Archive for March, 2011
How does a #1 seed lose on opening day? That was the fate of the Red-tailed Hawk on Day 1 of March Migration Madness. Our favorite feather loving client, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is hosting this fowl tournament on the Lab’s Facebook page.
The Lab has built a community of almost 30,000 birders over the past 4 months, showing that what happens offline can be replicated online. Yesterday’s match-up between the Peregrine Falcon and the Northern Flicker was decided by only 4 votes (out of more than 2400 cast).
Head on over to the Lab’s Facebook page and see a Facebook page the way it was meant to be – a community of highly engaged fans supporting a cause they care about.
For ad pros, the draw is a trip to Cannes for the Cannes Advertising Festival in June. For nonprofits, it’s professionally video content produced specifically for their organization with the potential for massive views.
Google for Nonprofits just announced YouTube’s Good Work contest, which will partner filmmakers with nonprofits in need of great video content. The best videos will be show at the Cannes Advertising Festival, and one lucky filmmaker will even be flown to France for the festival. Not bad.
This is a great opportunity for both filmmakers and nonprofits. To participate nonprofits must have nonprofit status issued by the government (like a C3 number) and have a nonprofit YouTube channel.To find out more click here.
Every week we aggregate our favorite tech, media and nonprofit stories from the web and put them here. This week, rapping about SEO, coloring up a buzz, and new ad tools for Facebook and Google.
Recipe for Launch Buzz: Create a social application that raises privacy concerns, pair with HUGE funding from well-known investors, serve hot to the internet. The new photo-sharing app Color has huge potential and created a serious stir among tech/media folks. Some say it’s the sign of a new tech bubble. Others say lawsuits are coming. And color everyone confused about how to use it.
Google gets ready to offer embedded video in search ads.
Facebook starts mining data real time for ads.
A new study says top nonprofits are outpacing companies in social media.
Social Media mess ups; what to keep in mind – for brands and agencies – when managing Facebook and Twitter.
Lessons from the SEO rapper. Slow clap Hubspot. Slow. Clap.
Also, don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter @commonsensenms
Google Grants could be the missing pillar of your nonprofit’s digital strategy. As of June 2010, Google had awarded over $600 million in grant money to nonprofit organizations, and they show no signs of slowing down. Because of this, we’ve helped nonprofit clients make the Google Grants a key feature of their digital strategy.
The Google Grants program is essentially free Google Adwords for nonprofits. To be clear: $10,000 in free advertising a month, from Google, for non-profits.
Basically here’s how Google Grants work: Nonprofit organizations with a 501 C-3 status are eligible to apply to Google to receive $10,000 per month in Google paid search dollars. That breaks down to about $330 per day in Google ads. These are the same ads that appear next to organic Google search results in the right column and above the search box. Like business clients who bid for ad placement next to Google paid search and pay on a per click basis, nonprofits can advertise in the same space, for free.
There are a few differences, like nonprofits are limited in their bids, presumably so they don’t out bid actual paying customers for the most valuable words. Also the grant money has to be spent in a single day, so you can’t save it up over time, but the grants run indefinitely.
So what does this mean?
Let’s assume for this blog post that a paid search click from Google costs $1 (most of the time it’s less but it’s capped at $1.00 for Grants). Under the basic Grants program, that would equal a maximum of 330 clicks to your nonprofit’s website per day. That’s 2,310 per week and 9,900 clicks per month.
We’ve worked with clients who were averaging 2,000 pageviews on their site a month pre-grant. In just over a month of active grant management, they were receiving 6,000.
If a nonprofit spends $9,500 of their available monthly $10,000 in two of the last 12 months, they’re eligible to apply for Grants Pro, which equals an additional $30,000 a month in advertising.
This means a potential yearly ad budget of $480,000 for your nonprofit. This means being found online, competing in the same space as businesses with big budgets, finding new supporters and raising your organization’s profile.
The Google Grants program is perhaps the single most valuable tool we’ve identified to help nonprofits grow their web presence. There is literally no reason not to apply. I know this all sounds a bit too good to be true. So go visit the Google Grants program blog for proof, then apply.
Here are 5 strategies (paid and organic) that have proven to work for us. Inevitably, they tend work best when used together.
Create a moment
Plan an event on Facebook and make it interesting. Of course, people love free stuff or a good deal, but they also like to jump on-board with a good cause or engage with compelling content. Just like a live event, the execution is all about the details. Consider the mechanics. Build strong messaging. Leverage your communication channels and work out all of the kinks (i.e. test, test, test).
It simply works. The market average is $1.07 per fan acquisition (WSJ). However, we’ve found that it’s possible to pull in fans for much cheaper (our agency average is $0.65 per fan). There are 3 keys to success when considering how to advertise on Facebook – targeting, testing and optimization.
Create a content grid
Coming up with good post content can be tough. Creating a content grid allows to put down all of your good ideas in one place – functioning as an editorial calendar. More importantly, it allows you to keep track of great posts that resonate with your fans. Trivia works? Create trivia Mondays.
Ask compelling questions
Get your fans commenting on your posts by asking questions that you would actually want to answer. Ask people to choose – what’s better, who’s right? Make them think – if you could have coffee with anyone dead or alive, who would it be? If you could go to bed tonight and wake up tomorrow anywhere in the world, where would it be? Remember, the goal here is to generate fan responses that others would want to comment on top of (i.e. generate organic growth).
Be real. Don’t preach your company mission. Don’t make hard sells. Instead, reply to your fans’ comments individually and in a conversational tone. Don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions. Just talk to your fans. Literally or figuratively, give them something they can feel good about.
Every week we compile the stories that caught our attention. This week, new research about Twitter and Facebook, the value of a Tweet vs. a Like, and how Mr. Bean has managed to gain over 9 million Facebook followers.
Social Media Blackout Day is coming April 1st. No Joke. Log off. Live on.
According to new research, Facebook Likes are more profitable than Tweets. Not surprising.
The most engaged Facebook pages include Justin Bieber, Manchester United and…Mr. Bean? Social media lessons from Mr. Bean.
Delta Airline is letting customers check-in to flights via Facebook. Some how they’ll manage to add service fees for this.
New York Observer launches BetaBeat to cover the New York tech scene.
Great networking, no new surprises at SXSW this year.
Birds of a feather, tweet together. Twitter users congregate based on mood.
- Post on average 5.25 times per week.
- Always write short posts. “When was the last time you watched Mr. Bean?”
- Posts should include fan praise mixed with direct asks. “Glad to see you are all watching Mr.Bean daily! Tell us who are you watching with?”
- Ask your fans to upload photos.
- Build special interactive tabs.
- Include a large profile picture, that scales nicely when reduced for the wall thumbnail.
- Never erase spam posts (OK actually don’t do this one).
Every week, we post the most interesting marketing and tech stories here.
South by Southwest is basically Woodstock for nerds. YouTube aims to be a bigger presence in the Middle East. Why we regret buying that iPod instead of investing in Apple. And we share our agency average for Facebook fan acquisition costs.
It’s SXSW, so you can expect a lot of announcements from tech companies in the next week or so. A few we like so far:
- Foursquare partner with Amex and updates app.
- SCVNGR launches Level Up, (we already bought the Boloco coupons).
- Instapaper goes social.
- Uber Cab. The SF Based cab company that lets you order a cab from your iPhone is heading to NYC. Umm Boston next please?
- And for when you’ve over-dosed on SXSW and tech news: Abolish it.
If you had invested in Apple, instead of buying that iPod, well, you would be rich. Via NYT.
Apologies in advance for boasting, but we’re doing pretty well when it comes to getting clients fans through Facebook ads.
Common Sense’s Cody Damon over at Social Media Today on how Facebook friends influence advertising.
A study recently cited in the WSJ suggests the average cost for a new fan on Facebook, acquired through Facebook fan ads is $1.07, or about the price of a small cup of coffee.
Here at Common Sense we decided to combine data from all the accounts we manage for the month of February to see how we compared with this benchmark.
We’re happy to report that we’re far below it.
During February, the agency average cost per fan for all the accounts we manage, was $0.65. That’s a little more than half the $1.07 fan cost cited in WSJ.
Why the big difference?
There are a couple things to consider. We actively manage ads, day-to-day. As soon as they start underperforming, we refresh them with new copy, images and/or targeting. This management style takes a lot of time and while placing an ad on Facebook is technically easy, managing ads for the most inexpensive cost-per-click, or cost-per- conversion (new fan), is not.
Judging by the ads I get served on Facebook, like the one for a parking garage in San Francisco (I live in Boston), or those same stale ads that I get served week after week, we can say confidently that a lot of people managing ads on Facebook simply don’t know what they’re doing.
Also, consider our clients list, which is made up of international businesses, local nonprofits, regional organizations and national nonprofits. Fan costs differ for each client. The lowest is a remarkable $.27 per fan and the highest is $1.43.
For certain clients who want to target specific fans by region and demographic, a fan is inevitably going to be more expensive, but the payoff is going to be much higher. This is the cost of getting the right fans.
So while we’re happy our average agency cost-per-fan is far below the benchmark average, we also understand that there are times when that cost is going to be rightly higher.
For more information on how we manage ads, read Reid Benson’s post on ad management practices.