ROI

Data Science in Retail: 4 Use Cases to Help You Increase Sales

Data science is becoming widely used by companies of all sizes, from local SMBs right up to huge corporations such as Amazon. But what exactly can retailers gain from this new technology? Product recommender systems are often the first thought but curating better product suggestions isn’t the only way to use data science in retail. Below are four other use cases worth exploring if you want to maximise conversions and generate more sales.
1. Data-driven price management
You may love ‘happy hours’ and hate Uber price surging, but both practices share the same baseline idea – bump up the profits depending on the market conditions. Can retail companies get as good at attracting customers during ‘off hours’ and capitalising on high demand when the need is there? Yes, if they know how to piece their data together.
According to Deloitte, price management initiatives can boost profit margins by 2%-7% in just 12 months, generating an ROI of 200-350% on average. But few retail companies are actually taking advantage of this opportunity, mainly due to:

Low data maturity and analytics culture
Lack of visibility into all of the channels, product portfolios and customer segments.

Both issues are relatively easy-to-fix if you have a data science team and, once your data is prepped for analysis, you can choose to experiment with several price management strategies:
i) Personalise your discount/pricing strategy
Data science allows you to map similar customers into clusters based on their past behaviours and determine the ultimate price/discount combo that will make them convert.

Source: McKinsey
ii) Create segmented pricing
If you are not ready to go granular and personalise prices on a per-user level, you can still adjust your prices and offerings to cater to different audience segments. For example:

Value pricing – pitch a coupon or an extra discount to the bargain shoppers if they are buying at a convenient time (for example, they want winter boots in summer) or look at old inventory you need to clear out.
Standard pricing – pitched to the majority of your buyers.
Premium pricing – sweeten the deal for the premium-tolerant audience segment with an extra perk such as extended warranty (or another offer they are likely to respond to).

iii) Offer competitive real-time prices
Comparison shopping is at a peak with 87% of customers shopping on Amazon checking the price against the brands/retailer website. Considering how good Amazon is with price surging, manually benchmarking your prices with the competition is no longer viable. But with the help of data science and predictive analytics, you can create an advanced system that will help you automatically adjust prices depending on market conditions and competitors’ moves.
2. Data-driven attribution modelling
Conversions still remain a sore spot for retail companies. According to Wolfgang Digital’s new E-commerce 2019 KPI report, the average conversion rate in the EU retail sector is a meger 1.7% – the UK scores top.

And yet, despite the relatively low benchmarks, most companies still focus on traffic generation versus conversion optimisation. It may seem that playing the numbers game is a good strategy (more traffic = more sales) but you can actually get more with less by drilling down deeper into your analytics data and identifying which channels bring the best ROI and secure the highest conversions.
Data-Driven Attribution Modelling – a custom model mapping conversions and sales to respective touchpoints/channels in a customer’s journey – can help you with that. This model shows what kind of marketing sequences lead to the most sales, what creative assets play a major role in the process, and why some customers did not end up converting.
The kind of insights you can get include:

Determining whether Facebook retargeting ads or local inventory ads contribute more towards conversions.
Pinpointing campaigns that aren’t yielding any ROI.
Scooping the affiliates who increase the probability of conversions.

3. Intelligent cross-sells and up-sells
Effectively cross-selling even a small-ticket item can lead to massive profit increases. One furniture retailer decided to pitch an item worth 6% of their average order value (AOV) to shoppers. In just 41 days post-implementation, they had increased AOV by 4.6% and secured an additional $180,000 (£142,400.00) in monthly revenue.
Using data science in retail can help you increase profits without running numerous A/B tests. And you can even pitch personalised offers to different customer segments to further pump up conversions and sales. Adding predictive analytics to the mix will give you an extra edge: you will be able to see exactly when to upsell/cross-sell to meet your business goals.
For instance, you can create an algorithm to identify the key value items (KVIs) and key value categories (KVCs) that are making a big difference to your bottom lines and pitch them accordingly to different shoppers. Those can be:

Perceived value drivers: products that remain popular with all customer cohorts for a long period of time.
Traffic drivers: high-demand products that are purchased in high-volume all the time or short-term demand products that fly off the shelves (e.g. a trending accessory).
Basket drivers: items that are often purchased together with other products, such as an air mattress and a foot pump.
Assortment perception drivers: products that are likely to prompt the shopper to get related items in the store (e.g. a matching tie for a shirt).

4. Customer Lifetime Value Modelling
Determining who your most profitable and loyal customers are is relatively easy these days. But, traditional analytics fails to tell you when those shoppers are starting to purchase with less frequency, what leads to that and why they switch to a competitor altogether.
Data science can help you explore those root causes. You can identify the dependencies between different customers’ choices/behaviours and apply that data to predict their future actions. Here are a few examples of what you can achieve with CLV modelling:

Order attribution: Learn which marketing channels bring in the most loyal customers; and what campaigns contribute most to repeat purchases.
Cost of acquisition vs lifetime value: Identify the areas for trimming costs when targeting different demographics with high LTV potential.
Optimised retention offers. Reach out with the right pitch at the right time to re-activate individual shoppers.
Add more purchasable items to the mix. Use data to increase the selection of purchasable items in your inventory by knowing exactly what your shoppers need.

If you feel that your marketing budgets are growing, but your sales numbers stand still, exploring how you can use data science in retail may be the right option for you. Yes, it may sound like a lofty investment, but the ROI is definitely there.

Is Your Procurement Software Right for You?

Not all business decisions pan out the way you expect them to. Even your choice of technology goes awry sometimes. It’s an all-too-common feeling to purchase what seems like the perfect software, only to realize quickly that it is going to make your work even harder.
These situations can spell major trouble for departments critical to operations such as procurement. The array of choices with procurement apps doesn’t make the decision any easier. It’s all too easy to go down the rabbit hole, and end up wasting time looking for the solution and exploring options.
Is your current procurement software the best solution for your business needs? Do you know how to tell if you’ve made the wrong choice?
Signs your procurement software isn’t right for you
If you’ve seen the following issues persist after implementing procurement software, you may need to reconsider your choice.
Chaotic procurement workflow
Automation is meant to streamline and simplify processes. Ill-suited software usually ends up introducing needless complexity. If your processes are not straightforward, you may need to evaluate the role your software plays.
Lack of time efficiency
One of the promises procurement software makes is saving time. However, if the software you’ve implemented is increasing the time processes take, it is clearly unproductive. Sometimes, it’s evident right at the beginning, what with long setup times and heavy employee training required.
Time efficiency should ideally start right from the implementation stage. Applications that are not intuitive are likely more laborious to use.
Needs external expertise
Code-heavy software necessitates programming knowledge, which business users may not possess. Purchasing such software eventually leads to the need to hire external consultants to help navigate implementation and usage. Procurement applications that lead to more costs are ultimately counterproductive to your organization.
Unchanged KPIs
In order to evaluate ROI accurately, KPIs need to be observed over a period of time. If you’re not seeing faster approvals, higher efficiency, greater productivity, and reduced costs, the software or its implementation may need to be reconsidered.
Haphazard document management
Documents such as contracts, invoices, records, and requisitions need to be meticulously maintained especially in large organizations. If the procurement software you’re using doesn’t facilitate effective storage and easy retrieval of records, it will frustrate your employees and set your processes back.
Mismanaged supplier performance
When in-house processes are chaotic, it’s hard to keep track of supplier performance. This makes it hard to get value out of your deals with suppliers.
It’s also an unpleasant experience for suppliers to work with unorganized buyers and overly complex processes.
Application avalanche
When your software doesn’t integrate easily with apps already in use, you’re forced to use other apps, creating a snowball effect that eventually leaves you buried in an application avalanche. It necessitates switching back and forth between multiple apps, eventually cutting deep into productivity.
Not mobile
On-premise legacy systems that don’t facilitate mobility are not sustainable if you wish to grow. They hold employees back from optimum productivity and cause greater delays and bottlenecks in processes. Locally hosted data can make the organization more susceptible to downtime, which in turn can jeopardize process performance.
The ideal procurement software
You may be wondering what the right procurement software would feature. For starters, ensure that your procurement software has the modules your organization needs.
Most companies need five major modules. First, a purchase requisitions module to manage requests that could be flowing in on a daily basis from multiple teams, particularly in large organizations. This module is ideal for streamlining and tracking requests.
Second: a purchase orders module. These external documents need to follow a specific standard for accuracy and compliance. They are issued and executed in a predictable flow. The module tracks the process from start to finish.
Three: An invoice approvals module to help companies keep track of receipts, invoices, taxes, shipping, and so on.
Four: A contract management module helps maintain records meticulously and facilitate greater compliance with regulations.
The last module for vendor management is one that can identify errors and bottlenecks to enable smoother supplier relations.
All five of these modules share the same information, so using master data and integrating the processes is important. Furthermore, there are some parameters that good procurement software will meet, such as:

High degree of customization
No-code cloud-based platforms with intuitive design
Three-way matching (matching purchase orders against requests and invoices)
Hands-off automation
Easy integration capabilities
Smart dashboard for powerful reporting and insights
Transparent pricing models
High quality support team

With procurement software, it is easy to fall for the sunk cost fallacy when the investment decision begins to look less than sound. It’s critical to know when to cut your losses and identify a procurement application that is well-suited to meet your organization’s process requirements.

How to Create the Best B2B Content in Your Industry

B2B content creation is much like creating anything else. It takes hard work and time to create something of quality that people will admire and use for years to come.
Think, for a moment, about carpentry. There are hacks who will sell you a product that will inevitably break within a year. But there are also master carpenters that create a lasting product that you will enjoy for years to come.
Normally, an enduring product cannot be created in a matter of a couple hours. It takes time, skill, and knowledge of industry best practices.

The same can be said about content creation.
A new study from BuzzSumo sheds some light on some of the B2B content marketing best practices we need to know to create evergreen, top-quality content.
But first, let’s look at why it’s important to create high-quality content in the first place.
Why Content Creation is Worth the Effort
One study from Content Marketing Institute showed that content marketing produces over three times more leads than traditional outbound marketing, and costs around 62% less. To any seasoned content marketer, this comes as no great surprise. That’s why content of all types within our B2B PR agency.
Yet people still grapple with content marketing. What’s the problem?
Digging a little deeper, content creation process is at the heart of the issue. In fact, one study found that around 36% of content marketers struggle to produce engaging content.
If you are among this number, what can you do to up the success of your content? A lot of it comes down to knowing the right B2B content marketing strategies and how to use them.
A New Study Sheds Some Light

The folks over at BuzzSumo came out with a new study that helps us as content creators to boost the quality of our content and provides some much-needed direction.
The team at BuzzSumo used its algorithm to scour over 52,000 pieces of content within the B2B digital landscape. Using social media, they got a bird’s eye view of how people interact with content to see what content types work best.
The study looked at B2B articles with a high engagement rate. On average, the content in this study got 1,029 social interactions — which tips the scales considering that on average content gets a median of 4 social interactions.
So what exactly makes successful content more engaging?
Let’s take a look at how we can improve our content creation to better reach the mark and give us better overall results.
5 Awesome Ways to Create the Best B2B Content
1. Create the Right Headline
We have long known that headlines make a big difference in the success of content. But what exactly makes one headline better than other? A lot of it boils down to phrasing.
The BuzzSumo study found 6 key phrases that got the best results. Here they are, starting with the one that got the highest engagement:

“The Future of”
“How to Use”
“Need to” (without “Know”)
“How to Create”
“Here’s How”
“You Need to Know”

These phrases can be used as a springboard for upcoming content ideas. Think about what your audience needs to do, or what the future holds for your industry. Then use these headline phrases to give those B2B articles a boost.
You can even use these to give your older posts a leg up. For example, do you have a post with great information that isn’t performing the way you would like? Try refurbishing the title with one of these phrases and see how it does.
2. Focus on the Right Length
The length of your content also plays a huge role in your overall B2B content marketing strategy.
The BuzzSumo study found that the majority of brands are publishing short form content (under 1,000 words), with 39,136 articles in this category. On the other hand, there were 10,688 medium-length articles and only 1,868 long-form articles.
This leaves a great space for your brand to fill the gap with longer form. While short-form content creates a great intro to your brand, it is the longer content that tends to get better results, both in SEO and in social interaction.
Look for areas where you can add your expertise to the mix with longer form content that provides an in-depth look at an issue within your industry. Also look back at your backlog of articles and look for ways to beef them up.
3. Leverage Videos

Videos are universally known as the most engaging content across multiple industries, both B2B and B2C. A study from Hubspot shows that 87% of businesses are currently using video in their content creation — a number that has risen from 63% just two years ago, and 83% of marketers say that video gives them a good ROI.
BuzzSumo’s study reveals video to be the evergreen content star. This means that it holds its value and is shared on social media much longer than other forms of content.
Even with these numbers, though, many small- to medium-sized businesses shy away from video creation. Why? This is partly due to the amount of work usually associated with them.
While there is admittedly work involved, it probably isn’t as much as you would think. There are video tools, such as Lumen5, that will pull all of the content you need. With such programs, you can easily be in and out within an hour, and have a high-quality video to show for it.
4. Use Infographics

The visual nature of infographics, along with the snack-size content they offer, makes them a versatile form for any brand.
Following videos, infographics are the most evergreen content that you can use, according to Buzzsumo.
With tools like Canva, infographics are a resource that any brand can create. It takes a fair chunk of time to create, but you’ll have a timeless resource for people to enjoy.
How can you use infographics within your content strategy? You could use an infographic to visually portray facts, figures, and statistics that your brand has uncovered. You could also use infographics to help your audience visualize a step-by-step process, such as a guide or how-to subject.
There are so many ways that you can use infographics to portray information — you are really only limited by your imagination.
5. Create Helpful Guides

Backlinks are a solid part of both B2B PR and content marketing best practices. After all, links back to your site is what gives you more authority in the all-mighty Google universe. And this recent study sheds some light on how to get more backlinks from your content.
Out of all the types of content studied, guides in general get more backlinks — on average, they receive 10% more backlinks than other types of content.
But how exactly can you create a guide?
Look for a topic that hasn’t already been written to death — the more unique your guide is, the more likely it will perform well and get you backlinks. Once you’ve chosen your topic, provide in-depth information that people won’t find anywhere else.
Remember, guides should not read like technical manuals. True, you want them to be in-depth, but they also need to be engaging and conversational.
In review…
Creating the best B2B content is absolutely attainable for any brand, no matter the size. All it takes is dedication, consistency, and knowing how to do it. We hope this information gives you the tools to create long-lasting and engaging content for your brand.

Making the Most of the Customer Renewal Process

Renewal is a promise of future reward. In fact, an MRI study of the thought processes of loyal customers found that specific parts of the brain are activated when a customer sees a brand they like. Those illuminated parts of the brain are associated with our emotional responses, and they encourage us to act in a certain way based on an expected future reward. That expectation is built on previous experience.
When a customer encounters a brand they enjoy dealing with, their brain compels them to do so again. That’s the reaction you want to inspire when it comes to the customer renewal process, and it can be achieved by establishing a positive experience at every opportunity of the customer journey, from the first point of onboarding to the final days of the renewal process.
The rate at which customers renew determines the speed at which your company grows and the size you can ultimately achieve, so it is critical that your team focuses on delivering a positive customer experience. That means more than courtesies and colorful onboarding pamphlets, though; it means creating a customer-centered enterprise that delivers business results for its customers and, by turn, drives growth.
Renewal Best Practices
A customer success platform gives you the insight needed to proactively encourage renewal. Keeping a close watch on the customer health scores it generates—a live measurement of combined business-related metrics that determine the customer experience—will tell you how to engage with each account.
If a customer’s health score is low, they will need extra attention before they are ready to renew. If a customer’s health score is high, they may be ready to renew early or may be a candidate for upsell and cross-sell opportunities. Either way, your customer success platform can tell you when it is time to implement value-add renewal activities, such as:

Demonstrate Value Early: Onboarding is about helping the customer integrate your product into their daily workflow so they can begin to experience value. You should aim to complete the process quickly so you can link the promises of the sales phase into real ROI. Your customer success platform will let you know where a customer is on their onboarding journey and can help you avoid potential bottlenecks and delays. The sooner your customer experiences value, the sooner they start building the positive impression that is so crucial for renewal.
Set and Celebrate Goals: All customers want to feel like they are progressing with your product. By establishing goals that reflect their mastery of your product and provide tangible links to their business outcomes, you create an experience of success. So, celebrate the usage of a product feature in their daily workflow, establish realistic targets for trial-to-subscription conversions, and acknowledge the conversion of menial tasks into automated processes. Constant reminders of how far they’ve come will encourage your customer to continue their journey with you.
Solve Escalations Quickly: Any time your customer experiences difficulties and delays, their growth pauses. You should aim to resolve any customer escalations in a reasonable timeframe and prioritize those that occur during onboarding—first impressions matter! Your customer success platform can help you avoid problems before they arise by offering a view of every other account within your enterprise. You can identify known issues ahead of time and impress your customers by solving their problem before they even realized they had one.
Constantly Monitor Customer Health: A customer’s decision to renew is often made long before the deadline approaches. By closely monitoring each customer’s health score in your customer success platform, you can gain knowledge about the customer experience at any point in time and act on this valuable information.

Happy customers renew. Unhappy ones don’t. Use customer data to determine which kind of customer you have and to understand the cause of that experience. If your customer success platform shows a customer is stuck on a specific feature, offer extra training. If it shows their usage figures are falling, send a personalized message asking if something is wrong.
To make the most of your customer renewal process, you must understand your customers. And then you must demonstrate that understanding by turning it into practical results
Using a Customer Success Platform for Renewal
Building a customer-centered enterprise begins with gaining and maintaining a detailed understanding of the customer, their current place along the journey, and their future potential. To do that, you need a comprehensive customer success platform. Such a platform gathers information across the breadth of various customer engagements, capturing every interaction and monitoring every step of the customer journey. That way, your team gains an up-to-the-minute understanding of customer status and the health of customer accounts.
Such a knowledge base provides the necessary visibility and actionability to find the optimal points for customer growth. Don’t think of customer renewal as a single event. Rather, it is based on the overall customer experience. A customer success platform gives insight into that experience as it is occurring so you can be sure customers are satisfied well before the renewal deadline rolls around.
Achieving Success During the Customer Renewal Process
The customer renewal process is often won or lost long before the subscription deadline arrives. At this point, a customer’s actions are largely predetermined by the personal experience they’ve either enjoyed or endured up until now.
Renewal is a promise of future reward. You make that promise in every customer engagement and employ it at every step of the customer journey. As a customer-centered enterprise, you should focus on creating growth opportunities for customers so that they can’t help but believe future rewards await them. That’s the secret to making a customer want to renew time and time again.

3 Ways Intent Data Maximizes Digital Ad Performance

There’s one cliché that perfectly sums up the way people feel about display advertising from a web user perspective — you’re more likely to have a heart attack when browsing the internet than click on a digital ad (even accidentally).
The numbers back up the cliché. According to a study from Wordstream, the average clickthrough rate for display ads is just 0.46%. And yet, U.S. advertisers will spend $59.45 billion on programmatic digital display advertising in 2019. That’s a recipe for a lot of wasted marketing resources.
One of the main reasons so many display ads fall flat is improper targeting. Digital display ads aren’t meant to reach a mass market. Setting your target filters too broadly will inevitably lead to low clickthrough and conversion rates.
Don’t write off digital display advertising as a low-performing marketing tactic. By using intent data effectively, you can maximize ad performance and drive business results. There are three specific ways that intent data can increase ad performance and keep you from wasting marketing resources.
1. Choosing the Right Topics
If you sell a martech product, is it enough to set “marketing” as your main topic for a programmatic ad campaign? Probably not. Your ads will end up displayed across far too many irrelevant websites that lead to either no clicks or too many low-converting web visits.
Regardless of the programmatic ad platform you’re using, you have an abundance of filters to help ensure you’re only targeting the highest-value accounts. But without the right data available internally, you can’t make intelligent decisions about settings that could help you improve your targeting.
Investing in third-party intent data helps you gain insight into the topics and websites that your ideal customers are interested in. First and foremost, those insights will guide your ad copy to ensure your messaging is as relevant as possible. But it’s not just about creating ads that cover the right topics—it’s about creating a specific placement list that ensures your ads are displayed on websites that deliver the highest possible conversion rates.
Many people have been trained to ignore display ads because they are notoriously irrelevant or spammy. Using intent data to improve your topic choices gives you an opportunity to change that display advertising narrative.
2. Improving the Context of Display Ads
One of the most valuable benefits of using intent data (regardless of use case) is its ability to add context to your marketing efforts. Knowing who to target and what they’re interested in isn’t enough—timing is everything. When you’re able to run display ads in the right context for target accounts (meaning at a time when they’re looking to buy), you can maximize clickthrough and conversion rates.
Traditionally, you had to rely solely on keywords and keyword phrases to convey intent to programmatic ad platforms. You’d hope that your keywords would guide automated ads to the right placements to generate the most awareness and action possible. But all too often, optimizing these keyword selections came down to instinct and gut feelings. Maximizing performance means making data-driven decisions about where your ads will be placed and when.
Not only does third-party intent data tell you what target accounts are searching for and the keywords they’re most interested in, but it also shows you which stage of the buyer’s journey they’re at so you can run ads more effectively.
3. Targeting the Right Accounts
You don’t just want to maximize clickthrough rates. You want to attract in-market companies to your website in the most efficient way possible. The more effectively you can target in-market companies, the easier it will be to generate ROI for your digital display ad spend.
Even if you already have a list of target accounts in mind, intent data can help uncover additional lookalike accounts that help create a deeper, more practical total addressable market.
From there, you can use intent data to optimize ad copy, landing pages, and demographic filters and ensure that every campaign is generating awareness from the ideal targets.
Investing in Intent Targeted Advertising
The three benefits listed here are core tenants of an intent targeted advertising strategy. By linking intent data to programmatic display advertising, you’ll be able to fight against the display ad clichés and maximize results for your business.
With the right approach, you could outperform paid search results and deliver a cost per web visit up to 4x cheaper than with traditional display advertising. But you need the right platform to help.

Do you know which specific companies are currently in-market to buy your product? Wouldn’t it be easier to sell to them if you already knew who they were, what they thought of you, and what they thought of your competitors? Good news – It is now possible to know this, with up to 91% accuracy. Check out Aberdeen’s comprehensive report Demystifying B2B Purchase Intent Data to learn more.

How to Create an Instagram Video Ad Funnel That Actually Works

Instagram Ads are one of the most valuable PPC options available to advertisers. There’s no question about it. With around 30% of users purchasing something they’ve first discovered on Instagram and the massive reach potential of Instagram Ads, this adds up.
Video ads are likely even more valuable, ranking in an average of 3x more comments and engagement than sponsored posts that only contain images. This statistic in particular is important, because it demonstrates why creating Instagram ad funnels with videos is such a strong choice for your campaigns.
Instagram video ad funnels have enormous potential, and in this post, we’re going to go over exactly how to create a high-converting funnel with Instagram video ads in four easy steps.
What is An Ad Funnel?
Think for a second about whether you see an ad for a product for the first time ever and decide to buy right on the spot.
Typically not, right? You’re going to be a lot more likely to have your interest caught, and then move on. It may take multiple touch points of interacting with the product or brand before you decide to take the plunge. It’s why attribution can be so tricky, and why it might take up to 3 months (or longer!) for customers to convert after first seeing the initial campaign.
Ad funnels are designed to capture users’ interest and push them through multiple stages of the research and buying process as quickly and effectively as possible. This will generate more leads and sales quickly, and it will also reduce the likelihood that they drop off forever or head over to your competition.
One of the biggest mistakes advertisers make is to create individual, independent campaigns and to never consider a larger funnel and how certain ads interact with each other. If you strategically coordinate a series of ads to have a bigger impact, you’ll see those results on your overall ROI.
Why Instagram Video Ad Funnels are So Effective
Instagram video ads have a lot of incredible benefits. They give you enormous reach and the ability to show your ad to a hyper-targeted audience, and you can show them a compelling ad that’s followed up with a hyperlinked CTA.
There’s a big reason though why video ad funnels are so incredibly effective, and that’s the retargeting abilities. Many users won’t even click on an ad the first time they see it, even if it’s engaged, making it a little challenging to create an accurate retargeting campaign. Video ads, on the other hand, can be retargeted based on view time. This gives you an enormous opportunity to retarget people who were interested enough to watch your preliminary video but not click, giving you a second and highly-targeted chance you might not have gotten otherwise.
How to Create an Instagram Video Ad Funnel
Creating an Instagram video ad funnel is easier than you’d think, it just requires a little more planning up front. You can use the following template to create a customized funnel that your audience is sure to respond to.
Step 1: Brand Awareness
Create a video that utilizes storytelling to introduce people to your brand and what makes you different. The idea here isn’t necessarily to go for a hard sale, but to explain your value proposition and what makes you different. The video should be no more than a minute long.
Here’s a great example of a video that would work for this:

The video has an emotional basis, and it immediately sucks you in with a fear-based proposition of a health problem. That’s sure to grab users’ attention and appeal to their audience, who are ideally healthy eaters.
Target a cold audience with demographic and interest targeting, or a lookalike audience off a high-value custom audience. Make sure that your audience is relatively large in size but falling within a niche that you’re targeting.
Step 2: Lead Capture / Drive Preliminary Action
Hopefully, users have watched your first initial video, even if they didn’t click on the link. That’s an outstanding start.
The next step is to create a video ad (preferable) or a single-image ad that highlights more specific feature-benefit selling of your product or service, and having the goal of either having a lead form filled out or have users click to your site to learn more. These videos can be long, or they can be as short as the example below.

For best results here, use a retargeting campaign, targeting user who watched at least 50% of the video from your first campaign.

Make sure you choose an objective here that matches either lead generation or clicks to your site, whichever you’re optimizing for.

For best results, you should make sure that your campaigns are relatively aligned in style and voice. Sometimes even using the same video template to create your campaigns will benefit you immensely, giving users a consistency that can lead to increased brand awareness.
Step 3: Drive Conversions
The goal of the last stage was to drive users to a specific landing page or capture their lead information. This means you either need to retarget users based on recent visits to your landing page, or retarget those who filled out the lead campaign.

And this time, you’re going for the hard sell. Your CTA should be strong, and the ad copy should ideally offer something to sweeten the deal to encourage interested but timid users to finally convert. Maybe mention free shipping and returns, or offer up a coupon code just for these users.

Step 4: Re-engage
Hopefully by now, a chunk of your audience has converted and purchased from you. Your job isn’t over just yet, though; many advertisers make the crucial mistake of ignoring customers through ads once they’ve purchased. In reality, retargeting past customers and keeping them engaged is more affordable, more profitable, and more efficient than continuing trying to create additional funnels over and over.

Create re-enagement campaigns that either focus on new products (see below), offer additional discounts, or showcase products that would work well with what the target audience purchased in the past. You can either retarget users from a custom list based on their purchases, or target them a set number of days after they’ve seen your “thank you for your purchase” page. Remember that video ads have extraordinary engagement, so use that to your advantage.

Conclusion
Instagram video ad funnels are an extraordinary way to connect with your target audience, create a relationship with them, and nurture it to the point of a sale relatively quickly. If you want conversions, you need to be intentional and strategic about understanding how users move through the buying cycles and how you can facilitate that further.
Multiple touch points are great; they’ll be a lot more effective when they’re strategically placed. And this video ad funnel will ensure that they are.

How to Start an Ecommerce Affiliate Program to Increase Sales

As a retailer, chances are you have a diverse audience. That’s why you tweak your advertising copy and content to cater to lots of people across different segments.
However, as hard as you try to reach the majority of your audience, there are still those who don’t encounter your ads. Perhaps they aren’t actively looking for products like yours, or they’ve never been to your website, so they don’t see your pay-per-click (PPC) ads. The fact that your paths haven’t crossed means you’re missing out on an opportunity to woo and convert them.
One way to get your products in front of these folks is with an ecommerce affiliate program. This is when you partner with influencers in your niche who use email, blog content, and social media to tell their audience about your products. Affiliate programs cost a lot less than advertising, so it’s also an affordable way to increase your sales.
To help you make the most of this strategy, we’ve put together a guide that explains:

How ecommerce affiliate programs work
What you need to know to build your own program
How to manage your program to increase sales

Let’s dive in!
What is an ecommerce affiliate program?
An ecommerce affiliate program is an agreement between you and publishers — like bloggers, other small businesses, and influencers — to share your products with their audience. When their followers buy your products, complete a lead form, or click a link, the publisher gets a commission:

[Source]
For example, Pura Vida sells handcrafted bracelets online. Since their mission centers around promoting healthy and fulfilling living, they can partner with publishers that blog about health and wellness, handmade jewelry, and even South American travel. This audience might not be looking for handmade bracelets, but because they trust the bloggers they follow and appreciate their recommendations, they’re more likely to check out Pura Vida and buy something.
When these leads click on a Pura Vida affiliate link and buy, the publishers get up to 12% in commission on sales. This ecommerce affiliate program gives Pura Vida exposure to people who otherwise might not have found their products.
To drive traffic to your store, each of your publishers gets an affiliate link to embed in their content. Every time someone clicks on the link, a cookie you create remembers them. You set how long the cookie life lasts — this is how long the lead has to return to your site to buy, so the publisher gets credit. Pura Vida’s cookie lasts for 30 days.
What you pay your publishers varies depending on:

Your commission structure
How many publishers you work with
The number of followers publishers send your way

If you sell products on a marketplace like Amazon, there’s a ‘built-in’ affiliate program you can use. With a site like Amazon, where 197 million people shop every month, you can use the affiliate program to direct traffic to your product pages. This is traffic that would have otherwise been snatched up by competition on the site.
Publishers get a custom link they promote on their own site or on social media. When followers click on the link, they land on the publisher’s Amazon page where all the products they promote are listed.

When followers click on any of these products, they’re redirected to your Amazon product pages for more details:

In this example, this publisher specializes in travel accessories. If you have a unique product to share, niche publishers will get your products in front of the people most likely to buy them.
As you can see, ecommerce affiliate programs are a powerful way to get exposure, so you increase your sales. Now, let’s look at how to get started.
How to launch an ecommerce affiliate program
The fact that 81% of ecommerce stores have an affiliate program shows that this strategy is a solid way to increase sales. But just because these programs are so popular doesn’t mean you should jump in without making sure it’s the right move for you now or in the long-term.
1. Determine if an affiliate program is right for you
There are lots of variables when it comes to running a successful ecommerce affiliate program. For one, commission payouts vary from month-to-month depending on how many publishers you have, how much traffic they get you, and the resulting sales. Plus, factors like your store size, product availability and selection, and your time available to manage the program should also be considered before launching your ecommerce affiliate program.
A few questions to ask yourself before launching your ecommerce affiliate program include:

Can you manage the program on your own or do you need a dedicated customer support team?
Do you have a network of bloggers and influencers you can reach out to? How similar are their audiences to yours?
Do you have a process in place to help affiliates promote your products properly?
Do you have a commission strategy in place? Does it fit your budget?
What product trends are your followers interested in?
What are your audience needs?

Also, research the affiliate programs your competitors have in place. Pay attention to how their commission structure works, how long their cookie life lasts, and their signup and approval process.
Use the information you get from your research to set benchmarks. This helps you track how good a job you’re doing to attract traffic and convert them over time. This also shows where you have opportunities to outperform competitor programs and stand out to publishers.
2. Attract publishers
If you decide that an ecommerce affiliate program is a good fit, you have to find publishers to partner with. Create a page on your website where publishers apply to your program, and promote the program on social media to attract publishers.

For publishers that apply, decide if they’ll be a good fit for your program based on their:

Audience reach. How many followers do they have on social media? How big is their email list?
Business focus. How closely do their business values match your own?
Goals. Are they focused on catering to the needs of their audience and providing quality content?

Combined, these factors ensure you partner with the best publishers for your products and that they’ll help you boost sales.
3. Review and approve publishers
Next, use a search engine optimization (SEO) tool like Ahrefs to see how the content of your chosen publishers ranks in Google. Let’s say you sell tech gadgets and want to partner with bloggers to spread the word. Ahrefs shows you how much traffic their content gets and how many times it gets shared:

The more shares and traffic to their content, the better the chances are that these bloggers will reach a lot of people and generate lots of sales for you.
Also, check each publisher’s authority in their niche — for example, look at their domain rank (DR) in Ahrefs because the higher the rank, the better because they’re seen as trusted sources — and their brand awareness. You want to be sure people know about these publishers and read and look at their content. You can also check if any potential publishers have worked with or been featured on mainstream sites in their niche.
4. Conduct ongoing reviews
Once you’ve approved which publishers can join your ecommerce affiliate program, do regular reviews to see:

Which publishers are generating lots of traffic to your site
How much of this traffic is converting
How much you’re paying out to publishers every month
Which products are the most popular
What types of customers are buying

Use this information to see how successful your program is and which publishers are helping you increase your sales. Think about sending resources like videos and content to your publishers, so they’re clear on what the benefits and values are of your products, and marketing campaign tips they can customize.
Based on what’s working, you might choose to focus your affiliate program on certain products and also introduce new ones to the program. Staying on top of publishers and product performance ensures your program meets your expectations and does what you want it to.
Tools of the trade: what you need to know
To make managing your ecommerce affiliate program as streamlined as possible, use tools to automate processes. This way, you can focus on other areas of your business.
Plus, with the right tools, reviewing your program and tracking ROI are easier to do — everything is automatically calculated and stored for you.
Tools like Affiliately and ShareASale give you access to features like:

Setting custom commissions per product
Reviewing publisher stats and earnings
Sending payments
Identifying and removing inactive publishers
Developing resources for publishers, like videos
Creating and modifying marketing strategies
Creating publisher segments to help track trends

Most platforms offer a free trial to start and include different monthly subscriptions based on how many publishers you have.
Pura Vida uses Refersion to automate and manage their program. When they first launched their affiliate program, it grew quickly and steadily — now they use micro-influencers on Instagram and Facebook, which adds to this growth. Pura Vida found that their program followed the 80/20 rule — roughly 80% of their sales came from 20% of their publishers. To get more publishers engaged, Pura Vida offered an incentive that included different commission levels. Publishers found that the more they shared, the more they got back in commissions.
As a result, there are well over 130,000 publishers on board with more joining every day. Pura Vida has also seen a 230% jump in sales as traffic to their site has doubled.
Whichever tool you use to manage your ecommerce affiliate program, use the features it offers to make your program engaging. The program and the features you have access to must help you keep publishers motivated and excited to share your products. Review the reports in your platform and make changes to your program, so it meets your publishers’ needs.
Making your ecommerce affiliate program work for you
If your advertising has hit a wall or traffic has plateaued or sales have dropped, consider expanding your reach with an ecommerce affiliate program. Audiences appreciate product recommendations from the influencers they trust, so use this strategy to introduce new products to new audiences.
To make sure your program meets the needs of publishers and increases your sales, test different parts of your program to find the sweet spot — a program within your budget and that publishers are engaged with. Over time, your sales are going to grow.

How to Create Emails that Convert

How do I create emails that convert? It’s a common marketing and sales question. Once you realize email marketing is still the most powerful marketing tactic in the digital realm, you want to make sure you’re truly extracting that value.
68% of B2B marketers say email is their most effective digital channel for marketing.
The key to effective email marketing starts with understanding that the email relationship is personal, powerful-yet-tenuous, and needs nurturing. Here are 10 tips to creating powerful email marketing.
1 Stop Selling
Sure, the goal of all marketing is revenue. But here’s the thing – consumers don’t want to be sold to all the time. We don’t want an ad every time our email inbox buzzes or chimes at us. When you’re writing stellar email copy, you don’t want to come across with a hard sales focus.
How do you write email copy that converts, but isn’t all “selly”? Avoid sales words that sound spammy, like “Great deal,” “big discount,” or “product is going fast—get yours NOW!”
Also, avoid shouting – too many marketing or sales emails have capital letter copy. YOU DON’T WANT TO YELL AT YOUR READERS!
Instead, create emails with copy written to gain trust. Show empathy and understanding. If you do, you have a real advantage. We’re more likely to trust someone who has been in the same situation as us and can speak from experience. Gain that trust with empathy and authenticity.
When you write email copy (or any writing for that matter) from a place of seeking trust instead of purchase, you allow this expertise to show. People do business with those they get to know, like, and trust. Trust = business.
2 Write a Compelling Subject Line
The subject line is the first thing we see in our inbox. A lackluster line leads to swiping left. Plus the preheader or preview copy acts as a secondary point of contact. These entry points are what tell the reader if your message is something they’d be interested in or not, so make sure they’re supporting the rest of your email message.
Use actionable language in your subject line. Tell the reader exactly what to expect and why they should open your email. Keep it clear and concise. Then expand more with the preview text.
Remember to respect your reader, too. No click-bait-and-switch.
Bonus tip: Test personalization and emojis in your subject lines. Depending on your brand personality, you might find higher open rates and response rates when you add a little personality.
3 Keep it Relevant
When you know your audience, you’ll keep your messages relevant. Picture who you’re talking to as you write your amazing email, and you should send relevant, readable content. Work to be conversational and approachable.
Think about where your reader is when they receive your email, what challenges they face at that moment, and how you can you help them.
Before you create your content, ask yourself: “Why am I sending this email?” Then keep the message relevant to the reason, and to your audience. You’ll create brand loyalty and increase open rates by meeting them where they are when they need it most.
4 Keep it Brief

Sure, we all want to write the best copy ever and wow our readers. But the reality is, we’re not writing the next Great American Novel. Look, there’s a time and place for epic prose… but email marketing is not it.
Storytelling is one of the best marketing strategies out there. Stories empower people and inspire them to take action. But if your story is long or doesn’t connect with your reader, it can actually hurt more than help.
In email marketing, less is more. Use fewer words. We’re reading emails on phones more now than ever. So writing long messages frustrates readers more than it helps them.
Research shows that the ideal email length is shorter than you may think—about 50 to 125 words. That’s about the size of this paragraph. Be honest with yourself. You know that your message isn’t the only one in your reader’s inbox. So you want to make sure to capture their attention right away and maintain it with clarity and a message that gets to the point quickly.
5 Break it Up
Again, we’re reading emails on our phones. Have you tried to read an email that’s one long, run-on message? Short, punchy paragraphs are better. A few lines each.
Don’t lose your readers in endless text. Of course, there’s a cadence to writing. Sometimes you can use longer, slightly complicated sentences. Then you go short.
But the idea is to keep your overall email short and skimmable. That’s how we read.
6 Don’t be Self-Focused (Focus on Your Reader)
Yes, your business has a lot to offer. You want to shout it from the rooftops so everyone knows. But at the same time, no one likes the friend who only talks about themselves.
Instead, be the kind of brand that focuses on how their solutions make a customer feel. Focus on the reader.
Bonus tip for focusing on your reader: Use personaliztion. Since you know your reader’s name because you asked for it when they signed up, use it as a way to show you care about them as an individual as well as a business. Campaign Monitor found that personalization increases open rates by 26%.
When you write from a place of empathy, acknowledging and understanding your reader’s needs, they’re much more likely to listen.
7 Write Good Well
Sure, we aren’t all perfect. That’s why we all ought to have an editor; because bad grammar or spelling could stand between you and a customer who converts. It might be the one thing stopping that conversion. Typos and lack of proofreading make readers feel like you don’t have time or desire to carefully craft a message for them.

Start with spellcheck, but always proofread your emails before sending them. Sometimes the word is spelled right, but it’s the wrong word. Enlist a second set of eyes to look out for things you may not catch as easily. We read what we see in our heads, not what’s on the page. The extra time spent on editing your email is way better than the long-term embarrassment of using the wrong form of “their,” “there,” and “they’re” or “you’re” and “your.”
8 Have One Clear Call to Action

We’re often pulled to add a bunch of “stuff” to emails. After all, we think we only have this one shot to get readers to take action. But the truth is, too many choices lowers action. Every. Time. In fact, research from Wordstream shows that emails with one call to action (CTA) increase click rates 371% and sales 1617%.
This CTA should be the focal point of your email, and your reader should never question why you sent it. Here are a few examples that drive clicks:

Book your next appointment
Let us know how we did
Count me in!
Sign up and save
Reserve your seat today

9 Communicate Value (Not Just Price)
Good: Our brand new feature YY will save you time and boost your ROI 150%
Not so good: Get 20% off your order!
Remember: you aren’t just sending an email, you’re providing valuable information and solutions to your readers. Emails get a bad reputation for causing “noise.” We all complain about it. But when an email offers obvious value, it rises to the top.
When you’re writing copy, approach it like you would a business proposition or collaboration—lead with the customer value of your product or service, and let the rest of your message support this idea.
10 Be Human, Helpful, Humble
When creating emails that convert, be brave. Show personality. Have fun. Test new ideas. The idea, just like truly remarkable marketing everywhere, is to add a human touch, to help, and to humbly serve your audience.
Here are a few ways to add personality:

Share insider information on your company
Highlight employees, partners, and clients
Write conversationally
Use emojis
Answer questions, share resources

Email marketing can become one of your best relationship-building tools. It can help you discover and develop meaningful business relationships with your prospective customers. It can even lead to creating true ambassadors for your brand. Technical aspects like grammar, calls to action, and personalization are critical, but your email marketing will fail without the expression of understanding your reader and the intention to build a relationship.
Email/coffee photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash
Writing photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

Sales Team Structure: Why 91% Of Top Selling Organizations Work Together to Close

These stats show the level of improvement needed with regards to working across functions in your sales team structure.
Improving the level of communication between teams and consulting different functions can bring better results overall and help each function do their job better. In other words, a better sales team structure emerges.
Today, it’s almost customary for high selling organizations to work in this fashion, especially when they have a major account in site. In this article, we’ll explore why they do it and how it benefits.

Source – Saleswingsapp
1. To Improve the Sales Team’s Lead Scoring Process
Lead scoring refers to the practice of “scoring” or ranking leads differently based on predetermined values.
For example, you may rank email leads who signed up for a free ebook as having a lesser value than leads who subscribed to your list after signing up for a free trial.
In turn, those leads would have a lesser value than leads who subscribed to your list after purchasing one of your paid products.
There are other metrics that you can use to score leads. For example, you can rank leads based on their age, income, demographics, location, or which channel they signed up on (social media vs your blog vs via a paid ad, for example).
Lead scoring can save the sales team time and effort. By focusing on leads that were assigned a higher value (in other words, leads that are more likely to convert), they can avoid wasting time trying to achieve more difficult conversions and increase their overall ROI.
For this to happen, there has to be open communication between marketing and sales.
Marketing can supply sales with data about which leads have higher values. In turn, the sales team can refine and improve marketing lead scoring process by supplying the marketing team with feedback about which leads are indeed more likely to convert.
2. To Improve the Marketing Team’s Targeting Accuracy
Communication between marketing and sales will benefit both teams. The sales team can analyze their sales in order to get more accurate data about which demographics are more likely to convert.
Not only can the marketing team use that data to refine their lead scoring accuracy, as mentioned above, but they can use it to improve their targeting accuracy.
Sales can supply marketing with data about which demographics make up the majority of sales conversions. Marketing can use that data to target those on their social media and PPC campaigns, thus improving their ROI.
3. To Improve Marketing/Sales/Product Development With Market and Consumer Research
All departments have a lot to gain from open communication with the market and consumer research teams.
Even if the company does not have a built-in market research team, it is still important that marketing and sales pay attention to the latest market research.
Market research lets you stay on top of consumer trends and up to date on the ebb and flow of consumer demand.
By listening to what consumers are saying, both marketing and sales can improve their campaigns.
The marketing team can refine their advertising messages to touch on the points that consumers are concerned about.
They can discover what different demographics want and target each group accordingly.
Of course, the teams in charge of product planning, development, and production need to stay tuned to the latest market research as well.
They need to know what kind of products consumers want, which products are no longer in demand, and what kinds of improvements or changes consumers are looking for in existing products.
Sales will benefit from market research as well.
By knowing what consumers are looking for, they will be able to refine their sales pitches and not waste their time by focusing on irrelevant features when pitching to consumers.

Source – Twitter
4. How Customer Support Can Help?
Customer support can be a fantastic source of feedback about what consumers actually want.
For example, customer support can supply the product, marketing, and sales teams with data about the top issues consumers are complaining about.
The product team can then go ahead and fix those issues in future products so that the customer satisfaction rate rises.
This also has the potential to cut down on needless product development cost. In other words, features that customers hardly find useful can be left out.
Customer support can also supply marketing with information about which demographics are the highest maintenance (meaning which ones request the most refunds, ask for the most replacements, complain the most, etc).
Marketing and sales can then focus fewer of their efforts and resources on those demographics.
This will also affect your brand image, as you will end up weeding out those customers who are more likely to write a bad review on the internet.

Source – G2msolutions.com.au
5. To Improve Sales With Marketing
Marketing and sales have more to benefit from collaborating with each other than simply sharing data.
Marketing likely has a number of tips on how salespeople can improve their sales pitches, present themselves in a better matter, and use tactics such as social proof to boost their credibility.
Of course, as we’ll see later, marketing and sales need to adopt the same tone as well.
Tips for How to Improve Sales Team Structure
In this section, we’ll discuss how organizations actually encourage sales team structure. We’ll see how they improve communication and collaboration across functions.
Share Important Data
Many times, the same data will be important to different teams and functions, but for different reasons.
For example, when it comes to conversions and the demographics that have a higher conversion rate, marketing will be interested in order to find out who they should target in the future, while sales will be interested to know who will be easier to close a deal with.
Collaborating and sharing data such as leads, sales, conversions, impressions, subscribers, ad click-throughs, and more will help everyone be better at their job.

Source – Slideshare.net
Hold Regular Meetings
Holding regular collaboration meetings is a great way to share ideas, collaborate on data, analyze results, and work together so that every team benefits and improves thanks to the other ones.
These meetings can be general meetings where all teams come together to share ideas and information.
It can also be smaller meetings where only two or three teams come together and share information that is pertinent to those other teams.
Keep Communication Open
It’s important to focus on opening up communication channels between teams. Besides holding meetings, think of other ways to keep the lines of communication open.
For example, teams can collaborate via emails or on a special chat group on Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger.
They can ask each other questions and share information and tips that can be vital to the other team.
You can also organize after-work social events so that members of different teams can socialize and establish connections.
Keep Things Clear
A common obstacle that teams face when collaborating across functions is that the terminology used by different teams is often different.
For example, marketing may use terms that are foreign to product development or even to sales.
When meeting or communicating via other channels, it is important that everyone is clear about what is being discussed. Reduce the usage of complicated jargon or explain it clearly.
Company Culture Is Important
Maintaining the right company culture is crucial for effective collaboration. Everyone, on all teams, has to be on the same page.
First of all, everyone has to have the same motivation to want to see the business succeed. Everyone has to be eager to help out other functions for the good of the business overall.
All functions must be aligned with the general goals of the corporation. As the manager or CEO, you have to lead from the top down.
In addition, every team must present themselves in the same manner. Sales must present the same tone and the same values to customers as marketing.
If marketing adopts a certain tone and personality and consumers see a totally different tone when they are contacted by the sales team, it can not only be confusing but it can reduce your conversion rates.
The entire point of the marketing and sales processes is slowly working potential customers through the various stages of the purchasing decision until they make a purchase, and that should seamless.

Source – Inlox
Lead From the Top Down
As mentioned before, everything depends on how you lead and manage your business. Instill your values in your team.
Make sure everyone is aligned with your values and goals. Encourage them and motivate them to reach them.
Set smaller goals. Reward teams when they reach goals or milestones.
Recognize individual team members for outstanding work. This will help them feel that you value them and that their work is worthwhile, and it will also motivate others to follow in their footsteps.
Keep in mind that not all team members may understand why it is important to work with other teams.
Make sure that they see the bigger picture – how collaboration will help with your overall revenue and growth over the years. How it will have a long-lasting impact in increasing customer value with your brand.
Encourage them to think about other teams and how collaboration will help other teams do their work better.
Help them understand the challenges that other teams face and how working together can help them overcome obstacles.
Wrapping It Up
The three biggest obstacles towards marketing and sales alignment are lack of communication, broken or flawed processes, and working towards different metrics.
Strive to improve alignment across all functions to improve the sales team structure and see your growth skyrocket.

Is Facebook Marketing Over for Publishers?

There’s no denying that Facebook is the main social media channel for marketing, whether you’re in a B2C or B2B business.
Just take a look at Social Media Examiner’s 2019 Report, where it states that 67% of marketers say the single most important social platform to them is Facebook. In fact, 97% of B2C marketers are mostly focused on Facebook, while the number for B2B marketers decreases slightly to 91%.
Publishers have historically been reliant on Facebook, as it’s been the safest social media channel to distribute content for years. Platforms like Instagram and Snapchat can generate profit when used right, but they’re not the most preferred for consuming news and other written content.
However, no reign lasts forever. Although Facebook was once king of social media, its dominance in certain industries may very well be running out.
Is Facebook Marketing Dead?
We’ve all heard it:
“Engagement on Facebook is dropping”
“Facebook’s algorithmic changes are not letting our content reach people”
“You need to spend more money on ads”
“Organic reach on Facebook is dead”
The downfall of Facebook marketing has been talked about quite often as of recently, especially in the digital publishing industry. But it seems like many have yet to react to this.
Facebook marketing has become such a comfort zone for most marketers that they don’t want to let it go. And who can blame them? Facebook has 2.38 billion monthly active users as of March 2019. That sounds like a marketing paradise.
Yet, plenty of people have pointed out worrisome statistics.

Source: Search Engine Journal

Source: Buzzsumo
Publishers are struggling to understand what to do with this information. As a result, they turn to Facebook Ads and blow their already-small-budgets on campaigns with underwhelming ROI.
So if Facebook Marketing is failing us, what can we do about it?
How can we ensure audience engagement if we can no longer rely on the most popular social media channel?
First, we should start by better understanding why Facebook has stopped being so effective. To do that, we need to look at what happens outside the platform.
Facebook Marketing & Recirculation
Since launching our Recirculation feature, we’ve been paying special attention to how recirculation numbers vary for our customers over time.
Going beyond the number of shares made in each social channel, we look at recirculation to understand which platforms are more efficient in retaining visitors to a website. Once we know that, we can determine which social media channels are better for distribution of content.
Facebook is hardly ever a winner here. In fact, looking at 10 different publishers with significant large audiences, only 1 of them has Facebook as the channel with the highest recirculation.
On average, recirculation is at 8,6% for Facebook, while Pinterest had 13,7% and LinkedIn 19,9%. Below Facebook was only Twitter, at 7,9%.

What does this mean?
If people are coming to an article from Facebook and don’t recirculate at all, that means they only view the article they clicked on and leave the page.
As discussed in our post about recirculation, Publishers have a hard time monetizing their users’ sessions when this happens. The higher the recirculation, the higher the reader loyalty, which also means that users are spending more than mere seconds on your page.
Looking at this data, we can easily say that people coming from Facebook are less likely to view more than what they came for.
They’re probably scrolling through their feed when they find something they want to read and, once they do, they quickly lose interest, only to return to scrolling.
Conclusion: not only are Facebook’s algorithms purposely showing less content from brands in users’ feeds, but the posts that do make it are hardly effective at retaining visitors.

Mark Zuckerberg talking about the future of Facebook at F8 Event
Which social channel generates the most recirculation?
As seen in the graphic above, we also looked at recirculation from Copy & Paste Shares. This represents social shares that are made through copying and pasting a link into private channels (such as Messaging apps or Email).
In 7 out of 10 cases, the highest recirculation percentage came from Copy & Paste shares. On average, it was the channel with the highest recirculation at 21.1%.
Although most companies don’t have access to this data, these shares account for as much as 71% of social shares.
We call it Dark Social and it’s been the number one method of sharing for years. Seriously, just look it up or read our extensive guide on the subject.
Though we can’t really say that Dark Social is a social media channel on its own (at the end of the day, it can come from several different private channels), it doesn’t change the main takeaway from this data.
When users come from a private channel, they’re most likely see more than what was initially shared and, therefore, recirculate.
We’re social beings, after all. We don’t normally hesitate to open a link when a friend sends us an article on WhatsApp, or when co-workers share something on Slack.
On the other hand, how often do we come across an article in our Facebook feed that we actually open and read from start to finish?
How can publishers thrive without Facebook?
Having this insight into engagement metrics that go beyond likes and comments, we start to understand an important truth about the relationship between Facebook and businesses.
Though they may not want to face it, Publishers can no longer rely on Facebook the same way they did years ago. And that’s okay. As the Head of Global News Partnerships said, Facebook is not here to save them from their woes.
That’s because audience engagement and ROI go beyond what happens inside the platform. As with all other social media channels, marketers and editors should worry about how users actually use Facebook.
When we see that traffic from Facebook is decreasing drastically, it goes beyond the constant algorithm changes. Knowing what recirculation data tells us, it implies that people may simply not turn to Facebook for news and articles anymore.
So where can Publishers turn to?
Zuckerberg said it best: the future is private. More and more, people are turning to private messaging apps to communicate and share content.
By ignoring that, publishers are missing opportunities to create more meaningful engagements with their audience, understand what they are actually reading and sell more.
Apps like WhatsApp, Slack and even Email are generally more effective at improving loyalty to your page, so it’d be a mistake to ignore them. Make sure you’re tracking which content is thriving in private conversations and start understanding how you can win outside of public shares.
We talk more in depth about how to drive private conversations about your brand in our post about Instagram potentially deleting the ‘like’ feature.
Publishers can very well thrive without Facebook, so long as they accept to let it go.
Final notes
Though Facebook was once a comfortable place to distribute content, it’s become the source of many headaches for Publishers over the last years.
Algorithm changes are hard to adapt to, but that’s not all Publishers need to consider. Metrics such as recirculation and how users actually use Facebook are major contributors to the disappointing results.
We’ll let you to be the judge of whether Facebook marketing is currently a successful channel to retain users for your business or not.