Picking the Right Type of Facebook Ads for Your Campaigns

Picking the Right Type of Facebook Ads for Your Campaigns

As of this post, there are 15 different types of Facebook ads and over 1,000 ways to target those ads. The type of Facebook ad you select should vary depending upon your objectives. Facebook offers some of the greatest ad values available right now, and the largest active audience on the planet. Take a tour through our top five picks to learn more about how you can leverage the globe’s most successful social media site.

1. Facebook Dynamic Product Ads

We put this one first because it helps you solve your biggest problem: abandoned shopping carts. Most reliable metrics show that roughly 70 percent of customers walk away from their carts without sealing the deal. Insert the Facebook pixel into your website code, and it will track how your shoppers browse and the items they dropped in their carts. It then kindly reminds them of those products dynamically when they’re scrolling through their newsfeed. It will take some developer resources to set this up correctly, but it’s well worth it. Returning business is easier to convert than new business, and customers appreciate ads that are more personalized.

2. Facebook Multi-Product or Carousel Ads

Our second favorite type of Facebook ad is also one of the most popular. A carousel ad allows sellers to showcase up to 10 images of popular products in a single ad which a customer can scroll through. They are especially popular with lifestyle, fashion, and home goods sites, although they can work with almost any physical product. This becomes a virtual browsing app for you, exposing potential customers to a range of what you offer. Use the call to action feature so people getting familiar with your brand have an opportunity to respond to something they like. Experiment with the dynamic optimization feature which reorders images based on the best-performing images and links for each individual who engages with your ad.

3. Facebook Lead Ads

Facebook’s lead ad design technology enables customers to send you their information without leaving the confines of Facebook. Users are more likely to submit their details to claim a coupon or get a discount code if they’re never asked to click away from the app. Make sure to include a call to action, and test different actions to make sure that customers know where and what to click.

4. Facebook Video

Users love videos, especially colorful videos that are easy-to-follow DIY how-tos, such as recipes, crafts, gardening, and home improvement. You have up to 4GB to play with, which gives you plenty of leeway for graphics, length, music, and narration. Subtitles are recommended since the audio is typically muted. You can find all the specs for video ads here.

5. Promoting Facebook Page Likes

Page likes were the first type of Facebook ad most users became familiar with. It’s pretty simple: promote your brand or page and let users become a follower by clicking “like” right in the ad without having to visit your page. For consumer-facing brands with a big online presence, increasing page likes with your targeted audience is important, especially if you want to involve them in future promotions, content campaigns, and other offers. Get more direction from the source on this page.

If you’re still new to advertising on Facebook and need more advice as to what type of content to promote, that’s what we’re here for. Let us know how we can help, and schedule an informal chat with us today.

Five Creative E-commerce Branding Tactics

Five Creative E-commerce Branding Tactics

Customer and brand loyalty is basically dead. Because of the staggering amount of product choices available on the internet, people don’t shop brands, they shop deals. There are still, however, many brands that have such a distinct story that customers are drawn to them. How well you pull customers to your brand depends almost entirely on branding your business. Marketing is all about communicating a clear narrative.

How you differentiate your brand matters to customers. These creative e-commerce branding tactics will eventually help your brand stand out from the pack. If you want to be memorable, you have to do things that customers will remember. We’ve laid out a structure below that we hope will inspire you to explore your branding strategy in new, exciting ways.

Brand Loyalty is Still Happening

The hipster clothing line Madewell has seen consistent increases in their sales year after year. This isn’t just because of their quality. Their online story is succinct and consistent. If you take a cursory look at the site, it’s clear that they know their customer. Frequent shoppers of the brand will tell you that the homepage is dynamic. The company gives its customers a reason to check in frequently to see what’s new.

Another classic example of brand loyalty is, of course, Apple. People love their iPhones and MacBooks. The company has been so successful with its brand story over the years, they’ve done little to change it. The site is still designed as a destination, with flagship stores complementing the company’s online presence. All of their messaging ties back to the single concept of quality and style above all else. Replicating Apple’s success is almost impossible, but there are some great takeaways that still work today.

Your Five Branding Tips

1. Tell Your Story

Branding Your BusinessBranding your business likely starts with you. Your story is something that your competition can’t own. It’s also something that no one can take away from you. Your story is personal and unique. Try this exercise: spend 10 or 15 minutes writing down what inspired you to start your company. If you’re not a writer, tell the story to a colleague, record it, and write it down later. For example, Steve Jobs became as iconic as his computers, so much so that mentioning his name in a piece about marketing borders on cliche.

You don’t have to be as famous as Steve Jobs to tell a compelling personal story. Blake Mycoskie probably didn’t think he’d ever be a household name. He had a simple idea after traveling through Argentina in 2006: he wanted to find a way to give needy children the world over a pair of shoes. It’s why, as the founder of TOMS, he continues to use “Chief Shoe Giver” as his corporate title. When he founded his shoe company, he continually tied everything back to his core principle of giving. Today he runs a global brand whose humble origins started with his inspirations.

2. Define Your USPs

Your unique selling points are the core of your brand story. Everyone in the company, whether that means two or two thousand employees, needs to know them intimately. Keep the list down to no more than 10 items. They should be as specific as possible. Your USPs aren’t aspirational: they are your company’s essence. Even if your product isn’t unique, your company is.

The cloud project management software company, Basecamp, uses its USPs brilliantly. Basecamp’s e-commerce branding features language that appeals almost exclusively to small businesses. As a company, they are signaling to a potential client that they are the go-to for entrepreneurs and startups, which helps them target everything from social media marketing to online ad targeting.

3. Think Unconventionally

About 10 years ago in Los Angeles, a young chef needed a way to promote his new catering food truck that would create buzz without a big budget. He’d invented a new sort of street food (a taco filled with perfectly grilled Korean barbecue) and needed a creative way to promote it. He used a then fairly new communication platform called Twitter to tell his burgeoning foodie fans where he was parked every night throughout Los Angeles. His daily tweets were both practical (telling everyone how to find them) and exciting (his early inventory sold out quickly, creating a sense of urgency for his early customers).

That chef was Roy Choi and his Kogi trucks kick-started the food truck revolution, all because he figured out a creative way to turn eating street food into an event. How can you use event marketing for your business? How do your products connect to your customers in real-time and how can you exploit that in fun, unusual and original ways? Remember, Choi wasn’t trying to start a revolution. He was just trying to sell tacos.

4. Show your Gratitude

Every time you ship an order, do one thoughtful thing for your customer. Use creative, inspirational packaging. If you have an environmental message, for example, highlight that your boxes are made from recycled content, or show how your protective materials can be reused. Send handwritten notes when you can; you can do this more than you realize when your volume is still low.

Go beyond discounts. All customers expect a 20% discount code and an expiration date along with it. What can you easily give away to every customer on his or her birthday? What can you do for the first 500 people who follow you on social media platforms on their social media anniversary (the day they started following you)? Give away things that are useful and special and that relate back to your brand story and your USPs. Have fun with it and your customers will have fun with you.

5. Be Consistent

The average page visit lasts under a minute. You don’t have long to grab and hold people’s attention. Every single element of your site needs to be as professional as possible. Use pros to take photos, and use a skilled, experienced designer to create your graphics. Consult user experience experts to advise you on your site layout and navigation. Your brand is an ecosystem of message and quality. If a new customer seeks you out, make sure that what they see on the site and the overall experience is as good as the message that brought them there.

Branding your business isn’t as simple as throwing up a tagline and making a few ad buys a month. It’s a holistic process that requires passion, sincerity and vision. The quality of all of your content plays into this as much as your logo and your product research.

Please contact CrewMachine today and find out more about how our experienced product team and extensive team of writers and editors can help you create the content that helps you tell your brand story.

The Importance of E-Commerce Visual Merchandising

The Importance of E-Commerce Visual Merchandising

Brick and mortar storefronts lure customers inside with creative visual merchandising. Whether it’s on main street or the internet, the retail space is highly competitive and you have a matter of seconds to grab a buyer’s attention with your virtual storefront.

Visitors make purchasing decisions based on three key components: attraction, engagement and motivation. Your branded environment compels customers to return, engage and buy based on how well you present your inventory in mobile and desktop formats.

In Brief: What E-commerce Visual Merchandising Should Accomplish

Think of your homepage as where you begin your conversation with your customer. Telling your brand story includes many consistent elements:

  • Compelling and vivid images of your products, including a hero image wherever possible
  • Your most relevant brand information (ATF) in clear, concise language
  • Visual elements to highlight product features
  • Positive customer comments and ratings
  • Easy-to-find social media buttons
  • A clear call to action which you reiterate throughout the site

The more successfully you deploy creative online visual marketing, the more your homepage:

  • Engages visitors instantly
  • Increases overall individual sessions
  • Increases average order value (AOV)

Examples of Excellence in Online Visual Merchandising

We culled the web for examples of fantastic visual merchandising in online retail. These brands may not be household names, but they are brilliant standard-bearers for how e-tailers, both large and small, should grab their customers as soon as those buyers walk in the virtual door.

1. Hyphensleep.com

Vertical: Home Goods (Mattresses)

Why it made the cut:

  • The hero image tells buyers everything they need to know
  • Memorable tagline that features the brand’s USP
  • Graphics that “show” the feature/benefit story
  • Discount offer
  • Easy-to-spot “buy” call to action and toll-free number
  • Awesome product comparisons
  • Constant positive messaging

2. Lovetodream.com

Vertical: Kids & Baby

Why it made the cut:

  • Visual storytelling
  • Eye-popping graphic design
  • Feature/Benefit language
  • Aspirational taglines
  • Absorbing images that “show” the benefits of their sleep system
  • Speaks directly to its audience (new parents)
  • Easy-to-read grid style
  • Fabulous navigation

3. Hookandalbert.com

Vertical: Men’s Lifestyle

Why it made the cut:

  • The images immediately speak to their buyer
  • Professional, brilliantly-curated images
  • Who doesn’t want to “Look Like a Gentleman”? (Great language, simple but direct and fun)
  • Monochrome, grid-style layout products grouped by collection (easier to shop)
  • Modern, chic design aesthetic (ideal for their demo)

4. Radsoap.com

Vertical: Bath and Body

Why it made the cut:

  • How awesome is the name, first of all?
  • Images that immediately communicate company and brand values
  • Products featured on the homepage make for easy discoverability
  • Top-notch images and design elements
  • Easy to navigate collection grid layout
  • Social proof features: while not all brands can make hashtags work on the homepage, Rad Soap Company entices the buyer to go to the company’s Instagram page.

Need some help diagnosing your homepage? We can do that. In fact, we’d love to give you a content health report for free. Email us or call us at 888.870.8744 to learn more about how CrewMachine can help you develop road-tested marketing strategies to increase sales.

What I Learned When I Ran SEO for Walmart

What I Learned When I Ran SEO for Walmart

When it comes to SEO, I learned best practices at some of the largest retailers on earth. In fact, for almost three years (before leaving to start my own company) I was the head of SEO for Walmart.com. Nothing primes you for starting a content management platform quite like working for the planet’s largest retailer. I learned, very quickly, that part of my responsibility was evangelizing directly to Walmart’s board what I needed to do to increase SEO traffic.

Before Walmart, I spent several years at eBay, which was an extraordinary introduction to e-commerce, especially the content side of online retail. I’d always loved data, which made me a natural fit as a marketer and product engineer. There I learned a lot about multichannel retail, something that became very important when I moved over to Walmart.

Before I walked in the door, Walmart had a very limited focus on SEO. Its e-commerce site was still in its infancy, and they had very little by way of dedicated resources to online marketing. They brought me on because of my time at eBay, and I knew we had to focus on some immediate areas:

  • Improve site architecture to leverage existing content
  • Launch dynamic landing pages to tackle torso keywords
  • Increase consideration funnel engagement
  • Recode all site reviews and ratings so search engines could crawl them (at the time, they were buried underneath javascript)
  • Walmart’s Online Success Story

When I walked in the door, dedicated SEO resource allocation was (and this is true of a lot of retailers at the time even the 800-pound gorilla that is the world’s largest retailer) in the double digits.

We saw some quick wins, and that led to management trusting me with more and more resources over time. During my three years as head of SEO

Walmart SEO traffic grew 50% YoY, tripling while I was there
Walmart.com’s once limited resources blossomed into a robust team and a multi-million dollar budget

Eventually, we launched aggressive, large-scale content initiatives including optimizing hundreds of thousands of product and category pages with blocks of copy compelling to both consumers and search engines.

How Was Walmart Different?

Because they are such a notable retailer, I get this question a lot. Of course, they are a strong brand with a robust and strong supply chain. When I walked in the door, their physical brick and mortar business was still responsible for 95% of their revenue. I had to educate leadership about why large scale content initiatives were going to be vital to their success in the future. The entire industry was already moving in that direction, but in those early days, it was a bit of a hard sell.

Making the Business Case for Good Content

SEO is a purely data-driven job and a very important one for brands and online retailers. The SEO manager touches many parts of the company the web development team, the marketing team, the product team, and may have to coordinate with one or more agencies. SEO managers face pressure from all sides competitors, leadership, and your own team. In many ways, you’re seen as the storefront’s gatekeeper, responsible for incoming traffic, conversion and, therefore, revenue.

Managing SEO means constantly measuring what works against what doesn’t. You’re always looking for the shortest distance between two points in this case, site visits to conversion. What isn’t working is always, 100% of the time, glaringly obvious. In my previous life, I knew that we had a foundational issue SKU pages were getting loaded by the thousands to Walmart.com with fundamental problems. This is hardly an industry secret. It’s a shared problem for all the big online retailers.

The question wasn’t so much identifying the problem, but how a single team could solve it. Most SEO managers have a big battle to conquer every day ask for more resources, support, and additional budget to manage the ongoing and consistent problem of bad content.

There’s no easy way to do this, but if you are an agency or internal, this toolkit can help you frame, and win, the “bad content” position for you and your team.

1. Educate Your Organization About Problems And Opportunities

While no one on the customer-facing side of the business would dispute the importance of the SEO role, that doesn’t mean that they understand it entirely. To get the buy in you need, give regular presentations at department meetings to show your colleagues the problem. If you want their support, they all need to know that the problem impacts the entire company, and not just you and your department.

2. Enlist Third Parties To Validate Your Problems And Solutions

Sometimes, the best way to make a case is to let someone else do the talking for you. Bring all the decision makers together in one room and let an informed agency state your case. Allow their solutions, in a sense, do the talking for you.

3. Think Politically

Because you touch so many different roles within the organization, make sure that you get buy-in and support from numerous sectors. In the early days, put a positive spin on as much as you can. Never underestimate the power of education. Develop the entire organization’s knowledge over time. You may need to draw resources from those other teams, especially if resource allocation is an issue. Embrace the cross-sectional nature of your job early on and develop as many positive relationships as possible.

4. Build An Achievable Test Plan

Set aside resources to update a scalable and manageable group of product pages. Use what resources you have internally to perfect them. Follow this protocol regularly and, eventually, those results will make the case for you. Good content is the answer to higher conversions. Taking this problem on incrementally provides an organizational platform from a resource perspective that you can build on over time. Remind yourself of these three steps start small, present wins, build credibility.

5. Define Your KPIs Early

Purchase history, click paths, and search data help you focus on the incremental changes that will lead to the fastest upticks in revenue and traffic. Those successes build and increase everyone’s confidence in your direction, helping you evangelize bigger changes. As a team define what success means early and keep consistent reports that tell you where and how you’re succeeding.

6. Be Prepared To Iterate And Deviate

Just as communication is important, so is experimentation. Remember data doesn’t lie. Tactics need to change, and things that may have worked for certain verticals and products may not work when with a different vertical. Be willing to try new things. Start with several different sample sets and measure them against each other. As soon as you see positive results, push harder.

7. Document and Distribute Positive Results

Don’t be humble about your wins. Communication is absolutely a part of the job. Every time your team hits an important milestone brag. Everyone in every organization loves good news. SEO is complex and dynamic it’s very hard to hit a moving target. When you do blast an email. Include the names of people both within your team as well as other members of the company who share a role in this particular success. No one will know you’re responsible for positive momentum unless you claim responsibility for it.

8. Scale For Larger Results

Success is your greatest teacher. Where you see success scale it, and scale it quickly. The advantage of the digital landscape is that you can, with the right publishing tool, make large-scale changes with a few clicks. Lay the foundation so that when the time is right, you can be precise, reactive, and aggressive.

My Last Word

Move quickly. It takes time to build big solutions for massive problems, but smart sellers should be trying and experimenting with new and different tactics, measuring success, and constantly innovating. Good luck!

Alok Jain is the co-founder and CEO of eZdia.com, a leader in the e-commerce content creation and analysis field. He previously served as the head of SEO for Walmart.com, and prior to that, he worked as an SEO business analyst for eBay.

5 Major Advances in Artificial Intelligence in E-commerce

5 Major Advances in Artificial Intelligence in E-commerce

AI has been impacting the online experience since the advent of search way back in 1996 when Sergey Brin and Larry Page founded Google. Smart engines already supply customer recommendations in online shopping (Amazon) and viewing recommendations (YouTube, Netflix). As machine learning evolves, there are countless other ways that applications of artificial intelligence in e-commerce will improve more than just the online shopping experience.

See it, Search, Buy It

Imagine going to a wedding or a special event and falling in love with a friend’s pair of shoes. Visual search helps you find exactly what you want based on something you saw. Take a picture of those shoes, and an AI engine could find multiple samples of something similar. This saves time on the consumer side and increases discoverability for retailers.

Virtual Personal Shoppers

Not everyone loves to spend hours searching for a new jacket online. That’s why companies like, North Face, are introducing artificial intelligence applications that shop for you. Software is faster than humans and may be better at finding specific items based on simple logic rather than emotion. Think about how Waze helps you find the right route based on traffic patterns. It’s using real data to get you there faster, although that route may differ from your habits or assumptions. A virtual shopper could lead buyers to online e-tailers and products they may not have otherwise sought out.

Improved Personalization

There are many ways to gather information about both what you’re shopping for and how you shop. Currently, ad re-targeting reminds users about items that were abandoned in their carts. Eventually, AI could gather even more information about how specific, individual shoppers search for goods, research, and curate information before making a buy. This information, in turn, may lead to smarter and more customized ad platforms and recommendation engines that improve the personal shopping experience.

Integration of AI and CRM

Machines are better equipped to analyze large blocks of data more quickly than humans. All products and brands have to compete on customer service, and AI could help scale customer service more effectively. Imagine that an upset customer is more accurately routed to the right team based on more smarter voice-responsive software. Software could do a better job of helping customers find products and direct them to the right answer to their query or concern.

Using Natural Language Processing for Search

Sometimes, when putting search terms into an engine, it take a few tries before you get the results you want. NLP, or natural language processing, is one of the fastest-growing forms of artificial intelligence in e-commerce because it will help customers get from point A (searching) to point B (conversion) more quickly and with less frustration. NLP enables machines to learn how humans speak and can translate that speech into all types of behavior. Because this is such a wide-ranging field, the applications for this technology will impact everything from shopping to medicine.

CrewMachine is using AI to drive how e-commerce brands create and manage online content and fix problems too great for human teams to solve alone. We’d love to talk more about it, so contact us to set up a demo today.

How to Use Instagram for E-commerce to Boost Sales

How to Use Instagram for E-commerce to Boost Sales

Instagram’s worldwide audience of 500 million people is growing. The company added 100 million users between 2015 and 2016 alone. It boasts more users than Twitter and is second only to Facebook in its overall reach. In 2015, a study from Pew Research reported that 35 percent of those users visit several times per day. The social media platform is becoming just as much of a media juggernaut as its parent company, Facebook, and there’s good reason why. The image-based posts are easy to scan, fun to follow and attractive to consumers from a wide array of age groups and cultures. If you’re selling to consumers, you need an Instagram footprint. Here are some tips to improve your Instagram marketing strategy and increase engagements on the platform.

More Instagram Demographics

In that same study by Pew, they revealed that 55 percent of all 18-29-year-olds use Instagram. Over a quarter of people who make over $70,000 per year have an account as well. An impressive 32 percent of adults online who live in urban areas also use the platform. One conclusion of this data: female millennials who earn $50,000 to $75,000 and live in urban areas check in with the photo sharing app more than any audience.

Do Your Homework

Instagram Marketing StrategyBefore you create your first post on Instagram, check out what your competitors are doing. Follow the accounts of consumers who represent your ideal customers. See what they like, follow and share. Creating an Instagram marketing strategy isn’t as simple as throwing up a few images with hashtags. Spend some time researching the marketplace and be prepared to invest resources to build a sustainable, meaningful and targeted campaign.

How to Sell Products on Instagram

There are some tried and true tactics that you can use to leverage the platform to your advantage.

Create a Contest

People love giveaways, discounts, and sweepstakes, especially if they are meaningful. Offer a small item every day to the 10th person who shares a post and follows your business on both Facebook and Instagram, for example. Come up with creative ways to encourage likes and follows with incentivized rewards. Run a photo contest and promote the winner with a sponsored post.

Use Hashtags

Hashtags are common on all social media platforms, and they assist your audience in finding you. They are especially popular with Instagram. The more targeted your hashtags, the more you will boost your followers. You can use up to 30, but sticking closer to 11 augments engages Instagram’s algorithm the most effectively.

Use Professional-Quality Images

Even though social media apps are free to use, it doesn’t mean they don’t require investment. If you don’t have a good eye for imagery, use an outside party who does. You may need to invest in a professional photographer or enlist the help of a consultant who is an Instagram expert. Use filters and photo editing apps that help you create vivid, exciting images.

Swap Reel for Real

Instagram users love to see real people. Even if you sell lifestyle products, like fashion and accessories, images of professional models probably won’t resonate as much with the Instagram crowd as actual people photographed while wearing or using your stuff.

Post Short Videos

When you’re scrolling through Instagram, you’ll see a lot of videos. The platform allows anyone to post a video up to 60 seconds long, giving you leeway to post a fun, creative and colorful post. Remember that they need to tell a visual story, so use graphics and images that tell the story instead of relying on audio.

Connect and Communicate

Social media is all about direct contact with your audience. Engage, respond, repost and answer questions as publicly as you can. Millennials are more drawn to brands with a direct, honest message, so use simple, truthful language.

Monitor Your Activity

As with any marketing strategy, metrics matter more than anything else. Deploy an app like Iconosquare to track successes. The app provides a real-time monthly analysis, enabling you to tweak campaigns as needed to grow engagements, follows, and shares.

A strong social media presence is essential for consumer-based businesses today. A well-executed Instagram marketing strategy furthers your brand message and builds trust with new customers when you use it correctly.

Need help? CrewMachine has built proven marketing strategies that increase sales and traffic to your site. Please contact us and learn how you can take advantage of our network of writers, marketers and social media experts that can teach you how to best use Instagram for your e-commerce site.

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