Why we should stop using DA to measure influencers

Why we should stop using DA to measure influencers

Whether you’re an SEO, PR or a website owner, it’s highly likely you’ve come across DA (Domain Authority). The metric, created by industry-leading platform Moz, was designed to help search marketers understand the value of a domain, at a glance and compare it with others in the same industry or niche. This was important for SEO, third party links have long been used to understand how “trustworthy” a website is and form part of Google’s “ranking criteria” (although their importance and how this works is a hot talking point in SEO).

Moz uses their index (or understanding of the web), to map out these links between sites and, alongside other factors, try to assign a “competition” score to each website they encounter. This can then be used as a proxy to determine the value of a said site.

Note: I have nothing against Moz. This piece isn’t in any way designed to be a slight on them or their work, but further insight and context into how to use the data they provide.

The eye-opener to follower deception

Last year, Social Chain opened marketers’ eyes to the murky world of follower deception. Many brands understand the importance of influencers to the digital ecosystem, but measuring the value that someone can bring prior to working with them is difficult and time-consuming. As such, often companies rely on metrics that symbolizes “reputation”, followers, engagement, and other similar indicators. However, as Social Chain asserted, the typical signposts do not always depict a true picture and if not completely understood or manipulated, can lead to large amounts of spend being wasted.

This is a common theme with SEO. Although it’s less a question of manipulation and more a question of understanding. In 2012, Penguin, Google’s “webspam” filter was rolled-out and assigned a positive or negative value to third party links. Prior to this, “trust” was judged on an arguably simpler set of volume-based criteria, but as the flaws in the system were exploited. It soon became clear that a more complex solution was required, to ensure the integrity of search results was maintained. Trust continued to be an important factor in success, but SEO’s had to start thinking more carefully about how they generated these. Here the connection between SEO and PR became more important as links could not be artificially built they had to be earned, naturally.

The two teams started to collaborate more closely, with SEOs providing PRs extra resource to contact a “lower”, but still valuable tier of influencer and PRs helping SEOs reach the higher, more widely trusted publications that they could not access before. Over time, the lines between SEO and other channels have started to blur – and as teams were pushed to operate across remits, PRs started to use SEO metrics, with DA taking precedence (as it was arguably the simplest to use), to understand more about the people they were contacting. With investment from brands increasing, more influencers started to appear, and from this grew an industry in its own right.

Fast forward to the present day

An influencer marketer will likely sit across content, Social, PR, and SEO, with the goal of engaging personalities to improve performance across all the channels they are connected to (based on the goals of the organization/campaign). For social and PR, engagement and reach can be more easily measured. But SEO has always been complicated. This is because “good SEO” has never been about links alone and the idea of a “link value” is entirely subjective, based on factors that change between industries, counties, and even search results. As such, the idea of using a single, links-based metric to determine the value a domain can provide for SEO is inherently floored – and yet, many marketers, influencers and PR teams still continue to use DA for this purpose.

To make matters more complex, the whole link-building ecosystem has been flooded with misinformation. I discussed this in a recent webinar with SEMRush, but it’s often been the case that the wider industry’s understanding of the link building practice has come through commentators on the practice and not the experts conducting the work themselves. This means, the influencers and PR teams, and not the SEO community themselves.

Why is this the case?

There’s really no simple answer, although, for a long time before the collaboration was mainstream, it would be a frequent occurrence for SEOs and PRs to clash over remit cross-over. In the agency world, this could have led to reduced budgets – why pay two agencies to do the work of one, although (from my experience), clients were very much open to creating a joined-up approach between both teams.

While conflict happened behind the scenes, uncertainty, and misinformation filtered out to the influencer market, with PRs and SEOs trying to show that they “knew enough” about the other to make a wider judgment on influencer selection for projects. This led to followers and domain authority becoming key metrics in this process which, although not unhelpful, rarely offered the truest picture of a website’s worth. In turn, this led to transactional relationships with websites, where links and shares were bought for a price that, once this became a commodity only ever increased. Instead of paying for the time and expertise of the people that were being engaged, their value became intrinsically tied to their reach or their link-equity (perceived through domain authority), two metrics that could be easily manipulated.

Now, the growing rumble of discontent within the influencer landscape has finally hit the headlines with a theatrical flourish. Unfortunately for many, this has come too late, with brands realizing the cost of investing in reach over expertise, most famously with the Fyre festival scandal. But, this doesn’t mean that influencer marketing isn’t valuable, as I wrote at the time, but that how and most importantly – the reasons as to why marketers engage with content creators need to change. We’ve seen publicly how using followers to measure reach can be folly. But there’s still time to take these learnings and apply them to domain authority too before something as equally damaging to the industry happens.

Latest developments

Recent legislation in the UK has started to pave the way for change in this field. It’s certainly made working with influencers harder, in large part to the ambiguity around the specifics of how the changes should be interpreted, I personally apply the principle of “better safe than sorry”, even from a search perspective. Every brand interaction should now be declared as an advert, including event invites and even in cases where the only “payment” has been a reimbursing of travel costs. With Google’s hardline view on manipulative link building, the practice of engaging “high authority” SEO influencers is slowly ending or at least, becoming incredibly risky.

Instead, we should look to engage influencers for their subject matter expertise and credibility they can lend to a story or campaign. In practice, this means killing the transactional “I give you X and you give me Y” type of relationships and seeing content creators as partners in getting your message out to the world. For SEO, this may mean using “no-follow” links (which, in basic terms, tell crawlers that they should not consider them for search benefit), but this shouldn’t be an issue. Sure, their direct value on search may be limited, but to think that the search algorithm considers the web in as simple terms as this would be myopic. There are some brilliant studies around the power of brand on search, which are worth noting in this context. Moreover, at its heart, a link is there to carry users from A to B. Adding a “no-follow” tag doesn’t stop this from happening and in this case, using domain authority as a metric often would lead to discounting a valuable traffic driving part of this ecosystem.

With this shift in the industry and better collaboration than ever between search and the wider marketing mix, the opportunity for content, search and marketing communication teams to unite is stronger than ever. So too, is the need for it, as achieving cut-through in the wall of digital noise is harder than it’s ever been. Campaigns, to be successful on all fronts, must genuinely inspire, engage or provide value to users and older-school tactics, such as product reviews and content seeding, have all but lost their ability to drive results. On this point, we simply must move away from using domain authority and followers as a metric, as neither is an effective gauge of how useful a site might be to its users.

Closing notes

I’d like to speak directly to influencers because without a universal change in mindset, we’ll continue to see the same practices continue and the channel will continue to be under-utilized. I’d impress upon them the need to keep an open mind and focus on becoming the best subject matter experts that they can. I’d encourage the end of any agonizing over “vanity metrics”, which are often taken out of context, and in place look to whether their users are genuinely engaging with their content, and how this impacts their value as creators. Importantly, I’d implore everyone, PRs and SEOs included, to have a little more fun, harness the incredible creativity that brand communications teams, content creators, and influencer marketers can yield and build something great together.

Ric Rodriguez is an SEO Director and winner of the 2018 Drum Search Award. He can be found on Twitter @RicRodriguez_UK.

Related reading

How to master technical SEO Six areas to attack now
Image optimization for SEO Everything you need to know for success
A guide to implementing Google’s “How-to” schema

How to Add More Context to Your Social Media Content via @casieg

With social media engagement hovering below 0.1%, networks showing more ads than ever, and organic social visibility in a continuous decline, social media does not seem like the lucrative marketing channel it once was.

However, user bases are growing, customers are using social to interact with brands, and most importantly, social is having an impact on purchasing decisions.

What does this tell us?

While social media reach may be declining, your customers are still relying on these platforms to help them find information and connect with brands.

It tells us we have to figure out how to reach them in a landscape that’s working against us. We have to make social work for us in a different way.

Part of this starts with the content itself.

How do we give our audience something that interests them, that stands out, that captures their attention, all while adhering to character limits?

How to Add More Context to Your Social Media Content

How to Add More Context to Your Social Media Content

We add context.

As a user, one of my biggest frustrations is clicking on a link only to feel disappointed by the content itself.

Because of that, I’m more reluctant to click on links.

However, if I have an understanding of what the content entails before I actually open it, that’s immensely helpful.

The great thing is this can be done through imagery, expanded updates, videos, formatting, and more.

Let’s dive in.

1. Go Beyond the Headline

It’s simple – copy the post title and throw it into a social update. Easy enough right?

The problem with this is it can be so boring! In most cases, it doesn’t sell the post and it certainly doesn’t encourage people to click.

Instead of just sharing the headline, consider the following.


Whether it’s a quote shared within the piece or a sentence that captured your attention, use call outs in your update.


Statistics are a great way to make a point and/or support an idea. On top of that, they tend to draw people’s attention.

Have a stat within your content that is intriguing? Use that in your social updates.

Challenges / Solutions

Is your content solving someone’s problem? Then lead with that.

Tell your audience what the challenge is and how your content is helping to solve it.


One of my favorite content tactics, especially in longer form content, is to include a key takeaway for your readers. It calls out important points for the reader and ensures even the laziest readers can walk away with something.

The same thing applies to social updates. Don’t hesitate to focus on the key takeaways.

Want more tips on writing the perfect social media update?

I’d recommend this piece from Post Planner which looks at everything from optimal length to passive voice and audience messaging.

2. Make Better Use of Imagery

This one might seem obvious.

However, in my opinion, images are the key to success in social.

After all, we know users remember images over words and colors can grab attention much better than black and white.

The problem I see, is we are often lazy in our image selection. I know I am certainly guilty of this.

We grab a stock image or the featured blog image and call it a day. How helpful is that really?

How can we use images to add context to our social updates?

Here are a few ideas.

Use Your Words

Remember how I just said to use quotes/takeaways/stats in your updates? Take those and make them into images.

It’s a great way to catch people’s attention and provide some additional information to your update.

Add Motion

A few months ago I came across a Cotapaxi Instagram ad that I absolutely loved. Of course, I can’t find the exact ad, but it looked very much like this:

Cotapaxi is selling coats and these coats come in a variation of colors.

How can you show your audience those variations in one update?

With a GIF!

GIFs are fun, they grab attention, and with technology, creating them has never been easier.

Tools like Gifox, ezGif, and Giphy are free and simple to use.

Add a Voice

Want to give your users a preview of what they are going to get?

Why not talk directly to them?

Brie Anderson, a Program Director of Digital Marketing at WSU Tech recently posted a conference recap…as a video:

What I love about this post is it excites me. It tells me about the conference and what takeaways I should know.

The reality is, this could be done for any type of content and it can be done directly from your phone.

Just like GIFs, video doesn’t have to be hard and even subtitles can be done for free.

Tell a Story

Images allow us to tell a story that we might not otherwise be able to tell. Take for example these Facebook ads Chanel ran during Mother’s Day:

No words would be able to capture the feeling these ads bring. They are cute. They tell a story. And we know exactly what they are for.

Use your images to go beyond the normal. Use them to tell the story you want told.

Know Your Meme

The web moves quick and so do memes. From None of My Business Kermit to Sad Keanu, you never know what you might come across.

While silly, memes can be a great way to add context to your social updates. But just like anything else, don’t jump on a meme for the sake of jumping on it. Make sure it works for your brand. 

3. Use Your Whitespace

One thing I’ve noticed more lately is expanded social updates – updates that take up more space but don’t necessarily include more words.

Here’s an example:

What I love about these expanded updates is they allow you to give your followers more information about what you are sharing without overcrowding. They feel purposeful.

A few tips for creating expanded updates:

Use Emojis

Emojis can help you make a point much easier than words. They also stand out.

Let’s say you are going to list 3 items. Use the emoji numerals instead of simply writing the numbers 1,2,3. It makes the same point but grabs the eye a bit more.

Know the Network

If you are going to create expanded updates, remember that Facebook and LinkedIn will both cut off your update. Put your most important info at the beginning and be mindful of length.

End with Hashtags

Regardless of which network you are posting to, if you are going to create an expanded update, move your hashtags to the end.

While hashtags can be beneficial to search and add context, they can make an update appear crowded.

Go Get Moving!

Social media is becoming more and more difficult but that doesn’t mean there isn’t value.

As you start planning your next round of updates, think about how you can use some of the tips mentioned above to add more context and drive engagement.

Remember, you don’t have to do everything on this list but try testing different elements to find which works best for your audience. You never know what you might discover.

More Resources:

Image Credits

In-Post Image: Pexels

The 7 Biggest Social Media Sites in 2019 via @KristiKellogg


Editor’s Note: This post is from Search Engine Journal’s new ebook How to Dominate Social Media: A Complete Strategy Guide. This in-depth guide will teach you the essentials of social media marketing. Want your copy now? Download it here or scroll to the bottom of this post for more details.

All social media networks are not created equally.

While Instagram might be a powerhouse for one brand, it’ll do nothing for another – and while one business might have tons of engagement on Facebook, another business will gain more traction on LinkedIn.

With that in mind, how do you choose where to invest your time (and potentially ad spend)?

The best move is to have at least a presence on each of the major platforms, and from there, strategically choose which ones to double down on.

We’re going to take a look at each of the seven major social media platforms in our social media guide: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Reddit.

You’ll also gain insights into what content succeeds on each platform and get actionable tips to take your own social media marketing to the next level.

Before we dive in, let’s take a look at each of these networks at a glance.

1. Facebook

  • Headquarters: Menlo Park, CA
  • Founded: 2004
  • Active Monthly Users: 2.38 billion

This OG social media network is tried and true, and no matter your industry, there’s a space for you on Facebook.

Some of the leading industries on Facebook include financial services, ecommerce, retail, gaming, entertainment, media, telecom, technology, consumer goods, and automotive businesses.

While the News Feed increasingly suppresses business posts, there are still ways to bolster engagement without investing in ads.

Consider joining (or creating) groups, using a Facebook Messenger chatbot, or using live video to up your engagement.

2. Twitter

  • Headquarters: San Francisco, CA
  • Founded: 2006
  • Active Monthly Users: 321 million

Fast and sometimes furious, certain businesses really thrive on Twitter.

If your business is related to entertainment, sports, politics, or marketing, you stand to earn tremendous engagement on Twitter.

On Twitter, brands have an opportunity to craft and hone their voice – there’s room to be clever and personable in addition to informative and helpful.

Jump into threads, provide value, share your own content as well as others, and join the nonstop conversation.

3. LinkedIn

  • Headquarters: Mountain View, CA
  • Founded: 2003
  • Active Monthly Users: 260 million+

Within its massive network of professionals, you’ll find more than 61 million users in senior positions on LinkedIn.

If you’re looking for decision makers who have the power to hire your company, stock your product, or partner with you, LinkedIn is the place to be.

Did you know that 44% of LinkedIn users have an income above the national median? Or that more than 50% of Americans with a college degree use LinkedIn?

It might not be the flashiest social media network, but there’s unlimited potential for connecting with an elite group of professionals who can make a difference for your business.

4. Instagram

  • Headquarters: Menlo Park, CA
  • Launched: 2010
  • Active users: 1 billion

Instagram is a smorgasbord of eye-catching visuals and inspiring creativity.

It’s also a social network where product-based businesses, influencers, and coaches can thrive.

Since introducing shoppable posts in 2018, the potential ROI for product-based businesses is higher than ever – not only can B2B’s connect with a massive audience, they can link the product information and sales straight from the ‘gram.

If your target demographic is under 35, Instagram is a gold mine: 63% of users are between the ages of 18 to 34, with virtually even split between male and female users.

5. Snapchat

  • Headquarters: Los Angeles, CA
  • Founded: 2011
  • Active Monthly Users: 330 million+

If your target demographic is young, you definitely want to get in on Snapchat.

The most active users are Snapchat are 13-year olds, and they’re spending upwards of 30 minutes a day on the app.

Snapchat is a haven for user-generated content, behind-the-scenes videos, exclusive offers, and influencer takeovers.

6. Pinterest

  • Founded: 2010
  • Headquarters: San Francisco, CA
  • Active Monthly Users: 250 million

Some of the most popular content on Pinterest includes fashion, food, decor, wedding, workout and DIY-related pins.

In addition, anything with rich visual can thrive on Pinterest.

Notably, 81% of Pinterest users are female – if you have a predominantly female audience, that’s a compelling reason to invest time in social media marketing on Pinterest.

That’s not to say that men aren’t on Pinterest.

In fact, 40% of new Pinterest signups are male.

7. Reddit

  • Founded: 2005
  • Headquarters: San Francisco, CA
  • Active Monthly Users: 330 million

Reddit heralds itself as “the front page of the internet.”

According to Alexa rankings, Reddit is one of the top 20 most-visited sites.

Reddit has a unique blend of content and community, with more than 150,000 communities dedicated to every topic imaginable.

With so many niches, there’s a place for every brand and business – it’s a matter of finding the niches where your potential customers are active and diving in.

Get Our Guide to Social Media Marketing

We’ve only just scratched the surface. Ready to go much deeper?

Search Engine Journal’s ebook, How to Dominate Social Media: A Complete Strategy Guide, will tell you everything you need to know about social media marketing, offering valuable insights, proven strategies, and actionable takeaways that you can start using right now.

Download it here.

If you’re bootstrapping your social media efforts yourself, this guide will help you every step of the way, from creating and optimizing your profiles to driving engagement and creating relationships with customers.

Or, if you’re looking to outsource your social media to an agency or hire someone to work for your brand in-house, you can use this guide to as a resource for knowing what to look for as you interview candidates.

And if you’re simply curious about social media marketing and haven’t decided whether you want to invest time and money into it, this guide will showcase exactly why social media matters and give you insights into the significant potential for growth and revenue you can earn through successful social media strategy.

You’ll learn how to set goals and objectives on each of these platforms, and what ROI to expect.

You’ll also learn how to get more followers and engagement, with tips and tools specific to each network.

Finally, we’ll look into the future and dive into emerging social media networks that are on our radar.

Take Your Social Media Strategy to the Next Level

It’s important to note that social media marketing is a practice, not a theory.

The strategies outlined in this guide are based on actual campaigns, concrete results, and data.

How to Dominate Social Media: A Complete Strategy Guide is divided into 17 information-packed chapters:

  • Intro: The 7 Biggest Social Media Sites: Everything You Need to Know
  • Chapter 1: How to Completely Optimize Your Facebook Page
  • Chapter 2: 8 Ways to Increase Engagement on Your Facebook Business Page Without Spending a Dime
  • Chapter 3: How to Create a Rock Solid Twitter Profile
  • Chapter 4: 21 Things to Tweet from Your Business Twitter Account
  • Chapter 5: Facebook Messenger Marketing and Chatbots: The Way of the Future
  • Chapter 6: 5 Ways to Use LinkedIn to Power Your Business
  • Chapter 7: 15 Ways to Boost Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn
  • Chapter 8: How to Advertise on LinkedIn in 2019: A Beginner’s Guide
  • Chapter 9: 12 Strategies to Boost Growth on Pinterest
  • Chapter 10: Guide to Reddit: Stats, Demographics, and Basic Differences
  • Chapter 11: Guide to Reddit: Getting Started
  • Chapter 12: 9 Reasons to Use Instagram for Business
  • Chapter 13: 22 Proven Ways to Get Followers on Instagram in 2019
  • Chapter 14: Emerging Social Media Networks and Trends
  • Chapter 15: 10 Ways Businesses Can Use Snapchat
  • Chapter 16: The Top 15 Tools for Managing Social Media Accounts

We tapped practicing industry leaders to create this guide – I’m joined by authors like Brent Csutoras, Lisa Buyer, Anna Crowe, Ashley Ward, Beverley Theresa, and Victoria Edwards, and we’re excited to share what’s really working for businesses around the world.

How do we know what works?

We do it for our clients every day – and we’re eager to share our collective knowledge in this ultimate guide to social media marketing.

Let’s get started.

Your (Online) Competitors May Not Be Who You Think They Are via @stoneyd

If I asked you who your competitors are, you could probably name two or three without blinking.

But what if I told you that they may not really be your competition? And that there are other “competitors” out there that are a far greater risk to your online success?

That’s crazy talk, right?

Maybe not.

When you think about your competitors, you probably think of those in the same space as you in terms of the product or service you sell.

And yes, that is your competition.

But when it comes to the web, unless those competitors are filling the first page of results for relevant keywords, they may not be your true competition at all.

The companies, businesses, blogs, tweets, social profiles, directories, etc., that dominate the first page of results are the real competition – even if they do not actually compete with you business-wise.

Anyone occupying the search results space that you have your eye on is who you’re competing against for that space.

Say you have an impulse-buy product that you want to sell at the local supermarket. Your product is not a candy bar, package of gum, or a magazine, but you know that the checkout lane is the best place for you to present it.

So even though those products are not your direct competition, you are competing for those three feet of real estate in the checkout lane.

That’s Page 1 of Google!

Organic Non-Competition Competition

It’s inevitable that your business category competitors will rank for many of the same keywords as you.

But so will a lot of other websites that have created content around and within your business category, such as informational and DIY sites or blogs.

Much of that content will rank for the same phrases you’re after. While you may not be competing with those websites for dollars, you’re definitely competing with them for audience access.

Let’s look at an example using the search phrase “wedding photography.”

Just looking at the first set of (my) results, you see several wedding photographers, as you would expect, but also a photographer directory and blog post for wedding photography tips.

Wedding photographer screenshot

Wedding photographer screenshot

Because these non-competitor competitors are taking these coveted top positions, your job is to figure out how you’re going to unseat them.

Of course, it doesn’t matter who you unseat, but the fact is… somebody has to go in order to make room for you!

The first tool in your arsenal is good old-fashioned SEO:

Beyond that, you need to be hyper-focused on searcher intent.

You should always be optimizing for searcher intent, but in this situation, it takes on extra significance.

You have to get into the mind of the searcher: Are they looking for a photographer, or do they want tips or general information?

Run searches on your own keywords and see what you find.

If you find that the query isn’t producing results similar to your business, you may need to go after different keywords or for more specific, long-tail phrases.

For instance, maybe you should be optimizing for “wedding photographers in [your city]” instead. That may or may not change the nature of the competition, but you’ll generally find the competition to be less fierce.

Social Media Non-Competition

Social Media Competition

Social Media Competition

Search engines aren’t the only place where you’ll run into nontraditional competitors.

When it comes to social media, I dare say that the competition is much stiffer because you’re not just competing with other businesses, you’re also competing with “content” from your audience’s friends and family.

On top of that, social media networks are adjusting their algorithms in a way that likely gives you less reach rather than more.

Bottom line: If your audience doesn’t engage with your content, good luck getting your social posts seen… unless you pay for it.

How do you compete with that?

By creating engaging social media content.

You need to be producing content that your audience wants to see in their stream.

For the most part, people are on social media to be entertained and informed. They are not there to be sold to, except in the rarest of circumstances. And that usually only comes after a comfortable amount of engagement.

You can compete on social media by providing interesting, entertaining, informative, and useful content.

For instance, if you are a wedding photographer, you might include posts about wedding day tips or memes about the craziness of wedding planning. This type of content is far more likely to be read, shared, and even commented on.

You can also ask questions that encourage interaction, such as “What’s your favorite wedding movie?”

More than anything, people want to engage with something real.

If you’re just out to promote your business, your social media game is gonna get beat by the hip granny that recalls stories of her children getting married. In short, be fun, be human, and be engaging.

Overcoming Your Non-Competition Competition

We live in a digital world.

Your “competition” is no longer just those you’d consider a traditional rival.

Your online competition can include companies half a world away, a little old lady down the street, or a blogger working from his mom’s basement at night.

The key to competing in the digital world is to stand out.

That may be simple – but it isn’t easy.

Beating this online competition first starts with recognizing it.

If you have your sights set somewhere else, you can’t be surprised when you’re not getting the results you want.

Your audience isn’t just in your industry. It’s not just in search. Not just in social media.

It’s everywhere.

It’s anyone that is filling the space you want to be, and anything that is grabbing the attention of the audience you want.

Once you have your proper sights set, start creating the type of content that is working for them – but do it better. Look for the things no one else is doing that your audience wishes someone was – and make that someone you!

And finally, beating your competition means finding creative ways to engage with your audience. Your content is just a starting point, but what you do from there makes all the difference.

All told, you can only understand your competition by understanding your audience and targeting them effectively. Which all comes down to listening for what they want and delivering that in spades.

More Resources:

Image Credits

Featured Image: Pixabay, modified by author
In-post Image #1: Screenshot taken by author, May 2019
In-post Image #2: Pixabay

5 of the Best Social Media Lead Gen Techniques via @afhammer


I have worked with B2B advertisers for nearly my entire PPC career. During this time, social platforms have introduced several great features for B2B advertising and lead generation.

Below are a few of my favorite lead gen tactics for paid social platforms. We will be looking at Facebook and LinkedIn exclusively because these are two of the biggest social platforms for lead gen.

1. Lead Gen Form Ads

This seems like an obvious recommendation, but I have encountered several B2B advertisers who have not leveraged one-click lead forms.

5 of the Best Social Media Lead Gen Techniques

5 of the Best Social Media Lead Gen Techniques

5 of the Best Social Media Lead Gen Techniques

5 of the Best Social Media Lead Gen Techniques

Why You Should Use This Feature

This ad type automatically pre-fills the form with user data, making it as easy as one click for a user to fill in your form.

Thanks to the ease of use and customization capabilities, these ads are great for anything from content promotion to demo signups (and even beyond traditional lead gen).

Some advertisers choose to employ additional fields on their lead forms that require the user to engage more with the form.

In addition to gathering more information about the user, additional fields can also help with prequalifying leads and learning more about where users are in the buyer’s journey.

Facebook lead gen forms allow advertisers to create up to 15 custom questions.

LinkedIn lead gen forms allow advertisers to select up to 12 fields and utilize custom questions.

How to Use This Feature

Lead gen forms are an easy ad type to set up. There is no landing page needed, only the form fields and any supporting information you want to be included on the form itself.

In Facebook, lead ads can be created in Ads Manager or from a Page. A new campaign simply needs to be set to the Lead Generation objective to utilize lead ads. Additional information on lead ad creation can be found on Facebook Ads Help Center.

In LinkedIn, lead gen forms can be utilized in new Sponsored Content or Sponsored InMail campaigns as long as the campaign objective is set to lead generation.

More information about setting up lead gen campaigns and forms can be found on LinkedIn’s Marketing Solutions Help.

Pain Points with Lead Gen Forms

One important detail to remember when using lead forms is that Facebook allows you to retarget users who have interacted with your forms using engagement audiences.

LinkedIn does not offer the ability to retarget to users who have interacted with your lead forms (as of the date of publication), so you’ll want to take this into account when planning to use forms in a campaign.

The most common hang-up I see advertisers have is the ability to easily integrate these leads into their back-end systems.

Both LinkedIn and Facebook, in order to gather the leads generated from this ad type, require the advertiser to download an Excel CSV of user data.

In Facebook especially, one problem is that lead data has an expiration date of 90 days. Because of this, it’s recommended to download lead data at least once a week, more often if feasible.

An easy workaround to manually downloading lead data is using a third-party connection tool, such as Zapier.

Zapier is affordable, starting at $20 per month. It also has a multitude of options for integrating and automating the process of downloading lead data and uploading to your CRM or marketing automation system.

2. Lookalike Audiences

The ability to find additional users who are similar to your target audience is, in my opinion, one of the best features available on social platforms.

Both Facebook and LinkedIn have this feature, but the detail of how each platform’s feature works is a bit different from one another.

Lookalike Audiences on Facebook

Facebook’s lookalike feature is available for custom audiences (not created from your pixel data), mobile app data, or fans of your page. As long as you’re actively serving ads to the audience, the list will automatically refresh every 3-7 days.

Facebook allows you to choose the size of the audience, depending on how broad and large you want your audience.

5 of the Best Social Media Lead Gen Techniques

5 of the Best Social Media Lead Gen Techniques

Lookalike Audiences in LinkedIn

Lookalikes are a new feature in LinkedIn, just being released to all advertisers in March 2019.

5 of the Best Social Media Lead Gen Techniques

5 of the Best Social Media Lead Gen Techniques

For those of you who haven’t leveraged lookalikes in LinkedIn yet, there are a couple of differences from Facebook.

There isn’t an option for audience size, but the LinkedIn lookalike audiences do only match to recently active users.

Adding additional targeting overlayed on your lookalikes like Job Function, Job Title or Seniority will help to refine your reach.

5 of the Best Social Media Lead Gen Techniques

5 of the Best Social Media Lead Gen Techniques

You cannot use audience expansion with lookalike audiences in LinkedIn. You’ll also need to recreate new audiences to refresh and capture new members regularly.

Why You Should Use This Tactic

Lookalike audiences, coupled with exclusion lists, can help you identify additional qualified customers who potentially haven’t filled out their profile with their job title, company, or interests.

How to Use This Tactic

There are a few audiences I like to make from the get-go.

  • The first is based on long-term or repeat customers. In Facebook, typically conversion rates are better with smaller lists, but since those lists are smaller, you may see performance begin to taper off more quickly than if you create a 3-4% sized list.
  • The second list I create is a lookalike list shaped from unqualified leads. For many B2B clients, these folks are often small business owners, students, or folks doing research who aren’t looking to purchase.
  • When I start to see dwindling results from the list created from customers, I’ll create a list from qualified MQLs, Opportunities and other sales-accepted leads that are still in the pipeline.
  • Exclusions are also important. In the event of overlap from users I’ve already reached in the customer list, I’ll exclude the initial customer lookalike list, newsletter lists, and converters.

3. Account Based Marketing Lists in LinkedIn

Account Based Marketing, or ABM, has been a hot topic in the B2B world for a few years now.

The introduction of LinkedIn’s Matched Audiences allows advertisers to target contact lists, account lists, and website retargeting (in addition to recently adding lookalike audiences).

You can upload a list of company names and website URLs for matching. The recommended size is 1,000 companies, with 300 needed to be matched for targeting.

For contact lists, 10,000 contacts are recommended with 300 needed for targeting.

Why You Should Use This Tactic

If your sales team has a target account list for upload and matching in LinkedIn, that is a great way to get started targeting their most coveted accounts.

Similar to lookalikes, adding additional job titles, seniority, and/or job function layers is also recommended for further defining your audience.

How to Use This Tactic

For companies who may not have as clear a targeted list as outlined above, this next option will be a little more initial legwork but can have the same payoffs.

Especially for advertisers looking to reach enterprise-level businesses, creating a CSV file of Fortune 500 or Fortune 1000 companies for matching in LinkedIn can be especially useful.

This information is easily found with a couple of Google searches.

Given the size of many of the Fortune 500 and 1000 companies, I always recommend keeping up with uploading exclusion email and company lists for the clearest data and the best use of your budget.

4. Nurture Funnels

Setting up a nurture funnel can seem like a big undertaking. With a little planning and organized audience usage, this can be a good use of your paid social budgets.

Why You Should Use This Tactic

This is an organized means to assist lead movement through the funnel.

When coupled with sales and other marketing strategies (including ABM and/or lookalike audiences), this is an effective way to stay in front of potential customers.

How to Use This Tactic

I would recommend starting with a relevant (and if possible, high performing) content offer to kick-off the funnel.

Creating audiences based on users who have hit specific pages throughout your funnel will allow for easier audience targeting and exclusions.

For a B2B SaaS client, the nurture funnel could look as follows:

Cold Audience

  • Target: Job title targeting, interest targeting, company lists.
  • Ad: Content offering pertaining to individual industries.
  • Exclude: Converters, current customers email list/company list, users who have hit pages in other parts of the funnel.

Warm Audience

  • Target: Converters of content offering.
  • Ad: Second content offer.
  • Exclude: Converters, current customers email list/company list, demo page visitors, current site retargeting lists.

Hot Audience

  • Target: Converters of previous content or who hit the demo page but did not convert.
  • Ad: Demo offer.
  • Exclude: Converters, current customers email list/company list, site retargeting lists.

Additional steps can be added or removed, depending on goals, calls-to-action, etc.

From here, you’ll want to make sure to properly target and exclude users from one level of the funnel to the next so that you’re not double-dipping.

Depending on the number of campaigns and levels in your funnel, this can get confusing. But it is a necessary step for proper tracking and as to not confuse and overload the user with many calls-to-action.

While lead forms often seem attractive for these campaigns, you’ll need to take into account the fact that LinkedIn does not offer engagement audiences.

That makes retargeting more difficult without users hitting your site. You’ll need to get creative and consider uploading email lists or account lists once there are enough users.

5. Webinar & Event Promotion

In addition to content and demo promotions for B2B advertisers, webinars and event promotion are another great way to generate leads from your paid social efforts.

How You Can Use This Tactic for Webinars

Webinars are a great way to engage with your target audience in a different capacity than a content offer.

The webinar can be pre-recorded or a live event. It’s always my recommendation that clients record any webinars for future on-demand offerings.

How You Can Use This Tactic With Events

Events are a great way for your company to engage with potential customers and/or repeat customers.

Coupling up email marketing, cold calling and other marketing efforts with paid social efforts can be a great way to get the word out about an event.

Given the time and money that goes into planning an in-person event, it’s worth it to spend a few extra dollars locking in some attendees.

More Resources:

Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, May 2019

People Are Using Instagram More, Facebook and Snapchat Less via @MattGSouthern


Time spent on Instagram is expected to grow this year, while Facebook will not recover from last year’s drop in engagement.

In a new report from eMarketer, estimates for time spent on Facebook in 2019 has been reduced compared to the figures released late last year.

Instagram, on the other hand, is expected to grow its average daily time spent by users by one minute every year through 2021.

eMarketer says average daily time spent on Snapchat has “plateaued.”

Facebook engagement in decline

Average daily time spent on Facebook by US adult users fell by 3 minutes in 2018. eMarketer attributes this to Facebook discouraging passive consumption of content, namely videos.

According to eMarketer’s updated estimates, Facebook users will spend an average of 38 minutes per day on the platform (on all devices), which is down 2 minutes from the previous forecast.

People Are Using Instagram More, Facebook and Snapchat Less

People Are Using Instagram More, Facebook and Snapchat Less

Looking ahead to 2020, the average daily time on Facebook will drop to 37 minutes.

eMarketer principal analyst, Debra Aho Williamson, speaks on this updated forecast:

“Facebook’s continued loss of younger adult users, along with its focus on downranking clickbait posts and videos in favor of those that create ‘time well spent,’ resulted in less daily time spent on the platform in 2018 than we had previously expected.

Less time spent on Facebook translates into fewer chances for marketers to reach the network’s users.”

Time will tell if Facebook makes any changes to address the fact that people are spending less time on its network.

New visual search innovations tap human emotions and biological buying triggers

New visual search innovations tap human emotions and biological buying triggers

There’s a science behind what engages shoppers and gets them to purchase and new visual search tech implementations promise to exploit that and reinvent ecommerce as we know it.

A shopper’s decision to buy products is more influenced by the primal brain areas and less from the analytical side. Us humans are hard-wired to our emotions which spring from the same areas of the brain, the right side, that processes and reacts to visual stimulation. In the early days of mankind, it’s largely how our ancient ancestors survived in the wild.

Similar to Facebook’s emoticons it rolled out as “reactions” in 2016, our modern emotions emerge from four core feelings, happy, sad, afraid/surprised (“wow”), and angry/disgusted, based on research conducted by the Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of Glasgow.

Smart marketers can appeal to our right brains that communicate in feelings and respond to images that increase conversions and sales because people tend to act based on emotions. Most of the purchase decisions people make are emotional, not practical. Retail shopping therapy is, perhaps, an offshoot of this science-based truth.

When it comes to shopping, decision-making, and conversions, another experiment conducted by the George Washington University and UCLA, found that playing to the emotional side of our brains is a far better strategy than using too many facts and figures that appeal to the decision-making areas of the brain.

The researchers found that ads that use logical persuasion (for example, “this car gets 42 miles to the gallon”) scored lower for conversions than those that “seduced” people by circumventing “consumers’ conscious awareness by depicting a fun, vague or sexy scene”.

Visual search will revolutionize ecommerce and SEO

The rise of visual search is powered, in part, by people’s desire to discover products and brands, and it’s playing out now in the new trend of shopping on social media channels such as Instagram and Pinterest that’s spreading most quickly amongst millennials as the next big thing.

Yet, “creating technology that can understand images as quickly and effectively as the human mind is a huge undertaking”, wrote Adam Stetzer in a trend piece on visual search last year. “Visual identification is a natural ability made possible through a wonder of nerves, neurons and synapses. We can look at a picture, and in 13 milliseconds or less, know exactly what we’re seeing”.

Google is making rapid advancements tied to the increasingly visual nature of the search for ecommerce. For example, in early March it rolled out a new pilot program to digitally connect retailers and consumers, who can now make purchases from results of Google Image searches.

For the pilot’s launch, Google cited a figure that 50 percent of online shoppers said images of the product inspired them to purchase. Google is currently testing its “Showcase Shopping” ads on what it calls “a small percentage” of traffic with select retailers, surfacing on broad queries such as “home office ideas”, “shower tile designs”, and “abstract art”.

Certainly, the visual search trend will impact the programmatic ad industry’s innovations for future offerings. Advanced AI and computer imaging will be two core technologies that power dynamic personalization and highly customized ads that boost campaign performance tied to consumer’s visual search behaviors. For instance, it enables offering up winter jackets in the shopper’s favorite colors as fall approaches, or quickly serves up visually or stylistically complementary dining sets to match a new dining table or tablecloth search or purchase.

Adtech leaders’ R&D programs have already begun to focus on new AI-powered marketing innovations, including research and development from Facebook, Google, and Pinterest, and new strategic partnerships such as the one announced by Amazon and Snap last year.

Shoppable visual ads take off on social media platforms

The powerful combination of influencer marketing, using emotional buying triggers we’re hard-wired to respond to, and the highly visual nature of popular social channels such as Instagram and Pinterest have sparked the fast growth of shoppable ads on social media platforms.

Many industry watchers are betting that Instagram and Facebook will lead the pack here. Late last year, Salesforce predicted that Instagram will grow 3X faster than overall social-traffic boosts, citing data from Cowen & Company that 30 percent of internet users reported purchasing a product they discovered on Facebook or Instagram.

The overall trend of social media’s impact on purchase behavior is well-documented. As many as 76 percents of consumers have purchased a product they’ve seen in a brand’s social media post, per data from Curalate.

Influencer marketing and consumers’ purchase of products, as a result, is nothing new. For example, many kids who grew up in the 1970s and their parents bought Wheaties back then based on the cereal’s “Breakfast of Champions” campaign because they were inspired to be like Bruce Jenner after his decathlon triumph at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

While the mediums have changed, and we can now click on ads and have products delivered within the same day, and be much more granular in terms of micro-influencers’ campaigns that pinpoint targets and conserve campaign budgets, the psychology of why it works is the same.

New platforms such as Shopify make it easy for brands and merchants of all kinds to create engaging, highly connected sites that are helping to energize the social aspects of the web.

Large companies such as Amazon, Pinterest, and Instagram have done an excellent job of figuring out consumer sentiment, emotions, and online behaviors. We’re getting much closer to narrowing down to a “segment of one“, a trend that many retailers today are focused on in order to increase the personalization of advertising and improve the experience for consumers so that promotional offers to purchase products become more like a personal shopper catering to them instead of a pushy salesperson who annoys them to the point of departing the store.

And if Pinterest is any indication with more than 600 million visual searches each month, and fact that image-based Pinterest ads have an 8.5 percent conversion rate, the role of visual search in helping to capture our attention, personalize the advertising experience, and seduce us to buy is here to stay as ecommerce and SEO evolve around it.

Gary Burtka is Vice President of U.S. operations at RTB House, a global company that provides retargeting technology for global brands worldwide. He can be found on Twitter .

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Study: How to use domain authority for digital PR and content marketing

Study: How to use domain authority for digital PR and content marketing

For the SEO community, Domain Authority is a contentious metric.

Domain Authority (DA) is defined by Moz as

“A search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). A Domain Authority score ranges from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank.”

Some people say that this score does more harm than good because it distracts digital marketers from what matters. Improving your DA doesn’t mean you’re improving your rankings. Others tend to find it useful on its own as a quick way to determine the quality or trustworthiness of a site.

Here’s what I say, from a digital PR perspective, domain authority is valuable when you’re using it to compare sites relative to one another. In fact, DA provides value for us PRs and is incredibly useful to our work.

Think of it this way. There are more websites than ever before, about 1.5 billion to be exact and so in some ways, this means there is more opportunity for marketers to get their content out in the world and in front of new audiences. While most people think that journalism is dying out, an enlightening post on Recode by Rani Molla explains that “while job postings for journalists are off more than 10 percent since 2004, jobs broadly related to content have almost quadrupled.” 

In other words, if outreach is executed well, there are more places than ever to get your content featured and lead to driving traffic, broadening your audience, and improving your search ranking.

But even the most skilled PR teams can’t reach out to 1.5 billion sites. The knowledgeable ones know that you really only need one successful placement to get your content to spread like wildfire all over the Internet, earning links and gaining exposure for your brand in the process. With so many options out there, how do PR professionals know which sites to spend time targeting?

That’s where DA comes into play. When it comes to link building, content marketers know that not all backlinks and brand mentions are created equally. The value of a link or mention varies depending on the referring website. Moz’s DA score is a way for us PRs to quickly and easily assess the quality of the websites we target for our client’s content marketing campaigns.

Our team tends to bucket online publishers, blogs, and websites into three categories:

  • Top-tier
  • Mid-tier
  • Low-tier

Keep in mind, particularly with the new Moz update, when deciding who to pitch, you must take a holistic approach. While domain authority is an excellent way to quickly assess the quality of a website, a site’s DA can change at any minute due to a multitude of factors, so make sure you are also taking into account your goals, the site’s audience, social following, and reputation as well as Moz DA score. In response to a Marketing Land tweet about the new DA, Stevie Howard says it perfectly.

Screenshot of Stevie Howard's tweet in response to a Marketing Land tweet about the new DA

Top-tier sites

What constitutes a top-tier website? Can a top-tier site have a low DA? Potentially, but it’s uncommon.

When you look at the holy grail of media coverage, DA tends to align perfectly. Take, for example, the following seven major publishers that any brand or business would love to earn coverage on. The DA scores for all of these sites fall above 90. These sites all have an extremely large audience, both on-site and on social media.

List of top tier sites having a DA score of 90 and above

Our team at Fractl has an innate sense of the online publisher landscape, and the largest and most well-known content publishers out there all tend to have a domain authority above 90. This is what we consider to be the “top-tier”.

These publishers are difficult to place with because of their large audience, social following, and reputation, so for the best chance at earning organic press mentions on these sites, offer them authoritative, unique, exclusive, and newsworthy content.

Mid-tier sites

Mid-tier sites may not be the holy grail of news publishers, but they’re our bread and butter. This is where the majority of placements tend to happen. These publishers hit a sweet spot for digital PR pros—they’re not as sought-after as Buzzfeed and don’t deeply scrutinize pitches the way The New York Times does, but they have large audiences and tend to be much more responsive to content pitches.

I tend to categorize the mid-tier as publishers that fall within a DA of 66 to 89. Here are some examples of publishers that may be considered mid-tier.

List of mid-tier publishers that have a DA of 66 to 89

Low-tier sites

Don’t underestimate a low-tier site simply because of its domain authority. For example, it wasn’t long ago that personal finance website, Money-ish, had a DA of 1. Launched in 2017, it was first its own website before being absorbed as part of the larger MarketWatch domain. MarketWatch has a DA of 93, with social engagement as high as 12,294,777 in the last year. If you ignored Money-ish because of its DA when they first started, you would have missed out on a chance to get your content featured on MarketWatch as well as build relationships with writers that are now under the MarketWatch umbrella. There are all types of content, and most marketers can figure out which projects have “legs” and which have less appeal. These lower-tier sites are often very niche and the perfect home for content that is aimed towards smaller, more precise audiences. These lower-tier sites also tend to have a high engagement where it matters, your target audience. Consider the site’s community. Does this site have a ton of email subscribers or high comment engagement? Are they killing it on Instagram or on another social network? You never know which site will become the next Money-ish, either!

List of low-tier sites with DA below 60 or 65

Pitching differences for each tier

There are plenty of sites that fall within different ranges of domain authority that would be an excellent fit for your content. It all just depends on your goals. In Fractl’s latest internal study, we were able to identify trends in the way journalists respond to PR professionals, based on the DA of the site they write for.

Graph on how journalists respond to PRs based on their sites DA score


  • Feedback from writers working for sites with a DA lower than 89 was most likely to be complimentary of the content campaigns we pitched them.
  • The verbiage of their responses was also more positive on average than those from journalists working for publishers with a DA of 90 or above.

An example of the feedback we received that would be labeled as complimentary is,

“Thanks for sending this over, it fits perfectly with our audience. I scheduled a post on this study to go up tomorrow.”- Contributor, Matador Network (DA: 82)

Those of us that have been pitching mainstream publishers for a while know from experience that it’s often easier to place with websites that tend to fall in the mid to low-tier buckets. Writers at these publishers are usually open to email pitches and open to writing about outside content because such websites have less stringent editorial guidelines.

Conversely, publishers that fall into our definition of “high-tier” were less positive on average than writers working for publishers with a DA less than 90. On average, the higher the DA, the less positive the language becomes.

Why might that be? It makes perfect sense that publishers like The New York Times, CNN, TIME, and The Washington Post would be less positive. They’re likely receiving hundreds of PR pitches a day because of their popularity. If they do respond to a pitch, they want to ensure that they’re inquiring about content that would eventually meet their editorial guidelines, should they decide to cover it.

According to our study, when journalists at publishers with a DA of 90 or above do respond, they’re more likely to be asking about the methodology or source of the content.

An example of this feedback is from a staff writer at CNN.

“Thanks for sending along. I’m interested to know more about the methodology of the study.”

A response like this isn’t necessarily bad, in fact, it’s quite good. If a journalist is taking time to ask you more about the details of the content you pitched, it’s a good indication that the writer is hoping to cover it, they just need more information to ensure that any data-driven content is methodologically-sound.


Domain authority will continue to remain a controversial metric for SEOs, but for those of us working in digital PR, the metric provides a lot of value. Our study found a link between the DA of a site and the type of responses we received from writers at these publishers. High DA sites were less positive on average and requested research back methodologies more than lower-tier sites. Knowing the DA of a site allows you to:

  • Improve your list building process and increase outreach efficacy
  • Customize each outreach email you send to publishers of varying DAs
  • Anticipate the level of editorial scrutiny you’re up against in terms of content types and research methodologies
  • Optimize content you create to fit the needs of your target publisher
  • Predict the outcome of a content campaign depending on where you placed the “exclusive”

Remember, just because a site has a high DA, it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a good fit for your content. Always be sure to take a holistic approach to your list building process. Keep in mind the social engagement of the site, the topics they cover, who their audience is, their editorial guidelines, and most importantly, the goals of you or your client before reaching out to any publisher solely based on domain authority.

Domenica is a Brand Relationship Manager at Fractl. She can be found on Twitter .

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How to Use Personas to Boost Your PPC Performance by @SusanEDub

One of the tenets in digital marketing these days is persona-based marketing.

The days of a blanket campaign pushing users to buy your wares have long since passed, forcing brands to circle back to one central acknowledgment: you are marketing to humans.

It can feel like a daunting thing to create a plan for, especially for resource-strapped brands that are already feeling overwhelmed with the sheer number of platforms and creative versions they already have to make.

It’s another way the work gets splintered apart into a lot of effort where the payoffs can feel fuzzy to advertisers.

Why Are Personas So Underutilized in PPC?

Most of us paid media folks learned on paid search, so we got comfy with users telling us what they were looking for, and what problems we could solve for them.

While I’ll show you how to incorporate this into your personas shortly, it’s a small fraction of the online universe.

Personas are something you have to really start understanding and applying to build a build relationship way higher in the funnel so you aren’t over-relying on search to save the day.

The different personas were always there, but the platforms were really limited on how to reach them in a specific way.

There were things like display ads, but Facebook and its ilk weren’t around early on, so these are skills that were underutilized for a pretty long time relative to the age of digital marketing.

Re-Use Personas You’re Already Reaching

What I’m about to share is one of the most underutilized methods I come across. It results in not only underutilized knowledge about an audience, but also wasted media spend.

Let’s pretend you are spending a lot of money on LinkedIn ads (hey, not hard to do). It’s really the best place to drive the exact B2B persona you are looking for, in many cases.

However, it’s expensive top of funnel traffic, and so many advertisers think, “OK, I got clicks but no one grabbed my whitepaper, so that was a waste.”

All that knowledge about who actually clicked and came to their site gets left in the dust. Ack! You need to view that spend as buying knowledge about personas that you can reuse.

One of my favorite things to do is create an audience in Google Analytics to use in Ads, or a custom audience in Facebook Ads off the UTM tagging. This “buckets” those users so you can use them elsewhere. This is hugely helpful in applying messaging elsewhere.

Creating Audiences for Use in Google Ads

Let’s start by being able to observe these LinkedIn audiences in our Google Ads efforts, for example, to see whether they circle back to searching for the brand at a later date.

In the admin section of Analytics, there’s a section for Audience Definitions:

How to Use Personas to Boost Your PPC Performance

How to Use Personas to Boost Your PPC Performance

If you create a New Audience, the Audience Builder will open up. In the left-hand nav, there is an option for Traffic Sources. Picking this will let you specify the UTM tags you’re interested in:

How to Use Personas to Boost Your PPC Performance

How to Use Personas to Boost Your PPC Performance

Notice how each field corresponds to the type of UTM parameters you can append on the end of your URL strings. That’s the gold!

As you create and save these Audiences, as long as your Ads are linked to Analytics, they will show up as Audiences you can apply to campaigns!

Just hit the Audiences area, choose where you want to apply them, and the ones you’ve created will appear under the Website Audiences section on the right:

How to Use Personas to Boost Your PPC Performance

How to Use Personas to Boost Your PPC Performance

You can add them as an Observation layer initially to get a sense for what they do – are they searching for the brand? Clicking through?

If so, you may want to set up their audience as its own ad group so you can tailor ad copy, or push them toward a specific asset since you know what persona/demographic they come from in the business world!

Re-using Your Audience in Facebook Ads

Much like we did in Analytics, we can set up a Custom Audience on Facebook for those same LinkedIn users!

Head to your Audience section and choose Website Traffic as your source:

How to Use Personas to Boost Your PPC Performance

How to Use Personas to Boost Your PPC Performance

Here is where you can specify what tags a URL contained, and for what length of time it should cover:

How to Use Personas to Boost Your PPC Performance

How to Use Personas to Boost Your PPC Performance

Now you have a Custom Audience that you can apply to an ad set for remarketing or to create a lookalike from!

Continue Testing Your Personas & What They Want

With large enough search volumes in Google Ads, you can learn a lot about those audience segments you drove in LinkedIn.

What are they searching for?

You may find they search differently than your average user, which means you can run ads more specifically to them.

For example, if you target administrators that are decision makers at hospitals and see they search a lot for a feature you have, you can tailor your ad copy for the things that might be more of a selling point to them such as “saves administrative time for your staff.”

This is different than messaging for the user who might be the daily tool user, which could be a more specific highlight around ease of use.

It also lets you create two separate landing pages that tout the benefits specific to the persona searching, and we all know how those higher conversion rates help offset media costs!

With Facebook, you can really mine those users ongoing to try and get them into your marketing funnel. The multiple ad formats give you many chances to showcase your offering, whether it’s via video, or something like an interactive Instant Experience.

Facebook Ads can also be great for lead gen since you have these more robust formats to explain why someone should sign up for what you’re offering.

If they came to your site initially from LinkedIn and didn’t sign up for what you had (white paper, case study, whatever it was), you get another shot by trying to hook them via a different offer with your Facebook Ads!

You also can continue to reinforce your brand cheaply by running retargeting ads on Facebook to that audience, even if they DID sign up for your initial offering.

Experiment with other campaign types such as Reach campaigns to maximize your share of voice, and see what kind of overall lift happens from initial leads that are exposed to your messaging for a while.

You might be pleasantly surprised at how the reinforced branding pays off!

Continue Layering Personas Among Platforms

This is just a single example of how you can lay out persona journeys using media you’re probably already bidding on!

You don’t have to start from scratch in each platform every time – you will cut to the chase faster on performing audiences, and stop wasting so much focusing on one-hit wonders with your media buy.

Don’t neglect how powerful it can be to retarget your search users and create lookalikes off them!

They’re bottom-of-the funnel users, so telling platforms like Facebook “find me more of these” can be easy money for you. Just follow the steps above, but swap out the references to align with your Google Ads strategy.

Remember, users rarely move forward after one encounter with a brand, so reinforcing what you can offer with every interaction in a way that will matter most to them is crucial for the best bang on your media bucks!

More Resources:

Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, April 2019