Facebook Ads Cost Controls: What Are They?

Last month Facebook released a new cost control option for their ad set level Optimization and Delivery. Wait, what are cost controls? I’m glad you asked. Many Facebook Ads users didn’t know these existed in the first place.

When you’re creating a new ad set in Facebook Ads, when you scroll towards the bottom you’ll see a box that says Optimization & Delivery. The following options are in this window:

facebook optimization and delivery.png

Depending on the optimization for ad delivery you choose will determine which cost controls are available. Since we most commonly use “conversions.” we’re going to focus on that.

The cost controls option has been there for years now, but in April, 2019 Facebook added a new option. Previously the two options were either bid cap or target cost. Well technically the third option is not choosing any of these as they are optional. In fact most experts (us and others we’ve spoken with) recommend not choosing any of these and letting Facebook maximize conversions at the lowest cost.

What’s The Difference For Each Cost Control?

Target Cost

Target cost is recommended for the most consistent cost per conversion goals. Facebook will aim it’s bidding on hitting your target cost as your average cost per conversions. Some conversions may come in lower and some many come in higher.

Bid Cap

A bid cap is different because it doesn’t necessarily take into consideration anything that happens on your website. Facebook is using this to determine what CPM it bids in their auction for your ad to show. Regardless of whether they convert well or not. If you’re particularly concerned about what your paying for your ads versus your goals, this bidding option is for you.

Cost Cap

The latest edition is cost cap bidding. Facebook claims this is very similar to using the recommended method previously which is not choosing Target Cost or Bid Cap, but it at least gives Facebook some guidance on the goal you’re looking to hit as your cost per acquisition. Their goal here is to get you the most conversions at or below your cost cap. It sounds very similar to Target Cost, but isn’t supposed to limit your conversions as much.

We’ll update once we’ve further tested this bid strategy. If you have an eCommerce company and are looking for help with your Facebook ads strategy and management, feel free to reach out and we’ll be happy to discuss further.

Don't Forget To Tag Your Facebook Ads!

There are currently more than 28 million websites using Google Analytics. With all likelihood, you’re one of them. Yet time and time again we get into a potential client’s or new client’s Facebook Ads account and none of the ads have ever been setup to track properly in Google Analytics. Unless you properly tag your ads in Facebook Ads Manager, all of your Facebook traffic will be mixed together between paid and organic in Google analytics. Not to mention you won’t be able to drill down any further than source.

What Is A UTM Tag?

UTM stands for urchin tracking module and is nothing more than the format used by Google to track unique URL’s. If you’re using Google Analytics for your website every time you setup something that has a clickable URL, you should be tagging it with the UTM tags. For more information check out Google’s URL Builder. If your organic Facebook post has a link, tag it. If you send out an email, tag all the links. The naming convention is entirely up to you, but these are the UTM parameters Google reads (what you do with them is your choice):

Campaign Source: Required field and used to identify where the click came from (Facebook, Google)

Campaign Medium: Used to identify the type of source (email, CPM, CPC)

Campaign Name: Used as the first layer of identifying the traffic source.

Campaign Term: Intended to track the keyword in paid search, but can also be used as a second layer from campaign to further identify the traffic source.

Campaign Content: Used as a third layer for identifying the traffic source

Here’s what a UTM tag looks like:

utm_source=source&utm_medium=medium&utm_campaign=campaign&utm_keyword=keyword&utm_content=content

The initial UTM can start with either a ? or a & depending on your URL setup. This is where it can get a little confusing and where mistakes are made. If there is already a ? in the URL somewhere, the first UTM start with an & just like the following UTM’s. If there is no ? in the URL before the UTM tag, start with ? before the first UTM.

How To Add UTM Tags To Facebook:

First, all your URL tracking in Facebook will be at the ad level.

facebook utm tagging.png

View Tag:

If you’re running a tracking system like Doubleclick or another attribution software that will track ad impressions, there is where you would put the tag.

URL Parameters:

This is where the UTM tag will go. There are two ways to do this. Either you can build it yourself or you can use the Facebook “Build A URL Parameter.” If you click the link you’ll see the following to build your URL parameter:

Last year Facebook introduced dynamic parameters to help with the tagging. These work similar to value track with Google Ads. If you click into each one of the boxes you have the choice to either pick a dynamic parameter or enter your own. To the right are the dynamic parameters you get to choose from. As you fill in the boxes on the bottom you’ll see what it looks like. You also have the choice to add your own parameters if there is another tracking program you uses. Maybe you use Salesforce to keep track of your leads and have custom parameters setup.

One thing to note that we’ve learned the hard way. For any other source you typically add the ? or & to start your UTM tag. Do not add that in Facebook. For some reason they automatically take care of this. If you add it yourself it won’t track properly. if your used to setting up UTM tags regularly this can be challenging to break your normal habit. I know it has been for me.

Conclusion:

Be sure and track all your marketing channels correctly in Google Analytics. This allows you to gain deeper insights into where your sales and leads are really coming from. Don’t just remember UTM tags in Facebook. Remember them for all marketing channels. The better your tag, the cleaner and more accurate your data will be in Google Analytics.

Google Express: Is This Just Google's Version Of Amazon?

Launched initially 6 years ago Google Express has gone relatively unnoticed. Few have used it, and even less have heard of it. At first glance, it appears to be a lot like Amazon, but there are some distinct differences.

Is Google Trying To Compete With Amazon?

Yes and no. While at first glance Google Express appears to look a lot like Amazon, it is different. For close comparison, it’s more like eBay. With Google Express you can buy products from multiple retailers in one checkout (like Amazon), but once the order is completed the individual retailers you bought from take over the order. The vast majority of items purchased on Amazon ship directly from an Amazon warehouse and are delivery by Amazon. With Google Express, if you are buying an item from Target, you pay Google, but Target packages and ships the item to you.

What is Google Express?

When Google Express launched 6 years ago the eCommerce landscape was completely different than today. Amazon was growing rapidly, and most major brick and mortar stores had not even begun to know how to compete. Google Express initially launched in the San Francisco Bay area only on a free trial basis with plans to become a yearly membership program (like Amazon Prime). Products were picked up directly from stores like Target, Home Depot & Walmart and delivered to your home by Google.

Over the next 4 years, Google Express tested different methods and programs. At this point, more than 90% of the United States could use the program. Google partnered with local retailers and with a $95 membership fee you would get free delivery. At this time Walmart joined forces with Google significantly increasing the number of products you could purchase with Google Express. At the time Walmart was after the voice purchase part of Google Express using Google home devices. Fast forward two years Walmart has finally become someone to compete in eCommerce, and they pulled out of Google Express to focus on their own program.

Today anyone in the United States can order off Google Express, and the program has opened up to more local retailers. See the full list here.

Why Use Google Express?

Google Express offers a clean, simple checkout where you can purchase directly from the retail partners, but in one purchase. No need to place multiple orders at once or create multiple accounts with the various retailers. What’s great for the retailers, unlike Amazon, is that they continue to own the customer once the purchase is completed.

For lesser known retailers, Google is there to back the purchase. Retailers have to adhere to the minimum return policy required by Google Express and shipping times are monitored.

How Does Google Express Integrate With Google Home?

Here’s the answer to Google’s current long term plan with Google Express. As voice purchasing picks up momentum, Amazon can fulfill ,on the Amazon Alexa device, but Google didn’t have an answer for Google Home. As Google Home continues to grow, it will give Alexa real competition in voice search and product purchasing. Last month Walmart even joined forces back with Google to support Google Home voice purchasing.

Can Anyone List Products On Google Express?

In recent months Google has begun to open Google Express up to more retailers with Google Shopping integrations. Through a platform called Shopping Actions you can apply to be a retailer on Google Express. There are more minimum requirements than Google Shopping as Google plans to keep Google Express a separate program.

If you’re interested in joining Google Express, let us know, and we’ll walk you through the application process.

Revenue Optimization: How to Boost E-Commerce on Your Website

An e-commerce website allows you to take your brick and mortar store and expand it to the rest of the world. Having a user-friendly and responsive site can make a big difference to your bottom line. Like all websites, there are Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques to help you reach your goals.

E-commerce sites are growing in popularity. Businesses are selling goods, services, and allowing consumers to book appointments. Revenue optimization for your e-commerce website is crucial. 

For web-based businesses to grow and attract a target audience, business owners need to create a strategy. That strategy will also need to keep up with the changing trends.

Keep reading for tips on how to boost e-commerce on your website to become more competitive.

Have a Website that is Responsive on All Devices

Having a website that is visually pleasing is only one piece of the puzzle. An effective website transfers from laptop to tablet to mobile phones. Visitors need a concise menu and pages that are easy to navigate.

You also want to keep your mobile website close to the desktop version.

When it comes to your e-commerce choose a platform that is responsive and will not have customers abandoning their carts.

Know the Key Components of Revenue Optimization

Revenue Optimization has four key components. These components make-up the strategy to maximize your revenue 

Pricing Strategy

Your pricing strategy depends on the model you choose to use to generate the most revenue. Some businesses choose a price model that sells items at a low price in hopes of increasing volume. While other models go for a high price and focus less on volume.

Inventory Levels

The amount of inventory you can buy at one time plays a role in how competitive you can be with pricing. If you're a small business without a physical location it may be an added expense to carry high levels of inventory. This can have an adverse effect on your revenue.

It is important to follow trends in the merchandise you offer. To increase revenue you'll need to create offers with incentives. An example would be to pair popular items and offer a 50% discount off one when purchased together.

Digital Marketing

Your e-commerce website will use the same marketing techniques as any website. These include incorporating SEO, building social media strategies, purchasing online ads, and promoting your business via a blog. 

Pathways to Optimization

Don't place all your eggs in one basket. There are many pathways to selling your products or services. This goal is to try a few and figure at which ones are most beneficial.

Opportunities include creating a mobile app, using e-commerce plug-ins for your social media channels, Google Adwords, and e-marketing.

Are You Ready to Boost Your E-Commerce Website

An e-commerce website without revenue optimization is only another website. If you're going to offer goods and services online you need to get people to the site.

If you are looking to kickstart sales on your site you contact us to discuss creating a performance plan.

Take Action! With The New Bing Ads Action Extension

Bing Ads has a new ad extension and there’s something special about it. It’s exclusive to Bing ads. They didn’t just copy Google Ad extensions.

According to Bing Ads:

This extension allows you to highlight a clear call-to-action on your text ads to entice customers to immediately click and drive them to your website.

The new Action Extensions is now available across all Bing ads markets and can run on both desktop and mobile ads. To be sure you will find a match for your company, Bing has added 70 different predetermined Action buttons.

Action Extensions List

Compare

Contact Us

Coupon

Directions

Donate

Download

Email Now

Enroll Now

Explore

File Now

Find Job

Find Store

Free Play

Free Quote

Free Trial

Get Deals

Get Offer

Get Quote

Join Now

Learn More

Listen Now

Log In

Message

New Cars

Order Now

Play Game

Play Now

Post Job

Register

Rent A Car

Rent Now

Reserve

Sale

Save Now

Schedule

See Menu

See More

See Offer

Sell Now

Shop Now

Showtimes

Sign In

Sign Up

Start Free

Start Now

Subscribe

Switch Now

Test Drive

Try Now

Used Cars

View Cars

View Now

View Plans

Visit Site

Visit Store

Vote Now

Watch

Watch More

Watch Now

What Do They Look Like?

Here’s an example on desktop:

bing action extensions.jpg

Here’s an example on mobile:

mobile bing action extensions.jpg
 

Details About Action Extensions

  • A click on an Action Extension has the same cost per clicks as a sitelink or your ad

  • Action Extensions will show with other ad extensions, like sitelinks.

  • They can be setup at the account, campaign or ad group level

  • There is a URL field where you can use a separate URL from the ad text, but if you leave the field blank it will use the ad text URL

How To Setup Bing Ads Action Extensions

  1. Login to your Bing Ads account

  2. Click the campaigns tab

  3. Click the ad extensions tab

  4. In the ad extension drop down click and find Action Extensions

  5. Click the create ad extension button

  6. Click +add new ad extension

  7. From here you choose

    1. Language

    2. Action Text

    3. Final URL (optional)

    4. Mobile URL (optional)

    5. Tracking Template (optional)

    6. Ad scheduling (optional)

What Next?

It’s time to set yours up and test. Be sure and follow up to see if you’re seeing an improved click through and conversion rates. Let us know what you find. Don’t forget to test different buttons. There might be more than one that work for your business and call to action.

For more information on Bing ads read our other content:

The Time Has Come: Bing Ads Has Taken Over Yahoo Search

Bing Ads Custom Audiences: Worth The Effort For Some

Bing Ads: Are They Worth The Trouble?

Why Am I See This Facebook Ad?

Facebook is continuing its momentum in the area of transparency for its users. Over time they have been adding more information on what and why advertisers are doing and why ads are being shown to certain people. Now they are expanding the same functionality to organic posts.

Why Am I Seeing This Post?

Back in 2014 Facebook released a “why am I seeing this ad?” tool. For any sponsored post in your news feed you can click the three dots in the upper right side of the ad and click why am I seeing this ad? On March 31st Facebook announced updates to this tool and the addition of “why am I seeing this post”? Facebook is rolling out the same transparency for why we see certain ads in our news feed to why each post is in our news feed.

Here’s what it will look:

Here’s what you’ll be able to see according to Facebook:

Why you’re seeing a certain post in your News Feed — for example, if the post is from a friend you made, a Group you joined, or a Page you followed.

What information generally has the largest influence over the order of posts, including: (a) how often you interact with posts from people, Pages or Groups; (b) how often you interact with a specific type of post, for example, videos, photos or links; and (c) the popularity of the posts shared by the people, Pages and Groups you follow.

Shortcuts to controls, such as See FirstUnfollowNews Feed Preferences and Privacy Shortcuts, to help you personalize your News Feed.

Why Am I Seeing This Ad?

Since Facebook launched this took back in 2014 you’ve been able to see basic demographic details, which interests and website visits contributed to the ads you are seeing.

Here’s what it looks like now:

 
facebook ad information
 

Now Facebook will be adding additional details like when the advertiser uploaded the information used for a lookalike or customer audience as well as information about the advertiser or if the advertiser worked with a marketing agency to run the ads.

Here’s what the update will look like:

what-am-i-seeing-this-ad-v1.png

What’s Next For Facebook?

Since Facebook has been under intense scrutiny for their data handling, they have been leading the charge on internet transparency. In the past year they have been removing and updating advertiser targeting options, removed all third-party data providers, and have been giving more information on why ads and posts are in your news feed. This is likely to continue across the web and Google and Amazon will likely start to follow.

Move With the Times: 5 eCommerce Trends You Must Embrace in 2019

Right now, people love buying things online, and you can expect web-based businesses to grow. 

If you run your own company and want to keep up, there are certain eCommerce trends that you need to embrace. The more you learn about winning at e-commerce, the more success you'll get. 

Use these strategies so that you can use the 2019-approved strategies that will propel you. 

1. Embrace a Mix of Online and Offline Strategies

The lines between offline and e-commerce strategies will continue to blur in 2019. 

Expect department stores to have online initiatives that send people to stores. People will sign up for e-mail lists that offer in-store savings and will place online orders for same-day pickups. 

The more you think about ways to blur this line, the more successful you'll be as an e-commerce company this year. 

2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) Will Become More Important and Common

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the fastest growing forms of e-commerce. 

Not only does this technology help your company learn and adapt to new strategies, but it also improves your customer service. For instance, you can use AI to figure out which items you need to keep in high supply. This reduces your overhead costs and helps you to better provide for your clientele. 

Embracing AI also gives you the chance to incorporate chatbots that handle all sorts of customer service conversations. AI spending is expected to hit $7 billion soon, so getting ahead of the curve will be valuable. 

3. Voice Shopping Will Grow

People today are shopping now by using their voice. 

By using your phone voice search platform, you can scour the web for all sorts of information. Expect this to lead to streamlined shopping with a few voice commands. 

When you use this technology in your business, you make life easier for your customer, which can improve your sales. 

4. Content Becomes Incredibly Important

If you want to succeed with e-commerce, you need to also be creating content. 

By becoming an authority on the world you operate in, people will be more likely to shop with you. Something as simple as starting a vlog and posting to it faithfully can improve your sales margins. 

5. VR Will Be Useful

Finally, using virtual reality will be a great way to improve people's shopping experience. 

You can use it to help people envision themselves wearing outfits or adding a fixture to their household. This technology will keep taking off in the coming years, so finding a way to use it in your business will be valuable. 

Make Use of These eCommerce Trends

If you use these eCommerce trends you'll be taken care of. 

Expect technology and business practices to keep growing by leaps and bounds. The more you look into these trends, the easier it will be for you to make the changes that matter the most. 

Improving your company by hopping on these proven trends will help you get an edge on your competition. 

When you contact us, you can get all that you need out of your e-commerce. 

The Time Has Come: Bing Ads Has Taken Over Yahoo Search

As of April 1, 2019 Bing search ads took over all advertisements on Yahoo Search. For further details on the transition read our blog post from January Yahoo Search Ads: Where Are They Now? If you were of the small percentage of advertisers manager ads directly through the Oath Ads Manager (Verizon’s name for Yahoo Search Ads), this is a relief as you now have one less platform to manage. Not to mention Bing Ads is a far more advanced platform than Oath was.

The most recent data according to Statista is that Bing handled just under 25% of all search queries in the United States and Oath (formerly Yahoo) handled just under 12%. This now gives Bing a boost to handling search ads for roughly 35% of all searches in the United States. In International markets Yahoo is a bigger search engine than Bing. If you have run Bing Ads for countries outside the United States you know how small their market share was internationally. This should help give them a boost.

What Are Your Next Steps?

  1. If you were running search ads through Oath you should have already transferred everything over to Bing before March 31st with your account rep

  2. If you are still only running search ads on Google, this change will give Bing Ads more traffic and increase the value of taking the time to manage another platform. Read our blog about Bing ads if you are unsure.

  3. Look for both a potential dip in your Google search ad impressions and an increase in your Bing search ad impressions. Be ready for a potential 10-15% budget increase. Remember, Yahoo was using both Bing and Google prior to April 1, 2019 for their advertisements.

  4. If you run campaigns outside the United States on Google, but not on Bing because their international search volume was insignificant, it may be worth testing this out again.

In Bing Ads you can segment by network, but they combine Bing & Yahoo search together. Maybe now that they are taking over all of Yahoo search they will change this to allow for further segmentation and management across the two networks.

On the few test searches we’ve done on Yahoo since the transition this month, Bing is showing 5 ads above the organic results on many queries. Even when Bing shows 3-4 results they are showing 5 on Yahoo. We’ll continue to keep an eye on this as they will likely be testing.

If you have any questions or would like us to manage Google or Bing ads for your company, feel free to call or send us a message.

Bing Ads Custom Audiences: Worth The Effort For Some

Bing Ads recently rolled out custom audiences across all advertisers is most markets after nearly 2 years in beta. According to Bing:

Custom Audiences can help you anticipate your customers’ needs and reach them with the right message. You can bid more aggressively for those high-value customers, whether you’re helping them complete a purchase or you’re upselling or cross-selling. The more you know about your customers, the better you can target — and more precise targeting can help you achieve a greater return on ad spend (ROAS). Our pilot participants saw up to 18 percent higher click-through rates (CTR).1 The sky is the limit for how you can manage your own customers’ activity, purchases and behavior via CRM tools.

Bing took a different approach than Google Ads Customer Match significantly limiting the number of advertisers that can utilize their custom audiences. Where in Google Ads you can upload a list directly into your account, with Bing Ads you can only integrate through a DMP partner. Currently, there are direct integrations with Adobe Audience Manager, LiveRamp and Oracle BlueKai. What if you don’t now work with one of these three data providers? Well, you can’t use Bing Ads Custom Audiences unless you choose to start working with one of the DMP’s.

Why Would Bing Ads Take This Approach?

Forcing you to work with one of Bing’s DMP partners likely removes at least 75% of their advertisers from being able to use their custom audiences. The vast majority of changes Bing has made to their search advertising program in recent years has been to simplify the process to increase the number of direct advertisers that are on Bing.

The hot topic in the past year has been around data privacy. Facebook especially has been under a microscope when it comes to this subject. Unfortunately, this has caused them to make many changes to their platform to continue to be a trusted platform for their customers. With so much focus being on Facebook, Google and Bing have been escaping much of the scrutiny… for now. Bing most likely is approaching custom audiences in this way to avoid any data privacy questioning. Google and Facebook allow you to upload a list of contact information that in reality, you can get from anywhere. There is no verification that it’s actually your data to use. We can make a reasonable assumption that eventually Facebook and Google will have to tighten up their custom audience program to be more secure like Bing Ads is.

Custom Audiences Across Bing Ads & Google Ads Isn’t For Most Advertisers

Facebook has done an impressive job making advertising towards custom audiences work well for large and small audiences. Google and Bing custom audiences are mostly designed for businesses with tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of customers. Where Facebook can easily matchup 90%+ of your customer profiles and the only requirement for those customers to see your ads is they need to be on Facebook or Instagram, that covers a much larger pool of people. Google and Bing have much lower match up rates when you target a specific customer list. Not only that, once there is a match up, that person has to search for a keyword you are actively bidding on.

With Bing having a much smaller part of the search market than Google, you need an even larger customer base to capture those actively searching on Bing.

What Are The Next Steps?

If you’re currently working with one of the DMP’s mentioned above there are instructions for setting up the custom audiences in Bing Ads here. If you’re not now working with one of those DMP’s most likely it isn’t worth your time and effort to enter into this program. If you would to check it out the links above will take you to each of the partner DMP’s to get more information on the program.

Otherwise, feel free to send us a message for more information.

Update: Instagram Release, Now You Can Add Polls To Stories Ads

Roughly two years ago Instagram released the ability to add interactive elements to Instagram Stories. According to Instagram, now 500 million Instagram accounts are using Stories every day. If you’ve been running Facebook or Instagram ads for any business recently, you’ve likely tested running stories ads. Well 60% of businesses every month are using interactive elements in their organic stories posts. Now these businesses have the opportunity to expand their exposure to these interactive elements using Instagram ads.

What are Interactive elements In Instagram Stories?

The interactive elements according to Instagram are poll stickers, @mentions, or hashtags.

Poll Stickers

Polls allow you to write a question in the story and have answers the viewer can choose from. When you post your followers can vote and you can see real time results. There are a lot of uses for these that are fun and engaging. We’ve had multiple clients use them for product votes. For example, two t-shirt brands we work with run these to decide which t-shirt designs they should produce. They will design between 3-5 variations and let their followers vote for which they like best. The winning design will move onto production. Being able to run ads to these polls will be a great way to increase the number of votes and build exposure to the products.

According to Instagram In 9 out of 10 beta campaigns, the polling sticker increased 3-second video views

Hashtag Stickers

When you create your story you can choose to show multiple hashtags directly on the story that are interactive. When viewers watch the story they’ll be able to tap the hashtag you enter and view the page for that hashtag.

@ Mentions

@Mentions work just like hashtag stickers. Integrate them into your story and users can tap the mentions to go directly to the page.

For more information on Instagram Stories for business check out Instagram.

Contact RelayPM if you’re interested in Instagram Story ads and we’ll work with you to make them successful for your business.