advertisers can now pick from a gallery of thousands of pictures and simply place them into the slideshow ads they are creating.

Add-ons:

Adding text and music to slideshow ads is now possible through this update! There are a number of templates to pick from, each with a different theme. Furthermore, you can now choose from a sound library to add music to your slideshow. Facebook says that soon you will be able to pick music from your personal audio library too!

What If You Already Have a Video?

If you already have a video that you’d like to convert into a slideshow ad, you can easily convert it by uploading the actual video into the slideshow tool. The technology will do the rest by taking the image stills from the video and turning them into your slideshow ad. Creating a slideshow ad by using already created content is beneficial to those who have a lot of content within their video but do not necessarily want to show the entire file. Marketers can be selective and pick the content they have a priority on advertising.

As a digital marketing agency we are excited for the new features being added to the slideshow ad function within Facebook. Our hope is that advertising on Facebook will continue to evolve and change with the times, making it more effective to advertise and tell our clients stories!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If you know anything about about Snapchat, you probably operate the app with the assumption that nothing is truly private. Somewhere, in their watchtower, Snapchat staff are most likely able to grab any information they wish with little to no effort. While they may not be able to see your actual snaps to friends, they can get just about any other data they wish, and starting soon, they’ll be using this data to target the user and bring in significant advertising revenue.

By understanding what accounts you follow, Snapchat has the ability to better target you with ads related to these accounts. Even more invasive, Snapchat can design ads to target you based on the discovery stories you frequent. For instance, if you follow beauty brands, you will begin to see ads for makeup. If you follow a number of basketball players or frequent the ESPN discovery page, you will start to see sports ads.

Advertising via Snapchat is becoming more regular. In July the app created their first application programming interface, or API, which assists advertisers in the buying process of ad space and eventually allows them to analyze their ads privately as a company.

While these changes might sound a little nosy, we think it’s better to have some control over what ads you view within the app. If you’re going so far as to follow and watch specific accounts and stories, it’s nice to know Snapchat isn’t wasting your time (and theirs) showing you ads that you have no interest in. For advertisers, this allows the opportunity for them to collect data. If Advertisers know who is watching specific channels causing their ads to be played for certain users, they can find out more details about these consumers such as their age and gender.

Tell us what you think in the comments below!

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If you have recently developed a website, chances are you are in the process of attracting people to said website. It is probably not as easy as you thought it would be, and at times it could be frustrating. That’s where Pay Per Click advertising, or PPC comes in to play.

PPC is a great way to get people to your site by getting the website to show more prominently as a search result. The further up in the search results your website appears, the more views your page will receive and ultimately the more leads and customers you will be able to generate. All of these increases will allow for a more successful business in the long run. Keep reading to find out beginner tips regarding PPC so that you can have the most impactful results on your website.

PPC 101:

  • PPC advertising is a form of digital advertising
  • PPC Account Managers will bid on keywords that will be used when you search for related info that pertains to their website
  • The goal is to get your website at the top of search engine results

Now What?

Once you have your targeting figured out, you need to figure out where you’d like to place the actual ads. PPC Campaign Managers primarily suggest Google as this is the most used search engine.

Cost:

If you are truly serious about your website and overall business (and we assume you are), then you know there is a price that comes with really promoting your business at the top of a search or generating leads to your website. Cost Per Click, or CPC, is what you will end up paying every time a person clicks on the PPC advertisement. It is wise to create a budget in this scenario, and the manager of your campaign understands enough of lead generation to know what is suitable for your specific business. The money you allocate to your campaign can be transitioned into a number of options. You can elect to allocate money to various keywords or allocate the budget over a time amount that has an end date.

At The Westmark Group we pride ourselves in our skill and talent when it comes to PPC advertising. If you are interested in learning more about PPC or our other services, please get in touch!

When it comes to Pay Per Click ads you want to get the most bang for your buck, but which search engine is going to give you that? Each one has unique features and benefits, so it’s hard to say but these are our thoughts.

For starters, Google controls 2/3 of the market between Google Search Network and Google Display Network. Google Search Network refers to the search features like Google Search, Google Shopping, and Google Maps. While Google Display Network refers to the other non-search based sites like Gmail, YouTube, or Blogger. The Yahoo! Bing Network offers similar options between the Bing-Search Network (Bing and Yahoo! direct properties) and the Bing Content Network (Bing and Yahoo! owned and operated websites).

Cost-wise if you’re looking for cheap, Bing is the winner. The cost per click on a Bing ad is 50 to 70 percent less than that of a Google ad. The impression cost is 76 to 90 percent lower, but it’s important to note that you’re also getting significantly less impressions using Bing. The CTR (click-through rate) is also exponentially higher on Google. So you may be paying less, but less people are seeing your ad when you use Bing. An advantage though is that there is then 36 percent less competition between advertisers on Bing.

When it comes to settings, Bing offers a little more flexibility in most areas (but not all). While Google AdWords allows you to adjust your budget by day, Bing Ads allows you to have either a daily or monthly budget. In Google AdWords you’re limited to location targeting at the campaign level, however Bing Ads allows you to adjust it at both the campaign and ad group level. However, if you like to get super organized with your ads keep in mind that Bing Ads doesn’t offer labeling, Google AdWords does. Google AdWords also allows for different sizing and format options for the images on your ads. Bing Ads doesn’t even allow for images with your ads, text only.

In conclusion, both platforms have unique advantages making it hard to declare a winner. If you’re looking for the cheaper option or more flexibility with your ads then Bing is definitely the way to go. Want an image with your ad? Looking for more impressions and a higher CTR? Google AdWords is the platform for you.

Instagram just rolled out their newest feature: Instagram Stories. Essentially on your profile or homepage you can upload content that expires after 24 hours. Sound familiar?

IG Story

As much as we want to say they have vastly different features and serve different purposes, we can’t. To be fair Instagram still has strides to take, they don’t have any of the filters that make Snapchat unique. Part of what has kept Snapchat relevant has been their use of Geofilters and MSQRD (face filters), the entertainment value. As of now Instagram’s story feature only has text and a drawing feature with a few options. So if you’re snapping a picture on Instagram don’t go looking for the “rainbow vomit” filter or your town’s Geofilter, you won’t find them.

Particular to businesses on Instagram, the new story feature is a blessing in disguise. Why? Now rather than having to build up an audience on two separate platforms, they can just focus on building up the audience they probably already have on Instagram. Additionally, the demographics of Instagram are far wider than those of Snapchat, whose main demographic is 35 years and under.

While it’s only been out for a day, it’ll be interesting to watch what kind of traction Instagram stories gets. Will people quit Snapchat? Which will businesses take to more? Only time will tell.

In the meantime, you can follow our Instagram stories @WestmarkGroup.

pexels-photo-28462-largeMonitoring your social media can be time consuming to do on your own. Many people have resorted to outside sources to do this for them. Here are some of the top places offering this service right now:

1. Mention

This website offers its services starting at $29 a month so you can monitor your online footprint and generate awareness for your brand. With this you get two alerts, up to 3000 mentions, and can login with one user. It draws content from many sources like social media, websites, and blogs. The downside of this option is that they don’t offer analytics or advanced search options with this plan. They also don’t allow you to export this data from their website, making reports more time consuming on your end.

2. Hootsuite

For a premium account the prices start at only $10 a month, and with this you get up to 50 profiles. However even with that many profiles you only receive one analytics report. The upside to this service is that it also offers bulk message scheduling and allows for up to 10 users.

3. Buzzsumo

This service starts at a pricey $99 a month, and the return on it isn’t great honestly. You get up to five users, but only 10 alerts. These alerts can be for link (to your site or another), domain (when new content is published), or author (new content from a particular author) alerts. This service does not offer Facebook analysis or advanced filters. In terms of reporting this means that you will need to find another platform to do so.

4. A Digital Marketing Firm

A digital marketing firm is going to give you the most out of your experience. Not only do you have someone frequently monitoring all of your accounts, there is no limit on the number of alerts you can set. They also will do all of the analysis for you and export it in a neat monthly report. This way all you have to do is sit back and relax. Though this option may be a little pricier than using a website on your own, the cost is justified because of the expertise and analytics you receive. You don’t have to do a thing; you’re provided with a full analysis and a game plan for how to improve in the future. The website you use might tell you your stats but it won’t tell you what to do with them or what they even mean for your business.

 

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LinkedIn can be a great tool for any business to grow their network and build brand recognition. As with any other social media platform though it has a unique way to be successful. Here are some tips and tricks to up your LinkedIn presence.

1. Utilize LinkedIn sponsored updates

This way you are putting your content in front of key influencers. By doing so you build your credibility as an expert in your market and you increase your brand’s exposure.

2. Engage frequently and directly

You should be constantly posting and responding to comments on your page and on other people’s pages. Feel free to post plenty of company updates and news, this keeps your customers up to date and feeling in the loop with your company. Industry news tends to receive the most engagement and is the most sought after type of post.

3. Check out your page’s analytics

On LinkedIn you can view different things like the number of page views you receive or your unique visitors. By analyzing this information you can be a smarter poster in the future and grow your following even more.

4. Promote your page on other social media platforms, like Twitter or Facebook

Don’t hesitate to promote yourself on your other pages! This is the easiest way to grow your following on LinkedIn with people that already trust and respect your brand.

man-791049_960_720Email marketing is a big opportunity to directly target people who may be interested in your business. You’ve acquired their email somehow so they must have displayed some interest at some point, right? Here’s how to make sure you hold their interest.

  1. Personalize to your business

Make sure you have a clear voice and a personal tone to your writing that fits your business. This is your chance to show the person that will open the email what your business is all about.

  1. Have a reason for emailing

Make sure that you’re giving the reader something of value and aren’t just emailing them for the sake of doing so. Your content can be anything: advice or tips, a promotion, an article; just make sure it’s relevant. Email with purpose.

  1. Devise a clear and engaging subject line

Pull the reader in and make sure it’s engaging. Great headlines are questions or are relatable. A good tool for creating subject lines is a headline analyzer.

  1. Read your analytics

If you use a service like Constant Contact or Mailchimp, odds are they offer some kind of analytics for the emails you send. How many people opened your email? What was the click rate? The bounce rate? These are important things to take note of in creating future emails, adjust your content accordingly.

  1. Create a line of communication

This is your opportunity to speak directly to your audience. Ask questions and get your readers engaged, this will make them more likely to reach out to you or look at your website, for example.

 

What is Dynamic Retargeting exactly? It is an advertising strategy where advertisers can personalize the ads seen by users based on their previous behavior. They can do this by featuring products or content recently viewed by the user, or by showing other content that may be relevant to them.

The reason this is “dynamic” is because the information changes based on what data is known about the user based on their previous behavior during their time on your site. For example, this can be the items they have looked at or left in their shopping cart, their geographical location, or past purchases. So let’s say you went to a website and looked at a pair of shoes. Based on this behavior you may see ads from this brand advertising the same pair of shoes you looked at previously. Let’s say you bought that pair of shoes, you might see ads featuring socks. This is different from a static ad, where the content is unchanging and serves a broader audience.

Why is this important? What is the value of it? Results. Dynamic Retargeting results in a two to three times boost in click through rates as opposed to a static ad. These ads then have the best chance of generating web traffic. This is because of the convenience of Dynamic Retargeting ads, they allow a person to go back to a shop and save themselves the time of going through the website again.

So what’s the best way to go about Dynamic Retargeting? Start by bidding more on visitors who left a shopping cart with products in it, these people generally are more likely to spend. They intended to purchase something at one point in the first place. On the other hand bid less on visitors who didn’t view any products at all, they tend to have less of an intention to purchase something. You also should be retargeting for users who have visited your website within the last 30 days or so, beyond that they are less likely to return to your website.

Still have questions? Feel free to give us a call on how your business can benefit from Dynamic Retargeting.