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Getting the Correct Thumbnail Image in Facebook Post

wrong Facebook imageEver had the wrong thumbnail image or no image appear when you post one of your articles to Facebook? Frustrating, isn’t it? It’s especially bad if you need to automate your publishing. You carefully research and craft a fantastic blog post and start distributing it on social media and other outlets, and then the Facebook image issue happens.  What the heck?

Why Isn’t Facebook Picking up the Correct Image?

Facebook scans the site’s header for Open Graph tags with post image information. The Open Graph code looks like this:

<metaproperty=”og:image’ content=http://abccompany.com/en/wp-content/uploads/yourimage.pgn”/>

One of the reasons may be the thumbnail image size. Facebook itself states this information about the Open Graph:

The URL of an image which is used in stories published about this object. We suggest that you give us an image of at least 600 x 315 pixels. However, bigger is better, so if you have a 1200 x 630 or larger image that you can use, please give it to us. Also, we recommend that you keep images as close to a 1.9:1 aspect ratio as possible to avoid cropping. (Note: image size must be no more than 5MB in size.)

The thumbnail image may not be recognized if it is smaller than the other images you have in the og:image tag.

Size is not the only reason for thumbnail images not being recognized:

  • Several caching plugins do not support use of thumbnails when uploading content to Facebook
  • CDN issues could obstruct correct thumbnail sharing
  • Lack of a meta tag associated with the open graph image

Three Possible Solutions to Incorrect Facebook Thumbnail Images


Manually Upload the Image

You can use the upload image feature to publish the image you want. This example is from a large image. The same feature is available for small images.

manual upload of Facebook post image

With this option you can get the correct image at the optimal size, but there are two tradeoffs. The image shows up in your page’s photo list. Also, when other people share the link the incorrect image may still show up. They would have to manually upload the image, which they will not do.

SEO by Yoast for WordPress Sites 

If you have a WordPress site and use Yoast’s plugin, you can specify the Facebook image. Scroll down to the bottom of the post to the Yoast metabox. Under the Social tab, you can upload a thumbnail image.

Yoast Facebook post image

This solution should solve the problem. If it does not, you will need to clear your Facebook cache.

Facebook Open Graph Object Debugger Tool

Facebook has developed a debugger tool to help with image issues.  Paste the URL of the post in the debugger tool. Click on Debug. Facebook will show you issues it finds. The most common issue will be

common Facebook image warning

You will see a preview of what Facebook has scraped.

debugged Facebook post preview

Then, paste the debugged URL into the Facebook post to get the proper image.

debugged Facebook post image

This method does not work all the time. Sometimes a website has other issues that prevent it.

We hope these solution options help solve your incorrect / no image Facebook thumbnail issue. An image that matches your post will better enhance your Facebook post for viewing and sharing. Happy Facebook posting!

Facebook Atlas – No cookies, better targeting, still creepy?

I’ve been known to discuss creepy marketing for years. Of course, I use the word creepy often tongue and cheek. I don’t find remarketing that creepy at all. It’s a well targeted approach to advertising that actually benefits the potential customer much more than traditional advertising.

Facebook Ads

In 2012, I provided tips on being less “creepy” with remarketing at PubCon. Most recently, I discussed some creative ways to use Google Remarketing in conjunction with Facebook Interest. At the time, Google was great at remarketing, but not great enough on user interest and demographics. Facebook had the user details and demographics, but not the reach that Google had. Maybe that’s changed now.

Facebook relaunched Atlas and that may be the missing piece of that puzzle. In February, 2013 Facebook confirmed the purchase of Atlas from Microsoft. Atlas is an ad-serving platform that will allow Facebook ads to show on sites, outside of Facebook. This is not a new platform, but it is newly built:

“We’ve rebuilt Atlas from the ground up to tackle today’s marketing challenges, like reaching people across devices and bridging the gap between online impressions and offline purchases.” – http://atlassolutions.com/2014/09/29/meet-the-new-atlas/

Facebook calls this People Based Marketing. This is essentially what Google Remarketing is. It targets people, not sites. But Google Remarketing could have cornered this market if Google+ would have taken off like they hoped. Facebook and Atlas now have the advantage of a much larger group of users to pull from. Great for advertisers … and maybe consumers too.

One of the highlights of the Facebook Atlas announcement was the lack of cookies the platform will use. For the longest time the solution to tracking of any sort online has been through cookies. In short, this is why those “creepy” ads know what you want and when you want it. However, cookies are a problem with mobile browsers and becoming more irrelevant outside of the US. It was only a matter of time before all cookie tracking is removed.

Facebook Atlas

Image credit http://atlassolutions.com/

Atlas will use demographic details, interest, and all of that other information that we have been providing Facebook for years to target us, without cookies. Atlas will also be able to track users across multiple devices. Something that Google cannot do.

Plus, Atlas will connect offline behavior to online behavior. For example, if you use your email address at retail shop. That can be connected back to your Facebook account. That same store will be able to show you online ads. Don’t think you use your email address? How about all of those loyalty cards in your wallet?

Of course, this always leads to more privacy concerns. That’s a discussion that’s nothing new for Facebook, but yet here we are again. There is no doubt that Facebook wants to compete with Google and its DoubleClick ad network. Google is the big leader in this space, but without cookies and better audience tracking, Facebook is now in the discussion.

Facebook Introduces “Buy” Button

Will people make ecommerce purchases inside the Facebook platform? Maybe.

Recently, Facebook started allowing people to make ecommerce purchases from a group of U.S. small and medium-sized businesses without leaving its page or app. These businesses can place a “Buy” call-to-action button on ads and Page posts. The companies can use this feature for free, but Facebook is reserving the option to change to a pay model. Facebook states that the feature was built with privacy in mind. None of people’s payment information will be shared with other advertisers, and people will have option of storing the information for future purchases.

 

Facebook Buy Button-Modify Watches Ad

If successful, this feature could be a boon for marketers. Customers can complete the entire transaction within Facebook. The lower friction means a possible increase in conversion rates. Who wouldn’t want a chance to increase sales? As Josh Constine of TechCrunch wrote, “It’s like the candy they sell in the grocery line. You’re already at checkout with your credit card out, so it’s easy to make an impulse purchase.”

Shortly after this announcement was made, MSN.com conducted an unscientific survey:

Facebook Buy Button-MSN.com poll results

This survey does not represent a large enough sample to be truly representative. Therefore, I looked at the comments on articles about this feature for greater understanding. For the most part, commenters agreed with the basic results of this survey. However, many marketers have great hope for this latest by Facebook to enter ecommerce.

So what obstacles does the Facebook “Buy” button face?

  • People are on Facebook to be social.
    People are on Facebook to catch up with friends and family and share photos and memes. They are not in the buying mindset. Facebook will need to tap into impulse buying to get people used to purchasing on its platform and have people save their payment information.
  • Facebook has a privacy/trust issue with users.
    Facebook has a long history of tension with its users over privacy and trust. The latest issue involved its psychological experiment carried out on 689,003 users’ newsfeeds. Facebook directly collects a tremendous amount of information on its users and buys more data from third parties. Will people trust it not to misuse or sell information? What about a data breach involving saved payment information?
  • Increased reliance on customer reviews
    People are increasingly looking at customer reviews before making purchases, especially more complex or expensive ones. This feature does not offer the opportunity to look at reviews. Users may be more likely to make a purchase if they are already engaged with a brand or have already decided to make a particular purchase.

Time will tell if this latest ecommerce effort by Facebook will succeed. As a consumer, I will not use it. However, as a marketer I cannot write it off yet. Consumers may now be ready for ecommerce on social networks.

Facebook Enhances Video Metrics

Where did people stop watching the video? How long did they watch the video? How many unique video views did it get? Did they re-watch the section? Answers to these questions and others will soon be available to Page owners as part of Facebook’s new video metrics in the updated Page Insights and Ads Reporting.

Presently, Facebook only shows you how many people have started viewing a video – not very useful. According to Facebook, you will soon receive data on video views, unique views, audience retention and the average duration of the video view. The new metrics will provide much more detailed information for both organic and paid videos uploaded directly to pages. The one exception is the click-to-play metric that will show clicks for third-party videos, like YouTube, that play in-line on Facebook. This move requires Page owners to do more of their video work directly on the Facebook platform.

As part of the update, Facebook made two term changes. A “video view” is now a view of three seconds or more, including auto-play videos as users scroll through their News Feeds. The “video plays” metric has been renamed “clicks to play video.”

Here is a preview of what the video metrics will look like:

Facebook Video Metrics-Video Post Details

Although video metrics will be available for both organic and paid video posts, Ads Reporting will provide a more detailed breakdown and demographics:

Facebook Video Metrics-Ads Reporting Details

For complete views, Facebook will make “Video Views to 95%” as the default setting as many videos have blank screen endings. However, you can view 25%, 50%, 75%, 95% and 100% in Ads Reporting. If you are interested in targeting a particular demographic, Ads Reporting will show you how many of those people you reached so you can see if your campaign resonated with the right group.

One of the most interesting metrics is Audience Retention. Dips could show where people lost interest or were turned off by something and stopped watching. Spikes at specific points could indicate where people are re-watching a section either because they like the section or the content may need clarification. With this data, you can make changes to your videos to enhance viewing.

Facebook Video Metrics-Audience Retention

With the increasing demand for video content, these metrics will help you better understand what content resonates with your targeted audience and let you know what you need to improve. No more wondering if you are wasting time and money. For more details and best practices, Facebook created a pdf overview of the new video metrics. You may wish to print it out for quick reference as you explore these new video metrics.

Avoid the Lure of the Shiny Object Syndrome in Social Media

social media shiny objectResist the lure of the shiny object syndrome if you want your social media efforts to be successful. For some businesses, when a new social media tool or network is launched, they quickly add it to their arsenal. They are spellbound by whatever is the latest and greatest. Then, they find themselves overwhelmed and unable to gain traction. They suffer from the shiny object syndrome.

Do you have the shiny object syndrome or want to avoid it? Before you set up another social media account, ask yourself these questions about your current ones:

Does this network further the implementation of our strategy?

All your tactical efforts need to support your strategy. If not, then you risk moving your company in the wrong direction and wasting time and money.

√ Is our target audience using this network?

If your target audience is not using a network or is minimally using it, then spending time on it does not make sense. You want to go where your audience is.

√ Is this network appropriate for our brand and products or services?

Not every social media network is appropriate for every brand. Some are better for B2B while others are better for B2C, and each network has its own tone to it. If you are unsure, research case studies, reviews, etc. to make the determination about the match.

√ Do we have the resources available to create content, engage people and monitor on this network?

Social media requires a lot of time and effort. Regardless of your social media team’s size, you want to be vigilant about how much you take on so you do not become overwhelmed, dilute your efforts or sabotage your success.

If you answer no to any one of these questions, place that network on a list to be deleted. If the answers are yes, then continue your efforts. These same questions can be used to review any potential additions. If the answers are yes for a new one, then start creating your strategy and content for it and set up the account.

Start with only a couple of networks. Develop your presence on them, and become proficient in using them. Then, start testing the most promising of other networks, keeping what works. Think rifle approach, not shotgun.

Trying out something new is fun, but using a measured, strategic approach to social media will help you avoid the shiny object syndrome and have your social media efforts be more successful.

Have you caught the shiny object syndrome or avoided it?

 

Facebook Redesigns News Feed

Today Facebook announced a redesigned News Feed that will be “focused on things that we care about.”

There are three elements to this update:

1. A Focus on Rich Images
The new interface focuses on making Facebook more visually engaging. Images shared and from 3rd party apps, like Pinterest, will be larger and more vibrant.

For example, when users check in, a map of the location will be shown in the News Feed along with any associated pictures.

Videos will also be larger in the News Feed, and pictures of friends that shared the video or photo, along with their comments about it will be included. 

2. Choice of News Feeds
With more control over the feed, users will be able to create feeds of exactly what they want to see. It will also be easy to jump from feed to feed using navigation on the top right of the page, or a pull down in mobile. Feeds will be sorted by how often they are used, and it will be consistent between desktop and mobile.

A few of the feed options and examples include:

  • Friends Feed: Posts from friends will be in chronological order, rather than by popularity or promotion. 
  • Music Feed: See what your favorite artists are up to or if they are in the news, as well as what your friends are listening to. 
  • Photos Feed: Every photo that both Pages and your friends are sharing.
  • Following Feed: Posts from Pages and news sources.

3. Consistency Between Desktop and Mobile 
This update is inspired by the modern feel and simplicity of mobile design. The design will also be the same for both desktop and mobile.

Facebook also mentioned that with the old design, 35% of users didn’t have enough space on their screen to see the chat option, so with the new update they will be able to see it. (Get ready for more friends to show up on chat!)

This update will be rolled out to desktops today, and to the mobile interface in the next few weeks.

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Do You Stink at Paid Advertising in Facebook?

Facebook Ads are shown to users based on countless aspects including: Facebook Pages that you do Like, searches you have done, phrases in your, or your friend’s, status updates, and a slew of other reasons. This is one of the reasons why Facebook can be a super powerful marketing tool.

Facebook is also a platform for anyone to put their message in front of your face, resulting in really bad examples of marketing. Here are a few examples lack-luster Facebook ads; let’s chat about how to not be one of them.

Click Like If…
One of my top pet peeves are ads that lack creativity. Specifically, ads that say “Click LIKE if you like the ocean” or “Click LIKE if you like vacation.” Of course I like the ocean and I like vacation, but that doesn’t mean that I should Like your vacation rental business too. My past colleagues can attest that I have complained about this since way back in ’09, and it’s still happening!

This is what I found when doing research for this article.While the ad is relevant to me because I do Like several SEO companies on Facebook, I dislike their lack of imagination more. (Especially for a marketing company.) 

However, within minutes, my faith was renewed with this Dawson gem.

Yes, Red Square Agency, I will Like you because you are funny and I want to see what other innovative ideas you have up your sleeve. Respect.

Tone Down the Targeting
I have inherited Facebook Advertising accounts and cringed at the amount of money lost on ads that were targeted to millions and millions of people. In one case, ads were targeted to “everyone in the US and UK who don’t yet Like our page.” The CPC was around $4.49, which is a lot to pay for an un-targeted click, let alone a Like.

Unless your marketing budget is in the millions, targeting everyone is a quick way to both increase CPC and diminish the overall quality of the Likes that you buy. Even if your marketing budget is in the millions, it’s just wasteful. 

Facebook has the most advanced platform for marketers, take advantage of it! One of the newest options is
Facebook Custom Audiences, which allows you create an audience from a list of email addresses or phone numbers.

What Are You Saying?
An example of a confusing (and un-targeted) ad is the one featuring a gentleman, who I can only assume is Czech. What catches your eye in that ad?

“Traditionally modern,”
ok, so good so far I guess… “Safe destination,” which actually makes it sound un-safe. And “MICE…your venue!” 

Read your Facebook
Ad text, then read it out loud, and repeat. Will it make sense to the audience that you are targeting? What are you offering? What is the benefit of it?

Keep it Simple
The best ad of this bunch (besides sad Dawson) is the 2 Day shoe ad; the text is simple, it’s very targeted, the message is clear, and there are two choices. Like!

What awesome or bad Facebook Ads have you seen?

Google Remarketing using Facebook Interest

There have been a lot of changes to Google AdWords over the past 10 years, but for the most part it’s essentially been an active advertising strategy. PPC via AdWords works extremely well when targeting the correct keywords. Google AdWords does not necessarily create demand for products or services, it captures it. This is why pay-per-click is such a high return channel.

Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads

However, Facebook advertising is a different approach. Facebook allows advertisers to tap into users’ demographics and interest. We’ve all see these ads. Often times, these ads cling on o something we have “Liked”. This type of advertising captures users at the early stages of the buying cycle. It’s creates awareness. Like Google, Facebook ads are also a pay-per-click format. Advertisers pay for every click an ad receives.

We have different approaches when comparing Facebook and Google. Both are effective and have a role in a complete online marketing strategy. For the most part these are separate entities, but using Google’s Remarketing these efforts can now be combined.

What is Remarketing? – “Remarketing can help you reach people who have previously visited specific pages on your website as they visit other sites on the Google Display Network.” – http://support.google.com/adwords/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2454000

Using Google’s remarketing tool as its designed allows advertisers to “re-target” prior visitors. As it is, it’s a great marketing avenue and worth pursuing. However, remarketing is dependent on getting the right users to visit your site. That’s where Facebook targeting comes in handy.

By creating ads using Facebook’s ad platform, marketers can target specific interest. In turn, they can send those consumers to a unique landing page. This is where Google comes into play. Google Remarketing allows advertisers to tag these visitors and essentially create an audience. That audience can then be retargeted later.

For example, as a Facebook advertiser you can target women runners. You can do that by defining your Facebook audience by users who are female and, like “marathon running”, “triathalon”, “running”, “adidas”, “runners world”, etc. The targeting group is Facebook is endless and can really give you a precise look at a consumer.

Creating ads for this “women runner” audience would lead to a landing page on a website. Within that landing page is the Google Remarketing code needed to create your Google audience. Now, that the audience has been created. From there, very-targeted ads can be shown throughout the Google Display Network. Why show ads for women’s shoes to anyone else, other than this audience?

This is just touching the surface on how to combine these two great tools. Google audience creation is the heart and soul of this type of type of campaign. I’d love to hear your opinion on how these two channels can be used together.

Beware the Fake Social Media Guys

I have been talking to a friend of mine for a few months now about social media off and on for their new career venture. They have a new busines starting up and are trying to do all the new social media things right in making this successful. Sad to say, they made a bad decision in choosing a social media person who promised them thousands of followers and fans. Yes, this person lived up to the contract in getting Twitter and Facebook to show big numbers in their audience. However, the social media person cheated my friend by giving them an audience of fakes and ghosts.

Twitter

A few days back my friend had shared with me that they now had a twitter audience over nine thousand followers. Which they were quite excited over. I, however, was immediately skeptical. My friend just started up this business. Yes, there were some other partners and all have had prior careers to pull an audience from, but there is no way that amounted to a number like that. Could it?

They had been told too by the social media person that they had pushed their profile to people who are interested in their industry. Really? I am still amazed by those numbers.

My skeptic self got the best of me and I ran their Twitter profile through an application called Status People Follower Check and discovered that 99% of their followers were fake. With 1% being real. Now that gives an actual audience of 91ish, which is a good start and good motivation to try and build your followers list some more. Personally I would much rather know the real people interested in my audience than sift through a few thousand fakes profiles.

Fake Social Media

Fake Social Media

I looked at their followers a bit more carefully, just to see the common behaviors of these fake accounts. Two glaring commonalities:

  1. They have little to no tweets, most had zero tweets
  2. They followed some thousand plus people, but had little to no followers of their own. Both were red flag numbers again.

Facebook
Next step was to look at Facebook. On their insights you can see the massive amount of followers that built up overnight with nothing else to show for it. There is no interaction by the fans. It is as if any of your sharing is talking to the wall.

Fake Social Media

Fake Social Media

My cautionary tale is this. Do not fall into the trap of paying someone for thousands of fans overnight (just as you shouldn’t pay for overnight SEO results). What you get is a total scam product. Building your audience takes time and energy and you don’t need to get so desperate with the numbers to go out and spend hard earned money to create an audience full of mannequins.

Love on and communicate with the people that you have and more will follow, naturally, and with a real heart beat and passion for what you do.

The 1st (and Most Overlooked) Step in Marketing Your Website

I do Conversion Rate Optimization, which means people are constantly asking me about the tools I use. Sure, I have a lot of conversion tools in my arsenal, and I depend on them to gather user feedback and run A/B and multivariate tests, but that’s not actually where the magic happens. The mechanics of implementing a survey on your site, collecting heatmaps of mouse clicks, or running tests are meaningless if you skipped the most critical step: understanding your site’s visitors.

Because it’s not about what YOU want people to do on your site; it’s about knowing what THEY want/need, and showing how you can uniquely help them. But you can’t be everything to everyone, so you have to figure out who your audience is. Ideally, you should do this research before building your website so you can build your site with your customer in mind. However, if it’s too late for that, this work will help you improve your marketing messages. Better late than never!

So how do you get inside their head?

Gather Data from Different Sources

You already have plenty of information on what makes your target market tick; you just need to dig it up and organize it. Your primary goal is to get a solid understanding of their attitude, goals, and values. Their demographic information is secondary. You don’t need to break the bank hiring a market research firm. And your goal isn’t to be 100% accurate; in this case, speed of implementation trumps precision.

So here are some fast, easy, and affordable ways to get to know your target market.

Learn how they think:

  • Interview your “typical” customer, not just your favorites (obvious, I know, but this list wouldn’t be complete without recommending you actually talk to your target market)
  • Interview salespeople and customer service reps. You’ll gain a wealth of information from the people working on the front line every day.
  • Look at your site’s analytics for keywords on customer intent
  • Ask Your Target Market their thoughts on AYTM.com. This is a useful survey tool that lets you pick the types of respondents you need, such as Audi owners with teenagers who spend 13 – 24 nights in a hotel on vacation a year. Pretty specific! They have over 2000 lifestyle tags like that to choose from, plus the usual demographic information. You pick your target market, create your survey and wait for their panel of respondents who fit your requirements to take your survey. You can get good insight into your target market for about $200.
  • Use social media to see your customers’ own words. Look at your competitors’ social media properties as well as your own. Create a tag cloud using a tool like tagxedo.com or wordle.net to give you a nice visual of your target market’s language
Tagxedo

Tagxedo

Understand their lifestyle:
Nielsen is best known for its TV ratings. But did you know about their zip code look up? They’ve segmented U.S. households into distinct types based on likes, dislikes, lifestyle, and consumer behavior. So if you know the zip codes of your best customers, use Nielsen’s zip code look up to get a sense of their personality and lifestyle.

This snapshot is free but you have to pay for more details.

Nielsen's lifestyle segmentation

Nielsen’s lifestyle segmentation

This paints a pretty clear picture of your audience, doesn’t it?

Know their demographics:

  • Look at Facebook insights to see the age, gender and geographic location of your audience
  • Sign up for a free account at Quantcast.com to see demographic information and related websites your audience visits
  • Look in analytics for the geographic location of your site’s visitors

Now that you’ve gathered a heap of information from a variety of sources, it’s time to create your personas. Look for differences in goals, values, and attitude toward your product or service. As you do this, you’ll see why demographic information is secondary. You could find that people of all different ethnicities are trying to solve a similar problem for a similar reason — and that’s what you need to address in your marketing messages. After all, it’s much more powerful to speak to a person’s needs than his skin color. Even if a product or service lends itself to a specific age group or gender, people still buy because of a need or a want. For example, although lipstick is made for women, we really buy it because we want to look good, not merely because we’re female.

Once you’ve found 3 – 5 distinct segments of your audience based on goals, values and attitude, find a picture that represents each segment. An actual photograph of a random person is better than a cartoon or a sketch because it makes the person seem more real. Name your personas and write a brief profile about them. Here’s a good sample profile.

Run these personas by your sales and customer service people. You’ll know you got them right when they say something like, “yep, that sounds just like someone I talked to this morning”.

Now share these persona profiles with everyone involved in marketing your website: designers, developers, copywriters, and people doing PPC, SEO, Social Media and Conversion Rate Optimization. The goal is to get everyone making decisions based on what the personas want, not what your CEO wants. If you successfully integrate personas into your marketing efforts, you should hear your team saying certain content needs to be created because persona, Jane, will be looking for it.

Understanding your audience is critical to delivering the right marketing messages to the right people. But for some reason, most companies skip this step and just dive into building a website and driving traffic to it. Most likely this is because they’re intimidated by the process and think they’ll have to invest substantial time and/or money with a fancy market research firm. But really knowing your site’s visitors is the foundation for having a website that converts in the double digits, as opposed to the industry average of around 2%.

So if you simply spend an afternoon going through the process I outlined above, you’ll be one giant step ahead of your competitors.

For further reading on a step-by-step process of creating personas, I recommend The User is Always Right by Steve Mulder.


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