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Quick Ways to Make Your Google Ads Stand Out from the Competition

Google Ads amounts to billions of dollars in revenue for the search engine giant, but what about your revenue?

Standing out in this competitive—and, let’s face it, cluttered—environment can be a huge challenge for advertisers, especially if they’re just starting out. There’s only so much space on a search results page to go around, after all.

As we enter the 2018 holiday season, it’s the right time to take a good, hard look at your stale ads. It’s time to breathe some new life into them.

With that in mind, here are the features the pros use to stand out from the competition:

The Latest Expanded Text Ads

Google made their standard text ads larger by introducing expanded text ads (ETAs) in 2016. The increased character count was a boon for advertisers because it enabled messaging to reflect more of the advertiser’s key incentives.

Experts jumped on this new format immediately, even though Google didn’t require they switch until January 2017. Even then, advertisers could continue to run standard (shorter) ads, but they couldn’t edit them or launch new ones.

Some people hesitated, but advertisers who were slow to switch were at a disadvantage compared to those who immediately moved to the new format. The go-getters ended up with a huge head start since ETAs proved to have higher clickthrough rates (CTRs) than standard ads.

(And good CTRs = good quality scores = lower CPCs = better ad positioning.)

Now you have this opportunity again!

In August, Google further expanded their text ad format—expanded expanded text ads?—but taking advantage of these new character limits is still optional (hint: you should use them).

The latest iteration of expanded text ads introduces a second headline and more characters to all text fields, making text ads even more prominent. Here’s what’s new:

  • An additional, optional headline of up to 30 characters
  • An additional, optional description line
  • Both description lines can now be up to 90 characters (increased from 80)

And here’s a comparison of the three ad formats:

Google’s expanded text ads give you more space to connect with prospects.

These longer character counts may not sound like much—oh boy, ten more characters!—but they add up and can have a significant impact on how your ads look (and how they convert). See for yourself how the three types of ads look in a side-by-side comparison:

An example of how these ads appear in the search results.

The new ETAs feature up to 218% more text than the original “standard” format. As expected, search experts are already updating their ads to capitalize on the latest change—and this time you should too!

Even though the extra headline and description won’t show up all the time, they’ll help you stand out when they do by making the ad itself bigger. The third headline also gives you an extra thirty characters of highlighted blue text at the top of your ad.


Ad Extensions

Ad extensions are optional snippets of text that users can append to their ads. Google introduced the first extension—sitelinks—way back in 2009. These short links appear beneath the ad and direct searchers to different pages of the advertiser’s website.

But why stop there? There are now ten different types of manual extensions and six automated extensions that advertisers can use to compel more clicks:

Google ad exensions are free to implement and often improve your ad’s CTR.

On average, an ad’s CTR has the potential to improve by 10-15% per extension. Aside from adding functionality, extensions increase the surface area of your placement and are free to implement, so they’re a no-brainer.

Though every ad extension is potentially useful, there are four (highlighted in yellow above) that you must use (if you’re not already). This is because they’re easy to implement and they allow you to feature critical incentives and information about your business that would otherwise take up valuable ad copy.

1. Sitelinks

Sitelinks are valuable because they allow you to link deeply into your site. The number of sitelinks associated with your ad varies from 2 to 8. A great tip is to create specialty landing pages for each sitelink which are goal oriented and customized to the link. You can customize sitelinks at the ad group level too, making them even more relevant to specific searches.

Expert Tip: The Unbounce Builder is an excellent tool for quickly creating landing pages that match your ads’ sitelinks.

2. Callouts

Callout extensions can be up to 25 characters each and are not clickable. They promote features, benefits, and selling points of your business. They’re also a great way to highlight specific qualities of your business that you don’t have room to showcase in your primary ad copy. For instance, 250 5 star reviews, 5 convenient locations, all credit cards accepted, etc.

3. Call Extensions

Call extensions add a phone number without wasting any of the primary copy. On mobile devices, a callout extension lets people tap a button to call your business directly. Implementing call extensions is quick and easy, so you should include them in all applicable ads.

4. Structured Snippets

This extension gives users the option to include a list of products or services beneath their ad. Structured snippets contain a category header (e.g., services) followed by a list of items (e.g., pet grooming, pet sitting, dog training, de-shedding).

Using all of these snippets is a great way to differentiate your ad from competitors’ ads. You can get creative too. For example, if you’re a B2B database host, you could list the features included in your service (e.g., Cloud Automation, Advanced Security, Easy-To-Use Data Browser).

It’s worth noting, though, that when it comes to the categories you can choose, you’re restricted to Google’s preset list. The full list of snippet categories (headers) is available here. Here are some other structured snippet examples based on different ones:

  • Amenities: Free WiFi, Sauna, Early Check-In, Concierge Service, Continental Breakfast
  • Brands: Urban Decay, bareMinerals, Nyx, Tarte, Too Faced
  • Courses: Financial Training, Investment Banking, Business Economics, Fundraising

Using a few of the available extensions creates more opportunities to capture your prospects’ attention. It can even push your competition further down the page!

Here’s an example of how an ad would appear if all the above extensions showed at once:

An ad with structured snippets, call, callout, and sitelink extensions enabled.
Expert Tip: Not all ad extensions show up all the time, and they appear differently on mobile devices versus desktops. Google’s system tries to match the most appropriate extensions to the most relevant searches.

Geotargeting and other important settings

Implementing ad extensions along with the latest ETA format is sure to get advertisers more clicks. Yet this can be a double-edged sword because (sadly) most of us don’t have an unlimited budget.

Fortunately, there are some settings and features that you can (and should) use to minimize clicks from unqualified traffic. The settings we’re going to focus on are bid modifiers, geotargeting, remarketing for search ads (RSLA), ad scheduling, and negative keyword lists.

Bid Modifiers

Bid modifiers, or adjustments as Google calls them, enable you to increase or decrease bids based on when and how people search. Bid modifiers can apply to devices, locations, ad scheduling, and more. Advertisers bid up or down by percentages.

For example, if you want to bid more aggressively on mobile searches, you can adjust your bids to +30% for mobile devices. Likewise, if you want to appear for desktop searches, but would rather pay less for these types of clicks, you can adjust your bids to -30% for desktop devices.

Expert tip: Use Google’s reporting tools to test how your modified segments are performing and adjust bids regularly. You can review performance by location, audience, device, time of day, and more right from the Google Ads main interface.

An example of locations segment (via Google Ads)

Geotargeting

There’s more to geotargeting than just showing your ads in your desired locations. You can also refine where your ads appear by excluding certain locations and regions. You can get granular with this too by increasing or decreasing bids to your targeted areas using bid modifiers.

Geotargeting improves your ROI by minimizing clicks from unqualified prospects (e.g., people outside of your service area, neighborhoods below a certain income threshold, etc.). So it’s well worth the time it takes to set up and refine.

Ad Scheduling

Maybe you’re not open on weekends. Maybe no one is operating the phones after 8 pm every night. Maybe your strongest return on ad spend occurs between the hours of 10 am and 1 pm every day. Once you figure out the best time of day for your ads to appear, you can use scheduling to choose exactly when they show. This is an especially great feature when you have a limited budget.

Remarketing for Search Ads (RSLA)

Remarketing isn’t just for display ads anymore! This feature allows you to target search ads to people who have already visited your site. Your ads then appear when they search on Google for the keywords you’re bidding on. You can either append RSLA lists to existing ad groups or create groups that only show ads if a searcher is on your remarketing list. Google provides detailed instructions for setting up RSLA campaigns. It’s definitely worth investing the time to read.

Negative Keyword Lists

You can ensure your ad isn’t triggered for undesirable keywords by creating negative keyword lists and applying them at the account, campaign, or ad group level. The new Google Ads interface makes creating and assigning negative keyword lists simple. Create themed lists (e.g., competitors, locations, common terms) and assign them based on account performance or structure.

Expert tip: Check out Google’s search terms report to see exactly what people are searching for when they look at your ads, and then use this info to build your negative lists.

We’ve only scratched the surface…

The good news is that there are things you can (and must) do to make your brand stand out and to ensure it’s reaching the most qualified prospects.

Google gives you some powerful tools to help improve the clickthrough rate of your ads, which contributes to a higher quality score. And, in turn, higher scores help drive down your cost per click, give you a higher impression share, and make your ad more likely to show up than your competitors’. They can even help your ad appear at the top of the search results.

But blindly implementing these tips can only help you so far.

It should go without saying (but we’re saying it anyway) that you should test all ads with different ad copy (and extensions) and then refine them based on actual performance.

Effective ads—even those loaded with ad extensions—are also only part of a good PPC strategy. Landing page optimization, tracking, A/B testing are critical practices for a successful campaign. Setting clear goals is also very important.

It’s also helpful to see what the competition is doing by reviewing competitor ads, landing pages, and incentives. Google’s Auction Insights report allows you to see who is bidding against you and their impression share compared with yours. Make sure you’re reviewing your competitive data monthly or quarterly. It can help you plan and revise your keyword and ad copy strategy.

An example of an auction insights report (via Google Ads)

Industry tools like SEMRush, KeywordSpy, and SpyFu also provide competitive information and enable you to automate monitoring. They’re worth checking out—you can be sure that most experts use them!

Even if you don’t dig deeper into the competitive data, however, implementing the above settings and ad extensions—as well as taking advantage of the latest expanded text specifications—will put you ahead of the competition. So get started today!

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Quick Ways to Make Your Google Ads Stand Out from the Competition

Confessions Of An Impostor

Five years ago, when, for the first time ever, I was invited to speak at one of the best front-end conferences in Europe, I had quite a mixture of feelings. Obviously, I was incredibly proud and happy: I had never had a chance to do this before for a diverse audience of people with different skillsets. But the other feelings I had were quite destructive.
I sincerely could not understand how I could be interesting to anyone: Even though I had been working in front-end for many years by then, I was very silent in the community.

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Confessions Of An Impostor

The Nine Principles Of Design Implementation

Recently, I was leading a training session for one of our clients on best practices for implementing designs using HTML and CSS. Part of our time included a discussion of processes such as style-guide-driven development, approaches such as OOCSS and SMACSS, and modular design. Near the end of the last day, someone asked, “But how will we know if we’ve done it right?”
At first, I was confused. I had just spent hours telling them everything they need to “do it right.

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The Nine Principles Of Design Implementation

5 Standard Pages on Your Website That Almost Always Suck – and What They Could Be Doing for You

5 pages

Word association: Content marketing. You’re thinking ‘blog post,’ ‘infographic,’ maybe ‘video,’ ‘white paper.’ That kind of thing. Right? Not FAQs, 404 pages, About Us… The thing is, those pages are content too. Visitors read them to learn, understand and make decisions. FAQs are one of the most underused content marketing opportunities out there. About Us pages? They’re an incredible opportunity to tell your brand’s story. Put like that, it seems obvious – yet they’re often a lifeless formality. It’s the same with 404s, out of stock pages and thank you pages: in each case, you have a visitor’s attention when…

The post 5 Standard Pages on Your Website That Almost Always Suck – and What They Could Be Doing for You appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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5 Standard Pages on Your Website That Almost Always Suck – and What They Could Be Doing for You

CSS Inheritance, The Cascade And Global Scope: Your New Old Worst Best Friends

I’m big on modular design. I’ve long been sold on dividing websites into components, not pages, and amalgamating those components dynamically into interfaces. Flexibility, efficiency and maintainability abound.

CSS Inheritance, The Cascade And Global Scope: Your New Old Worst Best Friends

But I don’t want my design to look like it’s made out of unrelated things. I’m making an interface, not a surrealist photomontage. As luck would have it, there is already a technology, called CSS, which is designed specifically to solve this problem. Using CSS, I can propagate styles that cross the borders of my HTML components, ensuring a consistent design with minimal effort.

The post CSS Inheritance, The Cascade And Global Scope: Your New Old Worst Best Friends appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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CSS Inheritance, The Cascade And Global Scope: Your New Old Worst Best Friends

Everything You Need To Know About Emoji ?

We all recognize emoji. They’ve become the global pop stars of digital communication. But what are they, technically speaking? And what might we learn by taking a closer look at these images, characters, pictographs… whatever they are ? (Thinking Face). We will dig deep to learn about how these thingamajigs work.
Please note: Depending on your browser, you may not be able to see all emoji featured in this article (especially the Tifinagh characters).

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Everything You Need To Know About Emoji ?

83 Flat Line UX And E-Commerce Icons For Free

How often do you have to explain the purpose of a study, objectives, goals or measurements within your company? Maybe you need to prepare a presentation or a brief overview of what next steps should be taken, or maybe you simply need to build a shiny, new pattern library?
Whatever project you may be working on, today’s icon sets will come in handy. All of the vector icons were tirelessly crafted by the design team at Ecommerce Website Design, and come in various formats that can be used for personal as well as commercial purposes.

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83 Flat Line UX And E-Commerce Icons For Free

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Experience Design Essentials: Animated Microinteractions In Mobile Apps

Dariel Fitzkee, the famous magician, once said, “Magic is both in the details and in the performance.” Interaction design is just like that. Designers love to get the big picture right, but if the details aren’t handled properly, the solution will fail. The magic is all in the details. That’s why well-designed microinteractions make experiences feel crafted.
To get a better understanding of how your design benefits from microinteractions, it will help to sketch out your app ideas.

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Experience Design Essentials: Animated Microinteractions In Mobile Apps

Tips and tactics for A/B testing on AngularJS apps

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Alright, folks, this week we’re getting technical.

This post is geared toward Web Developers who’re working in conversion optimization, specifically those who are testing on AngularJS (or who are trying to test on AngularJS).

Angular, while allowing for more dynamic web applications, presents a problem for optimization on the development side.

It basically throws a wrench in the whole “I’m trying to show you a variation instead of the original webpage without you knowing it’s a variation”-thing for reasons I’ll get into in a minute.

At WiderFunnel, our Dev team has to tackle technical obstacles daily: many different clients means many different frameworks and tools to master.

Recently, the topic of How the heck do you test on Angular came up and Tom Davis, WiderFunnel Front End Developer, was like, “I can help with that.”

So here we go. Here are the tips, tricks, and workarounds we use to test on AngularJS.

Let’s start with the basics:

What is AngularJS?

Angular acts as a Javascript extension to HTML, running in most cases on the client-side (through the browser). Because HTML isn’t a scripting language (it doesn’t run code), it’s limited. Angular allows for more functionality that HTML doesn’t have. It provides a framework to develop apps that are maintainable and extendable, while allowing for features such as single page navigation, rich content, and dynamic functionality.

Note: You can mimic Angular with plain Javascript, however, Angular provides a lot of functionality that a Developer would otherwise have to build themselves.

Why is AngularJS popular?

The real question here is why are JS front-end frameworks and libraries popular? Angular isn’t the only framework you can use, of course: there’s EmberJS, React.js, BackBone etc., and different Developers prefer different frameworks.

But frameworks, in general, are popular because they offer a means of providing a rich user experience that is both responsive and dynamic. Without Angular, a user clicks a button or submits a form on your site, the browser communicates with the server, and the server provides entirely new HTML content that then loads in the browser.

When you’re using Angular, however, a user clicks a button or submits a form and the browser is able to build that content itself, while simultaneously performing server tasks (like database submissions) in the background.

For example, let’s think about form validations.

No Angular:

A user submits a form to create an account on a site. The browser talks to the server and the server says, “There’s a problem. We can’t validate this form because this username already exists.” The server then has to serve up entirely new HTML content and the browser re-renders all of that new content.

This can lead to a laggy, cumbersome user experience, where changes only happen on full page reloads.

With Angular:

A user submits a form to create an account on a site. The browser talks to the server via JSON (a collection of data) and the server says, “There’s a problem. We can’t validate this form because this username already exists.” The browser has already loaded the necessary HTML (on the first load) and then simply fills in the blanks with the data it gets back from the server.

Disclaimer: If you don’t have a basic understanding of web development, the rest of this post may be tough to decipher. There is a Glossary at the end of this post, if you need a quick refresher on certain terms.

Why it can be tricky to test on Angular apps

As mentioned above, Angular acts as an HTML extension. This means that the normal behaviors of the DOM* are being manipulated.

Angular manipulates the DOM using two-way data binding. This means that the content in the DOM is bound to a model. Take a look at the example below:

Testing on Angular_2-way-data-binding

The class “ng-binding” indicates that the H1 element is bound to a model, in this case $scope.helloWorld. In Angular, model data is referred to in an object called $scope. Any changes to the input field value will change helloWorld in the $scope object. This value is then propagated down to the H1 text.

This means that, if you make any changes to the H1 element through jQuery or native JS, they will essentially be overridden by $scope. This is not good in a test environment: you cannot guarantee that your changes will show up when you intend them to, without breaking the original code.

Laymen’s terms: $scope.helloWorld is bound to the H1 tag, meaning if anything in the variable helloWorld changes, the H1 element will change and vice versa. That’s the power of Angular.

Typically, when you’re testing, you’re making changes to the DOM by injecting Javascript after all of the other content has already loaded.

A developer will wait until the page has loaded, hide the content, change elements in the background, and show everything to the user post-change. (Because the page is hidden while these changes are being made, the user is none-the-wiser.)

Tom-Davis

We’re trying to do this switcheroo without anyone seeing it.

– Thomas Davis, Front End Developer, WiderFunnel

In Angular apps, there’s no way to guarantee that all of the content has been rendered before that extra Javascript is injected. At this point, Angular has already initialized the app, meaning any code running after this is outside of Angular’s execution context. This makes it complicated to try to figure out when and how to run the changes that make up your test.

When you’re running a test, the changes that make up Variation A (or B or C) are loaded when the page loads. You can only manipulate what’s in the DOM already. If you can’t guarantee that the content is loaded, how do you ensure that your added Javascript runs at the right time and how do you do this without breaking the code and functionality?

Tom explained that, as a dev trying to do conversion optimization on an Angular application, you find yourself constantly trying to answer this question:

How can I make this change without directly affecting my (or my client’s) built-in functionality? In other words, how can I make sure I don’t break this app?

How to influence Angular through the DOM

Angular makes for a complicated testing environment, but there are ways to test on Angular. Here are a few that we use at WiderFunnel (straight from Tom’s mouth to your eyeballs).

Note: In the examples below, we are working in the Inspector. This is just to prove that the changes are happening outside the context of the app and, therefore, an external script would be able to render the same results.

1. Use CSS wherever possible

When you’re running a test on Angular, use CSS whenever possible to make styling changes.

CSS is simply a set of styling rules that the browser applies to matching elements. Styling will always be applied on repaints regardless of how the DOM is bound to Angular. Everytime something changes within the browser, the browser goes through its list of styling rules and reapplies them to the correct element.

Let’s say, in a variation, you want to hide a banner. You can find the element you want to hide and add a styling tag that has an attribute of display none. CSS will always apply this styling and that element will never be displayed.

Of course, you can’t rely on CSS all of the time. It isn’t a scripting language, so you can’t do logic. For instance, CSS can’t say “If [blank] is true, make the element color green. If [blank] is false, make the element color red.”

In other cases, you may want to try $apply.

2. Using $scope/$apply in the DOM

We’ve established that Angular’s two-way data binding makes it difficult to develop consistent page changes outside of the context of Angular. Difficult…but not impossible.

Say you want to change the value of $scope.helloWorld. You need a way to tell Angular, “Hey, a value has changed — you need to propagate this change throughout the app.”

Angular checks $scope variables for changes whenever an event happens. An event attribute like ng-click or ng-model will force Angular to run the Digest Loop*, where a process called dirty checking* is used to update the whole of the app with any new values.

If you want to change the value of $scope.helloWorld and have it propagated throughout the app, you need to trick Angular into thinking an event has occurred.

But, how?

First step: You’ll need to access the model in the $scope object. You can do this simply by querying it in the DOM.

Testing on Angular_$scope

In this example, you’re looking at the $scope object containing all models available to the H1 element. You’re looking at the helloWorld variable exposed.

Once you have access to helloWorld, you can reassign it. But wait! You’ve probably noticed that the text hasn’t changed in the window… That’s because your code is running outside the context of Angular — Angular doesn’t know that a change has actually been made. You need to tell Angular to run the digest loop, which will apply the change within it’s context.

Fortunately, Angular comes equipped with an $apply function, that can force a $digest, as shown below.

Testing on Angular_$apply

3. Watch for changes

This workaround is a little manual, but very important. If the source code changes a variable or calls a function bound to $scope, you’ll need to be able to detect this change in order to keep your test functional.

That’s where Angular’s $watch function comes in. You can use $watch to listen to $scope and provide a callback when changes happen.

In the example below, $watch is listening to $scope.helloWorld. If helloWorld changes, Angular will run a callback that provides the new value and the old value of helloWorld as parameters.

Testing on Angular_$watch

Custom directives and dependency injection

It’s important that you don’t default to writing jQuery when testing on Angular apps. Remember, you have access to all the functionality of Angular, so use it. For complex experiments, you can use custom directives to manage code structure and make it easy to debug.

To do this, you can implement an injector to apply components in the context of the app that you’re testing on. Here’s a simple example that will alert you if your helloWorld variable changes:

For more details on how to use an injector, click here.

—–

These are just a few of the tactics that the WiderFunnel Dev team uses to run successful conversion optimization on Angular apps. That said, we would love to hear from all of you about how you do CRO on Angular!

Do you use the same tactics described here? Do you know of other workarounds not mentioned here? How do you test successfully on Angular apps? Let us know in the comments!

Glossary

DOM: The Document Object Model (DOM) is a cross-platform and language-independent convention for representing and interacting with objects in HTML, XHTML, and XML documents

$scope: Scope is an object that refers to the application model. It is an execution context for expressions. Scopes are arranged in hierarchical structure which mimic the DOM structure of the application. Scopes can watch expressions and propagate events.

$apply: Apply is used to execute an expression in Angular from outside of the Angular framework. (For example from browser DOM events, setTimeout, XHR or third party libraries).

JSON: (JavaScript Object Notation) is a lightweight data-interchange format. It is easy for humans to read and write. It is easy for machines to parse and generate. It is based on a subset of the JavaScript Programming Language, Standard ECMA-262 3rd Edition – December 1999

Two-way data binding: Data-binding in Angular apps is the automatic synchronization of data between the model and view components. The way that Angular implements data-binding allows you to treat the model as the single source of truth in your application.

Digest Loop: There is an internal cycle called $digest that runs through the application and executes watch expressions and compares the value returned with the previous value and if the values do not match then a listener is fired. This $digest cycle keeps looping until no more listeners are fired.

Dirty Checking: Dirty checking is a simple process that boils down to a very basic concept: It checks whether a value has changed that hasn’t yet been synchronized across the app

The post Tips and tactics for A/B testing on AngularJS apps appeared first on WiderFunnel Conversion Optimization.

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Tips and tactics for A/B testing on AngularJS apps

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Where to Steal Ideas For Your Next Social Media Campaign

Marketing in the B2B space can be challenging. Complicated products, higher prices and longer chains of approval all present barriers to prospects when they’re making their buying decisions.

And what if you’re stuck in a boring industry? Like, how do you give boxes of business software a personality that will attract people to your brand?

social-media-followers-asleep
Even if your product or service isn’t “sexy,” there’s no excuse for putting your social media followers to sleep. Image by Sophie via Flickr.

Social media marketing can be a great way to insert yourself into conversations prospects are having about the problems they’re facing, but you’ve got to be original if you plan on standing out.

With so much online noise, we can all benefit from looking in unusual places for inspiration for our social media campaigns.

Using examples I’ve come across personally, let me show you how to (respectfully) swipe some successful marketing concepts from familiar industries and make them work for you.

Reach outside your circle of BFFs

My fiancé and I have different hobbies. He plays video games online and I enjoy… going outside. Still, we share some of the same friends and like each other.

Cory-and-Topanga

Similarly, if you’re a SaaS company looking for new audiences to tap, you shouldn’t limit yourself to “people who love business software.” Your audience doesn’t live and breathe your product. They have other interests, too.

Think about brands that offer different products or services, but have an audience with similar needs and interests.

Not sure who that might be?

Use Facebook Search to find parallel audiences

The quickest way to find other companies with crossover audiences is to use Facebook’s search functionality by simply typing in exactly what you’re looking for into the address bar at the top of your personal Facebook feed. For example, “Pages liked by people who like FreshBooks.”

It’s not foolproof (IKEA Canada might not be the best match) but a range of pages to choose from will appear:

freshbooks-similar-audience

Next, have a look at these companies’ channels to see what kind of content resonates with their fans. That’ll be your breeding ground for fresh social media campaign ideas.

Not sure what that might look like? Let’s dig into some specific examples.

Take a page out of the winning playbooks

Nobody appreciates their fans more than pro sports teams. As a proud New England Patriots fan (sorry not sorry Stef), I soak up every bit of content the team puts out.

spongebob-everything

By posting a variety of heartfelt and funny photos and videos to engage their social followers on Facebook, they stay relevant and fresh.

Player profiles, new memorabilia products, milestone graphics, the Pats volunteering in the community, and even fans’ pets get thousands of interactions.

But the most important thing I’ve noticed is that they show a lot of gratitude to their fans.

thank-you-patriot-fans

This may seem easy for a popular franchise, but what could you do for your own business if your brand isn’t number one in the world? ;) Take a look at what Shopify posted on Facebook at the 150,000 shop owner mark:

shopify-facebook

It’s a fairly simple post, but 441 interactions means it reached a lot of people.

There is a good chance a large base of your fans are also your customers — and they’re rooting for you to be successful. Don’t be afraid to share big wins with those who are willing to show their support. It doesn’t hurt to bank some extra social proof, either!

Be the host with the most

Talk shows have been around since the earliest days of radio. They’ve evolved from simple back-and-forth interviews to spawning some of the most viral videos of all time.

Jimmy Fallon is the master of helping the viewer get to know his guest on a deeper level by playing games like Box of Lies or performing epic lip sync battles. These clips have garnered millions of hits on YouTube and loyal, enthusiastic fans.

will-smith-talk-show

At the end of the day, whoever’s on the show is still there to promote their latest movie or album — and we certainly pay attention.

When brand advocate marketing software Influitive had a new product to launch, they wanted to avoid a social media campaign that was “Boring with a capital B.

Drawing inspiration from the world of late night television, Influitive ran an episode of BAM!TV: it was injected with humour, and made fantastic use of their own brand advocates who were invited on the show as “special guests.”

These guests did a great job of educating viewers about the importance of advocacy, in turn validating the need for Influitive’s software. The brand also took advantage of the digital nature of the show by providing downloadable links to their marketing materials right on screen.

influitive-bam-tv

Using a combination of social, influencer, partner promotion and manual outreach, BAM!TV received over 1,500 views in the first 24 hours (their original goal was 2,000 total and they’re past the 4,000 mark now) and 461 pre-event leads collected on the page. During the launch week, Influitive tracked 574 tweets using the #BAMTV hashtag, with a combined reach of over 183,000 accounts.

Influitive’s VP of Marketing, Jim Williams, explains the rationale behind the campaign:

For us, BAM!TV was more than just a lead gen effort — it was a brand-building campaign for Influitive and a category-building initiative for advocate marketing. We did, however, come up with some clever ways to generate leads: calls to action to download relevant content, such as ebooks and case studies, were placed next to the video player on the landing page.

Another hilarious example of late-night material turned marketing gold was Hootsuite’s “Mean Tweets” video that was used to launch their new dashboard UI. Their clever use of pop culture scored them over over 86,000 views and spread the word about the campaign:

One word of warning: As our Marketing Manager, Corey, always reminds us: when you’re building out your own social campaigns, try not to let the element of “creativity” overpower the clarity of your message.

It can be tempting to add layers of complexity in an effort to be unique, but sometimes keeping it simple is best.

Get hungry for change

It may seem like “everything has been done before,” but try to step back and think about how you can use existing technologies in a new way.

Chef Dennis Littley was innovative when he started using Hangouts On Air for his Around the Kitchen Table cooking show. Rather than clinging to the standard Hangout interview format that was popular at the time, he was preparing dishes for his audience and friends live on the air.

chef-dennis

The result is a rich viewing experience that makes you feel like a real insider. When it’s over, you’re so intrigued by his culinary skills that you can’t help but head over to his blog and sign up so you never miss a recipe.

Chef Dennis is now a well-known Google+ influencer with more than 709,000 followers.

When we were thinking of our own way to add Google HOA to Unbounce’s social media mix, we decided it had to be something different (and fun). And so Page Fights was born: our way of educating our audience about landing page best practices through a new medium.

oli-page-fights

Although HOAs seemed like the perfect way for us to deliver our content to marketers, we had a few tiny hangups:

  1. We needed to have full control of branding
  2. The standard HOA event didn’t really allow us to collect leads

Luckily, many of our #marketingprobz can often be solved with landing pages, so that’s exactly what we used to brand the experience and shape our own custom sign-up process:

page-fights-recording

We now have over 3,000 Page Fights subscribers and receive hundreds of landing page submissions per episode. Our viewers are some of our most passionate community members.

P.S. Want to have Oli and Peep of ConversionXL tear your page apart? Submit it to the next round of Page Fights!

Channel your inner schoolteacher

Truly great social media marketing aims not only to delight potential customers but to educate and empower them as well. If you find yourself in a messaging rut, try going back to basics and considering how you can deliver content as if you were a teacher simplifying a foreign concept for your students:

school-teacher-marketing

You may not be able to tie your product back to burgers, but dig into your repertoire of information to see what bite-sized chunks you can turn into lessons for your followers. Think about what they’re eager to learn and create content that both educates and leads your prospects closer to a conversion.

Evosite does an excellent job of instilling trust in its brand by releasing this series of “52 ways to improve conversion rates” on Google+:

evosite
These virtual “educational posters” make the information visually appealing and highly shareable. Image source.

Evosite gently piques interest via social by giving away small pieces of advice for free, establishing their credibility and hopefully enticing visitors to hire them for their services.

Salesforce takes a similar approach by sharing industry stats, but maintains a bit of mystery so prospects click through (to a blog post or ebook download landing page):

salesforce

Where can you source content for this type of campaign?

Consider all the ways you can repurpose some of the great content you already have: focus on key takeaways from your most popular blog posts, stats that help validate your product or service, or even answers to FAQs in your existing support community.

Keep it classy

While it’s perfectly fine to borrow ideas from other industries, don’t copy too closely — nothing will jeopardize the trust your customer has in you faster than straight-up plagiarism.

Put your own spin on the content that inspires you and keep it true to your brand.

do-you-boo

Where’s your favorite place to shop for new social content ideas? Have you come across any unique posts that could be turned into material for another industry? I’d love to see more examples shared in the comments.

View the original here:  

Where to Steal Ideas For Your Next Social Media Campaign