Facebook Pixel Update Explained: What Is A First Party Cookie?

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If you run any Facebook advertising you've likely gotten an email in the past few weeks with information on a pixel update.  Here's what it says:

Important Facebook Pixel Update

Hi Tom,

On October 24, Facebook will begin offering businesses a first-party cookie option with the Facebook pixel. This change is in line with updates made by other online platforms, as use of first-party cookies for ads and site analytics is becoming the preferred approach by some browsers.

Businesses have long relied on cookies to serve ads to relevant audiences and understand visits to their sites. Up until now, Facebook has used its pixel — powered by third-party cookies — for website analytics, ad targeting, and ad measurement. This new option will also help advertisers, publishers, and developers continue to get accurate analytics about traffic to their websites.

Businesses can opt out of first-party cookies by updating their pixel settings in Events Manager.

The controls people have over ads on Facebook in Ads Preferences will not change. Our Business Tools Terms also still require businesses to clearly disclose how they use cookies and share data collected on their sites with third parties, so we recommend businesses review their cookie-related disclosures. To learn more about this update, visit the Help Center.

You are registered as an admin of these Facebook Ad Accounts which have Facebook pixels:

None. You aren't registered as an admin of a Facebook Ad Account that owns a pixel. Please check any pixels associated with your Business Manager account.

Thanks,

The Facebook Ads Team

What does this mean for you?

For years now since the inception of cookies most ad and analytics platforms use third-party cookies, but recently certain browsers have blocked or announced plans to block third-party cookies because of all the data privacy concerns that have been circulating.  Facebook's latest update is not only in line with their privacy issues, but also on popular browsers.

Let's start from the beginning.

What is a browser cookie?

A cookie is just a small text file that is dropped on your device (typically browser) when you visit a website.  There are many uses for cookies: saved logins, shopping carts, game scores, user profiles, analytics, advertising, ad frequency capping, ad targeting and retargeting.  There is nothing inherently wrong with cookies, but they can be used for shady purposes in regards to user data.  Imagine every time you add a product to your shopping cart on an e-commerce website, you then close your browser and open it back up.  Without cookies you would lose what was in your shopping cart every time.  Imagine logging onto your email app and every single time typing your user-name and password.  That data is all stored through the use of cookies.  

Cookies simplify and customize your web experience.  This also allows advertisers to better target products and services.  This can be as simple as only showing ads regarding pregnancy products to women vs men.

What is the difference between a first-party cookie and a third-party cookie?

From a technical standpoint there is no difference in how they work or the data they can track.  First-party cookies are issues directly by the website a user is visiting while third-party cookies are created by someone else.  For example, if you visited amazon.com and they cookied your browser to track your shopping behavior that would be a first-party cookie.  If they were using a Facebook pixel, historically a Facebook owned cookie would be dropped in your browser.  That's a third-party cookie because you visited Amazon.com, not Facebook.com.  

From a user standpoint, it's difficult to know who's doing what with your data.  Cookies can be blocked as well through private/incognito windows, Safari and Firefox by default blocks third-party cookies, most browsers allow you to customize cookie settings, software to block cookies, and ad blockers.  Relying on third-party cookies is becoming more of a challenge as these blockers are increasing in usage based on the media bringing light to privacy concerns and not necessarily doing the best job in explaining.

Because cookies store user data they have been recognized as a threat to user privacy.  Recently there was a lot of talk about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe which took effect on May 25th this year.  You'll notice a lot of websites you go to now have a privacy/cookie policy announcement which is as a result of this initiative.  

Now back to Facebook the and recent notification all advertising account admins are getting about the latest pixel update to first-party cookies.  The primary driver of this changes is Safari and Firefox changing how they handle third-party cookies where they are automatically blocked, but you can manually opt into them.  This potentially resulted in a lot of lost data for Facebook advertisers.  Facebook switching to first-party cookies eliminates that issue as well as many privacy concerns users may have.  Google and Microsoft already made the change earlier this year.  

How does the Facebook first-party cookie solution work?

When a user clicks on a Facebook served ad a unique string gets added to the URL.  If there are pixels on the website that are opted in to share first-party cookie data with Facebook, the URL parameter will get written into the browser as a first-party cookie.  In the events manager on Facebook ads you'll be able to manage this setting and opt out if you'd like.  This officially launches on October 24th. For the vast majority of advertisers receiving this notification, there is no further action needed.  You may even see improvements in the retargeting data.



If you’d like more information on this or any help with Facebook advertising and pixel management calls us or send us a message. We’re here to help.

Final Notice: Facebook Partner Categories, Less Than 2 Weeks Left

The final notification has been sent and the days are numbered with less than 2 weeks left to use Facebook partner categories.

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For those Facebook advertisers that have either been living under a rock for the past 6 months or have just pretended the announcement didn't happen, we're officially only days away from partner categories being completely gone from Facebook advertising.  Facebook gave us until August 15 to create new ad sets using these targeting options, but as of October 1, no ad sets will deliver to partner categories.  

Since 2013 Facebook has provided access to customer data provided by a select group of third-party partners.  Here is the official list pulled from Facebook:

  • Acxiom, which can provide data from Australia, France, Germany, the UK and the US

  • Acxiom Japan, which can provide data from Japan.

  • CCC Marketing, which can provide data from Japan.

  • Epsilon, which can provide data from the US

  • Experian, which can provide data from Australia, Brazil, the UK and the US

  • Oracle Data Cloud (formerly Datalogix), which can provide data from the UK and the US

  • Quantium, which can provide data from Australia

While there were hundreds of different targeting options that came from these, some of the most popular were: in-market car buyers, purchase history, financial data (income and net worth), likely to move and job roles.  Depending on what you advertise on Facebook you will hear of varying degrees of success.  For example, if you are an auto dealer you are likely feeling this the most. You could literally target people in marketing for a new Honda.  That's going to be difficult to replicate.  If you are a real estate agent or mortgage broker, while you could target those likely to move competition was extremely high and the performance wasn't always great.  

One thing many advertisers didn't know about the third party data is you were paying for its usage.  Just like when you mail postcards or run programmatic advertising using this data, there is a data fee Facebook is passing on. One advantage you might see now is lower CPM's when you are unable to use the partner categories.

No matter what level of success you did have, it will soon be over.  Here are your 3 options moving forward:

  1. This data is still available for programmatic advertising through many vendors, but more than likely you will have a hard time getting anywhere near the results that you had on Facebook. 

  2. There are ways to buy this data from Acxiom, Experian and Oracle, but it gets expensive.  To get a list of 100k people which would be a small list compared to what many advertisers were targeting on Facebook, will cost anywhere from $15-25k.  Could that be the last resort?  Yeah, likely. 

  3. The best option (our opinion) now and that's testing other targeting options within Facebook.  Many advertisers using third party data targeting have already begun this process as soon as the changed was announced by Facebook.

If you've started testing with limited success or you haven't begun yet, before you panic.  Let's start with a simple question.  Facebook as a company is driven entirely by advertising revenue.  If Facebook thought there was going to be a mass exodus of advertising dollars would they have voluntarily done this?  Probably not.  Their data likely shows a couple of different things:

  • A small portion of Facebook's overall ad revenue was from advertisers campaigns using third party data targeting

  • Their targeting options have improved enough since 2013 when they added third-party data targeting in the first place that they don't see the same need anymore

  • Facebook's algorithm has improved (which we know it has) to find the right target audience for advertisers and continue increasing performance based on that

Yes likely some advertisers will leave Facebook, but not many and mostly just smaller advertisers and many that were either self-managed or managed by marketers that don't really know what they were doing.  Now it's time to think outside of the box.

Here are some ideas:

  • If you were targeting "Likely to move" here are just a sample of other options for Facebook interest targeting: Mortgage calculator, Keller Williams Realty, House Hunting, Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia.  There are dozens more just as good.  Think in terms of "if I were looking to buy a house, what else would I be interested in?"

  • If you were targeting in marketing car buying behavior here are some options for Facebook interest targeting: used car, car dealership, consumer reports, Honda (plus a variety of exact models), Motor Trend.  Again, what other things would you be interested in while doing research to buy a car?

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While there are many more to get into, my goal is really just to spark a mindset change from the obvious to the less obvious, but just as good.  Yeah, wouldn't it be great if we knew the exact people that are today looking to buy a Honda Accord.  You also have to think that every Honda dealer you compete with also has access to the same targeting.  We have to get more creative as marketers which will separate the experts from the followers and also drive a competitive advantage that you didn't have before.

At RelayPM we were only using partner categories for about 10% of our Facebook budget and we only have one client using them still, but we've already honed in on some other audiences that work just as good.  If you need any help with your advertising and would like us to review please reach out.  

Google Ads Parallel Tracking: Does This Affect You?

What is Google Ads parallel tracking and does it affect your Adwords account?

Google has been sending out an email this week about the upcoming parallel tracking change to make sure everyone is prepared.  Since I've had multiple clients forward this email to me and ask about it, I wanted to explain what this is and which clients it affects.

Here is the email Google sent out:

Back in May this was first announced on the Google Ads blog.  A significant focus of Google in the past year is increasing page load time on mobile devices.  As web searches continue to shift towards mobile where internet speeds are lower Google has been focusing on doing what they can to increase page load times.  Accelerate Mobile Pages (AMP) is one way they have been working on this.  They have put together various data showing the impact each second of page load time has on conversion rate.  If you are interested in learning more Google built a mobile site speed tool that also estimates the revenue impact.

Beyond AMP another way they are increasing mobile page load time is parallel tracking.  This is strictly for advertisers that use a click measurement system.  This feature has been available for a few months, but as of October 30th all accounts will be automatically opted in.  The vast majority of Google ads advertisers are not using a click measurement system.  Most advertisers are using Google Analytics with Adwords auto-tagging where there is no tracking added manually.  Many use custom tracking for lead forms with Google's tracking template, but those are not affected by this either.  

If you are using a click measurement partner like a Sizmek, what happens when someone clicks your ad is that the there is a redirect which takes place.  This happens so fast in the background you will not actually see it.  When a user clicks the URL a page will load and redirect the user to your landing page.  The middle page that loads (which no one ever sees) records click information, but also can slow down the time it takes for the landing page to load.  Parallel tracking solves that issue by still allowing click trackers to work, but it loads the click tracking page at the exact same time the landing page loads instead of loading it before.

To get a better idea here are some visuals:

Most advertisers look like this:

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If you're using a third-party click measurement system it might look like this:

With the upgraded parallel tracking, this then changes to this:

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Check out the Adwords developer section here for more information if you are interested https://developers.google.com/adwords/api/docs/guides/click-tracking

For our clients that are using a click measurement partner, we have already reached out to you about this separately.  For those that have not heard from us, you are not affected by this.

If you are not a client of ours and would like to know if this affects you, send us a message with an existing Google Ads URL and we will tell you and can assist with next steps.

Top 3 Myths Expelled: Just Because Someone Works For Google Doesn't Mean They're A Google Ads Expert

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Let me start off by saying this blog article by no means is to bash Google reps. In many cases, we work with them on a weekly basis with our clients on specific questions. It's intended primarily to warn clients of the potential downsides to listening to everything an account representative from Google tells them. It's also intended to help us Google Ads managers out there that have had clients do one of the following:

1. Forward an email to them from Google stating something along the lines of "Google recommends we make this change, can you please implement it?"

2. The client has a call with Google outside of the Google ads manager's knowledge in which one of two things happens. One, the client approves Google making a recommended change. Two, the client implements it themselves. Days, weeks, or sometimes months later we discover the change and the negative effects that it had.

3. A Google Ads dedicated account rep threatening the account manager or the client that if they don't make a certain change, they will lose the dedicated support (yes this has happened to me)

4. Lose a client because Google has offered to build and manage their Google ads account for free while I'm charging a management fee (yes this has happened to me multiple times)

If you manage Google Ads accounts for other companies, if you haven't had any of those happen yet, don't worry you will soon enough. I completely understand the challenge this poses to our companies that advertise on Google.

For a potentially new or early stage client, they don't have a "trust" factor established yet. For a long-term client they do, but unless they have already experienced losing performance and money to a change Google made or recommended, who are they to question the very people that built the search engine on how to best advertise on their search engine?

That all seems to make sense, but unfortunately it is not the case. Let me dispel a few myths about your average Google account representative (they change their titles so much I'm not sure what they are called now).

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Myth 1: They work for Google, so they have access to information about the Google ads platform that the public doesn't

Truth: Google holds any secret information about their algorithm from the vast majority of their company, especially anyone that works directly with clients. If anything I've found that the public find out about platform changes before many of the Google ads account reps because we're actively seeking and following. I can guarantee if your paid search manager is keeping up with the latest releases and trends they know at least the same amounts as a Google ads account rep about the advertising platform.

Myth 2: Google ads representatives know and understand the Google ads platform and algorithm better than anyone because they work with it every day.

Truth: Most Google ads representatives, unless you are an account spending high 6-7 figures per month have less than 1-year experience with the platform. Of the dozens if not hundreds of Google Ads account reps I've worked with over the years, I've never come across a single one that not only ever managed a Google ads account on their own, but had any sort of marketing role prior to working at Google. Typically they have a sales background because that's technically what they are considered within Google.

Myth 3: Google Ads reps and Google Ads agencies have the same goal for their clients, long-term success and spending money.

Truth: This one I have some challenges with because theoretically, it should be true. Account managers or agencies need our clients to increase their spending on Google ads and be successful in order to continue working with us. It's in our best interest to optimize the account towards their ROAS or CPA goals. That is true. One would think Google would have the same intention, but time and time again all I've ever seen them caring about is spending more money on the platform regardless of what the conversion results are. In fact, there are many businesses that stopped advertising on Google and never will again because of the experience they had losing money, but because it was set up by Google Ads reps.

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Where is my evidence to back all of this up?

I've been managing Google Ads/Adwords clients for more than 12 years. I have fought this battle with Google and clients for that entire time. I've taken over clients where I cringe even to tell them the amount of money they lost because of what Google reps did to their account. I've lost clients for refusing to make changes Google recommended. Don't get me wrong, there are many terrible private paid search managers out there. In fact, I would argue less than 10% of us are actually really good at what we do, but that's another blog post.

Just last week I took over an account that had 4 campaigns set up by Google and run for 6 months. Three search only campaigns were all broad match keywords and one what was supposed to be "remarketing" audience was targeting a irrelevant in-market audience. Not one search term over a six month period because of the broad match setup was right for his business. Great, he didn't pay anything for a management fee. Unfortunately, he lost $10,000 over the time period.

Not everything they tell you will be wrong. I'm not here to say that. I just want perspectives to change when Google does recommend something. Maybe get a second opinion? At the very least be open to your pay per click manager not implementing a suggested change if they have a good reason not to. A good reason isn't "everything Google tells you to will waste money." If they tell you that you probably should find a new pay per click manager or agency.

A good reason would be something like:

"We prefer to rotate our ads evenly and decide on our own which is the best performer. There are many factors we use to determine the success of an ad, and while Google has improved their automated functionality for ad copy optimization, we often test this and believe our method works better."

I hope there are Google advertisers that read this and I save their PPC Manager and agency from having to argue this or even worse, give in and watch their client's results suffer. After all, would you let the IRS do your taxes?

If you have any questions about this don’t hesitate to message us. Just click on the Facebook messenger icon and we’ll respond. If you need a second opinion on a recommended change we will be happy to help. Most importantly, if Google setup your campaigns or is managing your account, please let us audit it.

LTV: The Importance Of Knowing The Value Of Your Customers in eCommerce

Being in the business for well over 10 years I am always surprised how many eCommerce clients cannot answer the question "what is the lifetime value of your customers?"  Usually in my initial prospecting calls with somewhere within the second half of the call I ask this question.  At least 50% of the time I hear the answer: "no."  It does seem like most eCommerce companies understand the value, but don't always have the analytics expertise to calculate this.  Of course, you also have the eCommerce companies in their infancy that just don't have the customer data to support estimating anywhere near an accurate lifetime value.

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What does "customer lifetime value (LTV)" mean?   Essentially it's the total value a customer will contribute to your company over their lifetime.

Why is it important to know the lifetime value of your customers?  First, it tells you how much you can spend to acquire a customer without losing money.  Second, it gives you a baseline to start from while you make changes to increase the value of each customer.  There are a lot of companies out there that never make it because they don't know their customers lifetime value.  They are paying $75 to acquire every new customer, but the average customer might only drive $50 in revenue.  Understanding this is crucial to growing a successful eCommerce company over time.

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There are two primary methods to calculate this.  One is based on historical data (in which you need a lot), and one is based on predictive modeling.  Which way you need to use will depend on how many customers you've had as well as how long you've been in business.  More than likely for at least the first 2-3 years you'll be using predictive modeling, but as your actual data set grows you can integrate more historical data until eventually, you get to a point where it's entirely based on your own metrics.

If you're using historical modeling, you have the opportunity to segment even further, maybe by acquisition channel or demographic data.  Now you can find which of your customer sets have a higher lifetime value than others.  This allows you to focus on acquiring customers that are more valuable regarding long-term revenue they bring in.  Marketing to the "right" customers will help improve your customer acquisition metrics.  There's a great infographic I found from RJ Metrics illustrating this (see below blog)

As you continually do things like marketing to the right customers, adding new products to your website, improving your cross-selling approach you can continue to increase the lifetime value of your customers giving you more profit and more you can spend to acquire new customers.  

Now just because you know the answer to this question doesn't solve everything.  One of the significant challenges for eCommerce companies, especially those in the first 1-3 years of their business is that they don't have enough existing customers to offset the loss to acquire a new customer.  Here's what I mean by that.  If the lifetime value of your customer is $100 over a 2 year period and to get to $100 in revenue that customer has to place 4 orders and it costs to $50 to acquire that customer; initially you lose money.  Yes over a two years period you'll still make a $50 profit from that customer, but you might lose $25 for the first 6-12 months.

Look at Amazon and Jet.  They lost tens to hundreds of millions growing their customer base initially while continually increasing the customer lifetime value until they can eventually be profitable.  Now this indeed takes a lot of investment capital, and there aren't many companies in this position, but it's an excellent example of what it takes to grow in the eCommerce space now.

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Early on in the years of pay per click on Google, Yahoo, and Bing, it was relatively easy to make a "profit" from a first order.  As the market became more competitive rarely now do we see this from eCommerce companies on non-brand search keywords.  Same goes for Facebook ads.  Facebook advertising has doubled in cost each year as it's gone from having unsold inventory to completely selling all ad spots.  Understanding and improving your lifetime value is continually increasing in importance to the success and growth of your eCommerce business.  

If you've been in business for 3, 4, 5 years or more you might have enough repeat customers that you can cover your loss to acquire new customers and your eCommerce business is still profitable.  Many eCommerce companies and startups don't have that luxury though, and they are operating at a loss until they can start getting those repeat orders in.  Depending on how long that cycle is for your customers to make a second or even a third purchase, this can be challenging.  As an eCommerce company, we're all trying to get to that point, where repeat customers drive the profit and capital to continue losing money on a first purchase to acquire new customers.

Stay tuned for our white paper where we'll show you exactly how to calculate the lifetime value through both historical and predictive modeling.  

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Messenger For eCommerce: The One Reason You Should Forget About Every Other Chat Provider

Messenger bots for e-commerce are nothing new.  I get it.  If you search "messenger bots for e-commerce" on Google, you get 1.98 million results.

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If we all know about them by now, why are most eCommerce websites only scratching the surface of their potential?  That is if they are even using a messenger bot.


Let's check the top 5 e-commerce sites right now (I'll skip Amazon).  I'm going to go with mobile too.  
 

Walmart.com

Newly redesigned website, first time I'm actually seeing this.  Found a nearly hidden live chat box.  Oh, nevermind clicked into it, and they only want to know if I liked their website.  Gave them a 5 thinking a chatbot might open up, but they continue to ask me about the website.
 

Homedepot.com

They've got a little live chat box on all pages I found, although it seems to open up late.  First question: name.  No problem.  Second question: email.  I'm out.  (We'll come back to this later)
 

Bestbuy.com

3 minutes in looking at category pages, product pages, even adding a product to my cart.  No live chat anywhere.  I was looking for a recommendation on a Samsung or Sony TV.  I'm out.
 

Target.com

Same as BestBuy.com.  No live chat anywhere.
 

Costco.com

Nothing here either.

The number 2, 4, 5, and 6 eCommerce websites in the United States don't have live chat functionality (that I can find).  There has been article after article and test after test of the importance of chatbots increasing eCommerce sales for at least the past 1-2 years, but it seems that most of the top eCommerce websites in the country haven't even implemented this yet.
This could be a significant opportunity for smaller e-commerce companies to have an advantage over the big guys.


While there's a lot of opportunities to leverage Facebook messager for e-commerce websites within Facebook, what is more often neglected is leveraging Facebook messenger directly on your website.  This newer feature is rarely found on any website. 

That brings us to the question I'm here to answer: why integrate Facebook messenger on your website over any of the other dozens of live chat platforms on the market?  One reason.  As soon as a potential customer engages with your company on Facebook messenger, whether it's within Facebook or on your website, you can message them from that point on.  You can't do this with any other chat platform on the market.  This is a huge opportunity to take advantage of.


Back to the Home Depot example.  I couldn't even ask a question without entering my email.  I'm not ready to make that kind of commitment to them, but I completely understand why they believe the should ask and their data likely proves it as well.  Home Depot wants to have the ability to contact the individual after the conversation.  If that were done through Facebook messenger though, they would have access to message me anytime they wanted, without ever asking me for my email address.  Pretty amazing right?  Imagine the number of potential customers that drop off because they require an email address.

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Are we all familiar with email open rates right?  At 20% we're jumping for joy.  Say out of 100 people Home Depot loses 50% on live chat because they don't want to enter their email address (it's likely much higher).  Of the 50 that entered their email address at best 20% open, the email Home Depot sent.  That's 10 out of 100.  If they were running Facebook messenger, they would have a 0% drop off because they wouldn't need to ask for their email address.  So out of 100, they chat with all 100.  After the chat session, they message all 100 people.  Facebook messenger open rate is over 80%.  


With the current method, Home Depot is using they get 10 out of 100 people to open the follow-up email.  If they switched to using Facebook messenger that number would increase to 80!  That's an 800% increase.

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What are you all waiting for?  Often the mindset of small e-commerce companies is how we can compete with the big guys?  Here is a golden opportunity.


Now that I've shown you why you should implement Facebook messenger within our e-commerce website, what are the practical use cases?  Here are three I'll go over.


Engage with a potential customer early on in their sales cycle.  

This is where you have the opportunity to replace the customer service of a brick and mortar store.  While this has the most opportunity with a more consultative sale, like a TV or a washer & dryer, it can still work with clothing and any other item as well.  A great example would be a couple of months back I was in the marketing for a new washer & dryer.  I spent some time doing my research online, but I hit a wall where there was too much information out there for me to decipher and I didn't have the time to spend on it.  In the end, I was forced to go into a brick and mortar location to consult with an expert.  I wanted to make this entire purchase online, but I was missing the sales support I truly needed online and knew I could get in a store.  There are some e-commerce sites out there doing an outstanding job of this, like Crutchfield, but too many fall short.  Again an excellent opportunity for smaller up and coming companies to take the lead.

Closing The Deal

After you engaged with the visitor on your website to help consult them through the sale, if they leave unexpectedly or abandon their cart, you then have the opportunity to reach back out and close the deal.  This could be anything from offering a discount to answering any further questions they may have.  With less than 2% of visitors on average making a purchase the first time they visit your site, this is a perfect opportunity to increase that number.

After Sales Support

There was a study done where at least 80% of customers responded to order notifications on Facebook messenger whereas very few replied to an email.  What if your customers have questions after they receive their purchase?  This is where you get an opportunity to get them into your messenger list when you don't have them.  If you direct them to ask their questions using messenger, now you have that option to contact them in the future.  HP has a fully automated bot that walks customers through setting up a printer until they can print their first document.  Not only does it increase your customer satisfaction, but it also gets your customers onto your messenger list to reach out in the future.


Now there are indeed cases where a fully automated bot won't be enough.  For instance, on the consultative sale, you will likely get to a point where you need human interaction, but you can at least get through initial questions to judge the quality of the visitor and timing to have a human interject in the messenger.  The way we set these up variest by client.  Some we have only one or two questions and answers before a human interjects while others we have it set up to have a full conversation lasting up to 15 minutes.  You might find there are a lot of common issues that can be automated with a bot that will significantly cut down on the real human intervention.  In the beginning, as your learning, you will need more human interaction, but as you learn common questions and solutions, you can begin to automate more and more and cut down on the level of human support needed.  In the end this will incurease customer satisfaction, sales and reduce human interaction needed in customer service.

Chat with us on our Facebook messenger bot if you have any questions on implementing this feature.  We would love to help and show examples on successful implementations.

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Checkout Faster With Shopify: Everything You Need To Know About Dynamic Checkout

At RelayPM we are big proponents of integrating as many checkout methods as possible as Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, and Paypal.  What I like is that Integrating these simplify checking out on mobile devices and typically result in an increased conversion rate.  Last month Shopify released a product taking this one step further to improve the mobile checkout experience, dynamic checkout buttons.  

Dynamic checkout buttons allow customers to check out faster and easier using accelerated checkout methods Amazon Pay, Apple Pay & Paypal.  There are two types of dynamic checkout buttons that Shopify released.  The first type is a Buy Now button directly on the product page that takes users directly to the checkout process.  The second type, branded dynamic payment buttons.  These will feature logo and colors of each available payment method that your store supports.  

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The buttons appear beside or below the add to cart button.  Which method should you use?  Well, this is why it's called dynamic.  You don't get to choose.  Shopify will use a variety of factors to determine which dynamic checkout button to show.  

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There are a few limitations based on your store setup.  Dynamic checkout is available on all current themes in the Shopify theme store, but if you are using an older version, you may need to upgrade.  There are specific apps that may conflict like currency converters, apps that interact with the cart and apps that take customers to an external checkout.  If you have custom form features like terms and condition checkboxes, gift-wrapping options and delivery date pickers dynamic checkout may not be suitable.  

Assuming you are okay with those limitations here is how you go about setting this up:

  1. In your Shopify admin go to Online Store > Themes
  2. Find the theme you want to edit and click Customize
  3. From the top bar drop-down menu, click Product Pages
  4. Click Sections
  5. Click Product Pages
  6. Check Dynamic Checkout Button
  7. Click Save

This will implement on all products.  If you would like to limit which products you show this on there is more information on Shopify here.

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Share your results with us if you have implemented this (whether good or bad).

Stop Wasting Money With Adwords Express

If you are currently using or considering using Google Adwords Express you must read this.

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What is Google Adwords Express?  This is Google's answer to how to get more small businesses to start using Google Adwords and running pay per click ads for their business.  Just like Google Adwords, your ads are eligible to show on Google.com, Google Maps and relevant websites on the display network. Over the years, the Google Adwords platform has continued to get more complex which can make it intimidating for small businesses.  Ever since the death of the Yellow Pages, companies have come and go trying to fill the gap that was left behind by attempting to make it simple for a small business to manage their own marketing. 

The problem is on a local pay per click campaign a $500 monthly budget can go a long way, but a typical management fee on that budget should be anywhere from $750-1,500 with an agency or pay per click manager that knows what they are doing.  Many small businesses have a hard time wrapping their head around the management fee being greater than the advertising dollars.  Meanwhile, 10 years ago that same business would spend $5k-$20k/year on a Yellow Pages ad where you had zero control over the results.  Dozens of software companies have tried to solve this problem with little to no success.

Here comes Adwords Express to the rescue right?  According to Adwords, "Adwords express can be setup in just 15 minutes."  Here's all you need to do:

"You’ll set up a budget, and based on the type of business you have, we’ll come up with a list of search phrases that will trigger your ad and potential related sites where your ad can appear. We’ll continue to maintain and update your search phrases over time. Minimal ongoing management is needed, and you pay only for clicks that your ad actually receives."

Now you do have a little bit of control with the keywords.  Google will suggest keywords and you have the choice to keep them so it's not 100% automated.  

 
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So why exactly shouldn't you use Google Adwords Express?

There are two major issues that completely ruin their intentions.  

1. All keywords added are broad match.  As most PPC Managers know, this is a bad idea.  Less than 5% of the keywords we manage out of hundreds of thousands are broad match.  This is likely to cause the majority of your traffic to come in on poor quality search queries that are irrelevant to your business.  On top of that there is no control over the queries because you cannot see them or add negative keywords.

2. There is virtually no conversion tracking.  So Google is "optimizing" to your goal, but if your goal has anything to do with website conversions instead of calls, they have no insight and neither do you.  They recently added a method for linking a Google Analytics account and importing goals, but if you are using Adwords Express because of its simplicity you likely do not understand how to setup Google analytics so this addition is practically pointless.

 
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What happens when you use Adwords Express?  Typically we see one of two responses.  Either you have no clue how it is working and you just continue to run it and spend money, or you do not believe it is working so you turn it off and are left with a sour taste in your mouth about running Google Adwords for your business.  When we know how well Adwords can work for many small businesses neither of these responses are good.  

What should you do if you are launching your own Adwords account yourself?

Contact us and we will help you get started.  We have great packages for small businesses.  If you still want to manage it yourself, no problem.  We will point you to a few resources that if you spend just a couple hours learning you will be able to avoid a bad experience with Google Adwords Express.

Google Adwords Repeat Rate: Are You Under Reporting Conversions?

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What is a repeat rate and what does it mean to your business?

If you go into tools under measurement and go to the conversions sections of Google Adwords (new interface), you should see at least one conversion type (if you have this setup) and a bunch of columns.  One of those columns will say repeat rate.  Depending on how you setup your conversion pixel this can cause you to either over report conversions or under report conversions.

Let's step back a bit.  When you are in the process of creating a conversion in Google Adwords, the first step you will see will be the following:

 
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You have two options here, every or one.  According to Google "if someone clicks your ad, then makes 3 purchases, AdWords will count 3 conversions."  If you choose one, according to Google "adwords counts only one conversion per ad click."  At Relay PM, when we setup Google Adwords conversion tracking for a client we assess the type of conversion we are tracking for each client.  If we are tracking purchases we will choose every and if we are tracking leads we will chose one.  The reason is that if someone makes multiple purchases on a website, each purchase has revenue attributed to it and thus should be counted as a conversion because each additional conversion does add more value.  With lead generation, if one person submits multiple leads there typically is no additional value to counting every time the lead is submitted.

Depending on what your conversion window is set to (30, 60, 90...) the repeat rate is based on that window.  If someone clicks on an ad and makes more than one purchase at any point during that conversion window, it is counted as a repeat.  Same goes for submitting leads.  When you are looking at the repeat column in the conversion section in Google Adwords you will see the average number of conversions submitted per user based on whatever date range you are currently viewing.  Keep in mind no matter which option you choose, every or one, the repeat column still shows the average number of conversions per click or interaction, but they will only be included in the Adwords conversion columns if you chose every.

Now, there are potential issues to using the every conversion option that we have seen.  Users can bookmark a purchase or order confirmation page and visit that page again because the page might load too slow and the user tries to reload the page, or the user hits the back button to visit the page twice.  We have also seen unknown technical issues causing the conversion pixel to fire multiple times for the same user.  Any one of these options are fairly common.  Fortunately there is a way around this.  You can add an order ID to your conversion tracking pixel.  If Google Adwords sees two conversions submitted with the same order ID they will only count one.

Depending on if you are using a conversion pixel from the new Adwords interface or the old Adwords interface you can see the code to implement here: https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/6386790?co=ADWORDS.IsAWNCustomer%3Dtrue&hl=en&oco=0  Order ID's will not be used in any Adwords reporting.  

If you have any questions on this topic please let us know.

Which Facebook Metrics Are Going Bye-Bye?

Some of you may have recently noticed a little information bar running across the top of your screen in Facebook Ads Manager and Power Editor

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Initially, Facebook’s phrase "removing some metrics" comes off as a bit of a surprise. However, no one should really be alarmed. Yes, they are taking away some metrics, but only ones that are redundant and can still be measured by other metrics remaining in Facebook. Below we will go through each metric Facebook is removing and discuss what alternative we recommend. 

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Actions, People Taking Action, Cost per Any Action:

The Actions metric is a composite of various actions and events such as engagement, clicks or conversions. Recently, Facebook has been adding more and more actions that people can take on an ad. Therefore, the Actions metric is becoming less relevant. We recommend customizing your own composite metric reflecting actions that are meaningful to your business

Amount Spent Today:

We recommend using the dynamic date selector on the top right of Ads Manager and Power Editor. You can then click on "Today" and use the Amount Spent metric. 

Button Clicks:

Currently, this metric shows the number of times people clicked the call-to-action button on your ad. These clicks are also reflected in the Link Clicks, Event Responses and Offers Saved metrics. 

Canvas Component Time Percentage:

Overall, this metric hasn't been very popular. However, if you do use it, Canvas View Time and Canvas View Percentage metrics can be a helpful alternative. 

Carousel Card:

Now, this one comes as a bit of a surprise. Facebook says "We're no longer supporting the Carousel Card breakdown for conversion metrics (ex: Website Conversions) and for any calculated metrics such as CTR because these insights have been infrequently used." When running a carousel ad, we do like to reflect on which cards are performing better by looking at the highest CTR or most purchases, etc. Facebook is leaving the ability to see Link Clicks by each Carousel Card, and you can still see overall conversion results without the card breakdown. 

Link Click Destination:

Facebook has had some trouble with deep links and backup link destinations. Alternatives are Outbound Clicks and Landing Page Views that can measure which clicks lead people to destinations off Facebook.  In the future, Facebook plans to explore other ways of providing more granular app deep link or app store destination insights.

Mobile App Actions Conversion Value:

We recommend using specific app event conversion values such as Mobile App Purchase Conversion Value.

Page Mentions, Cost per Page Mention:

Because these metrics are not as relevant anymore, they are not very helpful to understand positive or negative sentiment towards your brand. Alternatives to seeing the success of a Page Likes campaign are Page Likes and Page Engagement.

Page Tab Views, Cost per Page Tab View:

This metric measures the number of views of tabs on your Facebook Page that are attributed to your ads. Similar, to Page Mentions, there is a better way to see success of a Page Likes campaign and that is through Page Likes and Page Engagement.

Positive Feedback, Negative Feedback:

This metric is already incorporated into the Relevance Score metric. Instead of breaking them out positively and negatively, which can sometimes be confusing, Facebook is just sticking with the Relevance Score. 

Social Reach, Social Impressions, Social Clicks (All), Unique Social Clicks  (All):

These metrics show the number of people who saw an ad when displayed with social information. Facebook has said "The Social Reach metric isn't meaningfully different from the Reach and Impressions metrics and the insights provided aren't actionable, since advertisers don't have control over when ads are/aren't shown with social information." Overall, we’re not losing too much on this one. We recommend forgetting about the social aspect and sticking to Reach and Impressions to evaluate campaign performance. 

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How do you feel about losing some of these Facebook metrics? Is it just a healthy Facebook update? Or are you dreading the start of July 2018? 

Our team at RelayPM understands the impact of this update, especially if you are using these metrics for analysis and reporting. 

We are excited to see the forward direction Facebook is moving. “Measure What Matters” is a program Facebook is launching in March to help marketers learn more about measurement principles. One track will offer programming for branding oriented campaigns and another will focus on measurement for direct response campaigns. This program will be offered on the Facebook Business website and on Facebook Live and in-person events.