Author: Bayete Inkosi

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4 Steps to Grow a Profitable Facebook Page

sourced from: https://www.digitalmarketer.com/blog/grow-profitable-facebook-page/

Every now and then, I hear someone say:

“Facebook is dead.”

And for a second I think, could it be true?

Could Facebook, one of the most powerful marketing platforms in history, already be on its way out?

And I gotta tell you. I don’t think so.

Because when you know how to position your page in a way that appeals to the right people, in a way that makes your content naturally shareable, then the potential upside on Facebook is staggering.

Here’s an example of what I mean by staggering:

Over 53.9 million people reached.

Here’s another:

Over 26.1 million reached.

And here’s a few more, because why not?

Keep in mind, these aren’t my posts. They’re from my students. And they’re NOT huge brands.

These are small business owners. Solopreneurs. Regular people like you and me.

So far I’ve had more than 38 of them achieve a reach of at least 10 million people on a single Facebook post—most of that coming organically.

And guess what?

If they can do it, you can too.

It doesn’t take a master’s degree in marketing. It doesn’t take a million dollars.

All it takes is a solid understanding of how to grow a Facebook page. And I can teach you how to do that in 4 basic steps.

So what are we waiting for? Here they are: the 4 steps to growing a profitable Facebook page.

Step 1: Figure Out Who Will Be in Your Club

Do you have big dreams of reaching millions of people and generating tons of new customers from Facebook?

Awesome. I want to help you get there.

But before we get to your Facebook page itself, the #1 most critical thing you have to do is figure out who those people are.

Who’s your audience?

If you’re going to reach 10 million people, what kind of people are they?

What kind of person is going to appreciate and share your content?

It’s important that you think about this early on in the process, because so many people make the mistake of focusing on themselves—their company, their product.

But you don’t grow an audience by focusing on yourself. Do it by focusing on the people you want to attract.

Here’s a great exercise to help figure this out. It’s super simple and it works amazingly well.

Just complete this sentence:

For example:

Hi, I’m Rachel. And I help people sell their products even if no one knows who they are.
Hi, I’m Rachel. And I help people grow an audience even if they don’t have a lot of friends.

The first 2 parts of this sentence are really easy. Everybody knows who they are and what their company does.

What tends to be missing is that last part. The “even if” statement. And that’s a problem, because that’s kind of the most important part of the sentence.

In fact, you should repeat that last line as many times as possible. Go for at least 15 “even if” statements.

For example, a weight loss coach might help people to lose weight, even if they…

Hate the taste of vegetables
Have never exercised in their life
Don’t know what to eat
Have low self-esteem about their body
Are addicted to sugar

And so on.

See how this helps you to appeal to the real problems people are facing?

Those “even if” statements are what sell your products. So spend some time to get as many as you can.

(NOTE: Before you get started growing your Facebook page, you need to know who your ideal customer is, where they are, and what they will buy. Download our FREE proven Customer Avatar Worksheet now and get clear on who you’re selling to.)

Step 2: Decide How You’ll Build Your Page

There are 3 main strategies you can follow to build your Facebook page:

Build it around a person or lifestyle
Build it around a single topic
Build it around yourself, your company, or your product

There are pros and cons to each of these, so here’s some advice on how to do each one effectively.

1) Build your page around a person or lifestyle

The first way to build your page is to focus it around a particular kind of person or lifestyle. For example:

Men in their 50s who are high-performers
Moms with kids in preschool
High-income golf players in their 40s

You need to understand this person. You need to know their concerns, their hopes, their fears, their dreams.

This can be a really effective strategy, but you have to approach it the right way.

First and foremost, you have to really understand this person or lifestyle.

In a lot of cases, this lifestyle is going to be your lifestyle. If you’re creating a page meant for moms with kids in preschool, and you ARE a mom with kids in preschool, then you’re creating this page for people like you. You already understand your audience.

But that’s not always the case. Maybe you’re a 35-year-old guy creating a page for moms with preschoolers. If that’s the case, it’s OK, but keep in mind you are going to have to talk to your audience to learn about them.

Call them on the phone. Ask them questions. LISTEN to them.

You need to understand this person. You need to know their concerns, their hopes, their fears, their dreams.

In a nutshell, you need to know the important issues to this person right now. Because on this page, you’re going to become a cheerleader for those issues.

2) Build your page around a single topic

The second way to build a page is to focus it around one specific topic.

For most people, this is the approach I recommend. This is the easiest and fastest way to grow an audience—and it works not just on Facebook but also on Instagram, Pinterest, etc.

When I say a “single topic,” it could be just about anything. Such as…

Funny cat videos
Crockpot recipes
Mystery novels
Party planning
Wreath making

Some people might read that last example and think, “Wait, wreath making? Seriously?”

Yep. Seriously.

Damon and Parker have grown the audience for Deco Exchange (a company that sells wreath-making materials) up to almost 200,000 people. And they make thousands of dollars a day from their Facebook Lives.

Why is Deco Exchange so successful in such a weird little niche market?

For starters, they make it immediately clear who their content is for. Take this video, for example:

Anyone who sees this video will instantly know if they’re interested or not. If you’re a crafty person who loves making things at home, your eyes will light right up. If not, you’ll keep scrolling.

This goes to show you that you do not have to make your page about some huge topic with mass appeal. You’d be surprised at the kind of audience you can grow around a niche topic that people are passionate about.

In fact, you want to make sure your topic doesn’t get too broad.

For example, I knew a woman who created a page that was all about how to build your own deck. She was an older woman who was really passionate about building decks—which is unusual, but also pretty awesome.

What wasn’t so awesome was the fact that she also posted a lot about her dogs.

And she also posted a lot of new margarita recipes.

Can you see how those are too far off-topic? It makes the page unfocused, and that’s going to push people away.

A page focused on margarita recipes could be a great topic. But not when it’s also focused on deck-building and dogs.

So pick one topic, and make sure your page keeps a tight focus on it.

3) Build your page around yourself, your company, or your product

The third and final way to create your page is the one that a lot of people default to, which is to make their page all about them.

An example would be my own page, Moolah Marketer:

Now, a page like this can work. But I want to make you aware of some caveats here.

First of all, even if your page is focused on you or your product, it should never be entirely about you or your product. You also want to include content relevant to the topic or lifestyle that appeals to your audience so that it relates to THEM.

(RELATED: DigitalMarketer’s 21 Best Articles for Organic Traffic in 2018)

If you scroll through some of the stuff I post on Moolah Marketer, you’ll notice I’m not talking about my products or how great I am. Instead I share marketing strategies that I know my audience is interested in.

And here’s another thing to think about:

If your goal is to create a personal brand, consider starting out with a topic-focused page first and then pivoting.

This is what Deco Exchange is in the process of doing right now. They started as a topic-focused page that was all about wreath making. Then over time, they’ve pivoted to more of a personal brand that helps wreath makers and other crafty people to build a business around their hobby.

(NOTE: Before you get started growing your Facebook page, you need to know who your ideal customer is, where they are, and what they will buy. Download our FREE proven Customer Avatar Worksheet now and get clear on who you’re selling to.)

If you want to build a personal brand, this is a really good way to go about it.

Because like I said earlier, your page will grow the fastest if you focus on a topic. And it’s actually pretty easy to pivot from that to more of a personal brand, AFTER you’ve built up your audience.

Step 3: Wear Your Niche’s Bumper Sticker

At this point you know who your audience is. And you’ve chosen the type of page you’re going to build.

The next thing you need to do is make sure your page appeals to those people. I like to think of it as wearing your niche’s bumper sticker.

One way to measure this is to see if your page passes the “blink test.” In other words, if you look at the page long enough to blink, you should know what it means.

This sounds simple, but you’d be amazed how many pages get it wrong.

Here’s an example of a page that fails the blink test:

Blink your eyes, and what do you see?

Invisible children. The cover image is a video with someone driving a car. And if you’re really perceptive, maybe you noticed they have a lot of events under the cover image.

What is this page about? No idea.

Now let’s compare it to this page:

Much clearer, right? You get it right away. They sell crazy suits.

So, how do you make sure your page passes the blink test? How do you make sure you’re wearing your niche’s bumper sticker?

This involves the 3 most visible parts of your page:

Page title: You want your page title to be clear. You also want it to resonate with the way your audience sees themselves. One super-easy way to come up with a great page title is just to ask:

“What would my audience call themselves?”

Do this, and you just might come up with a perfectly named page like…

Profile picture: When choosing your profile picture, there are 2 things to keep in mind.

First, a very small version of this image is going to show up next to all your posts. So don’t make the image too detailed, because people won’t be able to tell what it is.

Second, remember that this image is going to show up right next to your page title. So if all you do in your profile picture is repeat the page title, you’re not taking maximum advantage of this space.

Notice the page for Invisible Children does this:

It basically says “Invisible Children” twice in a row. It’s not the worst thing in the world, but it is a bit of a missed opportunity.

Cover image: Because this is a much bigger image, it gives you some room to really show what your page is about.

Here’s an awesome example from Genuine Fishing:

This is a great cover image because it makes the promise super clear: we’re going to help you catch that BIG fish.

Step 4: Make Your Reader Feel & Look Good

At this point, your last step is to actually start posting content. But be careful here—the wording, point of view, and positioning you use on this content can mean the difference between a viral post and a dud.

In general, your goal with every piece of content is to make your readers…

Look good
Feel good
Have a better life

This is not about making YOU look good. It’s about making your READER feel good.

And preferably, it can also make their FRIENDS have a better life. Because if your reader thinks it will help their friends, they’ll be much more likely to share it.

For example, pretend you’re creating a post about how to clean the carpet. And let’s say your audience is married, stay-at-home moms.

Which of these headlines would get more shares?

“10 ways for you to get cleaner carpets”
“10 ways to get cleaner carpets, even if your husband never vacuums”

This is not about making YOU look good. It’s about making your READER feel good.

Both of these headlines promise the same general benefit (cleaner carpets). But for an audience of married, stay-at-home moms, the first headline is NOT particularly shareable.

Just imagine how it would feel if your mother-in-law shared that post with you. Or imagine how it would make you look if you shared it with one of your married friends.

It would kinda make you look like a jerk, right? It would imply that they aren’t already doing a good job of keeping a clean house. Which is rude.

The second headline, by comparison, is much better. Because it implies it’s the husband’s fault that the carpets aren’t clean. And that’s going to make this audience more receptive to it.

Another thing to think about with your content is, are you going to appear threatening to your audience?

Take Damon & Parker from Deco Exchange for example.

Some people have suggested that these guys should clean up their image. That they should dress more creatively, and clean up their house so that it looks neat and organized.

But here’s what those people don’t understand:

It doesn’t make your readers look good to share someone else’s perfection.

A 45-year-old woman is not going to feel threatened by sharing Damon & Parker’s content. After all, they’re 25–30-year-old guys with a messy house and an unpolished video style.

(In fact, if anything it makes their audience feel GOOD to know that at least their house is cleaner than Damon’s.)

But if that same content came from another 45-year-old-woman with perfect hair and a spotless house, that would come across as more threatening. Because the audience of 45-year-old women would compare themselves to her and feel inadequate.

These aren’t hard concepts to understand. But they do require looking at your content from your audience’s perspective and thinking about how it’s going to make them feel.

Now Go Grow Your Page

Notice that I used the word grow in the title of this blog post. Because the reality is, you don’t just build a Facebook page with a huge reach.

It’s more like planting a tree. If you plant the right kind of seed in the right kind of soil, and then take care of it the right way, it will flourish.

And that’s exactly what the 4 steps in this post will help you to do with your Facebook page.

So go out there are start growing.

(NOTE: Before you get started growing your Facebook page, you need to know who your ideal customer is, where they are, and what they will buy. Download our FREE proven Customer Avatar Worksheet now and get clear on who you’re selling to.)

The post 4 Steps to Grow a Profitable Facebook Page appeared first on DigitalMarketer.

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Heat Maps: What Are They Good For (Besides Looking Cool)?

sourced from: https://conversionxl.com/blog/heat-maps/

Heat maps are a popular conversion optimization tool, but are they really that useful?

It’s easy to say that they help you see what users are doing on your site. Sure, of course—but lots of other methods do that too, and perhaps with greater accuracy.

So what can heat maps answer?

What is a heat map?

Heat maps are visual representations of data. They were developed by Cormac Kinney in the mid-1990s to try to allow traders to beat financial markets.

In our context, they let us record and quantify what people do with their mouse or trackpad, then they display it in a visually appealing way.

“Heat maps” are actually a broad category that may include:

Hover maps (mouse-movement tracking);Click maps;Attention maps;Scroll maps.

To make accurate inferences for any of the above heat-map types, you should have enough of a sample size per page/screen before you act on results. A good rule of thumb is 2,000–3,000 pageviews per design screen, and also per device (i.e. look at mobile and desktop separately). If the heat map is based on, say, 50 users, don’t trust the data.

Since there are a few different types of heat maps, let’s go over each and the value they offer.

1. Hover maps (Mouse-movement tracking)

When people say “heat map,” they often mean hover map. Hover maps show you areas where people have hovered over a page with their mouse cursor. The idea is that people look where they hover, and thus it shows how users read a web page.

(Image Source)

Hover maps are modeled off a classic usability testing technique: eye tracking. While eye tracking is useful to understand how a user navigates a site, mouse tracking tends to fall short because of some stretched inferences.

The accuracy of mouse-cursor tracking is questionable. People might be looking at stuff that they don’t hover over. They may also hover over things that get very little attention—therefore, the heat map would be inaccurate. Maybe it’s accurate, maybe it’s not. How do you know? You don’t.

In 2010, Dr. Anne Aula, a Senior User Experience Researcher at Google, presented some disappointing findings about mouse tracking:

Only 6% of people showed some vertical correlation between mouse movement and eye tracking.19% of people showed some horizontal correlation between mouse movement and eye tracking.10% hovered over a link and then continued to read around the page looking at other things.

We typically ignore these types of heat maps. Even if you do look at it to see if it supports your suspicions, don’t put too much stock in it. Guy Redwood at Simple Usability is similarly skeptical about mouse tracking:

We’ve been running eye tracking studies for over 5 years now and can honestly say, from a user experience research perspective, there is no useful correlation between eye movements and mouse movements – apart from the obvious looking at where you are about to click.

If there was a correlation, we could immediately stop spending money on eye tracking equipment and just use our mouse tracking data from websites and usability sessions.

Hence why Peep calls these maps “a poor man’s eye-tracking tool.”

Without much overlap between what these maps show and what users do, it’s tough to infer any actual insights. You end up telling more stories to explain the images than actual truths. This blog post criticizing heat maps for soccer players’ movements puts it well:

“What do heat maps do? They give a vague impression of where a player went during the match. Well, I can get a vague impression of where a player went during a match by watching the game over the top of a newspaper.”

While some studies indicate higher correlations between gaze and cursor position, ask yourself if the possible insights are worth the risk of misleading data or encouraging confirmation bias in the analysis.

What about algorithm-generated heat maps?

Similarly, there are heat map tools that use an algorithm to analyze your user interface and generate a resulting visual. They take into account a variety of attributes: colors, contrast, visual hierarchy, size, etc. Are they trustworthy? Maybe. Here’s how Aura.org put it:

Visual Attention algorithms, where computer software “calculates” the visibility of the different elements within the image, are often sold as a cheaper alternative. But the same study by PRS, showed that the algorithms are not sensitive enough to detect differences between designs, and are particularly poor at predicting the visibility levels of on-pack claims and messaging.

(Note: PRS, the other study cited above, sells eye-tracking research services.)

While you shouldn’t fully place your trust in algorithmically generated maps, they’re not any less trustworthy than hover maps.

And, if you have lower traffic, algorithmic tools can give you some visual data for usability research, including instant results, which is cool. Some tools to check out:

EyeQuant;Feng GUI.

Just because it’s “instant” doesn’t mean it’s magic. It’s a picture based on an algorithm—not actual user behavior.

2. Click Maps

Click maps show you a heat map comprised of aggregated click data. Blue means fewer clicks; warmer reds indicate more clicks; and the most clicks are bright white and yellow spots.

(Image Source)

There’s a lot of communicative value in these maps. They help demonstrate the importance of optimization (especially to non-optimizers) and what is and isn’t working.

Does a big photo get lots of clicks but isn’t a link? You have two options:

Make it into a link.Don’t make it look like a link.

It’s also easy to take in aggregate click data quickly and see broad trends. Just be careful to avoid convenient storytelling.

However, you can also see where people click in Google Analytics, which is generally preferable. If you’ve set up enhanced link attribution, the Google Analytics overlay is great. (Some people still prefer to see a visual click map).

And, if you go to Behavior > Site Content > All pages, and click on a URL, you can open up the Navigation Summary for any URL—where people came from and where they went afterward. Highly useful stuff.

3. Attention maps

An attention map is a heat map that shows you which areas of the page are viewed the most by the user’s browser, with full consideration of the horizontal and vertical scrolling activity.

They show which areas of the page have been viewed the most, taking into account how far users scroll and how long they spend on the page.

Peep considers attention maps more useful than other mouse-movement or click-based heat maps. Why? Because you can see if key pieces of information—text and visuals—are visible to almost all users. That makes it easier to design pages with the user in mind.

Here’s how Peep put it:

Peep Laja:

“What makes this useful is that it takes account different screen sizes and resolutions, and shows which part of the page has been viewed the most within the user’s browser. Understanding attention can help you assess the effectiveness of the page design, especially above the fold area.”

4. Scroll Maps

Scroll maps are heat maps that show how far people scroll down on a page. They can show you where users tend to drop off.

(Image source)

While scroll maps work for any length of page, they’re especially pertinent when designing long-form sales pages or longer landing pages.

Generally, the longer the page, the fewer people will make it all the way to the bottom. This is normal and helps you prioritize content: What’s must have? What’s just nice to have? Prioritize what you want people to pay attention to and put it higher.

Scroll maps can also help you tweak your design. If the scroll map shows abrupt color changes, people may not perceive a connection between two elements of your page (“logical ends”). These sharp drop-off points are hard to see in Google Analytics.

On longer landing pages, you might need to add navigation cues (e.g. a downward arrow) where the scrolling stops.

Bonus: User session replays

Session replays aren’t a type of heat map per se, but they are one of the most valuable bits that heat mapping tools offer.

User session replays allow you to record video sessions of people going through your site. It’s like user testing but without a script or audio. Also unlike user testing—in a positive way—is that people are risking actual money, so it can be more insightful.

Unlike heat maps, this is qualitative data. You’re trying to detect bottlenecks and usability issues. Where are people not able to complete actions? Where do they give up?

One of the best use cases for session replays is watching how people fill out forms. Though you could configure Event tracking for Google Analytics, it wouldn’t provide the level of insight as in user session replays.

Also, if you have a page that’s performing badly and you don’t know why, user session replays may identify problems. You can also see how fast users read, scroll, etc.

Analyzing them is, of course, timely. We spend half a day watching videos for a new client site. And after looking at hundreds (thousands?) of heat maps and reviewing other studies, we’ve identified some recurring takeaways from heat maps of all kinds.

19 things we’ve learned from heat-map tests

We’ve looked at a lot of heat maps over the years. So have other researchers. And while every site is different (our perpetual caveat), there are some general takeaways.

You should test the validity of these learnings on your site, but, at the very least, these generalized “truths” should give you an idea of what you can expect to learn from a heat map.

1. The content that’s most important to your visitors’ goals should be at the top of the page.

(Image source)

People do scroll, but their attention span is short. This study found that a visitor’s viewing time of the page decreases sharply when they go below the fold. User viewing time was distributed as follows:

Above the fold: 80.3%
Below the fold: 19.7%

The material that’s most important to your business goals should be above the fold.

In the same study, viewing time increased significantly at the very bottom of the webpage, which means that a visitor’s attention goes up again at the bottom of the page. Inserting a good call to action there can drive up conversions.

You should also remember the recency effect, which states that the last thing a person sees will stay on their minds longer. Craft the end of your pages carefully.

2. When in a hurry, what sticks out gets chosen.

(Image source)

A Caltech neuroscience study showed that at “rapid decision speeds” (when in a rush or when distracted), visual impact influences choices more than consumer preferences do.

When visitors are in a hurry, they’ll think less about their preferences and make choices based on what they notice most. This bias gets stronger the more distracted a person is and is particularly strong when a person doesn’t have a strong preference to begin with.

If the visual impact of a product can override consumer preferences—especially in a time-sensitive and distracting environment like online shopping—then strategic changes to a website’s design can seriously shift visitor attention.

3. People spend more time looking at the left side of your page.

(Image source)

Several studies have found that the left side of the website gets a bigger part of your visitors’ attention. The left side is also looked at first. There are always exceptions, but keeping the left side in mind first is a good starting point. Display your most important information there, like your value proposition.

This study found that the left side of the website received 69% of the viewing time—People spent more than twice as much time looking at the left side of the page compared to the right.

4. People read your content in an F-shaped pattern.

This study found that people tend to read text content in an F-shaped pattern. What does that mean? It means that people skim, and that their main attention goes to the start of the text. They read the most important headlines and subheadlines, but read the rest of the text selectively.

Your first two paragraphs need to state the most important information. Use subheadings, bullet points, and paragraphs to make the rest of your content more readable.

Note that the F-pattern style does not hold true when browsing a picture-based web page, as is evident in this study. People tend to browse image-based web pages horizontally.

5. Don’t lose money through banner blindness.

(Image source)

Banner blindness happens when your visitor subconsciously or consciously ignores a part of your webpage because it looks like advertising. Visitors almost never pay attention to anything that looks like an advertisement.

This study found no fixations within advertisements. If people need to get information fast, they’ll ignore advertising—and vice versa. If they’re completely focused on a story, they won’t look away from the content.

There are several ways to avoid creating banner blindness on your website. Most problems can be prevented by using a web design company that’s experienced in online marketing.

6. When using an image of a person, it matters where they look.

(Image source)

It makes sense to use people in your design—it’s a design element that attracts attention. But it also matters where their eyes are looking.

Several heat map studies have shown that people follow the direction of a model’s eyes. If you need to get people to focus not only on the beautiful woman but the content next to her, make sure she’s looking at that content.

It’s also important to convey emotion. Having a person convey emotion can have a big impact on conversion rates. This study found that a person conveying emotion can have a larger impact on conversions than a calm person looking at the call to action.

Your best option may be to combine these two approaches—use an emotion-conveying person who’s also looking at the desired spot on the page.

7. Men are visual; women seek information.

When asked to view profiles of people on a dating site, this study found a clear difference between men and women. Men were more visual when looking at a profile of a person, focusing on the images; women tended to read more of the info provided.

In another study, men spent 37% more time looking at the woman’s chest than women did, whereas women spent 27% more time looking at the ring finger. The study concluded, that “men are pervs, women are gold-diggers.”

8. Abandon automatic image carousels and banners for better click-through rates.

This study concluded that, on two sites where users had a specific task on their mind, the main banners were completely ignored, including the animated version. Automatic image carousels and banners are generally not a good idea. They generate banner blindness and waste a lot of space.

The same study found an exception to this rule in of the sites—a banner on ASOS’s homepage that captured the attention of participants better than the other sites. How was it different? It looked less like a banner and was better integrated into the page.

9. Use contrast wisely to guide your visitors.

(Image source)

After testing a landing page with heat maps, TechWyse found out just how important color contrast is. A non-clickable, informational element about pricing on the homepage won the most attention because of its color contrast with the surrounding area.

After a slight redesign, the scanning patterns of visitors aligned with what the company needed.

10. 60-year-olds make twice as many mistakes as 20-year-olds.

When your target audience is elderly, make your website as easy to use and clutter-free as possible. When testing 257 correspondents in a remote user test, the failure rate for tasks was 1.9 times greater for those over-55 compared to those under-25. Almost twice as many older people failed or abandoned the given task.

Older people are also slower online.Compared to the youngest participants, the oldest took 40% more time to complete a task.

Even if a random task on your website feels easy to you, it may be difficult for older users. If your target audience skews older than average, make sure to test you layout on them.

11. Use photos to get your visitors to pay attention.

(Image source)

People are visual. Sites have been using well-selected images to boost conversion rates since the dawn of internet, and with good reason. Including a well-selected image is almost always a good idea.

Use photos of real people. People respond well to images of real people. In this study, the test subject spent 10% more time viewing photos of employees compared to reading the text content that made up the majority of the page.

In contrast, visitors completely ignore stock photos of “real” people. Somehow, we’ve learned to recognize “photobank people” from photos of actual people. This blog post is a perfect example of what may happen when using stock photography. This also holds true for actual photos that may look like stock photos, so don’t over-edit your photos.

This study proved that your photo is the most important element on your LinkedIn profile, and this study found the same correlation on Facebook.

When used well, big product photos are also a guaranteed way of getting attention.

12. Summaries are better than full articles on blog homepages.

(Image source)

This study found that using article summaries instead of full articles on your blog homepage will make visitors read more content.

If you have a blog with full articles on its homepage, you risk losing visitors if they don’t find your first article interesting. They will “use up” all their interest reading the first article.

Summaries let you show visitors a wide selection of topics, which increases the likelihood that your visitor fill find something of interest.

13. People spend less than a minute on your email.

This study revealed that 67% of the users had no fixations within newsletter introductions. People tended to skip the introductory paragraphs and scan the rest of the content.

The average time allocated to a newsletter was 51 seconds; people fully read only 19% of newsletters. They mostly scanned, so keep your newsletters short and to the point, with a clear call to action.

14. Combine A/B testing with clickmaps for increased effectiveness.

The people at VWO found out that nearly 25% of their homepage traffic went to a tiny “pricing” link in the top menu, while the main call-to-action button gathered only 5% of the total clicks.

They combined the click map knowledge with A/B testing to find out which version of a changed homepage would work better.

When you combine the knowledge from click maps with A/B testing, you can increase the effectiveness of your click maps many times. CareLogger achieved a 34% increase in conversions by changing the color of their call-to-action button.

15. Displaying the discounted price next to the original one will increase satisfaction.

Inspired by Dan Ariely’s book Predictably Irrational, Robert Stevens did a test with 60 random people to see how relativity affects everyday decision-making.

People were tested with two different shelf layouts for smoothies. The first version had only the discounted “Innocent” smoothies visible, with none of the smoothies from the same brand at full price. The second version also included a selection of smoothies at regular prices.

While the price for discounted smoothies was unchanged, people were more satisfied with their purchase when they also knew about the original price.

16–19. Eyetrack III research on news portals

In the Eyetrack III research, several dozen people were observed for one hour as they were given mock news websites and real multimedia content to visit.

16. People’s eyes fixated first on the upper left of the page, then hovered in an area to the right. Only after some time did people start exploring further down the page.
17. People see dominant headlines first, Especially when they’re in the upper-left corner.
18. Use smaller type for focused reading. Larger type resulted in more scanning of the page because people looked around for words or phrases that captured their attention.
19. The first words of your headline are important. If the first words engage your visitors, they’re likely to read on. You have less than a second to get their attention.

With so much they can do, it’s worth remembering: Heat maps aren’t good for everything.

What’s wrong with heat maps?

Heat maps’ problems recall the old adage about the drunk and the light post—people use it for support instead of illumination.

Ignoring some of the data inaccuracies discussed above opens you up to a world of potential bias, especially if heat maps are your primary piece of conversion research.

Andrew Anderson, head of optimization at Malwarebytes, puts it very well:

Andrew Anderson:

Nothing shows a lack of understanding of rate and value more than people getting overly caught up with where people click.

Is more or less people clicking on something good or bad? Is the most clicked thing the most important? The most influential? What will happen if twice as many people click on this one thing? Does something have to be clicked on a lot to have influence? Does it have to be clicked on at all?

Heat maps, in the end, provide a thousand more questions without the ability to answer a single one in a meaningful way.

What we know is that most people will use their bias to determine the value of items and use that to filter all the incoming information. They will confuse the most active for the most valuable. They will default to a linear rate model, which is the least representative type of model. They will try to get more people to a step or an item on the page without any real insight into the relative value or efficiency of that change.

Even worse, they will use a heat map or any click-based metric as a way to continue their storytelling and to continue to confuse what they hope will happen with what is the best for the site or page.

Heat maps can be helpful at a high level and as a way to communicate problem areas to less analytically savvy people in an organization. They can also be a good starting point for conversion research and analysis.

But almost all the insight they bring can be gleaned from different analytics tools, and Google Analytics tends to offer less wiggle room for interpretation, storytelling, and bias.

In other words, heat maps are great tools in the optimizer’s arsenal but should not be the end-all-be-all for project and test planning.

If you want to get started with heat mapping, here are some tools to consider.

Heat mapping tools

Quite a few companies offer excellent heat mapping tools, with a range of free trial, freemium, paid, and fully free options.

Paid heat-mapping tools

Crazyegg is a great tool for mouse-tracking tests. It features a click heat map, scrollmap, overlay for number of clicks on specific elements, and confetti, which you can use to distinguish clicks based on referral sources. They claim to have up to 88% tracking accuracy when compared to eye-tracking tests. All plans are free for 30 days; paid plans start at $24/month.

Mouseflow is another good tool for mouse tracking. They put a lot of emphasis on playback and record all mouse movements—clicks, scroll events, key strokes, and form interactions. You can even record visitors’ keystrokes when filIing forms. They have separate options for ecommerce tracking. Pricing starts from $30/month, and they also have a small freemium plan.

Clicktale is enterprise-level mouse-tracking software. The software includes heat mapping, session replays, conversion analytics, and other advanced analytics. You need to contact them for pricing.

Luckyorange offers mouse-movement recording and tools like real-time visitor maps, visitor polls, and live chat software. It has a free trial, with paid plans starting at $10/month.

Free heat-mapping tools

Clickheat is an open-source alternative that allows you to create a heat map from mouse clicks on your site.

Corunet requires development support. Similar to Clickheat, Corunet allows you to generate a heat map from click data on your pages.

Conclusion

Heat maps look pretty cool. And they can offer substantial value—if used right):

Algorithmic heat maps can give low-traffic sites an idea of how people use their site.Click maps can give high-level visuals on where people click and where they don’t.Attention maps help you see which parts of a website are most visible to all users, across all browsers and devices. They help you decide where to put your value prop and other important elements.Scroll maps can help you design longer landing pages and keep people moving down the page (prioritizing content location as well).User session replays are irreplaceable tools in your arsenal.

But you should never rely solely on heat maps for conversion research. The results are limited at best and misleading at worst, compounding bias and delivering illusory insights.

The post Heat Maps: What Are They Good For (Besides Looking Cool)? appeared first on CXL.

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Email Testing: Going Beyond Open Rate and Click Rate

sourced from: https://conversionxl.com/blog/email-testing/

Email is one of the few marketing channels that spans the full funnel. You use email to raise awareness pre-conversion. To stay connected with content subscribers. To nurture leads to customers. To encourage repeat purchases or combat churn. To upsell existing customers.

Getting the right email to the right person at the right time throughout the funnel is a massive undertaking that requires a lot of optimization and testing. Yet, even some mature email marketing programs remain fixated on questions like, “How can we increase the open rate?” Moar opens! Moar clicks!

What about the massive bottom-line impact email testing can have at every stage of the funnel? How do you create an email testing strategy for that? It starts by understanding where email testing is today.

The current state of email testing

According to the DMA, 99% of consumers check their email every single day. (Shocking, I know.)

In 2014, there were roughly 4.1 billion active email accounts worldwide. That number is expected to increase to nearly 5.6 billion before 2020. In 2019, email advertising spending is forecasted to reach $350 million in the United States alone.

Despite the fact that email continues to thrive over 40 years after its inception, marketers remain fixated on top-of-funnel engagement metrics. 

According to research from AWeber:

434 is the average number of words in an email.43.9 is the average number of characters in an email subject line.6.9% of subject lines contain Emojis.60% of email marketers use sentence case in subject lines.

According to benchmarks from Mailchimp:

0.29% is the average email unsubscribe rate in the architecture and construction industry.1.98% is the average email click rate in the computers and electronics industry.0.07% is the average hard bounce rate in the daily deals and e-coupons industry.20.7% is the average open rate for a company with 26–50 employees.

But why are these statistics the ones we collect? Why do blog posts and email marketing tools continue to prioritize surface-level testing, like subject lines (i.e. open rate) and button copy (i.e. click rate)?

Email testing tools offer testing of basic elements that, quite often, fails to connect to larger business goals.

Why email testing often falls flat

Those data points from AWeber and Mailchimp are perhaps interesting, but they have no real business value.

Knowing that the average click rate in the computers and electronics industry is 1.98% is not going to help you optimize your email marketing strategy, even if you’re in that industry. 

Similarly, knowing that 434 is the average number of words in an email is not going to help you optimize your copy. That number is based on only 1,000 emails from 100 marketers. And, of course, there’s no causal link. Who’s to say length impacts the success of the emails studied?

For the sake of argument, though, let’s say reading that 60% of email marketers use sentence case in their subject lines inspired you to run a sentence case vs. title case subject-line test.

Congrats! Sentence case did in fact increase your open rate. But why? And what will you do with this information? And what does an open rate bump mean for your click rate, product milestone completion rates, on-site conversion rates, revenue, etc.?

A test is a test is a test. Regardless of whether it’s a landing page test, an in-product test, or an email test, it requires time and resources. Tests are expensive—literally and figuratively—to design, build, and run. 

Focusing on top-of-funnel and engagement metrics (instead of performance metrics) is a costly mistake. Open rate to revenue is a mighty long causal chain. 

If you’re struggling to connect email testing and optimization to performance marketing goals, it’s a sign that something is broken. Fortunately, there’s a step-by-step process you can follow to realign your email marketing with your conversion rate optimization goals.

The step-by-step process to testing email journeys

Whether you’re using GetResponse or ActiveCampaign, HubSpot or Salesforce, what really matters is that your email marketing tool is collecting and passing data properly.

Whenever you’re auditing data, ask yourself two questions:

Am I collecting all of the data I need to make informed decisions?Can I trust the data I’m seeing?

To answer the first question, have your optimization and email teams brainstorm a list of questions they have about email performance. After all, email testing should be a collaboration between those two teams, whether an experimentation team is enabling the email team or a conversion rate optimization team is fueling the test pipeline.

Can your data, in its current state, answer questions from both sides? (Don’t have a dedicated experimentation or conversion rate optimization team? Email marketers can learn how to run tests, too.)

With email specifically, it’s important to have post-click tracking. How do recipients behave on-site or in-product after engaging with each email? Post-click tracking methods vary based on your data structure, but there are five parameters you can add to the URLs in your emails to collect data in Google Analytics:

utm_source;utm_medium;utm_campaign;utm_term;utm_content.

Learn how to use these parameters to track email to on-site or in-product behavior here.

UTM parameters connect in-email behavior to on-site behavior. (Image source)

The second issue—data integrity—is more complex and beyond the scope of this post. Thankfully, we have another post that dives deep into that topic.)

Once you’re confident that you have the data you need and that the data is accurate, you can get started.

1. Mapping the current state

To move away from open rate and click rate as core metrics is to move toward journey-specific metrics, like:

Gross customer adds;Marketing-qualified leads;Revenue;Time-to-close.

By focusing on the customer journey instead of an individual email, you can make more meaningful optimizations and run more impactful tests.

The goal at this stage is to document and visualize as much as you can about the current state of the email journey in question. Note any gaps in your data as well. What do you not know that you wish you did know?

It all starts with a deep understanding of the current state of the email journey in question. You can use a tool like Whimsical to map it visually.

An example from Whimsical of how to map a user flow. While their example maps on-site behavior, a similar diagram works for email, too. (Image source)

 Be sure to include:

Audience data;Subject line and preview text for each email;Days between each email;Data dependencies;Automation rules;Personalization points, and alternate creative and copy (if applicable);Click rates for each call to action (CTA);On-site destinations and their conversion rates (for email, specifically).

Really, anything that helps you achieve a deep understanding of who is receiving each email, what you’re asking them to do, and what they’re actually doing.

Take this email from Amazon Web Services (AWS), for example:

(Image source)

There are a ton of different asks within this email. Tutorials, a resource center, three different product options, training and certification, a partner network⁠—the list goes on.

Your current state map should show how recipients engage with each of those CTAs, where each CTA leads, how recipients behave on-site or in-product, etc. Does the next email in the sequence change if a recipient chooses “Launch a Virtual Machine” instead of “Host a Static Website” or “Start a Development Project,” for example?

Your current state map will help answer questions like:

How does the email creative and copy differ between segments?Who receives each email and how is that decision made?Which actions are recipients being asked to take?Which actions do they take most often?Which actions yield the highest business value?How frequently are they asked to take each action and how quickly do they take it on average?What other emails are these recipients likely receiving?What on-site and in-product destinations are email recipients being funneled to?What gaps exist between email messaging and the on-site or in-product messaging?Where are the on-site holes in the funnel?Can post-email, on-site, or in-product behavior tell us anything about our email strategy?

2. Mapping the ideal state

Once you know what’s true now, it’s time to find optimization opportunities, whether that’s an obvious fix (e.g. an email isn’t displaying properly on the iPhone 6) or a test idea (e.g. Would reducing the number of CTAs in the AWS email improve product milestone completion rates?).

There are two methods to find those optimization opportunities:

Quantitatively. Where are recipients falling out of the funnel, and which conversion paths are resulting in the highest customer lifetime value (CLTV)?Qualitatively. Who are the recipients? What motivates them? What are their pain points? How do they perceive the value you provide? What objections and hesitations do they present?

The first method is fairly straightforward. Your current state map should present you with all of the data you need to identify holes and high-value conversion paths.

The second method requires additional conversion research. (Read our comprehensive guide to conducting qualitative conversion research.)

Combined, these two methods will give you a clear idea of your ideal state of the email journey. As best you can, map that out visually as well.

How does your current state map compare to your ideal state map? They should be very different. It’s up to you to identify and sort those differences:

InsightsQuick FixesTest IdeasData GapsWhat did you learn during this entire journey mapping process that other marketers and teams will find useful?What needs to be fixed or implemented right away? This is a no-brainer that doesn’t require testing.What needs to be tested before implementation? This could be in the form of a full hypothesis or simply a question.What gaps exist in your measurement strategy? What’s not being tracked?

3. Designing, analyzing, and iterating

Now it’s time to design the tests, analyze the results, and iterate based on said results. Luckily, you’re reading this on the CXL blog, so there’s no shortage of in-depth resources to help you do just that:

How to create a meaningful hypothesis;How to account for segments;How to define stopping rules;How to limit sample pollution and control variables;How to analyze the results of the test properly and without bias;How to communicate the results to stakeholders;How to use the results to fuel the next iteration;How to prioritize tests.

Short on time? Read through our start-to-finish post on A/B testing.

Common pitfalls in email testing—and how to avoid them

1. Testing the email vs. the journey

It’s easier to test the email than the journey. There’s less research required. The test is easier to implement. The analysis is more straightforward—especially when you consider that there’s no universal customer journey.

Sure, there’s the nice, neat funnel you wax poetic about during stakeholder meetings: session to subscriber, subscriber to lead, lead to customer; session to add to cart, cart to checkout, checkout to repeat purchase. But we know that linear, one-size-fits-all funnels are a simplified reality.

The best customer journeys are segmented and personalized, whether based on activation channel, landing page, or onboarding inputs. Campaign Monitor found that marketers who use segmented campaigns report as much as a 760% increase in revenue.

When presented with the choice of running a simple subject line A/B test in your email marketing tool or optimizing potentially thousands of personalized customer journeys, it’s unsurprising many marketers opt for the former. 

But remember that email is just a channel. It’s easy to get sucked into optimizing for channel-level metrics and successes, to lose sight of what that channel’s role is in the overall customer journey.

Now, let’s say top-of-funnel engagement metrics are the only email metrics you can accurately measure (right now). You certainly wouldn’t be alone in that struggle. As marketing technology stacks expand, data becomes siloed, and it can be difficult to measure the end-to-end customer journey.

Is email testing still worth it, in that case?

It’s a question you have to ask yourself (and your data). Is there an inherent disadvantage to improving your open rate or click rate? No, of course not (unless you’re using dark patterns to game the metrics). 

The question is: is the advantage big enough? Unless you have an excess of resources or are running out of conversion points to optimize (highly unlikely), your time will almost certainly be better spent elsewhere.

2. Optimizing for the wrong metrics

Optimization is only as useful as the metric you choose. Read that again.

All of the research and experimentation in the world won’t help you if you focus on the wrong metrics. That’s why it’s so important to go beyond boosting your open rate or click rate, for example. 

It’s not that those metrics are worthless and won’t impact the bigger picture at all. It’s that they won’t impact the bigger picture enough to make the time and effort you invest worth it. (The exception being select large, mature programs.)

Val Geisler of Fix My Churn elaborates on how top-of-funnel email metrics are problematic:

Most people look at open rates, but those are notoriously inaccurate with image display settings and programs like Unroll.me affecting those numbers. So I always look at the goal of the individual email. 

Is it to get them to watch a video? Great. Let’s make sure that video is hosted somewhere we can track views once the click happens. Is it to complete a task in the app? I want to set up action tracking in-app to see if that happens. 

It’s one thing to get an email opened and even to see a click through, but the clicks only matter if the end goal was met.

You get the point. So, what’s a better way to approach email marketing metrics and optimization? By defining your overall evaluation criterion (OEC).

To start, ask yourself three questions:

What is the tangible business goal I’m trying to achieve with this email journey?What is the most effective, accurate way to measure progress toward that goal?What other metric will act as a “check and balance” for the metric from question two? (For example, a focus on gross customer adds without an understanding of net customer adds could lead to metric gaming and irresponsible optimization.)

In “Advanced Topics in Experimentation,” Ronny Kohavi of Microsoft explains how an experience at Amazon taught him that engagement metrics are easy to game:

The question is what OEC should be used for these programs? The initial OEC, or “fitness function,” as it was called at Amazon, gave credit to a program based on the revenue it generated from users clicking-through the e-mail.

There is a fundamental problem here: the metric is easy to game, as the metric is monotonically increasing: spam users more, and at least some will click through, so overall revenue will increase. This is likely true even if the revenue from the treatment of users who receive the e-mail is compared to a control group that doesn’t receive the e-mail.

Eventually, a focus on CLTV prevailed:

The key insight is that the click-through revenue OEC is optimizing for short-term revenue instead of customer lifetime value. Users that are annoyed will unsubscribe, and Amazon then loses the opportunity to target them in the future. A simple model was used to construct a lower bound on the lifetime opportunity loss when a user unsubscribes. The OEC was thus 

OEC = ∑Rev𝑖𝑖 −∑Rev𝑗𝑗− 𝑠∗unsubscribe_lifetime_loss

where 𝑖 ranges over e-mail recipients in Treatment, 𝑗 ranges over e-mail recipients in Control, and 𝑠 is the number of incremental unsubscribes, i.e., unsubscribes in Treatment minus Control (one could debate whether it should have a floor of zero, or whether it’s possible that the Treatment actually reduced unsubscribes), and unsubscribe_lifetime_loss was the estimated loss of not being able to e-mail a person for “life.”

Using the new OEC, Ronny and his team discovered that more than 50% of their email marketing programs were negative. All of the open- rate and click- rate experiments in the world wouldn’t have addressed the root issue in this case.

Instead, they experimented with a new unsubscribe page, which defaulted to unsubscribing recipients from a specific email program vs. all email communication, drastically reducing the cost of an unsubscribe.

Amazon learned that creating multiple lists (rather than a single “unsubscribe” was key to increasing CLTV).

3. Skimping on rigor

Email marketing tools make it easy to think you’re running a proper test when you’re not.

Built-in email testing functions are the equivalent of on-site testing tools flashing a green “significant” icon next to a test to signal it’s done. (We know that’s not necessarily true.)

Email tests require the same amount of rigor and scientific integrity as any other test, if not more. Why? Because there are many little-known nuances to email as a channel that don’t exist on-site, for example.

Val sees companies calling (and acting upon) email tests too soon and allowing external validity threats to seep in:

Too many people jump to make changes too soon. Email should be tested for a while (every case varies, of course), and no other changes should be made during that test period.

I have people tell me they changed their pricing model or took away the free trial or did some other huge change in the midst of testing email campaigns. Well that changes everything! Test email by itself to know if it works before changing anything else.

Designing a test for a single-send email is different than designing a test for an always-on drip campaign. Designing a test for a personalized campaign is different than designing a test for a generic campaign.

To demonstrate the complexity of email testing, let’s say you’re experimenting with frequency. You’re sending the control group three emails and the treatment group five emails. Halfway through the test, you realize the treatment group’s unsubscribe rate increased because of the increased frequency. Suddenly, you don’t have a large enough sample size to call the test either way.

To run a valid test, you’ll need to account for potential email unsubscribes in your sample size. CXL has a free sample size calculator.

Also consider that the email journey you’re testing is (likely) one of many. Even at a mid-sized company, you have to start controlling for automation. How do the other emails the test participants receive impact the test? How do the emails they receive differ from the emails the other recipients in their assignment (control or treatment) receive?

And we haven’t even touched on segmentation. Let’s say you market a heatmap tool and have one generic onboarding journey but want to test a personalized onboarding journey. You know different segments will respond differently, and that their brands of personalization will differ.

So, you segment once: people who switched from a competitive tool, people who have started their first heatmap, and people who have not started their first heatmap. And again: solopreneurs, agencies, and enterprise companies. Before you know it, you’re trying to design and build nine separate tests.

The point is not to scare you away from the complexity of email testing and optimization. It’s to remind you to invest the time upfront to properly design, build and run each test. What are the potential validity threats? What is your sample size and have you accounted for fluctuations in your unsubscribe rate? How will the effects of personalization impact your test results? Are you segmenting pre-test or post-test

There’s nothing inherently wrong with post-test segmentation, but the decision to segment results can’t be made post-test. As Chad Sanderson of Microsoft explains:

Like anything else in CRO, constructing a segmentation methodology is a process, not something to be done on a whim once a test finishes. 

Segmentation is a wonderful way to uncover hidden insights, but it’s easy to discover false positives and run into sample- size limitations when segmenting post-test. The famous line, “If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything,” comes to mind.

Conclusion

If you want to develop your email marketing program beyond “more opens” and “more clicks,” you have to:

Align on a strategic overall evaluation criterion (OEC) that goes beyond open rate and click rate.Map out the current state of your email journey.Map out the ideal state of your email journey. How do they compare?Extract relevant insights to share with other teams and stakeholders.Implement quick fixes you spot along the way.Use your journey maps to generate a list of test ideas. Then prioritize them, run them, analyze them, and iterate.

Focusing on the customer journey will help you make smarter email testing decisions and invest your limited resources in the highest value optimization opportunities. It will also serve as a catalyst for improved segmentation and landing pages, for example.

The post Email Testing: Going Beyond Open Rate and Click Rate appeared first on CXL.

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How to Estimate a “Net Value” for Your A/B Testing Program

sourced from: https://conversionxl.com/blog/net-value-ab-testing/

In my experience, I find that teams and organizations report many winning A/B tests with high uplifts, but somehow they don’t seem to bring those uplifts in reality. How come?

Five types of A/B test “wins” can exaggerate discovered uplifts. I use the acronym “de FACTO”:

False winners;Anti-winners;Changing winners; Tricked winners;Overestimated winners.

These five types of winners show up in every experimentation program. I’ll describe why and how they cause exaggerated uplifts. But before I do, I want to emphasize that incorporating knowledge like this is just another step in your experimentation maturity.

Even though experimentation might not bring as much growth as you anticipated, not running trustworthy experiments is usually worse than incorrectly calculating their added value. A solid testing process is more important than accurately predicting how much profit you’ll get from it.

So keep increasing the quality, (statistical) trustworthiness, and velocity of your A/B tests. But when you want to deliver a realistic impression of their added value, have a skilled person from your team or agency correct the projected (or “discovered”) uplift to a more accurate “net value.”

A typical case of exaggerated uplifts

The “net profit” calculation is a better way to estimate the impact of the initial results we get from a series of A/B tests.

To give you an indication of the difference between the “discovered” and “net” uplifts, I use the following case of a fictitious company called “DeFacto Ltd.”

DeFacto’s CRO team (or CRO agency):

Ran 100 experiments in the past 12 months, all server side;Found 25 winners, with an average measured 6% uplift, resulting in $100,000 extra margin per winner (calculated using a Bayesian calculator with a threshold of >90%);At an average cost of $5,000 per experiment (100 hours x $50);And—for the sake of simplicity—they’ve run all experiments with trustworthy sampling, obeyed the rules of trustworthy experimentation, and implemented all winners instantly at negligible costs.Moreover, I assume they tested with enough traffic, uplifts, and base conversion rates to have a pretty standard a priori power of 80%.

By adding up all 25 winners of $100,000, they’ve generated $2.5 million in extra revenue, with $500,000 in costs. That results in an ROI of 500% and a gross profit on DeFacto’s A/B tests of $2 million.

Note that I call the profits “gross profit.” Now, what happens when we correct for the five types of exaggerating winners? We get DeFacto’s “net profit,” the profit we expect in reality: about $1 million, or only 50% of the gross profit.

Let’s get to the five types of exaggerating winners that are responsible for this “net” calculation. I’ll start with the easiest and best-known one.

5 types of winners that require business-case corrections

1. False winners

The existence of “false discoveries” is well-known to experts in online optimization (false positives or Type-I errors). However, business cases are not always corrected for them.

A false winner occurs when your challenger (B) actually makes no difference but wins purely by coincidence. For example, the randomization caused more users with relatively high buying intent to end up in the challenger condition, resulting in a higher conversion rate.

With a 90% significance threshold, this is expected to happen with 10% of all challengers. In the case of DeFacto, we can calculate that roughly 79%(!) of the challengers bring no uplift in reality.

You can run this same test at ABTestGuide.com.

So how many false winners do you discover when 79% of the experiments bring no uplift in reality? DeFacto did 100 experiments, 79 of which brought no value. Of those, 10% are expected to win by coincidence (90% significance). This results in 8 false winners (31% of all winners), 17 true positives, and 4 false negatives.

Uncovering false winners is of utmost importance for a realistic business case. The problem is not the cost side. The eight false discoveries cost “only” $40,000. The bigger issue is that 31% of these “winners” did not generate any uplift.

There are more reliable and advanced ways of correcting for false winners, but simply subtracting 31% of false winners from the $2.5 million uplift already provides a more realistic figure. DeFacto’s profit on the program roughly corrected for false winners is just over $1.2 million (61% of the presumed $2 million).

CRO experts usually know about the existence of false discoveries among their winners. The next step is to estimate how many false winners worsen site performance.

2. Anti-winners

Anti-winners (as I call them) are the devil’s version of the previous “false winners.” They happen when we have a “winner” that is actually a significant loser. Instead of increasing your success metrics, your challenger decreases them.

Again the challenger wins purely by coincidence. It is “just really bad luck.” The official term is “S-type error” (S from “Sign”), and they typically occur only when running low-powered experiments. (For more info on S-type errors, see either of these two articles.)

While a false winner costs money to build but does no other harm, an anti-winner does both—costing money and shrinking your revenue.

Anti-winners are usually rare in A/B test programs due to the relatively high power levels. In the case of DeFacto (power >80%), we’d expect 0% anti-winners.

However, if you experiment with very low power levels—small samples, low conversion rates, and/or small effect sizes—you should correct your business case for anti-winners.

3. Changing winners

The third type of winner one should correct for is a harder one (or, maybe, “softer” is more applicable): changing winners. A changing winner has a positive effect in the short term (i.e. during the experiment) but becomes inconclusive or even backfires in the long run.

Long-term effects in a CRO program often are not measured. Experiments run for a predetermined 1 to 4 weeks. After we find a winner, we “ship” it and show it to everyone, thereby losing the opportunity to measure long-term effects.

However, in behavioral science, there’s a decent body of evidence on interventions that bring uplifts in the short term and backfire in the long run. A well-known backfiring effect, for example, is when you shift your users’ motivation from “intrinsic” to “extrinsic.”

Extrinsic motivators, like short-term discounts, can boost conversions in the near term but fall flat over longer periods.

Examples of “extrinsic” motivators are discounts, free extras, or gamification tactics. These external rewards temporarily heighten motivation and thereby show uplifts in A/B tests. Yet they can undermine intrinsic motivation in the long run and ultimately result in losses.

Activity trackers are a contemporary example. They tend to move our motivation from a sustainable, intrinsic drive to be active to an unsustainable, extrinsic reward for outperforming past metrics. (See this article by Jordan Etkin.)

It’s almost impossible to calculate which winners are only temporary successes. Hold-out groups are a potential (albeit complex and costly) solution. The simpler fix is to train your CRO team in behavioral science about short- versus long-term behavior change.

For now, let’s assume DeFacto had a behavioral scientist educating their CRO team who dissuaded them from testing temporary tactics and, as a result, helped them avoid “changing winners.”

4. Tricked winners

“Tricked winners” are less known and highly dependent on the maturity of a CRO team (or agency). A tricked winner is an experiment that reports a winner purely because something unfair happened in the experiment to favor the challenger.

The difference between “false winners” and “tricked winners” is that a false winner occurs when your challenger wins by coincidence in an otherwise trustworthy experiment. A tricked winner occurs because of untrustworthy experimentation.

A simple example: In an experiment, a technical bug caused the challenger to receive more repeat visitors than the control. Since repeat visitors have a higher conversion rate, the challenger wins. The challenger isn’t better; it had an unfair advantage. This typical example is called a “sample ratio mismatch” (SRM), and gurus like Ronny Kohavi have written advanced posts on the topic.

Other common causes of tricked winners are interaction and carryover effects. (These happen less frequently than SRM errors, in my experience.) Interaction effects occur when a challenger wins because the group was also exposed to a variation in another concurrent test.

Carryover effects happen when a challenger wins because one or both conditions still “suffer” from the effects of a previous experiment. (Read more about these unfair winners in this post by Kohavi, which includes practical examples at Bing.)

As Bing learned, the carryover effect can cause past experiments to impact a current a one. (Image source)

A skilled specialist can prevent tricked winners by checking for (or, even better, setting automated alerts for) these “unfair” effects. For now, let’s assume that DeFacto had alerts in place and no tricked winners.

5. Overestimated winners

The final type of winners are “overestimated winners.” Officially, they’re type-M errors (from “magnitude”). An overestimated winner exaggerates the magnitude of the uplift.

This happens all the time, in every experimentation program—just like false winners. Why? On average, tests with underestimated uplifts are less likely to win.

Here’s an example: Assume you have a good idea that causes a 5% uplift in reality. If you tested this idea nine times, it would result in different uplifts with an even spread around 5%. Unfortunately, the tests that measured low uplifts, like 1% and 2%, are not significant. The other seven that do record a winner have a higher average uplift than the true uplift.

Without correcting for these overestimations, your team or agency will confidently claim that their uplifts are larger in magnitude than they actually are. Increasing the power of your experiments will decrease the likelihood of “overestimated winners.”

In the case of DeFacto, with a power level of 80%, we can expect an overestimation of recorded uplifts by about 12%.

The effect of “overestimated winners” can be seen using this tool from Lukas Vermeer. You can also find more information in this article.

A final calculation for DeFacto

After we take “false winners” and “overestimated winners” into account, DeFacto’s net business case is more likely to be around $1.5 million in extra revenue, and their net profit on A/B testing is around $1 million—50% of the original $2 million.

We didn’t even correct for tricked winners, anti-winners, or changing winners, which may well plague other experimentation teams. All of these “winners” would further reduce net profit.

A final note: Some organisations use thresholds lower than 90% Bayesian. This can be wise if you statistically balance the value of winning experiments and the costs of inconclusive ones.

Your threshold reflects the risk of “false winners” that you find acceptable. Consider how much risk you’re willing to take while also keeping in mind that every implementation of a variation also entails costs.

If DeFacto would have used a 80% Bayesian threshold with all other results and metrics equal (like a winner ratio of 25%, not retesting winners, etc.), the net profit would go down to roughly zero—or less.   

What can you do about false and exaggerated uplifts?

The most important thing to do is to keep experimenting. Heighten the trustworthiness of all experiments and winners, then start calculating the value of the program correctly.

Once those components are in place, you can scale your program based on a realistic business case. How do you do that?

1. Use trained statisticians.

Employ statisticians (or outsource the work). They can set up experimental designs and embed quality checks and alerts in your program to assure more trustworthy experimentation.

When they’re done with an initial setup, they can continue to embed and automate more advanced checks and analyses.

2. Hire behavioral experts.

Hire an experienced behavioral scientist (or scientists) who is trained in behavioral change, especially in short- versus long-term effects.

A nice extra: If you pick a good one, you’ll get extra knowledge on experimental design and statistics, since behavioral scientists are intensely trained in that as well.

3. Create an experimentation “Center of Excellence.”

When you scale your experimentation across teams, it’s best to build (or hire externally) an experimentation “Center of Excellence.” This center (or external experts) builds or develops your in-house experimentation platform.

A mature platform automates basic statistical checks and corrections to scale trustworthy experimentation based on a realistic estimation of the (net) value. Meanwhile, the experimentation teams can increase velocity without needing the statistical and behavioral skills.

4. Organize and act on your first-party customer intelligence.

If your teams run lots of trustworthy experiments, consider developing a behavioral intelligence Center of Excellence (or expand your experimentation Center of Excellence).

This center brings together all customer insights, builds customer behavior models based on meta analyses of experiments, and continuously grows the long-term impact of your validations.

Conclusion

Not running trustworthy experiments is usually worse than exaggerating their value. Sill, realize that A/B test winners bring less value than their reported uplifts, and lots bring no value at all.

You can create a more accurate estimate by correcting for five causes of exaggerated uplifts:

False winners;Anti-winners;Changing winners;Tricked winners;Overestimated winners.

If you’re interested in calculating the “net value” of your experimentation program, you can use this A/B test calculator to get a sense of your percentage of false winners.

And please contact me via LinkedIn or in the comments below if you have any questions or comments.

The post How to Estimate a “Net Value” for Your A/B Testing Program appeared first on CXL.

0

How to Grow a YouTube Channel: Benchmarks & Strategy

sourced from: https://conversionxl.com/blog/grow-youtube-channel/

What does it take to grow a YouTube channel? Is a channel more than the sum of its video parts? Or will a strategy that focuses on videos alone increase subscribers?

This post tries to answer those questions. Some solutions are simple—you need a consistent visual presentation on your channel page and across videos.

Others don’t distill into tidy bullet points, like choosing a unique angle for storytelling. For less-prescriptive elements, I’ve provided options and examples to guide decision-making.

If YouTube channel growth has felt unattainable, you’re not alone. Some back-of-the-napkin research revealed that leading SaaS businesses and top members of the Inc. 5000 are also floundering.

Their experiences highlight common struggles and offer performance benchmarks.

Are most companies’ YouTube channels succeeding?

YouTube is not unlike other content marketing efforts. Many components of a good blogging strategy also work for YouTube. But there are distinguishing features:

Video content is generally more expensive to produce.Most content consumption occurs away from a company’s website.YouTube was often one of the last content channels added.

The higher production costs, off-site hosting, and late adoption have made YouTube a tangential component of many strategies, even as video—according to seemingly every study—moves toward the center.

Indeed, some of the most successful SaaS companies and members of the Inc. 5000 are achieving very little on YouTube. Some aren’t trying at all—roughly one third of the top 100 companies in the Inc. 5000 don’t even have a YouTube channel.

The chaos of meteoric growth—the type that lands you near the top of the Inc. 5000—may undermine a stable and expansive content marketing strategy. That excuse works less well for members of the Montclare Saas 250, which include a number of established businesses.

In any case, companies that are putting in an effort don’t have much to show for it.

YouTube channel benchmarks: the SaaS 250 and the Inc. 100

If anything, the numbers below are inflated—some YouTube Ads views register as part of the total view count and, presumably, help grow channel subscriptions. And, as noted previously, a number of companies in both groups don’t even have YouTube channels.

Nonetheless, here are the numbers for the median performers in our two datasets.

SaaS 250 YouTube benchmarks

Members of the SaaS 250 publish about 15 videos per year, which net them a total of 133 new subscribers.

MedianSubscribersViews per videoVideos per monthSubscribers per videoSaaS 2501,5471,6251.268.85Sample size: 49 YouTube channels from companies in the Montclare SaaS 250.

Inc. 100 YouTube benchmarks

Members of the Inc. 100 publish about 8 videos per year, which net them a total of 49 new subscribers.

MedianSubscribersViews per videoVideos per monthSubscribers per videoInc. 1003161,8820.656.33Sample size: 65 YouTube channels from the top 100 companies in the Inc. 5000.

By almost any measure, the median performance is failure. In some cases, the failure is from a lack of effort rather than wasted effort. Only 12 of 114 total companies (10.5%) published at least one video per week.

Still, despite that plodding cadence, 62 companies (54.4%) had published at least 50 videos on YouTube, reflecting some degree of investment.

There were three other takeaways from the data.

What does the data tell us about YouTube channel success?

1. YouTube channel success can result from “brute force.”

For the SaaS 250, the strongest correlation (0.87) between subscribers and any other key metric (videos, views, channel age) was with the quantity of videos published.

Omitting a few outliers from the visualization (not the data) highlights the trend:

The second-strongest correlation—and the strongest for the Inc. 100—was between subscribers and video views. In each case, the strongest correlation for one group was the second-strongest correlation for the other.

CorrelationSubscribers and videos publishedSubscribers and viewsSaaS 2500.870.67Inc. 1000.660.78

In short, more videos earned more subscribers. More views earned more subscribers. That correlation doesn’t endorse the strategy. Inefficient subscriber acquisition is an unfortunate reality, not a cause for celebration.

The bigger takeaway—as the data showed—is that few companies have found a more efficient way to grow their channels.

2. Successful channels aren’t more efficient.

Have channels with a high number of subscribers cracked the YouTube code? It doesn’t appear so. There was a weak correlation between subscribers and subscribers per video.

Correlation: subscribers and subscribers per videoSaaS 2500.26Inc. 1000.40

The channels with the highest subscriber totals are nearly as inefficient as poor-performing channels. They get roughly the same number of subscribers for each video they put out.

Similarly, successful channels aren’t earning “better” views than struggling ones. It took the same number of video views for high- and low-performing channels to win a subscriber.

Correlation: subscribers and views per subscriberSaaS 250-0.07Inc. 100-0.08

If high-subscriber channels were publishing more targeted content with compelling calls to action, solid channel branding, etc., you would expect that—just like a great blog—they would earn more conversions.

Experience with YouTube doesn’t seem to help either.

3. Experience with YouTube is of limited value.

While many SaaS companies and members of the Inc. 100 are relatively new businesses, most have been on YouTube for years. The median channel age was 9.48 years for the SaaS 250 and 4.35 years for the Inc. 100.

These companies have had years to develop and refine a YouTube strategy, yet channel age had only a weak correlation with the number of subscribers.

Correlation: subscribers and channel ageSaaS 2500.37Inc 5000.27

In many instances, channels were created and neglected not long thereafter. One channel from a SaaS 250 member—one with $1.2 billion in annual revenue that trades on the NASDAQ—had published only four videos in nearly 12 years.

Certainly, it’s possible to grow a great business without a powerful YouTube channel. But failing to reach potential customers on YouTube is a missed opportunity for these companies—and an opening for their competitors.

So what does it take to create a successful YouTube channel?

Growing a YouTube channel: From baseline optimization to brand positioning

A YouTube channel carries expectations:

Consistent visuals;Thoughtfully organized content;A well-defined brand.

Without those components, a channel is just a hodge-podge collection of videos. A focus on channel development starts with a fuller picture of the differences between “channel” and “video” optimization.

How do you go from “video optimization” to “channel optimization”?

Optimizing individual videos is of course, essential to channel growth. A keyword-targeted strategy builds initial awareness and subscriptions that, in turn, create an audience for videos with little or no keyword volume.

But the relationship has a chicken-and-egg component. As a study by Justin Briggs found, the number of channel subscribers had the second-highest correlation with YouTube rankings, behind video views.

(Image source)

A strong channel will help earn more views from YouTube searchers, just as more views help build the list of subscribers.

Ultimately, the primary success metric for a YouTube channel is subscribers, not views. Subscribers receive notifications when you post new videos and, statistically, consume more content. Subscriber growth also shows deeper engagement with the brand. (A blog that wins email signups—not just traffic—does the same.)

A focus on subscribers, not just views, is important because not all views are created equal. As Siege Media’s Ross Hudgens found:

Our most-viewed video (“how to find someone’s email address”) performs worse from a subscriber point of view because it’s not actually our audience that’s searching for that most times.

“So,” Hudgens continued, “view count should not be the goal—finding your audience where they live should be the goal.”

Seth Kravitz, CEO of PHLEARN, which has more than 1.7 million subscribers, recommends shying away from similar temptations:

Trying to piggy-back off current trends was never a great source of new subscribers for us. Those audiences tend to stop by for 30 seconds of video, leave, and never come back. Plus, as soon as that trend dies off after a month, the content is now irrelevant.

Most content marketers have encountered this conundrum before. Blog posts that drive the most traffic often do little (if anything) to generate conversions. Posts or videos with the highest number of views likely target the highest volume—and highest in the funnel—search terms.

To reel in the relevant subset of those YouTube viewers, you need a consistent visual presentation and a well-defined brand.

Baseline visuals for a YouTube channel

Consistent visuals are key to persuading users not just to watch a video but to subscribe to a channel. Brian Dean’s YouTube hub walks through each of these basic elements in more detail, but here’s an overview of key components.

Naming a channel. For most businesses, the name of the channel will be the business name (since YouTube is supporting an existing brand rather than starting a new one).

Even if you haven’t started publishing on YouTube, you may want to claim your channel name now. As with domains, more and more get claimed every day.

Creating a channel icon. The channel icon should be at least 800×800 pixels and look good as a square or when cropped into a circle.

(Image source)

It appears in several places on YouTube:

Watch pages;Your channel page;Video comments;Subscriptions;Featured channels;Related channels;Search results;Community tab.

For most companies, the simple answer is to use your company logo. However, those that build a channel based on an individual personality (more below) may prefer to use a headshot.

Creating a channel banner. The banner (officially, “Channel Art”) for your YouTube channel is, effectively, a billboard for your YouTube channel. YouTube recommends size dimensions of 2560×1440 px.

(Image source)

With the billboard idea in mind, Dean notes that your banner should reiterate your value proposition, include social proof (if relevant), and add a “Subscribe” call to action and link. (Many channels also link to social media profiles or their website.)

Channel trailer. The channel trailer is a brief (30–90 second) introduction to your YouTube channel. The trailer should offer an engaging first impression and set expectations for the rest of the content:

[This post contains video, click to play]

YouTube’s guidelines offer four principles for trailers:

Assume the viewer has never heard of you.Keep it short.Hook your viewers in the first few seconds.Show, don’t tell.

Some companies opt for a “trailerless” introduction that instead highlights one of their strongest (i.e. high-converting) videos, or, as in the case of PopSockets, a new product:

[This post contains video, click to play]

The choice may hinge on the diversity of your audience. If all your videos are relevant for all of your audience (e.g. a channel for cake recipes), a trailerless approach may work.

However, if your channel serves different facets of a larger audience, like HubSpot’s, a more general introduction to your brand can help set the tone for the rest of the channel.

[This post contains video, click to play]

Organizing channel content

On your YouTube channel page, you can choose which sections you want to include and the order in which you want them to appear.

Video sections

Popular uploads;Recent uploads;Liked videos.

Playlist sections

Playlists (all playlists of a channel);Single playlists;Multiple playlists;Liked playlists.

Show and series

Other types

Recent activities;Recent posts;Channels (others you want to promote).

Moz includes five sections: “The Moz Daily SEO Fix,” “Moz’s Culture,” “Whiteboard Friday,” “Moz Presentations,” and “Popular uploads”:

Each of the above components is essential. Still, none guarantees subscribers. Earning those depends more on your ability to define a consistent, valuable brand on YouTube.

Defining a brand on YouTube

“Outside of the foundational elements,” Briggs told me, “the most essential consideration for channel optimization is the audience—who they are and how they watch.”

Briggs continued:

A channel is not only defined by the individual videos it publishes but the collective group of people that watch them (and the underlying statistics that describe them). Audiences are defined by demographics, psychographics, co-watch behavior (what other videos and channels they watch), and topical clusters (the subject matter they consume).

A focus on a clearly defined audience can drive visual, thematic, and scheduling consistency:

What problems does your target audience face?How frequently is your expertise relevant to them?When is that expertise best communicated via video?

Your YouTube audience may be a subset of your total audience. For CXL, for example, videos on Google Analytics—complete with step-by-step walk-throughs—make more sense than a focus on copywriting.

Despite the temptation to be expansive—more topics covered, more frequent publication—many popular YouTube channels publish infrequently. Dean’s own channel has 216,000 subscribers with just 25 videos.

Even media brands built on YouTube, like Jun’s kitchen, publish infrequently. The channel has 3.6 million subscribers despite publishing less than once a month:

Which metrics show that you’re reaching your audience effectively? Briggs narrows the long list down to one key metric: watch time. He does so with a caveat:

Too many channels focus on the duration and editing aspects of maximizing watch time and not the power of story to carry an audience through.

To improve watch time authentically, according to Briggs, you need to succeed with more powerful if amorphous concepts: “brand resonance, the value of the content, and the story.”

Among the successful YouTube channels surveyed for this post, five approaches helped achieve those values.

Five approaches to define your brand and tell your story

How should you position your brand on YouTube? There is no one right way. For many brands, multiple pathways exist. Some choices are open; others depend on what you sell. Successful channels leaned into one (or more) of these five options:

Educational authority;YouTube-friendly product;YouTube-friendly industry;The “face of the company”;A higher mission.

1. Educational authority. This is how the vast majority of company-run YouTube channels succeed. Successful channels in the marketing space like HubSpot, Moz, Ahrefs, and Dean all take this approach.

It may be the least exciting but also the easiest to execute. In some cases, it simply requires porting over existing blog or whitepaper content to a video format. (As an added bonus, you can repurpose YouTube content back into your blog.)

For SaaS products, it works especially well if solving a viewer’s problem also involves demo-ing your product. This is a regular tactic of Ahrefs:

[This post contains video, click to play]

The line is a fine one. If you get too close to your product, content appears promotional, a death knell for YouTube success. An alternative is to be an unbiased arbiter of related products.

The Slumber Yard YouTube channel, with 20,000 subscribers, has a simple concept: review mattresses. But the channel fills a need for unbiased reviews. It also brings clout from related review channels and a known commodity in founder Jeff Rizzo, whose primary channel has nearly a half-million subscribers.

Explaining their strategy, co-owner Matthew Ross emphasized the importance of a regular publishing schedule to engage subscribers and highlighted the value of giveaways:

We giveaway over $500 in prizes to two random subscribers each month [. . .] Since instituting the promotion, the number of net new subscribers we gain has gone from around 7,000 per month to over 12,000 per month.

The Slumber Yard is a useful example because, as Ross noted:

We just review mattresses. There’s really nothing sexy about it. Still, we’ve been able to grow that channel to 20K subscribers in a short amount of time.

To become an educational authority, ask:

What is our deepest expertise?On which topics can we be authoritative and impartial?

2. YouTube-friendly products. Some products are tailor-made for YouTube. ChefSteps’ Joule, a sous vide stick, is perfect for YouTube.

[This post contains video, click to play]

Their channel showcases high-end cooking techniques, with a focus on recipes that use the sous vide method to narrow viewership to their target audience.

The approach is similar to Beardbrand. Their channel, with more than 1.2 million subscribers, has succeeded with long-format videos (10+ minutes) on ways to trim hair and beards. Styling tips, inevitably, include the use of beard- or hair-care products.

[This post contains video, click to play]

Other companies opt for a less-conventional approach. Blendtec has nearly 900,000 subscribers to their channel, earned through their series of “Will It Blend?” videos.

[This post contains video, click to play]

The zaniness isn’t pure spectacle—the blender’s ability to puree an iPad or crowbar demonstrates its durability, too.

This tactic is similar to the one that’s earned the Hydraulic Press Channel 2.2 million subscribers. The channel became a viral sensation after the creators attempted to fold a piece of paper more than seven times, which rocketed the video to the top of Reddit.

[This post contains video, click to play]

Reddit has worked as a distribution path for other YouTube channels. Jeff Moriarity of Moriarity’s Gem Art used a single viral hit on Reddit to help grow his subscriber base, which now exceeds 39,000:

One thing we did [. . .] was to start promoting some of our videos on Reddit [. . .] One of these videos got picked up by a top person on Reddit, and the video blew up from 1,000 views to over 3,000,000. This also increased our subscribers by about 20%.

To showcase a YouTube-friendly product, ask:

What are people doing before, during, or after using our product?Could a less-conventional approach help us stand out in a crowded market?

3. YouTube-friendly industry. Working in an industry like food or travel offers near-limitless content possibilities on YouTube. It also increases competition. The Tour Guy, with almost 23,000 subscribers, entered the “almost saturated European tourism market” with the need to differentiate.

Their solution was to counter the prevailing “blogger as tour guide” approach. As Eleonora Cordella explained:

We don’t build our storytelling around a personal experience as a blogger would do, but we focus on interesting facts, myths, and off-the-beaten-path locations only real experts know.

The Tour Guy balances expertise and impartiality about locations with clear calls to action for their services. Within their videos, they link to tours they offer and, according to Cordella, “Thanks to this practice, 22.71% of our annual revenue comes from YouTube.”

To succeed in a YouTube-friendly industry, ask:

Which aspects of our expertise separate us from the “lay” YouTuber?Which bits of expertise also sell our product or service?

4. The “face of the company.” Personal branding works well for marketers. (I can name more people who run agencies than the agencies they run.) It’s successful on YouTube as well.

A recurring face and voice can help keep the tone, pacing, and narrative style consistent. It’s why networks pay news anchors millions to read scripts that, in theory, anyone could.

Dean has done this effectively with Backlinko, and Slumber Yard was built on a successful channel featuring Jeff Rizzo (RIZKNOWS).

To pursue a “face of the company” strategy, ask:

Will a consistent face and voice help humanize our business?Does the personality of that person entertain and build trust with our audience?

5. A higher mission. Shoe-seller TOMS has more than 50,000 subscribers from 545 videos. They’ve used the channel to promote their “Stand for Tomorrow” campaign, which donates money to charity for each purchase.

The company’s most popular videos are narratives about their philanthropic work, not explicit product promotions.

[This post contains video, click to play]

To highlight your higher mission, ask:

Is it difficult to differentiate our product?Will a focus on our mission influence purchasing decisions?

Conclusion

You can grow a YouTube channel, Hudgens told me,

through views, definitely, but lots of other elements that tie in, such as your channel video, channel hero, playlists, how you structure playlists (try putting videos first that drive subscribers), suggested videos, etc.

And yet, as he and Briggs noted, it ultimately comes down to how well you identify and serve your audience.

In that respect, YouTube channel growth is no different than any other platform. You need to blend value with entertainment while encouraging subscriptions through calls to action and incentives, like discounts or giveaways.

The good news is that most companies haven’t yet figured this out. If blogging is hyper-crowded and ruthlessly competitive, YouTube is still more accessible. Also like blogging, it won’t stay that way for long.

The post How to Grow a YouTube Channel: Benchmarks & Strategy appeared first on CXL.

0

How I Grew My Dying Facebook Traffic

sourced from: https://neilpatel.com/blog/facebook-traffic-messenger/

Is it me, or does Facebook just want to keep you on Facebook?

Every time I post a link to my site, I get less and less traffic. And it’s been this way for years.

In other words, my organic reach on Facebook was dying.

And to make matters worse, they give you hope every time they launch a new feature.

For example, when they launched Facebook Live, you used to be able to get tons of views because they promoted it organically… but not really anymore.

The same goes with Facebook Watch. I used to easily get 30,000 plus views per video when Facebook Watch came out… again, not anymore.

Now I am lucky to get 10,000 views.

But hey, I can’t really hate on Facebook. They are a business and they have to do what’s best for them. So instead of getting upset at Facebook, I decided to run some tests to see if I could find a way to get more organic traffic.

Because there has to be a way, right?

Well, there is. 🙂

And here is my traffic from Facebook over the last 7 days:

That may not seem like a big increase, but I generated 10,621 visitors the month before. In other words, I took my Facebook traffic from 10,621 visitors PER MONTH to 10,085 visitors PER WEEK.

I am getting roughly the same amount of traffic I used to get in 30 days from Facebook, now in just 7 days.

So how did I do this?

Taking control of your own destiny

As marketers, our faith typically relies on the big giants… you know, Google, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram…

If they decide to change their algorithms your traffic could go up, down, or stay flat.

For that reason, over the last few years, I’ve been building up marketing channels that aren’t as reliant on algorithms.

For example, you may learn about new blog posts I publish through my email lists because every time I publish a new post, I usually send out an email blast.

Or it could be through browser notifications.

Every time I release a blog post or a video… again, I send a message out through push notifications.

But why can’t we do the same with Facebook?

Sure, you can post on your wall or page like everyone else, but if Facebook doesn’t want to show it to people they don’t have to.

So, I decided to push really hard on Facebook Messenger, which gives you the same ability.

In other words, you can send a direct message to everyone on Facebook through their chat feature and share a message or a link to your website.

Something that isn’t too controlled by an algorithm… similar to text messaging or email marketing.

I built this list of 129,560 Facebook Messenger contacts and leveraged them to continually generate traffic back to my blog.

Now before I break down the exact steps I took to do this, the tactics here take execution and elbow grease. It isn’t rocket science, it’s not hard to do, but it does take a bit of work.

But first, let’s go over how Facebook Messenger marketing works.

Facebook Messenger

First, let’s back up on why Facebook Messenger is working so well today.

Facebook Messenger open rates are 50-80% click-through rates post elite stats.

When you send an email campaign, you can expect a 20% open rate on a really good day. On average, I get 28 to 31% with my NeilPatel.com email list.

In other words, if you send your email newsletter to 100 people, 20 people will open it. If you scrub your list and work really hard like me, roughly 30 people will open it, which still isn’t great.

However, when you send a Messenger message to 100 people, 88 people will open it and read it.

We’re talking about an 88% open rate on Messenger. That is crazy!!!!

Now over time, you will notice that it will go down, but it is still substantially higher than email.

But here is where it really gets interesting.

With email marketing, you’ll typically see a 2% to a 4% click-through rate. So for every 100 emails you send, you will get 2 to 4 clicks back to your site.

To give you a benchmark, again, I spend a lot of time fine-tuning my emails and I can get about 6 clicks for every 100 emails I send.

Better than the 2 to 4 percent most people get, but still not life-changing.

With Messenger? You can get 20% click rates.

Over time, you will see it go down, but it is still substantially higher than email marketing.

And it is not just marketing, it works with pretty much any industry. Here’s an example of a real estate company that leverages Facebook Messenger:

As you can see from the screenshot above, Facebook Messenger works like how you would chat with a friend on Facebook or even email. You don’t always have to promote or link, you could just have a conversation with a friend.

This is why their adoption rate is continually climbing in the United States.

That’s almost 140 million users that are projected to use Messenger.

Messaging apps are also surpassing social networks in popularity. Just ask yourself… how many times do you use WhatsApp each week?

But the key is to start now because it will become saturated just like every other marketing channel that works. So whoever builds the biggest list early on will have the best shot of doing well in the long run.

If you are already leveraging Messenger, great, just skip to the tips below to start growing your Facebook traffic.

If you aren’t, just like email marketing you are going to need software so you can send the messages on Facebook. You can start off with this free software called MobileMonkey.

Now let’s get into how you can build your Messenger list and get consistent Facebook traffic.

Tactic #1: Website Messenger widget

My own tests have shown that chat on a website can boost conversions 45%.

So I wondered, what would happen if I installed a Messenger bot on a website?

What’s great about adding this is that visitors get answers to their questions immediately, 24/7. Say goodbye to conversion bottlenecks.

But also, everyone who starts a chat on the site becomes a new contact in my Messenger list.

So how does this work?

Add a Facebook Messenger bot to your website with a widget.

Everyone who visits your website is invited to become a Messenger contact. Website traffic turns into Messenger contacts.

Most users are already logged into Messenger on their desktop or device. So when they have questions or want info and see the Messenger widget, they tap it and boom — new Messenger contact.

If your site is on WordPress site like 34% of the world’s sites, a WordPress plugin called WP-Chatbot is the quickest way to add Facebook Messenger chat to your site.

Install the plugin on your WordPress site and you’ll have Messenger chat on your site in just a few minutes.

This widget makes list building easy. An active website could get hundreds or thousands of new contacts from the visitors on the site who engage the chatbot every day.

Think about yourself.

Are you more likely to search for a contact form on a site, fill it out, and sit back and wait who knows how long for an answer to your question?

Or are you more likely to pop open the chat window, ask your question, and get an immediate response?

Tactic #2: Run Facebook click to Messenger ads

You can do a lot without leveraging paid traffic, but if you really want to put some fuel on the fire, a few hundred dollars goes a long way.

And for the purpose of this blog post, I spent $391.58 just so I would have some stats to share with you. 🙂

Facebook Messenger ads are a Facebook Ad format in which the user who clicks on the ad is immediately added to your Messenger contact list as opposed to going to a landing page where they may bounce or exit, anonymously.

Everyone who clicks the button on the ad converts when they send the advertiser a message — becoming a permanent Messenger contact.

The key part is… they need to send the advertiser a message. In other words, if you don’t get them to send you a message they won’t be added to your Messenger contact list so you won’t be able to send blasts to them.

That’s why you want to use an autoresponder. If which you automatically start talking to each person to increase your chance that they will get added to your contact list.

Here’s an example of an ad:

How much will Facebook click-to-Messenger ads run you?

I personally haven’t scaled a campaign too large yet, but with a $391.58 test budget, I’ve been able to generate leads for roughly 62% less than traditional Facebook ads.

But again, the key with all of this is in the autoresponder. Without that, your numbers won’t be too great.

Within MobileMonkey, use the bot content builder to create the autoresponder to your Facebook Ad.

Then create a new Messenger ad in MobileMonkey to connect your autoresponder to your Facebook Ad.

Next, pick the autoresponder from a drop-down of all your bot dialogues and connect it to your Facebook Ads Manager account.

The result is a low-cost ad campaign that drives more contacts into your Messenger list.

Facebook Messenger ads work time and again across industries, including e-commerce and service businesses.

Now, if you are like me and you prefer to do things a bit more organically and save some money, here’s how you generate more contacts without spending money.

Tactic #3: Use organic Facebook post autoresponders

Growing your list with a little ad spend goes a long way, but this next list building power tactic is totally free.

Anyone who comments on your Facebook Page posts instantly becomes your Messenger contact.

A Facebook post autoresponder adds people to your Messenger contact list if they comment on any Facebook post.

Here’s how it works.

You post to your Facebook Business Page.
Someone comments.
A Messenger bot automatically responds and as soon as that person replies, they’ve become a contact in Messenger.

You can see an example of this tactic in action here:

The more engaging your Facebook post, the more likely it will be that people will want to comment on it.

These kinds of posts always get a ton of comments and contacts:

Quizzes
Contests
Riddles

You could ask fans to post a GIF in response to a question. “Describe your boss with a GIF.”

Or ask them to tell a story or ask them a question like “What industry are most of your clients in?”

Even just asking them “what do you do?” is super-engaging because people love to talk about themselves!

This store asks fans to name how many duck species are in the photo. Comment with your guess and get a discount code in the autoresponder follow-up.

You can create the Messenger dialog for this technique in MobileMonkey with the “FB Comment Guard” tool.

That feature is what allows you to add the autoresponder to an organic post.

I love this technique because it converts my hard-fought organic Facebook engagement into a list of contacts I can follow up with.

Tactic #4: Convert page fans into Messenger contacts

I’m a fan of cross-promoting, traffic-sharing, and allowing various marketing channels to build off each other.

After all, if someone follows you on one channel, they may want your updates on a different channel as well. This increases your odds of connecting with them and amplifying your content reach at any given time.

This tactic combines several methodologies for a boost to Messenger contacts.

If you’ve gone to the effort of building a robust Facebook page, you will want to convert these fans into Messenger contacts. Fans are great, but Messenger contacts are better because Messenger is personalized, interactive, one-on-one, and has way more visibility than Facebook News Feed.

Organic reach on Facebook is very low. Maybe 1%, of your fans on your Facebook Page will even see your post.

Using Facebook Messenger changes this. Instead of a low organic reach, you’re getting high-powered interactions that are personalized.

This is important because page fans aren’t automatically Messenger contacts. You have to invite them or connect with them in Messenger first.

Here are three ways to convert your Page fans into Messenger contacts.

First, and this one is pretty obvious, you can change the CTA button on your Facebook Page to “Send Message”.

Right now your Facebook Page CTA button might be sending traffic to your site with a button like “Learn More”.

Hover over the button until you see “Edit Button.” Then choose the option to “Contact you” and “Send Message.”

Customize the message that people will see when they click that button in MobileMonkey.

Boom. Now anyone who clicks the “Send Message” button from a Facebook Page will become a Messenger contact.

Second, create a Facebook Post Autoresponder (see tip #3).

This autoresponder was a simple invitation — Stay in touch! Sign up for Messenger updates.

Third, you can then use Page fan audience targeting of a click-to-Messenger Facebook Ad campaign.

Remember, your existing Page fans are more likely to take another step into more interaction with a brand that they know and trust.

Tactic #5: Turn your email subscribers into Messenger contacts

Email marketing has a low engagement rate.

Facebook Messenger has high engagement.

Would you rather send your content to your subscribers in a channel with a 2% click-rate or 20% click-through rate?

Ideally, you should do what I do and leverage them both.

Send your email list an invitation to join your Facebook Messenger list. Those who choose to do so will become email subscribers and Messenger subscribers, but their engagement level (and therefore your reach) will increase using Messenger.

One of the most effective marketing methods is to convert your existing contacts into more effective marketing channels.

Using MobileMonkey’s chatbot builder, you can create an opt-in page consisting of a quick and simple “Want to receive occasional updates?” invitation.

Link to that invitation anywhere you’d normally include a link.

Link to that invitation in a button, like the examples below.

And here:

Link to your Messenger experience in your:

Email signature
CTAs in blog posts
Business card in QR codes
Landing pages
Newsletter subscription forms

The list is as long as you are clever. And it works very well!

Conclusion

You are always going to deal with algorithms, but if you want more consistent traffic you need to take matters into your own hands.

Just look at me, I leverage email marketing, push notifications, and even Facebook Messenger marketing.

I’m now looking into leveraging text messaging too.

Sure, I leverage SEO, content marketing, paid ads, social media marketing… and every other major channel out there.

But I focus a large part of my efforts on controlling my own destiny and you can too.

If you haven’t started, start with Facebook Messenger. It works so well right now and I expect it to last for a while. The key is getting in on the right time and time is right now.

So what do you think about this strategy? Have you tried Facebook Messenger marketing yet?

The post How I Grew My Dying Facebook Traffic appeared first on Neil Patel.

0

Chatbots Explained in 800 Words or Less

sourced from: https://www.digitalmarketer.com/blog/chatbots-explained/

You can’t put 2 marketers in a room together these days without chatbots coming up in some way.

But despite some seemingly too-good-to-be-true results and a whole lot of hype floating around, this recent marketing tactic is one that has legs.

In 2016, Facebook announced bots for Messenger, and now there are well over 300,000 bots active on their platform automating a wide variety of tasks (not just chatting).

As people increasingly turn away from certain social media sites, many companies have followed their customers to their favorite messaging apps.

Remember, this is conversational marketing, where the focus is on building a relationship with customers through (you guessed it) conversations. And you can’t have conversations if there are no costumers around.

But if you are still unclear as to what exactly a chatbot is (and how you could even use it in your business), you are definitely not alone. So we decided to break them down for you in less than 800 words (and don’t worry, no bots were harmed in the making of this post).

What is a Chatbot?

Simply put, chatbots are computer programs designed to have conversations with human users. Chances are you’ve interacted with one. They answer questions, guide you through a purchase, provide technical support, and can even teach you a new language. You can find them on devices, websites, text messages, and messaging apps—in other words, they’re everywhere.

Chatbots may use artificial intelligence, like machine learning and natural language processing, to perform these human tasks. Before we go on, let’s briefly explain what these terms mean:

Artificial intelligence is the broad term for the programming of machines to perform intelligent human tasks. There are many types of AI
Machine learning is a type of AI that enables computers to interpret information and learn from it, then use that context to inform a decision next time
Natural language processing is also a type of AI that processes human language and language-based data (i.e. text and speech)

But don’t worry if you’re not a top-tier programmer on the side; you don’t need to be one to create a chatbot. Nowadays marketers can use a variety of tools to build a chatbot, so a deep dive into computer science and artificial intelligence isn’t necessary.

Types of Chatbots

While there isn’t an official list of chatbot types anywhere, there are experts in the field that have broken up them up into categories, ranging from basic to advanced.

There are generally 3 types of business chatbots:

Support chatbots perform 1 main function, like help answer common questions or walk a user through a task. These are typically easy to navigate and don’t necessarily require speech functionality.
Skills chatbots follow commands, don’t require much context, and can usually be integrated with other things (like smart devices and appliances).
Assistant chatbots know a little about a lot of things. They’re usually conversational and entertaining (like our sassy girl Siri).

Keep in mind that many chatbots fall into more than 1 category.

There are other ways of thinking around chatbots, too: you can also break down types of chatbots based on capabilities.

Menu/button-based chatbots are programmed like a decision tree. Click through a series of questions, in button form, to get to your answer
Keyword recognition-based chatbots respond to what you type based on keywords and artificial intelligence. Ask the chatbot a question, and it listens for the keywords to narrow down an answer
Contextual chatbots use both machine learning and artificial intelligence to remember conversations, learn from that context, and improve over time.

However, you’d like to think about chatbots, the most important thing to know is that you don’t need to spend the time and resources to build a fancy chatbot. Sometimes a simple one will do.

(NOTE: Need a helping hand with your digital marketing efforts? Or maybe you just want proven, actionable marketing tools, tactics, and templates to implement in your business? Check out the latest deal from DigitalMarketer, and you will be on your way to helping your business grow.)

How Businesses are Using Chatbots (and how you could too)

Chatbots have a variety of jobs, including lead generation. Here are some tasks that chatbots can do.

1. Help Customers Make Purchases

This in-app chatbot by Dominos provides an alternative way to place a pizza order with their assistant Dom. It’s not all too different from ordering pizza the usual mobile way, but it’s way more interesting. And Dom is interactive and helpful as you go through the order process.

2. Upsell a New Product or Service

With Sephora’s Messenger bot, you can try out new products, book a makeover, provide store feedback, or be directed to a customer support representative for some human help.

This is a great way to explore Sephora’s inventory without stepping into a store. They’ve even incorporated augmented reality (e.g. Snapchat filters) to let you “try on” their products before you shop those items.

3. Showcase Content

This is another example where what’s being accomplished isn’t all too different (it seems like you can get movie tickets a hundred different ways), but it’s the experience that counts.

Anyone who engages with the Fandango Bot through Messenger gets this cool interactive experience to watch trailers, see which movies are trending, and of course, buy movie tickets.

4. Send Music to Friends

Search Spotify’s catalog on Messenger to send a song or playlist to a friend. This is great for people who are already on Messenger and would prefer to stay on it. Plus, it saves several steps instead of navigating to the Spotify app (or via browser) and sharing content that way.

5. Plan Trips

Kayak’s Messenger bot helps with booking flights, cars, hotels, and finding things to do. The search “Where can I go for $500?” asks for your location and gives you a handful of destinations to choose from.

Get Out There and Chatbot

Chatbots are still the new kid in the marketing block, but businesses have been quick to adopt this new technology and reap the rewards. Look at your favorite brands (and your competitors) to see if (and how) they’re using chatbots for their business. Maybe there’s an opportunity for you to do the same.

Conversational marketing doesn’t have to be intimidating. With a bit of creativity and the right tools, you can provide another way to connect with your customers—this time on their messaging platform of choice.

(NOTE: Need a helping hand with your digital marketing efforts? Or maybe you just want proven, actionable marketing tools, tactics, and templates to implement in your business? Check out the latest deal from DigitalMarketer, and you will be on your way to helping your business grow.)

The post Chatbots Explained in 800 Words or Less appeared first on DigitalMarketer.

0

(REVEALED) Real Data from Actual Facebook Messenger Marketing Campaigns

sourced from: https://www.digitalmarketer.com/blog/facebook-messenger-marketing-case-study/

In this article, I’m going to show you never-before-revealed data from some of my recent Facebook Messenger marketing campaigns.

I’m sharing these behind-the-scenes Messenger analytics (against my better judgement…) for 3 main reasons:

Authenticity: Seeing is believing. You’ve heard the hype about chatbots. I want to pull back the curtain so you can determine, based on real data, whether or not the hype is deserved
Motivation: I want to show you that you can get similar results by applying specific marketing tactics
Comparable analysis: If you’re already using chatbots and Facebook Messenger marketing, you’ll be able to assess whether or not your results are in the range of typical outcomes

I’ll not only show you the numbers I achieved, but also exactly how I achieved them. By reverse-engineering the process, you can get similar levels of marketing success.

Survey Sent via Facebook Messenger: 52% open rate and 15% response rate.

In this marketing campaign, I sent a survey to a group of contacts (12,680 of them).

The survey was called “What’s Your Bot Level” in which I tried to gauge how familiar my audience was with chatbot marketing.

It started out with a quick question, “I’m a chatbot marketing…” and then you would fill in the blank with your experience level—novice, fan, or pro, basically.

Here are the results that I got after sending that exact survey:

The survey was delivered to 10,689 contacts
52% or 5,639 of the contacts opened the survey
2% or 1,733 of the contacts responded, i.e. answered questions, on the survey

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the campaign. (Names have been blurred for privacy reasons.)

Why am I showing you this particular campaign?

After all, a lot of my campaigns have 75% response rates and higher!

This survey was only 52%. Why brag about a comparatively ho-hum open rate?

Here’s why I’m showing you mediocre results:

These results, though mediocre by chatbot marketing standards, are way higher than what you’d get from an email marketing campaign. See chart below for a breakdown of the analytics
It’s a survey. Surveys are notoriously difficult to get people to respond to
It was sent to over 10,000 respondents. That means over 5,000 people read my survey, and 1,733 responded to it. These are significant numbers

Let’s draw a comparison between this survey campaign (sent via Messenger) and an equivalent survey that we sent via email.

The survey sent via Messenger had a 5,303% higher engagement than the one sent via email.

Besides, surveys are invaluable for marketing teams.

What if you could get more than 16% of your mailing list to respond to a survey? How would this inform your marketing, engage­ your users, or empower your sales team?

This is the power of Messenger chatbot marketing.

To create a chatbot survey, you’ll need to use a chatbot builder, (MobileMonkey is a great option, and what I use). You simply create a dialogue—questions, followed by answers, followed by another question, etc.

Most MobileMonkey users take a survey template and customize it to their specific needs.

You can also create surveys from scratch using the MobileMonkey bot builder.

You’re probably well aware that a survey isn’t just for information-gathering purposes. A survey is also a powerful engagement tool, compelling your users to take action.

Here are some tips for a successful Facebook Messenger chatbot survey:

Make it easy for people to respond. Multiple choice questions in which they tap answers are best
Make the survey short. People bail from long surveys
Make it obvious what the survey is about. Confusion leads to rejection

Facebook Messenger Drip Campaign: 81% Read Rate and 14% Response Rate

Drip campaigns are the bread and butter of email marketing.

Done right, a strategic drip campaign can nurture a cohort of email marketing leads to some conversion action.

And guess what. It takes days.  

Chatbot marketing has taken drip campaign success rates to a whole new level, like the one I’m sharing with you here.

What email marketer in the last 15 years has seen results like these?

81% of the recipients read or opened the drip campaign
14% of the recipients responded to the drip campaign

Why am I showing you this one?

Because it’s a small sample size. Not everyone who’s reading this is working with audiences of 31,000+ respondents, as we sometimes do. If you’re just getting started with Facebook Messenger marketing, your audience size may be in the few hundreds, not the tens of thousands.

While there are times that it’s acceptable to send a message to a huge list, it’s much more strategic to define small audience segments for effective hypertargeting.

The example I’m showing you above is such a segment—a cohort of contacts that share certain engagement characteristics.

(NOTE: Not sure where to get started on your own Facebook ads? Download our NEWLY UPDATED Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library for FREE! You can copy and paste these 7 proven Facebook ad campaigns to create low-cost, high-converting ads on demand. Get them here.)

I also show it to you because 90% of these respondents took action within the first 60 minutes of receiving the chatbot sequence.

Chatbots turbocharge drip campaigns. Instead of waiting a period of days to send the next message, you need only wait minutes. When you’re able to accelerate the process, you can close conversions much faster and with a higher success rate.

Creating a drip campaign in the MobileMonkey chatbot builder is a simple drag-and-drop process. First, you’ll create the dialogues, and then you’ll organize them in the Drip Campaign builder.

As the efficacy of email marketing fades, I want marketers to have confidence in drip campaigns—but not email drip campaigns.

Facebook Messenger drip campaigns powered by chatbots are alive and well, and scoring 80% open rates mere minutes after launching.

Facebook Messenger Data: Cumulative Metrics

The final set of data I want to show you isn’t from a specific Messenger campaign. Rather, it’s drawn from the collective marketing campaigns that I’ve been executing using MobileMonkey and Facebook Messenger.

As a preamble to the actual data, let me tell you yet again why I’m sharing these specific numbers with you.

The most fundamental reason is this—it’s data. Data is omnipotent. Acting upon data is the only effective way to make informed marketing decisions. If you know and understand your data, you can adjust your marketing accordingly.

When opening up any new marketing channel, it is essential to have a sense of the numbers—how many, how fast, who, why, and when.

Here are some of those numbers.

This metric shows the total number of contacts acquired in Messenger over time (the date range is, of course, adjustable).

Let’s compare this with email. One Messenger contact is the equivalent of anywhere from 20 to 100 emails in terms of the engagement driven. Thus, a Messenger contact list of this size gets the same engagement levels that you would expect from a 400,000-person email list.

This number—total contacts in Messenger—is the guiding light for the emerging class of chatbot marketers.

Whereas traditional marketers pour effort and energy into amassing email leads, today’s Facebook Messenger marketers measure their success by the number of Messenger contacts.

With email marketing, the contacts consist of, well, an email address—hardly anything else.

With Messenger marketing, the data on each contact is much richer, leading to extremely effective segmentation, retargeting, and campaign refinement.

Every contact goes into a contact list that is organized, searchable, and can even be exported automatically to any other business apps, CRMs, databases, etc.

For each contact that subscribes to your Messenger contact list, you have automatic visibility on the following information:

Profile picture
First name
Last name
Unique ID
Gender
Country
Time zone
Date and time created
Time of last activity

You can create an infinite number of attributes and tags that will help to further refine your contacts based on your own selections and parameters.

Another helpful data point is the rate of acquisition.

The chart below indicates the number of new contacts per day. It’s helpful for analyzing trends, specific campaign effectiveness, and overall trends.

Knowing the total number of sessions generated by chatbots is another integral number for measuring chatbot marketing success. This chart shows the total number of sessions (orange) plotted with the number of unique sessions (purple).

These are just a few of the many metrics available within MobileMonkey’s bot analytics.

To get a rounded view of my data, I often take a look at any paid entry points to my Messenger contact list, which is usually click-to-messenger ads. Doing so helps me understand the costs associated with Messenger list building.

For example, here’s a glance at a recent Messenger ad campaign. Here’s a quick rundown of the salient data points:

Campaign duration: 5 days
Total amount spent: $12.36
Total impressions: 1,373
Results: 158
Cost per result: $0.08

Each of the number sets discussed above is important for the role they play in refining and developing my Messenger marketing strategy.

Data from Facebook Messenger Campaigns: Your Turn

We’re in the infancy of Messenger chatbot marketing.

Sure, it’s an exciting field and a lot of marketers are jumping in, but there is no track record of people sharing data or metrical insights into the success of their chatbot marketing efforts.

That’s yet another reason why I chose to share this information with you.

The scarcity of data may lead marketers to conclude that 1) chatbot marketing isn’t effective and/or 2) all these marketers are lying about their 70% open rates.

I hope these few data points will provide a glimpse of authenticity to strip away the veneer of hype that masks the chatbot marketing world.

None of the data I shared with you is anomalous. None of it is sensational. And all of it is real.

Now it’s your turn.

Using chatbot marketing, what kind of results do you think you can achieve?

(NOTE: Not sure where to get started on your own Facebook ads? Download our NEWLY UPDATED Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library for FREE! You can copy and paste these 7 proven Facebook ad campaigns to create low-cost, high-converting ads on demand. Get them here.)

The post (REVEALED) Real Data from Actual Facebook Messenger Marketing Campaigns appeared first on DigitalMarketer.

0

17 Ways to Get More YouTube Views (Works GREAT In 2019)

sourced from: https://backlinko.com/get-youtube-views

In this post I’m going to show you how to get more views on YouTube.

In fact, these are the exact techniques that I used to grow my channel to 244.6K views per month.

Let’s dive right in.

1. Use “BOGY” Thumbnails
2. Copy This Proven Video Description Template
3. Alternate Playlist Layouts
4. Boost Your Video Title CTR
5. Get More “Suggested Video” Views
6. Use The “MVC Formula” For Video Tags
7. Share Videos On Quora, Reddit and Forums
8. Rank Your Videos in Google Search
9. Optimize Videos for Comments, Likes and Subscribes
10. Improve Your Channel’s “Session Time”
11. Optimize Your End Screen for Views
12. Master YouTube SEO Fundamentals
13. Use Eye-Catching Playlist Titles
14. Feature Your Videos On Your Blog
15. Share Video Clips On Social Media
16. Upload Videos When Your Audience is On YouTube
17. “The Card Bridge” Technique
Bonus #1: Get Featured On The YouTube Homepage
Bonus #2: Double Down On What Works
Bonus #3: The Community Tab Preview

1. Use “BOGY” Thumbnails

It’s no secret that your video thumbnail is HUGE.

In fact:

According to YouTube, 9 out of 10 of the most-viewed videos on YouTube use a custom thumbnail:

And YouTube themselves state that:

“Thumbnails are usually the first thing viewers see when they find one of your videos.”

The question is:

How do you create a thumbnail that stands out?

BOGY Thumbnails.

BOGY Thumbnails are thumbnails that use these four colors:

Blue
Orange
Green
Yellow

Why is this important?

Well, if you look around YouTube, you’ll notice that the site is mostly red, black and white.

And if your thumbnail also uses red, black and white… your video will blend in.

But when you use BOGY thumbnails, your videos stands out and grabs attention.

(Which makes people MUCH more likely to click)

For example, I use green as the main color in my thumbnails:

This is partly for branding reasons (green is the main color on my blog and YouTube channel).

But it’s also to stand out on the YouTube platform:

How about another example?

The Bright Side Channel (which has 19 million subscribers) uses yellow, orange, blue and purple in most of their thumbnails:

Of course, you can use a little bit of red, white and black in your thumbnail.

You just don’t want to make them your main thumbnail color.

For example, I use some black and white in this thumbnail.

But 80%+ of that thumbnail is green.

And now it’s time for…

2. Copy This Proven Video Description Template

YouTube has confirmed that your video descriptions “let YouTube’s algorithms know what your videos are all about”.

With that, I have some good news:

I recently developed a YouTube description template that works GREAT.

Here it is:

Now I’ll break down each section in detail.

First, you have the Strong Intro.

The first few lines of your description are SUPER important.

Specifically, you want to include your target keyword once in the first 1-2 sentences.

That’s because YouTube puts more weight on keywords early on in your description.

So make sure to mention your target keyword in the beginning of your description.

Here’s an example from my channel:

You also want to sell your video.

Why?

The first few lines of your description show up in YouTube search:

And if that snippet is super compelling, more people will click on your result:

Plus, some people even read your description after they land on your video page.

So it’s important that the content above “Show more” really sells your video.

Next, you have the 150-word outline.

All you need to do here is outline what someone will learn from your video.

And don’t be afraid to get into the nitty-gritty details here. In fact, I recommend writing AT LEAST 150 words here.

That way, YouTube can fully understand what your video covers.

For example, check out this description from one of my videos:

It’s 233 total words.

And that thorough description has helped my video rack up 299,173 views to date:

Finally, you have your description links.

I actually got this tip from YouTube themselves:

The goal here is to send people to your website and social media channels.

I’m most active on Twitter, so I only include a link to my Twitter profile:

But there’s nothing wrong with linking to several different sites that you’re active on.

And if you want to get more subscribers, I recommend adding a call-to-action to subscribe here too:

Which leads us to…

3. Alternate Playlist Layouts

If you’re like most people, you include a ton of playlists on your channel page.

(Which is smart)

Well, I recently discovered a simple way to get MORE people to watch your playlists:

Alternate vertical and horizontal playlist layouts.

Here’s an example from my channel:

Why is this important?

If you only use one playlist layout, your playlists don’t stand out from one another:

But when you alternate layouts, each playlist really stands out:

To change layouts, head over to your channel page. And hit “Customize Channel”.

Then, click on the little pencil icon next to one of your playlists:

And choose the layout:

Then, alternate between “vertical lists” and “horizontal layouts” for each playlist.

Simple. Yet effective.

4. Boost Your Video Title CTR

Your title is a BIG part of your video’s success.

In fact, YouTube’s internal data has confirmed that your title can make or break your entire video:

With that, here’s exactly how to write video titles that get tons of clicks:

First, add brackets and parentheses to the end of your title.

An industry study by HubSpot found that adding brackets to a title increased clicks by 33%:

To be fair:

This study looked at blog post titles.

But I’ve found that the same rule applies to YouTube videos.

For example, this video from my channel has 299,173 views:

And the “[New Checklist]” at the end of my title is a big part of that video’s success:

Next, use a number in your title.

This number can be:

The number of tips or strategies you’re going to cover
The current year
Number of steps in a how-to video
The amount of weight someone lost (or lifted)

Or pretty much any number that makes sense for your video.

For example, here’s a video on my channel about keyword research:

My original title was just “Advanced Keyword Research Tutorial”.

That title is pretty flat.

So I decided to add “5-Step Blueprint” to the end of my title:

Which has helped that video rack up over 100k views so far:

Finally, use titles that are between 40-50 characters:

A study by Justin Briggs discovered that videos with titles less than 50 characters ranked best in YouTube search:

5. Get More “Suggested Video” Views

Over the last few years I’ve studied dozens of YouTube channels.

And I’ve noticed one consistent pattern:

Successful channels get lots of views from Suggested Video.

As a reminder, “Suggested Videos” are videos that YouTube promotes next to the video you’re watching:

And as it turns out, Suggested Video can bring in MORE views than YouTube search.

For example, my channel gets 34.8% of its views from SEO…

…and 38.2% from Suggested Video:

So:

How can you get more views from Suggested Video?

Use the same tags as your competitors.

In fact, YouTube has stated that they use metadata (like your title, description and tags) for Suggested Video rankings.

So when your tags match the tags in a popular video, you have a good chance of showing up next to that video:

Here’s a video that walks you through this entire process in detail:

Speaking of tags…

6. Use The “MVC Formula” For Video Tags

You already know that tags are important for video SEO.

That’s because YouTube uses tags to understand your video’s topic.

In fact, when we analyzed 1+ million YouTube videos, we found that YouTube video tags correlated with rankings:

Question is:

How do you use tags the right way?

The MVC Formula.

Here’s how it looks:

The MVC stands for: “Main Keyword”, “Variations” and “Category”.

I’ll break this down with a real-life example…

First, you have “Main Keyword”.

This is self-explanatory.

You want to use your main keyword as your first or second tag.

For example, my target keyword for this video is: “link building”.

So I made that exact phrase my first tag:

Next, we’ve got “Variations”.

Here’s where you sprinkle in a few variations of your main keyword.

For example, in my link building video, I used a few variations of that term:

Finally, include 1-2 tags that describe your video’s overall category.

These broad tags are designed to help YouTube understand your video’s overall topic and category.

For example, in my video, I included three broad tags: “SEO”, “online marketing” and “digital marketing”.

7. Share Videos On Quora, Reddit and Forums

Online communities are GREAT places to promote your YouTube videos.

That’s because people on these communities have burning questions…

…questions that your video can answer.

For example, let’s say that you see someone asking this question on Reddit:

Well, if you had a video that talked about frozen Paleo meals, you could link to it in that thread.

In fact, I used this exact approach to promote one of my videos on Quora:

Which helped my brand new video get a handful of high-quality views.

8. Rank Your Videos in Google Search

Ranking your videos in Google can lead to LOTS of extra views.

In fact, Google sends my videos 8,396 views per month:

So:

How do you get your videos to show up in Google?

Well, it’s not all about ranking #1 in YouTube.

In fact, a study by Stone Temple Consulting found that 55.2% of YouTube videos ranking in Google were different than the top videos ranking in YouTube’s search results.

For example, if you search for “backhand drills” in YouTube, this video is shown at the top:

But when you search for that same keyword in Google, that video is nowhere to be found

With that, here’s how to boost your video’s chances of ranking in Google:

First, say your keyword out loud in your video.

For example, a while back I published this SEO tutorial video on my channel:

And I made sure to actually say the exact phrase “SEO Tutorial” four times in that video:

Which is one of the main reasons it ranks in the top 3 for that term:

Second, upload a transcript of your video to YouTube.

That way, Google can understand 100% of the content in your video.

Sure enough, I made sure to get a professional transcription for my SEO tutorial video.

9. Optimize Videos for Comments, Likes and Subscribes

YouTube wants to see that people ENGAGE with your video.

In fact, I recently conducted a YouTube search engine ranking factors study:

And we found a significant correlation between ranking in YouTube and user engagement.

Specifically, we found that comments:

Likes:

And subscribes:

All correlated with rankings in YouTube search.

What’s the best way to get more engagement on your videos?

It’s simple: ask people to engage with your video.

For example, let’s look at this video from my channel:

At the end of my video I ask people to leave a comment:

And subscribe:

Which has helped that video rack up 4,348 comments:

11,500 subscribers:

And 396,000 total views:

10. Improve Your Channel’s “Session Time”

Audience retention? Important.

Watch Time? VERY important.

But neither of these two metrics are close to session time.

I’ll explain…

Session Time (also known as “Session Watch Time”) is the total amount of time someone spends on YouTube after watching your video.

And it’s one metric that YouTube cares A LOT about. In fact, YouTube has said:

“The goals of YouTube’s search and discovery system are twofold: to help viewers find the videos they want to watch, and to maximize long-term viewer engagement…”

So if someone watches your video and then leaves YouTube, that’s going to hurt your channel’s Session Time:

But if that person stays on YouTube, your Session Time is going to increase:

And the best way to improve your Session Time?

Promote your BEST videos on your channel page.

That way, you’re showing people videos that will keep them watching.

For example, I show off my best videos at the top of my channel page (inside of playlists):

Evan Carmichael even replaced his traditional channel trailer with one of his popular videos:

As it turns out, there’s another easy way to boost your Session Time.

Which leads us to…

11. Optimize Your End Screen for Views

Here’s how to get extra views (and Session Watch Time) using your end screen:

First, pick a popular video from your channel.

To do this, head over to the YouTube Studio and find a video that generated lots of views over the last 90 days:

Next, find a video from your channel that someone would want to watch AFTER they finish watching your popular video.

For example, this video was one of my top 10 videos over the last 90 days:

So I asked myself:

“What does someone that just learned about keyword research want to learn about next?”

How to use those keywords in their content.

Luckily, I published a video on that exact topic a few months earlier:

Finally, link to that video in your End Screen:

And because your “Next Video” is EXACTLY what someone wants to see, they’re super likely to watch it.

12. Master YouTube SEO Fundamentals

If you want to get more views on YouTube, you need to learn as much as you can about YouTube SEO.

Specifically, you want to master SEO basics like:

Keyword research for videos
Optimizing titles, descriptions and tags
Improving Audience Retention and Watch Time
YouTube engagement signals

And if you want a crash course on SEO for YouTube, I recommend watching this entire video:

13. Use Eye-Catching Playlist Titles

I used to name my playlists with whatever word popped into my head first.

For example, one of my first playlists was called “Advanced SEO Strategies”:

Not a horrible name. But not super compelling either.

So I added “and Case Studies” to make the title more interesting:

And I’ve applied this same rule to all of my playlist titles.

For example, one of my most popular playlists is called “How to Get Higher Google Rankings”:

My original title for that playlist was: “SEO Tips and Strategies”.

But I knew that my audience wants to learn “how to get higher Google rankings”.

So I made my playlist title that exact outcome.

14. Feature Your Videos On Your Blog

You might have noticed that I’ve embedded quite a few of my YouTube videos in this post.

And there’s a good reason for that:

These embedded videos lead to a ton of high-quality views.

Not only do these embeds help you get more views, but they can also help your videos rank higher in YouTube’s search results.

An industry study found that #1 ranking videos have 78% more links and embeds than videos that rank #2 or below:

Pretty cool.

15. Share Video Clips On Social Media

Back in the day I’d share my entire YouTube video on social media:

And sure, this led to a handful of views.

But not as many as I wanted.

That’s when I realized something:

Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites want to keep people on their platforms.

(Yup, just like YouTube)

And when you post a link to your YouTube video, their algorithms are going to hide your post from your followers.

So:

What’s the solution?

Upload a clip from your YouTube video as native video.

Here’s an example:

Because my clip was native to Facebook, it was promoted around the platform like crazy.

(Which led to 23k views on my post)

And once you post the clip, link to the full video as the first comment:

That way, people that enjoyed your clip can easily find the full video on YouTube.

16. Upload Videos When Your Audience is On YouTube

What’s the best time to upload a video on YouTube?

Is it Tuesday at 3pm?

How about Saturday at 6am?

The real answer: when your subscribers are on YouTube.

Unfortunately, YouTube doesn’t tell you when most of your subscribers are online.

So I recommend testing a few different days and times to see what works best for your channel.

You can even use a tool like VidIQ to analyze your channel for the best times to post:

17. “The Card Bridge” Technique

This is an easy way to boost your Session Time and views.

Here’s how it works:

First, look at the audience retention report for one of your videos.

Here’s an example from my channel:

As you can see, this video has a massive retention drop at 6:16.

Next, have a card appear at that time.

(That’s “The Bridge”)

And that card sends people to another video on your channel at the exact moment they would have clicked away:

Nice.

Bonus #1: Get Featured On The YouTube Homepage

The YouTube homepage can be a GREAT source of views.

(Especially for new videos)

For example, look at the traffic sources to this video the week after it went live:

39.4% of all of my views came from “Browse Features”.

(Most of which are views from the YouTube homepage)

And getting on the homepage led to 3,097 views in my video’s first week.

Not bad.

As you probably know, your YouTube homepage is highly personalized.

So when I say “get featured on the homepage”, I’m talking about getting on the homepage for users that are signed in.

With that, here are two ways to boost the odds that your video will appear on people’s homepages:

First, promote your video in the first 48 hours after it goes live.

YouTube’s homepage algorithm tends to feature videos that have two things going for them:

They’re new
They’re popular

And when you get lots of eyeballs on your new video, YouTube will happily feature it on their homepage.

For example, I promote my new videos on social media:

And to my newsletter subscribers:

Which helps push lots of people to my brand new content on day 1:

Second, boost your total YouTube subscriber count.

I’ve noticed that YouTube’s homepage tends to feature content from channels that you’re already subscribed to.

(Which makes sense)

So the more subscribers you have, the more views you’ll get from the homepage.

Bonus #2: Double Down On What Works

In other words:

Find videos from your channel with above-average audience retention.
Use what worked in future videos.

How about an example?

This video from my channel was my first successful video:

(Most of my other early videos completely flopped)

So I decided to apply what worked in this video to my future videos.

And it worked!

Because I doubled down on what was already working, I was able to grow my channel in record time:

Specifically, I looked for spots in my video where my audience retention was higher than average:

For example, I noticed a big retention spike at 3:51:

3:51 laid out the steps for one of the strategies in my video:

So I decided to show steps in text form in all of my future videos:

Bonus #3: The Community Tab Preview

This is an easy way to get your subscribers PUMPED about your next video.

Here’s how to do it:

First, publish a post about your upcoming video in your community tab.

This can be a sneak preview shot:

A quiz:

Or anything that builds anticipation for your video:

Either way, your community post makes people look forward to your upcoming video.

(Which means they’ll be MUCH more likely to watch it when it goes live)

Now It’s Your Turn

Now I’d like to hear what you have to say:

Which strategy from today’s post are you ready to try first?

Are you going to use BOGY Thumbnails?

Or

Maybe you’re ready to preview videos in your Community Tab.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

The post 17 Ways to Get More YouTube Views (Works GREAT In 2019) appeared first on Backlinko.

0

How I Gain 1,260 Instagram Followers Per Week

sourced from: https://neilpatel.com/blog/instagram-followers/

Do you want to be instafamous?

Well, who doesn’t?

Over the last few months, I’ve been running numerous Instagram experiments and I’ve finally figured out how to grow my Instagram following.

My Neil Patel account has been growing by 1,260 followers per week.

And I know what you are thinking… Neil, you are already well known, this can’t be replicated by anyone else.

Right?

Well, not only did we test this strategy out on my profile, but we also did it on 2 other profiles.

It works no matter what industry you are in. Heck, it works even better if you aren’t in B2B like me.

Just look at Dhavalilama. His likes per image have been growing by just using the heart trick, which I will explain in a bit, and he isn’t using my whole strategy. :/

So, how do you gain more Instagram followers each week without spending money?

Tip #1: Instagram wants long videos

You’ve heard everyone say that you need to upload videos. Social networks like Instagram aren’t just competing with other social networks, they are competing with traditional media and even companies like Netflix for your attention.

If you upload videos, you’ll find that you’ll get more engagement than if you just upload images.

But the key isn’t to just upload any video… it ideally needs to be engaging and long.

By long I am not talking about a 60-second video, I’m talking minutes. You’ll have to leverage IGTV for this, but that’s what they want as not enough people are using that feature.

Hence, if you use IGTV, they’ll push your video more.

That way when someone is watching a 5-minute video you just posted, they’ll be able to watch the first 60 seconds on their feed and then they’ll be pushed over to IGTV.

All you have to do is upload the video to IGTV and select the “post a preview” option.

What this does is, it uploads the video to IGTV and then also promotes the video through your feed.

Just look at this video that I only posted on IGTV.

It had 236 views before writing this blog post.

When I posted that video, I had 9,078 followers, which means I had an engagement rate of 2.59%.

Now if you look at this video that I posted…

It had 2,971 views before writing this blog post.

When I posted that video I had 21,047 followers, which means I had an engagement rate of 14.11%.

What’s crazy is, that one simple change increased my video engagement by 444%.

Tip #2: Ask and you will receive

Instagram’s algorithm is simple… the more views and likes your videos and images receive, the more people will see them, which increases engagement and your follower count over time.

There’s not too much more to the algorithm.

Of course, they are looking at things like what percentage of your followers actually engage… but still, the algorithm from a conceptual standpoint is simple.

So, have you thought about asking for people to “like” your image?

Now with Instagram, people are using it via their cell phone so it’s more of a “double tap” than a like… but you get the point.

On average, when I post an image on Instagram I can generate 945.6 likes.

Here’s an example of one of those images:

And as you can see from the engagement, that one did better than most of my images as it has over 1,000 likes.

Plus, the messaging resonates with a lot of people.

But here is one that is simple…

I just asked people to “double tap” if they need to improve their video skills.

It didn’t take much creativity to come up with that image and it received 1,441 likes. In other words, it produced 51.96% more engagement.

You should give it a try… I tend to use this tactic a few times a month and it works really well.

Just be careful though, if you use it every day or every week, people will get sick of it and it will stop working. Hence, I only use it a few times a month max.

Tip #3: Go live

Did I already mention that Instagram is competing with television networks and Netflix?

Because of that, what kind of content do you think they want more of?

Well, yes they want more video content, but we already talked about that.

They want more live content.

Think… reality TV.

Now the live content you produce doesn’t have to be like Keeping up with the Kardashians… they just want live content that people are looking forward to viewing.

You know how you will tune into shows like American Idol or the latest soccer or football match because it’s live and you want to see what’s happening in real time? That’s the effect Instagram is hoping for with live content.

Now, when you go live, Instagram is promoting it heavily so you’ll get more viewers. It doesn’t matter what you talk about… they just want to see more people go live.

Every time I go live, I am able to get at least 1,000 views. Just look at the live I just did…

In the first 6 hours, it’s already received 718 views and I did this live session on a Sunday during non-peak hours. Within the first 24 hours, it will easily surpass 1000 views.

In other words, go live! It’s a simple and quick way to grow your following count. Ideally, you should be going live on a weekly basis.

Heck, you can’t go live too much… feel free to go live daily.

Tip #4: Respond to comments

This one is simple, but no one really does it.

Social networks are supposed to be social. That means you should participate.

And no, I am not talking about just liking other images and viewing videos. I’m talking about engaging with people and talking to them.

So, when you like something that someone else posts, leave a comment.

And when someone leaves a comment on one of your posts… what do you think you should do?

You should respond to them with a comment.

Now, let’s look at some of my posts for a minute. You’ll see decent engagement, but more so, you’ll see me being very active.

Just look at all of my responses.

By engaging with people, you’re more likely to build a relationship with these individuals, which makes it more likely that they will back and continually engage with your posts.

Tip #5: The heart trick

Alright, are you ready for the heart trick? You know, the one Dhavalilama has been using to boost his like count by 300%.

The concept is simple, but it will take a bit of finesse to implement.

A part of Instagram’s algorithm is how much engagement you get from other Instagram users within the first hour of you posting anything.

Now, I’ve done a lot of tests with this… if you can get Instagram users who have more followers than you to like your image or video when it first goes live you’ll find that your content is much more likely to show up on the discovery page.

From a lot of testing, here’s what seems to be the most effective:

Get people with larger following accounts to like your image or video within the first hour it comes out.
Ask them to not like anything else within that hour. We’ve found that if they like too many images or videos it doesn’t work.
And if they are feeling extra generous, have them leave a comment.

The heart trick isn’t that complex, but it is hard to implement because you have to convince users who are more popular than you to like your content right when you publish.

And ideally, you need 6 people who have large accounts (the bigger the better), for this to work extremely well.

Tip #6: Create multiple stories each day

What do Tai Lopez, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Grant Cardone have in common?

Well, other than the fact that they all have over a million Instagram followers…

They all post a ton of stories per day.

And when I mean a ton, sometimes they are posting over 20 stories a day… literally.

The more stories you post, the more engagement you’ll create, which will lead to more followers.

Just look at the stats from the stories I just posted:

I can generate over 1,000 views within 8 hours of posting a story and generally in the range of 1,600 to 2,000 views within 24 hours.

The same story 23 hours later received 1870 views.

Here are some things to keep in mind if you want to maximize stories:

Don’t post all of your stories at once, spread them out throughout the day. This will cause people to keep coming back and engaging with your profile.
Use a combination of both images and videos within your stories. Overall, you’ll find that videos create more engagement.
The more stories you publish, the better off you are.
Add polls to your stories, this also helps boost engagement.

Tip #7: Quality matters

Have you noticed that some images get more likes than others? Or certain videos get more engagement?

Instagram is a visual social network. So the visual part is important… you want your images and videos to look great no matter what.

Now, they don’t have to be perfect, but you do want to make sure you are posting images that people enjoy.

Here’s what I mean…

When you look at my profile, you’ll see a ton of images of me that contain quotes.

Some of those images perform really well, while others don’t. For example, every time I post a quote using this image template…

It gets 21.4% less engagement then when I use this template…

Keep track of what your followers like and don’t like. Post more of what they like and stop posting the stuff that has low engagement.

Tip #8: Test, test, test

Speaking of posting more of what your followers like and less of what they don’t, you need to constantly test.

Even though quality matters, when you are testing you shouldn’t aim for perfection. Just aim for speed.

Once you find something that people like, do more of it.

For example, I ask people to double tap as I talked about in tip number 2 because I learned it through testing.

Here are some other things I’ve learned through testing:

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication – people prefer clean images that are simple.
Use bright colors – images that are darker, such as night photography don’t perform as well.
Switch things up – if you do the same thing every week you’ll find your engagement starting to drop.
People want to get to know you – they don’t want to get to know the Photoshop version of you. Be realistic and personal. Connect with your followers.
Filters don’t matter – don’t waste too much time modifying or adjusting your images. Little things like filters don’t make the biggest difference.
Hashtags aren’t game changing – I know everyone says you have to use hashtags and you should here and there… but they aren’t game-changing. So don’t spam and use 20 hashtags per image you post. And when you do use them, pick relevant and popular ones. You can use Ubersuggest to figure out what keywords are popular.
Use Instagram analytics – it tells you when your followers are online so you know when to post. If you post when they are online you’ll get much more engagement.

A good example of a test I’ve run is when I post on my feed. As you can see from my stats…

My followers are most likely to be on Instagram at 9am. So I try to post around that time, which has helped me get 8.41% more likes per image.

Every little bit adds up!

Conclusion

You don’t have to spend money on ads to grow your Instagram following. If you follow the tips above, you’ll do well and find that you can grow your weekly following count by over 1,000 net new followers each week.

Now, I know you may not want to use Instagram because it doesn’t have your “ideal” audience, but you can drive conversions from Instagram.

For example, when I went live on Instagram and I told the audience to check out my ad agency Neil Patel Digital, I was able to generate 2 leads.

Neither of the leads were ideal customers, but it is a numbers game. If I continually do it I will be able to generate clients.

In the past, I have closed 3 deals from Instagram… one paid $120,000, the other paid $1,000,000, and the last paid $300,000.

They were all consulting arrangements, so I had substantial costs associated with the revenue, but it shows that Instagram does work.

Heck, if it didn’t, I wouldn’t be back on Instagram again (this is my 3rd profile, I no longer use the other 2).

You can also use the swipe up feature to drive people to your site and this will help you generate leads and sales.

So, what do you think about Instagram? Are you using it on a daily basis?

The post How I Gain 1,260 Instagram Followers Per Week appeared first on Neil Patel.