Tag : auction-promotion

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207: 5 Ways to Get More Clicks from Facebook Video Ads

While photo-based ads typically outperform video and slideshow ads for my clients, I have seen videos deliver significant website traffic for some auctions. If you do reminder ads to pixel traffic, a slideshow or video can add value by mixing some variety into your second interaction with potential buyers. If you’re using video on your website, anyway, it’s worth experimenting with video ads and even A/B testing them with photo-based ads. Your videos will perform much better both in those tests and in general, if they follow the following guidelines. 

Use short videos.

I know you paid a lot for that drone or for that drone vendor. There might be more than 600 lots or a huge variety of items in your catalog. But “ain’t nobody got time for that.” 

You've Got 15 Seconds

Facebook recommends videos of 15 seconds or less, and they don’t even allow videos longer than 30 seconds on Instagram. That’s probably because their study with Nielson showed “that up to 47% of the value in a video campaign was delivered in the first three seconds, while up to 74% of the value was delivered in the first ten.”1

Lead with the buyer interest.

Don’t be like most of the auction industry. Do not start with 
• your company logo (which already shows above every Facebook ad), 
• the word “auction”—let alone “real estate auction” or “farm equipment auction”
• the estate name, or 
• the auction date.

If you’ve got three seconds to grab a buyer, lead with what they care about: the asset, the problem the asset will solve, or the future version of themselves with the asset. If you feel absolutely undeterred to include all of that tertiary content, there’s plenty of room for it in the headline, sub headline, and advertising copy spaces Facebook provides for all video ads.

Don’t depend on sound.

Admit it: we’re all scrolling Facebook in places and situations where we don’t want others to hear the videos in our streams. According to Hootsuite, 85% of Facebook videos are viewed without sound. 2 Facebook reports that 80% of their users have negative reactions to videos that play loudly when sound wasn’t expected. 1 So, take advantage of captions, or use the included headline, sub headline, and advertising copy space to convey your message.

Mobile Shopping

Show the assets, not the salesman.

Unless you’re a celebrity—sorry: none of you reading this are (neither am I)—people aren’t buying anything because of our faces. You might think you’re the exception to this rule. You’re not. Neither is that car dealer that interrupts your football games. Our reputations and brands matter but not until someone is already interested in a purchase. Show people what they want: the asset or what the asset will do for them. If you’ve got the budget, celebrity endorsements do work—just typically not for selling haybines, excavators, real estate, or machine shop metal brakes.

Optimize for landing page views.

Most business people who post videos on Facebook do them on their business’ Facebook page. That doesn’t hurt anything. (I’ve been asked that question.) Boosting or promoting those posts allows you to optimize the ad for likes, comments, and shares. So, Facebook shows them to people who are likely to like, comment, and share. My clients, though—especially the ones with online bidding available—pay me to get bidders off of Facebook and over to their website. To optimize for that, you’ll want to create a Facebook ad from either Ads Manager or Business Manager. There, you can optimize the video for link clicks or—even better—landing page views. So, Facebook will show the ads first to those most likely to click or go to your website. (A landing page view requires the consumer to wait for the page on your site to load before clicking back. Landing page view optimization requires a Facebook pixel installed on your website.)

Get More Mobile Clicks

If you play with Facebook videos, play by the rules. You’ll look to consumers like a digital native and a professional brand. More importantly, your cost per click will plummet. That will allow your video content to be seen by hundreds or thousands of more people for the same cost.

Stock images purchased from iStockPhoto.com.

1 “Capture Attention with Updated Features for Video Ads,” Facebook.com, February 10, 2016.

2 ”Silent Video: How to Optimize Facebook Video to Play Without Sound,” by Christina Newberry, Hootsuite.com, May 2, 2017.

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172: YouTube Has Revealed What It Knows About Your Auction Buyers

YouTube is now the second largest search engine in North America. Web surfers watch almost five billion YouTube videos every single day.1 It’s a safe bet that Google, who owns the video streaming service, is learning a lot from all of the data it’s collecting. That data must be valuable enough for Google to lose $1.8 billion a year to keep YouTube up and running.2

One of the things YouTube knows from that data is the approximate average length of our collective attention span. To acclimate to this, they’ve made many of their advertisers’ ads skippable after five . . . long . . . seconds. That span of time even comes with a countdown clock to assure YouTubers that their wait is almost over.

YouTube 4 Seconds

To get their full message across, advertisers must make the first five seconds of their commercial compelling enough for viewers to avoid that skip button. At the average rate of an English speaker, that’s about 12 words—assuming words start immediately.

Five seconds. 12 words.

YouTube Skip

Many auctioneers don’t believe Americans have a short attention span.

  1. Their signs and newspaper ads are compressed brochures, not teasers to their websites.
  2. Their headlines are generic, throwaway labels like “real estate” and “farm equipment” when a picture of the asset(s) makes the asset category obvious.
  3. They talk about the buying method (auction), the date of that auction, the type of bidding in that auction (online and/or on-site) and the presence or absence of a reserve before they talk about the asset.
  4. Their company brochures would take several minutes to read.
  5. They mail tabbed brochures with the most attractive panels on the inside and the terms, directions, and open house dates on the outside.
  6. They put their logo at the top of their emails instead of at the bottom.
  7. They lead with the name of an estate—a name that doesn’t belong to a celebrity that would be the reason why someone wants the asset.
  8. They duplicate the content from the front of their postcard to the back, crowding the impression on both sides.

How do I know the above realities are true? Because I get paid to design auction advertising media in these ways. Every week. Because auctioneers post scans of their fliers and post them on Facebook. Because even some of the pieces that win national auction industry awards violate the laws of attention span.

By the way, those five seconds for YouTube seem long, because our attention span for other media is even shorter than YouTube or Google demonstrate with the five-second countdown. For social media like Facebook, you’re looking at less than half of that. For people sorting through their mail, two seconds would be a long time to capture their attention. Same goes for email subject lines.

Social commentators speculate that the trend to shorter attention spans is attributed to smart phone usage. Mobile Internet use might be causation or correlation, but your own Google Analytics will show you that the trend is only growing. There’s no putting the attention span genie back in the bottle.

So, how do you adapt to this shrinking attention span? For starters, get off the bulleted list you just read. Second, before you post any information in any format for your advertising campaign, work on the 10 words or less to use as the talking point for the auction. (We teach a whole module on how to do this well at the Auction Marketing Management designation course.)

If you get really courageous, cut everything out of your advertising media except this tease, the most necessary information, and a call to action. Then put the rest of your content on your website.

1YouTube Company Statistics” Statistic Brain, September 1, 2016.

234 Mind Blowing YouTube Facts, Figures, and Statistics — 2016” Danny Donchev, FortuneLords.com, September 21, 2016.

Stock image purchased from iStockPhoto.com

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127: Subtracting Your Way to More Effective Advertising

Next to the highway on one of my recent road trips, I saw a brilliant billboard. It had only three words and a phone number.

In black letters on a white background: “We shred files.”

That’s it. No stock photo. No picture of their staff, their equipment, or one of their fleet vehicles. No slogan. No website address. Not even a company name.

The advertiser knew the person in need of their service only needed to know one thing: “We shred files.” They understood the brevity of time a billboard has to communicate and the benefit of simplicity.

Not all advertising needs to be that terse, but most advertising can learn from that succinct approach. We in the auction industry, especially, need to learn the art of saying less in our print promotion.

On a very regular basis, I use the digital equivalent of a shoehorn to cram content into ads, direct mail, and company promotional pieces. Extraneous words and paragraphs crowd the pictures, covering them or leaving less room for them. Redundant information is repeated on multiple panels of the same piece. Content that should be relegated to a website obscures the more necessary sales copy. Advertising whose primary function is to attract and hold attention is busy with competing points of emphasis or distracting tertiary content.

In addition to making advertising media less attractive to advertising contest judges, the pieces are also less attractive to prospects. Thankfully, the attractive power of the asset to someone who wants it will help them push through the mess; but we need to trust the asset more.

For asset or auction promotion, we need to know that if someone isn’t interested in the headline attributes of an asset, they don’t need to know any more. We need to know that if someone isn’t motivated enough to go to our website for unabbreviated terms, room dimensions, or serial numbers, they probably aren’t motivated enough to attend a property inspection, register for the auction, or participate in bidding.

For company promotion, the same rules apply. If we’ve done our homework in polling past clients, we’ll know what our headlines should be. If those headlines need to be different for different clientele, I’d recommend separate, smaller, more targeted pieces rather than a bigger, more generic one.

Trust the steak. Sell the sizzle. Then get out of there.

Taking It Personally

We’ve all heard that less is more. In design, it’s the cultural standard. In everyday life, it makes a lot of sense; but it’s hard to implement. Advertising tells us that more is better. Insecurity tells us that more is safer. Social media tells us that more is popular. Materialism tells us that more is more.

Being busy is the new American status symbol. It means we’re in demand. It says we’re important, more productive. I struggle with that pull. I’m not as likely to add more physical stuff to my life as much as I am more experiences, more commitments, more friendships, and more aspirations. By themselves, they are mostly good things. Combined, they can lead to a life too crowded to each one them fully.

As I push back against the pressure, each “No” gives me more permission and confidence to say “No” to something else on my plate. Each sunset I watch allows me to exhale. Each morning run makes my waiting inbox seem less urgent. And each blog post gives me one fewer that I have to store in my cranium.

Stock image purchased from iStockPhoto.com.

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“We Do It for the Next One.”

In my seminars and consulting sessions, I’ve regularly betrayed my graphic design industry by declaring that it’s more important to have consistent branding than creative advertising. And I’ve shot my personal livelihood in the foot by candidly admitting that in auction marketing, you’re better off paying for high-end photography than for premium page layout. So, you might think it’s ironic or incongruent that I also teach the various reasons that quality design matters in asset marketing.

Consistency and quality aren’t mutually exclusive, though. Granted, consistent quality does cost more; but its return on investment has a much higher potential than inconsistent creativity or consistent mediocrity do.

Don’t take it from me. Take it from one of the most successful auction marketers in the country, a vice president of an auction company that regularly posts sales above $100 million per year. We were talking about his company’s direct mail strategy, and he hit me with one of the most important pair of sentences I’ve heard during my 15-year career.

“Ryan, we don’t make the fancy brochure to sell this auction. We do it for the next one.”

He unpacked that a bit for me, and it has stuck with me ever since. The big idea was that an asset—with exposure to the right audience—will sell itself, but potential sellers are looking at this campaign and the campaigns of your competitors to determine how they want their asset and auction to be marketed.

In other words, your auction promotion can be your best company promotion.

This concept was substantiated by a conversation with an auctioneer from a much smaller auction company. He said that prospective sellers actually brought his old direct mail pieces to him and asked if their farm auction could be advertised like those shown in his past brochures.

See, if you have an amazing company video, but your ads are unreadable, sellers know your priorities are skewed. If you have die-cut metal business cards, but your property information packets look disheveled, that sends a message, too. And if you have a shiny, expensive pocket folder, but your brochures look like they were designed at a local copy center, sellers know that you take promoting yourself more seriously than promoting their assets.

Seller polling will tell you how they found you and why they chose you. Spend your company promotion dollars wherever those answers lead. I wouldn’t be surprised that in many cases, if not most cases, sellers will point to your auction marketing or auction event as their introduction to your brand and then their eventual trust in that brand. If that’s the case after you’ve interviewed your sellers, spend a significant portion of your annual company promotion budget infusing value-added elements to your auction campaigns. Even if that’s not the case, I’d still spend the money on quality auction promotion—because you don’t know what sellers you don’t have because of unfavorable impressions.

Before your next sales presentation, ask yourself if your auction advertising samples are on the same level as your company collateral. If not, know that other auctioneers—maybe even your competitors—can say, “Yes.” And they’re probably grateful that you have a disparity that shows sellers where your priorities are.

Taking It Personally

Consistent quality isn’t just a high goal for businesses and brands. For those of us who want a life of influence, we have a similar objective.

In church world, a person’s personal brand is often called their testimony. And most of us are taught to leverage that package of choices, personality, and resources to attract others to a relationship with Jesus.

The challenge is that this is expensive. Demonstrating hope and compassion often requires a difficult response in challenging situations. Exemplifying authenticity and mercy can cost you relationships or reputation. Obeying words in an old book can cost you credibility and even a career.

But that moment when someone says, “I saw Jesus in you, and I wanted that”? Wow! There are few things in life, if any, as rewarding as that.

Stock image purchased from iStockPhoto.com.

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