We went to Facebook Blueprint Live

This November we attended Facebook Blueprint Live, an interactive training day exploring practical advice for running a successful Facebook advertising campaign, including tips for developing creative ideas that will stand out on competitive news feeds.

Defining goals

There are many objectives Facebook marketing can achieve:

  • Brand awareness – make as many potential customers aware of your brand as possible
  • Reach – put your brand in front of relevant audiences who may be interested in your products or services
  • Traffic – generate visits to your site
  • Video views – encourage users to watch your video to the end
  • Lead generation – collect information about people who are interested in your business to follow up with later
  • Store visits – increase foot traffic to bricks and mortar shopping destinations
  • Local awareness – promote your brand to residents and visitors in the immediate area
  • App installs – encourage as many people as possible to install your app on their smartphone
  • And website conversions –stimulate your brand’s digital sales

For many clients, conversions are the main consideration (and the main way return on investment is measured). However, it’s not advisable to go straight for conversions as an initial goal. Not all users will be at the conversion (or even consideration) point of the sales funnel when your ad reaches them, so, strategically, it makes sense to begin by raising brand awareness, then retarget users who engaged with your content, and then engage this even smaller pool with sales focused content to prompt a conversion.

Using video in Facebook advertising

Facebook Blueprint Live

One of the key messages we took from Blueprint Live is that video content is the present, rather than the future, and that social agencies should be putting video firmly at the focus of current content strategies.

According to Facebook, the average advertising video is 15 seconds or shorter. So, aim for brevity and directness when creating video content. The challenge is to tell a compelling story in limited time, encourage users to watch right until the end, and create a video that ‘fits’ naturally onto your target users’ timelines.

This clever example of a snappy video ad from Taco Bell lampoons the incredibly popular ‘Tasty’ instructional cooking videos and is a good example of a familiar yet unique take on a sponsored video post:

Think vertical

Unlike traditional TV advertising, the vast majority of mobile videos are optimised vertically, rather than horizontally, which means all photos and videos should be shot with this in mind. When creating video or creative content for Facebook, work mobile first, ensuring the experience for smartphone users is perfect, and then worry about optimising for desktop.

Hit the target

Amazing creative without clever targeting is doomed to fail. Strategic targeting of different audiences can present an opportunity to tailor creative to each demographic. For example: a jewellery brand may want to advertise its products directly to an affluent female audience, as well as targeting men with ads focused on gifting.

Delight without sound

Videos on Facebook auto play without sound, but Facebook says that 60% of brands still create videos that cannot be understood without audio.

When creating video ads, either ensure that the narrative can be understood without sound, or include clear subtitles right from the first frame.

The below video from Hotels.com is a brilliant example of knowingly acknowledging the limitations of silent videos, while encouraging viewers to watch right to the end of the clip:

Three second window

The average time to scroll a full screen on a smartphone is 2.7 seconds, giving advertisers a 3 second or lower window to catch the attention of notoriously fickle social media audiences.

Younger audiences scroll even quicker, giving advertisers just 2 seconds to stop the scroll and encourage users to engage. For video content, this means creating an opening shot that sparks curiosity immediately and avoiding drawn out introductions (or introductions in general).

GIFs and Cinemagraphs

Video may be the present (and future), but they are also extremely expensive to produce.  A handy compromise to add movement to your advertising posts is using GIFs and cinemagraphs – short, repeating videos with subtle animation that doesn’t require as much time or budget as a full length video. Check out some examples of this below:

The task

Facebook Blueprint Playbook

We were split into groups and given a task to create a social media advertising campaign for a randomly selected client. The task was split into several stages, culminating with a presentation about our campaign in front of the attendees and judged by a panel (incentivised with a mystery prize for the winning teams).

Each table received a brief from a fictional institution. In our case, it was from Wright Bank, a made-up financial company with a broad range of products (no frills credit cards, car insurance, retirement plans) and a fifty-year legacy within the UK.


Targeting was our first important consideration – we created our customer personas based on the goals and products of the client. In my team’s case this was:

  • Young people looking to build credit with a no frills credit card
  • Couples looking for a great deal on a mortgage
  • Older consumers looking ahead to retirement plans


The creative for our campaign involved focusing on the young adult and college student audience to boost awareness and conversions, which manifested itself in a video wherein a 20-25-year-old’s head was placed on an infant’s body – an admittedly bizarre concept in the cold light of day.

The concept was intended to be surreal enough to stand out on a news feed within a few seconds, and to acknowledge the infantilising effect that financial insecurity can have for young people, presenting the credit card as a means of escaping this.


We presented our ideas to the group (our illustrations of ‘the credit card kid’ raised a few laughs/eyebrows depending on the individual), which went down a treat. We weren’t the most polished of teams, but we definitely enjoyed ourselves in the creation of the campaign. And so…

Facebook Blueprint Flask

To the (third joint) victor, the spoils. We capped the day off by winning an extremely practical prize in the form of this Facebook flask.

All in all, a useful, enlightening experience, and a chance to gain insights about Facebook’s advertising platform straight from the proverbial horse’s mouth. If you want to learn more about Facebook advertising, check out Facebook Blueprint for resources and advice for all skill levels.

Google Launches Google Posts

To a mix of excitement and surprise, Google have launched their new Google Posts feature, allowing all Google My Business customers to microblog directly onto the search results stream, enabling brands to reach their audience with unprecedented ease.

The Google Posts interface was first trialled in January 2016, in the build-up to the US election: Google gave electoral candidates the chance to summarise their responses to pressing political concerns in posts of up to 14,400 characters, and then made those responses visible on relevant search queries.  Searching for issue X, for instance, would show you the stances of politicians Y and Z towards it.

A year and a half later, Google has completely reimagined the tool and expanded its availability, now enabling all businesses to post content directly to the search feed.

Brands’ posts will be visible for up to seven days before they disappear, exhibited in a scrollable carousel that rotates up to ten posts at a time, in a move that encourages businesses to keep their content fresh and vibrant.

Like Facebook and Twitter, posts can be brought to life with images and photography, although the interface doesn’t currently support GIFs or video. There’s a 300 words limit; only the first 100 characters will appear immediately in the Knowledge Panel, encouraging brands to balance creativity and concision when delivering their message.

There’re various ways that posts can be made more actionable: they can be created as ‘events’, causing the content to display for the event’s duration as defined by the user, or they can be rounded off with a call to action, be it a link for users to follow for more information, or an ‘add to cart’ functionality for quick and easy purchasing.

The whole of the interface is superbly tailored for mobile use; it’s clear that mobile search lies at the heart of Google’s bold philosophy and plans for the future.

It ties in beautifully to the company’s ever-expanding focus on local search, empowering small businesses by giving them an even greater opportunity to spread the word of their services through curated content.

Google Posts equally presents a brilliant opportunity to larger multi-location brands, allowing for the publication of bespoke content relating to each store locality.

If there’s going to be an exciting event or a brilliant promotion running in your Leeds’ store, for example, you’ll be able to use Google Posts to advertise it specifically on the Leeds store’s GMB page.

It’s very new, and there’s certainly scope for several of the interface’s features to be improved, such as widening the list of available calls to action and broadening the reach of the Insights module, providing greater information for analysis.

Needless to say, Google Posts is an exciting direction for Google to be heading in, opening another channel for the creation and promotion of content, and one that brands would be wise to think about, too!

Mobile ad-blocking: What does this mean for mobile advertisers?

Mobile Advertising

The announcement of ad-blocking capabilities included with Apple’s latest software update, iOS9, has advertisers worried all over the world – what does this mean for the state of mobile advertising itself?

Released to the public in September, iOS9 makes it much easier for developers to develop ad-blocking software which works to block adverts on the Safari browser on the iPhone. Unsurprisingly, this has been met by much dismay from mobile advertisers and publishers alike. Many websites rely on advertising revenue to stay afloat, and with the increasing growth in mobile usage, mobile advertising is going to become increasingly important. 60% of global consumers currently use their mobile phone as their primary internet source and with this figure only likely to increase further over the coming years, what will mobile ad-blocking mean for these websites?

We’ve seen these mobile ad-blockers rise to the top of the paid charts in the App Store, however less than 48 hours after the release of iOS9, the number one ad blocker (Peace) was pulled from the app store. Marco Arment, the creator of Peace, said ‘it just doesn’t feel good’, and in his blog post, he states that ‘while ad blockers benefit a ton of people, they also hurt some, including many who don’t deserve it.’ It would seem that this is referring to smaller businesses and publishers, who depend on advertising to monetise their online presence. More content is now consumed on mobile than desktop, so without mobile advertising revenue, many independent publishers could face the threat of closure.

These ad-blockers only work on Apple’s Safari app, which for some people, has raised suspicions. Could this be a move for Apple to increase their revenue through in-app advertising? According to figures from the Q2 State of Mobile Advertising report 2015, Android has now overtaken Apple for app monetisation, so it is possible that this is an effort to move advertising away from the mobile browser and towards apps; which in Apple’s case, would increase profits. Google, as many of you will know, is one of the biggest online advertisers. While this move wouldn’t send them under, it could take a sizeable portion out of their mobile advertising profits and could stop users seeing both search ads and ads on Google’s Display Network.

Another of iOS9’s key features is the enhanced Spotlight search, which aims to direct users towards apps before looking on their browser. This is a great move for Apple, and further helps them in their efforts to increase in-app advertising revenue whilst also eating into Google’s mobile browser advertising profits. The announcement earlier this year that Apple may no longer feature Google as Safari’s default search engine should have Google worried; about 75% of their mobile search revenue came from iPhones and iPads in 2014. Whilst Android still dominates the mobile OS market, Apple is creeping up, with iOS boasting market share growth figures of 12% last year.
Although iOS9 requires users to download applications to block ads, it is possible that it might be included as a default feature in future versions of their mobile operating system- this is something that Google should be preparing for.

It will be interesting to see what the effect of iOS9 and Apple’s recent moves will have on the mobile advertising industry in the next year. Will Apple dominate mobile search? Will Google have to devise a new mobile advertising strategy? Will publishers start to put content behind paywalls in order to survive?

Google reports spike in “near me” searches

Nearby search - June 2015

In the past year, searches with localised qualifiers have rapidly increased, Google recently reported.

In a post on the Inside AdWords blog, Google stated that queries with “nearby and “near me” qualifiers doubled, with around 80% of these searches coming from mobile. Google cited “heightened expectations for immediacy and relevance” for the increase, with a reported 4 out of 5 people stating they’d prefer search ads to be less generic, and specifically tailored to their city, post code, or immediate surroundings.

The information was released alongside details of a new ad format, specifically targeting “near me” searches. Google announced that from late May users searching in a “[business] near me” and “nearby [business]” format will be shown 3 or 4 different local business ads. Rather than containing simply copy, these ads will show buttons that allow users to find the location of, or directly call the business, as seen below.

Near Me - June 2015

Both directions and a call button have only previously been available on organic local business listings, with ads having only a call button; users will have had to click through to find out location details.

This comes off the back of November 2014’s location extensions update, which meant that users could potentially be shown 3 or 4 ads for different locations of the same business. However, with these latest changes, Google appear to be levelling the playing field somewhat, allowing for more businesses to achieve top of the page and above the fold ad space.

To view the statistics in full, and read more about the update, head over to the Inside AdWords blog.

Fusion SEO Market Updates: April 2015


Google finally rolls out mobile friendly update

On the 21st of April Google finally began to roll out its much anticipated mobile friendly update. Announced early on in the year, the exact nature and effect of the update has been heavily speculated about within the SEO community, with reported 4.7% of webmasters making changes to ensure that sites fit within Google’s requested parameters.

However, at the time of writing the update has had a far smaller impact than previously anticipated. As of the 1st of May, Google have said that the algorithm has fully rolled out in all of its data centres. However, the majority of webmasters have reported no big changes in mobile search results rankings, and those who’ve been tracking the update have seen no significant impact, as seen in the below graph from Moz.

April 2015 - MOZ Mobile Rankings

Google’s Gary Illyes stated that as many sites have not been re-indexed, they aren’t as of yet being affected by the new scores. This means it’s still possible for “unaffected” sites to be hit, and it’s still recommended that sites that are not yet mobile friendly be made so.

Google tests lightweight mobile results for slow connections

Google have continued their recent focus on mobile search results optimisation with the test of a “lightweight” display for mobiles with slow connections. Initially announced to simply effect mobile SERP’s, Google have now given webmasters the option to show a “toned down” version of their site to users on a slow connection. Whilst the lightweight version of the search results page is automatic, the option to strip out heavy images and files on a site will be down to webmasters to decide.

However, when tested on users in Indonesia, Google reported that sites that had opted in to lightweight display had a 4x faster load time, used 80% fewer bytes, and saw a 50% increase in mobile traffic – something surely likely to influence whether webmasters opt in.

Search Queries report being randomly replaced by Search Analytics in Webmaster Tools

At the beginning of the year, Google tested a new “Search Impact” report amongst a few select users, now renamed as “Search Analytics”. As well as the standard Search Impact features, the new report displays clicks, impressions, CTR and average search results position. On top of this, Search Analytics also allows for a comparison of these factors, broken down by specific queries, pages, devices, and country.

Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst Zineb Ait Bahajji also commented that the report is “slow to catch up” at the moment, having only 90 days of data. However, this is expected to increase shortly. Whilst at the moment Search Analytics is only available to a random selection of users, it’s expected that at some point it will receive a full rollout and replace the Search Queries report.

Google begins replacing URL search result snippet with breadcrumb pathway

After a long period of testing, Google has finally started to replace site URL in the search results snippet with a site name and breadcrumb pathway. This update comes after years of beta testing and randomly selected rollouts, and is designed to “better reflect the names of websites”, Google has stated.

With this update, webmasters will be given the opportunity to better reflect site structure and content to users, and display a “real world” version of the site rather than a domain name. At the time of writing, this update has only affected mobile results in the U.S, but is expected to have a worldwide rollout in the near future.

In order to make sure these changes take place, webmasters will have to implement specific site name and breadcrumb schema within a sites source code.

Image Source: http://searchengineland.com/googles-mobile-friendly-algorithm-a-week-later-was-it-really-mobilegeddon-219893

Google to Begin Favouring Mobile Friendly Results in SERPs

Google tablet

Google have announced that they will be “expanding the use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal” from April 21st and the change will “will have a significant impact in search results”.

This is big news, as it’s rare that Google give so much advance notice about an algorithm change that they say will have a dramatic impact on search results.

I think you can assume that if a website doesn’t get the “mobile friendly” snippet in mobile results, that site will see their mobile visibility reduce drastically, and this will be the point in time where mobile results will change dramatically from desktop.

You can use the following link to get advice from Google as to why a site isn’t mobile friendly:


The same post also announced that Google may start to display relevant mobile app information in search results for users that are logged in and have the relevant app installed. This update is already in place, therefore organisations that have a mobile app as well as a website may want to consider Google’s guide to getting app content indexed