I was checking the analytics on a client site and saw a referral from a website I did not recognise. And so I investigated it.
New referral site turns out to be spam
After typing in the reach-publisheral website address manually (I always do this in a new browser window), an automatic redirect came into effect and I ended up on Pingl.net [no, don’t follow that link please].
Black Hat SEO tactics
In the SEO world there are goodies and baddies…. and it’s a game of tension between the unscrupulous on one side and those who follow search engine websites’ guidelines on the other – refereed by Google and Bing.
Black Hat is the term given to tactics that are underhand and try to cheat the system.
White Hat is the opposite – those who work within the framework set by search engines.
Updates to search engine algorithms are usually driven by their desire to undermine black hat tactics.
After a quick search I found several other commentators had found referrals in their analytics also coming from Pingl. This rings alarm bells.
Who is Pingl?
A set of clever Black-Hatters masquerading as authentic “growth hacking” tacticians.
They use a technique called notification referrer service which is basically a spam referral to your website. By masking their site identity they make the link “appear” to come from another site – reach-publishinglo in my case (but others report variants on Ali Baba). This domain is setup with the sole purpose of sending you to pingl’s home page – it refers you directly to them.
Although you may be getting a lot of referrals from the masked page, it is not real traffic, and it can ruin your SEO – notably your bounce rate.
How to overcome referrer spam
Create filters in your Analytics to remove this traffic from your results in two ways
Campaign Source Filter – will stop all traffic from the source (pingl) site
Campaign Referral Path Filter – will stop single web pages
Languages Setting Filter – stops traffic from named languages (was useful for Russian spam in 2017)
https://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/pingl.png12082372Rebecca Caroehttps://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2019-01-15 12:01:372019-01-15 12:58:31Referral traffic from Pingl is spam
As a marketer I love being marketed to and so when I got invited by Air New Zealand to “Find out what’s your travel style?” I clicked to do the self-test quiz.
Backstory – Customer Differentiation for CRM
Facebook advert for Air NZ Quiz
Brands need to be clear about different messages to different audiences. This is basic database marketing concept is easy to achieve using segmentation based on actions. The difficult part is identifying customer attitudes and desires which have not yet become actions.
Creating a differentiation matrix for your customer base is worthwhile and if you have never done one before, ask us to help you create it.
After you have actions plus attitudes then you can create a layered differentiation plan – plugging your customer journey and content plan with clear guidelines which your team will love because it makes it very easy to track progress towards your goals.
The team will have created the segments based on research data (Qual and Quant) but their challenge is how to populate their existing customers into the data grid. Here’s where the fun quiz fits. By running a campaign with a prize draw, they are creating a series of Golden Questions and the obliging customer fills in the quiz and creates a score which populates their preferences in the database. What follows is the clever part – using the insights gained, AirNZ will be cross-populating the insights into their current database of customers who did not fill in the quiz – by inference from other customers who look alike.
What I’m looking forward to is the communications that should follow – will I (A Lounger) get more customised messaging?
The Travel Style quiz told in screenshots
First up the quiz questions – you can guess the alignment between the four travel styles (lower down) and the questions if you choose to base your own quiz on this format.
Then the detail of the travel styles.
And lastly the up-sell in every travel style description – mine was for the Skycouch including a video and a transcript (very important for people using social without sound enabled).
Quiz step 1
Quiz question 2
Quiz question 3
Quiz question 4
Quiz question 5
Quiz outcome – Travel Lounger segment
Quiz result Savvy selector
Quiz result segment opportunist
Quiz result segment Goody gatherer
Skycouch advert from my segment profile
Skycouch video and 360 tour – with transcript
https://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Air-NZ-Holiday-importance.png17021125Rebecca Caroehttps://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2018-08-29 12:08:002018-08-29 13:24:37AirNZ gamifys its customer segments
Algorithms, that’s what. Complex algorithms are what determines your unique experience on Facebook. Your news feed is catered specifically to you – based on what you like, how you interact and even search history from outside of Facebook.
When it comes to using Facebook for business, many strive to create content that resonates with their audience. Competitions, giveaways, new products – these are all important business updates that are shared on Facebook everyday. Techcrunch reports that there are over 50 million small businesses that use Facebook’s Pages app. For many companies, Facebook is one of their key business assets.
However, Facebook has made some drastic changes that will affect business pages on the platform. On January 11th, 2018, Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook announced algorithm changes that may indicate the start of what Michael Stelzner calls a “Facebook apocalypse”:
Personal posts from friends and family will have preferences over posts from groups or pages in your news feed
Videos will get less views – this is because video is content consumed passively
Focus will be on meaningful social interactions, so comments will be valued more than likes
As you can see, this is possibly one of the biggest changes that Facebook has ever made to the platform. Zuckerberg himself has even stated that he expects the market price will drop due to these changes. On the one hand, it appears that these changes are purely to improve user experience. But, it can also be debated that these changes are a move to encourage more businesses to turn to paid Facebook advertising to get the traffic they want. And, it’s highly anticipated that Facebook advertising costs will increase following the surge in advertising campaigns.
What does this mean for businesses?
These algorithm changes will start with your news feed, but this is only the beginning. Likely, it will be an update rolled out across all Facebook products.
For businesses, there are a few changes that will invariably happen – something to take into consideration when adapting your marketing strategy to adopt this algorithm change.
For pages that thrive on short, viral videos (think LADbible), they’re likely to be affected the most. Bloggers will also see a hit in organic reach, as will pages that exist purely to share memes, quotes and ‘tag-worthy’ photos.
How to create meaningful content on Facebook
These changes all hold one key goal in mind: to promote meaningful interactions. It’s more than just getting your audience to tag their friends or liking a picture. Meaningful, by Facebook terms, involves interacting with friends, family and other users in insightful conversations.
Here is what will no longer work:
Asking people to comment
Short text posts
Basically, posts that exist purely to gather likes will be phased out from your news feed.
What can you do to create meaningful content?
See first – prompt your audience to change their news feed preferences to see your page’s content first
Post less frequently, but with more relevant content
Start discussions on your posts that encourage your audience to talk to one another
Use Facebook Live to reveal exciting updates and news
Adopt a Facebook advertising strategy
This all seems fairly straightforward, but as Facebook continues to make these changes to more than just your news feed, it will be more important than ever to understand these each and every one of these variables that will be affected.
Ultimately, your audience on Facebook isn’t yours – it’s purely borrowed from Facebook. And now that Facebook has set the ball rolling, who is to say other social platforms such as Instagram and Twitter won’t follow suit?
Stay up to date with social media changes
We have a seminar coming up that will cover Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even Snapchat. There will be an insightful analysis on the algorithms that prioritise content, and what you can do to stay ahead of the crowd when it comes to creating meaningful content.
Click the button below to secure a ticket.
WTF Happened to your Social Media Traffic?
Date: Wednesday 18th April, 2018, 7:30am – 9am
Where: Ponsonby Community Centre, Glue Pot room – 20 Ponsonby Terrace
With many services out there for marketers, producing content and getting it to your audience has never been easier. However, not all services are trustworthy. We recently came to learn about TopBuzz, a platform that has divided opinions.
All started with an email…
A couple of weeks ago, we received an email out of the blue from TopBuzz, a content distribution platform, claiming to be ‘impressed’ by a video we did for a client. The email content was quite generic and seemed to be automated. TopBuzz said they were able to enlarge our video audience via their platform and we would be compensated for all the views we got.
A couple days ago, we received another email. This time, it was from a person claiming to be from this company, boasting about the number of active users and the number of views that all the videos get that are shared on their platform. She was very forward in her approach and encouraged us to become a ‘premium creator’.
Now, we did a little bit of research on these guys and it was scary to see what would have happened if we signed up with them.
TopBuzz key things we discovered:
According to past users of the platform, the communication from TopBuzz is poor and scarce if you ever try and contact them. If you have a problem with something, TopBuzz are unlikely to help and at best, you might receive template emails that are likely to be irrelevant.
This brings up the next problem. If you are unhappy with the platform…too bad. You can’t delete your account and your content will stay on TopBuzz’s platform forever.
However, it gets worse! TopBuzz can use any videos uploaded to their platform in whatever way they want. Say you work hard and make a viral video. If that video is on their platform, they can publish it as their own and you would get no credit. Unfortunately, most users only realised that this was their fate only after signing the contract without reading the small print in their T&Cs.
We were never interested in using this platform in the first place as the video we created for our client was content produced for a niche segment, it was an hour long and was a face to face interview. Targeting a mass audience and making revenue off views was not on the agenda, therefore, using this platform would have been unnecessary.
If you are producing viral videos, pursuing avenues through social media seems to be a safer option. For example, with Facebook, there are various pages that are dedicated to redistributing content according to different tastes.
Nevertheless, it’s important to be aware of dodgy services like this so be sure to do your research before jumping in!
When you start a group online in a public social platform, it’s easy. Nothing much happens until your group hits a ‘tipping point” of size + engagement + activity.
Facebook Groups logo
Different groups achieve this at different points in time. We have a sports group run for a client that has nearly 2,200 members and gets 2–3 posts daily from group members. It is now attracting ‘commercial’ elements such as an advert for privately owned equipment listed for sale.
Interestingly, that one post opened a floodgate of listings from others. It seems as though people felt that ‘permission’ had been given to dive in and sell to the group.
The client runs the group in public at his expense and he refrains from selling into the group more than once a month for his own products. It was clearly time for an intervention and setting boundaries about what is acceptable behaviour in this group environment.
3 Types of ‘Sales Pitch’
1) The first was the lady who listed the equipment for sale. I messaged her privately and she told me that despite getting a huge reaction from the group, it was a private sale and she sold it to a friend, offline. We let this pass as just a one-off. Clearly every member of the group won’t be listing items weekly.
2) The second was a lady who runs an Instagram account through which she gives ‘free training programmes’. We checked out what she does and came to the decision that she’s not making a living out of this. And so I am classifying her as a ‘volunteer’. But her actions need to be curtailed because regular postings promoting her services (even though they are free) would upset the balance of the discussion dynamic already established.
Actions to mitigate impact
We messaged the Instagram lady privately, explaining she can publish her stuff on the website via an existing ‘submit post’ feature where community notices are published. This is important because although it publishes to the blog, it is set up to avoid getting into the newsletter, the Facebook page and other communications channels. She does get indexed by the SEO spiders, gets link backs, but does not get referenced or categorised in the archive.
3) By contrast, the third type of pitch was a post by a commercial sports professional trainer. When we reviewed it, we found it is definitely a paid promotion designed to recruit readers from the client’s Facebook group into HER email list and commercial program.
Actions to Arrest Unwanted Activity
First I turned off comments on this post. Nobody can add to them, and this helps prevent Facebook showing it in feed updates. We also removed all her replies in the comments because they linked to her programme over and over again.
Then we wrote to her privately asking her to get in touch by email so she can pay to promote her products on our platforms, along with other commercial retailers (the website is advertising supported). I am waiting to see what her reply to this Facebook message will be – if she’s contrite and apologetic, I’ll leave her post published; if she takes no action to reply or is aggressive and rude, I’ll delete it and block her from the group.
Behavioural boundaries are yours to define
The underlying logic is that commercial enterprises pay, and volunteers can get access as part of the goodwill of the group. The commercial publicist had made no effort to engage and join in the group discussion – she just joined, dove in and started selling. That’s not how this group rolls.
Making the rules for the group is part of good practice in community management. You can publicise these with a pinned post, or a message to new members explaining what is and is not acceptable.
Enforcing the boundaries will help you to create the group and community YOU want. Know what actions you will take if the boundaries are crossed and also understand how to take discussions into a private space – you don’t want to have a public argument while you try to explain your motives. And you don’t even need to explain them, only the acceptable behaviours.
https://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Facebook-Groups.png650664Rebecca Caroehttps://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2017-08-29 10:00:002017-08-29 12:54:56YIKES! My Facebook Group Got Hijacked by Competitors
Campbell Naish, Partner at export strategy and marketing consultancy Katabolt, wrote a generous testimonial for Creative Agency Secrets. Many thanks!
Rebecca provided Katabolt with a valuable specialised set of marketing recommendations with a specific focus on services which was a great match with what we needed. Her B2B expertise and international experience and perspective helped our team refocus marketing plans and bring new skills into the fold. Thanks
Every business needs a strong plan of action to get and publish testimonials for the business from customers and clients. As the internet becomes the strongest recommendation engine, because it’s easily searched and free to use, your business MUST get a strong profile in places where testimonials and reviews can be seen and shared.
Don’t forget that recent reviews are more powerful than old ones. So this is a tactic you need to implement weekly or monthly.
We implemented TrustPilot for an ecommerce client who needed to improve visibility of its amazing customer service. Based around the world, TrustPilot has local sites for each country – this one was in the UK. The integration of their free version with ecommerce platform was seamless – every time a customer buys, they are invited to leave a review a fixed time period after the purchase is complete.
As a mail order business, the time delay between online purchase and receiving goods can be a while and so the flexibility to specify when the review request email is sent was appreciated.
On the reviews page, you can respond to each one which gives full visibility to your prompt response to feedback. And when you upgrade to the paid version, the option to enable reviews by product, not just for the company as a whole, gives a host of new options.
Read more blog posts about Step 5 Relationship Development by clicking the image below – it will take you to that category on our blog. Teach yourself how to build relationships with people who will bring new custom to your business.
https://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/LI-testimonials.png9301618Rebecca Caroehttps://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2017-08-08 10:50:502017-08-10 13:35:16Giant thanks for this testimonial
This September, the Social Media Conference is happening again! We are big fans of the content, even more so this year because our very own Rebecca Caroe is a speaker!
Are you looking to use Social Media to benefit your business but just don’t know how?
Social Media isn’t just for kids these days. In fact, it’s one of the biggest platforms for a business to market in today’s environment. Whether it be Business to Consumer or Business to Business, the Social Media Conference 2017 provides insights on how to utilise these skills to your business benefit.
Expand your knowledge in this field through New Zealand’s biggest Social Media conference hosted by The Online Business Academy for its fourth year.
Rebecca Caroe (CEO of Creative Agency Secrets)
Marketing experts from all over the world come together to talk about their experiences with Social Media, how it helped them in their business ventures and how it can help you market to a larger audience through Social Media.
Wanita Z (Founder of the Online Business Academy)
John Kapos “Chocolate Johnny” (Chocolatier to Marketing Mogul)
Andrew Baird (Business Coach)
Our very own Rebecca Caroe on “The Art of Pre-suasion: Content, Keywords and Social.”
Omni channel Experience
Social Selling through Social Media
How to run Live Events
Be Seen, Heard and Found Online
Build and networking your brand through Social Media Outlets
Win your customers through Social Media
Deal with the difficult customers online
And much more
Seize the opportunity to network with business owners from all over the country and develop connections for your business. Gain information that can assist with expanding your business through Social Media platforms and understand how Social Media aids with keeping up to date with the evolving business world. If you’re serious about expanding your business, you wouldn’t want to miss Social Media Conference 2017.
September 15th and 16th 2017
8:00am – 5:00 pm
Use the code “REBECCA” at the checkout to get a $250 discount!
https://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/social-media-conference-2017.png6561502Creative Agency Secrets Teamhttps://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgCreative Agency Secrets Team2017-07-20 15:35:492017-08-25 16:39:31Become Social Media Savvy with the Social Media Conference 2017
You cannot possibly compete online if you do not have a strong social media presence. It is one of the most influential platforms on the internet, so you must start developing engaging campaigns on the likes of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, if you haven’t already. Our goal is, therefore, to help you develop an effective social media strategy that will ensure you stand apart from your industry rivals.
Focus on Relationships Not Sales
Take a look at Dove’s social media presence; their goal is to inspire and promote confidence in people (particularly women) globally; selling soap appears to be a secondary objective to this positive message. Many beginners often make the mistake of giving it the hard sell when using social media for the first time; however, this will provide little to no value to your brand. If you want to engage with your followers, you need to give them a reason to follow you. While you might believe you have the best product in town, your target market might take a little convincing.
So, instead of pushing your goods and services onto social media followers, aim to create social media posts that make you different from your competitors. For example, you could launch an online competition, share helpful blogs and post high-quality photos for their enjoyment. You should only publish promotional ads every three to five social media posts.
Integrate Video Marketing
Some of the most inventive advertising is currently happening in video marketing. Take a look at this online advert for Hotels.com. According to Cisco, online videos will make up more than 80% of consumer traffic by 2020. It is, therefore, a powerful tool to use on social media, as people are more likely to drop everything they are doing to watch a funny or informative video. You should strive to develop creative, entertaining and unique videos that make people not only want to follow your page but share your posts.
YouTube is also one of the most influential social media platforms, with more than one billion unique views each month. If you want to become a leading channel on YouTube, you should not only create innovative videos, but you could buy subscribers from Social Media Daily to boost your profile and encourage views and subscribers.
Listen to Feedback
Consumer feedback is the cornerstone of a successful business, as it allows a brand to refine their goods and services to improve customer satisfaction. Lego has long seen the value in working with customers to improve its products.
Social Media can be a superb platform to gain insights from your past, current and potential customers. You should ask questions to provide customers with a forum, so you can offer the perfect service – so it can be great for product development purposes and could save a company a significant amount of money in the future.
It is important to make your social media followers feel that they are more than just a number. L’Oreal encourages staff to use the hashtag #lifeatloreal to promote the culture at the organisation this, in turn, encourages consumers to see the company as human and approachable.
You should engage with your followers, responding to their comments, mentions and direct messages. It will prove to them that you are a caring brand that appreciates their social media following, which will encourage online and brand loyalty.
So, if you want to embark on an effective social media marketing strategy, you should aim to be creative, active and helpful in your online approach.
https://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/beginners-social-media-marketing.png9081280Rebecca Caroehttps://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2017-05-16 15:28:202017-06-28 15:15:47A Beginner’s Guide to Social Media Marketing
One of our clients has recently taken to creating videos to showcase their products on the company website. This of course includes uploading the videos to their new YouTube account to help promote the company and the products they are selling. In doing so, they noticed the previous owner of the company had created a YouTube account with a similar name (a variation of the company name). With a decent chunk of views having stacked up on the old channel, our client wanted to know if it was possible to bring the two accounts together, since, they were essentially the same business anyway.
There were a few complications at this point: our client had contacted the previous owner of the company about getting the videos from the old channel. Unfortunately, the previous owner had not used the account for quite some time. He didn’t know what the password was and having since sold the business, his email address had been deleted, leaving his YouTube account hanging in a state of limbo, unable to be logged in and edited for future access.
As it turns out, not being able to access the account doesn’t affect the outcome – YouTube simply do not allow accounts to be merged for any reason. That’s right, if you have millions of views locked away in an account you can no longer access, too bad. They’re lost!
If you were able get in to the account to grab the videos, the only way to get all of the videos on to the same account is by logging in, downloading the videos, and re-uploading them on the new channel. This resets the view count back to zero, erasing any clout you may have built up on the website with the older account.
Thankfully the videos in question were of lower quality, looked incredibly dated and the views weren’t substantial enough to cause any serious headaches.
The End Result?
Continue adding high quality content to the new channel, and ignore the old one.
A frustrating outcome, but a valuable lesson learned along the way.
How can you avoid YouTube account complications?
If you want to migrate videos from one channel to another, ensure you have the video file itself is saved somewhere other than YouTube, set the channel up right the first time, so that you do not need to create a second one and use an email address that is unlikely to expire (hint: Gmail is YouTube’s best friend). With these points in mind, you should be able to rescue any valuable content, but sadly you will have to forget about bringing them together and leveraging the success of the old videos to promote the new ones.
A frustration we must all live with unless YouTube suddenly change their account settings. (Sigh).