Clever Ad Placement In All of Social Media

These days in just about everything we do, we’re just about accustomed to seeing a commercial, banner, popup, or some type of advertisement trying to get our attention. Even if the attention is only for a few seconds, winning our eyes for just those seconds can change our buying patters and perceptions to brands in a big way. While I won’t get into the science of marketing and mind control, I’ll keep this on topic for social media and the landscape.

I don’t think any social network can solicit ads better than Facebook. They’ve integrated targeted ads at the bottom of images, post threads, and the sidebars. While to most avid users of Facebook, one can train themselves to continue to use the social network and easily ignore the ads. Today I noticed my first sponsored ad in my stream of Instagram. I was a little shocked because I pretty much know all the people I follow and used to the normal content. That all changed when I saw this ad for a TV show that took my by complete surprise.

There have been plans for incorporating ads into IG I think before the Facebook buyout, but with Facebook doing what they already do well, I think ads were inevitable. Anyways, so the ad (see the screenshot below) was a high resolution photo with a TNT logo embedded and that was my first tip off. While a bit subtle it was noticed. There wasn’t enough for me to get a real gist of the program but there was a hashtag and a time and date for the next show on the network.

Instagram Screenshot of Ad

There was about 42 comments and I think there is where all the comedy was.  Some people were complaining for seeing the add, some identified the actor with praise, and of course plenty of sarcasm.

But What Does All This Mean for Avid Instagram Users?

Will you entertain paying big money to advertise your brand, services, products on the powerhouse that is IG? I’ll ask you a better question, how are you currently selling or reselling your brand to your existing audience? Your website is your information stream. People come to it daily for information, there should be subtle ways for you to turn something into revenue. Whether that stream comes from eyes to your website, then a call to action, then an email to buy something at a discount, there should be something in place. Especially if your business is structured to have reoccurring or frequent users – you have their eyes at attention that should be introduced (softly) to strategically placed similar products, well placed ads, or something that encourages an emotion to further engage with your business.

Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid

Sure I mentioned earlier that most of us are trained to ignore ads and commercial offerings, you must remember why people are using a service, website, or app in the first place. They’ve already been sold on it. So unless something comes around offering a better experience all around, and everyone they know have moved, they’re not going anywhere. Sure some will complain but they’ll continue to use it because all of their friends and coworkers still use it.

I remember when the threat of photo ownership was at risk in IG and people had a mass exodus from the site deleting photos and terminating accounts like it was an Occupy Wall Street protest. I was in the number by the way – (no shame). Then I came back with a new handle and a new perspective on what I decide to post and what I’ll reserve for my own publishing.


You can’t be obnoxious with your offerings and sales pitches. You’ve gotta slide them in there in a real subtle and non-obtrusive way. You also have to make it something that will spark engagement. Even if some it will be negative. Some of the negative will serve as good feedback on how to do better.

How Can You Tell If It Is Working?

Google Analytics is your best friend. Use it. Setup a benchmark for when you’re going to launch your new campaigns and compare that to what was happening on your website a month prior. Even to the week before, see what your numbers look like. See what your sign ups look like. See what your sales are like. See what your emails are like.

Sales Trigger Ideas?

Here are some ideas you can use:

  • A call to action with a form
  • A popup window on entry or exit of your website tied to your mailing list (I would suggest MailChimp)
  • Create new and keyword rich landing pages
  • Once a day try offering a special deal to one of your more engaged followers on each of your social media accounts. (tell them they one a free something or discounted something)
  • Create a timed sale or discount. One that has to be used within a certain period of time that day or within the next 24 hours. This will create a sense of urgency
  • Cross promote your brand with an associated business or service
  • Invite your followers to post pictures on their social apps with your products (something branded) and tag/mention you
  • Create your own ads that are linked back to your products when sending out emails

These are just a few ideas, there are plenty more out there. Why not share your efforts and ideas in the comments below and lets have a discussion!

The reality of SEO and your shoestring budget

SEOOf the past few weeks I’ve been getting quite a few questions about SEO. With the growing consciousness of the power of search and keyword relevancy, all questions are pretty much valid. Let me start off though with stating that SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a service all on its own. My personal recommendation is that you find a reputable company that provides these services almost exclusively.  They’ll work with your web designer or if you don’t have one, they’ll make the necessary updates for you in their marketing plan. Typically you’ll see prices range from $700 to $2,000 a month. And that’s where I notice a lot of people’s facial expressions drop.

For the average small business start-up, forking over $1,500 a month in SEO services may be a bit high. There are a few things I want to bring to light about SEO and the shoestring business.

  • SEO is not for every business on a budget. If you can only allow for a budget of $100 or less per month, you’ll be better off doing a local PR campaign, or an ad in your community newspaper, or social media.
  • Evaluate how much profit you make per each new customer before doing SEO. If each new client brings you a profit of $50 to $100 but you’re monthly invoice for proper SEO is over 1k, that SEO plan needs to bring in more than 10 new clients a month at least.
  • SEO should incorporate many online facets like, directory listings (DMOZ, Altavista, Google), local directories (Yelp, Superpages, Google Places).
  • There should be some goals and metrics involved before and during an SEO campaign. I’ve heard a few people say they’re doing SEO but have no idea what the increase of inbound links are from month to month or what their lead to conversion rates are.
  • Don’t think SEO is something you’re going to do for one or two weeks or months and then turn off or stop the service. Like any other marketing plan, SEO needs to be considered as an ongoing plan. You’ll want to monitor and even graph your traffic, leads, and conversions each month. Stopping altogether really isn’t an option, but switching providers due to bad performance may be.

There are other things a business owner can do to boost traffic on their own website. Some free tactics include Google Analytics and Website Grader from Hubpspot. The data that these two sites provide can really give you an in-depth look at the traffic coming into your site, what keywords are relevant, browser usage and more.

I do want to stress that SEO is fantastic when you’re ready to really compete against your competition. You’ll certainly want to expect more traffic to your physical brick and mortar store too. Having great sales reps and customer service already in place will help capitalize on all this new recognition too.

Real estate on your website

Every common website, whether it be a business owner, freelancer, writer, blogger, or non-profit has “space” on their website. And by “space” I mean those blank zones on various pages of a website with no content. These areas are ideal for affiliate links, banners, ads, newsletter sign-ups, and more. Why is this important for you? It is important because these types on content can help generate more traffic to your site while also improving your site’s SEO (search engine optimization) for better ranking.

Take our site for example. We have affiliate links on most of our pages with other businesses both local and abroad. There is a method to which links, ads, or banners we promote on our site. You never want to litter your lawn with junk mail or trash, and the same theory goes for your website.

I won’t say that it is easy to make a lot of money selling ad space, or easy to get ads from major named brands; but that would be a nice goal. If you’re just starting out, you may want to consider selling space to local businesses or existing clients you already have or know. This is a great way to build more traffic for each site with reciprocated links. When applying for CPC (cost per click) or CPM (cost per impression) programs be sure to fully understand the fine print and what you’re getting into. Google Adsense is a great start for newbies and after you reach the $100.00 threshold you are eligible for a check.

You also can just get creative with your extra space in various other ways like using search boxes, recent client images, award pictures and such. The one thing you want to try and do is be consistent with your ads and links. Like the text in each of your pages that describes the services or products your provide; your ads and links should be somewhat similar to your line of work or industry.