The Marketing Manager's Guide to Paid Social
Written by the Hanapin Marketing Paid Social Team
Paid Social advertising is an essential investment for big brands. In this all-inclusive guide, we’ll walk you through many pro tips to help you succeed in the social world and improve your brand’s ROI.
While many brands create pages, and run paid advertising within Facebook to promote their brand, they don’t always know where to turn to get the most value from those efforts. In 2018, Facebook significantly changed the rules and vowed to “bring us closer together with the people that matter to us”. It’s more important than ever to have a Facebook presence that connects with your target audience. By engaging those customers who matter the most to you, you’ll be able to utilize your existing page and fans to do customer research that lets you tailor your Facebook strategy.
By the end of this section, you should have a greater understanding of how to create and maintain an effective Facebook Page, using Audience Insights to understand your page fans, and building personas and audience segmentation from those insights.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
- Tips to build and maintain an effective Facebook Page
- How to get insights into your fans and followers using Audience Insights
- How to use those insights to craft personas for future ad targeting
3 Tips on Creating and Maintaining an Effective Facebook Page
While most brands have at least some sort of page presence on Facebook, many often lack some of the essential features and information that people seek. From missing contact information, poor image selection, and lack of posts and updates, a page can quickly go from a bustling social media presence to a ghost town devoid of fans and activity.
Given that we’re going to later discuss the use of Facebook fans to create personas and craft paid media strategies within Facebook, we first need to make sure we’re making the page as inviting, informative, and useful to people as possible or there won’t be any fans to do audience research on in the first place.
What follows are 3 tips for creating and maintaining a Facebook page for maximum impact.
Tip #1: Don’t Forget Basic Information
First off, make sure you fill in all the basic information on your page. Facebook will run you through many options of things you can include, but make sure you fill out everything you think someone would need to locate you, call, learn about, buy from, or anything else you might want them to do.
Look at ModCloth’s “About” section below. It includes all sorts of relevant information someone would need to learn about them at a glance.
It has all the basic contact information like phone number, directions, address, and links to their site, but it also includes their brand story and important company milestones. People coming to this part of their page may be looking for contact info, but they’re learning about what the company is as well.
Even something as mundane as an about page is a chance to tell a story.
Tip #2: Images, Images, and More Images
The one aspect of social media that sets it apart from search engines and other mediums is its heavy use of images. If your page is full of text and relatively few images it’s going to stand out from other pages and not in a good way.
Images are the currency of social media and you want to make sure your page looks vibrant and inviting. It all starts with the profile and cover images that form the basis of your page.
Look at the profile and cover photos from Ikea below. The profile image is a clean and sharp looking logo so you know what page you’re on, without having to read anything else. The cover photo then shows some outdoor patio furniture, both showcasing products and creating a tone.
While the profile image is typically the logo of whatever brand the page is promoting, it’s the cover photo that can set a mood for the page. Do you have a new initiative you want to promote? Swap in a new cover photo. Are you releasing your summer catalog? Swap in a summer oriented cover photo to keep the page relevant.
Beyond the image mentioned above, it also is helpful to have many photos relevant to your brand. Below we see that Ikea has lots of home related photos showcasing the use of their products. It’s easy for someone to start finding design ideas and Ikea products that might help them out.
Photos are a great way to showcase what you do. Make sure to include enough to tell a visual story and keep them updated.
Tip #3: Speak to People Through Your Page
We’ve mentioned that the last thing you want your page to look like is a ghost town with no activity. Part of creating an active page is following tips 1 and 2 above, but beyond that you need to create a space for interaction and ideas within your page.
The primary way to do this is to post updates to the page related to your brand. Keep the content relevant and timely so people will want to comment, share, and like it. If you can do video you should, as it’s one of the fastest growing content types on Facebook and one that is easily engaged with.
Let’s look at Wayfair as an example. Below you can see some of the videos from their page.
As a home furniture and accessory retailer, you’ll be interested in how their products can help you in your own home. You might be interested in projects that their furnishings have been used in. You might just want to check out a variety of content to get a feel for the brand. The key is to have enough content to get people interested.
According to Facebook, between 2012 – 2015, the platform saw a 600%+ increase in video consumption and they are estimating that 75% of all data will be video by 2020. Obviously, if you want your Facebook presence to standout you need to harness the power of video.
In the screenshot above we can see that Wayfair has videos dedicated to home makeovers and DIY projects. Both things that potential customers and fans might be interested in.
Remember to think about what problems your fans are looking to solve and provide them ideas on how you can help them.
Now that your page is more up-to-date and engaging, it’s time to start learning more about your customers and the best ways to target them. Let’s dive into developing your Facebook ad strategy.
Audiences Insights and Personas
Creating and selecting your target audience should be one of your first tasks when crafting your Facebook ad strategy. How you set up your audiences and target them with ads will have the biggest impact on your relevancy scores and performance metrics.
Here are few ways to find your audience with Facebook Audience Insights.
Finding Personas with Audience Insights
Facebook Audience Insights is a powerful tool that combines Facebook native data and third-party providers (Datalogix, Acxiom, Epsilon, BlueKai) to help marketers uncover deep insights about their audience.
Start by going to your Facebook Audience Insights and look at the options under the “Create Audience” section and choose your Page from the “Pages” field.
Under the Demographics tab, you should see an age and gender breakdown of your Facebook fans, like the chart below. This chart helps to quickly visualize the gender and age group composition of your Facebook audience. The light gray bars show the demographics breakdown of everyone on Facebook so you can compare how your age and gender composition compares to everyone else on the platform.
Let’s take a deeper look at one segment of the total audience. Keep scrolling down and you will see that Facebook has paired your audience’s interest data based on purchase behavior, brand affinity and other activities to create mini-personas.
For example, a popular lifestyle of this audience is Raisin’ Grandkids, which is “older singles and couples notable for their active grandparent status. Every household shows the presence of children.”
Building Your Persona with Audience Insights
Let’s say we wanted to create this audience in Facebook, so we could target specific posts and ads – how would we create it? First off, let’s think about what was included in that mini-persona.
- Active grandparents
- Singles and couples
- Presence of children in household
What could we surmise from this information?
- Age = let’s target 50+ just to be safe
- Gender = Male & Female
- Marital status = married & singles
- Household = children are present
- Geography – let’s just assume a national presence
Start targeting all these characteristics, until you have a complete picture of your audience, like the one below.
Facebook found 200-250K monthly active people that match our criteria for “Raisin’ Grandkids.” Now that we have an audience built, let’s dive deeper into Facebook Audience Insights to get a fuller understanding of this audience.
Audience Insights Tabs: Understanding Your Persona
The more customer insights we have and understand, the better we can deliver and target our messaging. Facebook updates this data daily, so the results are always fresh.
Since we inputted the demographic targeting, let’s start with Page Likes.
Top categories provide a broad overview of the types of pages this audience likes on Facebook. This will come in handy if you wanted to target specific pages, in hope of reaching this audience. Here, you can gain a deeper understanding of who the major players are, but also the other related topics and channels where content is being consumed by your target audience(s).
You can also monitor these pages to see what type of posts or engagement they’re getting from their audience. Plus, use this information to target websites on Google’s Display Network or through your programmatic vendor of choice.
This section, more than any, provides you with a great opportunity to dig deeper into your audience interests. More importantly, it gives you the ability to see what potential competitors are out there and what kind of content they are highlighting. Clicking on the link takes you directly to their page where you can review the kind of content they are publishing, products highlighted, About page, etc.
Second, Facebook provides the top 10 pages that are likely to be relevant to your audience based on affinity, page size, and the number of people in your audience who have already liked that page.
In this example, our audience is 5.5x more likely to like the AARP Facebook Page than all the Facebook users. Sort by Relevance to see the pages that are most likely to be relevant to your audience based on affinity, page size and the number of people in your audience who already like that page. Sort by Affinity to see how likely your audience is to like a given page compared to everyone on Facebook.
From here, start putting together the types of websites/news/products/organizations/games this audience is likely to interact with.
Under the locations tab is a list of the top locations for this selected audience, with the likely chance of them being in this group on the right.
This will be useful information, if you want to narrow your geo-targeting to specific regions, states or cities.
Activity is the number of times the selected audience performed these actions on Facebook. It is based on Facebook user activity and environmental data.
This is great information to analyze before setting up ads, because you want to understand the behavior of this audience. Do they engage with posts by liking, sharing or commenting? Do they click on ads? If so, do they redeem promotions?
At first glance, I would expect to see good results from relevant ads, because this audience is heavily engaged on Facebook, compared to average users.
- They like a lot of pages
- They comment and like posts more than they share
- They like to click on ads, but don’t redeem promotions
Next, try to understand what and which type of devices they prefer. It appears 55% of the audience uses a hybrid of computers and mobile, which means our device targeting should be set for both in order to reach this audience.
Moreover, 73% of the audience (below) primarily uses their mobile device. Of those mobile devices, there are more Android users than iPhone users. This will be important to review when optimizing the campaign.
Within the Household tab, Facebook provides household income levels, homeowners vs renters, household size, home market value, and spending methods.
For the sake of ad targeting, we’re most interested in their spending methods. Based on this data, this audience primarily uses cash to make purchases.
This is interesting, because ecommerce websites may want to hold off on shopping ads and try to gain their trust and interest with engaging blog posts or videos.
The last tab of information Facebook provides for this audience is the Purchase behavior. We know this audience primarily uses cash when spending money, so let’s see how they shop online.
There are basically two types of audiences here – high retail and high online spenders vs low retail and low online spenders. For an ecommerce retailer, it may be wise to weed out the low online purchasers to really hone in on the people who are more likely to make an online purchase.
Lastly, what does the purchase activity look like for this audience?
The Raisin’ Grandkids audience is more likely to make business purchases, buy clothing and pet products, and spend money on food and drink.
Now that we have all this persona data, let’s compare it with Google Analytics data to see how this audience performs.
Compare Google Analytics Performance Data
Go to Google Analytics and create a new segment based off some of the same demographics we targeted in Facebook. At a basic level, let’s see how this audience performs by age and gender.
Here’s what my new segment looks like:
After saving this segment, start analyzing the data by looking for performance trends across device, age and gender.
I can quickly see this audience outperforms the average site visitor and 63% of the conversions happen on a desktop with an 11.2% conversion rate. This is definitely worth remembering when choosing device placements for your ads.
To see more granular metrics, break it down by age and gender. 53% of their goal conversions come from females 45-64, and the highest conversion rates come from males and females over the age of 65.
Now that we have a basic understanding of performance levels for this demographic audience, let’s move back to Facebook to target them with ads.
Targeting Your Persona with Facebook Ads
By using this tool, we found a specific Facebook audience segment, collected multiple data touch points and analyzed its general performance within Google Analytics.
So how would you target this audience within Facebook?
Since the audience is already saved, the next step is to create a campaign for this audience. Based off of the Google Analytics conversion data, I would recommend creating different ad sets to measure performance for each age group and gender (ex. 65+ Female and 65+ Male).
Now that the campaign and ad sets are in place, here are a few tips to keep in mind with your ad creative and optimizations.
- Craft specific messages to entice your specific audience segments to click through
- Select vibrant images that will appeal to this audience
- Don’t be afraid to try different ad styles, like video ads, slideshow or carousel ads
- Consider using placement targeting (remember character limits are different)
- Review primary devices used by your audience
- Choose the appropriate CTA, based on where the audience is in the funnel
- Set up an ad schedule of when your audience is most likely to be online and when they’re most likely to convert (they can be different)
Combining Facebook Audience Insights with Google Analytics provides a lot of data points that can easily be connected into a complete buyer persona.
Taking the time to understand your audience and gain deeper insights into their interests and behaviors, will help improve your ad performance and increase ROI.
- Lookalike Audiences: Create new audiences based off email lists and website audiences to find new customers.
- Don’t neglect your fans: Using audience insights, segment your Facebook fans into small audiences to deliver tailored messages.
- Don’t guess, use Google Analytics: You already have a lot of data points in Google Analytics. Analyze your website visitor data in Google Analytics to glean valuable insights about your customers. Use this data for demographic, device, location and behavioral targeting in Facebook campaigns.
Relevant Audience Targeting
Now that your audiences are in place, let’s work on getting more granular. Facebook offers many targeting options to drill down your audience, such as:
Use these options to target and build personas, by layering different targeting options.
As David Ogilvy said, “Do not… address your readers as though they were gathered together in a stadium. When people read your copy, they are alone. Pretend you are writing to each of them a letter on behalf of your client.”
One thing to keep in mind is demographics, interests and behavior targeting are considered “OR” statements, unless you take advantage of “AND” statements. For example, let’s say you want to run an ad targeting people with an interest in “travel” and “beaches.”
Facebook will build one audience, including everyone who has an interest in “travel” and everyone who has an interest in “beaches.”
However, if you narrow your audience with “And” targeting, you can find the overlap of people who like “travel” and “beaches.”
It’s also important to note that you can exclude people based on their demographics, interests or behaviors.
Granular Targeting by Ad Placements
Below is an example of ad sets broken down by men or women desktop users over the age of 45 with an interest in tourism (we ran another campaign with the same criteria, but only for mobile users).
By narrowing our targeting to specific devices/demographics/interests, we found that men outperformed women with 46 more conversions, but at a 28% higher CPA over the same time period. With this information, we shifted budgets to meet the client’s goals.
Here’s another example of how ads performed in the News Feed versus Right Column.
- Desktop vs Mobile: Create ads specifically targeting device placements. You could even subdivide desktop by News Feed and Right-Hand Column.
- Men vs Women: Run more targeted ads by breaking out men and women.
- Geo-Targeting: You can also add/exclude locations from your campaigns to focus on your target market.
Schedule Your Ads Around Your Audience
Show your ads at the right time, by knowing when your audience is online. Analyze your website traffic and audience insights to find the optimal time(s) to show your ads.
There’s no sense in showing your ads 24 hours a day, if your target audience is only online from 6:00 AM – 11:00 PM. Find out when your audience is most active on Facebook and if there are certain days and hours you should schedule your ads to be more effective.
Consider funneling your time period down even further by analyzing when your audience converts. Just because your audience is on Facebook early in the morning, doesn’t mean they’re ready to purchase.
Here’s an example of website conversion peaks and valleys over a 30-day period. I wish it performed like the first week, with a steady increase, but that’s not realistic for this audience.
Conversions and Cost Per Result
Next, review to see if there are any conversion trends by day. Maybe Fridays performed better than Mondays. With this information, you can make sure to allocate budget accordingly.
- Custom Daily Schedule: If you know what time of day your audience is online, run a daily schedule. Selecting a Lifetime Budget, rather than the default Daily Budget, will allow you to run a custom ad schedule.
A Quick Recap
These are the things you should be familiar with now:
- Tips to build and maintain an effective Facebook Page
- How to get insights into your fans and followers using Audience Insights
- How to use those insights to craft personas for future ad targeting
But of course, this is not a comprehensive list of everything you could know about Facebook Advertising, but it’s a good start. As the world of Facebook constantly changes, there’s always something new to learn. So keep reading, keep experimenting, and make sure you are actively taking part in PPC communities, events, and resources.
With over 560M active professionals on LinkedIn, it’s the perfect platform for B2B brands to achieve their business goals. According to LinkedIn, there are 90M senior-level influencers and 63M business decision makers on the platform, so B2B advertisers can reach their ideal targets via LinkedIn Advertising. These business professionals come to LinkedIn with express professional purpose and are looking for relevant content like industry news and professional recommendations when they browse the platform. The mindset of users on LinkedIn differs drastically from that of other social media platforms, and that is why B2B marketers should make use of this highly effective channel with ”the world’s largest professional audience.”
Who Should Use LinkedIn Ads?
LinkedIn is perfect for B2B advertisers with a focus on lead generation and/or account-based marketing (ABM). Because LinkedIn is a platform meant for business professionals to connect, network, and share professional content and industry news, advertisers who want to target highly specific segments of users based on their professional profile information are able to find the decision makers who would be most interested in their products or solutions.
Finding The Right Fit
Before launching a single ad it is vital to ensure your account is a sensical match for LinkedIn. While the platform offers unique targeting options, the average LinkedIn user spends only 17 minutes a week on the site. This means that engagement windows are low with an inventory severely limited compared to that of other social networks. In order to ensure there is value in such an investment, self-select after meeting the following requirements:
- Available Budget – LinkedIn is a true asset for clients seeking highly targeted expansion.
- High Funnel Expectations – Like all non-retargeting display advertising, LinkedIn taps into a cold audience. With that said, it is a highly qualified, highly relevant, top of the funnel crowd.
- Customer Base Is Consistent With LinkedIn’s Users – Business to business clients generally make the most natural pairing. Retail brands targeting teenagers and young adults likely aren’t the right fit for LinkedIn.
Simply put, LinkedIn is expensive. But with the right client and intelligent targeting, returns can both match and supplement search campaigns.
Getting Started: Account Creation and User Access
Once you’ve determined that your vertical is compatible with the LinkedIn audience, it’s time to start running ads. Companies starting off fresh will need to create a company page and business advertising profile.
To create a page, log into linkedin.com via your personal LinkedIn profile (if you will be the one managing the page) and click on the “Work” section in the upper righthand corner. At the bottom of the popup menu, click “Create a Company Page +” and you will be directed to the page creation workflow.
Once you have created your page, you have to grant access to each of the users who will be working in the Campaign Manager. LinkedIn outlines the process for editing user access as follows:
“Account Managers can manage permissions for other users assigned to an advertising account in the Campaign Manager tool. Account Managers can add or remove users, as well as manage users’ access level in the account.
To access user permissions for an advertising account:
- Sign in to Campaign Manager.
- Locate and click the correct account name.
- Near the top right of the account page, click the Settings icon next to the account name and select Manage access from the dropdown.”
Campaign Manager – Objectives
Once your company has a LinkedIn page and all relevant users are granted access, you are ready to log in to the Campaign Manager and create your first campaign. Before launching a LinkedIn campaign, you must know what your advertising objectives are, because LinkedIn campaigns hinge on objectives based advertising.
Because you cannot create the rest of the campaign until you’ve chosen an objective, the Campaign Manager is able to customize the the creation flow dependent upon your chosen goal/objective. The objective chosen narrows the ad formats and features that are relevant to the campaign objective.
This is similar to Facebook’s current campaign creation flow, where for example the Lead Form objective requires the Lead Form ad type and will only optimize toward lead form submissions.
Audience creation is where LinkedIn sets itself apart as a platform. Targeting criteria can be layered in an extremely intentional and specific fashion. With that said, it’s imperative that your final audience isn’t too limited given the impression inventory of the platform and click-thru rates of text ads. The audience may be extremely qualified, but at its core LinkedIn remains a Display advertising network with an audience demonstrating fairly typical high funnel behavior.
LinkedIn provides ample segments for directing ads shown below. Job seniority and years of experience are an excellent tool to limit large audiences in hopes of getting in front of decision makers. In contrast, member groups provide additional criteria for targeting professions or positions with a limited supply.
In January of 2019 LinkedIn announced its launch of Interests Targeting. Prior to this update, advertisers could only target based on self-reported information such as company name, company size, job title, and job function. Now advertisers can reach people not only based on what they report on their profiles, but also their behavior on the platform.
According to LinkedIn, “Interest targeting lets you reach members with relevant ads that match their professional interests — based on the content they share and engage with on LinkedIn.”
There are over 200 professional interest categories to search through, like Human-Computer Interaction, International Trade, Performance Management, and more.
The taxonomy of the targeting option allows you to either search for specific interests to target, or to click through the categories and subcategories until you find what you’re looking for:
This type of targeting may be a good way to reach people with top of funnel Awareness/Engagement content pieces, such as webinars or whitepapers about a particular topic. Similarly, for higher education, interests targeting can help reach LinkedIn members who are considering a particular field of professional development or continuing education.
Sponsored Content ads live inside the LinkedIn feed, and they appear alongside the organic content that users share and engage with themselves. Of Sponsored Content LinkedIn says, “You can think of them as promoted posts, as they are essentially amplified versions of the links, media, or messaging you would normally share through your Company Page.”
The Sponsored InMail ad type mimics a personal email sent to highly targeted users. Sponsored InMail can only be delivered to active users, so there is no worry of abandoned inboxes or bounced messages.
Sponsored InMail is a good ad format to use when driving downloads of gated content, promoting events or special deals, generating leads, or direct engagement of valuable prospects.
Similar to ads in PPC search platforms like Google or Bing, LinkedIn text ads have limited-character headlines (25) and descriptions (75) and appear in the right side column or inline in the feed. They do include 1:1 thumbnail images, but these are small compared to the images used in Sponsored Content or Carousel ads. Text ads are pay-per-click or pay-per-impression.
In March of 2018, LinkedIn made happy Paid Social advertisers everywhere when it announced it was bringing Video Ads to the platform. Video is available for Sponsored Content ads, and with the new ad type comes new engagement metrics for performance measurement: video views, view completion rates, and leads. All Campaign Objectives (more on this in a later section) support Video Ads. Planning video by objective, according to LinkedIn, should hold to the following principles:
“For brand awareness and consideration:
- Position yourself as a thought leader
- Tell your brand story
- Share stories of customer success
- Show a quick demo of your product
- Give a sneak peek of your webinar
- Preview your event”
Continuing with the trend of offering more engaging creative types, LinkedIn also debuted Carousel Ads in June. This ad type is more engaging than single-image ads for Sponsored Content, but it generally requires less creative production capital than video ads.
Carousel Ads can be built with a possible 2-10 image cards. A big difference to watch out for with carousels in LinkedIn is that the image specifications are different for carousels than for standard Sponsored Content – carousel ads require 1080 x 1080 images.
Note: Video Format is not yet available for carousels.
You can drive traffic to your site with Carousel Ads, or you can include Lead Form integration for lead generation objectives.
Determining what qualifies success in a LinkedIn campaign will drastically vary based on the client and audience. Fortunately, native conversion tracking within LinkedIn is now available and can be accessed by navigating to the tools tab in the upper right-hand corner of the interface. Instructions for tag implementation and setup are readily available in this section.
Beyond direct conversions, keep a keen eye on CPC, CPM, and engagement levels. Ultimately sponsored posts will likely drive the largest percentage of your LinkedIn traffic which makes them the most desirable candidate for in-depth testing of landing pages, ad copy, and creative. Don’t forget to connect LinkedIn to your remarketing efforts. A custom audience built around LinkedIn traffic within Analytics represents an extremely effective method for re-engaging with the same audience in a different ad space and at a cheaper cost.
LinkedIn advertising provides a truly expensive cost-per-click in comparison to other content and Display marketing. Unique targeting criteria invaluable for many business to business clients is the payoff. Despite costs, LinkedIn is an excellent match for marketers with a compatible audience, budget for experimentation, and a desire for high funnel expansion.
Pinterest is growing faster than ever with more than 200 million monthly active Pinners. According to Pinterest, the platform reaches 44% of all US internet users each month. With 55% of Pinners using Pinterest to actively shop and find products (higher than users on any social platform), Pinterest has rightfully earned a seat at the social media marketing table in 2018, and you should be ready to make the most of this growing platform.
A Neustar MarketShare Retail MTA analysis showed that Pinterest is more likely to influence purchase decisions in the beginning of the purchase journey than other platforms, leading to 40% bigger baskets and higher conversion volume. Which is what makes Pinterest such an attractive platform for marketers. It has the unique ability to influence future purchases.
This may explain why Pinterest has seen such tremendous gains with advertisers. Not only has Pinterest captured the eye of American millennials (57%), it has drawn the loyalty of 8 in 10 Moms – more females overall then Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. In 2017, the platform saw a 50% increase in men using engaging with the platform. Pinterest users are affluent with more than 40% of households earning $100K or more. And Pinterest offers a growing international user base of active early-funnel users.
For all of these reasons and more, we think Pinterest is one of the most exciting social platforms to watch in 2018.
As Pinterest strives to increase the advertising potential of the platform without scaring away existing users, they have continued to listen to the challenges of advertisers, brands and users alike. A key challenge they tackled early was Analytics.
Pinterest realized how important it was for marketers to understand how their audience interacted and engaged with their brand while on the platform. In an effort to make that analysis easier, they rolled out their own Analytics platform and regularly add new features and updates to make the product more useful.
Early on, a lot of SEM marketers found it to be “clunky” or “confusing”, but the platform has evolved significantly making it easier to pull actionable data. While Pinterest Analytics may lack advanced features, it does provide rich audience insights that can guide not only your Pinterest strategy, but also your content marketing strategy.
Below is a walkthrough of the Pinterest Analytics platform, highlighting some of the key features for marketers, and explaining how to use them to better understand your pinning audience.
Pinterest Analytics Dashboard – Overview
In order to gain access to your Pinterest Account’s analytics, you’ll need to verify your website first. After verification, go to the “Analytics” drop-down tab near the upper left side of the page. To get high-level insights into your Pinterest account, click on “Overview” in the dropdown menu where you’ll then see three sections:
- Your Pinterest profile
- People you reach
- Activity from your website (not shown in this whitepaper)
You’ll also see a section listing the top pin impressions from the last 30 days below the main boxes. The three upper dashboards serve as a launching point for diving into your Pinterest performance. Click on “More” in order to enter each dashboard and see additional stats. At the top of each analytics page there’s a graph that lets you see data trending over time.
To see the third dashboard you’ll need to confirm your website by adding a snippet of code on the website. Once installed, you’ll see what people are pinning from your website—you’ll know how all your content is doing on Pinterest, not just the Pins you’ve saved to your profile.
Your Pinterest Profile
Let’s dive into the first dashboard called, “Your Pinterest Profile.” Pinterest profile analytics gives you insights into how the Pins from your profile are performing. This includes all Pins you Pinned to your profile, and items you Pinned from your website or saved from others. Within this dashboard, you’re presented with line charts and four different ways to segment the data.
Impressions – this chart shows the total number of impressions and viewers in a given date range and indicate that people are actively looking for that content. The left-hand side shows you the averages for both impressions and viewers. Top Pin impressions and Boards with top Pin impressions from the last 30 days are also highlighted.
Saves – this chart shows how your Pins spread across Pinterest and indicate that people find that content interesting enough to save and share. One line represents the amount of saves and the other shows the number of people saving your Pin. Below the chart, the Pins people save most and Boards with the Pins people save most from the last 30 days are highlighted.
Clicks – this chart shows the number of visits to your website from Pinterest and indicate that people want to learn more about, take action on or purchase that content. Again, one line is the total clicks and the other is the number of visitors. Below the charts are sections that highlight the most clicked Pins and Boards from the last 30 days.
All time – go here to find your best-performing pins broken down by:
- Your most saved or shared Pins
- Best in Search – Pins that rank higher in search since the beginning of your account (ranked by quality, descriptions and usage)
- Power Pins – Pins with a high mix of saves, clicks and more. These are Pins with a high rate of engagement.
The Pinterest analytics audience data collected on the platforms goes back to May 25th, 2014.
Top Pins And Boards
Under each section, Pinterest highlights your top Pins and Boards for that segment. For example, if you wanted to see your most saved Pins, navigate over to “Saves” and scroll down to see your top 5 pins.
Pins with the most saves often represent content that Pinners find interesting enough to save and share. This is important because it’s a good indication that someone is probably in research and evaluation mode. They might be saving for recipes to try out later or the latest fashions to shop. Either way, they’re saving and sharing information so they can review later.
Saves play an essential role in driving future conversions, due to downstream organic activity. In fact, the half-life of a Pin is 3.5 months. That’s 1,680 times longer than Facebook (Social Marketing Writing).
Or, if you wanted to know which Boards earned the most clicks to your website, go to “Clicks” and scroll down to see the top boards. The tables show a lot of info, mainly which boards people are seeing your Pins from, Pinning your Pins to and clicking your Pins from.
Bonus Tip! Use the Custom Date Range
If you need to view a specific date range outside of the preset 7 days, 14 days, and 30 days, then follow these easy steps.
- Start by selecting the date for beginning range.
Example: If you want to look at November 1st through December 15th then select November 1st. A circle will appear around the date.
- Then select the end date of December 15th for the range. Now you should have a custom date range selected.
People you reach
Clicking on the “People you reach” tab gives you insights into your targeted audience. Pinterest breaks this down by demographics and interests. Demographics highlights the people who see your Pins compared to people who engage on your Pins (anyone who has liked, saved, sent or clicked one of your Pins).
The chart below shows the number of viewers and the number of people engaged on a given day or timeline. Again, on the left-hand side we can see an average monthly number of viewers and engaged people.
Analyze this information to check out how engagement trends over time. Understanding where your audience is from can help you find new opportunities for marketing.
Below the chart is a breakdown of your audience by top locations, languages, and gender. Or if you have the early access to it, head over to Audience Targeting. According to Pinterest,
- Country – based on country settings the Pinner chose
- Metro – this is only available in the U.S. right now. It’s based on DMA data provided by Digital Envoy.
- Categories and Interests – what is your audience interested in
- Device – iPhone, Android, Tablet, Web
- Language – based on Pinner account settings
- Age – available from people who have provided it
- Gender – this is based on Facebook settings and what the Pinner chose when they signed up for Pinterest.
Before you start analyzing the data and drawing insights, it’s important to understand the Pinner journey. How well do you understand the behaviors of your customers along their path to purchase on Pinterest?
First Comes First: Mapping The Pinner Journey
There are many ways to Pin. People’s pinning habits are diverse and are centered on what they care most about (their interests) and their shopping intent. Pinterest users are highly engaged and more than half (55%) of Pinners use the platform to shop and find products.
Still, people are in different stages of the buying cycle. Meaning, just because people use Pinterest, doesn’t mean they’re ready or willing to buy from you. However, understanding the Pinner journey may help you craft your Pinterest strategy.
Let’s take a closer look at these stages and how to map success with Analytics.
Just Looking – Awareness
Pinterest search is higher up the funnel. 97% of top searches on Pinterest are non-branded. One question we frequently get is, “how do you know where people are in the journey based off of their interactions with your Pins?” It’s a valid question. And one we plan on addressing.
The first stage is Just Looking. According to Pinterest, 31% of time spent on Pinterest is spent shopping, which means the rest of the time is spent in discovery. This top of the funnel discovery browsing encompasses nearly every Pinner scrolling through their feed looking for inspiration. Measure this phase by looking at your overall profile impressions and audience impressions. These two metrics will reveal how many views your Pins are receiving, as well as the number of people seeing them.
Use these as indicators for how well your Pins are doing at creating awareness.
Pin Impressions and Daily Viewers
Maybe I Could – Consideration Phase
98% of Pinners report trying new things they find on Pinterest. Imagine someone sees your Pin and stops scrolling to view it in more detail. The fact that you got someone to scroll is already a good thing. But how do you know they stopped scrolling?
Pinners can express their interest in your Pin by liking it and zooming in for a Close Up. A Close Up is when someone clicks on your Pin to expand the size to take up the whole screen. Since most Pinterest activity is done on a mobile device – 80% of all Pinners use Pinterest on mobile – its’ a really good metric when seeking to understand how many times your Pin made someone stop scrolling. We also like to review how many Close Ups and Likes each Pin earned to grasp how they’re resonating with our audience.
Here are a few other metrics to analyze to better understand audience engagement:
- Close Ups/Impressions
- Close Up to Likes Ratio
- Clicks/Close Ups
- Close Ups to Clicks Ratio
- Saves/Close Ups
- Saves to Close Ups Ratio
- Saves to Clicks Ratio
Using these metrics helps inform your image strategy on the platform as you seek to test different types of sizes and colors.
Narrowing It Down – Research And Evaluation Phase
Pinterest is a discovery platform. Most Pinners are naturally in a research and evaluation mindset when exploring their newsfeed. There are a few ways in which to measure this phase by analyzing your saves and clicks.
Below your main dashboards in Analytics is a snapshot of your 5 top performing pins over the last 30 days, sorted by the highest impressions. Aside from impressions, you’re able to see the saves, clicks, likes and pin type for each one.
Note! Promoted pins are designated with a “P” under pin type like in the example below.
I Know What I Want – Purchase
This phase is more like your typical paid search. Pinterest drives 12% of its outgoing traffic to shopping sites, which is more than any other social platform. People know what they want and are looking for options to purchase. They might not go on Pinterest to buy something, but seeing the right Pin at the right moment could lead to a sale. Plus, consider how all their pinning activity influenced their decision. It’s easy to see how a Buyable Pin or Promoted Pin might lead to a purchase.
Pinterest Buy Now Button
As performance marketers, this is probably one of the first metrics we review. Look at which Pins drove the most clicks in your Pins and boards sections. Pins with the most clicks often represent content that Pinners want to learn more about, take action on, or purchase.
Next, analyze the quality of your incoming traffic. We’ve found Pinterest is great at driving new and relevant website traffic, which makes it a perfect choice for ecommerce companies wanting new customers. Review your website engagement metrics to ensure quality traffic.
3 Things To Know As You Map The Path To Purchase
- Brands must align their content to the types of information Pinners are looking for. Recently, Pinterest asked Pinnersto choose 3 words to describe what content needs to be on Pinterest—they said useful (54%), helpful (50%) and inspiring (45%). Therefore, brands that are able to create high-value Pins for their audiences will see the most success.
- The customer journey is only getting more complex. The funnel is no longer this linear line where people progress from one buying stage to the next in an orderly fashion. People move back-and-forth and stay in some stages longer than others.
Think With Google – The Customer Journey to Online Purchase for the Food & Drink Industry
There are a variety of metrics to consider when determining ROI. We can’t just hold last-click attribution as the true measure of performance for any platform. This idea of one-size fits all approach is outdated, especially on Pinterest. People can enter any stage of the funnel and move from just looking to buying in a matter of minutes. Just look at the popularity of the Buy Now button and increasing nature of impulse buying.
- By understanding the Pinner journey, Pinterest could be a jewel in your social commerce crown for 2018. Experiment with the variety of Pins available to improve your social commerce. Brands that focus on delivering high quality, engaging and inspiring Pins will positively influence the Pinner’s path to purchase.
More Insights to Improve Your Strategy
People you reach Interests – What Your Audience Is Into
This is a more abstract feature in Pinterest Analytics. Think of this information like your Google Affinity audiences. They are a visual representation of the popular categories that your followers tend to like. It’s designed to help give you more ideas about the content your audience may like.
As a marketer, it’s important to understand whom you’re trying to reach. Some businesses go to great lengths to create detailed personas of their target audiences.
To help determine your audience persona on Pinterest, navigate over to your Interest segment under “People you reach” in Pinterest Analytics. The first section of data is a visual representation of your audience’s interests.
Pinterest claims that these interests are in no particular order or have weighted significance. Therefore, it’s best to view them all as equal when informing your strategy.
Review these interests to find out what you could Pin to engage your audience as a proactive tactic. For example, to inspire this audience, you might experiment with creating a “Woodworking Tech Gadgets” themed Pin. The Pin could link to a blog talking about the best new gadgets for woodworkers in 2018.
By creating content and sharing pins that your audience is more likely to find interesting, you’ll increase the chances of getting higher engagement rates on your Pins and boosting referral traffic from Pinterest to your website.
Boards – Pinner Boards With Lots Of Your Pins
One way people can engage with your Pins is by saving them. There are more than 100 billion Pins and 2 billion boards on Pinterest! Saves are a sign that people found your Pins interesting enough to save and share with others. But have you ever wondered what board or type of board your Pins were saved on?
You can easily find the top collection of boards that contain a large number of your Pins. Inside your Pinterest Analytics, under “People you reach”, click on the Interests link and scroll down until you see a section called Boards.
This is one our favorite audience insights for two reasons. First, you can quickly see how people are organizing your content without having to hunt it down. In the example above, people are actively pinning to lifestyle and seasonal boards.
Visit these boards to understand what else is being pinned on them. You may consider organizing a few of your boards in this way to make it easier for your audience to interact and engage with your pins.
Second, you get a better idea of how people are thinking about your brand. Board titles provide excellent context for how people actively perceive your brand.
Before moving on, ask yourself a few questions. Use these answers to inform your Pinterest strategy.
- Do you like how people are thinking about Pins or brand?
- Do you think it’s an accurate depiction of your brand or product(s)?
- What could you do to increase or decrease that perception?
Brands – Businesses Your Audience Engages
Competition takes various forms on Pinterest. There are more than 60 million unique shoppable products on Pinterest, including Buyable Pins and shoppable product Pins. Competitors include businesses selling the same product(s) as you and the companies populating your audiences’ feed with Pins.
Thankfully, Pinterest provides a list of brands that your audience engages with in the Interest segment under Your Audiences dashboard.
While most of the time this list is comprised of bigger publisher brands — think Buzzfeed and POPSUGAR — that probably aren’t your direct competitors, you are still competing with them for audience attention.
Start by sifting through the brands and looking for trends in types of content. You’ll get a sense of the types of content and Pins your audiences interacts with on a daily basis. Look over their boards and pins, because they might inspire what you create next.
Again, ask yourself a few questions:
- What messages is your audience hearing?
- What do you like about their boards or Pins? What do you not like?
- Is there anything you can mimic or do differently?
- How can your Pins stand out from the competition?
Use these Pins to learn what your audience is hearing, seeing and interacting with to help inform your Pinterest strategy.
Power Pins – Pins with a High Mix of Saves, Clicks and More
Pinterest enabled Promoted Pins to all US businesses in January 2016. Promoted Pins are “Pins that businesses pay to appear where you’re more likely to notice them.” They are regular Pins that you can pay for so that more of your desired audience sees them and they are effective for getting your products and content in the most relevant places on Pinterest.
In a Kantar Millward Brown meta analysis, Promoted Pins drove strong upper and lower funnel impact for brands with mid-level awareness (30-70%), making Pinterest a good space for emerging brands to find engaged audiences. They’re an effective way to gain extra exposure and engagement on your Pins. But, if you’re unsure which Pins to start boosting, turn to your Power Pins.
Power Pins are Pins with a high mix of saves, clicks, comments, likes and more. They are the Pins with all-time high user engagement and interactions since the beginning of your account. Pinterest ranks your all-time Pins for you and they can be found under your Profile dashboard.
An easy way to start with Promoted Pins is with your Power Pins, as they have done well historically. This may reduce the risk of experimenting with the platform. According to Pinterest, “There’s overlap between the Pins that do well in search and are also Power Pins. These Pins aren’t just product Pins, they’re lifestyle Pins that are an extension of my brand.”
Make sure to look for trends with these Pins. Seeing your greatest hits can help you find bigger content trends across your Pins that you can use to refine your future content strategy.
Review the images to glean insights:
- Are they engaging photos?
- Is there a color pattern?
- What do you notice about the shape of the image?
- Are there words on the image?
Then, analyze the content of Pin:
- Is a there a theme?
- Is it seasonal or a certain type of content?
- Are the titles and Pin descriptions search-friendly?
- Do they positively reflect the brand?
Power Pins make an excellent place to start with Promoted Pins and gain an understanding about which Pins have already performed well. Use Power Pins to create more content around lifestyle themes that relate to the brand and link them back to your website. Also, make sure descriptions are search-friendly to they can become Power Pins.
Your Followers and All Apps
As you make your way through Pinterest Analytics and gain valuable insights about your audience, it’s important to segment and analyze just your followers and devices.
Located under Your Audience analytics, there is an option to segment the data by all audiences or just by your followers.
All audiences include everyone who has ever seen one of your Pins, while your followers is reserved for the people who follow your business and boards.
Limiting the data to just your followers allows for a deeper analysis of the people who care the most about your business. Begin by evaluating their Interest collection, Pinner Boards and the businesses they engage with, like we did above.
Make sure to compare and contrast the similarities and differences between your followers and audiences. Knowing what your followers are interested in will give you a clue on what’s working well and how they think about your brand.
Lastly, contained within all of your Pinterest dashboards, you’ll have the option to segment your data by app or device. This is especially important given the mobile-centric nature of Pinterest users.
Even though generally more Pinterest users are on mobile, it is still important to segment how many of your users view Pinterest from their desktop computer versus their mobile phone versus their tablet.
Why is that important? Because Pins and Boards look very different across each of those screen sizes. By understanding which device your audience uses the most, you can start optimizing your pins for that device.
Examine your Pins on all the devices.
- Are there Pins performing better on certain devices? Why?
- How do they look? Are they too tall? Too small?
- Can you read the words on the Pin from your Smartphone?
- How do the colors look in the feed? Do they grab your attention?
- Does the description keep your attention and make you want to click-thru?
These are a few of the questions you should ask yourself when looking through the device segment. Understanding their answers will help you to maximize your next Pin.
Over to You
Pinterest Analytics is evolving into a platform where savvy marketers can gain insights into what their customers want. The platform isn’t without its weaknesses. However, as more advertisers demand more insights and analysis, Pinterest will keep adding features that make it easier for advertisers and marketers to meet and engage with their audiences.
Pinterest is all about discovery and there are many insights that can be gleaned from your Pinterest Analytics if you know where to look and how to frame the data. Employ these insights to inform your Pinterest strategy and you’ll improve your content marketing strategies.
72% of marketers all around the world are spending less than 15% of their funds on social. Although Facebook is the leading networking site for social advertising, there are many other networking platforms that you should be investing in. In fact, there are well over 1 million advertisers on Instagram and growing. And 40% of marketers plan to increase their budgets in Instagram in the next 12 months.
Why Invest In Instagram?
Instagram’s popularity is rapidly growing, just second behind Facebook, and marketers are finding success with ad formats, such as photo, video, mobile apps and carousel ads.
[Social platforms advertisers are currently investing in. Source: Hanapin Marketing’s 2017 State of Paid Social Report]
About 42% of advertisers are investing a good amount of dollars in Instagram, but the majority of those are not taking advantage of new, unique formats, like Instagram Stories, and Mobile App Installs, so right now is the time to jump in and try your hand at Instagram ads before it becomes as highly populated as Facebook!
Who’s on Instagram?
According to internal Instagram data, there are 800M active monthly users and 500M daily active users and continuing to grow. Here are some other compelling Instagram stats gathered by Omincore:
- 68% of Instagram users are females
- 32% of all internet users are on Instagram
- 59% of internet users between the ages of 18 and 29 use Instagram
- 33% of internet users between the ages of 30 and 49 use Instagram
- 17% of teens say Instagram is the most important social media site (up from 12% in 2012)
69% of Millienals are on Instagram daily, checking more than 13X a day. 55% of these users are women. 64% are women between the ages of 18 – 34, while 70% are men ages 18 – 34.
If your target audience are Millennials, Instagram is a growing platform you don’t want to miss out on. Instagram users are highly engaged, well-educated and possess a positive mindset of the brands that advertise on the platform.
Getting Started With Instagram
1) Creating Instagram Ads Without an Instagram Account
Instagram is part of Facebook’s ad network making it easy to have a cohesive marketing plan for both platforms. Once you are running ads in Facebook, creating ads in Instagram is basically just like creating ads in Facebook. All you need to do is select “Instagram” as a Placement for your ads. Additionally, there are a few other items you’ll need to know to get started.
Similar to Facebook Ads, you have the ability to create ads through Ad Creation, Power Editor, or Facebook API. Below is a tutorial on how to create Instagram ads via Ad Creation without an Instagram account.
Go to Create Campaign in Facebook’s Ad Manager
Choose an Objective – Here you will need to choose a campaign objective that supports Instagram, including: Awareness, Consideration, and Conversions.
Facebook recommends the following choices, broken out by campaign objective:
- Brand awareness: Facebook and Instagram (including Reach and Frequency buying)
- Engagement: Facebook and Instagram (including Reach and Frequency buying)
- Video Views: Facebook and (including Reach and Frequency buying)
- App installs: Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Audience Network
Build Out Audience Details – A huge benefit of Instagram is the ability to use the same powerful targeting options as Facebook! Select the specific targeting and demographic information you would like to target on Instagram just as you would while creating a Facebook Ad.
Placements > Edit Placements > Select Instagram. Here you can select which placements you would like to run on, including Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network, and Messenger. By default, all but Messenger will be selected. Facebook recommends that you run on both Facebook and Instagram for ease of set-up. However, you can create separate Ad Sets for each targeting method to allow for segmentation of placements.
Budget & Schedule – Set up campaign budgets, bidding, and ad schedule then select continue. Here you can select between Automated or Manual based on a cost per average or maximum purchase. If you’re not sure what bid to use, Facebook will set the bid for you and optimize toward the highest number of clicks at the best price. If you know what a particular conversion or click is worth to you, choose Manual bidding. But be careful not to set a bid that is much lower than other advertisers or Facebook won’t deliver your ad.
Create Ads – Here you can select between Single Image ads, Carousel, Slideshow, Dynamic Ads or Video. Canvas Ads are currently not available on Instagram at this time.
You can also run ads that run on Instagram Stories using a single photo or a video (up to 15 seconds) that appear between people’s stories. Only 9:16 vertical images and video can be used for ads on stories. When setting up the ad in Facebook Ads Manager, select Edit Placements, then select the Instagram placement and click Stories. While stories ads can only be run on Instagram, they still use the same targeting and measurement tools as ads that run on Facebook.
Pages & Links – For this set-up, if you do not have an Instagram account, it will not be linked so you will need to select the Facebook page that will represent your business on Instagram. If you have an Instagram account, you would select that account here as well.
Build out Ad details – i.e. Headline, text, images, video, ect.
Under Ad Preview make sure Instagram is selected.
2) Instagram Account vs. No Instagram Account Set-Up
You are able to run ads on Instagram without having an Instagram account, however, it is recommended that an Instagram account is set-up. Below are a few issues you could face when running Instagram Ads with no Instagram account.
Your Facebook Page’s name and image will be used on your Instagram ad so that people can easily identify your business.
You won’t be able to respond to comments on your ad.
Your Instagram handle will be your Facebook Page’s name. It will be grayed out and won’t be clickable. If your Facebook Page’s name exceeds the IG handle character limit, it will be truncated with “…”
3) Instagram Ad Creative Best Practices
Instagram is at the forefront of Visual Communication Advertising. The key to creative for Instagram is to have high quality visuals and images that focus on where the user is at in the funnel or decision process with a clear call to action.
Instagram ad formats follow the same specifications as Facebook. As mentioned above in the set-up, Instagram allows Single Image, Video, Slideshow, Dynamic ads, Carousel ads and Mobile App installs. The Instagram Ads appear in the feed and can be noticed with a Sponsored label that appears under the profile name.
Single image ads show as square, vertical, or landscape formats. Video ads may appear in square or landscape formats. While carousel formats will show in square format and users can click on arrows to scroll to view other images for carousel ads.
Instagram is a visual platform where images are the main focus, so selecting the right images can make or break an ad. Our friends at AdEspresso provide some great key insights from a study provided by Curalate that help layout best practices when selecting images for Instagram ads, including:
- Use images with high brightness and light
- Use images with natural light
- Have lots of background space in your images
- Choose images with “colder” dominant colors like blue vs. red
- Have a single dominant color in your images
4.) Targeting and Bidding
When it comes to setting up audience targeting for Instagram, advertisers have all the targeting features that are available in Facebook for Instagram. For example you have the ability to target users that have visited your website or downloaded your app. Or create audience that are similar to those have completed your desired conversion action. This ability allows you target your Instagram ads for your target personas.
To view your audience size estimated delivery size, you can view those directly in power editor once you added your audience targeting.
When it comes to audience size, Instagram recommends starting with a larger broader audience to let the system learn and refine targeting as necessary to drive performance.
Bidding for Instagram may vary depending on your advertising goal. For example, if you have a very tight CPM or CPC goal you may choose to use a manual bidding option. However, Instagram recommends using an automated bidding approach by optimizing for conversion objective to be the most effective way of bidding.
This allows the system to find the best results to achieve your goals. We’ve seen success using other bidding models but tend to start with an Optimize for Conversion approach to start.
5.) Attribution and Pixel Placement
Pixel placement is key to any Instagram or Facebook account in order to use all the insights and features the platforms have to offer including: Optimized Bidding as mentioned above and to gain greater insights into attribution across devices as well. In fact, 58% of Instagram users conversion occur on desktop vs. mobile.
The Facebook Pixel can be found in your Facebook Business Manager > Tools > Assets > Pixels. Here you can create Facebook pixels and offline events. Typically you will place a PageView pixel on all pages and a Purchase/Lead pixel on the final conversion event page (i.e. Thank you page).
By placing the pixel on all pages of the site, you will be able to target users at various levels of the funnel, and gain insight into how users are interacting across devices. Here is a full guide to Facebook Pixel implementation support.
6) Reporting And Results
You can report and view Instagram results the same as you do on Facebook through the PowerEditor under All Tools > Ads Reporting. From here, just select the columns you would like in the report and be sure placements are selected.
This particular campaign hasn’t been running for long, but you can already see that over a 60-day period the results on the site are -18% lower Cost Per Results on Instagram compared to Facebook! This expansion into Instagram has allowed expansion with social reach, increase conversions, and engagement as a whole.
By leveraging all of these platforms and using these tips, you can exponentially increase your success on social and increase awareness of your brand and gain more return. Don’t wait – start advertising on these platforms now, before the competition gets too fierce!