Gen Z Jobs, Advertising and Social Media Behavior

Gen Z is coming. Gen Z is here.

Millennials have been a big challenge to employers, just as every new generation is. We are still grappling with that, and now Gen Z is coming right behind them.

Who are they? How are they different?

I don’t want to make the mistake with Gen Z many made with Millennials.

It took a decade to overcome bad Millennial stereotypes and accept that everyone is unique.

Let’s stick to the facts and treat everyone like a real person.

Also, Gen Z is young (anyone born from 1997 on), and when looking at any generation in their youth, we should always consider:

  • How much of what they’re doing is what young people do, and how much is truly characteristic of their generation?
  • How much of their behavior will change as they adapt to other generations, the workforce and mainstream society?
  • How much will change as they age and their priorities change due to work, marriage, children and family?

We can look at Gen Z’s 18-21 year olds, the ones in the workforce.

As you can see from those age ranges, a lot of Gen Z have not even had a chance to finish college yet.

A lot will change for them over the next 5-10 years.

Facebook Insights & Facebook Ad Manager Data on Gen Z

This data comes from the Facebook Audience Insights and the Facebook Ad Manager. The reason I use this is that it’s freely available, live data on 230 million monthly American users.

A lot of it comes from their regular life and online activity, not from an artificial survey with all the usual flaws of market research.

The Facebook Ad Manager data includes Instagram data, since Facebook owns Instagram and the ad platform allows you to advertise on Instagram.

Gen Z Job Titles

There are above average numbers of Gen Z working in these job areas:

  • Food and restaurants
  • Sales
  • Farming, fishing and forestry
  • Protective services
  • Military
  • Personal and home care services
  • Transportation and moving
  • Administrative services

There are below average numbers of Gen Z in these job areas:

  • Government
  • Computation and math
  • IT and tech
  • Business and finance
  • Community and social service
  • Architecture and engineering

In this particular list, you see mostly jobs that require a college degree, for which Gen Z is currently too young. These likely will change a lot within 5 years when a they’re out of college.

Gen Z Social Media Behavior

Gen Z share posts at the same rate as other generations. Sharing is a positive action that says, “I accept your lifestyle or attitude or idea and want to affirm and spread it.”

Something that’s interesting about Gen Z social media behavior is that they’re less likely to write text comments on posts than other generations. This may be related to a desire for privacy.

Gen Z and Advertisements

Gen Z like fewer posts and click on fewer ads than previous generations.

It’s possible that advertisers aren’t advertising much to Gen Z and haven’t learned how to do it well.

Advertisers tend to advertise to people with money, or influencers of the sale- there has been hesitation to advertise even to Millennials, since Gen X and Boomers still have most of the money- let alone Gen Z, who is barely entering the workforce. Millennials sometimes say they don’t like to “be targeted,” and Gen Z may feel the same way.

This is going to require clever marketing content and adaptation to a new generation. I doubt this has been addressed yet, because most companies are still struggling to fully adapt their marketing to Millennials, let alone to Gen Z.

Gen Z Device Usage, Smartphone Usage and Computer Usage

In terms of device preferences, as you might expects, they prefer smartphones over computers or iPads. Even more interesting, the Gen Z on Facebook prefer iPhones over Androids.

If we look at Facebook vs Instagram users, we can look at ages 13-21.

  • There are 22 million on Facebook
  • There are 20 million on Instagram
  • So, the numbers are fairly equal, with a slight edge to Facebook. Gen Z is the only generation this close. When you look at 18-24 year olds, there are 35 million on FB and 29 million on IG. There are 55 million 25-34 year olds on FB and 40 million on IG. The gap widens with age.

The younger people are, the more likely they are to be on BOTH Facebook and Instagram, and this is definitely the case with Gen Z.

For more on that, read this article.

Facebook Still Has More Young People Than Instagram… In EVERY Age Group

It seems like every time I talk to someone about Facebook, they talk about how young people are leaving it for Instagram or Snapchat.

That may be true.

If they go to Instagram, as a marketer, I’m fine with it. We can still market to them on Instagram itself and via the Facebook Ad Manager.

But have the YOUTHS really left Facebook?

Who knows.

So, I thought I’d take a look at the data and find out!

The results might shock some of you…

Is Facebook Only For Old People?

Let’s take a look at how many people are on Facebook and Instagram in the U.S. right now.

The Facebook Audience Insights Data

First off, on Facebook- if we look at the Facebook “Audience Insights” tool, which available to anyone- just get a Facebook ad account and you can use it- we see there are 200-250 million monthly active U.S. Facebook users right now (as of June, 2018).

  • If 17% of Facebook users are 18-24, that means 38 million 18-24 year old’s use Facebook monthly.
  • Another 58 million young-ish people between 25-34 use Facebook monthly.
  • That means that 96 million Americans between the ages 18 and 34 use Facebook monthly right now!

The Facebook Ad Manager Data

We can also get numbers from the Facebook ad manager. It can tell you, when you create an ad set, how many people you can easily target on Facebook or Instagram.

  • When I put 18-34 in, Facebook Ad Manager says that there are 90 million 18-34 year old Americans on Facebook. Pretty similar numbers to what I found from the Audience Insights tool.
  • When I add in Instagram, we get 100 million Americans, 18-34 years old, on Facebook and/or Instagram.
  • When I remove Facebook but keep Instagram, we get 69 million 18-34 year olds on Instagram only.

More interesting is this chart I put together from FB Ad Manager’s data…

Number of American Facebook & Instagram Users By Age:

That last row is what percentage of the total (Facebook + Instagram) is in Facebook. Over 50% would mean that there are more people in this age group on Facebook than Instagram.

In every age group, Facebook has more users than Instagram. Even in the youth segments!

So… millions of teenagers still think Facebook is cool? Or at least, cool enough to use, for whatever reason.

Here’s a more graphic comparison of the number of Facebook and Instagram users by age group in June 2018:

  • Even in the 13-17 age group, there are more teens on Facebook than Instagram. That may be changing, but it hasn’t changed yet. There are 12% more 13-17 year olds on Facebook than Instagram.
  • And the gap widens as we look at 18-24 year olds. There are 17% more 18-24 year olds on Facebook than Instagram. It widens again for 25-34 year olds. There are 27% more 25-34 year olds on Facebook than Instagram. And so on.

Takeaways

The rumors of Facebook’s death amongst youth have been greatly exaggerated.

Young people may be using Instagram and Snapchat more, but there are still a huge number of them on Facebook.

If you market to youth segments, you should market and advertise on all three of these platforms.

The data I can’t find that would be really great to know is: how much time does each age group spend on each social network? It’s easy to find how many people of each age group use a site. Or how much time users of a site spend on that site, but not how much time each age group uses each site.

5 Reasons Facebook Ads Outperform Instagram Ads

Facebook hasn’t had the best year so far, have they?

The Cambridge Analytics data scandal, rumors of youth departing Facebook for Instagram & Snapchat, the fact that Instagram seems new & exciting…

You can’t blame people for wondering if Facebook is over and Instagram might be the new thing, can you?

Is Facebook marketing over or is Instagram marketing better? If so, how should we market on Instagram?

What’s All The Hype About Instagram?

People love the idea of Instagram marketing because:

  • You can advertise on Instagram though the Facebook ad platform, one of the two best ad platforms in the world.
  • There are stats and rumors about young people leaving Facebook for Instagram and Snapchat… but Instagram is easier to market with than Snapchat, so if you’re chasing the youth market, Instagram seems to make sense. However, please keep in mind that for every age group, Facebook still has more users than Instagram.
  • Instagram’s audience is younger than Facebook on average.
  • Instagram posts and ads are much more positive, inspirational and lifestyle-oriented than Facebook’s, which can be political, negative, cranky and salesy at their worst.

Are Instagram Ads More Effective or More Affordable?

This kind of benchmark data hasn’t been released by some of the bigger clearinghouses like Wordstream yet, but that I can give you a sampling of what we’ve see from our campaigns and our clients. This data comes from multiple industries and represents nearly 20 million very recent ad impressions as of June 2018:

Metric definitions:

  • CPM = Cost per impression
  • CPC = Cost per click
  • CTR = Clickthrough Rate
  • CPE = Cost per engagement
  • CP10SVV = Cost per 10-second video view

The normal Facebook video view is only 3 seconds. We believe that these are often merely glances, not true “views,” so we prefer to measure 10-second views.

5 Insights from the Facebook and Instagram Ad Data

Let’s compare some of the data from the chart and see what we can learn.

1. Brand Visibility Costs Less With Facebook Ads Than Instagram Ads 

You’ll get more marketing awareness for your dollar on Facebook than Instagram. Facebook usually gets you more affordable visibility (CPM’s) than Instagram ads.

2. Website Traffic Is More Affordable With Facebook Ads Than Instagram Ads 

Facebook clearly has the better cost per clicks (CPC’s) overall. However, Instagram Stories and Facebook Messenger click costs can rival some of the better Facebook ad CPC’s.

3. People Click At A Higher Rate on Facebook Mobile Ads Than On Instagram Ads (Which Are Always Mobile)

When we look at clickthrough rates, people click about 3x as much in the Facebook mobile news feed (1.58% CTR) as they do in Instagram (0.51% CTR).

People are more interested in clicking (tapping) on Facebook ads from their smartphones than they are in clicking on Instagram ads.

People click 67% less often on Instagram ads than they do on Facebook ads.

This behavior may change over time if Instagram users come to accept ads more, or as advertisers get better at making their Instagram ads fit Instagram’s unique ethos and attitude.

We don’t believe that the lower ad CTR on Instagram is related to the lower average age of Instagram users, because when you look at Facebook Audience Insights data for younger users, even though you do see a lower ad-clicking activity from 18-34 year olds (about 7% less) and even lower from 18-25 year olds (about 20% less), those dips in ad-clicking activity are not nearly as extreme as the 67% difference we’re seeing in this data.

4. People Engage More With Facebook Ads Than With Instagram Ads

Facebook ads are still the king of affordable engagement (CPE).

The Facebook news feed’s ad engagements are 40-70% more affordable than Instagram.

This may surprise you, since there are other public stats showing that Instagram is generally more engaging than Facebook. This is true for individual user accounts, but what we’re looking at here is how engaging ads are on Instagram (or how engaged users are with ads), and not how engaging the average user’s posts are.

5. Video Views Are More Affordable With Facebook Ads Than Instagram Ads

Facebook is also winning at cost per video view.

Again, it could be that Instagram users are not appreciating ads overall, or that the people creating the videos haven’t figured out how to tailor them to the Instagram environment or user.

What About Leads and Sales Performance?

I left conversion data out of the above chart, because it’s harder to compare apples-to-apples on leads and sales across multiple clients in multiple industries. The benchmarks can be so different, not just in B2B vs B2C but in each industry.

However, our anecdotal experience from multiple clients gives us strong indications that:

  • Facebook ads convert at higher rates for leads and sales than Instagram ads.
  • Facebook ads can drive a higher volume of leads and sales than Instagram ads (more impressions and clicks are available on Facebook).
  • Because the CPM’s and CPC’s in Facebook are lower and the conversion rates are higher, your costs-per-lead and costs-per-sale will typically be lower from Facebook ads than from Instagram ads.

We almost always have some ads running on Instagram for clients, unless it’s hurting overall performance. However, the contribution of Instagram ads to leads and sales overall has not been big. The overwhelming majority of results come from Facebook placements, not Instagram ones.

Takeaways

Does the fact that Facebook ads are more effective than Instagram ads mean you shouldn’t market on Instagram?

Not at all!

Instagram is a unique and promising social network for marketers, and likely will grow in value to businesses over time.

And for those who are marketing organically without ads, Instagram may be a very effective option.

However, for advertisers, Facebook is still far and above the more effective network and, for most businesses, should represent a much larger ad spend investment than Facebook.

There are always exceptions- there are certain types of businesses that may find Instagram more effective, and if you “crack the code,” so to speak with a clever ad concept, you may find yourself getting amazing results.

You should absolutely experiment with Instagram ads if you feel it makes sense for you.

And as you read above, Instagram story ads may be a real CPC opportunity for website clicks.

The 5 Top Marketing Trends For 2018 and 2019… And How to Catch Up

I was recently interviewed for an Entrepreneur Magazine article about trending marketing tactics.

So I talked about the top marketing trends we’ve seen continue to build steam…

(This comes from all the surveys and research, our client work and my “thought leader” peers in the industry.)

But I also talked about how so many of companies I speak to feel like they’re behind.

They feel like they’re the only ones who are behind.

“Our industry is 5-10 years behind,” they say.

They all say that!

If so many people feel like they’re behind…

Maybe everyone is behind.

That means…

No one is behind.

AND YOU can get ahead!

The 5 Top Marketing Trends in 2018 (That Will Continue to Grow in 2019)

Here are the trends I mentioned…
  1. Consumer Privacy vs. Revenue and Affordability
  2. Facebook’s Continued Evolution
  3. Instagram Excitement
  4. Video Marketing Excitement
  5. Content Marketing ROI

Marketing Trend #1: Consumer Privacy vs. Revenue and Affordability

PRIVACY! GDPR had everybody worried and created a rush of activity up to May 25, 2018.

  • American businesses were rewriting their privacy policies, sending emails to renew opt-in in their lists, adding wordpress plugins to notify people about cookies and looking for ways to manage or make retargeting pixels optional and sending out email and mailed privacy policy updates.
  • A lot of people don’t necessarily market to or do business with Europeans, but knew they might have a few on their lists, or that for example a blog post might get shared via Twitter to someone in Europe, so they felt it was impossible to avoid it.
  • More about GDPR here.
  • Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is a one-time thing. This is similar to what happened with Cambridge Analytica… the common theme is PRIVACY. The big debate in America will continue to be: How can marketers help us find what we want while we maintain the privacy we want? What amount of privacy are we willing to give up so that we can buy the stuff we need? This debate has yet to be fully hashed out. I’m not sure everyone really understands yet why they might have to sacrifice ANY of their privacy for companies to be more efficient and profitable and for the things you buy to be more affordable. But it’s true… privacy is expensive, and to some degree worth it, but not all of it is necessary, because we want to save money, too.

Marketing Trend #2: Facebook’s Continued Evolution

  • Facebook will be removing their partner categories, the targeting that came from Acxiom, Epsilon and Datalogix (Oracle), as a result of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.
  • The good news on this is that we’ve always found that this targeting was much more expensive and not necessarily more effective than Facebook’s own targeting options, like interests, demographics and behaviors.
  • Facebook has been modifying and improving job title targeting for a long time. We’ve seen great B2B results for years.
  • Partner categories will disappear for new campaign creation on August 15th, and will no longer work after October 1, 2018.
  • The good news is that still leaves a lot of great targeting options, and the partner categories were always some of the most expensive options and not necessarily the best. We don’t expect that Facebook ad targeting will be worse without it, and people will feel more confident about their privacy as a result.
  • We’ve seen some interesting improvements in their automatic optimizations. They are getting better and better at showing individual ads to the right people within an ad set to increase the effectiveness of every ad.

Marketing Trend #3: Instagram is Getting More Attention

  • Businesses are wondering about whether they should focus more on Instagram, because the Facebook data scandal made people doubt Facebook, even if it’s temporary…
  • Young people seem to prefer Instagram and Snapchat, but Instagram is easier to market with than Snapchat.
  • In our experience, Instagram’s audience is much younger, but the posts and ads are much more positive and lifestyle oriented.
  • You can advertise on Instagram though the Facebook ad platform, and this is more effective than Instagram posting because you can add a link to drive website traffic, leads and sales, and can control your targeting better than with the in-app advertising options.

Marketing Trend #4: Video Marketing & Video Advertising Continued to Grow in Popularity

  • More and more people are committing budgets to it.
  • It’s getting more press attention.
  • At the same time, after Facebook said in 2017 that the average video view was only 15 seconds, it seems like video view lengths are decreasing even further.
  • There are more and more companies like Promo (from Slidely/LinkedIn) and Animatron that offer short video making tools with stock video footage.. You can put your snappy copywriting text over an interesting or funny video.
  • Surprising insight: our own ad agency data across many client companies shows that customers who submit leads and buy don’t necessarily watch videos very long (sometimes only an average of 5 seconds). In other words, how long they watch the video may not be the most important thing. So companies that are focused on social media leads and sales may want video views but know that video views don’t always drive the bottom-line. Ads that have images and clear, quickly readable text (about what you offer and why we should care) may drive better results than videos.

Marketing Trend #5: Companies Demanding More Bottom-Line Results from Content Marketing

  • Content Marketing has leveled off in popularity and budget, while more business people are asking for content marketing analytics, leads and revenue.
  • Many companies created line items in their budgets for content marketing (the average percentage of a marketing budget spent on content is 26%). They created content, and now they’re wondering, “Why isn’t this moving the needle?”
  • There is content that doesn’t convert. Convert that doesn’t sell. Content marketers who don’t know how to persuade or sell. Content marketers with no training in copywriting or direct marketing.
  • It’s fine to invest and have a strategy and be committed, but do you have analytics? Can you optimized? Are you getting results?
  • Over 65% of content marketers don’t measure their content’s ROI. Oh, so it’s just good at looking pretty? 🙂 72% of B2B marketers measure their ROI, but 65% of them don’t measure the ROI of their content. What?! This is a tragic misalignment and waste of money.
  • It’s true that Content Marketing requires work and infrastructure and can take time to work, but you still have to measure it.
  • You must design content marketing and marketing automation for conversion, whether your goal is leads or sales.

So, Are You Really “Behind”?

Despite what is new… My experience both in the agency and as a keynote speaker who talks to many SMB audiences is that many businesses are behind.

There are strategies and tactics we’ve been recommending for five years that many businesses have yet to even try.

For example, Facebook ads. No matter what is new with Facebook ads, and the fact that they could help many businesses, I would estimate 10% or fewer of them are using them. And for every ten audience members that agree they should, only a handful will either learn how or hire someone to do it.

Another one: even though Google ads have been proven to drive leads, sales and profits for over a decade, there are many businesses who still have yet to even try them once!

The business world moves very slowly for a lot of the 28 million small businesses that make up the majority of American businesses.

BEWARE Shiny Object Syndrome

On the other hand, some people are too far ahead for their own good. They get involved in fads and hype that never pays off.

Like Blab.

Or Foursquare, which 5 years ago was supposed to be the future… but most of the regular people who were supposed to be the main user base have never heard of it. Oh and it’s been valued between $250-500 billion.

And they wonder why Warren Buffet doesn’t invest in tech stocks!

How to Get Ahead NOW

So, you can catch up. You can get ahead. Stay away from fads and hype.

Do smart things. That means: proven things.

Like what?

Google ads. Facebook ads. Blogging. Content marketing. Analytics. Optimization.

And that’s how you’ll get ahead.

Get good at what already works, and it will work for you.
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How People Are Creating Social Media Sales & Profits in 2018

Are you ready to get more from your social media than just awareness and engagement?

Are you dissatisfied with not knowing social media’s impact on your organization’s bottom line?

Do you want to join the organizations and marketers who are developing business with social media marketing?

Then you’ll love this article, which covers how top marketers are driving and tracking sales and profits with social media marketing in 2018.

The State of Social Media Results

Recent surveys of marketers and CMO’s tell us that many companies have not yet solved many basic social media marketing problems:

  • Marketing executives rate their integration of social media with their marketing strategy just 4.1 on a scale of 7 (CMO Survey, 2018, page 48). How can you expect great social marketing results, if your social strategy is out of alignment with your marketing strategy?
  • 56% of 5,700 social marketers surveyed by Social Media Examiner in 2018 are uncertain about their social media profits or were unable to measure it. Only 10% (570 social marketers) strongly agreed they were able to measure their social media profits. 
    These are the professional social marketers- the top of their field. Imagine how difficult and uncertain it is for small business owners who aren’t caught up on the latest tactics and who have to wear seven hats in their businesses. And consider that there are over 2 million small businesses in the U.S., 500 Fortune 500 companies, 5,000 companies in the Inc 5000…. If only 570 social marketers have strong confidence in their ROI measurement, then most companies don’t have someone who’s confident about it.
  • Although marketing executives’ #1 overall goal was customer acquisition, their #1 use of social media was not customer acquisition- it was brand awareness and brand building. Customer acquisition was their #2 purpose for social media (CMO Survey 2018, page 51). This odd priority echoes the above misalignment with their overall marketing strategy. It may be due to a misunderstanding or underestimation of the capabilities of social media marketing, or it may be reflective of the social media freelancers, agencies or employees they’ve had up to this point. When you work with social media personnel whose background is only in PR or branding, their orientation can affect your approach.
  • When marketing executives were asked to what degree social media contributed to their company’s performance (a vague question to be sure, but corporate performance typically is heavily based on revenue and profits), they answered with an average of 3.3 on a scale of 7. That’s not an overwhelming vote.
  • There are older surveys and stats that talk about the challenges of measuring social media, but I’ll stick to recent ones.

Does it surprise to you that marketers are having trouble improving social media profits if they aren’t measuring it well?

It shouldn’t, because as Peter Drucker said, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.”

In digital and social marketing, you can’t improve what you can’t measure.

And when your social marketing strategies are not aligned with your overall marketing priorities, you have a recipe for social mediocrity.

The solutions to the problems that marketers and executives are surfacing are:

  1. Prioritize the use of social media for business development: customer acquisition, sales and profits. Ask for more from your social marketing. It’s capable of it.
  2. Hold social media accountable for achieving these goals.
  3. Make it a priority to measure social media accurately. Choose KPI’s, sales goals and start to measure profitability tied to your resources, labor, time and costs.
  4. Budget for social advertising, because it’s the most certain way to drive these results in social media.
  5. Get the people, resources, talent, training and tools you need to make this happen.

Easier said than done, right?

But you can do it. Many companies have.

So, let’s dive in!

How Today’s Marketers Are Making Social Media Profitable

How do leading marketers prove the impact of social on their bottom line?

The best marketers have social sales and profits analytics at their fingertips.

Many companies don’t realize their analytics are set up wrong and are inaccurate.

Do you have the tracking, the data and the insights you need to prove how social is driving customer and profits for your business? And to measure and improve it?

What does that look like? In our experience, these are the kinds of things you need:

  • Expertise, or at least competence, at understanding, exporting and analyzing data from the social platforms: Facebook Page Insights, Facebook Ad Manager, Facebook Audience Insights, Twitter Ads, Twitter Insights, Instagram Ads, LinkedIn Ads, etc.
  • Professional implementation of social ad tracking pixels: If you are using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn or similar ads that use conversion code, make sure you either have a professional install and check the code, or hire one to check it. Not only is that code critical and indispensable for tracking, it also it essential to how the ads run. You need it for retargeting and in some networks, it also affects how well or poorly the ads are targeted within your targeting selections. It’s not optional. We’ve heard many IT and programming people who were not professional digital marketers assume that these pixels were only for tracking and that web analytics or a CRM would be enough. They are not. The tracking from the ad platforms must be installed also. If your web or ecommerce platforms are not compatible with the common ad platforms, they need to “get with it”, you need to switch to another platform that is compatible, or you will have to hire programmers to fix it. Or you will be seriously hampered against your competitors in the marketplace. We’ve worked with clients who had to stop marketing socially for 4 months while they had programmers white-label and make their third party scheduling software compatible with Facebook ads. It’s a problem of ignorance in the SaaS industry that will eventually fix itself, but it may take another five years.
  • Google Analytics (or the like) with UTM parameters: you must manually help GA track the source/medium of all website traffic from social, or some will be undercounted. For example, without this, Facebook traffic will be undercounted by as much as 40% and will be placed in the “Direct” category.
  • Google Analytics conversion assist reports: you need to consider both first click and last click, because once you graduate from the search marketing last-click only mentality, you will drive a greater volume of traffic and sales, but without first-click reports, you may cut out some of the first-click sources that ultimately drive your sales. Often, retargeting ads from various networks, and search sources close the sale with a last-click, but they may never have happened without the first click. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn ads can increase your organic search volume dramatically, but you’ll never have evidence of this and you’ll spend in the wrong places without these reports.
  • Professional CRM, and any additional add-ons required to track accurately: You need something like Salesforce, Hubspot, Infusionsoft, Zoho or the like if you are driving leads for salespeople. Your email account isn’t good enough. You need to track the leads in a professional system, and you need marketing attribution. Also, beware of conflicts in attribution reporting. Just as GA can misattribute social traffic, so can CRM’s. For example, if you use Hubspot free, or even paid without buying the Ads Add-on, Hubspot will not track Facebook ad traffic accurately. They admit this in their help screens.

Branding Alone Doesn’t Drive Sales

How do top marketers do social branding in a way that drives new customers?

Savvy marketers drive engagement, sales and profits while leading their categories.

The painful truth many companies discover is that branding alone doesn’t create sales. Just putting your brand out there doesn’t create sales. Just creating engaging posts doesn’t get you new customers. It might drive a few, but not enough to sustain a business. Not enough to call social media a viable business development channel that you’d want to dump more cash into and scale.

Do you have the tracking, ads, posts and optimization strategies in place to cash in on social?

First I’ll give you a list of the things that don’t drive customer growth and sales in social media- and then I’ll give you a list of the things that do drive them:

What doesn’t drive social media many sales and profits, if any:

  • Tweetchats: they’re usually measure in terms of reach, which is not unique reach, so it’s deceptively high. There often aren’t a lot of links included in the chat’s tweets, so you may not even get much website traffic, let alone sales.
  • Facebook posting without ads: Most pages don’t reach very many people when they post, unless they advertise to promote that post. Without reach, you have very little chance of anything else happening… like traffic, leads or sales.
  • Facebook posts boosted on the page: This is the poor cousin of the engagement ad you can create in the Ad Manager, and it doesn’t work as well. It’s often created by someone who’s not really a Facebook ad professional, the targeting isn’t good, and the post itself may not have a high engagement rate. If it doesn’t have a link in it, there’s little chance of traffic, leads or sales. Even with a link, this is one of the worst ad types to try to try traffic, leads or sales with. You’ll probably just gets some engagement, and that’s it. But your costs will be high and your money won’t go as far as with an engagement ad in the Ad Manager.
  • Instagram posts: you can’t add a link- they have to go to your bio link, and you only get one- it’s an extra step, and you may not have that many followers… so you probably won’t get very much traffic, if any… and even less leads or sales. You can promote these posts within the app, but again, these are not as good as creating Instagram as from within the Facebook ad manager.

What drives more social media sales and profits? Let’s move to the next section…

Social Ads Help Drive and Measure Sales & Profits

Why are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn ads the most effective and trackable form of social media marketing?

Why are these ads the main drivers in social media sales and profits?

Because social ads drive not just engagement but also traffic, sales and profits… from 300% to 700% and higher.

Here are a few very short results from some case studies using social ads:

Lead Generation Case Studies

  • HOME GOODS: We helped a home goods company lowered their cost per lead by 84%, getting them 7x the leads. We also more than doubled their new customer acquisition speed across their entire company. They were using an omnichannel approach, and the social ads, used as a swiss army knife for awareness, engagement and lead generation also directly drove some sales. We commissioned a third-party impact study and discovered that the social campaigns had stimulated an increase in organic searches in Google for their brand name. It was a shot in the arm for their entire company. Most of these effects happened within 4 months. The first month wasn’t brilliant, but soon after our measurement abilities enabled us to drop costs and drive performance.
  • IT/CLOUD: We worked with a number of Microsoft’s partners in the cloud hosting business. For one, we created a new whitepaper. They wanted to experiment with Facebook ads rather than LinkedIn ads. We targeted CIO’s, sys admins and IT people. The most affordable leads were $29 each. According to industry stats, average lead in IT costs $370. Our cost was 92% more affordable than that. Facebook’s ad costs are quite low, and its ability to target job titles makes it both powerful and affordable. Sometimes LinkedIn is better, but LinkedIn can also be expensive and lower volume, since people spend an average of 2 minutes a day on LinkedIn and 35 minutes a day on Facebook. This, of course, varies with the audience.
  • RECRUITING/STAFFING: We’ve worked with a number of companies to fill staffing and recruiting gaps applicants. We’ve been able to drive job applicants at 75% lower costs than CareerBuilder. Our social advertising for job candidates drives more traffic for these companies than any other source including Indeed.com.
  • MARKETING: We created a lead-quiz for a marketing agency and drove thousands of leads for just $1.74 each. The average lead cost in this industry is $173. Our cost was 99% more affordable.
  • SAAS: A SaaS company wanted to reach only people who worked at Fortune 1000 companies. We drove traffic to their whitepaper and got them new demos for $26 each. Again, the standard here is $370, and this was similarly about 93% more affordable than average.
  • EDUCATION: We teamed up with an educational bookstore to run multiple lead gen contests. The average email acquisition cost has been around $0.60 apiece. The average lead cost in the Education industry is $60. Our leads were roughly 99% more affordable than average.

Why is the average lead cost so high and were ours so affordable? In part, the average costs are high because they include many traditional offline lead gen sources, which are more expensive. They also may include mark-ups for retail selling of leads. And we always see drastic reduction in costs when we do a lot of testing and discovery online. In traditional marketing, you can’t test a lot of things to find the most effective, compelling offer, wording, video or picture. Online we discover huge advantages through testing, and it saves companies lots of money and increases profits dramatically.

Again, when you can measure it, you can improve it. And we can measure a lot more things a lot more finely online.

When you explore the best in each of these categories, your improvements multiply:

  • Targeting and customer psychology
  • Creative, video, ads, copywriting and persuasion tactics
  • Landing Pages and conversion optimization
  • Lead Magnets, ebooks, whitepapers, quizzes, etc.

Make sure you aren’t lazy about your creative and testing/discovery processes. If you are, you’ll pay more than you need to, and you won’t get the kind of results we’re talking about here.

Ecommerce Case Studies

  • HOME GOODS: With the home goods client above, we achieved a 60% reduction in cost per new customer. We saw over 900% ROI on the social video ad campaigns. 1,000% ROI on post engagement. And overall a 274% ROI on customer acquisition.
  • TRAVEL: We’ve worked for years with a specialty cruise company drive customer bookings for as low as $30 apiece.
  • FOOD & BEV: We drove 22x in revenue for a small pizza chain in Scotland of all places. I’ve been told not to talk about this one because the ROI sounds so high that it’s unbelievable. Oh well… those were the real numbers. Believe what you want. It’s true!
  • HEALTH: We opened up a new revenue channel for a health products business. It was 700% ROI and the first year we drove 6 figures in revenue monthly.
  • FITNESS: We helped a franchise personal training business open up a new marketing channel. Their goal was $700 per customer. We drove new customers at $415 apiece.

Social media driven ecommerce is the most challenging thing we’ve seen in digital marketing, but with enough time, investment and the right people and tools, profits can be found.

Sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes it’s difficult, and there are technical, branding and budget challenges. Every situation is different.

How Do Businesses Make This Happen?

These kinds of successes don’t happen instantly. There’s no magical CASH button in digital marketing. There are plenty of people trying to sell short-lived or fantastic tricks and short-cuts. As in many areas of life, those who can only tolerate easy answers tend to fall for get-rich-quick schemes and lose their shirts.

If you’re smart, responsible and realistic, you have much better chances of success.

Creating profitable social marketing is a process that takes 3-6-12 months. Businesses need to commit $5k in ad spend or more per month. It’s an investment. You’ll see a return on it, but not instantly.

  • Month one is all about set-up. Ads may start running, but you have to get all the pixels and analytics in place, have the right targeting, all the right creative, etc.
  • The first three months tells you what’s going to be profitable and what isn’t. You should have some really effective targeting and ads by the end of month three. That means affordable, high-quality leads if lead-gen, or profitable ads if ecommerce.
  • By the six month mark your entire social campaign should reliably drive efficient results to the extent that it has made up for the costs of the first three months.
  • By 12 months you should have learned so much and be getting such great results that you won’t even recognize your social program. It may have revolutionized your entire marketing program with the insights you’ve gathered.

Who Can Help You Accomplish All This?

We’re not born with kinds of skills you need to do the social advertising and analytics that drive social media profits. Digital natives don’t have them just because they know how to use Snapchat. Experts need business skills, copywriting skills, technical ad platform experience, analytics talents, and marketing experience.

You’re going to need:

  • Social ad expertise: Facebook ads, Instagram ads, Twitter ads, LinkedIn ads. Do you want to have all those options? Do you already have someone who does Google ads for you? You may get some social strategy expertise when you get someone who can do the social ads, but you probably want to ask them about it.
  • Analytics expertise: Website analytics like Google Analytics or Adobe Omniture expertise, CRM analysis, marketing automation analytics if you use Infusionsoft or Marketo or the like.

So how do you add that to your company? These are your real-life choices:

  1. If you’re a small business owner, you may want to do it yourself… sacrifice your own hobbies, free time and families to spend 20-40 hours a week learning for 3 years (why do you think all the job listings for this stuff ask for a minimum amount of experience?)
  2. Hire someone with no experience and wait 3 years for them to have significant experience and expertise. Are they taking online courses to learn? Are you paying for that?
  3. Outsource to someone freelance and part-time via a platform like Upwork. They’ll cost anywhere from $30-$60 per hour.
  4. Hire expert employees, experienced at ad platforms or analytics: $50-80K per year each – you’re going to need several to cover all the areas of expertise you need.
  5. Hire an expert agency: $30-60K per year (we find that the costs our agency are lower than in-house employees because we have multiple experts on staff who can more efficiently cover our various clients)
  6. Do nothing. Keep your social media status quo. Risk falling behind the competition.

Notice- what is not an option is: Do a whole bunch of random things you read on social media blogs… with no experience, no analytics, no skills… You CAN do that, if you don’t want to create any real impact. But if you want to drive new customers, sales and profits, you need expertise.

Conclusion

So, if you want your social to be as profitable as it is for these businesses:

  • Make a commitment to build the program for 6-12 months.
  • Set your goals.
  • Create a budget.
  • Hire the people or the agency.
  • Start using social ads and all the analytics I talked about above.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to measure your social media results.

Now go improve them!

Privacy Policy & GDPR

Privacy Policy of briancartergroup.com

This website collects some Personal Data from its Users.

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Additional information about Data collection and processing

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The User declares to be aware that the Data Controller may be required to reveal personal data upon request of public authorities.

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Users have the right, at any time, to know whether their Personal Data has been stored and can consult the Data Controller to learn about their contents and origin, to verify their accuracy or to ask for them to be supplemented, cancelled, updated or corrected, or for their transformation into anonymous format or to block any data held in violation of the law, as well as to oppose their treatment for any and all legitimate reasons. Requests should be sent to the Data Controller at the contact information set out above.

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Upon request BCG will provide you with information about whether we hold, or process on behalf of a third party, any of your personal data. You may access, correct, or request deletion of your personal data by logging into your account, contacting us at support@briancartergroup.com, or by updating your profile information. We will respond to your request within a reasonable timeframe. In certain circumstances we may be required by law to retain your personal data, or may need to retain your personal data in order to continue providing a service. We may retain your information for as long as your account is active, or as needed to provide you services, comply with our legal obligations, resolve disputes, and enforce our agreements.

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Last updated on May 22nd, 2018.

2018 Marketing Director Survey Part 2/2

If you aren’t aware of it, some amazing people have been putting out a great survey for a number of years. It’s called The CMO Survey, and it asks marketing directors, VP’s of marketing and others key questions to figure out what’s going on with marketing and where we’re headed. We wanted to bring more awareness not just to the great work done by Christine Moorman, her team and those at Deloitte, Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, and the American Marketing Association, but also to the trends uncovered by the latest survey.

We, of course, had some of our own opinions and insights to add on the topics in the survey based on our work in digital marketing and social media over the last 19 years… and it took us 2 hours to get through it all! We put the discussion into two videos. We hope to piece them into smaller topic videos soon.

This is part two of two. Go here for part one.

Discussion by the Brian Carter Group. This podcast is not directly affiliated with CMO Survey. All registered copyrights and trademarks remain the property of original owners.

The ONLY 5 Options for Digital & Social Marketing Execution & Results

 

Something I added recently to my keynote speeches if my audience is small businesses or entrepreneurs…

I realized that I was perhaps implicitly giving the audience the idea that anyone could do this stuff easily and quickly.

As you may know if you’ve started the digital or social marketing learning curve, it’s a long path and a big mountain- with many paths, really.

Your company has only 5 options for digital and social marketing (if you want noticeable business results)…

To be sure you have someone who can really drive business results:

  1. Sacrifice your own hobbies, free time and families to spend 20-40 hours a week learning for 3 years (why do you think all the job listings ask for a minimum amount of experience?)
  2. Hire someone with no experience and wait 3 years for them to have significant experience and expertise.
  3. Hire expert employees, experienced at ad platforms or analytics: $50-80K per year each – you’re going to need several to cover all the areas of expertise you need.
  4. Hire an expert agency: $30-60K per year (they can keep the costs down by having Tmultiple experts on staff more efficiently to cover multiple clients)
  5. Do nothing, don’t take advantage of online marketing and lose to competitors who leverage digital expertise.

Notice- what is not an option is: Do a whole bunch of random things you read on social media blogs… with no experience, no analytics, no skills… I mean you CAN do that, if you don’t want to create any real impact. But if you want to drive new customers, sales and profits, you need expertise.

Do you want to become a social media expert? Great- which platforms?

Facebook ad experts get hired for having several years of experience and paid at least $30/hour- often $40-50k and up.

You can check out indeed.com for salaries…

Google AdWords experts get paid the same or more- and it takes years to get great at that. Which is more complicated- AdWords or FB ads? They’re both crazy!

Google Analytics? Same story- the learning curve and pay…

So that’s just three areas of expertise, three paths- that for any one small business owner to mount? It’s formidable. And this is one reason so many SMB’s struggle to do it themselves.

Not everybody has the discipline, talent for math, tolerance for or love of geekery and analysis etc to do ads or analytics well, and those that don’t end up struggling by trying to just to the fun or easy parts of social media. The results aren’t so great.

No business has a lot of options until they’re profitable. Once you have profits, though, I highly encourage you to stop wearing so many hats and start doing only what you do best, start become a leader and specializing in management. Learn to be a better leader. Delegate.

In many cases that means letting go of marketing.

I’ve seen some business owners refuse to do this.

After all- they got themselves THIS far, right?

They must be good at it, right?

They might be ok- but they may not be great.

So many athletes are great in high school and make it to college but end up on the bench. Or make it to the pros but wash out quickly.

At some point you hit the maximum of your ability at a thing- and that might be because it’s not really your ZONE of GENIUS. It might not really be YOUR THING.

What if YOUR THING in your company is something else, and you are neglecting that, and hurting your marketing at the same time, by not doing your thing, and doing marketing poorly instead?

SMB leaders also go through growing pains at management and leadership (I’ve gone through this myself!) because we aren’t trained in it and we start out alone and if we’re successful we get help but we never planned to be managers or CEO’s. We may not have had exposure to great leadership. We don’t know how to do it. We make all kinds of mistakes.

So you have to start learning to be a manager and a leader. And it’s hard.

And part of that is learning to outsource and delegate and hire. You have to hire contractors or employees and/or vendor partners.

There are growing pains.

You have to learn to let go.

You might realize you’re a micromanager even though you always hated being micromanaged and you never meant to micromanage anything. That happened to me. I didn’t intend for it to happen, but it happened. My first clue was when I had to ask myself why my people weren’t solving more problems for themselves- had I disempowered them?

If you hate letting other people do something poorly and slowly that you could get done way faster, it’s easy to become overbearing and to micromanage.

It takes patience and empathy to grow your team’s potential.

It’s tough.

But if you don’t learn to be a leader and delegate and let go, you will never grow beyond a certain point.

So many SMB’s never do. And it can be frustrating to be stuck at that level if you want to someday get to a point where things are easier for you!

The law of the lid: your company can’t grow any bigger than your leadership ability.

So start looking at your real strengths: what you do best that no one else can do.

And let go of everything else.

Delegate it.

Hire out for it.

Let go.

So you can grow.

2018 Marketing Director Survey Part 1/2

If you aren’t aware of it, some amazing people have been putting out a great survey for a number of years. It’s called The CMO Survey, and it asks marketing directors, VP’s of marketing and others key questions to figure out what’s going on with marketing and where we’re headed. We wanted to bring more awareness not just to the great work done by Christine Moorman, her team and those at Deloitte, Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, and the American Marketing Association, but also to the trends uncovered by the latest survey.

We, of course, had some of our own opinions and insights to add on the topics in the survey based on our work in digital marketing and social media over the last 19 years… and it took us 2 hours to get through it all! We put the discussion into two videos. We hope to piece them into smaller topic videos soon.

For now, here is part one of two. Go here for part two.

Discussion by the Brian Carter Group. This podcast is not directly affiliated with CMO Survey. All registered copyrights and trademarks remain the property of original owners.

Why Do Social Media & Community Building Actually Work?

The Ecommerce Times was recently writing article on social media community building and reached out to 15-year digital marketing expert and 10-year social marketing expert Brian Carter for an interview. ECT published some of his responses in this article, “5 Ways to Build Community Around Your Brand.”

If you liked that, here are Brian’s complete responses!

Q1. Why is it important to build social or community around a brand?

When we do social for clients, part of that is building engagement and awareness around a brand and its offerings.

 

In a time where a lot of digital experts have gravitated toward conversion optimization only, I understand that, because I grew up doing that with SEO focused on conversions, Google AdWords focused on revenue and ROI, Google Analytics, Omniture and split-testing.

I’m a data guy, a test-discover-learn guy… basically a geek!

So it took me a long time to believe that engagement really had a hard quantitative value beyond all the soft feel-good stuff people seemed to like about it.

Starting in 2010 when I founded my agency, we ran fan growth and engagement ads for companies along with Facebook and Google ads for lead gen, ecommerce and other conversion-oriented campaigns, though I often was skeptical about whether the fans or likes were really helping them grow their customer base, drive sales, or improve profits.

The customer often wanted fans and engagement things, and we counseled them about it (“this isn’t the quickest way to get customers or profits”), but they may have wanted the fan numbers or the likes on their posts, and we took the challenge to get the best results we could there. We drove fans and engagement down to low costs and discovered how to get really high engagement rates.

But I was still skeptical about the business value of fans and social media engagement.

And it’s hard to overcome that skepticism, a skepticism many people have, because:

a. Multi-touchpoint analytics are spotty (not every company has them)
b. The analytics for multi-touchpoint seems complicated or out of the way (not every company wants to dive into this just to examine whether their bias is correct), and
c. Finding out the truth about your social media’s conversion value sometimes requires spending money or even third party studies of your analytics.

Not every company can or will do all of that 20% or so of clients we’ve had who did both engagement and conversions AND looked at their metrics, we’ve always seen big benefits to running engagement ads in addition to conversion campaigns:

  1. Engagement ads usually spike organic search traffic and sales: Increased brand awareness from social engagement ads increases search engine searches for your brand name (people notice you more and think, “Oh what was that thing? Oh yeah that company… Let me search for that now…”), which gets you additional organic traffic and sales. When you see an organic traffic and sales spike after starting a new social ad campaign and not changing anything else, you have to be honest: it might have been that social awareness. Sometimes you can track that, if the social ads led to traffic, but if they didn’t, your website analytics can’t even track that, unfortunately.
  2. Engagement ads can pay for themselves: Often you can look at the social engagement ads data and see specific revenue driven from that same ad spend- and often it pays for itself. It may not be a positive ROI, but its breakeven. That means you have to run other ads, of course, to drive profits, but the engagement ads aren’t necessarily a cost- they may pay for themselves. Now, to make that happen, there must be links in your posts… if you aren’t putting links and calls to action in your posts, that’s a whole nother topic- how to create effective engagement ads that also drive traffic…
  3. Engagement ads can improve conversion rates and profits: The brand familiarity you get from this (look up the “mere exposure” effect if you haven’t heard of it) lowers people’s resistance to buying from you, which increases conversion rates, which in turn lowers cost per sale and cost per customer, which of course, increases profits.

Q2. What are some of the most effective ways that e-commerce businesses can build this kind of social media or community? Why do these strategies work?

You have to run Facebook and Instagram ads, create a lot of posts and ads, and see how your customers respond to them.

It’s just like learning how to get along with a real person- you have to get to know them- and online the only way to get to know people is to either look at their data first, or put stuff out there and see how they respond.

Listen to the data- what do they like? What do they share? What do they click on? What don’t they respond to?

You need a repeatable process for constant improvement- we call ours F.I.T. First you find the Facts- that’s data about who are they- then you Invent things, and Test them (discover what works by looking at everything!).

Then look at the Facts again- how did they respond to what you Invented? By Inventing more stuff like what they liked, you create a better and better fit of your marketing materials with their likes. If your marketing fits your customers, they love you more, likability increases, and you know what excites them.

The RARE company’s research on loyalty showed that 86% of customers are loyal because they like the company. So how likable is your brand, and how likable is your marketing? What are you doing to increase that? What process do you use to ensure you win at likability?

This is critical to your survival, and to thriving, because when companies disrupt others, or entire industries, its always because they suddenly make your customers a lot happier than they have been. You can’t afford to just be good enough and maintain, because that’s what companies like Blockbuster and Borders and the Yellow Pages and Yellow Cab did before they got disrupted by Netflix, Amazon, Google and Uber.

Continually strive to become greater and make your customers happier. Make sure you have a process for that. We use F.I.T.

Q3. What are common mistakes that e-commerce businesses make when trying to build social engagement, and how can these mistakes be avoided?

The biggest mistakes companies make with engagement are about vanity, narcissism, self-centeredness. We’re talking about smart people who would never walk into a mixer and talk about themselves for 15 minutes straight. Hopefully… They’re smart enough to know that people like people who focus on them. Not on themselves. They ask others about their lives and family and hobbies, and they make a friend.

But somehow they have a blindspot when it comes to marketing their brand- and they get very narcissistic. They do self-centered things by showing their products a lot… even their “lifestyle” images are about their products, not truly about the customer’s lifestyle.

They don’t think about who the customer is- what their daily life is like, their pains, fears, worries, dreams, goals and obstacles. And when they do it’s only in terms of their products.

You have to go a level beyond your product into the customer’s life and emotions and live with them and talk about other things and have faith that this creates a relationship that makes them love you so much that of course they want to buy your products.

You can’t be afraid to NOT talk about the product for a while. You can’t be so afraid that if you go off topic, you’re wasting time.

Because the truth is: so much of friendship and relationship is about wasting time because you are together.

You have to just be with them- without selling- sometimes, or you’re not building a relationship… you’re just an annoying salesperson… and that’s not a likable approach.