Facebook Ads Not Delivering? Use The Ultimate Checklist

There are so many possible reasons why your Facebook Ads are not delivering and it can be so frustrating trying to figure it out. Being a marketing agency means that we see problems like this pop up on accounts for all kinds of different clients. We are always happy to take on more work, so feel free to reach out if you’d like help from one of our specialists. However, if you would like to try fixing the delivery issue on your own, I created this checklist for you that you can go through to get your ads up and running again.

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Ads Are Disapproved
COVID-19 Ad Disapprovals
Your Ad Has Too Much Text
You Forgot To Publish Your Ads
Your Billing Method Failed
You Reached Your Spending Limit
You Reached Your Budget
Your Campaign Ended
Your Audience Is Too Small
You Recently Edited An Ad
Your Ad Is Stuck In Review
You Have Too Much Audience Overlap
Your Ad Falls In A Special Category
Your Ad Is Low Quality
You Used Accelerated Delivery
Other Reasons

Ads Are Disapproved
There are a lot of reasons why your ads might get disapproved. Facebook’s official list of ad policies is here, but I will list some of the most common reasons that ads get disapproved:

  • Too much text in your image; tool listed here
  • Your product is not allowed to be advertised on Facebook
  • Your ad copy is inappropriate or not allowed; Facebook doesn’t allow overly sensational copy, bad grammar, or content that assumes the viewer’s personal attributes
  • Your image or video is inappropriate or falls into the Adult Content category

Occasionally, fixing the problem is as easy as removing a question mark, but sometimes you really need to dig deep into Facebook’s Ad Policy page to find the exact reason why your ad is being disapproved.

If you’re wondering what your error is, you can hover over the red warning triangle for more information. You can also click “Edit” on the disapproved ad and you should see a specific reason listed there as well.

COVID-19 Ad Disapprovals

Businesses in all industries have been affected by COVID-19 in some way. If you are like us and are still able to run Facebook ads during this pandemic, you might have run into the same problem that we are seeing. Some ads that merely acknowledge COVID-19 are getting disapproved for “Controversial Content”. The specific Facebook policy is designed to stop price-gouging of sensitive products like hand sanitizer and medical masks, but in some cases ads are getting disapproved by mistake. That full policy from Facebook can be found here.

The main policy summary states:

“Ads must not contain content that exploits crises or controversial political or social issues for commercial purposes.”

Our ads definitely aren’t exploiting this crisis, but still some of our ads and our clients’ ads were getting disapproved for this reason. I tested removing words like “COVID-19”, “pandemic”, and “hand sanitizer” and republished them. In some cases, that worked.

You also have the option to request a manual review. As long as you are not exploiting a crisis, once an employee at Facebook views your ads they should easily be able to see that your ad is okay to run. I have been able to fix ad disapprovals for controversial content this way several times. In my experience, it has taken 24-48 hours for decisions to be made after submitting an ad for manual review.

Your Ad Has Too Much Text
Facebook wants their ads to feel more organic, so they restrict how much text can be overlaid onto your image. This is an issue that comes up fairly frequently with clients who don’t know about this rule. They want to the name of their business really large, or they want to promote a big wall of text because they want customers to know every single thing about the sale they are running.

You can fit plenty of copy into the Headline and Text portions of your ad, so follow Facebook’s rule and keep the amount of text on your image to 20% or less.

If you want to test your image to see if it follows the 20% text rule, Facebook has a text overlay tool that you can access here.

You Forgot to Publish Your Ads
If you manage Facebook campaigns long enough, this is bound to happen. Go back to Ads Manager and see if your ad is still a draft or if it has been published. You can review all current drafts by clicking “Review and Publish” in the top right corner.

Your Billing Method Failed
Sometimes a payment fails, credit cards reach their limits faster than normal, and the payment method needs to be reauthorized. Open up Ads Manager and check to see if there are any red warning messages. With that information in hand, open up the main menu, go to Settings, and click Payment Settings to manage your billing method.

You Reached Your Spending Limit
Spending limits can be useful tools, but if someone else sets them without telling you, then you might find yourself wondering why your ads aren’t running.
There are a few places in Ads Manager where you can set and edit spending limits.

  • The account level (Found in Payment Settings)
  • The campaign level (Click Edit on any campaign)

You Reached Your Budget
You can set lifetime budgets at the campaign level. If you forget to add more to the budget or to create a new campaign, then you might be surprised when your ads stop delivering at the end date you set.

Your Campaign Ended
Like the previous tip states, you can set lifetime budgets at the campaign level. If you forget to add more to the budget or to create a new campaign, then you might be surprised when your ads stop delivering at the end date you set.

Under the Delivery column you will see that your campaign says “Completed” when it has reached its end date. You can duplicate the campaign and start again or you can edit the completed campaign and add new end dates and an increased budget.

Your Audience Is Too Small
This error usually doesn’t come with its own special warning, so it can be easy to overlook. If you narrow your audience down too much by geographic area, gender, age, interest, or some other demographic, then your ad set might be too small to run at all.

Check out the Audience Definition section at the Ad Set level to see what your potential reach is. If it says your audience is too small here, then you might need to make some changes.

You Recently Edited an Ad
Facebook ads often take up to 24 hours to get approved and start delivering again after you make an edit to them. I know it can be tempting to make changes every day, but it is best to plan ahead and make edits less often.

Your Ad Is Stuck in Review
Facebook ads often take up to 24 hours to get approved and start delivering again after you make an edit, but has it been longer than that?

During busy online sales times like Black Friday, approval times for new ads can take even longer. I have seen ads take up to two or three days to get approved and start delivering during those busy times. If you have an important campaign coming up, don’t wait until the last minute to publish your ads.

If that is not the case, try duplicating your ad and often the new ad will get approved quickly.

You Have Too Much Audience Overlap
If you are running too many ad sets with very similar audiences, then your ads might not spend their full budgets. Luckily, Facebook has an audience overlap tool that will let you see how much your audiences overlap.

Open the main menu in Ads Manager and click on Audiences. From there you can select up to 5 audiences, click the three dots, and click Show Audience Overlap.

I have seen this problem mainly when advertisers are using a lot of look-alike audiences that they don’t really realize are very similar.


Your Ad Falls in a Special Category
“If you’re based in or targeting the U.S. and are creating a campaign that includes ads that offer credit, employment or housing opportunities, you must choose the category that best describes your ads.”

If your product or service falls into one of these 3 categories, then you will have to deal with some restrictions. You can find more information here, but before you can run your ads at all, you will have to designate which category you fall into or your ads might get disapproved.

You can find these settings at the campaign level.

Your Ad Is Low Quality
“Low-quality ads on Facebook, such as ones that include clickbait or direct people to unexpected content, create bad experiences for people and don’t align with our goal of creating meaningful connections between people and businesses.”

You can read more about Facebook’s policy here.

Just know that low quality ads might work for a little while, but eventually they will get disapproved and can even lead to your ad account getting suspended if the content is bad enough. Promote the best product you can and create ads that have honest, enticing copy and imagery.

You Used Accelerated Delivery
Accelerated Delivery is an option at the campaign level of your ads. If you select it then Facebook will “spend your budget and get results as quickly as possible.” It sounds pretty good, but you may be left with no budget at the end of the month if you are not careful.

Other Reasons
There are a lot of reasons why your Facebook ads might not be delivering or why they are disapproved. If you make it through this whole checklist without finding the solution to your problem, then you have found a truly unique issue and I’d love to hear about it. Fill out our contact form with your issue and we can work on it together.

How to Know If You’re Reaching the Right Audience on Social Media

When it comes to marketing, one of the biggest mistakes I see businesses make is creating a target audience that is broader than they can effectively reach. Let me explain. A friend of mine has a small business. In requesting some marketing help I asked them, “Now, who is your target audience?” Their response, “everyone.” That answer is a marketer’s worst nightmare. I hate to break it to you, but “everyone” isn’t a target audience.” In fact, when you target everyone, you’re targeting no one.

In this blog I’m going to walk you through the different audiences you can expect to reach on some of the major social platforms.

Determine Your Target Audience

Once you have established your business you need to think about future clients. Who will want your product? How will you reach them? The fact of the matter is, in order to sell your product effectively, you need to clearly identify who you want to buy your product while considering why they need your product in their lives.

Each social channel is going to have a different audience, which is to your advantage. A different audience type, with some overlap to be considered, will be on each platform. Depending on your business, it’s important to know who and how to target the correct audience.

facebook logo audience

Having over 2 billion monthly active users, there’s a lot of data regarding who is on Facebook. There’s a good chance that the audience you’re looking for is going to be found here. According to 2018 statistics:

• 88% of people from ages 13-17 use Facebook
• 84% of people from ages 18-29 use Facebook
• 72% of people from ages 30-49 use Facebook
• 62% of people from ages 50-64 use Facebook
• 62% of people from ages 65+ use Facebook

There is a wide array of users, making Facebook one of the most ideal places to find and target your audience. Throughout the years, Facebook has added features, allowing people to optimize their profiles which gives businesses even more information to target.

instagram audience logo

I might go as far as to say that Instagram is the young man’s game. The audience on this app is generally younger, emphasizing photos and videos. Smartphones are common amongst the younger generation, making this social platform perfect for those with 24/7 access to the internet and high-quality phone photos. Statistics show that:

72% of people from ages 13-17 use Instagram
64% of people from ages 18-29 use Instagram
40% of people from ages 30-49 use Instagram
21% of people from ages 50-64 use Instagram
10% of people from ages 65+ use Instagram

Facebook has a gradual decrease as the age of the user increases whereas Instagram is a significant decrease once the age of users hits about 30. Part of the reasoning behind this is because Instagram isn’t designed for desktop – Facebook is. In order to drive more traffic towards their app, they’ve made their desktop version much less user-friendly.

If you want to find a young, visual audience, Instagram is a great platform to utilize.

twitter audience logo

Though a significantly fewer number of people use Twitter, it’s still a great social platform to use. Currently growing, I’d say that one of the best uses for Twitter as of now is to create brand awareness. Running ads on it and targeting an audience might not be useful though due to how few people use it regularly. It is one of the last social platforms to use a chronological feed (a tweet’s shelf-life is around 15-minutes or so). The largest audience on Twitter comes from 18-29 year olds, and stats say that 40% of the people in that age group use Twitter.

snapchat audience logo

With 69% of 13-17 year-olds and 68% of 18-29 year-olds on Snapchat, this social platform is another great way to reach a younger audience. The percentage of people aged 30+ on Snapchat is significantly less, making it less effective at targeting that specific age group. Snapchat is yet another platform based solely on photos and videos so pay attention to the content you’re sharing. It should be captivating and fast-paced.

linkedin audience logo

Another growing platform, LinkedIn, is specifically marketed towards professionals, which makes it unique. The platform’s purpose is different than others. LinkedIn is designed for professional networking. Those looking to grow their personal networks utilize this platform for professional purposes. Resumes, work experience, articles, etc. are all options for content to be posted. Though it may have few users right now, it’s a platform with some of the most potential for growth. It’s starved for content, making the shelf-life of posts longer than any other social platform.

As of 2018, here are the percentages of users that are on LinkedIn:

• 29% of people from ages 18-29 use LinkedIn
• 33% of people from ages 30-49 use LinkedIn
• 24% of people from ages 50-64 use LinkedIn
• 9% of people from ages 65+ use LinkedIn

The user percentages are low, but I see LinkedIn as an opportunity to create a presence before there is a presence. Building your network now and establishing your business or yourself is one of the things that will benefit you in the future when others hop on board the bandwagon.

Social media targeting isn’t a “one size fits all” strategy. It must be intelligently determined and then optimized. The goal is to create, optimize, gather information, optimize and repeat over and over until you get your desired results. By utilizing the different audiences on each social platform, you can reach your target market with ease. Our social experts at Epic Marketing can answer any question you have about finding your perfect audience.

10 Tips to Optimize Your Instagram Business Profile

Businesses are taking Instagram by storm. Think about it… between mommy bloggers, foodies, travel junkies, and the hundreds of Harry Potter fan accounts, the latest updates, though fun for personal accounts, seem to benefit business profiles the most.

Since Instagram’s launch in 2010, the industry and usage have both shifted from the fun, personal account into a bigger push into business and sales. As a growing platform, good changes need to be made in order to attract new users and retain the current ones. In August of 2016, Instagram provided users with an option to create a business account that allows the businesses (and users if they desired) access to analytics and options for e-commerce.

As Instagram continues to release update after update, it’s important to optimize your profile and take advantage of those features. Here are ten ways that you can improve your business profile.

Engage with Your Followers

Engagement is a key part of IG’s algorithm. The more engagement you receive on your posts, the more likely your profile is to be seen. Instagram likes it when you, as the profile owner, engage with your audience. The quality of your followers is valued greater than the quantity of your followers. And remember, the quality will lead to more quantity.

Create Discoverable Content

An article by Rival IQ, suggests that you ask your users not to tag your photos, but instead to use a custom hashtag to make your content more discoverable to those that may not follow you. This concept makes sense due to the fact that when you’re tagged in a photo, only those who are already following your profile will see it, but hashtags make it available to a broader audience.

Strategically Share Content

What you share, when you share it, and how you share it matters. Create a content calendar and plan out your content in order to accurately tell your brand’s story. The visuals you post and the captions you use create a brand experience, and you want to make sure you’re properly conveying the right one for you.

Create Captivating Captions

Instagram shows the first two lines of your caption – choose your words very carefully. With ten or so words, you’ll have to captivate your audience quickly and get them to click the “more” to view the rest of your caption. How you’ll accomplish this completely depends on the industry you’re in, but experiment and try new things.

Utilize Instagram’s New Features

Why would IG come out with new features just for you to ignore them? The new features may not apply to every business, but it can be argued that every new feature is designed to increase engagement. Especially utilize the new features that stories have offered. Polls, Q&As, stickers, gifs, countdown timers, etc. are all there for your benefit. Take advantage of them. IGTV is an up and coming resource for your followers. It gives you the opportunity to upload up to 10-minute long vertical videos that a mommy blogger could use to showcase her latest unboxing or your company can upload a tips & tricks video that’s applicable for your business.

Go Live

Using Instagram’s Live feature is going to benefit your profile. The algorithm is set to favor a user when they go live, notifying its followers and trying to get you seen by the most amount of people.

Build a Trackable URL for Your Bio

Creating a URL that you can track will help you to get the necessary data to continue to optimize your Instagram Profile. Building your URL can help you discover where traffic is coming from, how many people click on your link, etc. This principle can also apply to other platforms, in fact, I’d suggest creating a separate URL for all different platforms to gain more insights. We use Google’s Campaign URL Builder to set up individual URLs for different platforms. We are also able to track the data in Google Analytics. Here’s a guide on how to use Campaign URL Builder and a Youtube video to teach you how to use this tool.

Fine Tune Your Bio

Use keywords. Add them in your description, use special fonts and emojis. The idea is to do something to stand out and make your purpose clear. Add a call to action to your bio. The key is not to make it too busy. Oftentimes, influencers and those similar make their bios too busy. Use fancy fonts sparingly and make it clean. Your bio is one of the first things people read about your brand, make it count.

Utilize Influencers

Partner with other brands or people. Optimize your brand and use people that would benefit your company and those that can benefit from you. Remember that they’ll be adding value to your brand and you will have to add value to them in some way. Influencer marketing is growing and Instagram is one of the best platforms to use this marketing technique.

Be Authentic

Be you. Social media has received a lot of hate the past couple of years regarding the “appearance of perfection.” This is your opportunity to change that perception. Be authentic and allow your audience to see the raw parts of your brand.

As one of the fastest growing social platforms, Instagram is constantly adding new features and changing its algorithm. Staying on top of what is happening with the social channel is one of the best things you can do for your business. Don’t fall behind! Following these tips will help your Instagram business stay fresh and visible.

Understanding Facebook Analytics

“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” -Sun Tzu

Most intermediate to advanced marketers love diving into tactics. It’s sexy and it brings this sense of “ah…that’s what I have been missing all along” feeling that also makes you feel like you have stumbled on some “holy grail” of marketing that will catapult your marketing efforts into the next stratosphere.

The problem is that most of your marketing issues have nothing to do with your tactics, but your lack of a cohesive strategy in implementing those tactics. So the question then remains, how do you put together a cohesive strategy?

Analytics and Facebook analytics specifically will help you better understand the user experience as they interact with your brand both online and off. How do new users find about your business/product/service? How do your existing customers become loyal, repeat customers?

Every business, especially if they have a heavy online presence, needs to refine their critical path for their new customers. What user flow is the most optimal for your business? Is it to hear about you online, go to a physical store and then ultimately find you again online when you have a promotion? Do they search for you on Google, fill out an interactive form on your website and then add your product to a cart and finish the checkout process?

Most businesses have several “critical paths” that their customers follow and your overall strategy should be to 1) figure out that path and 2) learn to optimize the path from the edges of the flow instead of rebuilding it every couple of months and having to restart your Facebook experiments from scratch..

So where does Facebook Analytics fall into this learning process?

Facebook Analytics will help you understand how your customers are actually behaving and which behaviors are most beneficial to your business. As you gain a better understanding of what behaviors you want to replicate, you’ll be able to create user flows that promote behaviors that you want to see in your customers and on the flip side, create flows that discourages behaviors that you want your potential customers to avoid.

Facebook Analytics and Google Analytics are not the same. Google Analytics is a comprehensive tool that enables you to look at more data than Facebook Analytics and allows you to do deeper dives into specific pages. On the other hand, Facebook Analytics is tied to a user, not a cookie and thus is best at showing you interactions among events so you can see opportunities to better cater your website/product offering that you maybe didn’t know were happening to specific individuals.

Event groups within Facebook Analytics allows you to look at omnichannel interactions. Many will argue that Google Analytics already provides this information but Facebook Analytics allows you to dive a bit deeper because it allows you to see post interactions in addition to page and website behaviors. You also can track offline data like in-store purchases and link them to your Facebook campaigns to see how your Facebook ads influenced those purchasing decisions.

There are three major reports that you can pull from Facebook Analytics: Funnels, Revenue and Customer Lifetime Value reports.

Funnels:

One of the best parts of the Facebook Analytics funnel reports is that they are able to tell you what actions individuals took on your Facebook page/ad prior to them converting into a customer. You can figure out of the individuals who “liked” this post, how many of them when to the website? Of those individuals how many of them ultimately ultimately lead to a sale? Understanding where along the funnels your customers are dropping out is one of the most invaluable pieces of information that Facebook funnels can provide.

Revenue:

Think of Revenue as a dashboard for purchase-related information. Let’s say you want to find out how many purchases were made through your app in a given time period. You could find this information in Revenue and examine it more closely by applying filters then create a funnel out of those insights as mentioned above.

Customer Lifetime Value:

Conventional reports in Business Manager merely look at the cost per conversion and revenue for each individual purchase. By looking at CLV, instead, we can see how much a customer is worth to us over the course of several months. You can break it down into a few factors:

• How often a customer makes a purchase within a typical purchase cycle
• How much a customer spends each time they make a purchase
• How much you project a customer will spend over the duration of your relationship with them
• The potential length of a customer’s relationship with you

As Facebook has stated “You shouldn’t use your prediction for any one of these factors alone as a representation of a given customer’s lifetime value. You should combine each relevant estimation into a formula appropriate for your business goals and use the result it produces.”

Facebook Analytics is just such an awesome tool to help individuals and companies understand how their Facebook efforts are working and where along the way they are dropping out.

Bonus freebie:

A lot of individuals ask us in addition to the reports above, what are some other Facebook specific metrics that we like to track. I have listed some of the most insightful metrics that provide the most amount of insights.

MAU (Monthly Active Users)
(# of Monthly Active Users/# of People Reached)

Audience Growth Rate
(# of new Facebook Fans/# of total fans on Facebook)

Engagement Rate
(# of engagements/# of posts)

Organic vs. Paid Traffic Rate

Average Revenue Per MAU
(MRR/Total Number of Customers)

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
(Total Cost of Sales & Marketing/# of Sales)

Need a hand in understanding the constantly changing Facebook landscape? Contact us or call us and let our team of Facebook experts talk to you about your current Facebook marketing needs.

The 4 C’s of Social Content Strategy

Imagine your company is a kingdom. A kingdom needs someone (or something) to rule over it and protect it. The question stands, who (or what) controls your kingdom?

Creatives and visuals play an important role in marketing. They’re responsible for establishing a brand, evoking emotion or convincing consumers to think or act in a certain way. The influence content marketing has for a brand is substantial and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Content strategy is the thing that can make or break your company in a social media aspect.

Keep in mind these 4 principles when creating a social media content strategy.

1. Content is King

Your brand is determined by the content that you produce. The media that your brand delivers on social platforms (such as its images, videos, graphics, etc.) is an important aspect of how consumers view your company. Due to the fact that social media is such a powerful tool, having a strong presence that provides valuable content can make your company. On the flip side, having mediocre content that doesn’t pull people in may possibly break it.

Social media marketing brings a new perspective to your company. You have the ability to show others what you’re about as opposed to telling them. Many people are visual, and content provides the value that they’re looking for. Provide new and exciting original content. Engage with users and create a loyal following.

Don’t forget that your brand is determined by your content, which is why content is king.

2. Consistency

I believe that consistency is one of the key elements in creating positive content and a sense of loyalty to a brand. People rely on consistency in their life, and you have an opportunity to provide it for them. Post content on a schedule. Developing a habit of posting consistently is important for consumers and for social platforms’ algorithms.

Make sure the content you post is consistent in representing the ‘why’ of your business. There are two spectrums of posting. The first one is to just throw out content recklessly whereas, on the opposite side of the spectrum, you may not post as often, but what you do post is meaningful and intentional. Create a content calendar. Without creating one, failure is more likely to occur. Social Media Today mentions the “Consistency Pizza” consisting of volume, quality, voice, and topics.

Consistency not only in posting but also in the content itself is also vital. A ‘clean’ feed is ideal. If you’re a photographer, create a feed with similar edits so your future clients can get a ‘feel’ of your editing style. A videographer should also abide by the same principles, so why shouldn’t your brand? The images and graphic style should represent your company. Using the same color scheme for graphics and similar edits on posts with similar content will help assist in creating a great social feed.

3. Culture

Representing a culture is important in social media marketing. What sort of style and “feel” do you want to show your consumers? You may want to portray a specific culture of your company. You may even want to portray a culture from around the world. Identifying a target audience and being able to cater to their needs is an aspect of culture that should be considered. Remember that what works in one city, state or country may not work in another because social media trends are constantly changing and tend to move from region to region.

Referring to a company’s vision and goals will help to guide the social feed in order to create a culture on social media. Is your goal to advocate healthy eating because it makes you happy? Great! Use that as a guide to create content that emulates that. Keeping culture (in all aspects) in mind, will help assist in pulling people towards your brand.

4. Collaboration

Collaborations involve you and another party offering a service and working together in order to both benefit. Collaborating with other important brands, people, groups, businesses, etc. is a great way to gain more exposure for your brand and the brand you’re working with.

Consider creating a brand ambassador program where people from different locations promote your product or service to their own social following in exchange for a discount of sorts. By having brand ambassadors post content featuring your product, you receive free marketing and potentially more conversions because it’s coming from a friend as opposed to a ‘faceless’ company.

Collaborating with local influencers or celebrities (depending on your company and its purposes) will help gain momentum with content marketing. Consumers will see your brand as one that is associated with the influencer and could increase a following and assist in creating more of a loyal following on social platforms. Finding the right influencer can be difficult. Social outreach is one way to contact an influencer, but there are also great tools created to connect you to the best fitting influencer for your company.

Post driving content with the intention to pull people in. When you do this, the goal and one of the purposes of social media content strategy is met. Remember, pulling people in is only half of the battle. How will you captivate your audience and keep them wanting more? Provide value. Be intentional with your posts and promote meaningful reactions. Keep these 4 C’s in mind as you continue in your social content strategy. These efforts will help ensure your kingdom protected from competitors.

How to Hack the Facebook Algorithm

Go to any social media/digital marketing conference and you’ll most likely see at least one class titled “How to Hack the Facebook Algorithm”. Everyone in the social media marketing industry is constantly trying to figure out and asking themselves, “how do I get Facebook advertising to work for me?”

According to Social Media Examiner, 51% of marketers don’t feel like their efforts in Facebook advertising are paying off. So what is happening? Why are so many marketers struggling to find success with Facebook? How do you hack the Facebook Algorithm?

The short answer is that you don’t. The medium answer is that you hack the algorithm by being adaptable and running experiments correctly.  The long answer is below.

Adapting

Those who don’t adapt, die. Let me show you one example of a simple Facebook hack we used at Epic to adapt. Many marketers have griped and complained about how the upcoming targeting changes on Facebook will negatively affect their advertising efforts. At Epic Marketing, our focus is on the bottom line. It’s what we do. We just do what we need to do in order to help your business grow and thrive by combining technology and our experience and insights. For example, while you might not be able to target individuals with certain “interest” or target “income” levels after August 15th, you can still create an Engagement Audience comprised of those individuals now. In other words, you can create a video targeting those “interest” or “income” audiences now, and create a custom audience comprised of those individuals who watched the videos longer than 3 seconds.

By doing this, you’ve now changed these individuals from a third party source, to a first party source you can remarket to indefinitely on Facebook. This huge hairy problem is now solved simply by thinking through the problem a little bit.

When your company or agency faces a large shift in the landscape, do they complain and throw their hands up? Or do they adapt? Digital marketing is constantly changing. Old norms are now out of date. Previous strategies that never worked now do. Purchase behaviors and attention spans change. It’s hard to find consistency in a landscape that is constantly shifting and updating itself so you have to adapt.

Dealing with a Constantly Evolving Digital Marketing Landscape

So what do we do here at Epic Marketing? What is our “secret sauce”? How are we able to produce results despite the fact that ad costs are increasing across search/social media and Facebook is becoming more restrictive in their targeting options? It’s simple really. We just follow the scientific method when running experiments. Pretty bland isn’t it?

Many marketers say they are “experimenting” but what they are actually doing is blindly guessing and constantly taking a shotgun approach with their strategies. Yes, every campaign takes some time to optimize and at first, especially when you have limited data, often times you are just taking your best guess at how to proceed. However, you shouldn’t be “guessing” 3 months into the campaign. The biggest problem with how a lot of marketers “experiment” is that they leave out one of the most crucial parts of the “experiment”, they forget to actually create a legitimate hypothesis.

“Let’s see what happens” is not a hypothesis. If that’s your hypothesis, you’ll see “what happens” 100% of the time but you won’t be any better for it. A well thought out experiment builds upon previous experiments, but how do you know the right follow up questions to ask if you never created a hypothesis to begin with?

Here’s a brief rundown of the scientific method with direct applications to advertising.

Ask a Question

Most people do this. It’s the question that you ask that forms the basis of your experiment. “Will switching images lead to a better conversion rate?”, “Will including the name of the city in the ad copy lead to more phone calls?”, etc.

Do Background Research

Again, most marketers and businesses will do this step fairly well. Just make sure you keep notes on where you are getting your information and the process along the way so that you can reference it later. As part of your research, make sure to include both qualitative as well as quantitative data in your reports. Quantitative data is the default metric that most marketers rely on but qualitative data helps paint the broader picture of what is going on.

Construct a Hypothesis

This is where far too many marketers fall short. Very rarely do they construct a hypothesis at all, let alone do it in a way that allows them to learn from their experiments. Remember that a hypothesis is an educated guess based on all of the research that has been done both internally and externally. This is not a “shot in the dark” at something you think will work. It is a statement of what you expect to happen and typically it is written in a cause and effect format (if _____ happens, we then expect ________ to occur). It’s a statement that is based on your “educated guess” and not on known data.

The other component needed for a well-written hypothesis is understanding what your variables are for your project. A good hypothesis defines the variables in easy-to-measure terms, like who the participants are, what changes will occur during the testing, and what you think the effect of the changes will be.

Make sure your hypothesis is “testable.” To prove or disprove your hypothesis, you need to be able to do an experiment and take measurements or make observations to see how two things (your variables) are related. You should also be able to repeat your experiment over and over again, if necessary.

To create a “testable” hypothesis make sure you have done all of these things:

• Thought about what experiments you will need to carry out to do the test.

• Identified the variables in the project.

• Included the independent and dependent variables in the hypothesis statement. (This helps ensure that your statement is specific enough.)

• Don’t bite off more than you can chew! Answering some scientific questions can involve more than one experiment, each with its own hypothesis. Make sure your hypothesis is a specific statement relating to a single experiment.

Test Your Hypothesis

This is a perfect example of garbage in, garbage out. You can waste countless man hours, money, and resources running experiments that don’t matter. Experimentation is a mechanism by which we can gain insights and useful information, but it’s not an insight in and of itself. It’s simply just another arrow in our quiver. Experimentation will help us support or refute a hypothesis, but we have to do the work to design a good hypothesis and a good experiment.

Some common mistakes marketers make while testing their hypotheses are:

• Starting with an untestable hypothesis. In other words, not having a reason for why your change will have the desired impact.

• Testing too many variations.

• Not determining up front what you consider to be good. Draw a hard line in the sand.

• Stopping your test at the wrong time. (Here is an online duration calculator that can help you prevent this)

Analyze Raw Data and Draw Conclusions.

Don’t just blindly follow the data. Generally, a researcher will summarize what they believe has been learned from the research, and will try to assess the strength of the hypothesis. Even if your hypothesis is proven to be false, a strong conclusion will analyze why the results did not turn out the way you initially thought.

Theoretical physicist Wolfgang Pauli once stated “it’s not only not right; it is not even wrong” in reference to the work of another fellow physicist. There is tremendous value in being wrong, the only time we truly fail with an experiment is when the experiment provided no additional information to our path of knowledge.

And herein lies the problem with most marketing campaigns. They don’t build upon the knowledge gained during previous experiments. They run an experiment, observe what happens and then create an entirely new experiment that has little to do with any of the observations from the previous experiments. Since they didn’t create a hypothesis, there was nothing specific to observe and therefore, no specific questions to build upon for the next round of experiments.

Want to see your Facebook ads perform better? Learn to adapt and learn how to perform experiments correctly and you’ll be surprised at the results that you achieve.

Need a hand in understanding the constantly changing Facebook landscape? Contact us or call us and let our team of Facebook experts talk to you about your current Facebook marketing needs.

Understanding Facebook’s Seismic Shift in Third-Party Data

From Facebook:

“We want to let advertisers know that we will be shutting down Partner Categories. This product enables third-party data providers to offer their targeting directly on Facebook. While this is common industry practice, we believe this step, winding down over the next six months, will help improve people’s privacy on Facebook. They went into more detail with many advertisers as to the specific dates they will be implementing these changes.

– May 10: After this date, you will no longer be able to create or edit campaign using Partner Categories built on audiences from the UK, Germany, and France; however, they will be allowed to continue running until May 24.

– May 25: We will no longer deliver to Partner Categories built on audiences from the UK, Germany, and France, and these targeting options will no longer be available for use on our platform. You will be notified to update any targeting containing impacted Partner Categories before this date.

– June 30: Last day for creating new or editing existing campaigns using non-EU Partner Categories; they will be allowed to run until September 30.

– October 1: All other Partner Categories will no longer be available as targeting options on our platform and we will stop delivering against these audiences. You will be notified to update your targeting by this date.”

So what does it mean for businesses wanting to advertise on Facebook? Does this mean that Facebook advertising won’t be as effective moving forward? The answer is, it depends. Many businesses and less seasoned marketers are freaking out about the idea that we no longer will be able to target based on income, job titles and other demographic information that are pulled from sources such as Epsilon, Acxiom, Datalogix, etc. While not being able to utilize third-party data (which is a standard practice in marketing) limits the type of targeting you can do on Facebook, Facebook’s secret weapon is its internal algorithm. Marketers who understand how it works and what components drive which outcomes in the algorithm can actually benefit from this new announcement. Marketers who are worried that their ads will no longer be effective because of these new measures were focusing on the wrong components of Facebook ads all along. Seasoned marketers understand that the basic backbone of all Facebook ads, regardless of the industry, is built on four factors:

  • Trust

  • Strength of content

  • Targeting with enough flexibility to allow Facebook’s AI to help with the sub-audience targeting

  • Understanding what exactly you want Facebook to do for your business (goals)

Trust

The area that most businesses screw up through Facebook marketing has relatively little to do with specific demographic targeting, but everything to do with trust. They screw up their campaigns because they are too focused on conversions/sales. Even with lookalike or custom audiences, to make the sale you need trust. The best-targeted audience in the world will not convert if they don’t trust you. You need to provide a variety of ads throughout your customer’s journey that makes them aware of who you are, what you do, and how what you do provides a solution to their problems. How are they supposed to buy something from you when they don’t know anything about what you do as a business? Too many businesses only produce ads that are focused on conversion and not enough of them focus on awareness or engagement that helps build trust between them and their potential customers.

Strength of Content

Most ads are simply not strong enough relative to the campaign objective. Yes, they have plenty of call to action (CTA) buttons, but not all ads should be conversion ads. Are you creating engaging ads that will bring a new audience or group into your existing marketing funnels? Are you creating engaging content simply for the sake of engagement? Are you building out ads that help with brand recall and recognition? Ads need to be thought through and produced for all stages of the marketing funnel, not just for trying to make the sale.

Targeting

With the new changes, this is what everyone’s focus is on. As I mentioned earlier, not being able to utilize third-party data will limit the type of targeting marketers will be able to do. But it will not impact the effectiveness of those ads if marketers make the proper adjustment to them now. Experienced Facebook marketers understand their role relative to Facebook’s AI when it comes to Facebook advertising. They understand better than most the balance of knowing how frequently to update and change the targeting and/or creative of those ads based on data that they are collecting. However, seasoned marketers understand that most of this stuff is noise. Third-party audience targeting is not the main driving force behind the effectiveness of ads and experienced marketers understand that we will still be able to utilize the tools that we do have in order to provide a positive ROI for our clients.

Goals

Businesses need to understand that they need to have goals beyond simply making sales. Yes, sales are the main focus of your marketing campaign, but there are so many factors that go into making a purchase that if you overlook any of those other components, you will be adversely affecting your sales. Possible Facebook campaigns objectives (goals): Increase awareness Local awareness Reach Traffic Engagement (Post, Page likes, event response, offer claims) Video views Store visits App Install Catalog sales Are you a brand new mom and pop shop and need help with the awareness of your location? Do you have a large Facebook following and are launching a new product line? Perhaps you have plenty of sales but need to focus in on customer retention? The point is that all of these questions would require you to have different objectives set up for your Facebook ads.

Summary

The main point of this blog post is to show you all of the factors that go into having a great performing Facebook ad. Yes, the new changes are big and for many marketers who have been focusing on the wrong components, their ads will tank. However, for the businesses and marketers who have been focusing on the most important elements of Facebook ads all along (trust, strength of content, targeting and goals) this is just a little blip in the constantly changing world of social media marketing.

Need a hand in understanding the constantly changing Facebook landscape? Contact us or call us and let our team of expert Facebook experts talk to you about your current Facebook marketing needs. 801-657-4383

Facebook’s New Algorithm Change and 5 Ways Your Business Needs to Respond

On January 11th, 2018 Mark Zuckerberg made an announcement on Facebook that sent the social media world, and businesses across the globe into a frenzy.

He stated that Facebook would be changing the news feed algorithm to prioritize content from “friends, family, and groups.”

However, what concerned the business world was the comment that as they roll out these changes “You’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard—it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”

Understandably, many business owners are concerned that their overall organic reach will decline and that they won’t have the ability to effectively reach their audiences.

Let’s break down what is happening and what is not.

What Is Not True About the Facebook’s Algorithm Update

Facebook Armageddon

While it’s true that many businesses most likely will see some form of a decline in their organic reach, it doesn’t mean that they should abandon Facebook altogether. Organic reach has been declining for many businesses for years but that is simply a byproduct of the fact that competition in the newsfeed has steadily increased over the years.  There’s nothing new about this.

Facebook talked about this back in 2014 and the issue has only
gotten worse since then. “There is now far more content being made than there is time to absorb it. On average, there are 1,500 stories that could appear in a person’s News Feed each time they log onto Facebook. For people with lots of friends and Page likes, as many as 15,000 potential stories could appear any time they log on.”

Publishers and businesses will need to become more creative in creating engaging posts and focus on building communities around their brands.  The mistake many businesses have made and are continuing to make is pushing stale content or content that is overly promotional to their fans. In an age where inventory space on Facebook is so competitive, where businesses are competing with new baby announcements and wedding photos, businesses who just simply put out content that is just promotional will not survive let alone thrive on Facebook.

Facebook has a general direction of how they will be moving forward but even they don’t know exactly how that’s going to look over the next few months or years.

So How Should We Respond? How Do We Fix This?

The answer is not to radically change your strategy (unless your strategy sucks) or utilize new gimmicks/algorithm-tricking tactics. Trying to trick the system is what prompted these changes in the first place.

More and more businesses are realizing the effectiveness of having an active Facebook profile and creating regular content.  The problem for most businesses is that they are either not producing engaging content at all (they are just repurposing content from other media platforms and using it on Facebook) or they are creating click-bait headlines and content that is not engagement-worthy and is providing a worse user experience for Facebook users overall.

The best way to beat the algorithm is to join it.  Ask yourself these questions, “What is the end goal for the algorithm? What is it trying to do?”  Mark Zuckerberg has stated many times, along with many of the top officials at Facebook that their number one goal is to have Facebook “help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us.”

So here are some ways to matter to your audience:

1.  Tell an engaging, consistent story

Have you done a good job in telling your company’s story so that your audience wants to see more posts from your company?  Are you sharing stories in an authentic, engaging way that matters to them? Are you just posting for posting’s sake?  Go back through your company’s Facebook posts and see which one resonated with your audience and find ways to continue to tell those stories.

2.  Diversify

The number one rule of creating any kind of social media following applies here… diversify! Make sure you have a following on various platforms that make sense to your business i.e. email, Youtube, Instagram, Snapchat.  Don’t try to be all things to all people but focus on the two to three channels that you feel will be the most beneficial to your business.

3. Create a Facebook Group

Business pages would be wise to start Facebook groups as groups have high visibility in the newsfeed and notifications. Again, the focus is on the user and when you create a Facebook group make sure you are creating a group that people will want to join and one that adds value to the members within the group.

4. Visually interact with your audience

When trying to engage with your audience, find mediums that will best accomplish your overall goal.  For example, if you are wanting to ask a question to your viewers, think about doing a Facebook Live or creating a graphical poll. Don’t just simply ask the question as a status update on your page.

5. Be timely

Timeliness when it comes to social media is important in engaging WITH your audience on topics that they are currently engaging in.  By creating branded content that is timely, you can add value to your fans while having them interact with your business.

In short, while Facebook’s algorithm will be different in the coming months, it shouldn’t change the overall strategies that businesses have in utilizing Facebook.  By focusing on your long-term goals and finding ways to matter to your customers, businesses can create engaging communities that add value to their customers while strengthening the company’s brand and image.

Need a hand with making social media matter to your customers?  Contact us or call us to talk about what your current social media needs are. Located in Draper, Utah, Epic Marketing can help your business. (801)657-4383

How to Use Instagram for Your Small Business

 

Instagram burst onto the social media scene back in 2010 allowing users to snap and edit photos with friends and family. Maybe you’ve wondered about how Instagram can be used to promote your business or if you should even be making an effort there. If you’re on the fence about it, here are some quick stats about Instagram that might change your mind:

• Over 60% of users log in daily, making it the second most engaged network behind Facebook
• Instagram was used by 48.8% of brands in 2016 and is expected to grow to 70.7% this year
• Top brands post 4.9 times per week on Instagram
• Engagement with brands is 10 times higher than Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest, and 84 times higher than Twitter
• 50% of Instagram users follow brands, making them the social networkers most likely to do so

Clearly, Instagram isn’t just for sharing filtered pictures of your dinner or your furry friend anymore! If you’re not sure where to start, here are some tips for getting your business Instagram-ready.

1. Get Familiar With Instagram for Business
Check out Instagram’s own blog for businesses to get started. Here you will find valuable tips and tricks as well as announcements about updates or new features that you could be incorporating into your posts.

2. Create a Cohesive Looking Profile
Instagram is all about the visuals and imagery. Make sure your images all feel the same stylistically and play off of each other to paint a bigger picture. A simple way some accounts use to maintain continuity is to use the same filter on every post. You can also alter different filters so they continue the same feel when looking at your profile as a whole.
This also extends to the content and captions you post. Keep everything similar by sticking to the same amount of hashtags, separating them the same way in every post, etc. Hashtags are a big part of Instagram and creating your own brand-specific posts you and your fans can use is a great way to engage with loyal customers and hopefully find some new ones along the way.

3. Cultivate a Following
This may seem like the most difficult step but it’s really the easiest! Connect your Facebook account, use relevant and popular hashtags, and engage with others by following and liking their photos and that’s all you need to do! Another helpful hint would be cross-posting your Instagram images to Facebook to help fans from there find your profile.

4. Go Behind-the-Scenes
Instagram is a fun place to take your followers behind the scenes of your business! Post pictures or selfies of your employees or a day in the life at your company. It will make them feel like an insider and like they’re part of the process. This is especially easy to do with the new Instagram Stories feature, which allows you to post images that last for 24 hours before they disappear.

5. Entice Your Followers
Offer your followers exclusive access, discounts, or flash sales using Instagram. It’s also a great platform for running contests and partnering up with other small businesses to help each other gain followers. When setting up a contest or event on Instagram, make sure to outline the rules and have a short deadline. You don’t want to have a situation like the Sunny Co Clothing swimsuit giveaway.

Instagram is an ever-changing and evolving social media platform that is really a lot of fun once you get started! It’s an extremely creative platform that can be used in a variety of ways to work for your business. If you have any questions or need help coming up with the right Instagram marketing plan for you, get in touch with us!

The Newest Update in Social Media Advertising

Facebook Lead Ads

Facebook continues to test new, simpler marketing solutions for businesses and their customers. The giant social network has recently launched “Lead Ads.” Lead ads provide an easier and more private way for customers to sign up for more information or request specific data about your business. Your company can advertise your product or services in the News Feed and obtain info from prospective customers without them ever having to leave Facebook. Lead ads make the signup process more convenient and easily trackable. Essentially, this allows for some of your business processes to be done on Facebook’s platform.

How it Works

This new advertising effort gives businesses a new way to interact with their Facebook audience. When your potential customer clicks on your ad, they will be redirected to a sign-up form similar to a typical landing page. However, Facebook automatically populates information from their profile into relevant fields. Users will only need to fill in the missing information and hit “submit.” They are then captured as leads without ever leaving Facebook.

The Benefits of Facebook Lead Ads

Lead ads make it easier and faster for customers to reach you. Most people hate filling out forms, and being mobile-device friendly, the form is intended to have as little typing as possible.  With the correct information, you can also respond to leads in real time. Following up with leads is crucial for any successful marketing campaign.

Lead ads can be a huge advantage for the marketing efforts done by your business when done properly. Interested in learning more about how Epic Marketing can use Facebook to help grow your business? Contact us today at 801.657.4383 for a free consultation. Our marketing experts will help your business reach its full potential.