Tag : marketplace

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181: What Kind of Facebook Advertising Should You Use?

The biggest confusion I encounter when teaching people how to advertise on Facebook is the difference between an ad, a promoted post, and a boosted post. Part of that confusion comes from Facebook using similar buttons and terms to describe all of them. Don’t be fooled, though. These are very different tools with different purposes for savvy advertisers to use.

Origination

One of the biggest differences between the three is where the posts are built. Ads can be created only within Ads Manager (or Business Manager). Posts can be created only on your business page’s timeline. Ads do not show on your timeline at all, which often leads my clients to ask, “Did you build the ad already?” Both ads and posts can be scheduled for a specific release time.

Organic Distribution

Ads show organically only to the Admins and Editors of your page. Posts show organically only to 2-10% of the people who have hit the like button on your page.

Paid Distribution

Both ads and promoted posts are distributed through Ads Manager (or Business Manager). The confusing part is that the first step for both is to click the green button that says, “Create Ad.” Boosted posts are distributed from the “Boost” button under the post on your Facebook page. Boosted posts do not have all of the targeting and optimization options available to ads and promoted posts.

Content Formats

Ads can distribute with a photo, photo carousel, slideshow, or video. Ads can also leverage the Facebook canvas tool or the adaptive single-image tool. Boosted and promoted posts can be single images, a photo album, a video, or a link. On the photo albums, you can determine which top images get shown in the collage preview.

Buttons & Links

On an ad, the illustration (photos, slideshows, and videos) are all clickable to your website. So is the headline and link description. The viewer doesn’t see the URL, and the advertiser doesn’t need to include the URL in the text of the ad. In boosted and promoted posts, clicking on a photo advances the viewer to the next photo—not the advertiser’s link. URLs must be pasted into the text portion of your post and/or your photo captions. Posts do not have clickable buttons, either.

Facebook design comparison insert

Default Optimization

Facebook knows our tendencies as consumers, whether we’re likely to click on links or try to stay in the newsfeed. So, it allows advertisers to choose how advertising is targeted (“optimized”). The default setting for ads is link clicks. For promoted and boosted posts, the default setting is for engagements: likes, comments, and shares. Both ads and promoted posts can also be optimized either for impressions (showing to the same people as many times as possible) or unique reach (showing to as many people as possible). Boosted posts offer no options for optimization and are inherently aimed at engagements that keep the viewer on Facebook.

Distribution Platforms

Ads can be distributed to Facebook’s newsfeed, right column, Instant Articles, In-Stream Videos, or Canvas. They can also be pushed out to Instagram and the Audience Network (selection of editorial websites that show Facebook ads). Promoted posts can publish only to Facebook’s newsfeed & right column and to Instagram. Boosted posts can publish only to Facebook’s newsfeed and to Instagram.

Primary Measurement

Facebook’s default reporting tends to focus on total audience size and a single column of content results. For ads, the results are clicks to your website. For posts, results are measured in terms of combined engagements—likes, comments, and shares. Cost per engagements generally run much lower than cost per click. To compare apples to apples, make sure your reports for both ads and posts show the cost per click. Within Ads Manager (or Business Manager), you can customize which analytical data you want to see in your reports and in what order. Below is a recent sample showing the standard columns I use for my personal and client reports.

Anonymized Facebook report

Click to enlarge

Strategy

Ads prove a high stakes game of risk/reward. Single-photo and video ads have one first impression that must get someone to click to your website. Carousel and slideshow ads give you slightly more content to attract a buyer or client. Promoted and boosted posts offer the option of the photo gallery, which allows consumers to meander through your content before deciding to leave Facebook for your website. You can and should have different copy in the captions for each photo; and you should have a link pasted in the description, too.

Because of their content and distribution models, each kind of Facebook advertising has a different use. Ads align best with the pursuit of the most motivated consumers. Promoted posts appeal to consumers whose interest can be developed. Boosted posts are best suited for community awareness; that community can be either interest-based (fans of your Facebook page) or geography-based (people in a specific location).

Know that results will wildly vary. For the most efficient and effective Facebook advertising, you have to experiment with different Facebook tools and then measure their effectiveness.

Facebook comparison chart full size

Click to enlarge

Stock image purchased from iStockPhoto.com

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167: 4 Marketing Trends Driving eBay’s Auction Decline

In my 16 years in the auction industry, there’s been a healthy debate as to whether or not eBay has been a positive force in the auction community—and even whether it should be considered part of the auction industry. The company that now sells more than $2 billion in assets per year has also led to multiple discussions as to what the definition of an auction marketer actually is.

ebay Revenue

Those on both sides of the debate, though, have noted that the eBay marketplace isn’t as focused on auctions as it once was. The National Bureau of Economic Research released a white paper that studied the trend of eBay sellers moving away from the auction method, while still leveraging the site’s marketplace. They found that over a span of a decade, auctions fell from 95% to just 15% of eBay’s share of active listings.

eBay Shift Chart

The authors of the study concluded that:

  1. The auction method of price discovery was losing importance because of the robust search capabilities available on the Internet.
  2. Seller margins were dropping significantly, as auction prices had fallen dramatically compared to posted-price sales for similar assets.
  3. Auctions “are favored for used and idiosyncratic items, and by less experienced sellers.”

It’s important to note that eBay wasn’t pushing these trends. They make money on the transaction regardless of method of sale, and they want items to sell for the highest price possible. These trends are adaptations of sellers to the marketplace’s buyers. That’s why these trends should be instructive to all of us who sell things for other people—no matter what method of marketing we use.

We have the most educated buyers of all time.

Buyers can research more about the asset you’re selling than at any time in history. So, it’s important to disclose as much information on our website as possible—and not force buyers to on-site inspections or phone conversations. We need to publish lots of pictures or even videos—and all the documentation and description possible.

We need to give buyers options.

eBay offers four ways to buy: fixed price, reserve auction, absolute auction, and Buy It Now. We need to know what method works best for our various asset categories and their respective marketplaces—and be able to articulate the pros and cons of each to our sellers. Some real estate auctioneers I serve already advertise a Buy It Now-style option on their auctions; and I know of at least one equipment auction company researching that feature on their online bidding platform. Regardless of the method we use, we need to compliment it with robust, targeted, efficient advertising that adds value to that method (something eBay doesn’t do).

We need to retire “Auction is fastest way to get cash for your asset.”

One of the reasons for eBay’s auction decline that wasn’t mentioned in the white paper is the instancy of purchase available on the Internet. Culture has blown past even one-click ordering to the new Dash buttons for buying items. While these obviously wouldn’t serve the asset categories we typically market at auction, we need to understand that auctions aren’t always the fastest way to buy—and thus not always the fastest way to sell.

The marketplace should drive our marketing decisions.

If eBay had determined to remain an online auction company rather than an online marketplace, it would be generating a fraction of the revenue it does each year. Instead, it adapted to buyer trends to benefit its sellers. That wasn’t an altruistic decision, and I’m sure that cost them a lot of time and resources to accomplish. If our companies are to continue and grow in their success, we must adapt to the culture. We have to ask questions like:

  1. What media do our buyers and sellers most consume?
  2. How do they consume that media and each medium’s advertisements?
  3. What do the terms and purchase processes look like where people most often purchase the asset in question?

None of our companies will ever be eBay. (I would guess that most of us don’t even aspire to that.) What works for eBay may not work for most of our firms, but we can learn from the trends that their scale and ubiquity illustrate. If their sellers are adapting to cultural changes, we need to help our sellers do the same.

Stock image purchased from iStockPhoto.com

eBay revenue charted linked to its source.

eBay auction chart acquired from the referenced study“Sales Mechanisms in Online Markets: What Happened to Internet Auctions?” by Liran Einav, Chiara Farronato, Jonathan D. Levin, Neel Sundaresan

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150: Why Entrepreneurs Should Think About Their Résumés

 

Almost every semester, I volunteer as a portfolio reviewer for graduating artists at one of the local universities. Just as in the marketplace, the talent ranges from “Would you consider a career as a ‘sandwich artist’?” to “I’m glad I’m not up against you for a job!”

Two days prior to this portfolio review, hundreds of college students at other universities boycotted classes as part of the Million Student March. They demanded tuition-free public college and cancellation of all student debt, calling college education a basic human right. One of the sentences I heard was, “A college degree doesn’t guarantee a job anymore.”

As a gen xer, I don’t recall a time when a college degree did guarantee a middle class job. I didn’t even know that was the assumption. I went to college to learn a specific trade (in a place where I could make new friends and have more dating options). I hoped to be good enough with that trade at the end of four years to get a company to take a chance on me. Thankfully, one company did.

When I tried to move back to the East Coast from my first career stop out of college, my bachelor’s degree didn’t help, as forty-two straight résumé submissions proved fruitless. The thirty-some auction-industry awards my graphic design had won already didn’t matter, either. I eventually found an employer only when I applied to another auction company.

Within a year, I learned that my value wasn’t in my page layout skills but in my conceptual approach and understanding of the auction process. Early into my freelancing, I started volunteering to teach seminars and then supplemented those by writing blog posts to demonstrate those qualifications. Fast forward a decade, and those two factors are still the majority reasons why I’m employed.

I reflected on that journey after this semester’s portfolio review.

One of the students had created a product not currently on the market, developed the branding, designed the packaging, and even built the point of sale displays for it. Among other praise, I told him that he had proven commercial value because he had surpassed curriculum requirements. He had learned how to harness his (niche) passions into superior effort, which resulted in more hirable talent.

He didn’t feel entitled to a job out of college. He didn’t assume people or companies would line up to hire him.

Neither should we—no matter where we are in our career.

That week of contrast for me was a wakeup call, a reminder to keep working on my game while playing the game. It was healthy for me to realize talent is chasing me, that the playing field might be more level than ever, that I can’t assume auction companies will continue to send me work.

I can’t feel entitled to my job. I have to keep finding ways to add value to my work, more tools for my skill set.

You do, too.

It might require us to take online courses or college classes. We might need to dive into nonfiction books, marketing experiments, focus group sessions, or a plethora of Google and YouTube searches. We might need to join forces with someone else or create a new entity with a different focus. Maybe this growth will come by joining a networking group or trade association. It might even require physically moving to a different geographic area or spending some time traveling to learn from other cultures. Or it might be just making space for more intentional thought and meditation.

Any and all of that comes with a price tag. These pursuits might cost us some of our favorite entertainment and recreation pastimes, maybe even some relationships. Probably some sleep and dollars, too.

Adding value to our professional appeal can also add value to our invoices or closing statements, though. Getting more proficient and more efficient can lead to more job security or market share, more disposable income or working capital, and more vacation time or more days working remotely. The more we add to our functioning résumé, the more distance we create between us and the entitled.

Take it from someone who got hired out of college because of the “extracurricular” section of my first résumé.

Stock image purchased from iStockPhoto.com

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