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Instagram engagement is huge, but should it be in your ad budget after all?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Ads on Instagram should avoid the “hard sell.” However, early data suggests that seeing IG only as a branding tool could be a mistake. What to do?

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Instagram’s premium ad prices have many businesses wondering: is it worth the cost? SocialTimes says ads on the social network should avoid the “hard sell.” Instead, businesses should focus on creative narratives and visuals that lead to conversions through other outlets like Facebook.

Yet data suggests that seeing the platform only as a branding tool could be a mistake.

Salesforce, one of the partners for Instagram’s ads API, found that ads on the platform cost 90% more per ad impression than Facebook at $6.29 per thousand impressions. While you might look at that higher cost for impressions, Salesforce also found that the cost per click-through on Instagram is $0.42- only $0.02 more than Facebook.

IG also enjoys a superior 1.5% click-through rate that is nearly double Facebook’s 0.84% click-through rate for ads.

Why is Instagram so expensive?

Instagram ads are currently at a premium because of its young user base, a core demographic for advertisers, and because of the higher conversions. Although there is some speculation that the high conversion rates are partially due to the novelty of new click-through ads it is important to note that Instagram has had sponsored posts for several years.

Another factor that lends value to IG ads is their equal size and positioning to regular posts, whereas Facebook ads are sometimes relegated to the sidebar or other minimized locations.

What works?

Direct-response campaigns, where app installations or website visits are the call-to-action, are doing especially well. As these advertisers drive up prices, it would appear that contrary to the SocialTimes stance, brand advertisers may wish to focus their marketing dollar in other areas.

Any social media marketing campaign requires a presence on both Facebook and Instagram, but which network is prioritized depends on whether raw impressions and branding or a click-through is more valuable.

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Tara Steele is the News Director at The American Genius, covering entrepreneur, real estate, technology news and everything in between. If you'd like to reach Tara with a question, comment, press release or hot news tip, simply click the link below.

Real Estate Marketing

Website Grader tells you in seconds if your site stinks or shines

(MARKETING) Is your website up to snuff? Are you sure? In seconds, this Website Grader can tell you where you have room for improvement and where you shine!

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Is your company website beyond riveting, or a total disaster? Like a true friend who isn’t afraid to give an honest opinion and some tough love, HubSpot’s Website Grader will analyze your website and tell you if it stinks or shines.

It literally takes less than a minute, so there’s no reason not to try it. Simply enter your webpage and email address, and Website Grader will analyze your site in four categories: performance, mobile, SEO, and security. You’ll receive a report card with an overall grade in each category, plus each category has a checklist of subcategories that also receive a grade. In this way, you’ll be able to take a detailed look at what’s working well on your site and what could use some improvement.

In the category of performance, Website Grader looks at the factors on your site that will generate traffic, leads, and conversions – and ultimately, more profit for your business. A lot of this has to do with just making sure the site itself loads quickly and smoothly and is easy to use.

Luckily, the tool provides suggestions for improvement if there are elements slowing down your site. In fact, in every category and subcategory by which Website Grader scores your site, there’s a link to an accompanying blog post where you can learn more about how to make your site better.

Besides performance, Website Grader also makes sure that your site looks good and is easy to use on mobile devices, ensuring that the site works well on all sizes of phones and tablets. Website Grader will also let you know how well you’re playing the SEO game. It analyzes the titles, headlines, and meta descriptions on your site to let you know whether human users and search bots can easily find your site.

Lastly, Website Grader will score the security level of your site – both in terms of the security features that protect your site from attack, as well as the ways in which users are assured that your site is trustable and that any information they share on the site will be secure.

Finally, the tool gives you a “what should I do next” summary that gives specific recommendations for actions you can take to improve your site in the areas where you received a lower score. There’s also a link to a free trial of Marketing Hub, a package of tools to help you improve your site.

Take a peek at how The NY Times performs as an example:

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Real Estate Marketing

Simple weekly emailer curates your stats across social networks

(MARKETING) If you are overwhelmed or turned off by massively granular stats, getting a simple email weekly about your social media stats could be a meaningful tool for you.

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You already know that building a brand (for yourself OR a brokerage) is a lot of work. There’s not only fierce competition, but there’s a lot of ground to cover.

A huge portion of that ground is being present on social media. This doesn’t just mean consistently posting content that is important and relevant to your brand, but it also means keeping tabs on who is following you and engaging with said content.

That’s why Metrics Coffee is here to help. With this new tool, it helps you keep track of your social media metrics by sending you a detailed email to your inbox every Monday morning.

So, how does it work? First, you enter your email to register (the first month is free, woot woot!) and then you attach all of your social media handles to your account.

Then, every Monday morning, you’ll receive an email from Metrics Coffee with a detailed look at your personal metrics. It’ll show the number of followers on each specific platform, and how much your follower count has gone up (or down) within the last week.

Platforms that it currently tracks are: Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, ConvertKit, and ButtonDown. If there’s a platform that isn’t included that you’d like them to track (we would suggest LinkedIn as it is overtly missing), you can request that they integrate said platforms.

“I recently become an independent developer (quit my job!) and started making courses and conducting workshops. I get most of my audience from my twitter and YouTube channel, so I’ve become more intentional about building an audience, said Metrics Coffee maker, Siddharth Kshetrapal. “[I] started tracking [the metrics] with pen and paper along with my morning coffee, but I would forget doing this all the time! Realized I need it to be a push not pull. And that’s why I built this product! It keeps a track of my social accounts and sends me an email every Monday; including my tiny newsletter.”

Much like one needs their Monday morning coffee, Metrics Coffee is designed to give you a rush of adrenaline and inspiration that will help you start your work week. It’s such a simple concept that we wonder why this hasn’t been around for a decade already.

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Real Estate Marketing

Can you really fight back when social media traffic returns are diminishing?

(MARKETING) Missing out on traffic because of antiquated practices isn’t the end of the world; if anything, it should be the beginning of a plethora of new practices for you and your company.

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Social media is a doubled edged sword -while its ubiquitous nature in the realm of marketing makes it impossible to avoid, a variety of caveats ranging from rising fees to government-imposed limitations on content have contributed to more than a few headaches.

The most recent entrant on the migraine list — a diminishing return on social media traffic — is sure to turn heads, but rest assured that you have some options at your disposal.

According to social media expert, Neil Patel, the bulk of social media advertising traffic (paid or otherwise) has seen a slight but consistent decline over the past few years. Chalk it up to whatever you like — consumer awareness, technophobia, a surplus of tinfoil hats — but the fact is that your social media ads are performing worse than they used to, and will continue to do so.

Fortunately, there are a few habits you can break in order to reverse this effect (if only temporarily).

The first thing you should realize is that common advertising trends which started out as successful strategies have become stale with age. These include things like constant video or photo uploads, frequent text posts, and links to your company’s blog; while these pieces of content should still appear on your social media accounts, they are no longer enough to keep your customers engaged.

“Engagement” is the key vocabulary word here. If your customers aren’t interacting with you or a member of your business in some format, they’ll be dissatisfied; even if the manner in which they interact is simply through an Instagram Live video or a Reddit AMA, you’ll notice an increase in traffic right away.

“But Jack, it’s completely asinine to expect a business owner to do a live Q&A session with any kind of frequency” you might say — and you’d be absolutely right.

To that end, using an automated chatbot to keep customers informed without tying up valuable assets in the meantime is probably your best approach. Most major social media platforms either have or support multiple chatbots, and Patel’s site shows a steady increase in the number of businesses using them anyway — don’t get left behind.

Naturally, you’ll need to keep uploading a variety of content, so letting customers see your beautiful face in a live video from time to time is still a good idea.

Other ways to increase customer engagement and conversion range from using SMS notifications to implementing social media platforms you wouldn’t usually consider (WhatsApp, anyone?), but the bottom line will always involve giving your customers a two-way avenue of communication.

Missing out on traffic because of antiquated practices isn’t the end of the world; if anything, it should be the beginning of a plethora of new practices for you and your company.

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