Category Archives: Business Advice

8 major Google ranking factors — SEO guide

8 major Google ranking factors — SEO guide
Of over two hundred Google ranking factors that we know about, which ones are the most important? Here is the definitive list.
Sponsored Content: SEO PowerSuite on September 15, 2020 at 7:30 am

The SEO community is always looking for new ranking factors and we have discovered over two hundred of them so far. But there may be hundreds more actually used by Google. Luckily, we don’t have to work on all of them. Most have very little weight in SEO and are often used as tie-breakers rather than ranking signals. Instead, here is the definitive list of Google ranking factors, each of which can make or break your search optimization strategy.

1. Backlinks
Even though Google is planning to move away from backlinks in the future, they still remain the most important ranking factor for your pages. Except it is now too risky to use black hat SEO strategies — your links have to come from a variety of high authority websites that are similar to yours. Furthermore, some Google patents say that freshness and traffic may also be important backlink metrics.

Optimization strategy
The most efficient way to grow your backlink profile is to borrow backlink ideas from your search competitors. All you have to do is launch SEO SpyGlass, go to Domain Comparison > Link Intersection, and add a few of your top competitors. The tool will analyze your competitors’ backlinks and find the backlink gap — websites that link to your competitors, but not you. Those websites are your prime outreach targets. Seeing how they already link to other websites in your niche, they are very likely to host your links as well.

2. Semantic saturation
Your SEO content has to contain an appropriate amount of relevant keywords, entities, and images for the length of the copy. The content should not be stuffed, like in the old days of SEO, it should rather be a natural-sounding copy written in an informative style.

Optimization strategy
It could be a little challenging to figure out exactly which keywords to use, where to put them, and how many of them are needed. So, if you want to play it safe, a good strategy is to create a benchmark by analyzing your search competitors’ top-ranking pages. To do this in Website Auditor, go to Content Analysis > Content Editor, enter your main keyword, and get a detailed list of SEO writing instructions. The SEO Content Editor tool will tell you the right amount of main and secondary keywords, their placement, and the recommended length of the copy.

3. HTML tags
HTML tags tell Google which bits of your copy are the most important. The title and meta description tags are what users see in search results – write them like a keyword-rich promo. Heading tags (H1-H6) split your copy into sections — they should also contain keywords and be written in an informative style. Finally, alt text is used to describe images to search engines and should be filled out if you want to appear in the image search results.

Optimization strategy
If you weren’t mindful of HTML tags, then there are probably hundreds of pages on your website that are not properly optimized for search. A thorough approach would be to use Website Auditor and review your pages in bulk. First, go to Site Structure > Pages > On-page and sort the pages by their search optimization score. If you spot any pages with a low score, click on them for a detailed report. It will tell you exactly which HTML tags are in need of optimization and what’s wrong with them.

4. Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals are the newest user experience metrics that will soon become Google ranking factors. The metrics will measure the first impression the user gets when visiting a page. Specifically, how fast it loads, how soon it becomes interactive, and how stable the layout is. Now, it’s important to note that the vitals are not yet official Google ranking factors. But they definitely will be, so it’s best to use the remaining time to get them into proper shape.

Optimization strategy
Google has been kind enough to equip each vital with a detailed set of optimization guidelines. For faster loading, Google recommends better server response times, less render-blocking JS and CSS, and faster resource loading. For improved interactivity, Google recommends code splitting and using less JS. Finally, for better visual stability, Google recommends using size attributes for images and videos and loading content from the top.

5. User behavior
There is a lot of uncertainty in the SEO community on whether Google actually uses behavioral metrics to rank pages. Google says that it doesn’t, but there’s been some pretty convincing evidence that it might.

The metrics we are talking about are the click-through-rate (CTR), bounce rate, session depth, and session duration. To check your performance on user behavior metrics, use your

Google Analytics and Google Search Console accounts.

Optimization strategy
Improving user behavior metrics has a lot to do with creating engaging content. For example, CTR relies on having an attractive snippet in search results. Meanwhile, bounce rate, session duration, and session depth rely on whether there is anything fun to do on your page. To keep users engaged, make sure to produce high-quality copy with plenty of visuals and internal links. The goal is to catch the visitors and send them down your sales funnel.

6. Structured data
There are thousands of tags to choose from, and they can tell Google every little detail about your content. Structured data can be used to tag authors, ratings, product features, locations, and so much more. And it can do wonders for your SEO — create links between entities, pin your location, and enhance your search snippets with rich elements:

Optimization strategy
If you are not a technically inclined person, then it’s best to use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper. Choose the type of markup (article, local business, and product come highly recommended) and submit a link to the page you want to enhance. Now highlight bits of text and choose corresponding tags. When done, save the HTML file and upload it to your website. Extra step — check whether your structured data actually works with the help of Google’s Rich Result Test.

7. Google My Business listing
Claiming, optimizing, and maintaining your Google My Business listing is the single most important thing you can do for your local SEO. It helps establish your company as an entity, which in itself is a great asset to your SEO. More importantly, it skyrockets your local search performance. Once you create a listing, it becomes eligible for the local business panel as well as Google maps, opening your business to nearby searchers:

Optimization strategy
First, you have to visit Google My Business and either create or claim your profile. You will be asked to provide a few basic details as well as verify your ownership. When done, you will be transported to your Google My Business dashboard, where you will find many additional ways to enhance your listing. The least you can do is add a description, business hours, and photos, but there are many more cool features to explore. Google is constantly adding new Google My Business features and it’s gotten so advanced that it’s almost like a website of its own.

8. Mobile optimization
Mobile-first indexing is fully rolled out. Google announced that starting from September 2020 all websites without exception will be judged on their mobile version, not the desktop version. So, if you want your website to have any chance of ranking in search results, you have to make sure that it is designed for mobile users.

Optimization strategy
To check whether your page is mobile-friendly, visit Google’s mobile-friendly test, and submit a URL. If the page is ok, you will get a green light, and if it’s not, you’ll get some suggestions on what to improve.

Checking your website page by page is hardly practical, so you can use Google Search Console to check all your pages at once. Launch the tool, go to Enhancements > Mobile Usability, and view a report along with a list of suggested improvements.

Final thoughts
It’s important to keep tabs on the ever-evolving Google algorithm. Some ranking factors, like keywords and backlinks, are gradually losing importance. Other ranking factors, like user experience and semantic saturation, are taking their place. For now, though, the list above is a pretty solid selection of tactics to add to your SEO strategy.

Top 3 Marketing Opportunities or Tips During Covid-19

As a premiere digital marketing agency, we have been planning for years for the eventuality of the digital age to consume the old analog economy, but with the spread of covid-19, some of the human behaviors we were expecting to be adopted this decade has already been adopted in just a few short months.

COVID-19 has certainly made an impact on commerce as well as ecommerce over the past couple of weeks here in the Cayman Islands, especially now that isolation and social distancing measures have been put in place.

Not just in the Cayman Islands, but workers in many infected countries have been asked to work from home, countries including the UK, Italy, and France have been placed under lockdown and schools have been shut down just as they have here.

Unsurprisingly, since taken the decision out of consumers’ hands by closing non essential brick and mortar businesses, forcing traditional consumers to adopt ecommerce and social media as more than an alternative, but a necessity.

Many of your competitors are taking their foot off of the marketing pedal, which means you may be able to blow right by them! Think of it like the hare taking a break while in the lead only to let the tortoise win the race with consistent effort. Don’t take your foot off the pedal!

Of course, I realize many businesses are simply not able to invest due to lost revenue and if that’s the case then simply skip this info. However, for everyone else, this is the most important takeaway of this article.

Now is the time to invest more, not less in your marketing. That is how you can gain a competitive advantage in the months and years to come.

We have put together a top 3 opportunities list to assist our clients with maximizing their brand exposure as well as ROI, and felt this would also benefit a wider audience of all businesses, please find below our list of top 3 marketing opportunities during covid-19 thus far.


Opportunity #1: Paid ads are really, really cheap
The latest trend we are seeing is that paid ads are becoming cheaper.

It makes sense because the way these big ad networks make money is through an auction system. They need small businesses to drive up the cost per click (CPC) for ads so that way the big, billion-dollar corporations have to spend more money on ads.

If you don’t have as many small businesses advertising (like we are experiencing now) there isn’t as much competition for the inventory, so the cost per click decrease.

But the virus has been causing us to spend more time online, so much so that companies like Netflix have had to reduce their streaming quality to help.

In other words, traffic on the web is up and there are fewer advertisers. This means ads are cheaper.

Now we are also seeing conversions rates dropping in certain industries, but nowhere near at the same rate as the CPCs.

When we average things out per industry and globally, we are seeing paid ads producing a much higher ROI than before the Coronavirus hit.

Our clients, in general, have seen their ROI go from 31% to 53%. That’s a 71% increase in ROI.

If you haven’t tried paid ads yet, you should consider it. If you do, consider ramping up as there is more excess inventory than there has been in years.


Opportunity #2: Offer educational based training
If you are looking for a good opportunity, consider selling your audience educational based courses.

With unemployment numbers reaching all-time highs, more people than ever are looking for new opportunities.

Many of these opportunities are in fields like high-tech that not everyone has experience in.

And, of course, going back to school can be expensive and is time-consuming. Plus, let’s face it… you can probably learn more applicable knowledge on YouTube than sitting in a college class for 4 years (at least for most professions).

So, where do people go to learn? Any online education website offering very specific, niche advice and courses.

Whether that is Udemy or you are selling your own courses, people are looking for help.

If you don’t know how to sell online courses in mass quantity, contact us for a free consultation.


Opportunity #3: Share Experiences Through Digital PR
Yes, the news is Ubiquitous with COVID-19 stories, but digital PR activity shouldn’t stop during coronavirus.

Now is a great opportunity to maximize social media, with interesting and personnel stories that are a ​distraction from the wider news.

People still want to read good news stories and want escapism from the pandemic currently dominating mainstream media.
Journalists themselves have been quoted on social media multiple times saying they need to put a smile on people’s faces.

If the story is strong, it can still get picked up right now.

If your business can offer comments to help other businesses and people during this tough time, distract them, or put a smile on their faces, that’s a great thing and should be encouraged!


Sadly, the next few months are going to get worse. The daily count of new Coronavirus victims is growing.

From a personal standpoint, all you can do is stay indoors and practice social distancing.

But from a marketing, business, and career perspective, you can make a change.

You should have more time now (sadly), so use it to your advantage. Put in the effort so you can grow, that way you’ll come out of the Coronavirus stronger.

So which one of the above opportunities are you going to implement first?

What you need to know about mobile engagement in 2020

The mobile mindset

We all know the basics at this point: single column designs, bigger buttons, clearer calls to action and media queries/responsive designs that create as uniform an experience as possible across the seemingly limitless set of platforms and devices used to access email and the mobile shopping experience. However, there are other considerations to be had in the coming months and years regarding the mobile experience. Mobile experiences are about utility and understanding how mobile shoppers open, engage and convert. Questions that need asking include: Are they converting on the mobile, web or through an app? Are emails adequately deep linked into shopping apps to minimize the friction from browse to buy? What percentage of your consumers are using iOS versus Android? These are basic questions that you need to begin asking when the fog of 2019 clears and the sun breaks through the clouds of 2020.

Preparing for a more branded mobile inbox

A cross-industry coalition of companies are working on a new standard for improving the visibility of email in the inbox while providing incentive for the sending community to publish and enforce email authentication. Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) will allow legitimate senders to publish a trademarked logo in DNS that will be displayed by a participating mailbox provider such as Yahoo! or Gmail if they’ve properly set up and aligned their email authentication records.

Why should you care?

The inbox is under regular assault by bad actors who weaponize emails and hijack or phish brands in order to defraud recipients. For as much trust and utility that email has provided the internet, it has also created a massive gap in terms of security. Over the years, companies have tried to help educate and empower recipients through visual trust indicators such as lock icons and colored messages about the identity of a sender. Most of these don’t mean much to the average recipient – at the end of the day most people are not security experts. BIMI has the potential to change that by securing who can and can’t use a logo and then displaying that logo in the native mailbox provider, or next to emails that pass muster.

You have the opportunity to have your logo seen by a recipient before they even open an email, if you take the necessary steps to secure your sending domain through SPF, DKIM and DMARC. Brand impressions are important to stay top of mind—having the brand displayed in the inbox can be a massive differentiator. Consider the struggle of mobile apps on a device: the average mobile user has upwards of 90 apps on their device but barely uses a third of them. Over 20% of apps are abandoned after just one use – but email still remains one of the top three activities done on a smartphone. The inbox’s list view, or the view of all emails in the inbox, has been a completely unbranded experience until now. When that changes, a huge opportunity will open up for brands.

Google AMP for Email comes to mobile

In November of 2019, Google began to roll out the AMP for Email experience on Android and iOS. The interactive mobile inbox presents new challenges and opportunities for bold retailers and e-commerce companies willing to spend the extra time to code and test AMP MIME Parts. Like BIMI, taking advantage of AMP for Email will require senders to publish and align their email authentication records. A new mobile inbox that’s both interactive and more visibly branded will potentially be a more secure inbox, so long as companies understand that email must be protected from a whole host of phishers and cybercriminals actively working to exploit the channel.

Since interactive emails will allow recipients to get status updates, view fresh content, and respond directly in an email to things such as invites and comments, senders will have to begin tracking the efficacy of the new mobile inbox versus native mobile apps and mobile web sites. It’s one thing to deliver a mobile experience – it’s another to understand the impact of the experience versus existing mobile properties. Additionally, there will need to be parity in data that is displayed in emails versus that which is available in an app or on the mobile web. This has always been a requirement but the timing aspect has changed. As recipients, we’ve all experienced a situation where the offer we received, time-sensitive or not, either wasn’t available, had expired or wasn’t quite what we had anticipated when we clicked a link in an email. Now that the recipient’s experience will remain in the mobile inbox, and as it grows and becomes yet another source of truth, senders will have to take extra precautions to ensure that the curious and restless minds that switch liberally between an app and an inbox with dynamic content are given the same up to date information to prevent confusion and disengagement.

Mobile everywhere

Mobile is everywhere – and it’s becoming more challenging. Smartphones introduced an incredibly small screen and format, and if the new Motorola Razr takes off the way its predecessor did in the early 2000s, we may have to tackle the nuances of foldable screens as well. What happens if Motorola decides to add a screen to the front of the device as the original had? Anything is possible in the mobile world, which is why it’s ripe with opportunity.

Mobile’s impact on email is not to be underestimated – we need to understand that mobile email is simply an adaptation of what we’ve been doing all along, but in a compact form that requires channel and platform-specific thinking. Before mobile, we were worried about rendering across desktop and web browsers and how no two mailbox providers would render email quite the same way. Mobile introduced new formats and wrinkles, but it also put email in everyone’s pocket in ways we’d never before imagined. The thing about mobile is that you have to measure it on its own merits and think of it as a unique means of engaging with your customers. Measure, test, iterate, measure, test some more, and make sure that your email isn’t dismissable and forgettable – because if it lacks visibility and usability in the forthcoming mobile inbox, it will be forgotten in this hyper-interactive world.


Facebook Adds New Options for Brands to Control Ad Placements

Facebook has announced a new set of brand safety tools which will enable businesses to better control where their ads appear across Facebook’s various ad delivery networks.

The issue of brand placement came to the fore back in 2017 when YouTube lost millions of dollars in revenue after major brands pulled their YouTube spend over concerns that their ads were appearing alongside extremist content and hate speech.

Facebook has been working to provide measures to avoid the same over the last couple of years, and these new options add to that capacity, enabling more in-depth control and specification in ad placement.

Among the various measures, Facebook is adding:

A new, dedicated section within Business Manager/Ads Manager where brands can create block lists, get delivery reports and set account-level inventory filters (as opposed to having to apply them one campaign at a time).

Updated delivery reports which will enable advertisers to search by account ID or publisher without having to download the report. Facebook’s also looking to add content level information to its delivery reports.

A new brand safety partner in Zefr to help improve its brand safety tools. Zefr will join DoubleVerify, Integral Ad Science and OpenSlate.
Publisher White Lists for Audience Network and in-stream ads on Facebook. Facebook is also looking to give advertisers the capacity to white-list the types of content they appear on for in-stream video ads.

The new measures will provide additional assurance for advertisers, enabling them to avoid any concerning associations, while also improving targeting options to their focus audiences.

As per Facebook’s vice president of global marketing solutions Carolyn Everson:

“The long term goal is to have an incredibly robust ecosystem where businesses can sell their products, [and] consumers have the confidence to buy them and know what they’re getting, and so that’s the long-range plan and these are just a series of steps along that path. It’s a lot that we’re doing to get there.”

Facebook also notes that while it has a zero-tolerance approach for harmful content on its platforms, “that doesn’t mean zero occurrence”. Given that some content can slip through the cracks, additional measures like this will provide advertisers with more options to manage their ad placements, and maintain greater awareness of the same.

As noted, Facebook has been developing its tools on this front for the last few years – earlier this year, Facebook added a new Inventory Filter which enables advertisers to choose a level of protection they want to apply to their ad placements.

Facebook inventory filter
As Facebook’s internal detection tools improve, so will its placement options, and these new elements move further along that line.

You can read more about Facebook’s new brand safety features here.

Facebook Adds New Authorization Process for Page Managers

Facebook ‘s rolling out the next stage of its expanded transparency push, with users who manage ‘large’ Facebook Pages being asked to go through a new authorization process before they’ll be able to continue publishing posts on the Page.

As outlined in the above example flow, the authorization process will prompt users who manage Pages with large potential reach to secure their account with two-factor authentication, and confirm their primary country location. The process is rolling out first to US businesses, with Facebook looking to expand the system more broadly over time.

Facebook doesn’t specifically explain how ‘large’ a Page needs to be to qualify, but if your Page manager/s do require authorization, they’ll receive a notice at the top of their News Feed to begin the process.

This Page banner will be visible on your affected Pages until the required users have completed all steps of Page Publishing Authorization – if they don’t complete authorization by the deadline provided in your initial notification, they’ll lose the ability to post as the Page.

The effort’s part of Facebook’s push “prevent organizations and individuals from creating accounts which mislead people about who they are or what they’re doing.” This comes on the back of interference in the 2016 US Presidential Election campaign, where Pages which looked like regular business and fan accounts were actually fronts set-up by foreign organizations, who used those Pages to influence voter behavior.

Facebook also notes that these latest updates will also be coming soon to Instagram, providing a broader overview across the two Facebook properties.

Some might see this is an annoyance, having to go through another process to maintain their Page management capabilities, but it seems a small price to pay in order to deliver a more accountable, transparent process.

Digital Marketing Agencies’ Rates and Services Are More Affordable Than You Think

Every entrepreneur at some point hires an SEO, PPC (pay-per-click) or SMM (social media marketing) expert — which generally means an agency or freelancer. But money is tight, so how do startups evaluate whether the candidates they’re considering offer reasonable rates? Is gut instinct enough?

Your own answer to the question is likely, “No, gut instinct is not enough, but what are my options? I don’t have sufficient data about price rates in the digital marketing industry.” And you’re not alone in that thinking: Those of us hiring outside professionals for digital marketing work haven’t had a clear idea of the average costs being asked for monthly retainers and hourly rates.

Until now. In recent months, I’ve conducted fresh research on the current state of digital-marketing agency services and costs, to help entrepreneurs orient themselves in the digital marketing sphere. My (nonscientific) survey, which brought in more than 1,000 responses from digital marketing agencies and freelancers, spanning 16 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and several European regions, included queries about services covered, prices and payment models. Among the biggest takeaways:

Freelancers’ hourly rates in the digital marketing industry start at $50 (all cost figures given here are U.S. dollar amounts).
The most commonly used payment models are monthly retainer contracts and project-based fees.
Agencies typically prefer monthly-retainer contracts, while freelancers service clients mostly on a project-based fee payment model.

In the United States, the hourly model is the most popular, vs. the monthly retainer contracts and project based fees that UK and other European respondents said they preferred. The average industry fee for a monthly retainer contract (across all studied regions) starts at $1,000.

Here are the details:

1. Freelancers’ monthly retainer contracts start from $251, and their project-based fees, from $5,000.
You can expect to hire a freelancer on a monthly retainer contract at a cost that starts as low as $251 — though the $1,000 noted in the last bullet above is the average. You can expect freelancers’ project-based fees to start at $5,000.

2. Freelancers’ hourly rates range between $50 and $200.
The average hourly rate for a freelancer is more than $100. But the majority of freelancers charge less than $50 per hour. Also, the hourly fee model is quite popular, regardless of agency size.

3. The average industry fee for a monthly retainer contract doesn’t go beyond $3,000.
The average fee across all U.S. regions for a monthly-retainer contract ranges between $1,000 and $3,000. However, in Europe, it is a bit lower, around $951.

4. Agencies mostly prefer monthly retainer contracts, while freelancers prefer a project-based fee-payment model
A payment models chart I created (see this infographic) shows that a majority of agencies are using the monthly retainer payment model, which helps businesses regulate their cash flow. Freelancers are also now using this model quite often, and most freelancers have a good number of clients on a project-based fee.

5. Small- and medium-sized businesses are the best clients.
The general trend shows that small- and medium-sized businesses are the best clients for the freelancers and agencies surveyed. The reason is that the digital marketing industry is still quite a new market, and most agencies aren’t experienced enough or big enough to deal with enterprise customers.

However, according to the survey, a percentage of agencies do already prefer to deal only with big businesses, so the industry is moving in this direction — it’s only a matter of time until this trend spreads.

6. Freelancers deal mostly with hyper-local, local and small businesses.
Hyper-local, local and small businesses have limited budgets, which is why they prefer to deal with freelancers who will charge significantly less than the average agency.

7. Agency clients are seeking mostly SEO and PPC services.
The survey revealed that the following services were the top five — in the following order — that survey respondents across all regions said they preferred:

  • SEO
  • PPC management
  • Social media
  • Content marketing
  • Analytics and UX

However, the survey also showed that social media were less popular in the United Kingdom than in the United States or the rest of Europe. I assumed that the reasons revolve around differences in market demand or the inclusion of social media in other services.

8. The bigger the agency, the more ‘other services’ they offer.
The survey reflected the obvious correlation between the growth of the “other services” tier and agency size. That made sense: The bigger the company, the more customized solutions it provides, and the higher the average price per customer.

9. Analytics and UX is a growing trend.
It was great to see analytics and user experience design (UX) among the most popular services agencies said they needed, because this data correlated perfectly with the current worldwide trend. As an active speaker and contributor, I have observed a significant increase in various types of content related to this topic. And that makes the analytics/UX niche an extremely promising one.

On the other hand, these statistics clearly showed that business owners should consider setting up the proper analytics needed, and developing a quality user experience from the very beginning of their projects, which would entail an increase in their startup investments. This matters, because web users have become more experienced, and business websites must meet those users’ expectations.

Source / Author:

Please share your thoughts, ideas and feedback in the comment section below.

Pro Tip: Daily Content For Real Estate Agents

If I was a real estate agent, the one thing I would do would be to review the areas around the places where I sell homes.

For example, if I’m selling homes in George Town, Cayman Islands, I’m putting out daily pieces of content, either video, written or verbal, ideally all three, reviewing the schools, their teachers, local business, shops, restaurants, and also literally the people in the neighborhood and community for years or decades.

Essentially I’m putting content to get you in love with the stories around the area, and that’s because people buy on utility, what I mean by that is convenience of transportation to and from work, the school systems, etc. And true there is a lot of data out there in these things, but by putting out unique content, you build trust and make it a little warmer for the buyer.

So in summary, I would put out daily content, around the area where I am selling homes, with unique stories that will create emotionally connections, and could make the difference between wither someone buys your home.

What You Should Do Right Now

Connect with me on LinkedIn for more conversion and business building advice Or visit my companies’ website at to learn more about how we can help your businesses.

Facebook kills ad targeting program based on third-party data


Facebook said it will shut down its Partner Categories program, which was launched in 2013 and helps advertisers target ads based on third-party data, according to multiple reports, including a press release from Acxiom, one of the participating data brokers.
The program will wind down over the next few months, impacting partners like Epsilon, Oracle and WPP, in addition to Acxiom. The news is latest in a series of steps Facebook has taken to address concerns over data privacy in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Acxiom, in a press release, said the change in its relationship with Facebook is expected to negatively impact total revenue and profitability in 2019 by as much as $25 million. The company’s stock value was down 25% in trading Thursday morning.
Story continues below


For many marketers, the news is likely to leave a hole in digital marketing strategies. Consumers demand personalization, the argument goes, and Facebook’s Partner Categories has been a powerful engine for delivering on this need and one of the social media giant’s key draws for advertisers. For brands looking to drive a bigger return on their investment, the thinking is that by narrowly targeting campaigns, money won’t be wasted on ads that reach consumers uninterested in making a purchase. The news, while significant, is in line with other recent steps by Facebook to address data privacy following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, although the argument could be made that so far the social media giant has been putting the burden on developers, in news announced last week, and now on data brokers. Facebook also said yesterday that it is making its privacy controls more prominent.

Not everyone has been excited about ultra-precise targeting. P&G, back in 2016, notably said it would walk back from overly narrow targeting on Facebook as the strategy contributed to stagnating sales because the marketer wasn’t reaching a broad enough group of consumers.

Some consumers have also complained that personalized ads can feel creepy when it seems like advertisers know too much about someone. Facebook’s targeting, on its own, enables brands to reach users based on self-selected data like gender, age, location and relationship status, according to information on the website for Nanigans, a Facebook marketing partner. With Partner Categories, brands can take targeting up several notches by matching Facebook data with clusters — 1,000 different clusters were offered as of several years ago — created by third-party data providers, such as people in households where insurance was renewed in a certain month or people in households that are heavy purchasers of certain product categories.

The news about Partner Categories could set the stage for a significant upheaval in digital marketing since Facebook commands a large percentage of brands’ digital advertising budgets. The impact could be compounded if other digital platforms follow suit, which isn’t out of the realm of possibility given the heightened attention to data privacy. Google earlier this week said it will support non-targeting ads as a way for publishers to address the upcoming GDPR regulations set to go into effect in Europe on May 25.




Report: Facebook leads other platforms for app-install ROI in performance index

However, Google is gaining and Twitter has the best long-term retention.

According to the latest AppsFlyer Performance Index Report (registration required), Twitter offers the best user retention record (12 weeks) of any mobile app advertising platform. However Facebook remains the overall leading media platform for app marketers.

Another finding is that Google’s introduction of Universal App Campaigns (UAC) have helped the company gain on Facebook. AppsFlyer says that UAC has grown Google’s app advertising share by 40 percent. Facebook sees “almost 75 percent of apps running campaigns on the social network compared to 45 percent for Google.”

AppsFlyer points out that Facebook is the overall ROI leader. Facebook is followed by Google, Apple and Twitter in that order.

As indicated, Apple is number three in the “universal” global ranking. AppsFlyer reports that “since Q4 2016’s intro of Search Ads [Apple has increased its share of installs] by no less than 5x.” But the success of Search Ads has also increased competition and cost, resulting in a decline in its ROI ranking on the index.

AppsFlyer also noted that what might be called install fraud “continues to pollute app marketers’ data and at an increasingly alarming rate.” Since the release of its last index, the company said that there had been a 5 percent increase in fraudulent installs.

AppsFlyer does not rank networks in terms of fraud. It says it privately notifies them of fraud rates but declined to provide us with any insight into which ones see higher numbers of fraudulent installs.



How to make the most of LinkedIn’s free Website Demographics

Looking to gain insights on the kinds of professionals who are visiting your website? Columnist AJ Wilcox walks you through setting up and making use of LinkedIn’s free Website Demographics.

Have you ever wanted to know what kind of professionals are frequenting your website? Now there’s a way to do this, and best of all, it’s free. Let’s back up for a moment to set the scene.

One of the greatest things about using LinkedIn’s advertising platform is that you can gain insights about the way that professionals interact with your website and products. You pay dearly for those insights, though, with clicks from LinkedIn Ads averaging between $6 and $9 in most cases.

As of the summer of 2017, LinkedIn provides the same professional demographic data on all of your website traffic, and not just traffic you’ve paid for.

Here’s what you can expect.

What you’ll get

For all of your website traffic that is carrying their LinkedIn cookie, LinkedIn will note the professional aspects of that user. After you’ve received enough combined user data for LinkedIn to feel that it’s not personally identifiable (300 people), you’ll be able to receive reports on your website users’ professional makeup by the following categories:

  • Job title.
  • Industry.
  • Job seniority.
  • Job function.
  • Company.
  • Company size.
  • Location.
  • Country.

Curious about the job titles that most often interact with your website? Or whether your content speaks better to low or high seniorities? Or maybe what size of company tends to visit your site most?

These are the types of insights we’ve always had on our advertising traffic, and that we now have free on all traffic, despite where the traffic came from.

How to get access

1. First, you’ll want to create an advertising account (don’t worry — to use the feature, you won’t have to spend a dime). If you’ve already got an account, simply sign in via the same link. Navigate to your Campaign Manager dashboard.

2. Next, you’ll need to place the LinkedIn Insight Tag across all pages of your website (if you’ve already got an Insight Tag, skip to Step 5). Do this by clicking on “Account Assets” and then “Conversion Tracking.” Stay with me here — I know this part makes no sense, considering we’re doing nothing with conversions.

3. Type the base domain you’ll be tracking into the field underneath “Which website do you want to track conversions for.” (If you have any subdomains, you can enter them later to track all areas of your site).

4. Next, you’ll be met with a snippet of JavaScript generated by LinkedIn for you to place on each page of your website. Place it anywhere in the section of each page and click next on that screen.

5. The next screen will ask you to define a conversion, but this isn’t useful for us here, so simply click “Account Assets” again and then “Matched Audiences,” and finally, “Create an audience.”

6. Define your audience segment however you’d like. I recommend building one for all website traffic first and then building any additional segments afterward.

7. And voila! Now that you’ve created audience segments, it’s time to wait until the first segment records at least 300 visitors, and then your reports will start populating. Click Website Demographics at the top of the page of Campaign Manager at any time to access them.

Making Website Demographics useful

The data that we get from these demographics are certainly interesting, but not what I’d call actionable in most cases. Here are two use cases, though, where you can directly make use of the demographic data.

AdWords hack

The beauty of LinkedIn Ads is that you get tight control over the professional qualities of your traffic. This is especially helpful when considering that traffic that comes from Paid Search or SEO channels draws users who are actively looking for something, but you have no control over whether that audience is qualified to buy from you.

Now, consider using Website Demographics on your Search traffic. You can tease out aspects like Seniority and Company Size to see what percentage of Search visitors are actually in your target demographic. For instance, if AdWords brings in mostly traffic between one and 10 employees when your service targets those with 200+ employees, it may inform your future paid search budgets.

Who converts hack

Consider creating an audience for every stage of the funnel. For instance:

  1. All Website Traffic.
  2. Landing Page Traffic.
  3. Converters.

Now you can compare the difference in users between each step. For instance, compare All Website Traffic vs. Landing Page Traffic to see if you’re driving higher-quality individuals through your paid efforts than are coming from other sources.

Now, compare your Converters audience against Landing Page Traffic. If you find a pattern in what type of person tends to convert, that could be worth driving more of those types of folks to your website through paid ads (surely, this is the motivation for LinkedIn to release this feature for free).

For instance, if you notice that manager-level professionals are the ones doing the converting, and conversions are much more rare from VPs-and-above, that might guide you to concentrate your resources on the lower-level folks.

Other uses of the LinkedIn Insight Tag

Maybe you’re wondering whether it’s worth going through the rigmarole of placing another pixel on your website for this demographic data. Never fear — there are two other potential benefits you’re getting by placing it:

1.  Conversion tracking

For anyone advertising on LinkedIn, it’s really helpful to have conversions reporting within the platform so you can easily see the cost per lead and conversion rates of your paid traffic. With the Insight Tag on your website pages, this is as simple as defining what page actions define a conversion, and your tag does the rest.

2. Retargeting

Retargeting ads are incredibly useful for making the most efficient use of your website traffic by keeping your brand top of mind after they’ve left. The same Insight pixel you’ve placed on your website is capable of building your audiences to retarget through LinkedIn Ads.

And surprise! Retargeting audiences are built exactly the same way you’ve already built your segments for Website Demographics, so if you want to retarget any of those segments, all you have left to do is launch an ad.


Keep in mind that all of this is based on cookies being stored in the browser, and those cookied users being logged into LinkedIn.

Most devices carry cookies, but be aware that iOS devices (Apple iPads and iPhones) do not store them. That means that if you have considerable mobile traffic, about 50 percent of that traffic won’t be accounted for in your reporting.

Also, traffic is classified only after audiences are set up, so even if the tag has been implemented for a while on your site, you won’t start getting demographic reporting until after you’ve created these audiences and then received at least 300 qualifying visitors.

To sum it up

LinkedIn’s free Website Demographics feature is pretty simple to set up and very useful in a variety of ways. Set it up as soon as possible so you can start cataloging all of your website traffic from now on.

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