Monthly Archive: September 2018

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Facebook’s Comment-to-Messenger Feature: Everything You Need to Know

sourced from: https://www.digitalmarketer.com/blog/facebooks-comment-to-messenger-feature/

Facebook Messenger ads are all the craze right now.

They’re the most PERSONAL ad type on the market.

Our culture has bred an expectation of instantaneous communication. Whether through text, chat, or social media… when someone sends you a message, you FEEL the need to respond in a timely manner (or at least most of us do ☺).

Think about it—this is what makes Facebook Messenger marketing so powerful. It taps into a channel that 1+ billion people are already using… and also facilitates communication in a way that people now expect.

As messenger becomes a more and more common communication channel for companies, the brands that utilize messenger to communicate with their prospects and customers will win.

In a separate post I explained the ins-and-outs of Facebook Messenger Ads, and now I’m going to expand on that information by highlighting one of the most popular messenger marketing features out there: the comment-to-messenger tool.

The way this tool works is pretty simple, really cool, and ultra-effective. Basically, you just sync a Facebook post (or ad) with your favorite messenger marketing tool (mine is definitely ManyChat)…

…and it will automatically message anyone who comments on that post!

And as always, if they interact with your bot then they will be added to your subscriber list and you can continue to follow up with them via messenger.

This is really exciting stuff, guys.

Today, I’ll be explaining the details of this tool:

What it’s good for
When to use it
And tips to get the best results possible from your comment-to-messenger campaigns

But before we talk about the “how,” let’s talk about…

Why Does Facebook’s Comment-to-Messenger Feature Matter?

It’s an easy way to build messenger subscribers

Facebook allows you to build a “list” of messenger subscribers that you can later send broadcasts to (similar to email, but we’re seeing 80%+ open rates). If you read this post, you know why this is so important.

To become a messenger subscriber, someone simply has to have messaged your page in the past. If you use the feature the way I outline below, you can build a subscriber list using the same comment-to-message strategy we are… without even buying ads.

Increases relevance score

If you are using the comment-to-message strategy and then turning that post into an ad, this is going to significantly increase relevance score.

Relevance score is a number out of 10 that Facebook uses to tell advertisers how relevant their ad is to the audience in which they’re targeting.

The higher the relevance score, the more reach your ad gets and the lower the cost.

Social proof weighs heavily on your relevance score, so the more positive comments, shares, and reactions that your post gets, the higher the score.

By accumulating a ton of comments on your post using this strategy, you are in turn increasing your relevance score—and encouraging Facebook to show your post to even more people.

It’s a great strategy to generate leads and sales (isn’t that what we REALLY want?)

This strategy isn’t just about “talking” or “building a list.” You can use it to generate leads and sales for your business, too.

The key is to make sure your post leads to an ideal sales conversation for your business.

Asking people to comment with their favorite color just to build your messenger list isn’t the best way to use this feature (unless you’re selling something that has to do with coloring ).

You can use ManyChat to set up an automated follow-up sequence that eventually leads someone to a sale. You can also use ManyChat’s tagging system to segment audiences so that you can make them an offer that’s most relevant to them.

How Facebook’s Comment-to-Messenger Feature Works

So, how does it work?

I’m glad you asked!

First I’m going to explain the big picture, to help give you some context. Then I’ll walk you through an example just to make sure everything is 100% clear. And finally, I’ll dive into the specifics of exactly how to get started using this tool in your own business.

In a nutshell, the comment-to-messenger feature works like this:

Create a Facebook post. I recommend asking a polarizing question and letting people know that when they leave a comment they will automatically receive a message on messenger.
Set up the comment-to-messenger growth tool inside of ManyChat and sync it with the post you created in Step 1. Part of this will include deciding on what message(s) people will receive when they comment on your post.
If you want to promote your post as an ad, you can set that up inside the Ads Manager. Just be sure to choose “Engagement” as your objective.

Here’s an example of what this looks like from the user’s perspective.

First, you’ll see a post in your newsfeed (it could be a paid ad or an organic post). Like this one:

Notice how the post sets your expectation—it tells you that if you leave a comment, you’ll get a response via messenger.

After you post a comment, you’ll automatically get this message:

Scroll down and you’ll see the offer being promoted—a free container of protein:

And finally, see how easy it is to respond—just tap “Heck Yes!” or “No, thanks”:

Pretty simple, right? As the user, all you have to do is comment on a post, read a short message inside of messenger, and click “Yes” to claim the offer.

If you interact with the bot in any way—even if it’s to say “No, thanks”—you will be automatically subscribed to this advertiser’s messenger list. Then over the next few days, you’ll continue to receive follow-up messages from them.

And as you can see here, those follow-up sequences can be extremely effective:

Open rates of 88.4%-98.5%, and click-through rates of 18.8%-80.7%?

Compared to traditional email marketing engagement metrics, those numbers are INSANE. (In a good way.)

(NOTE: Ready to get started with your own Messenger bot? Check out our BRAND NEW 6-Step Facebook Messenger Bot Builder to get our exclusive strategy that makes running your Messenger Bots easy for any business. And if you act now, you can get this Execution Plan for 85% OFF! Learn more here.)

Facebook’s Comment-to-Messenger Feature in Action

This is still a relatively new feature, so we’re still testing and finding ways to use it ourselves.

But, we’ve already seen some other marketers do cool things on their own pages.

Our good friend, Derek Halpern, recently published a post in which he asked a question: “What is a good (and realistic) sales page conversion rate?”

Once you comment on this post with your guess, Derek sends you a message with the answer. He also takes advantage of your attention to make a relevant offer and send interested visitors to a webinar registration page:

Derek then broadcasted to his messenger list a few days later…

Cole from Sherpa Metrics also used this functionality to generate 500+ messenger subscribers and to segment his audience in efforts to make relevant offers…

Then he followed up to further segment the audience…

Within 36 hours, Cole was already seeing insane open and click-through rates…

How to Set Up Facebook’s Comment-to-Messenger Feature

It may seem complicated, but this feature is actually pretty easy to put into action.

Step 1 is to create the post that you’ll use. And to do this, you have 2 options:

You can use a normal post that anyone can see on your wall
Or you can create a post in the Business Manager that won’t be front-facing on your Facebook page. To do that, just make your way to the Page Posts area here:

The only difference is whether the post will be shown on your Facebook page or not. If it’s not, you’ll need to promote the post through an ad in order to generate impressions.

Step 2 is to set up your growth tool. To do that, just log into your ManyChat account and click on “Growth Tools” and then “+ New Growth Tool”:

Then choose “Facebook Comments”:

You then have the option to select the post you’d like to use based on its URL, post ID, or a dropdown list of recent posts to your page:

Notice that you can choose to send messages after a certain period of time, to exclude certain keywords, and to only trigger comments for certain keywords…

For the best results, here are the settings I typically recommend:

Track first-level comments only: Turn this ON
When user leaves a comment, send message after: Immediately
Exclude comments with these keywords: Leave this blank
Only trigger for comments with these keywords: Leave this blank

Next, you’ll click the “Auto-response” button:

This is where you’ll craft the automatic response that people will receive in their inbox after they comment on your post. This response should deliver on the promise you made in the post, and prompt the user to engage with you (so they’ll become a subscriber).

Notice the sentence in parentheses at the bottom of our welcome message:

Facebook automatically adds a link back to the original post, so we always put a line of text here telling people to ignore that link so it doesn’t cause confusion.

Then, you’ll hit “Back” and then “Save.”

Next, How Do We Trigger Specific Follow-Up Messages for Certain Keywords?

You need to set up automation for the keyword you’re asking them to type into messenger. For example, in one of our campaigns, we set up an automation that delivers a free report to anyone who types the word “guide.”

As you can see above, we clicked the “Keywords” button under “Automation.”

We then created a new rule that when people typed “guide,” we responded with…

We also told ManyChat that we wanted to tag them as having downloaded this report…

The tagging is important because now we can visit the “audience” tab and see how many people have messaged from that particular post, AND we can subscribe everyone with that tag to a particular follow-up sequence…

Using this feature we’re able to generate lots of high-quality leads and customers while helping us to learn more about our audience at the same time.

Comment-to-messenger is definitely not the best growth tool for every possible situation. But it works great for generating a discussion on Facebook that transitions to messenger.

And it gives you a lot of freedom to get creative with how you engage with your customers. So definitely brainstorm new and creative ways to use this tool.

(NOTE: Ready to get started with your own Messenger bot? Check out our BRAND NEW 6-Step Facebook Messenger Bot Builder to get our exclusive strategy that makes running your Messenger Bots easy for any business. And if you act now, you can get this Execution Plan for 85% OFF! Learn more here.)

In the meantime, here are a few best practices that I’ve picked up from my experience using it:

5 Tips to Get the Most Out of the Comment-to-Message Growth Tool
1) Ask a polarizing question

Your goal should be to generate is what Facebook calls “authentic engagement.”

In any comment-to-messenger post, your goal is to generate engagement and discussion around a topic that is relevant to your audience. And the best way I’ve found to do that is to ask a polarizing question that sparks some curiosity and debate. Something that will compel people to share their own feelings, while making them wonder what your brand thinks on the topic.

For example, if you were in the typewriter-selling business, your audience would consist of writers. Here’s an example of a polarizing question post that might appeal to writers:

2) Set the proper expectation

Take a look at that picture again, and re-read the last sentence. See how I specify, very clearly, what will happen after you leave a comment?

You want to do this on all your comment-to-messenger posts. This is a new feature and most people won’t expect a message to pop up after they leave a comment, so make sure to set that expectation so people know what’s coming.

3) Track first-level comments only

When setting up your growth tool, I recommend tracking first-level comments only. Here’s where you can change this setting:

Switch that setting to “on.” Basically it just means that if somebody tags a friend in their comment, and that friend replies to the original comment, the friend will not receive your automatic message.

Here’s how this would work:

Since anyone replying to a comment is probably more interested in responding to their friend than getting your auto-message, this generally results in a nicer experience for everybody.

4) When using comment-to-messenger in combination with Facebook ads, make sure to use “Engagement” as your objective

This makes sense when you think about it. What you really want is for people to comment on your post so you can transition them to messenger.

And because you’re asking people to comment, you’ll want to stick with just the Facebook feed as your placement:

5) Watch out for “engagement bait”

One thing you’ll need to be careful of when using this tool is posting what Facebook now calls “engagement bait.” And this is such an important point that I’m going to give it a subhead so all the people who are just scanning this article will notice it.

Warning: Avoid Posting “Engagement Bait”

In the past, many marketers (myself included) wrote posts that urged people into interacting with a specific post. Here are a few examples from Facebook:

The problem with engagement bait is that it can feel kinda spammy, and in many cases, it leads to low-quality engagement rather than real discussion.

You need to watch out for this when you’re using comment-to-messenger because it can be easy to create an engagement bait post without even meaning to. Here’s an example of a post we created here at DigitalMarketer over a year ago. At the time it was fine, but today it might fall under the category of “engagement bait”:

Here’s another example:

Keep in mind, back in early 2017, this was a perfectly acceptable use of this tool.

Today, however, things are different. If you publish a post like this now, Facebook will punish you with a lower reach. And if you repeatedly share engagement bait posts, you “will see more significant drops in reach.” (Facebook’s words.)

So the take-home message is, don’t do that.

Instead, your goal should be to generate what Facebook calls “authentic engagement.”

And that’s what this tool is really all about. Having real conversations with your audience, about the things that matter to them. You have so much to gain when you hear your audience’s real voices and real opinions.

Not only can it lead to a lot of warm sales conversations, it can also help you to learn more about the people you’re serving in your business, what their biggest challenges are, and how you can help them even more.

(NOTE: Ready to get started with your own Messenger bot? Check out our BRAND NEW 6-Step Facebook Messenger Bot Builder to get our exclusive strategy that makes running your Messenger Bots easy for any business. And if you act now, you can get this Execution Plan for 85% OFF! Learn more here.)

The post Facebook’s Comment-to-Messenger Feature: Everything You Need to Know appeared first on DigitalMarketer.

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Mixpanel vs. Google Analytics: The 2018 Guide

sourced from: https://conversionxl.com/blog/mixpanel-vs-google-analytics/

This post is not a dry feature-by-feature comparison, nor does it include a winner-take-all verdict. Your business won’t benefit from either of those things.

Instead, we’re comparing Mixpanel and Google Analytics in the terms that drive business growth—identifying the core use cases for each tool and the business problems they solve, while highlighting the features that make it possible.

Anything else is merely a list of data points. That’s as useful as analytics without analysts: troves of data but no actionable insights.

The core use cases

Google Analytics is the standard for measuring acquisition—identifying the sources of traffic to your website or app. Google Analytics also tracks on-site behavior through events and goals. It does not, however, de-anonymize data. User ID tracking allows you to track the behavior of individual users, but their identities remain unknown.
Mixpanel, in many ways, picks up where Google Analytics leaves off. It has robust, user-centered tracking that connects company CRMs to the online behaviors of real people—and enables you to send targeted messages to them, at a group or individual level. Mixpanel’s event-based tracking is fundamentally different than the Google Analytics pageview model.

Google Analytics switched its default metric from “sessions” to “users” in 2018, mirroring Mixpanel’s emphasis on users over pageviews.

Most businesses, even Mixpanel’s paying customers, retain Google Analytics. It’s free, after all, and, at the very least, offers the chance to corroborate data across two platforms.

When Google Analytics makes the most sense: If your business relies on its website solely for marketing purposes—to attract visitors and generate leads—Google Analytics provides most of your actionable data. You’ll be able to see which channels (paid, organic, social, etc.) have the highest conversion rate and identify the content that earns the most interest from your target audience.
When Mixpanel makes the most sense: If your website or app is your product, however, Mixpanel offers the granular detail that’s essential for monitoring user behavior. You’ll be able to see which acquisition channels are best for long-term retention or lifetime value, not simply those that drive initial conversions.
When it could go either way: Other companies—like ecommerce sites selling physical products—may straddle the use-case gap. The size of their business, the number of products, the length of the buying cycle, and other variables may determine whether Mixpanel can deliver a strong ROI.

In the end, the more user data you have to push into Mixpanel—and the more that data shapes your business decisions—the more value you’ll extract from it.

The business problems that Google Analytics and Mixpanel solve
Hundreds of user reviews of both platforms on G2 Crowd reveal the key benefits—and shortcomings—of each. (Image source)
Acquisition
1. “We don’t know where our traffic is coming from.”

G2 Crowd, a business technology review site, has almost 3,000 reviews of Google Analytics. When we analyzed all of them, the patterns were easy to spot, one phrase above all others: “…traffic is coming from.”

That phrase alone—there were other, similar ones, too—appeared 53 times. Google Analytics excels at revealing your traffic sources. In the words of hundreds of reviewers, Google Analytics was essential to “identify channels,” “track campaigns,” and monitor “traffic flow.”

“Google Analytics is definitely better at measuring traffic,” noted Dan McGaw, the founder and CMO of Effin Amazing. Other digital marketing experts I asked seconded his opinion. Google’s dominance of the ad market has bolstered its primacy for acquisition metrics—integrations with Google Ads (search and display) are comprehensive and seamless.

Mixpanel also tracks acquisition sources but, in its tracking and reporting, emphasizes what those users do, not the raw visibility of web pages. As Mixpanel’s Aaron Krivitzky explained:

[Cost per Acquisition] and [Cost per Click] are important, but they tell you nothing about user retention, they tell you nothing about lifetime value, and they tell you nothing about the actual end-user sentiment, behaviors, or experience.

For high-traffic sites or short-lived apps, the need to understand real-time acquisition paths and performance offers a point of separation between the two tools.

2. “We need to know how our site (or app) is performing right now.”

A small subset of businesses may have unique acquisition strategies that depend on real-time adjustments to copy, design, or resource allocation. All Mixpanel reporting is real-time; Google Analytics has real-time reports that, after a few hours, filter into core reports.

Fully integrated, real-time access to data has potential benefits for large media sites:

The Huffington Post tests multiple headlines for articles. After a few minutes of data—a meaningful amount, given the site’s traffic volume—they discard the less-popular headline.
Real-time analytics help streaming video services shift resources based on demand. If, say, a season finale or critical moment in a sporting event risks overwhelming servers, real-time analytics can tip off technical teams to the need before issues affect users.

Real-time reporting can also help large ecommerce companies manage their products. “Mainly it’s an inventory issue,” according to Steve Kurniawan of Nine Peaks Media, “although it can also help other things like tracking product deliveries and negative reviews.”

There are other use cases, too, such as app developers seeking to maximize the value of users for a viral game with a lifespan of days or weeks. Real-time data can validate near-constant changes to keep users engaged.

Still, the use-cases for real-time reporting are limited. For most Mixpanel users, the platform’s most meaningful feature is its ability to tie actual prospect and customer data to online behavior, providing greater insight into the experiences that affect engagement, conversion, and retention.

Engagement, conversion, and retention
3. “We can’t connect analytics data to our real-life customers.”

“Mixpanel is a great tool for tracking user behavior and acting on it,” affirmed McGaw. Realizing those core benefits—tracking and acting—requires stitching together online actions at two levels:

From device to device. Google Analytics has cross-device tracking. However, its system relies on cookies and User IDs, and includes only those “who have opted in to personalized advertising.” For companies with a SaaS platform or app, that system may not be enough. In McGaw’s experience, “If you have a web app and mobile app, Google Analytics is pretty shitty at tying those users together.”
From user to human. Google Analytics’ User ID policy prevents this second connection, providing the sharpest break between its capabilities and those of Mixpanel. By connecting companies’ user data to its analytics, Mixpanel can build analytics cohorts based on CRM data and push messages to high-value segments.

What do these differences look like in the real world? Saas consultant Sid Bharath gave an example:

Let’s say Google Analytics shows that paid search has the highest conversion rate. With this data alone, it seems like you should double down on paid search.

However, if you had Mixpanel in there, you could see how those converters interacted with your software. So you could filter by paid traffic, and it may show that these customers actually churn at a much higher rate, or they’re not as engaged as organic customers.

At Mixpanel, Krivitzky has seen potential clients come to him with similar business needs: “How do my end-users use my app? Which features are sticky? How common is X use case versus Y?”

In addition to identifying high-value cohorts, Mixpanel also lets businesses send targeted messages to those same users—a benefit noted regularly across more than 200 product reviews from G2 Crowd. “With Mixpanel’s cross-device marketing automation suite,” noted McGaw, “You can email, text, push, and pop up across devices to provide a pretty amazing experience.”

Mixpanel allows businesses to send messages to real people based on online behaviors.
4. “We don’t understand our customer journey well.”

Both Google Analytics and Mixpanel offer conversion funnels. Mixpanel funnels—based on feedback from experts and hundreds of reviews—are more user-friendly to create and more granular in their segmentation. (Notably, Mixpanel funnels also apply retroactively to data.)

Google Analytics funnels and Behavior Flow visualizations lack the customization of Mixpanel funnels, which allow segmentation by user characteristics.

Creating segmented user groups based on broad demographic data is possible in Google Analytics; however, it requires applying a segment to the Funnel Visualization, rather than embedding that segment in the funnel itself.

Mixpanel users can set up custom funnels by selecting any series of user behaviors.

The customization and comparative intuitiveness of Mixpanel funnels—which can be set up simply by defining a series of steps—were a common highlight in user reviews:

“Easy ability to create funnels”

“Easy to set up events and funnels”

“Easy to set up powerful user funnels”

“Easy to understand user interface for funneling”

In contrast, Funnel Visualizations and Behavior Flows in Google Analytics were a frequent frustration: “Trying to set up goal funnels is an exercise in mania.”

Google Analytics funnels are notoriously difficult to set up and interpret.

The difference between technical capacity and ease of implementation is not trivial. It speaks to the importance of actually using analytics tools—not just having access to the data within them—and hints at some of the data-centric problems the C-suite often looks to solve.

C-suite level
5. “We don’t know the impact of each marketing channel.”

Cross-channel attribution extends beyond first and last clicks. For large organizations, stronger attribution can help demonstrate the ROI—or lack thereof—for multi-million-dollar television campaigns or in-store promotions.

The Google Analytics 360 Suite offers extensive attribution tracking. “Some clients ask us to design and implement marketing attribution models for them,” recounted Kurniawan. “In these cases, we use Google Analytics 360 Suite, which offers an amazing custom marketing attribution feature.”

In contrast to standard Google Analytics, which uses a last non-direct click attribution—thereby attributing 100% of the conversion to some online source—Google Analytics 360 accounts for television ads’ impact on online behavior and also folds in-store purchases into conversion data (crediting online sources for offline purchases).

That benefit comes at a cost—starting at $150,000 per year. For many organizations, no matter how accurate the insights, the ROI simply isn’t there. (Mixpanel, whose paid version starts at $999 per year, charges by the number of data points tracked; costs can quickly scale into a four-figure monthly fee, especially for SaaS or app companies that offer freemium models.)

6. “We need to make data collection more efficient.”

In some cases, the technical capacities of Google Analytics and Mixpanel are similar. The value of one tool over the other depends on the technical abilities of those using the platform.

Several Mixpanel users—in in-house and agency settings—viewed the user-friendly components of its analysis as true cost savings because they reduced the amount of human labor necessary to create and interpret reports.

Nishank Khanna, the CMO of Clarify Capital, explained why they added Mixpanel to their analytics suite:

We were using Google Analytics for years, until it became a chore to track custom event-driven data. As our business needs for analytics grew more sophisticated, we needed to easily define events to track, ensuring a flexibility that promotes focused and meaningful analytics.

We found that in Mixpanel, and the time saved was day and night.

Khanna’s experience wasn’t unique. As Kurniawan confirmed, the ease of implementation is, at times, more important than the technical differences:

Technically, for event tracking versus pageview tracking, both Mixpanel and Google Analytics can do them very well given enough effort. So it’s a matter of ease of use: Setting up event tracking is significantly easier on Mixpanel opposed to Google Analytics.

In our case, since we set up marketing systems including analytics for clients, some (well, most) of them are not tech savvy. Ease of implementation is very important so we don’t have to go back and forth often.

Throughout user reviews for both products, definitions of “easy” and “hard” varied. Complicating matters, an “easy” setup often meant easy data collection—not easy interpretation.

The paradox was clear. Some Mixpanel reviewers lauded its easy setup; others lamented its challenges. Google Analytics was “great if you have no experience” but also only useful “if you have experience.” Just because you can gather data quickly doesn’t mean you’ll know what to do with it.

No product feature or technical capability can replace human interpretation, at least not yet. Both Google Analytics and Mixpanel have rolled out systems to automatically push alerts or pull insights from their platforms.

Mixpanel (left) and Google Analytics (right) have both rolled out automated alerts to make data more accessible.
Conclusion

“Mixpanel is most valuable for companies who need to track revenue over a long period of time, or really know how their users use their product,” summarized McGaw.

In other words, What percentage of your business decisions are driven by things that happen after a website visit or form fill?

If the stopping point in Google Analytics is only the midpoint (or less) for your customers’ online experience, Mixpanel can extend and deepen the analytics portrait—tracing individual users or cohorts all the way back to their initial interaction.

Still, the question of which analytics platform to use doesn’t hinge on these two alone. Others, like Amplitude, Kissmetrics, and Heap, also gather and aggregate user and product data.

All require an investment beyond the tool itself—one in human capital—to translate data into the product improvements and user satisfaction that make analytics meaningful.

The post Mixpanel vs. Google Analytics: The 2018 Guide appeared first on CXL.

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How to Curate Sitelinks to Increase Conversions

sourced from: https://conversionxl.com/blog/sitelinks/

If you rely on search engine traffic, conversion optimization starts before visitors get to your site. Why? Sitelinks.

For most sites, a brand query (e.g. “king arthur flour”) generates sitelinks—links from other pages on your site that appear below the main link, typically the homepage. For mobile searches, those sitelinks may be expandable, allowing users to browse multiple levels of your site, all before clicking a link.

These potential shortcuts can streamline the user experience and get visitors to the places they want to go—and the places you want them to go—faster. After all, how many users accomplish their goal on your homepage?

Yet few know:

which sitelinks show up for their site;
how their sitelinks have changed over time;
why they may have changed; or
how they can influence the sitelinks that appear.

If you want answers, keep reading.

Why sitelinks matter for conversions

Google’s own research has shown that, compared to non-branded keywords, brand keywords have a 2x higher conversion rate. Supporting research also shows that brand queries consistently deliver higher conversion rates.

That conclusion aligns with intuition—searchers using brand keywords already have brand awareness and, presumably, brand affinity—and also underscores the importance of a great user experience for those visitors.

When a brand search generates sitelinks, some of your most qualified users are choosing their next step based on those options. Taking good care of them can have a disproportionate impact on your leads and sales compared to optimizations that target non-branded queries.

Neglecting those visitors, on the other hand, may cost you easy sales.

How do search engines choose sitelinks?

Sitelinks appear below the main link for a “navigational” query, or “one in which the user is looking for a specific web site, rather than information from a web page.” About 18% of all queries qualify as navigational queries. Most navigational queries are explicit brand queries.

The main link (1) and its (2) sitelinks. (Image source)

According to Google, sitelinks are “shortcuts that will save users time and allow them to quickly find the information they’re looking for.” Bing refers to sitelinks as “popular destinations,” or pages where users typically end up after entering a website.

Importantly, sitelinks are not merely a cache of popular pages: “The destinations may not be among the topranked results, may not contain the queried terms, or may not even be indexed by the search engine.”

So how are they chosen? Sitelinks are generated algorithmically. Bill Slawski, who monitors search engine patents, summarizes the likely factors:

How many times the page has been accessed
How long visitors stayed upon the page
If a visitor scrolled down the page, or clicked on a link, without scrolling down
Information retrieval scores for the page, along with an indication of how good a match the page may be for the query that was used in the search
The likelihood that someone might make a purchase on that page
Other information that might indicate that someone would be interested in the page

Until 2016, site owners could use Google Search Console (GSC) to “demote” sitelinks—blocking irrelevant pages from appearing as sitelinks for 90 days. Bing still allows site owners to block “deep links” in its Webmaster Tools.

How are sitelink labels chosen?

Even if the ideal sitelinks are chosen, the labels for those sitelinks may be uninformative or misaligned with the content of the page.

Confusingly, Major League Soccer’s website has three sitelinks with a “news” label, including their RSS feed.

As Yahoo confirms, accurate, informative labels are vital to earning clicks:

Eye-tracking studies have shown that search engine users focus a lot of their attention on the link title of the results, paying even more attention to the link title than to the summary provided along with the result.

Ultimately, sitelink labels are chosen based on several factors. Again, Bill Slawski summarizes potential factors based on patent filings:

Anchor text pointing to the page from internal or external links
Search queries for which the page was returned as a result, especially if it was the first result or among the top ten
Search queries for which the page was clicked upon from search results
Key phrases extracted from social bookmarking tags

The ongoing rise of mobile search has made sitelinks and their labels increasingly important.

Why sitelinks are critical for mobile conversions

Google introduced sitelinks in 2006. Initially, they appeared for only the first result of a navigational query and only underneath a site’s homepage.

Over the past decade, Google has rolled out a number changes, such as one-line sitelinks below multiple results and sitelinks for pages other than the homepage. Yet for conversions, the most important change—expandable sitelinks—has happened on mobile.

Expandable sitelinks—initially tested in 2017 and later rolled out on a larger scale—allow users to browse a website directly from search results, potentially navigating through multiple levels before clicking a link:

Getting expandable mobile sitelinks hinges, in large part, on a consistent site structure.

For ecommerce sites, a clear, consistent hierarchy is vital. REI, which gets 1.9 million monthly brand queries according to Ahrefs data, reveals what can happen if you don’t get it right:

 

First, if you’re looking for women’s clothes, there’s no sitelink. Second, if you’re shopping for men’s goods, there’s no expandable sitelink menu to refine your choice. And it’s not as though REI doesn’t have pages for various types of menswear:

 

 

However, those pages are part of a flat site architecture rather than a nested, hierarchical structure:

Men’s clothing sitelink URL:

https://www.rei.com/h/mens-clothing

Sample product category URLs:

https://www.rei.com/c/mens-boots

https://www.rei.com/c/mens-casual-jackets

https://www.rei.com/c/mens-pants

The lack of a hierarchy weakens search engine connections between the top-level page and product categories, preventing that section from earning expandable sitelinks.

In contrast, the Classes & Events page includes individual locations behind the main URL:

Classes & Events sitelink URL:

https://www.rei.com/events

Individual location URLs:

https://www.rei.com/events/p/us-ga-atlanta

https://www.rei.com/events/p/us-ca-los-angeles

https://www.rei.com/events/p/us-wa-seattle

Sure enough, the top-level category receives expandable sitelinks:

 

For REI, an inconsistent site structure puts unnecessary clicks between mobile shoppers and a sale. (Those looking for women’s gear have no choice but the homepage.)

Of course, you won’t be able to diagnose or resolve these issues unless you know which sitelinks appear for your brand.

How to identify sitelinks for your brand

Beyond the anecdotal (and “personalized”) evidence you may uncover in a self-search, how much do you know about which sitelinks appear for your site?

GSC provides an easy way to see which sitelinks show up. First, filter queries to include only brand queries:

Depending on your brand name, you may need to use “Queries containing” rather than “Query is exactly” (especially if your brand name has multiple words, is frequently misspelled, or includes geographic modifiers). It’s impossible to capture every brand query, but filtering for most is sufficient.

GSC provides up to 16 months of data. Choose whichever time period you’re most interested in (and compare results over time, something covered in the next section).

From there, navigate below to the “Pages” tab and filter “Position” by “Smaller than 1.5.” This limits the data to instances when pages rank first for brand queries. (GSC reports an appearance as a sitelink as a ranking of 1.)

The resulting list allows you to see your sitelinks for the given time period ordered by impressions (the number of times they appeared) or clicks (the number of times they earned user clicks):

You can also run the same analysis with the Device category set to desktop, mobile, or tablet to determine whether different sitelinks appear for mobile users.

This static portrait, however, is just the beginning.

How to measure changes to sitelinks

Exporting month-by-month or quarter-by-quarter data from GSC—using the same parameters identified in the previous section—can show how sitelink visibility has changed over time. This is particularly useful to determine how changes to your site affect changes to your sitelinks.

Divide the number of impressions for each page by the number of impressions to the homepage. The resulting percentage shows how often each page shows up as a sitelink. For example, if a services page has 20,000 impressions and the homepage 40,000, the services page shows up as sitelink 50% of the time.

For CXL, the Agency, Institute, and Blog pages have appeared as sitelinks nearly 100% of the time over the last year, with the About page trailing just behind. The remaining sitelinks have appeared more recently:

(Certainly, other pages have appeared—and disappeared—over time. To create a cleaner chart, I’ve included only the seven pages that currently appear most often as sitelinks.)

Similarly, you can chart the percentage of clicks that have gone to each sitelink. Simply divide the number of clicks to a given page by the total number of clicks to any page on the site:

These charts reveal where brand-query users go first on our site. If 4–8% of users searching for “conversionxl” enter through the blog, the blog landing page—a de-facto homepage for some of our highest-value users—needs enough information to engage those visitors.

While the above sitelinks make sense for CXL, what happens if your sitelinks fail to include key pages or list irrelevant ones?

A sitelink for Dell’s New Zealand site is a wasted opportunity to streamline a user experience. (I’m more than 10,000 miles away.)

Jobs pages are a regular offender. If you’re not desperate to hire and you syndicate your job listings through other sites, there’s no reason to take up valuable real estate with a page whose presence relies on signals from non-customers:

Jobs pages have tons of user signals—but low ROI—for brand queries.

If your sitelinks aren’t tailored for key visitors—for any reason—there are things you can do.

How to improve sitelinks for your site

Many search signals affect which sitelinks appear and which labels identify them. As Google noted in 2011:

From a ranking perspective, there’s really no separation between “regular” results and sitelinks anymore.

Existing best practices for the link structure of your site are still relevant today, both for generating good quality sitelinks and to make it easier for your visitors.

Thus, no single optimization can guarantee changes to sitelinks. But you’re not helpless, either.

Google’s advice to improve sitelinks highlights a few standard SEO best practices:

Provide a clear structure for your website, using relevant internal links and anchor text that’s informative, compact, and avoids repetition.
Allow Google to crawl and index important pages within your site. Use Fetch and Render to check that they can be rendered properly.
If you need to remove a page from search completely, use a “noindex” robots meta tag on that page.

Another post from Google harps on the importance of site and page structure, going so far as to advocate a table of contents to generate “in-snippet” sitelinks that take users directly to sections of multi-topic pages:

Ensure that long, multi-topic pages on your site are well-structured and broken into distinct logical sections. Second, ensure that each section has an associated anchor with a descriptive name (i.e., not just “Section 2.1”), and that your page includes a “table of contents” which links to the individual anchors.

Those recommendations about the importance of page structure apply beyond in-snippet links—just as pages contain sections, subdirectories contain pages, and websites contain subdirectories.

Given the rise of expandable sitelinks for mobile search, the importance of a clear, hierarchical site structure will only increase—users may navigate through multiple subdirectories on a search results page before they click a link. (Or, if they don’t find what they need, not click at all.)

In addition to a clear, hierarchical site structure, there are other options for improvement.

Additional ways to influence the sitelinks for your site:

Own your brand name. Obviously, this recommendation isn’t feasible for established brands, but those choosing a new brand name should avoid direct competition with other sites. If search engines don’t identify a query for your brand as a navigational query, they’re unlikely to return sitelinks.
Set irrelevant pages to “noindex.” Use a “noindex” tag to keep low- or no-value pages (such as a privacy policy or jobs page) from appearing as sitelinks. Do so cautiously: Some pages that are poor sitelinks may still have valuable search signals—such as backlinks—that a “noindex” tag casts aside.
Develop a robust internal linking structure. Internal links should reinforce your site structure—parent pages link to child pages, child pages link back to parent pages, and so on.
Choose informative, semantically varied anchor text. Anchor text is an opportunity to include descriptive text that helps search engines understand the content of a linked page. Those anchors, when consistent but not identical (i.e. synonyms), may also help search engines determine which text to include for a sitelink label.
Earn backlinks to deep pages. Most sites are “top heavy” with links from other sites pointing primarily to the homepage. Deep links that point to interior pages help build the authority of those pages, making it more likely that search engines will include them as sitelinks.

Ways to increase user engagement and conversions from sitelink clicks:

Ensure that sitelinks that are “de-facto homepages” engage visitors. Treat your most common sitelinks as de-facto homepages: They should make a good first impression and include relevant internal links to move visitors through your site. Avoid dead-end “About Us” pages that don’t encourage visitors to explore product or service pages after learning about your organization.
Make sure you have a coupon or sale page. Coupon, discount, and sale queries usually include a brand name (e.g. “aftershokz coupons”), qualifying them as a navigational search. Even if you don’t offer coupons, a targeted page explaining your policy may show up as a sitelink underneath the homepage for generic brand queries. That sitelink may bring more ready-to-buy clicks to your domain versus the third-party coupon sites below it.

Conclusion

Search engine users typing in a brand query are some of the most valuable users for a site. Yet they’re often ignored—relegated to the homepage or offered a selection of algorithmically curated pages that fail to differentiate between a job seeker and a paying customer. Mobile searchers may even browse sections of a website directly in search results.

Google Search Console provides the data that site owners need to identify sitelinks and monitor changes over time. Those insights can help measure the impact of efforts to put the most relevant, high-value sitelinks in front of brand searchers.

That, in turn, gets more users to their destination pages faster, making conversions quicker and easier—and making websites more profitable.

 

The post How to Curate Sitelinks to Increase Conversions appeared first on CXL.

0

Facebook Messenger Ads: How to Use Them in Your Business

sourced from: https://www.digitalmarketer.com/blog/how-to-use-facebook-messenger-ads/

It’s been a little over a year since I first wrote this post, and a LOT has changed since then. Messenger marketing has come a long way, and today there are more ways than ever to engage your customers using Facebook Messenger ads.

In the updated version of this post I’m explaining the ins and outs of Facebook Messenger ads and how to strategically deploy them in your business.

But before you can put them to work, you need to know the why—why this ad type matters to ANY and EVERY business…

I know it’s easy to assume that this ad type (or channel as a whole) would only work for “high-tech” audiences, or “big” companies that have the resources to man a customer communication channel… but, stay with me.

That’s not the case.

After doing a bit of thinking and research, I realized that assuming Messenger only works for highly technical markets is like saying that Facebook as a marketing channel only works for highly technical markets…

This chart from Business Insider is mind-blowing.

At the beginning of 2015, monthly usage of the top 4 messaging apps surpassed usage of the top 4 social networks… and it continues to grow.

And, over ONE BILLION people use Facebook Messenger as a whole. Even my great-grandmother (she’s in her 90’s) uses Facebook Messenger…

My point is that we must not only enter the conversation that’s already taking place in our customer’s head, we must BE in the places where our customers are having their conversations.

Aside from even advertising through Messenger, being reactive and responsive to your people throughout the entire Customer Value Journey via Messenger is essential.

I recently experienced this as a consumer.

I was driving down the road and saw a new apartment complex. I reached out via Messenger from their Facebook page to inquire about the property.

Every step of my Customer Journey, from scheduling a tour to negotiating the lease, was done through Facebook Messenger. It’s very likely that if they weren’t as responsive on Messenger as they were, I would’ve ended up living somewhere else.

If you get nothing else out of this article remember this… Messenger is an essential communication channel for businesses (and it’s still experiencing rapid growth).

Facebook reported that more than 1 in 2 people say they’re more likely to shop with a business they can message, and 67% of people expect to message businesses more in the next 2 years.

It’s how people are communicating with family and friends. A large portion of our society prefers to communicate via a messenger with quick responses.

Adapt… or lose business to your competition. 

Now, we, as marketers, have the opportunity to tap into this tremendous channel to grow our business and better serve our customers.

Here’s How It Works…

There are 3 different “types” of Facebook Messenger ads.

Click-to-Messenger ads: These drive traffic and conversations, using Messenger as a destination
Sponsored Messages: These allow you to send promotional messages even after the 24-hour rule has passed
Messenger Home Placement: This is a placement for ads that can appear on your Messenger home screen (and they can take people either to a Messenger conversation or to a landing page)

Let’s start with…

Messenger Ad Type #1: Click-to-Messenger Ads

Purpose: To build your subscriber list and start conversations with new people.

These are the most popular and commonly used Messenger ads, and it’s easy to see why. They provide you with an extremely versatile way to start new Messenger conversations with people, using all of the normal ad & targeting options available inside Facebook.

Destination ads appear in the newsfeed, and when clicked on, open inside of a Facebook message (instead of sending traffic to a URL):

You can find this destination option at the ad level when creating a campaign in Ads Manager or Power Editor.

Click-to-messenger ads look and feel like a normal Facebook ad, with the option to include an image, video, carousel, slideshow, etc. The only real difference in their appearance is the call to action button, which will say “Send Message” or “Get Started”:

A few things to note about destination ads…

You can target ANYONE(this is important—you can target interests, behaviors, custom audiences, etc.)
They can show up in the newsfeed for Facebook and Instagram (desktop and mobile)
They’re available for campaigns with the objectives “Traffic,” “Messages,” or “Conversions” (So, don’t panic if you chose another objective and don’t see Messenger as an option)

Ways to use this ad type…

Retargeting

What’s the biggest “hang-up” in your Customer Journey?

Use destination ads to give people an extra touch point with your brand. Help them overcome any barriers to purchase.

For example, we use Messenger ads to retarget people who visit our sales pages but don’t purchase the product. If you visit the sales page for DigitalMarketer Lab but don’t buy, you’ll see this ad:

There’s usually a reason people don’t buy, and if you give people a platform to ask questions and help overcome doubt, it works wonders. For example, people want to know if the product will actually work for their business, if there is a contract or commitment, if they can add team members, etc.

Once their questions are answered, most are ready to purchase the product. This entire conversation is happening via Facebook Messenger.

Cold traffic

We have the option to run destination ads to cold traffic (people who have never heard of our brand).

This can be used to raise awareness and acquire customers, but—it must be done right.

The key here is to make sure the ad prompts an ideal sales conversation. For example, if your ad asks people to respond with their favorite color, it’s probably going to be a waste of time and money.

But, if you can prompt a conversation that leads to your ideal sales conversation… you’re golden.

Imagine you own a home improvement company that provides a slew of services: plumbing, landscaping, painting, etc.

You could run an ad in your local area that says: “If you could ‘fix’ one aspect of your home, what would it be?” People will respond with answers like “landscaping” or “I’d paint my home.” You now know each person’s pain point, and you can cater your conversation with them around this topic. As a result, your odds of making a sale will be much higher.

Again, I wouldn’t recommend starting here as I don’t believe this is the most highly leveraged activity within Facebook Messenger ads, but, it’s worth a shot when you’re ready for scale.

2 Quick Tips for Your Click-to-Messenger Ads

For the best results, I highly recommend following these best practices when creating click-to-messenger ads inside Facebook:

Always set the right expectation.

Even though these ads have been around a while, many people are still unfamiliar with them and may be surprised when they click on the ad and Messenger opens. So make it clear, in your ad copy, that clicking on the call to action button will open a Messenger conversation.

You don’t want to surprise people, because they may get confused. So make sure they understand exactly what’s going to happen.

For your marketing objective, use “Traffic” or “Messages” instead of “Conversions.”

I know, I know—we all want more conversions (more leads and sales). But the problem with using “Conversions” for these ads as your objective is that Facebook won’t get enough data to really optimize your campaign.

So until pixels are implemented inside Messenger in some way, I recommend optimizing your click-to-messenger ads for Traffic or Messages.

Messenger Ad Type #2: Sponsored Messages

Purpose: To re-engage with and send promotional messages to people who are already subscribers.

Sponsored messages appear inside the Facebook Messenger inbox of your Messenger subscribers (in other words, anyone who has messaged you in the past and has not unsubscribed).

It’s an identical experience to receiving a Facebook message from a friend, these just come from a brand.

If you’re using a Messenger marketing tool like ManyChat (and I hope you are), then you already have the ability to send broadcasts and promotional messages to the people on your list. But when sending messages through a tool like ManyChat, you’re only allowed to send promotional messages within a 24-hour window after that person has interacted with your chatbot.

What makes Sponsored Messages so powerful is that you can send a promotional message anytime you want—even if it’s outside of that 24-hour window.

You can find this option at the ad set level when creating a campaign in Ads Manager or Power Editor. First, set your marketing objective as “Messages”:

Then choose “Sponsored Messages” from the drop-down:

By default, your message will be sent to everyone who has an existing conversation with you in Messenger. If you want to narrow down that targeting further, you can do so by clicking on “Advanced Options” under Audience. There you can narrow your focus to target subscribers based on their location, demographics, interests, etc.

In terms of placements, there’s only 1 option available: Sponsored messages. So you don’t have to change anything there.

For Sponsored Messages, Facebook recommends choosing a lifetime budget over a week. And right now, the cost is about $30 per 1,000 impressions. So a little napkin math should make it easy to figure out what your budget needs to be in order to reach all of your Messenger subscribers.

When creating an actual message, you can include links and images—like we do in this one:

Here’s where you can customize that stuff inside the Ads Manager:

You can also customize customer actions (such as providing suggested quick replies). But if you’re using ManyChat, you don’t have to worry about that—just use Facebook to send the initial message, and then let ManyChat take over from there.

A few things to note about sponsored messages…

You can ONLY target people who have previously messaged your page in the past. (As long as they haven’t unsubscribed.)
It’s available for campaigns with the “Messages” objective.
Keep in mind that your messages won’t necessarily be delivered immediately. In Facebook’s words: “You should expect the majority of your sponsored messages to deliver in the 3–5 days after your campaign starts. If you want to manually schedule a start and end date for your campaign, it’s recommended to set your campaign length for at least 1 week, to ensure full delivery.”
Only 1 sponsored message will be delivered per person, per ad set. If you want to send multiple sponsored messages to each person, you’ll need to create multiple ad sets.
Facebook charges advertisers by impressions, which means you are charged whether the end user opens the message or not. That is, unless you use a tool like…

ManyChat.com

ManyChat is much more than a “bot” (in my opinion, the bot is the least sexy feature).

ManyChat builds a list of subscribers that you can send sponsored messages to; people who have previously messaged your page:

Although Facebook is building this list, too, the benefit is ManyChat allows you to broadcast sponsored messages to your subscriber list for just $10/month (instead of paying Facebook on a CPM basis):

We’ve sent sponsored messages to our subscriber list, and the open rates have been INSANE (especially compared to email open rates)!!

As I mentioned above, the only limitation to ManyChat broadcasts is that you can only send promotional messages in the first 24 hours after someone has interacted with your bot. That’s Facebook’s rule, not ManyChat’s, and it’s there to help keep spam low and engagement high inside Messenger.

So that you, as an advertiser, can continue to use this channel effectively for years to come!

(RELATED: Episode 72: How DigitalMarketer Generated 500% ROI in 3 Days Using Facebook Messenger)

Messenger Ad Type #3: Messenger Home Placement

Purpose: A new placement where you can display your Facebook ads.

This isn’t really a type of ad, so much as a new placement. And the difference here is that your ad shows up inside Messenger home (as opposed to showing up inside of a specific conversation).

Here’s an example of what that looks like. Notice that the ad is sandwiched in between 2 different conversations:

Here’s another example:

And here’s where you can choose the Messenger Home placement:

Depending on your campaign, you could choose to have this ad open inside of Messenger… or you could have it take the person to a landing page. Feel free to experiment with these options, but keep in mind that because people are already inside of Messenger, there will be less friction if you keep them on Messenger rather than try to take them somewhere else (like your website).

OK, next I want to touch really briefly on…

How to Monitor Your Messenger Ad Performance

Obviously you’ll want to monitor the performance of your Messenger ad campaigns to see how they’re performing. And to see all the engagement metrics from your Messenger ads, just head over to the Ads Manager and choose “Messenger engagement” from the drop-down on the right:

Facebook will organize the columns to show your Messenger stats, including your total replies, link clicks, new messaging conversations, etc.

Just wanted to make sure you know that these metrics are available to you!

So, ready to put Facebook Messenger ads to work in your business? Let’s talk about…

(NOTE: With Lab+, you can access all 11 of our acclaimed marketing certification and mastery courses PLUS everything Lab has to offer. Quickly become a full-stack marketer with the best training available. Start your free trial today!)

How to Build Your Subscriber List

Sponsored messages are so powerful, and—this is really important—the fact that you can only send them to people who have previously messaged your page will keep this from becoming a spam-fest.

But, there does need to be list building strategies, similar to email.

For one thing, you can use destination ads to build your Messenger subscriber list.

ManyChat also provides a unique URL that when clicked, opens a Facebook message with your brand page.

For example, we sent an email and used the link to drive messages:

Not only did this provide an extra line of communication for people who would prefer to use Messenger, it sold tickets! As you can see from this Facebook Messenger conversation between a customer and one of our sales reps…

If you’re using a software like Shopify, you can integrate with Facebook and build your subscriber list as people purchase your product:

You can also send follow-up messages to confirm the order and send shipping information:

…Which is a great way to improve user experience.

And, don’t forget—even people who message your page (for customer service related questions, for example) are added to your subscriber list!

You may be wondering, Wow… this sounds awesome, but it requires a lot of human resources to answer messages!

And, you’re right. But, it doesn’t mean it’s not worth it AND it doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from this ad type even if you’re a 1-person show. Here are a few tips:

Start super small, down the funnel. Use destination ads to retarget people who are toward the bottom of your funnel. This will ensure you’re having fewer, but more highly-leveraged conversations.
Get help from a bot. Use ManyChat’s bot feature to welcome people who message your page, you could essentially automate the sales process with this tool.
Use the tagging system inside of Facebook Messenger to stay organized. Our team created tags to help systemize the process:

I also recommend integrating your customer service and sales platforms with Facebook Messenger so that your team can leverage Messenger while still having access to customer information.

Using Facebook’s Comment-to-Messenger Feature to Grow Your Subscriber Base

If you’re using ManyChat (or similar tools), you have the opportunity to leverage Facebook’s Comment-to-Messenger feature. This feature allows you to auto-message any person that comments on a specific Facebook post.

And if they respond to your message, they’ll automatically be added to your subscriber list.

Here’s an example…

Click here for a step-by-step guide on how to set up and deploy this strategy… along with examples of different business types.

Take advantage of Facebook Messenger ads to connect with your audience in a more interactive and meaningful way. Using the tools I’ve described in this post, you can build systems in your business that leverage this channel so that you can build a subscriber list, similar to email. Then…

Test, test, test, and as always… let us know how these strategies are working in your business!

(NOTE: With Lab+, you can access all 11 of our acclaimed marketing certification and mastery courses PLUS everything Lab has to offer. Quickly become a full-stack marketer with the best training available. Start your free trial today!)

The post Facebook Messenger Ads: How to Use Them in Your Business appeared first on DigitalMarketer.