Author Archives: steven

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Good ways to improve PPC quality

Category : Google Ads

When working on improving lead quality, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll also lower the number of leads you’re generating. Ideally, the number of quality leads is going up as overall leads declines. This means you’re avoiding the lower quality leads that are easier to come by, and instead are generating higher quality leads.

When working on lead quality, it’s important that you expect a number of things to happen to your KPIs:

  • Overall lead volume will decrease
  • High-quality lead volume should increase
  • Cost per lead usually goes up
  • Cost per high-quality lead should go down
  • Click-through rate typically goes down

If that sounds like something you can stomach, then we’re all set.

Now that we have our expectations set, let’s get into the nitty gritty.

Here are five strategies I’ve successfully used to improve B2B lead quality that can help any lead generation campaign.

1. Target more specific keywords

All search campaigns start with the keywords. They’re the backbone of the campaign, and they determine who you will get in front of, what ad copy needs to be written, which landing pages you should use, and so on.

When working to improve lead quality, one of the first things you should do is revisit your keywords.

Long tail vs. short tail

How many words make up the majority of your keywords? Typically, the shorter the keyword the less intent you can assign to its associated queries.

If most of your keywords are one or two words long, can you lengthen them by adding a modifier to make them more specific?

The name of the game for lead quality is finding those users who actually know what they want, and long-tail keywords are a better way to target them.

Although it’s a small difference, someone who types in “life insurance policies” is arguably more qualified than someone who types in “insurance policies.” They’ve already clarified what type of insurance policy they’re after, making them more likely to buy.

How can you take your current keyword list and make those keywords more specific? Are there modifiers like the example above that you can add to your keywords to give them higher intent?

Match types

Like keyword length, match types can play a big part in lead quality. Exact and phrase match allow for the most control in keyword matching, so if most of your leads are coming from your broad match terms, this could be causing issues.

adwords exact match keyword change examples

To combat poor matches, you’ll need to pick one of two strategies:

  • Be more vigilant with search query reviews and negative keyword additions, or
  • Limit your use of broader match types.

Neither is perfect. One requires more ongoing optimizations while the other can limit volume more severely. Choose the one that’s right for you, but don’t be afraid to make adjustments over time.

2. Use qualifying copy in ads

We’re always trying to find the most appealing ad copy for our potential customers; always on the lookout for which headline or call to action will get that bump in CTR and potentially increase your conversion rate.

But not when quality is the focus.

When quality is the focus, we want to purposefully deter some users from clicking on our ads. This needs to be done tactfully. Just because someone isn’t in the right place to click and convert now, doesn’t mean they never will be.

Continuing with the life insurance example, if someone searches for “life insurance policies,” we want to show for that query. But let’s say we’re also trying to sign more clients with multiple policies bundled together. Instead of writing copy that speaks only to life insurance, we might write something that calls out the bundle deal.

lead quality example of ad copy without qualifying language
lead quality example of ad copy without qualifying language

For those users not interested in bundles, they’ll likely click on another ad on the SERP that speaks only to life insurance. Less qualified click averted!

3. Write landing pages for target customers, not all customers

Now that the user has gotten through your first two filters with keywords and ad copy, what else can we do?

Landing page copy is yet another tool to further qualify the users on the page. I like to use the landing page copy to outline what our ideal customers would be.

Nearly anyone is eligible for life insurance, but likely we’re going to want younger, healthier people. So in the body copy of the page, call out those characteristics as what your product is built for. Use images of young, healthy people living their best lives.

lead quality landing page example

The same type of logic would apply to a B2B SaaS provider. Typically, those companies make more money on larger accounts. Even if your solution works for businesses of all sizes, use copy that specifically calls out “Businesses with 50+ Employees” or whatever your parameters are. You could even write a header that says, “Best suited for companies who…” and then give a series of bullet points outlining your target customer.

You can be as subtle or as bold as you like, but be sure you’re using your landing page to help qualify users.

4. Give your form the attention it deserves

One surefire way to scare off folks who are only window shopping is to ask them for more information. It’s

the highest price anyone can pay to a lead generation company. If you’re noticing a large number of forms filled by lower quality leads, try increasing the amount of information you ask for.

When using Facebook ads for lead gen, we saw an increase in lead quality when increasing the number of form fields from the first to the second forms below.

Facebook lead ad create form
Facebook lead ad create form example

Now, that’s not to say you should just throw any old question in there. Be sure it makes sense in the context of the form.

One way I like to go about it: What is one additional piece that you or your sales team would love to have already in hand when following up with this lead? Annual revenue? Number of employees? Income level?

In the example above, by adding in questions about industry, job title, and company name, our sales teams were able to better speak to the lead’s individual needs simply by doing a little research before the follow up call. The sales team felt prepared and the lead felt heard. A win-win.

In addition to the number of form fields, it’s also important to pay attention to what exactly you’re asking for in a form.

There’s a big difference in asking for an email address and a work email address, and yet for sake of ease or laziness we leave the field identifier as “Email.” Similar to a slight change in keywords “insurance” to “life insurance,” be sure you’re asking the user to give the exact information you want in your forms.

Read more Tips To Maximize PPC profitability


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The best tatics to market by emailing effectively

Building email lists for small businesses is an inexpensive but effective strategy to grow your business. Here are eight ways that you can build email lists to grow your small business.

1. Create compelling content

Why would anyone want to give you their email address, especially in a time when inboxes are bombarded with tens of hundreds of emails daily?

People only give away their email addresses when they believe you add value to their life. And one of the greatest ways to add value to anyone’s life is to give them content that resonates.

Think about it, have you not signed up for newsletters from publications like The Washington Post, Forbes, or maybe Medium?

newsletter example

We do this because we value the news these outlets provide, and we want to stay informed.

Similarly, if you want to build your email list, you have to create content that people care about, content that makes their life easier, provides solutions, and even entertains.

The first step in creating compelling content is having a clear picture of who you’re writing for. For example, if your business revolves around selling digital design solutions, you have to know what sort of people want design solutions, are they college students or small businesses? Do they want a quick fix or are they looking for permanent solutions? Where do they live? What sort of income do they have?

Asking such questions lets you create buyer personas: an ideal fictional person who represents your target customer. And when you have that image in mind, you can design content which is suited to their lifestyle and their problems.

Now when you know who you’re writing for, you should create content that caters to their lifestyle, interests, and problems.

You’ve basically set-up a basic funnel where the top of funnel journey starts when a visitor reads your compelling content. Those who fall in your target audience bracket will naturally relate with your content, taking them down the funnel, and increasing the chances of people subscribing to your mailing list.

2. Run a promotion or contest

Again, getting email addresses is all about providing value and offering incentives. One of the easiest and most straightforward ways of incentivizing people to share their email addresses is to run a contest. People love winning, especially when all you need to stand a chance to win is share an email address.

There are a lot of formats you can use to hold a contest:

  • A photo contest where people share their best travel/food/pet/selfie photo.
  • A video contest where people share funny fails/their best skating tricks/a song cover etc.
  • A contest where people share their favorite poem, a short story, or a funny anecdote.
  • A sweepstakes format where people just have to enter email addresses to participate.

Once you’ve settled on the format, you need to decide what prizes you’ll give out.

example of Instagram giveaway

Cash giveaways are an obvious option, but you will benefit more from setting up a contest that directly relates to your business. That way, if a participant is interested in the prize, they’re likely to be an ideal customer.

If you know your target audience, you can set up the prize in a manner will be most appealing only for that segment. For example, if your business sells eco-friendly sneakers, the obvious option would be to give away a pair of the latest sneakers from your line of products. A cheaper and still relevant prize could be recycled coffee mugs, handcrafted jewelry, or organic cotton activewear.

3. Provide lead magnets

Lead magnets are, as you can guess from the name, offers that you give to potential customers in exchange for personal information like email addresses. Lead magnets are a good way of raising awareness and connecting with prospective customers who haven’t heard of your brand.

Prize giveaways, mentioned in the previous section, are one example that fall under the umbrella of lead magnets. Here are a few other examples of lead magnets:

  • Checklists
  • Ebooks
  • Cheat sheets
  • Product samples
  • Discount coupons
  • Templates
  • Free trials
  • Case studies
  • Webinars
  • Podcasts
  • Premium content
lead magnet example

While creating lead magnets, there are couple things you should keep in mind to design an effective lead magnet:

1. Most people end up signing up for lead magnets when they are looking for a quick answer to some problem they have. Make sure that as soon they give you their email address, you send them an email with the promised content or an email that confirms that what you committed is on its way.

2. Your lead magnet should be perceived as highly valuable or people will hesitate to provide their email addresses. Make sure the copy surrounding the lead magnet is sharp and it succinctly explains the promised value.

Read more How to use email to get customers


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The best guide for consumer marketing

To set your DTC business up for success, you need to establish a brand, then fight for brand awareness in a competitive marketplace. In this guide, I’ll walk you through how build a brand and  start propping up your shiny, new direct-to-consumer business.

1. Find your brand voice

While you mostly likely already have an idea of what your brand stands for and your value proposition, DTC advertising means that you need to concentrate on exactly how to articulate that. I think it is best to start with a mission statement to use as your “north star” for the brand. From there, your marketing team should work closely with product and sales to determine consumer profiles, a messaging map for a brand voice, graphic design elements for your website, ads, and collateral.

That may be overwhelming—let’s break it down.

Buyer personas

Consumer profiles can be simple at first, to reach the widest audience. When you’re just starting out, your offering may appeal to audiences you haven’t thought of yet. Start by outlining demographics, socioeconomic status, product use, and geography. From there, you can start to think about creating buyer personas.

For example, one of your buyer personas may be Rachel, a stay-at-home mom. She’s married, 40 years old, lives in the suburbs, and has a hectic home life. She is the keeper of the keys when it comes to their bank accounts and her family is comfortable but saving for a summer vacation. Rachel spends her spare time on Pinterest and Facebook.

Pinterest image

Rachel is an ideal customer for a company like Wayfair, which allows you to buy affordable furniture online. She would also be a good customer for food or clothes delivery boxes—anything that would help save her time and money. Including details like this in your profiles can help you create marketing content and advertisement specifically for your buyer personas.

DTC brand messaging

Messaging maps can also be short and sweet. Start with your brand positioning: What niche do you fill in the market? What makes you stand out from your competitors? From there, you can define your

exact value proposition. It may sound silly, because you should already know both things off the top of your head, but writing them down is essential.

To find your brand voice, you need the above for the most essential part of DTC advertising: your tagline. Think of it as a mini-mission statement, something to inspire, motivate, captivate, and differentiate a brand. For a DTC brand to catch fire, you need a catchy tagline the website and ads. Like this one from Billie!

Billie tagline example

Brand style guide for DTC

Any expertise in graphic design would come in handy for laying out a DTC brand style guide. This is where you can lay out your brand palette—primary colors, like those used in your logo, and secondary colors, like those used across your website. Make sure you keep in mind that you will be need colors for online and print! Define these by their HEX or RGB color codes.

You can also define your typography, like the fonts used in headings and paragraphs. Importantly, this is the opportunity to define where and how your brand logo, colors, and typography should be used. This makes it simple to onboard and hire employees and freelancers, who will know how to fit the brand into products, marketing, and advertising.

Having a brand style guide helps shake out exactly what you what your brand to look and sound like. As you get ramped up, this will prevent confusion in advertising, on your website, when you speak to prospects, customers, and more. If you need to look at examples before you get started, a lot of brands have their brand guides available online.

2. Create a website

This is obvious, but consumers need somewhere to go and make a purchase. Your website is the face of your company. Luckily, there are so many options out there: WordPress, Weebly, Wix, Squarespace,  Shopify.

A few things to remember when creating your website for marketing purposes:

  • Make it mobile friendly! Any website platform should help you do this automatically, but double check every page you create on your phone and work from there.
  • Include analytics tags. You’ll need to create a Google Analytics account, in addition to the platform you are using for CRM and install tags on your website. These will track the visitors to each page help you optimize from there.
  • Use email submit forms. When creating your website, make sure to include a form to collect email addresses. Email address not only help with email marketing outreach, but they can supplement your online advertising efforts through targeting.
email submit form example
  • Link to social accounts. Social media marketing can make a DTC brand name recognizable, so you want to do everything possible to boost followers and engagements.
  • Highlight contact information. This is absolutely needed to make your website user-friendly, make your brand consumer-friendly, and let people know how to bill you—or find your office/store.

3. Advertise for DTC

Okay, now we can get down to serious business. While organic content is important, you will need to drive visitors to your brand-new website to buy your products. Here is where you should be advertising your direct-to-consumer brand.

Paid search

Paid search advertising is the place to start when you are kicking off a DTC brand. With your baseline of messaging, you can define which keywords to bid on. When someone types in “where to buy a mattress,” Casper is making sure their website is at the top of the results page.

Yes, Google Ads is hard. But you’re in the right place. WordStream has tons of resources to help you get started.

Paid social

To reiterate, social media is important for DTC brands. While an organic presence is great, putting some money behind Facebook ads, Snapchat ads, and Twitter ads is a way to amplify your brand voice. Paid social allows DTC brands to leverage messaging in a personal, catchy way.

Like Google Ads, starting to advertise on Facebook or Snapchat can be daunting. Again, Wordstream has plenty of resources to help you get your feet wet!

Email campaigns

This is where that collection of email address from website visitors comes in handy. Pool together your list of contacts and set up some email campaigns. Start with transactional emails: welcome, thank you for your purchase, shipping notification, customer support, etc. From there, you can think about building out promotional campaigns, as well.

email campaign for direct-to-consumer marketing

You’ll need an email marketing service. Again, like website platforms, there are plenty of options. From MailChimp and Constant Contact to full-service marketing automation platforms, you can choose what fits for your brand. If you need tips on how to target your emails to DTC brand buyer personas, we have you covered.


If you are not familiar with programmatic advertising, think of it as display ads, the banners that appear in the side bar on websites. Programmatic refers to the automated way those ad spots are purchased. The biggest benefits here are the scale and targeting that programmatic advertising gives brands for a relatively low price.

There are tons of options out there for programmatic ad buys like Amazon, Double Click (Google), LiveRamp, App Nexus, and Media Math.

Out-of-Home advertising

If you are like me, you’re thrilled when the subway is empty enough that you can read the funny Casper ads. I also get my list of new TV shows to watch from the posters on the platforms (thank you for the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel!). OOH advertising is exactly what it sounds like: any advertisements that you find outside of your own house, like billboards, posters, and blimps. Podcast advertising has been big for DTC brands as well.

Casper mattress ad example

Remember to reference your buyer personas before buying placements—if your target audience is in the suburbs and drives to work every day, placing ads in the subway won’t get you far.

Read more Just learn everything about ecommerce marketing


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How to sell products on Facebook

Social shopping, otherwise known as social commerce, is all about replicating those feelings of discovery and inspiration on social media platforms and making it easy for users to act on those feelings. Let’s take a closer look at why social shopping matters and how you can incorporate it into your strategies on Facebook and Instagram.

What is social shopping? Why does it matter?

Social shopping enables you to sell more effectively through social media.

Take Instagram, for example. Back in the day, an ecommerce brand couldn’t do much more than share awesome photos of their products and direct users to the link in their bio—a link to take those users to an external landing page, that is. In other words, marketing your ecommerce brand on Instagram involved asking users to leave the Instagram app and navigate your website. The vast majority of Instagram users are completely unwilling to do such a thing.


A link like this one used to be the only way to get Instagram users to your site.

There’s a term for what you’re creating when you ask Instagram users to leave the app and go to your website: friction. It helps to think of the sales funnel—which refers to the process of turning a prospective customer into a paying customer—as a highway. Ideally, you want that highway to be a straight shot from Prospect City to Customer Village.

(I’m so sorry, but I can’t stop now.)

Every time you create friction, you add an exit ramp to the highway and draw drivers’ attention to it with a giant, neon sign that reads “FEEL FREE TO TAKE YOUR MONEY AND LEAVE.”

At the risk of uttering the most obvious statement of all time, I must point out: You don’t want your prospective customers to take their money and leave. You want the journey from their first interaction with your brand to the moment they click “Buy Now” to be as seamless as possible.

That’s what social shopping is all about: engaging online shoppers on social media platforms and making it easy for them to convert from followers into customers.

Social shopping on Facebook

If there’s one platform on the cutting edge of social shopping, it’s Instagram. Nonetheless, we’ll begin with its parent company, Facebook, for practical reasons: You need to be a Facebook advertiser if you want to share shoppable content on Instagram.

What it looks like

Although you may not have realized it, if you’re a Facebook user yourself, you’ve likely encountered shoppable content while scrolling through your News Feed and swiping through your friends’ Stories.


(I added the red squares.)

So—you’re scrolling through Facebook on your laptop and you come across this organic post shared by Nike. You stop, of course, because that dude looks awesome and you, too, want to look awesome. And then you realize—Nike’s tagged a whole slew of products in this picture.

Because you like the sneakers in particular, you click through to Nike’s website to learn more. Maybe you buy them on the spot. Although most consumers don’t convert that quickly, it’s certainly not unheard of. More realistically, maybe you decide to sleep on it. When you check Facebook in the morning, you’re served an even more compelling ad for the same pair of sneakers—Nike’s remarketed to you. Their tactic works, and you buy the sneakers.

What happened here is simple: Nike make it easy for you to learn more about the products featured in the picture. You didn’t need to open a new tab, go to their website, and hunt for the pair of sneakers. Instead, you simply needed to click. There was no friction.

How to get started

If your business already has a Facebook page, great. If not, you’ll need to make one. Once that’s taken care of, make sure your page is using the Shopping template. To do this, click Settings in the top right corner and select Templates and Tabs from the left-hand menu.


Then, click the Edit button to the right of your current template and select Shopping.


Now that your page is using the Shopping template, you’ll see a tab labeled Shopon the left-hand side. Click on that.


From here, Facebook will ask you for some basic details about your ecommerce business: where you’re based, what you sell, how you’d like to be paid, and so on. This will only take you a few minutes, and once you click Finish, you’ll officially have a Facebook shop! It will go live for users to browse once you’ve added at least one product and Facebook has approved it.

Luckily, adding a product couldn’t be simpler. A title, an image, a couple product details, an inventory count, and some shipping options are all you need to get a listing up and running.

The last thing you’ll need to do to establish your shoppable Facebook presence is tag your products in your organic posts. Simply pull up an image or video that features your products, click the Tag Products icon (shown below), and tag your products with their titles to connect them to your Facebook shop.



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The instructions to sell your products on Instagram

You’ve officially implemented a social shopping strategy on Facebook and removed a ton of friction from your Facebook funnel. Now, the users who consume your organic content can easily browse your products and make purchases.

Best of all: establishing your Facebook shop means you can make your Instagram presence shoppable, too. Let’s talk about it.

What it looks like

The logic here is basically the same as it is on Facebook. As you scroll through your feed and swipe through Stories, you’ll see brands tag their products in their organic content.


When you click to learn more, you’re brought to an in-app product details page. From here, you can click through to the brand’s website and make a purchase. It bears repeating: Rather than closing the Instagram app, opening up Google Chrome, navigating to a website, and hunting from the product you just saw on Instagram, you simply need to make two clicks.

Two clicks. That’s it. Begone, friction!

Eventually, you won’t even need to leave the Instagram app to make purchases from your favorite brands. The launch of Checkout on Instagram—available to only a couple dozen major brands at the time of this writing—brought a new, friction-reducing functionality that enables businesses to sell to users directly within the app.

The process is essentially the same with Stories content,

but you can only tag one product in each post. That’s no problem, though—if you want to tag several products, simply add a few more posts to your Story.


How to get started

The good news: because you’ve set up your Facebook shop, you’ve already gotten the ball rolling on your shoppable Instagram presence. Now—open up your account settings, make sure your account is registered as a business profile (as opposed to a personal profile), and connect your account to your Facebook page.


Next, head into Facebook Ads Manager. Click the icon in the top left corner to open up the drop-down menu and select Catalogs from the Assets column.


After you’ve connected your Instagram profile to the catalog you’re using for your Facebook shop, the account review process will begin. You can expect this to take a couple days. Once you’ve been approved for Shopping on Instagram, you can start tagging the products from your catalog in your posts and Stories!

You can tag up to 20 products in each post on your feed—up to 5 product tags per photo, up to 4 photos per post. Again, Stories posts are limited to one product tag each.

Social shopping best practices

Now we know what social shopping means, why it’s an important concept for ecommerce brands, and how it works on Facebook and Instagram. Let’s wrap up this blog post by discussing some best practices you can keep in mind while incorporating social shopping into your strategies.

Stage your products naturally

Whether you’re snapping product photos for Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, or Google Shopping, it’s crucial that consumers are able to visualize themselves using your products. After all, why would someone buy something if they’re not sure they’re going to use it? That’s why you should stage your products in a natural environment.

(No, I don’t mean the forest. Unless, of course, you’re selling something that people use in the forest. If you’re selling boxing gloves that are optimal for fighting bears, feel free to stage them in the actual natural environment. Maybe use a drone camera, though.)

When staging the photos you’ll eventually tag, ask yourself: In what context do my customers use this product? What does it look like when they’re using it? Let your answers to these questions inform how you proceed.

Typically, this is pretty simple. If you’re selling a couch, stage it in a decorated living room.


This photo isn’t shoppable—it easily could be.

Inject some aspiration into your photos

This tip is primarily geared towards ecommerce brands in the fashion and apparel sphere. At the risk of sounding cliché, I’ll say it. You’re not really selling clothes or apparel, right? What you’re actually selling is the opportunity to attract people’s attention. You’re selling status.

This should inform your product photos, too. What are your prospects aspiring towards? What are they hoping to attain? Let’s look at MVMT as an example.


Again—not shoppable, but certainly could be.

This Instagram post sends a clear, aspirational message: Buy this watch and you’ll be a cool, urban person who does awesome stuff.

Remarket to website visitors

Earlier, during the section about how social shopping works on Facebook, I used a Nike post as an example. I mentioned that, although it’s entirely possible for some of your prospects to immediately convert after encountering one of your shoppable posts, it’s more likely that they’ll bounce after clicking through to your website.

That doesn’t mean they’ve written off the idea of buying your product. It only means that they need a little extra push. That’s where remarketing comes into play.

Here’s how you do it. For the sake of clarity, let’s stick with the Nike example and pretend you’re running their Facebook marketing efforts. To re-engage the people who’ve considered buying a particular pair of sneakers, you can create a custom audience comprised

of the people who’ve visited the product page for that pair of sneakers on your website.


By serving those site visitors a super compelling ad for that pair of sneakers (perhaps one that channels the aspirational identity your prospects want to attain), you remind them of why they were interested in the first place.

In a nutshell, you’re using shoppable organic content to drive site traffic and re-targeted paid content to seal the deal.

Read more How to Use Instagram Stories For Business


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Top Creative Strategies for Facebook Ad

Now that we’ve done some housekeeping, let’s take a look at new Facebook targeting strategies for these 11 industries looking for these 11 specific audiences.

1. Automotive industry: People in the market for new cars

According to a study from Autotrader, car buyers spend 59% of their car buyer’s journey researching online. This means that this audience is likely to engage with pages posting content that helps with car research. To capture this behavior, I would recommend leveraging interest targeting toward company pages that fall into this category. Here are a few I came up with:

Interests → search for

  • Kelley Blue Book
  • Autotrader
  • CarMax
  • Car Gurus

Conveniently enough, there is an entire section dedicated to vehicles in the interest section of Facebook’s core targeting options.

  • Hobbies & activities → vehicles
Facebook ad targeting by hobby "vehicles"

So, depending on what type of car you are promoting, you can layer in one of these options to personalize your offer to individuals who have an interest in this car type.

truck meme

2. Education: People who want a master’s degree

If you know the story of Facebook’s origin, you’ll know that this platform first started out tailored to college students. As the platform evolved and the user base expanded, the idea stuck close to its roots—connecting individuals with others in their educational, professional, and personal network.

The Social Network image

Because the platform started out geared towards this collegiate network, educational information remains a featured part of user profiles. And with this information, Facebook is able to offer advertisers education-level targeting. This is the perfect starting point for any higher education account looking to target an audience interested in pursuing a master’s degree.

Demographics → education → education level

  • College grad
  • Associate degree
  • In college

Demographics → education → school years

  • Undergrad years

However, when you drill into it, Facebook estimates over 69 million in potential reach for users with a college degree (just looking at the US).

Facebook ad targeting by demographic potential reach

Again, that’s a whole lotta reach, and not something advertisers should target alone—especially if you’re looking to spend your budget efficiently.

To optimize your audience relevance, I would recommend layering in additional targeting options. Now, to get there, let’s get more specific and say we’re a business school looking for potential MBA students:

Demographics → work → industries

  • Business & finance
  • Sales
  • Management

Demographics → education → field of study

  • Business management
  • Business administrator
  • Business consultant

Interests → pages that aid in GMAT studies

  • GMAT+
  • Graduate management admission test
  • The official GMAT exam

3. Travel and hospitality: People who want to take vacations

Once I got started with this challenge, I found that there are a lot of ways to approach your targeting for travel and hospitality businesses. This gives advertisers in this space the flexibility to personalize their targeting according to their offer and iterate by testing new audiences to improve ad relevance and performance.

Facebook ad example for hotel

To get started, you can layer in broad interest options, such as:

Interests → hobbies & activities → travel

  • Vacations
  • Tourism
  • Air travel

Interests → pages that serve content around travel

  • Trip Advisor

Interests → airline pages

  • Jet Blue
  • Delta airlines
  • United airlines

Behavior → travel

  • Frequent travelers
  • Frequent international travelers
  • Returned from travel 1 week ago
  • Returned from travel 2 weeks ago

Like I said, this broad targeting is great place to start. Next, you’ll want to consider other information that informs decisions to travel or interest in travelling. I considered life events that could infer that a user would be in-market to travel soon:

Demographics → life events

  • Newly engaged (1 year)
  • Newly engaged (3 months)
  • Newly engaged (6 months)
  • Newly wed

But, hey, let’s make sure your prospect’s experiences is in line with your promotion. We don’t want another Fyre Festival on our hands…

Fyre Festival social media post

4. Dating and personal services: People interested in romantic relationships

This is a tricky one because there are an estimated 36+ million users that have “single” as their relationship status on Facebook in the US.

Facebook ad targeting by relationship status "single"

But not all of these people are accurately reporting this information and, even if they are, single doesn’t necessarily mean interested in a relationship. Instead, let’s consider additional signals that could infer the user is looking for a romantic relationship:

Demographics → relationship status:

  • Single

Interests → family and relationships:

  • Dating

Interests → pages that serve content around dating:

  • Bumble
  • Hinge
  • Christian Mingle

Aside from the individual’s characteristics, this industry can consider the impact a user’s friends may have on their behavior. There’s nothing that makes you want to start swiping like an influx of save the dates from all of your friends.

example save the date

Here’s how to target based on this demographic:

Demographics → life events → friends of:

  • Friends of newly engaged people
  • Friends of newly weds

5. Arts and entertainment: People who want to see live shows

As mentioned in other sections, audience layering is a strategy all advertisers should leverage to improve the relevancy of their ads. By paring down broad targeting options, you can find smaller pockets within your target audience that are more interested or more likely to be interested in your current promotion. So, for this industry, I will give two examples of how pivoting your strategy by promotion can make a considerable difference.

First, let’s say I am an advertiser with a goal of selling tickets to a live Cardi B concert. Here’s how I would target my ideal audience based on interests:

Interest → entertainment → live events

Interest → Cardi B

Interests → entertainment → music

  • Hip hop music

I’d also use radius location targeting around the venue to reach any people who might be persuaded by proximity or looking for last-minute tickets.

Cardi B meme

And in the next campaign, I am looking for individuals who would be interested in the live tour of Wicked:

Interest → entertainment → live Events

Interest → entertainment → musical Theatre

Interest → Wicked the Musical

I’d use radius location targeting around the venue here, too. You never know when someone’s in the market for last-minute tickets to Oz.

6. Finance and insurance: People who need help financial planning for retirement

If you’re in the financial and insurance business, you know that your target audience for retirement planning is varied. You can’t narrow down by age or occupation, because most adults in most jobs could be interested in planning for retirement.

image of people running on beach

No, not just planning to move to the beach or start each day running in the water.

Here’s how you can target people who are likely to be considering their financial plans for retirement:

Demographics → parents → all parents

  • Parents (all)
  • Parents with adult children (18-26 years)

Interests → business & industry → personal finance

  • Investment


  • Retirement planning
  • Retirement savings account

Interests → financial planning company pages

  • Vanguard
  • ADP
  • Fidelity
  • AARP

7. Home and garden: People who own homes

If you’re in the home and garden industry, you’re looking for homeowners.

image of homeowners

Once I got started, I found that there is quite a range of options to infer home ownership to target your home and garden promotions, including an entire section for “home & garden.”

Here’s what I’d suggest starting with:

Interests → hobbies & activities → home & garden

  • Home improvement
  • Do it yourself (DIY)
  • Home appliances

Demographics → recently moved

Interests → business & industry → design

  • Interior design

Interests → pages for home renovation shows, for example:

  • Fixer Upper
  • Property Brothers
  • Flip or Flop

8. Retail: People who want to buy shoes online

Let’s be real, who isn’t always in the market for new shoes? Especially our in-house analyst, I don’t think I’ve never known someone who loves shoes more than this guy.

ads for sneakers

Here’s how I would use behavior and interest targeting to reach someone looking to buy new shoes:

Behaviors → purchase behavior

  • Engaged shoppers

Interests → shopping & fashion → clothing

  • Shoes

Interests → shopping & fashion → shopping

  • Online shopping

Interests → other pages that sell shoes

  • DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse
  • Zappos
  • ShoeDazzle

Read more Facebook Ad guide for beginners


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The best social media networks after Facebook you should use

Here are five additional social networks that you should try advertising on, with advice on how to tackle them.

Pinterest: The lifestyle powerhouse

Pinterest is ideal for B2C brands with lifestyle products that can be clearly expressed in a picture. Indeed, my current feed has ads for sneakers, an ab workout, meal prep recipes, and an Apple Watch—all of which use imagery, not text, to sell the product. Pinterest, therefore, is a poor platform for, say, complicated B2B software.

Last year, Pinterest reported 250 million users and more than 175 billion pins. The platform also shared that Pinterest users find Pinterest ads 1.4 times more relevant than ads they see on other social media networks—which is reason enough to start advertising on the platform.

Pinterest Ads

Pinterest offers Promoted Pins, which are standard pins advertisers can promote in a user’s feed (the ads are simple, with an image, short text, and an off-site link). These ads blend in well and are not obtrusive to the Pinterest experience.

Pinterest image

Their self-serve dashboard makes it simple to get going, with basic targeting around gender, age, location, language, and device. On top of that, you can target by nearly 250 pre-defined interests (like Toys, Travel Tips, and Oral Care) and specific keywords you define. You can also decide whether you want to appear in search results, browsing feeds, or both.

When creating a Pinterest ad, use a vertical image at least 600 pixels wide, and remember that people use Pinterest to discover new ideas and projects. If you can create a visually-appealing ad that provides a promise of improvement to the user’s life, you’ll do well on Pinterest.

Snapchat: The Gen Z playground

Like with Pinterest, B2C brands are likely to see more success than B2B on Snapchat.

If your B2C business has a younger demographic, you need to consider testing out Snapchat ads. Comprising just 1% of total digital spend but used by 27% of Americans, Snapchat provides a great opportunity to connect with a younger audience (among those 18 to 24, 78% use Snapchat).

Snapchat Ads

Snapchat has multiple ad types, including their Sponsored Filters, which are branded filters people can overlay on their photos. These are meant to be quirky, so they work best when they combine a topical phrase with a logo, such as “Feliz Navidad” coupled with a Corona logo during Christmastime.

Snapchat images

Snapchat’s Story Ads live in the Discover tab amongst organic stories from celebrities and media sites. Here, you have just an image and 34 characters to entice people to click, which prompts them to watch at least three video Snaps you upload. Snapchat also offers Snap Ads, which are slightly-obtrusive ads that appear in between Snaps in someone’s Snap Story (these can be static or video).

While many brands port the same video ads they use on programmatic channels, these often feel out-of-place, so you’ll likely see the most engagement with Snapchat-specific short videos, especially if shot with a smartphone and depicting a person interacting with the product.

Snapchat’s self-serve ad platform offers targeting around age, gender, language, carrier, and predefined audiences (Yoga Enthusiasts, Bank Visitors, etc). It also incorporates Experian, Datalogix, and Nielson for additional demographic targeting. There is a $50 minimum daily spend cap, though, which is much higher than the other platforms.

LinkedIn: The professional network

LinkedIn advertisers tend to be B2B, and if that’s your audience, you should definitely be testing ads here. But B2C advertisers can still see success thanks to all the work-based targeting options and the extensive network of more than 560 million professionals. Indeed, you can target job titles, employees at specific companies, skills, pre-defined interests (like Computer Graphics or Organic Farming), field of study, education, and more.

This makes LinkedIn a perfect outlet for, say, a luxury brand that wants to target high household income, which can be approximated by targeting job titles like CEO, VP, director, etc. And anyone with demographic segments like “young professionals” or “middle-career engineers” could easily reach these cohorts with LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Ads

LinkedIn has three main ad units, all native: Sponsored Content, Sponsored InMail, and Sponsored Job Results. The latter two will appeal mainly to sales and hiring teams, respectively, while Sponsored Content is used by marketers to reach people as they browse their LinkedIn feeds. LinkedIn ads look exactly like organic posts, even showing who of your contacts follows the sponsoring companies.

LinkedIn image

The ads themselves tend to promote content like an eBook or blog article, although on desktop you’ll also see commercial-quality auto-playing videos. Does this mean you shouldn’t try sending users to a product page? Not at all, but keep in mind users are likely to be in an analytical work mindset, versus a buying one, making LinkedIn more of a top-of-funnel traffic source versus direct response.

Quora: The Q&A platform

Advertising on Quora might seem like a waste of time, but the Q&A platform has over 300 million unique visitors each month. With its wide variety of topics, Quora applicable to pretty much every marketer—all you have to do is find your audienceand set up your ads.

Quora Ads

Quora’s self-serve portal has two major ad units: 1. Promoted Answers, where a specific answer gets promoted in a user’s home feed (but not within the question itself), and 2. image/text ads that appear within answer results.

What makes Quora effective is how hyper-targeted you can get. Beyond the pre-defined Topic and Interest Targeting options (there are literally thousands), as well as their recently-released keyword targeting, you can target specific questions. The interface even shows you the expected weekly views of each question.

Quora image

A successful Quora campaign will involve upfront research around relevant questions. Consider this missed opportunity: For the question of “What are the best running shoes?” there’s not a single footwear advertiser. It would not cost much for a brand like Adidas or New Balance to pay to appear in the first result.

This research isn’t hard—just do a Quora search for a relevant question or keyword, see what Topic it’s under, and then look at other questions under this Topic. For the ad, you don’t have much room for text (105 characters), so you need to be succinct.

Read more  How to make your Facebook Ad Campaign successful


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How to promote your event with Facebook ads

Once your event is set up on your Business Page, head over to the Facebook Ads Manager to begin setting up a campaign to boost your event to the right audiences. When creating a new campaign, begin by selecting your campaign objective to be “Event Responses.” This is the event-specific objective, but it’s not the only one you can use—more on that soon.

Facebook campaign objectives for events

Next, in the ad set level, select your targeting criteria and your budget if you’re not yet planning to use Campaign Budget Optimization, or CBO, yet. Remember, this is going to be the standard budget setting option come September 2019. CBO will require advertisers later this year to set and manage their budgets at the campaign level, rather than at the ad set.

Once your targeting is selected, you can move on to the ad level tab to create your event ad. Here, you will give your ad a name and, as you scroll down below the ad copy area, you will see a field where you can type in your event. Search for the event with the event title that you included on your Business Page.

select your event to set up Facebook ad

Once you type in the event, the content will auto-populate, generating an ad using the details from your event. That’ll look something like this:

And you’re almost all set!

After you launch your ads, one way to test and optimize your event campaign is to test ad copy variations or switching out the creative. If you want to edit any of the other event details, as seen below the creative, that will need to be revised on your actual event page.

And speaking of testing…

Test your Facebook ads strategy

It’s important to test copy and creative, but that’s not all there is to optimize. Here are five more strategies you can test to try out to get more attendees out of your Facebook ads for events.

1. Try the branded content feature

If you are working with another brand for your event and it tags your company in a post, you can test out the Branded Content feature (as seen in the screenshot of the ad set up above). For example, if you are a smaller or newer company running an event, partner up with a larger, relevant brand that may be a partner or sponsor of your event. This way, if they post about you and tag you from the business page, you can then run that post in your account as an ad and test various audiences. Here’s an example:

Facebook branded content ad

By partnering with other brands and utilizing the Branded Content feature, this will help boost your credibility as a new or smaller company by having a well-known or larger brand backing you, like HubSpot in the example above. This boost in credibility will increase awareness, engagement, and, ultimately, your event attendance.

2. Test non-event campaign objectives for Instagram placements

Facebook event response objective campaigns are successful, but they don’t transfer over to Instagram placements. There are ways to advertise your event in Ads Manager across both platforms and in additional placements, though: You just have to choose a different campaign objective.

Select a different campaign objective, such as traffic, to drive people directly to your website to learn more about your event and to register on your website. If you are using a third-party event registration site that doesn’t have an option to place your Facebook Pixel on it, that’s okay—however, the trade-off is not knowing what happens to that person who clicks through since you’ll lose tracking once they get to the landing page. Ideally, you will want to have registration on your site to track conversions back to your Facebook and Instagram ads. That way you’ll have more insight into what is working and what is not cutting it for your ad set audience targeting, ad copy, or creative variations.

If you are using the popular event registration site, like EventBrite, for your event registrations and ticket sales, it is possible to add your Facebook Pixel onto their platform, so tracking won’t get lost. Here are steps on how to add your Facebook Pixel to EventBrite.

To expand your reach further, select Instagram as an ad placement in the ad set level so you can reach users in the Instagram feed and Instagram Stories. You’ll want to prompt them with the call to action to “Learn More” or to “Sign Up”—or, if you are promoting multiple times for your event and it applies, use “Get Showtimes.” Because Instagram is such a highly visual platform, testing video ads for your event is highly effective here.

4. Promote a new event with Facebook ads

Will this be your first time promoting a new event? Test out some content to entice your audiences to learn more about it. Showcase speakers, artists, musicians, topics of discussion, or other people, places, and things your event attendees can expect to see. Highlight sessions, venues, or early bird pricing as an incentive to register sooner rather than later.

Facebook event ad example

If you’re advertising a business-related event that would require attendees take time off work or travel to the event, you need to advertise your event to your audience and sometimes their employers. We’ve had success driving first time attendees to an event after creating and promoting an “ask your boss” form that highlights the benefits someone can present to their employer. This can help attendees ask their company to attend your event. Make it easy to attend.

5. Advertise a recurring event on Facebook

Do you have a recurring event such as a monthly meetup or webinar, an annual conference, a multi-city tour, or another type of recurring event? Entice past attendees to return by showcasing new aspects of the event. This will make help confirm that the attendee is familiar with your brand, but also make it clear they have reason to attend for a new experience. Stay true to your brand and events, but always find ways to keep things fresh. For instance, when working with conferences in the past, we’ve promoted similarities as well as the addition of new speakers, sessions, networking events, and exhibitors, which helped increase retention rates show over show.

If you are targeting people who have not previously attended one of your similar past events, use creative, such as images and videos in your ads to show a large audience, so that it looks successful. That will help you establish more authority and trust with your events and if people missed it last time, they may get a sense of FOMO this time around. If you had a successful event, show it off, be proud, and invite new people to attend next time.

For remarketing campaigns, show some sneak peaks and behind-the-scenes previews to excite potential attendees and move them further down your funnel. Attending events—especially going solo—can be intimidating, so make it exciting, seamless, and easy for them to convert.

If you are promoting an upcoming online webcast, do a brief video on some teaser tactics your speaker can share and have them encourage and invite people to register now to learn more. Here’s a great example of a webinar ad that is not only free to attend, but also clearly states the value proposition for both the teaser and the full webinar:

recurring event ad

If you are promoting a fundraising event, focus on the ways that attendees will give back to a non-profit and how it will be mutually enjoyable, helpful, and rewarding. If you’re running ads for a tour that a musician client of yours may be preparing for, create campaigns for each city stop and focus targeting, ad copy, and creatives that will speak to people in that location and share that musician’s excitement to play for that particular crowd. If you’re running a local event, one thing we’ve also found effective over the years is to use creative that resembles the location of the event and the audience you are targeting.

event ad with location mountain background

From awareness to attendance with Facebook event promotion

Now that you’re familiar with ways to promote your event using Facebook ads, jump into your Business Page to create an event, head over into Ads Manager, and start testing out various campaign options to get the word out about your upcoming and exciting event!

Read more How to make your Facebook Ad Campaign successful


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Just learn everything about ecommerce marketing

These are the five most telling insights from that data—insights you can use to help you run your ecommerce business.

1. 67% of small ecommerce businesses name campaign structure as biggest challenge

50 of the 75 Google Shopping advertisers we surveyed said structuring their campaigns and organizing their product groups is the biggest challenge they face. Tangentially, the second-most common challenge cited by respondents was setting bids. Because campaign structure and bid strategy are related, we’ll tackle both here.

When you initially create a Google Shopping campaign, Google groups together all the products you sell (as outlined in your product data feed) in a single product group. From there, it’s your responsibility to break that initial product group into separate product groups. Because you’ll be setting bids at the product group level, this is a crucial part of the campaign creation process.


When creating your product groups, three metrics in particular are important to keep in mind: priceprofit margin, and conversion rate. To the best of your ability, you want the products in a given group to be close to equal across (at least two of) these three metrics. If you include your most and least profitable products in the same group, the same bid will apply to all of them.

Remember: The bid you set on a product group is the amount of money you’re willing to pay for a click on any of the products included in that group. You shouldn’t be willing to pay the same amount of money for clicks on two drastically different products. Generally, you should set higher bids on products that are more expensive, more profitable, and higher converting.

If you can segment your product groups in a way that puts your budget to the most efficient use possible, you’ve have a leg up on the rest of the pack.

2. 40% of small ecommerce businesses manage data feeds manually

Another key challenge cited by the advertisers who completed our survey was managing a product data feed. As it turns out, 40% of respondents are doing this manually with Google Sheets or CSV files.

In case anyone reading hasn’t gotten started with Google Shopping yet, a product data feed is simply a spreadsheet (housed in Google Merchant Center) that organizes key information about your products in a manner that Google can easily understand.


This is the information Google relies on to populate the Shopping search results when a consumer searches for a product. So, the better you manage your product data feed, the better chance you have of getting your products in front of relevant, high-intent shoppers.

As you can imagine, manually managing a product data feed becomes more and more difficult as your product catalog grows. Plus, because the visibility (and eligibility) of your products depends on the quality of your data feed, trying to manage too much information is as risky as it is tedious. That’s why automated feed solutions—software programs like WordStream’s Data Feeds that automatically optimize your product data and sync it with Google Merchant Center—are popular among ecommerce advertisers that sell hundreds or thousands of products.

3. Only 8% of small ecommerce businesses sell on Walmart Marketplace

For reference: 55% sell on their own online stores; 41% sell on a Shopify store; 39% sell on Amazon; 28% sell on eBay; and 13% sell on a BigCommerce store.

For those of you who haven’t heard of Walmart Marketplace before, it’s a third-party ecommerce platform that enables you to sell your products alongside Walmart’s. It serves to get your catalog in front of the millions of people (mostly Americans) who visit the Walmart website every month. That visibility comes at a cost, of course. Every time you sell a product, Walmart charges a referral fee. Think of the referral fee like a highway toll—you’re paying for access.


Here’s why you should care: The per-sale referral fee is the only cost associated with selling on Walmart Marketplace. It doesn’t matter what you sell or how much of it you sell per month. There’s no monthly subscription cost (as there is on Amazon), and you’ll never get hit with additional fees (as you will on Amazon). Considering we’re talking about the third-largest online retailer in the US, that’s a pretty sweet deal.

To be fair, Amazon boasts several advantages over Walmart Marketplace. In addition to reaching more consumers, Amazon offers a robust pay-per-click advertising platform and a top-notch order fulfillment program. There’s no denying the importance of those tenets.

However, the point is this: Walmart offers a large, affordable marketplace that not too many of your competitors are using. If you have the capacity to add a new platform, be an early adopter!

4. GDN is twice as popular as Bing Shopping among small ecommerce businesses

When we asked our survey participants how they advertise their businesses outside of Google Shopping, 65% listed the Google Display Network—and only 33% listed Bing Shopping.

Let’s be clear about something: We love that a strong majority of ecommerce businesses are using display advertising to their advantage. As we discuss in our Google display ads cheat sheet, the GDN

is a fantastic way to both build your brand and keep it at the top of your prospects’ minds. You can remarket to past website visitors, explicitly target people in the market for your product, and even turn your customer list into seed audiences. Display advertising is a great investment.

But is it twice as valuable an investment as Bing Shopping? Nope. That’s not a shot at the GDN; rather, it’s a vote of confidence for Bing. Allow us to explain.

First things first—although the GDN reaches far more people than Bing Shopping does, the former can’t match the commercial intent of the latter.

The people who see your Google display ads aren’t actively looking to buy anything; the people who see your Bing Shopping ads most definitely are. The ability to get your products in front of commercially minded people at the exact moment they’re looking to make a purchase is reason enough to use Bing Shopping.

But we’ve got data, too, cowboy. As you can see in our recent report on Google and Bing Shopping benchmarks, Bing offers both cheaper clicks and higher click-through rates. And although Google Shopping users tend to convert at a higher rate, the average Bing Shopping CPA is nearly half the average Google Shopping CPA.


Millions of users. Commercial intent. Cheap clicks and conversions. What else do you want?

5. Only 11% of small ecommerce businesses prioritize expanding to new advertising platforms

One final insight: Whereas 59% of respondents listed improving their campaign ROAS as their top priority—and another 15% listed building out their product catalogs—only 11% listed expanding to new advertising platforms.

Now, this isn’t entirely surprising. At the end of the day, driving more sales at lower costs is the ultimate goal of any ecommerce business. We certainly don’t want to discourage you all from identifying ROAS as a point of focus.

There’s no denying, however, that promoting your products on new platforms—both those that are new to you and those that are new to all digital marketers—comes with a lot of upside.

Read more The most brilliant marketing strategies you should know


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Everything about Instagram Hashtag

You might already be using hashtags in your Instagram captions and comments, or you might be skipping those for now. Whether you’re trying to boost your impact or get started, these tips will help you to hashtag like the professional! Here are eight tips to master your Instagram hashtag game.

instagram hashtag post with succulents

1. Do your hashtag research

First and foremost, it is important to realize that the art of hashtagging is much more than simply adding the hash sign in front of words you think of. To use hashtags in your Instagram content in a meaningful and effective way you need to do your research. So where to start? Here are a few ideas…

  • Use online tools: There are tons of tools out there—like RiteTag, ExportTweet, and Hashtagify—that will give you data on what hashtags are popular.
  • Start searching: Type hashtag ideas into the Instagram search bar and see what autofills.
  • Check your competitors: See what your competition is doing, as well as brands and account that your target audience is likely following. Getting inspiration from other accounts can be super helpful to gain an understanding of what hashtags are trending (more on this in tip #3!).

The key to selecting good hashtags is to ensure they are on target with your target audience’s interests, and popular but not overly popular—you don’t want to get lost in the clutter. You know the kid in school who wasn’t considered “popular,” but was well-liked and known amongst many groups? You want that fall into a similar arena with your hashtag game.

“We’ve noticed that the more niche the topic, the more conversations users are having around it, so it pays off to really hone in on a topic or theme,” says Benjamin Chacon from Later.

2. Don’t over hashtag

While it might be tempting to hashtag your little heart away on each post, it isn’t good to go overboard on hashtags. When it comes to having more of an impact with your hashtag game, it can actually pay off more to be picky. In fact, research has found that the optimal number of hashtags per post is 11.

While Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags per post, your time is better spent researching and using a handful of super effective hashtags rather than stockpiling a ton of tags per post.

Instagram post with burgers

Hashtags and burgers better in moderation.

“Tossing 30 hashtags on a post only does so much-especially for businesses,” says Alex York from Sprout Social. “It gets to #overkill pretty quickly. And if your brand isn’t focusing on the right questions or goals, all of this seems a bit worthless to invest your valuable marketing time.”

3. Get inspired by other Instagrammers in your industry

There is absolutely nothing wrong with spying on your competition from time to time. In fact, when it comes to hashtagging this can be a super useful investigative activity. Joining in on trendy industry topic hashtags and finding niche industry-related tags that your audience is likely following can be insanely beneficial for upping your hashtag game.

Take this food blogger, Restoring Radiance, for example. Below, you can see that she posted a picture of her yogurt, and rather than using simple hashtags, like #yogurt or #breakfast, she used many hashtags mentioning other brands that her target audience is likely following like #f52grams and #foodgawker.

Instagram hashtag post with yogurt and granola

Why not take a page from her book and use some popular industry hashtags in your next Instagram post?

4. Create your own hashtag campaigns

The cool thing about hashtagging is that you aren’t restricted to using other hashtags that have already been used. You can get creative and build a campaign around your very own branded hashtag. This can take your brand to an entirely new level if done in a creative and engaging way.

Take the unforgettable #IceBucketChallenge. The marketing team for the ALS Association was able to raise awareness with this hashtag campaign, but they also raised a substantial amount of money ($115 million to be exact!). Think about how you can do something similar by getting your followers to WANT to use your hashtag, which will help spread brand awareness about your business to other Instagrammers.

Instagram hashtag search results for #icebucketchallenge

5. Keep your hashtags consistent—but not too consistent

As discussed above, it is important to research your hashtags for each post and ensure you aren’t using hashtags that are overly popular. If you do, your posts are likely to get lost in the sea of other hashtagged post. But should you be using a new set of five to 10 hashtags for every single post you compose?

The answer is no. There is absolutely nothing wrong with re-using the same well-researched, highly targeted hashtags if those are what appeal to your audience. In fact, you should keep a note handy so you can easy copy and paste your commonly used hashtags into new posts. However, spicing things up a bit is also encouraged. For example, use the same five or so on-brand hashtags, but add in a few new ones that are even more relevant to the photograph or video you are sharing. Relevancy is critical when it comes to hashtag use: If someone is exploring a hashtag and your super irrelevant post pops up, it could make the entire brand look un-reputable.

6. Build a giveaway around a branded hashtag

Everyone loves free stuff. This is just simple human nature. I find myself entering Instagram giveaways on the daily to win cookbooks of chefs and bakers I follow. Often, these giveaways are quite simple to enter. The brand will post about giving away a copy of whichever cookbook and ask you to tag a friend in the comments to enter. While this is a super easy and doable way to give something away, why not take it a step further with a branded hashtag?

Take the example below from Talalla Retreat, a beach-front resort that emphasizes yoga. Rather than just having users like and tag someone in the comments, their contest required folks to post a picture with the hashtag #WINTalalla. What I love about this type of giveaway is that it is still easy to enter, but it’s going to get so many more eyes on your brand since those entering have to share a photo to their entire followers list while using the branded hashtag.

Instagram giveaway post with branded hashtags

7. Use hashtagging to connect

Another wonderful thing about hashtags is that they are a great way to connect with others and build a community. Keeping an eye on trending hashtags can help you discover new partners and engage those who are in your target market. Building an Instagram marketing campaign around a hashtag can also be a super useful way to partner up with a related brand. This will help you gain even more exposure, since this partner brand will be posting about your company to their entire audience.

Read more How to Use Instagram Stories For Business


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