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Why You Should Be Buying Facebook Ads Now

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

We’re currently in an unusual landscape for social media ads: Events are being cancelled or postponed worldwide, companies have re-assessed their marketing budgets, and in the United States two billionaire politicians just ended their presidential campaigns (But not before together spending over $780 million on ads).

When advertising on Facebook, a more crowded queue of ads means less people see each ad, and our advertising dollars don’t stretch as far. Retailers and e-commerce advertisers know this well, as CPMs (“Cost per mille”, or the cost to reach 1,000 users) skyrocket during the holiday selling season.

That’s why a drop in demand can be good for brand visibility. Your advertising spend is likely to reach more users for the same price, and as businesses axe promotion to recoup cash, there is less competition for ad units, leaving you an opportunity to step in and capture a larger slice of market share.

Cooped up at home, consumers are spending more time at home and on their devices. Social media browsing is likely on the rise, and when it comes to time on platform, Facebook remains at the top of the mountain.

Here are 3 ways to adjust or step up your Facebook advertising as others pull back.

Explore the “Reach” campaign objective.

Nestled in the “Awareness” campaign category is the option to optimize an ad campaign for reach. The campaign isn’t explicitly conversion-driven, but when ad units are less expensive, it’s a good time to widen your net and bring more people in at the top of the funnel.

If you use a video as your creative, a Reach campaign actually can be conversion-driven, because you’ll grow your audience of video viewers (users who watch a video for three seconds or more) and be able to run retargeting campaigns just to those who are interested.

Video viewers are a custom audience in the Facebook Business Manager, and custom audiences are what make Facebook ads so effective (and Facebook so lucrative as a company). These audiences’ behavior has proven that they’re interested, and remarketing to them can help you take some of the guesswork out of your efforts.

Other Facebook custom audiences include:

Lookalike audiences. These are the holy grail of custom audiences, in my opinion. These users are new to your business, but based on the 52,000 data points Facebook has, have historically behaved similarly to another audience you identify (users who like your page, for example, or past buyers).

Engagements. Users who have reacted with, commented on, or swiped through an ad (if using an image carousel or other multimedia placement) can be retargeted.

Website traffic. If users visit your business website and you have installed the Facebook pixel into your header code (there are loads of tutorials on this), you can get back in front of them through retargeting.

Email list uploads. You can upload a list of subscribers to Facebook for retargeting purposes. Facebook attempts to match email addresses to users. The success rate is wide here, ranging from 40 to 80%, but may be a smart strategy for you.

Use reach campaigns to maximize the number of users reached per dollar and take the time now to build up your custom audiences.

Test out new ads or variations in copy.

Can you beat your control? There’s no better time to try than now.

A/B testing is a critical step in advertising optimization. As David Ogilvy once said, “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent 80 cents out of your dollar.”

For all you know, you could be getting leads for half the price with better copy or a more engaging image or video. But until you test it, you’ll never know whether your control really is the absolute best.

Use this less competitive time to experiment with different headline copy, images, videos, and even new ad formats, such as Stories ad placements or Canvas ad formats.

Use slower times to crank out content

According to Demand Metric, 60 percent of consumers are inspired to seek out a product or service after consuming content about it.

If you’re wearing many hats in your business, though, it can be a challenge to stay consistent and continually produce new posts and articles for your audience.

Take advantage of quieter times by hunkering down and creating more “evergreen” content that applies to your business. Evergreen material can be used over and over again, and the benefits of content marketing build over time like a flywheel.

Projects to consider tackling could include

Cornerstone content. Also known as pillar content, this content is core to your business website, and is indicated as such when you publish, allowing search engines to more accurately crawl and recommend you. Take the time to create this detailed and informative content, then consider running ads to it to wow your audience.

A video series. It’s no secret that video marketing is on the rise. Video has multiple components though, from scripting to lighting to post-production. Consider batching some video production during a slow time, then slice out snippets to use for future advertising creative and content marketing.

More customization. Customization is again the hottest marketing trend of the year. Could you add in a retargeting ad after someone buys your product that just says, “Thank you?” Or give a shoutout to a local sports team or school that recently had a big achievement? Get specific and creative in your ads to ramp up brand affinity.

Advertising slots are precious real estate for building market share. Take advantage of newly freed-up inventory and you’ll develop a powerful asset for future revenue and business.

5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Stop SEO Efforts During a Pandemic

The global pandemic known as COVID-19 is affecting almost every part of life all over the world.

As the global economy reels from the impact of this disease, businesses are shifting strategies, hoarding cash and preparing for the worst.

But the reality is that businesses can thrive in downtimes.

There will be business winners and losers in this new global normal.

And many of the winners will invest heavily in search engine marketing.

Here are five reasons why you should absolutely continue search engine marketing efforts during these trying times.

1. Search Engine Marketing Can Produce Cash

During economic downtimes, cash is king.

Those that have the cash, or cash flow, to push through the hard times are the businesses that survive.

The only marketing technique that produces a better ROI than search engine marketing is an opt-in email list.

Opt-in email lists don’t grow on trees.

They must be created by generating demand – and search engine marketing is one of the best ways to create a profitable opt-in email list.

But that’s beside the point.

Search engine marketing, both paid and organic, reaches the consumer when they are in a state of need.

Forget attribution and the top of the funnel.

Search engine marketing produces sales and leads precisely because the consumer is connected with your brand when they are searching for your product or service.

People still need products and services, even if they are self-quarantined for 14 days.

In fact, when people stay home, my bet is they are going to be searching more rather than less.

By putting your brand in front of searchers, you make the cut when the buying decision is made.

Even if overall sales of your product or service go down because of the economy or the pandemic, you can offset some of your losses by investing in a comprehensive search engine marketing program that puts you in front of those that are still in a buying frame of mind.

2. Search Is Measurable

If you’ve been marketing to the top of the funnel but are experiencing a budget crunch, it makes sense that you’ll move your efforts to consumers with more immediate buying intent.

Search engine marketing does just that – but more importantly, you can prove whether you are successful.

Unlike “branding” efforts, its easy to see if search engine marketing is effective.

All you have to do is look at sales or leads in your analytics.

This allows you to pivot budget and effort when necessary.

Buyer behavior is sure to go through significant changes in the next few months.

It’s important that your marketing efforts can pivot based on data.

Search engine marketing is, by its nature, reactive.

Competent search engine marketers react to data and change tactics accordingly.

A search engine marketer may move budget to keyword phrases with stronger buyer intent, or promote content that will appeal to the current mood of the consumer.

But at the end of the day, when you don’t have a big budget, every dollar you spend needs to be effective.

With search engine marketing, you can know pretty quickly if your dollars are working for you.

3. When There Is Scarcity, People Search

There is already an indication that some goods are going to be hard to find in the near future.

I would imagine that the first ecommerce listing for “toilet paper” (FYI – it’s Amazon) is worth its weight in gold right now.

When goods are scarce, consumers will search for them.

If goods are not available, consumers will search for alternatives.

If you can be in the search results when people are searching for scarce goods or services, your business can be the recipient of a windfall.

The types of scarcity we may see in the coming months are unprecedented in most of our lifetimes.

Forward-thinking search engine marketers will be looking for opportunities to:

Many SEO professionals will build link building campaigns around alternatives for products that are exorbitantly expensive and hard to find.

Those that can capitalize on SEO will be better off, as the keyword costs around scarce items will most likely increase as the demand increases.

4. People Still Need Products & Services

Despite what some of the folks in my Facebook feed seem to think, the world is not coming to an end.

Humans still need products and services.

And as I’ve already stated, search engine marketing, both paid and organic, is the best way to reach consumers with buying intent.

I’m not saying that search engine marketing is always a quick fix – but you can get a Google Ads campaign up and running in a few hours or less.

When the CEO starts panicking, suggesting a search engine marketing campaign may be the best way to calm them down for a bit.

Especially if you haven’t been doing search engine marketing in the past.

5. Eventually, Things Will Get Back to Normal

Eventually, things will normalize.

It may be different, and there may be a new normal, but the world will stabilize.

And search engine marketing will still be one of the most effective ways to reach consumers.

Those that implement effective search engine marketing programs during the downtimes will be primed to clean up when things normalize.

Especially those that invest in search engine optimization.

While you can see results from SEO in a short period of time, the overall effectiveness of SEO doesn’t happen overnight.

It takes time to get an SEO campaign to run effectively.

But in the time that we are dealing with global pandemonium, a business could create an SEO campaign that will reap results for years to come.

And those results could produce the revenue your business needs to make it through the inevitable hard times that are coming.

So I encourage all businesses to either continue or start aggressive search engine marketing efforts.

Search engine marketing is the most effective way to market your business in downtimes.

We saw this to be the case in 2009, and things haven’t changed that much.

So get started today.

You’ll thank me tomorrow.

Google My Business Optimization Considered the Most Valuable Local Marketing Service – Search Engine Journal

Google My Business optimization, not website optimization, is considered the most valuable local marketing service in 2020.

According to BrightLocal’s annual local search industry survey, on-site optimization is now the second most valuable local marketing service.

The survey of 475 local marketers looks at the business practices, pricing, salary, and services offered by local marketers.

According to the survey, the top 5 most valuable services are:

Google My Business optimization is also the most frequently offered service by local marketers, with more marketers offering GMB optimization than traditional SEO.

The top 5 most frequently offered services by local marketers include:

Link building is one of the less frequently offered services, the survey finds, with only half of local marketers offering it. So there’s an opportunity to stand out as a local marketer if you want to differentiate your service offerings from others.

SEO is Best for Attracting New Clients

Although it’s not the most offered service, or considered the most valuable, local marketers say SEO is the best online tactic for attracting new clients. Content marketing, LinkedIn, and PPC were cited as other valuable online channels.

By a large margin, word of mouth is considered the most valuable channel overall for winning clients. Local business groups and industry conferences are also considered valuable ways to gain clients.

Google Rankings Matter Most to Businesses

The local marketing metrics most valued by local businesses are Google rankings. According to the survey, Google rankings are even more important to businesses than new customers and new leads.

The top 5 local marketing metrics valued by businesses are:

When preparing monthly reports for clients, focus on highlighting the above metrics.