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PPC Tip: The Difference Between Sorting and Filtering


Time for another PPC quick tip…

Use Sorting and Filtering Aggressively to Make PPC Reports Actionable

Sorting & filtering are two powerful tools for preventing data paralysis and turning mounds of data into actionable insights. Today’s PPC platforms give you access to so much data that if you aren’t using sorting and filtering it’s virtually impossible to get any value out of reporting.

Do you know the difference between sorting and filtering? They seem similar on the surface but they actually work very differently and are useful in different scenarios.

Here’s a quick rundown of both and how to use them in your PPC reporting…

Sorting

Sorting takes a set of data and sorts it by a chosen metric or letter. The most important difference is that sorting does not remove entries from the data set. Sorting only puts the data into a new order.

For example, if you want to see which of your ads generated the most conversions you can sort by the ‘Conversions‘ column.

Or if you want to see which ad is eating up the most budget you can sort by the ‘Spend‘ column.

You can also sort by other useful metrics like:

  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • CTR (click-through rate)

Sorting is a powerful way to look at all the data in an ad group or campaign without feeling paralyzed by the amount of information. Using sorting you can quickly make optimizations to your ads account and find out what is or isn’t working based on your success criteria (clicks, conversions, CTR, etc.)

In the screenshot below the Facebook ads report is broken out by placement and sorted by Spend meaning it will show the placements that spent the most money first. This lets me quickly see if any placements are eating up too much budget for the conversions they’re driving.

sorting-vs-filtering-facebook-ads

facebook-cost-per-lead-reportScrolling further right in this report shows me that there’s a CPA difference of 31% between mobile and desktop devices. If $2.32 were above my CPA threshold I would then know to pause the mobile ads and reallocate the budget to desktop only.

Filtering

Filtering on the other hand is useful in a different way.

While sorting will give you the option of choosing which metric you want to prioritize, filtering actually removes data that’s irrelevant to your analysis.

For example…

Lets say you’re working on an AdWords account that has 20 paid search campaign and they’re all a total mess. It has tons of keywords, match types, different ad variations, landing pages, the whole shebang. Most AdWords accounts are mangled and mashed like this so knowing how to filter your data the right way is crucial.

One filter I would run on an account with this type of setup is this:

Filter data by:

  • Cost > $100
  • Conversions > 5

This filter will remove any campaigns that haven’t spent at least $100 and generated at least 5 conversions.

filtering-data-in-adwords

This helps me prioritize which campaigns to focus on.

If a campaign hasn’t gained any traction at all and there’s not much data to look at it’s just going to get in the way. Since I filtered the data down to ONLY campaigns that have spent at least $100 and generated at least 5 conversions I know I have something to work with.

filtering-conversion-data-in-adwords

The sky is the limit with filtering though – get creative with it and remember the goal of a solid filter is to remove any data that’s irrelevant to making your campaign convert better or become more profitable.

You can filter by…

  • The type of ad
  • The name of the campaign or ad group
  • Ads that started or ended on a certain date
  • Where the ad ran (placements and websites)
  • Ads above or below a certain number of impressions
  • Ads above or below a certain CTR (click-through rate)
  • Ads above or below a certain number of clicks
  • Ads above or below a certain position
  • Ads that ran in specific geo-targets (city, state, country)
  • Ads that ran on a specific network (google search vs. google partners)

One last pro tip: don’t forget you can filter AND sort at the same time. Using both together is extremely useful for accounts with lots of spend and/or campaigns running.

Having trouble figuring out how to use these in your PPC accounts? Ask yourself what the most logical sorting and filtering combos would be for what you want to accomplish with the campaign. It’s pretty simple when you think about it that way.

Well…That’s all there is to sorting & filtering – hopefully you have a better understanding of each and know how to use them next time you’re doing analysis.

What is a Facebook Dark Post? (And How to Create Your First One)


Wondering what ‘dark posts‘ are on Facebook? A dark post is also known as an unpublished page post. Think about ‘dark posts’ as posts on your fanpage that are only viewable to people you’re targeting in ads. The only way to see a dark post or unpublished page post is to get targeted by an ad with a dark post attached to it.

To simplify that explanation: A dark post looks the exact same as a normal fanpage post or newsfeed ad, it’s simply unpublished from public view. Think about fanpage updates like photos, statuses, offers, events, etc., dark posts are just private versions of these same post types.

What’s the Point of Dark Posts?

There are several…

The most common use is for split testing newsfeed ads. Lets say you want to test 5 different styles of newsfeed creative but don’t want to clog up your fanpage timeline with all the different variations. Publishing each variation as a dark post lets you create & test all 5 variations without alienating or annoying your existing fanbase and adding a bunch of the same content to your fanpage.

The other use for dark posts is if you only want certain people to see the newsfeed ad. For example if you have a special offer for fans that live in California you can create a dark post and target people who are connected to your page that live in California. That way only people that meet the targeting criteria will see the ad and fans from other states will have no idea you’re running the promotion.

How do I Create a Dark Post?

Dark posts can be created in Facebook’s Power Editor.

Step 1: When creating an ad in Power Editor, click the “+” symbol next to your fanpage name:

dark-posts-facebook-power-editor

Step 2: Choose which type of dark post you want to create.

You can create a few types of dark posts on your fanpage:

  • Page Post Link
  • Page Post Photo
  • Page Post Video
  • Page Post Status
  • Page Post Offer

types-of-dark-posts-facebook-power-editor

[highlight background=”#333″ color=”#fff”]Remember:[/highlight] these will look the exact same as normal page posts, they just won’t be visible to normal fanpage visitors.

Step 3: Fill in the required fields amd click “Create Post

Step 4: Push your campaigns using the green “Upload Changes” button.

upload-changes-facebook-power-editor

Andddd that’s all there is to creating dark posts on Facebook 🙂

6 Out of the Box Ways to Mine Precise Interests for Facebook Ad Targeting


Sometimes finding the right ad targets on Facebook can be tricky. Half the time the fanpage you want to target isn’t available as a precise interest or the audience is so small the campaign will never scale.

I’ve tested all kinds of precise interests on Facebook…seriously just about anything you can imagine. I used to spend hours and hours researching and brainstorming new precise interests to target. I was probably spending more time looking for solid ad targets than I was managing or setting up the ad campaigns…

From all of my trial & error with Facebook ads I’ve found a few ways to mine precise interests for ad targeting that I come back to time and time again. These are the quickest ways I’ve found to find new ad targets for Facebook that will both convert well and scale at the same time.

Lateral Competitors

Before you do any type of ad campaigns you need to have a good pulse on your competition. There are two types of competitors: literal and lateral. Lateral competitors are businesses that compete in the same space or industry, but sell a different product or service. What that means is that you share a demographic with the competitor, but you’re not competing with them directly for the same business.

Lets say for example you’re trying to sell an analytics tool like KISSMetrics. A few lateral competitors you can try targeting might be UserTesting.com, WhatRunsWhere, Qualaroo, and Hubspot. Same demographic, different offering.

Lateral competitors are one of my favorite types of ad targets to use because you know the demographic lines up so they’re usually a homerun.  I recommend creating a spreadsheet to track both literal and lateral competitors – they’ll come in handy not only on Facebook but other ad platforms like Adwords as well for things like Funbox targeting.

Literal Competitors

Literal competitors are directly competing with you for the same business. Going back to the KISSMetrics example, some literal competitors would be Google Analytics, MixPanel, GetClicky, and WebTrends. This is where it gets a little cut throat…

Here’s what you do…

Target your literal competitors and give their fans a reason to join forces with you. What advantage do you have over the competitor? Are you more affordable? More feature rich? Easier to use? Do you have better customer service? Make sure in your creative you highlight these advantages and you’ll be blown away by the results.

There’s virtually no such thing as brand loyalty on the Internet – if you can offer a better solution, you win.

Google related: search

When I start running out of ideas I turn to Google related searches. Start with running a related search for your website then branch out to the lateral and literal competitors you put together.

Going back to the KISSMetrics example again running a search for “related:http://kissmetrics.com” (without quotes) gives me some great ideas for different websites/businesses I can target.

Try this for all of your literal/lateral competitors and any other websites your demographic might frequent like forums, blogs, and social networks.

how-to-find-facebook-precise-interests-google-related-search

Facebook Graph Search

Facebook graph search is such an amazing tool, especially for finding Facebook ad targets. I like to compare it to the Google Keyword Tool in terms of how useful it is for research. If you haven’t had a chance to experiment with Graph Search yet check out my Facebook Graph Search Cheat Sheet here and get your hands dirty. The utility of Graph Search is practically endless but you’ll find it extremely useful for finding fresh ad targets.

Amazon Search

Remember that precise interest targeting isn’t limited to just fanpages and businesses, you can target virtually anything people add as an interest to their profile. For that reason, I love using Amazon to find books that my target demographic might read. This usually works extremely well because if someone has both:

a.) read a book about a topic and
b.) liked it enough to add it to their profile

they’re probably a good candidate for whatever you’re trying to sell.

Head over to Amazon.com and search for the niche/industry/vertical you’re creating ads for. Lets say I’m trying to advertise a sales CRM like SalesForce on Facebook. I would go to Amazon, search ‘sales’ and filter my campaign by ‘Books’ then sort by ‘most reviewed.’ Why most reviewed? Well, there’s usually a direct correlation between the popularity of a book on Amazon (number of reviews)
and how many people are in the audience on Facebook when entered as a precise interest.

how-to-find-facebook-precise-interests-amazon

Add all of the top books to your precise interest list and search for more related topics/keywords.

Google Top 10 Lists

To round off this post I’m going to give you another one of my favorite Google tricks for mining ad targets: top lists.

Head over to google and search “[keyword] top 10 list” or “top 10 [keyword]” replacing [keyword] with a topic related to your niche.

how-to-find-facebook-precise-interests-google-top-lists

If you’re creative you can squeeze a ton of precise interests out of this one method alone. Try searching all kinds of combinations like:

  • Top 10 [keyword] blogs
  • Top 10 [keyword] books
  • Top 10 [keyword] tools

Those are 6 of my favorite ways to mine precise interests for Facebook ad campaigns. What are yours?

Crash Course to GMail Funbox Targeting – How to Steal Competitors Customers


I have a handful of useful methods that I call ‘ninja tricks’ – they all fall under this definition:

Ninja trick: simple tweaks, hacks, or methods that get results nearly every time

Did you know that you can setup AdWords campaigns to show your ads when competitors emails are being read by their customers? This is known as “funbox targeting” and is one of my favorite ninja tricks. It’s never not worked for me.

If you’ve never heard of the GMail funbox, this is what it looks like:

targeting-the-gmail-funbox-adwords-ppc

You can use the funbox for all kinds of stuff like targeting keywords, but my favorite method is targeting competitors brand terms.

How to Setup GMail Funbox Targeting

In this example, I’m going to show you exactly how we setup a competitor targeted funbox campaign for Crazy Egg and some of the reasoning behind why this method is so powerful.

The first step is to login to the AdWords interface.

Once you’re logged in click the + Campaign button then Display Network only.

targeting-the-gmail-funbox-new-campaign

Choose your basic campaign settings like geo-targeting and budget then click through to the ad group creation page.

Once you get to the ad group page choose the ‘display keywords’ option then enter your competitors brand terms.

targeting-the-gmail-funbox-competitor-keywords

Pro tip: subscribe to your competitors email list so you can see the verbiage and wording they use in their emails. This will help you reach more of their customers.

Next, click the +narrow your targeting underneath the display keywords box, this will let us add in the GMail display placements. If you leave these out, Google will place your ads anywhere on the Internet that mentions the keywords with display inventory available.

gmail-targeting-narrow-ad-targets

Add these 2 placements to the display placements box:

  • mail.google.com::Inbox,Top center
  • mail.google.com

targeting-the-gmail-funbox-gmail-placements

Click Save and Continue.

save-and-continue-adwords

Now it’s time to write your ad copy. Remember that you’re doing this to get in front of people in your competitors funnel – they might be early stage prospects, middle stage prospects (MoFU), or existing customers. The key here is to succinctly explain why they should do business with you instead of the competitor.

 

I highly recommend using the ad copy to highlight your competitive advantage over the competitor. In this case we’re targeting Clicktale which is a major competitor of CrazyEgg. The biggest competitive advantage CrazyEgg has over Clicktale is the price: CrazyEgg is about 80% less expensive with similar functionality.

adwords-competitor-campaign-creative

If you were a Clicktale customer, wouldn’t this ad pique your curiosity enough to investigate the claim? Who wants to pay 80% more for a tool that has the same functionality?

Depending on your offer and what your product or service does it might make sense to create a comparison page for your landing page. The comparison page should show the features & benefits of each company and illustrate the major advantages of choosing your solution over the competitor. GetResponse has a comparison page you can model that does a great job of this.

Now click ‘Save ads’ and you’re done!

adwords-save-ad

 

Now that this campaign is up, whenever an email being read in gmail contains the word ‘Clicktale’ my ad will be eligible to show up.

 

The funbox doesn’t only work for targeting competitors though – there’s all kinds of ways you can leverage the ad slot like:

  • Targeting competitors
  • Targeting research based keywords (top of funnel)
  • Targeting buyer keywords (high intent – middle to lower funnel)
  • Targeting industry terms & jargon (conferences, slang, etc.)

Be creative and give it a shot. Let me know how it works for you.


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