Instagram’s Lack of Transparency

Instagram's Lack of Transparency

Instagram is an ideal platform for advertisers due to its lack of transparency and ability to provide native advertising. It can be difficult to differentiate between paid and unpaid content, especially when it comes to the vast number of influencers and sponsors. To be more honest and forthright with consumers, Instagram is testing a feature similar to Facebook’s.

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Placed: Snap Inc.’s Newest Investment

Placed

Snap Inc., the camera company responsible for Snapchat, is expanding its expertise. Mobile is headed towards the largest online advertising market and Snap needs the advantage of being able to more accurately measure the effectiveness of ad campaigns. For this reason, they bought out Placed for at least $125 million. Placed can track the effectiveness of online ad campaigns and determine if they are responsible for getting consumers into stores and making actual purchases. 

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Instagram Analytics: Using Iconosquare to Track Performance

So you’ve created your Instagram account and populated it with incredible visual content. Now what? Like any other social media platform, in order track your growth and determine a return on your efforts, it is necessary to monitor and understand the analytics on your Instagram account.

Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Instagram doesn’t provide its own analytics through the app. Iconosquare, formerly known as Statigram, is a trusty Instagram analytics platform that I have been using for the past couple years. The tool is easy to use and provides you with all the useful reports you need to manage a successful Instagram account. Here is a brief overview of how to use Iconosqaure analytics for your Instagram campaigns.

Getting Started

To get started on Iconosqure, simply visit iconosquare.com, log in with your Instagram credentials and authorize your account. Once your account is authorized, Iconosqure will sync with your Instagram data in a matter of minutes. From there, Iconosqaure will give you an updated summary and you are ready to start analyzing your Instagram performance.

Iconosquare Instagram Analytics Platform - Getting Started

Statistics Tab

Here on the Statistics tab you are able to view an overview summary of your Instagram account. This summary of your Instagram analytics includes: a grand total of likes and comments received, your number of followers, people you are following, new followers, lost followers and the total growth within the last seven days.

Iconosquare Instagram Analytics - Statistics Tab

 

A neat feature of the Iconosquare summary page is the Scores section. Here you can see your Love, Talk and Spread Rate — or in other words, your engagement rates. In the Scores section, the percentage on your last photo is the larger number and your average rate is the number below in each box.

  • The Love Rate is a calculation of your follower engagement and how many people like your content.
  • Talk Rate is the average engagement in terms of comments on your photos.
  • And Spread Rate computes your likes received from people outside of your followers.

Iconosquare Instagram Analytics Platform - Scortes and Love Rate

These engagement rates are very similar to what you would see on Facebook Insights. The Scores section is great for gauging your engagement on Instagram.

Content Section

The Content section on Iconosquare is jam-packed with data analysis of all of your content ever posted on Instagram. It breaks down the density of posts according to each day of the week, the times you post the most, filters used most and ones never used, your hashtag usage and a percentage of time you use the geo-location feature on content. I like to use the Content section for looking at the filters I never use and then trying to incorporate them into my photos. I also like to see the filter I always use and try to give that one a break for a while.

Iconosquare Instagram Analytics Platform - Density

Engagement Section

In the engagement section, you will find a break down of your most liked media and most commented media. Iconosquare also provides a graph for each to show your likes and comments growth history.

Iconosquare Instagram Analytics Platform - Engagement

Optimization Section

The Optimization page is probably one of my favorite sections. Here, Iconosquare helps you optimize your account in accordance to your Instagram community. They provide you with hints on the best time to post in order to increase engagement, the impact your filters have when it comes to acquiring likes and comments, the impact of tags, and the average media lifespan. Using this page is extremely important. Since Instagram has only offered paid advertising to certain brands at this stage, all engagement is organic only. The Optimization section will help you capture and capitalize on the habits of your Instagram community in order to maximize engagement.

icono (6Iconosquare Instagram Analytics Platform - Times to Post

Community Section

Last but not least is the Community section, where you can find more information about thek typology of your followers, your account growth and accounts you like the most according to likes given.

As you can see Iconosquare is a goldmine for all types of Instagram analytics data. For anyone running an Instagram account or campaign, I recommend using this tool for brand community management and performance optimization on Instagram. Not only is Iconosquare easy to use, but it is also free (for now)! Take advantage of this opportunity and sign in with your Instagram account today.

It’s Called Google Analytics for a Reason

This is somewhat of a sequel to my earlier post on Google URL Builder. I’m going to assume from this point forward that you have Google Analytics up and running on your site, you’re using URL Builder to track people coming in from social media, PPC and e-mail campaigns, and now you want to use Analytics to, well, analyze the data coming in. That’s what this article is all about.

Analytics is daunting when you first start it up — there’s a ton of data. We’re going to stay focused in this post, though, and go over a few key sections as they relate to campaigns, referrals and blog traffic.

Finding Your Campaigns

Click Acquisition, then Campaigns.

It's Called Google Analytics for a Reason
Click Acquisition, then Campaigns.

Look for your specific campaign name. Remember, you named this after the specific piece of content you ran with that call to action built in. In this case, let’s click on “tip”, the first in a series of product tips built into an application.

We can see here the source is Product for all, as we ran this same campaign across many different mediums, but the same source — all products. If we ran these same tips on Facebook, we’d see Facebook in the first column.

In the second column is the medium, in this case named after each product. Crunching the numbers here, we can see that the DR product did much better than the others in this campaign. Comparing multiple source / mediums in a single campaign is great for seeing how different types of sources perform in comparison with one another.

It's Called Google Analytics for a Reason
You can see that the different mediums all have the same source.

What do these numbers mean?

Sessions

Sessions are a somewhat new term in analytics that describes a period of time that a user is engaged with your website. Sessions contain pageviews, but also events and e-commerce. In this case, there were 4,098 sessions during the four-month period we’re looking at.

New Sessions

This is the percentage of new users that make up your sessions. A high New Sessions percentage means you’re getting a ton of turnover, with a lot of new people looking at your content, but not a lot of repeat business. A low New Sessions percentage means you’ve got a hardcore base of steady customers, but not a lot of new people coming in. Balance is good here, depending on the source.

New Users

This is the number of new people that showed up during this period — people who have never been to your site as long as Analytics has been tracking it. Businesses like new customers, so a high number here is good.

Bounce Rate

This is a tricky, and frequently misunderstood term. Bounce rate refers to people coming in to your site, spending some time there, and leaving for an external site from there without checking out any other page. Lower is better here, as you want the customer to stay engaged whenever possible. There are many tricks for keeping your customers on your site and clicking around, from using Related Posts plugins on your WordPress blogs, to including calls to action or “carrots” that keep the user engaged and informed.

Keep in mind that if you’re driving traffic to a landing page and you don’t really want them to go anywhere else besides signing up right there, this percentage is going to be high. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, depending on your goals.

Pages / Session

If your bounce rate is nice and low, then your pages / session is going to be higher. This means that people are clicking around and checking out more of the site when they come and visit.

Average Session Duration

Good, quality content will keep the user and potential customer on your site and reading for a long time. If you’re old like me, you remember the “Where’s the Beef?!” Wendy’s commercials. Having a lot of “beef” means that users will spend a lot of time there, and hopefully get into what you want them to get into — a conversion.

The other columns only work if you have e-commerce connected to your Analytics account, and that’s beyond the scope of this article. Let’s check out another part of Analytics instead.

Referrals

Click Referrals, then look for social media. These are the times that people click over to your site when you’re not necessarily using URL Builder (though you should be using it most of the time). Maybe they found the URL in your About section. Maybe they found it from someone else’s Facebook page.

Find the first Facebook link you see, but don’t click on it. Facebook divides traffic into desktop and mobile, and sometimes divides it even further in esoteric ways. This is a good way to see how your total efforts on Facebook are having an effect on site traffic.

It's Called Google Analytics for a Reason
Facebook.com refers to desktop Facebook traffic only.

Comparisons

In the upper right, click the arrow and select Compare To. Select Previous Period to choose the immediately preceding period of the same length, or select Previous Year to do a year-over-year comparison. Select Custom to choose what periods you’re comparing. Then, scroll back down to your social media referral source. In this case, Facebook desktop traffic grew 57% from one four-month period to the next four-month period. That’s outstanding.

It's Called Google Analytics for a Reason
Facebook traffic grew 57% over the period analyzed.

There’s one last part of analytics we’re going to check — how to track your internal content and how it’s doing.

Blog Traffic

  1. Click Behavior
  2. Click Site Content
  3. Click All Pages

In the search box, type blog. This assumes that your blog is at sitename/blog/ — if it’s under /news/, then search accordingly. (If you don’t use a subfolder, skip this step.)

Run the same comparison as before.

You can see how your blog is improving over the same time period, and you can also look at individual posts and see how they’re doing over time. Evergreen posts, especially, can sometimes grow over time and become viral long after the date they were first published. This is a good way to identify those posts that are doing well and optimize them for keywords and SEO so that they do even better.

It's Called Google Analytics for a Reason
See how individual posts perform over long periods of time.

There’s a Lot More

Google Analytics is a bottomless pit of data about your site, its behavior and the behavior of the people that visit it. Explore and find more useful data here, and share that data with clients. Clients like to see numbers going up, and if you’re doing your job, they will — and everyone’s happy!

Content is King

Bottom line — you’re referring people from an e-newsletter or social media or an app to your website. You want users to have a reason to enjoy your site when they get there, stay there, read things, and buy stuff. You get that by having a well-designed site, sure, but also by having quality content. Content that’s relevant, timely, engaging, well written, well-designed (with good images!) and above all, original. Do that, and you’re giving users a great reason to leave their social media caves and check out what you’ve got to offer.

Bit.ly: More Than Meets the Eye

Bit.ly is a fantastic, free tool to use to shorten long URLs. This comes in handy on platforms like Twitter where space is extremely limited. Unfortunately, this is where some people stop using Bit.ly. This tool offers many valuable resources other than link shortening that can help with your marketing.

  • One of the most useful ways to use Bit.ly is for tracking of shortened links. You’ll notice each link you shorten is represented in a “bitmark” on your profile. Clicking on View Stats is where you’ll be able to see real-time data. You can then see how well your link has been performing.

bitlystats

  • You can add “+” sign at the end of any bitmark to see stats on that link. This is a great way to keep tabs on your competition! You can check to see how well their links are doing, as long as they are using Bit.ly. You’ll be able to see how many clicks they are getting, as well as the number of shares, retweets and conversations surrounding the link. If they have wildly successful marketing campaigns, you will be able to tailor your next one. Keep in mind that even if it worked for them, it doesn’t mean it will work for your company.
  • Bit.ly has an iPhone app that will give you stats on the go and the ability to shorten links straight from your iPhone. This is a great tool to use when meeting a client and needing to show them real-time data!
  • With Bit.ly’s Chrome extension, you have the ability save and shorten a web page with one click. You also have the ability to share on Twitter, Facebook or an email. You can even preview how your message will look.
  • You can bundle links together and save for quick access. If you have multiple clients, you can save each one of these bundles by their title for quick access and no confusion on where the links go to.
  • Bit.ly does also have a pro version which starts at $995 a month, so it’s more tailored toward large corporations and marketing agencies. With this upgrade you have the ability to create custom branded domains and keywords. For instance, ESPN’s branded domain is es.pn and Pepsi’s is pep.si. This is great for keeping your brand in people’s minds throughout the marketing phases.create-a-customized-link-with-bitly

 

As you can see, Bit.ly is a fantastic tool with resources that can really benefit your marketing campaigns. Have you used Bit.ly and its real time stats to run or alter a campaign? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.

Engagement vs. Reach: Which is More Important?

Have you seen a drop in engagement on your Facebook posts with photos?  You have the perfect picture, the perfect caption and you have studied your analytics for the right time to post the photo. As you wait and watch for the likes and engagement to come rolling in, you realize that your fans just aren’t seeing the photo! You need to head back to the drawing board and I’ll tell you why.

Last year, Facebook changed their algorithm that determines how many people see your post. Facebook stated that they did this to de-clutter the amount of posts you see on your smartphone or tablet. You have the analytics of WHEN your fans are online, but now you have to take into consideration how your fans are logging onto Facebook. Everyone knows the acronym K-I-S-S (Keep It Simple, Stupid) and as great as your photo looks, sometimes all your fans need is a quick one or two sentence post.

What’s more important, engagement or reach? The obvious answer is both, but can you have engagement with reach and vice versa? It’s the chicken versus the egg conundrum.

I recommend testing the “text-only” theory by creating a few statuses that that give out advice or a tip on something your business specializes in. Remember to keep it text only! This will give you the “reach” you need to attract other people and showcase your expertise. Remember to post at the same time of day you normally would to get an accurate comparison. Be creative and remember to add a call to action.

I recently tested the text-only theory on a few pages that I manage and the results were mixed. I asked a simple one-sentence question and it did receive more views then a recent post with a picture did, but engagement was minimal. The post received a few likes but no one answered the question. I’m calling it a minor success because I did reach more people in the end. As you can see though, just because I had a bigger reach did not translate into better engagement.

We all know that a great photo is easily shareable, but what about a great text post over a mediocre photo? No matter what, quality and originality will always win. Regardless of what you post, as long as it’s good content, it will prevail. Have you noticed a similar trend in your posts? Tell me all about it in the comments section or on Twitter, @Cbyron11.

Transform Your Facebook Posts With Facebook Insights

After last week’s blog, I’m sure you are all experts with Facebook Insights, right?

The average Facebook user likes 40 Pages on Facebook, so how do you make your business stand out? I’m going to highlight some of the more important tabs and features to help make your posts more engaging. Sure, every bit of information with within Insights is important, but as a business owner you just do not have the time to continually analyze every bit of it. All I need from you is a small commitment of time every week to go over the information.

The first tab to pay particular attention to is the Posts tab. This tab gives you two bits of great information that will help you out. The first graph you see shows when your fans are online. Like I mentioned last week, this graph does not portray the number of people that see your posts but the total number of people who have liked your page and are most likely to engage with your content. Now you won’t find the exact perfect time to the minute to post, but it will give you a general sense of when you should be posting. For instance, if you are a restaurant or bar that is only open at night, you will quickly notice that if you post in the morning those posts will get lost throughout the course of the day.

posts

 

Further down the page, you will also see a list of your most recent posts, what type of posts they are and the posts’ engagement levels. One thing you should take notice of is the time of each post. This information, along with the graph, will help you when determining when to be post. You will also get a good sense of what type of posts your fans enjoy the most, whether it’s a link, picture or just a few lines of information. We always recommend posting some type of media with each post; posts with images get the highest amount of engagement on Facebook (the perfect picture size is 800×600).

Another great tab to focus on is the People tab. Here you will get a good understanding of the demographics of your fans and the people who are engaging with your posts. Knowing the age group and sex of your most engaging fans will help you keep your posts tailored to those groups. Did you know that 66% of millennials (15-34 year olds) use Facebook? Unfortunately, you can’t assume that is the target age group on your Facebook Page, so check out your specific statistics.

people

These are two very valuable tools for you to better understand your fans, but don’t ignore the other four tabs. Facebook is continually making it easier for businesses to market on their Page and I will always be helping you understand how to get the most out of it.

Welcome to the New Facebook Page Insights

If you manage a Facebook Page for a business, you might have seen how the analytics have recently changed. While most people usually complain about Facebook changes, this is one change that is for the better! Facebook has stated that they changed their insights in order for Page Admins to better show how people interact with their Page and content. A better understanding of this information will help you make more engaging content for you fans!

Let’s first talk about the six new tabs you see when you go to your Facebook Page Insights: Overview, Likes, Reach, Visits, Posts and People. Let’s start from the left side with the Overview tab and make our way over.

DSS1

The Overview tab shows you what’s been going on with your page over the last seven days. You get a quick view of how many Total Page Likes you have and the percentage that it is up or down from last week (hopefully the number is green). You also see your Post Reach and how it compares to last week’s posts. The third box shows how many people are Engaged with your Page.

DSS2

The next tab is the Likes tab and we all know what a Like is by now, hopefully. One powerful tool they have added is “Where Your Likes Came From” graph. You can find out if people are liking your straight from your page, if it was suggested to them, if it was a mobile Like or if they liked your page because of someone else’s post about you.

DSS3

The next tab is the Reach tab, which covers metrics that influence Facebook’s News Feed algorithm, including likes, comments and shares of posts. You can also check by week, month or quarter. When looking at any graph, you can click on a certain day or click your mouse and drag in across the graph to get numbers for a specific time period.

DSS4

The Visits tab shows you where people came from and what they engaged with on you page. You can check out the number of times each of your Page tabs was viewed, the number of actions that people took that involved your Page (mentions, check-ins, offers, etc.) and what external referrers brought people to your Page.

DSS5

The Posts tab shows you when your fans are online along withy Post Types and which posts your fans are most engaged with. If you are posting photos that are getting a lot of engagement and links/plain text that aren’t, you know you should start using more photos on your posts moving forward. The graph that shows when fans are online does not portray the number of fans that see your posts, but the total number of people who have liked your page and are most likely to consume your content.

DSS6

The People tab gives you a run down of the demographics of your fans and where they are in the world. Two other important tabs in this section are the People Engaged tab and Check-in tab. The People Engaged tab is important because it shows you demographics of the people engaged on your Page, even if they haven’t Liked it. After 30 people have Checked-In on Facebook, you will also be able to see statistics which you previously couldn’t see.

DSS7

This is just a brief introduction to the new Facebook Insights. Be sure to check back next week when we dive further into this valuable tool for you and your business.

Marketing With Big Data

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could know exactly what your customers need before they start looking for it? That thought is now a reality with big data.

Big data is a large collection of your customers’ data (or potential customers) from both internal and external sources. This data includes digital sources such as social media, CRM and web behavior, but also includes traditional channels such as phone records, financial records and shopping habits. All of these things help you understand your customers in a unique way by analyzing their patterns and buying behaviors.

Think about big data like this. Imagine that you’re at a party and you see someone that you haven’t seen in awhile. Last time you talked, you told them about your new job promotion and that you just adopted a dog. When you run into them months later at a party, they ask you how your new job is going and inquire about your dog. This person remembered what you last spoke about and you two already have somewhat of a relationship. This concept should carry over into business, and businesses should have this same rapport with their customers.

Less than 10% of of marketers say they are currently using what data they have in a systematic way, while 71% of marketers say they plan to implement a big data analytics solution in the next two years. Why? Because you can give customers information before they even know they need it and engage with them in a personalized manner. Using big data, you’ll be able to give people the right kind of recommendations and a perfectly tailored message for where they are in the customer journey.

So how do you use big data for marketing? There are four steps to follow:

1. Listen. This step is where you monitor your customers’ social media, buying history, mobile activity and more. For example, let’s say you’re a restaurant that uses a POS system to put in orders, make reservations and take payments. Listen to the information you get from the POS system, including what your customers are ordering each night, how often they come in, what nights you sell the most wine, how much a customer is typically spending and so on. Every move your customer makes, you should be listening.

2. Gather and Analyze Data. Before you try to analyze your data, figure out what the problem is that you are trying to solve. What areas of your business need to be improved? Are you trying to predict customer behavior? Do you want to analyze your customers’ eating habits? Decide what you are trying to figure out before digging through the data. While you are bringing data together and analyzing it, understand the right message for each customer. Data analytics can be done with software tools that are commonly used for predictive analytics and data mining.

3. Assemble the Message. Now that you have analyzed your data, it’s time to transform it into a message to a target audience. Cut out all the information that you don’t need, because a lot of the data you collect won’t matter. When assembling the message, remember that you are using big data to to send a specific message to a specific group of people…this is not meant to be a message for broad demographics. This message should be used to create a meaningful interaction between the consumer and your business, so create different messages to target different audiences.

4. Deliver the Message. Once your message is targeted and put together, you have to get the message out to your target audience. Check to make sure that you have a responsive email design to deliver the correct message to someone on an iPhone versus an Android. Each message should be tailored correctly to the device being used; this is where customer segmentation comes into play. Delivering the message doesn’t only correspond to email, it can be used to help determine specials and coupons. For example, if you own a restaurant and notice that a large amount of your customers love IPA, you can “deliver the message” that you know what they want by creating an IPA special such as $3 pints of IPA on Thursdays. Whatever your message might be, you need to get it out to your target audience in the correct manner.

Use big data to stay one step ahead of your customers. Your business can start to make data-driven strategic decisions to understand your customers in a unique way and deliver a product/service that they need or want in a personalized way.