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Six Elements Foiling Your Big Data Plans

  • Cloud
  • General

Six

Big data holds amazing promise, as indicated by the way its being used to study medicine. However, the vast majority of data is not analyzed. What holds back full use of your data?

  • The Promise of Big Data: Example of Medicine
  • Big Data Going Underutilized
  • Archnemeses of Big Data
  • Conclusion

The Promise of Big Data: Example of Medicine

Everyone in their first or second year at NYU School of Medicine must complete an assignment that taps into huge amounts of information. Students are able to study a massive database that contains hospital records throughout New York for two full years, totalling over 5 million records. Students can see diagnostics and basic demographics, with specific identities scrubbed for privacy.

The students are given analytic programs so that they can search for patterns and develop insights, notes the school’s associate dean, Marc Triola. These tools allow them to “look at quality measures for things like heart failure, diabetes, smoking and high blood pressure,” he says. “and drill down and look at the performance of the practice as a whole, and [the performance of] individual doctors.”

The school believes this project is fundamental in preparing students for an increasingly technological world. 

Big Data Going Underutilized

Big data is incredibly valuable. In the context of medicine, it could even save lives. It‘s not always getting put to use though. Specifically, only about 0.5% of all data is studied today, says the MIT Technology Review. Why?

Let’s first look at the obvious issue of size. How do we fully grasp the huge amount of data we now have essentially at our fingertips? In any practical terms, the sheer volume of information that human civilization has accrued is in the realm of the absurd. As Lauren Browning of Business Insider notes, the amount of information that enabled the 1969 moon landing is actually less than what’s now in a typical PC. The total quantity of data is expanding very rapidly, doubling approximately every two years.

Data can give us incredible insights if we study it, as seen above. Of course, a major reason to collect information, other than simply wanting to access it, is to learn from it. However, that’s not easy to do, notes University College of London big data professor Patrick Wolfe. “The rate at which we’re generating data is rapidly outpacing our ability to analyze it,” he says. “The trick here is to turn these massive data streams from a liability into a strength.”

In other words, the vastness of big data can get in the way of developing these types of projects because what could be a treasure trove can at first seem to be an impossibly big, disorganized mess. 

Archnemeses of Big Data

Size is just one of the things that aren’t working in favor of big data; let’s call it big data “archnemesis #1.” What else is holding back the use of your data?

Archnemesis #2 – Computing design

A major hurdle to overcome is that it’s difficult to integrate everything and know that the information is legitimate. The many sources from which data is collected make it challenging to maintain data integrity. It’s important to have safeguards in place that can tell if data might be inaccurate.

Archnemesis #3 – Junk science

With the rise of access to open source big data projects, some people who aren’t trained in data analysis have started releasing sloppy findings. Their findings often don’t completely make sense because they don’t know the skills or tactics used by data science professionals.

Archnemesis #4 – Lack of talent

You may simply not have the people-power to run big data projects and derive reasonable, actionable conclusions. Their simply aren’t enough pros who are well-trained in analytics available to fill the business demand. You can train current employees, though, and work with automated software.

Archnemesis #5 – Inertia

Companies essentially use trial-and-error, through their own actions and by studying those of others, to refine their growth strategy. However, businesses do often get into unhelpful patterns that aren’t based on real evidence, notes Infogix CEO Sumit Nijhawan. “[B]y leveraging analytics, organizations can evolve their existing classical decision making process based on past learnings or intuitions, into a logic-based decision support system that is based on evidence,” he says. The only issue is that many organizations don’t yet use analytics when they make decisions. 

RELATED: If you want to try a big data project at your organization, you need the speed and efficiency of a cloud server. At Superb Internet, we use a distributed design (no bottlenecks) and InfiniBand (dozens of times lower latency than the theoretical minimum of 10 GigE). Learn more.

Archnemesis #6 – Labeling

Clearly it is not easy for companies to manage or interpret the massive amount of data that their business now controls. Business leaders want the IT directors to tell them where the data is and what it’s value might be. IT pros often don’t know what the data is exactly, though.  It’s not labeled or classified, so it’s unclear if the information relates to customers or sales or even employees. Data classification is a must: it will give you a sense what you need to keep and what can be tossed, both now and in the future.

Conclusion

There are many forces working against big data, as indicated above. Hopefully knowing what might hold you back will make it easier for you to succeed and leverage your information to its fullest possible extent. Clearly big data is valuable and, if used wisely, can give you a large competitive advantage.

Why Cloud Computing is a Smart Choice for Finance (Part 2 of 2)

  • Business Talk
  • Cloud

Financial

Finance, both as an industry and as a department within businesses, has been slow to move to the cloud. This piece continues our discussion (see Part 1) of what’s holding financial pros back and why it’s worth it to make the transition.

  • 15 Reasons Cloud Makes Sense for Finance Departments (cont.)
  • Lower Your Risk with a Slower Transition

15 Reasons Cloud Makes Sense for Finance Departments (cont.)

Wise Development

  1. International readiness – If you plan to find customers and otherwise operate in other countries, finances will become more sophisticated, as will compliance. That means you have to keep updating your current system. Cloud systems are updated on-the-go, by the cloud provider.
  2. Smoother M & A – Computing is the most expensive part of merging with or acquiring another company. On the other hand, it can create points of integration as well. “The heavy reliance on ERP for business operations, management information, and financial reporting make it a priority item in the M&A agenda,” explains Forbes.
  3. Testing a different market – When you go into a different market, you find a different type of customer. Cloud allows you to easily customize the back-end support to meet diverse needs.
  4. Hypergrowth – When you are growing incredibly fast, as occurs during the hypergrowth phase of startups, you need your system to be able to scale with you. That’s cloud. It also allows you to more efficiently use your resources for peaks and valleys.
  5. IPO – Are you about to become publicly traded? If you choose a strong cloud provider, they will have all the parameters in place to be compliant with financial regulations.

RELATED: At Superb Internet, in order to meet the needs of our customers, we must prove to them that our systems are transparent, highly secure, and multiply redundant. That’s why all our cloud systems meet international standards such as SSAE 16 and ISO 27001. See our full list of compliance and security certifications.

Efficient Use of Resources

  1. Divisional planning – To get back to the issue of standardization, what about divisional offices or subsidiaries that aren’t running the same ERP? “This disrupts the flow of data and necessitates manual workarounds such as spreadsheets,” notes Forbes. “Consolidating on the cloud can provide a single view of operations without the cost and lengthy implementations that inhibit on-premises ERP.”
  2. Skipping upgrades – Upgrading ERP systems is costly and can be a huge undertaking. You can transition to cloud faster and more affordably.
  3. Sharing services – Many organizations want to look for ways to simplify and streamline by unifying tasks that are unnecessarily performed through multiple departments. It’s much easier to achieve pain-free shared services via cloud, which is essentially designed for collaboration.
  4. No on-site server or data center costs – Often businesses have to get more sophisticated accounting programs as they expand. These firms set up their enterprise resource planning as a cloud service so they don’t have to buy equipment and hire IT support staff.
  5. Standardization throughout the company – If you have more than one ERP system in place now, cloud allows you to consolidate within an environment that is built to meet strict compliance guidelines.
  6. Safer operations – Many people in financial departments are so concerned about the idea of someone else hosting their data that they don’t move to cloud. Ironically, though, cloud is typically the safest possible hands – especially because the providers are so obsessed with security for the sake of their own credibility. “The cloud providers are much better at systemic security services, such as looking out for attacks using pattern matching technology and even AI systems,” says David Linthicum of InfoWorld. “This combination means they have very secure systems.”

Lower Your Risk with a Slower Transition

There are fifteen basic reasons why cloud could be a great choice for any finance department. However, people are still standing their ground. Finance is mission-critical. Errors can become systemic. Finance executives sometimes decide not to go to the cloud to avoid huge headaches.

Keep in mind, cloud is by no means an “all or nothing” proposition. You can switch over your finances in smaller pieces if you want to test the waters. Some organizations that have an international presence now have the finances of one of their global offices in the cloud as they decide on the full organization. Some firms just decide that they want to have their primary ERP software hosted on-site. Those companies “can move some independent finance applications to the cloud, such as planning and budgeting, narrative reporting, financial reporting compliance, and more,” says Forbes.

If you do decide to switch everything over, it won’t take as long as it does to replace the on-site system. The entire process can often be completed in 10 weeks.

Given all the above information, does waiting to move to the cloud really make sense for finance departments? We think not.

Why Cloud Computing is a Smart Choice for Finance (Part 1 of 2)

  • Business Talk
  • Cloud

Financial

Finance has been much slower than other sectors and other business departments to move to the cloud. Let’s explore this topic in a two-part series to better understand the hesitation and why it makes sense to overcome it.

  • Finance Industry’s Security Concerns
  • Finance Departments Used to be the Tech Trendsetter
  • 15 Reasons Cloud Makes Sense for Finance Departments

Both the finance industry and finance departments at companies have been slower than their counterparts to adopt cloud computing. Let’s look at what’s holding things back and why it’s worth tackling the challenges and moving forward – specifically, a.) security concerns of financial firms, and b.) reasons finance departments benefit from cloud.

Finance Industry’s Security Concerns

Finance has been slow to switch over to cloud computing because of concerns with security and compliance. However, more finance companies are adopting cloud every day, replacing their legacy approach with the easy adaptability, high performance, and multigenerationally approved interfaces of cloud.

What’s basically holding financial firms back is that they want to make certain that user data and business processes can be safe within another organization’s datacenters. Finance companies have expansive and intricate computing systems that depend on core on-premises software, and it’s absolutely critical that they must meet strong security and compliance standards. It’s understandable that these companies, like those in the healthcare sector (for similar reasons) have been slower than other sectors to make this technological leap.

Cloud is actually incredibly secure, though, assuming that the company providing the cloud service knows what it’s doing. “Indeed, cloud services should be at least as secure if not more secure than their in-house equivalents,” notes CloudTech. “All it takes is some careful planning to create a secure and reliable cloud solution that provides financial enterprises, and their customers and clients, peace of mind.”

Now that the flexibility of cloud services has become more pronounced, as with hybrid clouds, finance can get beyond these challenges, knowing that they are protected within a secure and compliant setting.

RELATED: At Superb Internet, our credibility as a hosting provider depends on protecting our customers, and we take that responsibility very seriously. See how we meet the strictest compliance & security standards.

Finance Departments Used to be the Tech Trendsetter

Since we often point a finger at finance these days as a sector that seems to be “stuck” technologically (and to its detriment), it’s interesting to look back at the days when these departments were at the forefront of technological adoption. By the late 90s, almost all enterprises had implemented some form of enterprise resource planning software, explains Karen dela Torre in Forbes. “Even small and midsize companies relied on finance or accounting software installed on their desktop PCs,” she says. “[T]he global economy had reached a tipping point where the risk of doing nothing was greater than the risk of change.”

These systems quickly became clunky, intricate, and high-maintenance as the vast majority of businesses decided to go into the source code and alter it to meet their specific needs. Here’s a very telling statistic from a poll of ERP users conducted by Panorama Consulting Solutions in 2014: 90% of respondents said that they had customized to some degree.

These systems resisted change because business processes became dependent on their specific capabilities (making the idea of moving to a standardized environment more disruptive). Also, there was an certain attachment to a system that had taken substantial time, energy, and resources to build.

However, when the Internet started to become a bigger part of business, and when the Y2K bug occurred, businesses upgraded their ERP programs – and it wasn’t easy. “All of their custom-coded changes disappeared and had to be reprogrammed,” says dela Torre. “This involved hiring teams of developers from consulting firms, spending a lot of money, and then waiting 18-24 months for the new system to come online.”

Basically, finance departments don’t want to go through that same madness again – so they stick with their legacy approach.

15 Reasons Cloud Makes Sense for Finance Departments

The business drivers pushing finance toward the cloud are of three basic types:

Digital adaptation

  1. Changing business models – Various innovative business models have been on the rise in recent years, including product digitization (Netflix), sharing (AirBNB), and social (Twitter). The companies that are using these models need sentiment analysis, data modeling, and other functionality for which traditional ERP software was not designed.
  2. Subscription billing – Now companies can provide products and services online, but they need billing and collections to allow for subscriptions.
  3. Employee satisfaction – The workforce, especially those in the younger generations, increasingly expect sleek, mobile-optimized, consumer-friendly interfaces at work.
  4. Revenue management – An accounting standard released in 2014, IFRS 15 / ASU 2014-09, outlined guidelines to more tightly monitor contract revenue. “Especially if your business creates complex sales contracts with multiple and distinct performance obligations (aka deliverables), there will be new calculations to perform and processes to follow.” Again, on-premise ERP applications were unprepared to meet the expectations of that new standard.

Check out Part 2 here!

Tips to Help You Pick Out the Right Web Host

  • General
  • Hosting Industry

Web Host

Picking out a low-quality web host is one of the top five mistakes companies make in setting up and operating their websites. Here are a few elements to evaluate to be certain your web host is strong.

  • Poor Web Host Selection: a Common Website Mistake
  • Eight Elements for Selecting Web Hosts

Figuring out which web hosting company deserves your business can be a bit daunting. After all, every service out there claims to be customer-centered, have virtually no downtime, and be staffed with experts; then you run into a problem and realize it’s actually the opposite.

Let’s look at how to choose a good company to provide your business’s hosting. First, though, let’s explore why web host selection is one of the top mistakes people make in running their websites.

Poor Web Host Selection: a Common Website Mistake

Just like there are plenty of opportunities for success online, there are also seemingly innumerable ways in which to make mistakes with your website. That’s a problem: websites really do need to be excellent because they are so central to business in 2016.

Here are four top errors made by businesses with their websites, according to John Rampton of Forbes:

  1. Failure to develop and execute a business and marketing plan
  2. Thinking that running a website is hands-off or low-maintenance
  3. Excessive emphasis on design and visual appeal without compelling copy (“On top of having a website that’s easy on the eyes, it needs to convey the message you’re trying to present,” says Rampton, “such as your business objective, plan of action for visitors and the quality content that you’ve been busy creating.”)
  4. Selecting weak web hosting

Specific to the issue of hosting, Rampton notes that many businesses actually use free hosting services – only to later realize that they don’t own the content and can’t remove it because of vendor lock-in. Even if you choose a paid hosting service, you can quickly run into problems with speed and reliability. For these reasons, carefully selecting your web host is important.

Eight Elements for Selecting Web Hosts

Here are eight elements to guide the selection of a strong hosting company to meet your current and ongoing needs:

  1. Strong networks

You want to choose a company that has strong hardware and taps the power of excellent networks. For example, Superb Internet’s Coast-to-Coast proprietary network infrastructure includes 11 sites in five states across the continent – providing direct connectivity to all the primary worldwide Tier 1 backbones and ISPs.

  1. Cost

Affordability will always be a key concern when looking at any service. Just remember that you don’t want to pay so little that the company isn’t providing support or the hardware backing your site is cheap.

  1. Infrastructural or support constraints

Think about what you want to do with your site. If you want to have rich content on your site, engage your audience with videos, and sell online, it’s in your best interests to invest in high-quality hosting.  You don’t want to be constantly frustrated with performance weaknesses when you are trying to grow your business.

Call the web hosts you are considering and ask their support staff questions so you know exactly what you are getting.

  1. Tech support availability

Many people consider tech support to be a deciding factor for what hosting companies they are willing to take seriously.

“When my site, for some unknown reason, goes down, can I call up and get a real, live person on the phone?” asks Blue Derkin in Hongkiat. “And, more than that, can they find out what’s wrong and fix it, or at least tell me what I need to do to get my site back online?”

  1. Standards & certifications

Even if your company doesn’t require standards or certifications such as SSAE 16 auditing or ISO 27001 or HIPAA compliance, look for companies with these types of designations. Why? By getting third-party verification that they meet certain quality and security standards, companies demonstrate that they are adhering to hosting industry best practices.

  1. Reviews

See how the company is being discussed online. Do they have a good reputation with the people who actually use their service every day?

  1. Administrative UI (user interface)

You should be able to perform simple tasks on your own without always relying on the hosting company’s support team. Make sure that you are able to easily install apps such as WordPress; review email, manage FTP accounts, etc..

  1. Scalability

Finally, think hard about the future: hosting is a long-term relationship, ideally. “[W]hat you consider adequate hosting now might not meet your needs two years from now,” explains Derkin, “once you start selling your wares online and getting some good traffic to your site.” Make sure that the hosting company you select is able to scale its solutions so that you can grow seamlessly rather than having to jump to a different host.

The Remarketing Traffic Boomerang Plan (part 3)

  • Marketing and PR

In the last article, we covered how to install the Facebook Pixel and create a custom audience. Today, we’ll discuss how to take remarketing a step further so you earn more on your ad dollars ROI.

In fact, I’ll show you how to make ads that resonate with your visitors and ultimately lead to a sale.

Let’s get started…

What is the difference between a specialist and a general practitioner?

Specifically, the difference between a Doctor who practices general medicine and a Doctor who focuses on brain surgery?

Money.

The Doctor who specializes in brain surgery Makes More Money than the general practitioner. He has a more narrow focus and a much higher standard. The brain surgeon has undergone extensive training at great expense to himself and his family.

The same is true for marketers.

Sure, you can blast ads all over the Web and you’ll get traffic and probably some sales… but if you hone down your remarketing campaigns with laser focus you’ll get higher returns on your investment.

For example, you can use the Facebook Custom Audiences to target people who hit your sales funnel… step-by-step.

Here’s how most of the big marketing guru’s setup their Custom Audiences:

  1. Setup ‘All Visitors‘ custom audience
  2. Setup ‘Content Buckets‘ like we discussed in the last article ‘The Remarketing Boomerang Plan (part 2). Essentially, you compile all of your blog articles or website pages and place them into content and keyword buckets. You then create a Custom Audience for each and every Content Bucket (based on keywords).
  3. Setup ‘Sales Page‘ custom audience for each and every product you have. Please note, these will be individual audiences based on the specific product page they hit.
  4. Setup ‘Lead Magnet‘ custom audiences for each lead magnet. If you aren’t using lead magnets, you should! We discussed how to set these up in ‘How to Get 1001 Blog Subscribers in 30 Days‘.
  5. Setup ‘Add to Cart‘ custom audiences based on the product(s) your visitor adds to their cart. Now, here’s where things get cool! Let’s assume they Add to Cart but do not complete the order… you can then create banners and content that reminds them to complete their order. Quite simply, you could just ask them in text or a banner, “Did you forget something? “… And include your logo or even a picture of the product they added to the cart. Powerful !
  6. Setup ‘Thank You’ custom audiences. This is setup and designed for visitors who buy a specific product. You can then Upsell them on other products that compliment their purchase.

Now that seems like a lot… and it is, but it is very simple to setup.

You will go through your website and your sales pages and create these Custom Audiences. Once created, you’ll need to add your campaign banners and text ads.

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to specialize with remarketing. After all, your visitor has given you clues as to what they need, want, and desire.

In fact, you have PROOF in your data because they had to physically visit each of the pages you setup and configured for your remarketing Custom Audiences.

The fact that you can remind them of pages, products or services they visited is amazing.

Here’s how this process works in real-time…

  • Let’s assume you have done the painstaking work (with great attention to detail) to setup your Facebook Custom Audiences.
  • Let’s assume you have installed the Facebook Pixel and have verified that it is properly working.

The entire process now begins with a visitor to your website.

  1. The visitor is tagged by your ‘All Visitors‘ Custom Audience. Visitor leaves your website. When he comes back to Facebook he is reminded about your website and shown ads for a free report or free shipping offer.
  2. Visitor sees a blog post “How to Use Widgets with Bells” and is then tagged by your ‘Widgets with Bells‘ Custom Audience. The visitor leaves the site and see’s banner ads from you on Facebook about “Widgets with Bells”.
  3. Visitor read “How to Use Widgets with Bells” and clicks to learn more about “Widget with Bell’ sales page which offers an ‘Add to Cart’ button. Visitor is now tagged with your ‘Widget with Bells Sales Page‘ Custom Audience. Visitor leaves the sales page and heads back to Facebook. The next day, they are shown ads for ‘10% OFF Widgets with Bells’.
  4. Visitor adds ‘Widget with Bell’ to their shopping cart but does not complete purchase. Visitor sees ‘Free Shipping on Widget with Bell’ on their Facebook page and can return to complete the order.
  5. Customer purchases ‘Widget with Bell’. When customer visits their Facebook page, they are shown an upsell that compliments their purchase.

This is all amazingly powerful technology.

Take the time to really focus down your targeting and build Custom Audiences where you can deliver what your visitors need, want and desire.

Creating Pinpoint Remarketing Ads

Now that we know we can target visitors with very specific advertisements, it is our job to ensure that we hit the bull’s-eye with messaging.

It is crucial you maintain the same message, verbiage and terminology within your remarketing ads that you display on your website and your front-end advertisements. Each Custom Audience will have it’s own terminology and messaging.

The message must connect with the terms they are using in their own mind… the messaging used on your sales pages, advertisements… and more often than not, whether a campaign succeeds or fails is based on staying consistent.

For example, let’s pretend a visitor discovered your business through the following advertisement on Facebook:

remarketing_1

Obviously, Facebook is showing them this ad because the visitor likes travel and is being targeted through your general advertising campaigns. Let’s now pretend the visitor click the ‘Book Now’ button and is taken to Expedia.ca.

From here, the visitor now searches Whistler, Canada. Visitor does not complete a purchase, so they are placed inside the ‘Whistler’ Custom Audience.

They will then be shown a remarketing ad similar to the following:

remarketing_2

The messaging is spot on from beginning to end.

Expedia knows that most travelers book based on timing. You can lose out on a good hotel or secure a good deal depending on how quickly or slowly you move.

Notice the wording in the Primary Ad, “Last Minute Deals”… and “Book Now and save with our last minute deals.”

And in the Remarketing Ad, you get “Time is ticking…”

Further, they communicate there are still rooms available and invite them to come back to Expedia and do another search to compare hotels. This is a great call to action.

They even use an image from a hotel in Whistler to match what the visitor imagines of Whistler.

This is what I call ‘tight messaging’.

Brilliant.

There’s beauty in the simplicity. You will also save time by keeping your messaging tight like this. You won’t need to create 20 different ads. Stay on subject, keep the messaging tight to what the visitor has seen and is thinking, and deliver a call to action.

You can take this further if you wanted… and deliver remarketing to the visitor if they added a specific hotel into their Expedia shopping cart.

You could say, “Rooms at Hotel X,Y,Z are filling up fast”… or “Time Expiring on 50% off on Hotel X,Y,Z” . And feature an exact picture of the hotel they chose.

Then follow that up with a ‘Book Now’ button.

Simple, effective, and rather easy (it just takes time to set this all up).

Why You Should Use AdRoll

I had mentioned AdRoll.com previously (and there are others as well). AdRoll takes and expands marketing beyond Facebook and onto many content networks. This will allow your remarketing advertisements to be displayed on such sites as CNN.com, ESPN.com and many other high profile web properties.

AdRoll can give your business credibility because your ads will be displayed on prominent and popular web properties.

The process for setting up AdRoll is very similar to that of Facebook. You’ll need to install a pixel so AdRoll can begin gathering data.

You will also need to configure your Custom Audiences inside of AdRoll and create your advertisements.

AdRoll uses a series of different sized banners as well, so you will need to have the most popular sizes made.

The banner hurdle is what keeps most people off of AdRoll and expanding beyond Facebook. The beauty of Facebook is the simplicity and ease of creating your advertisements.

Conclusion

I hope you put this Remarketing series to work for your business. Please comment below if you have any questions.

Remarketing will decrease your ROI and increase your sales if done properly. Remarketing is perhaps the easiest of all online advertising, but can be the most time consuming.

Set aside enough time to do this properly so you don’t feel rushed. You will be more than pleased you did.

Even if you aren’t going to immediately begin paid remarketing efforts, you should at the very least install the Facebook Pixel to begin gathering date.

Let me know what you think and what other articles you would like to see.

 

The Remarketing Boomerang Plan (part 2)

  • Marketing and PR

In our previous article, we discussed why you should be using remarketing to make your ad dollars go farther for you.

Remarketing helps reduce your conversion costs and increase brand awareness.

The first step to remarketing is to add the remarketing code from Facebook. There are many other remarketing companies beyond Facebook (AdRoll and Perfect Audience are two of the largest), but Facebook is the easiest to setup and create targeted ads for.

Setting Up Your Site for Remarketing

No matter what kind of website you use, you should be able to easily install the Facebook Conversion Pixel yourself. If you use WordPress you can install a plugins that makes adding the Facebook Conversion Pixel really easy.

The brand new Facebook pixel makes conversion, tracking, and remarketing possible from just a single pixel.

Once installed, you’ll be able to track your visitors and follow conversions based on advertisements. In addition, you enable remarketing (the focus of this article).

So we are really killing three birds with one stone (or pixel in this case).

You can get the WordPress plugin here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/facebook-conversion-pixel/

If you are using traditional HTML, you’ll need an HTML editor such as Dreamweaver to install the pixel. My suggestion is you install it on every page… quite simply, we can follow your visitors across your site and control what remarketing banners they see in the future.

You must have the pixel on every page so we can control remarketing content though… so if you need to hire a web developer to do this, it is money well spent. First though, you’ll need the pixel itself.

Let’s create our pixel now.

Create Your Pixel

  1. Go to your Facebook Pixel tab in Ads Manager.
  2. Click Create a Pixel
  3. Enter a name for your pixel. There’s only one pixel per ad account, so choose a name that represents your business.
  4. Make sure you’ve checked the box to accept the terms
  5. Click Create Pixel.

Once you have your pixel (save it to a notepad), you need to add it to your website so Facebook can start gathering the data it needs for remarketing.

Add Pixel to Your Website

  1. Go to your Facebook Pixel tab in Ads Manager.
  2. Click Actions > View Pixel Code.
  3. Click the code to highlight it.
  4. Right-click and select Copy or use Ctrl+C/Cmd+C.
  5. Click Done.
  6. Go to your website’s HTML and paste the code. Getting there varies from site to site. The diagram below breaks up the code for you.

boomerang_1

The above code is for a traditional HTML website.

If you have WordPress, all you’ll need is the pixel code itself. Your Facebook pixel code will look like the diagram above, except your pixel ID will be different from 1234567890.

After you’ve installed the WordPress plugin, navigate to ‘Settings’ and then ‘Facebook Conversion Pixel’.

Enter your pixel ID and make sure you enable the pixel on Posts and Pages.

boomerang_2

That’s it!

Why Set Up Facebook Custom Audiences?

The more specific your offer is to your target, the higher chance of success you will have with remarketing.

For example…

Let’s assume your widget website has content (web pages) on it about…

  • Widgets with Bells
  • Widgets without Bells

And let’s assume each page has traffic from Twitter, Google, Facebook and even emails you send to your clients.

When they visit your website and visit specific pages custom tailored to their wants and needs… you can then target them by specific product pages they visited.

Let’s also assume that they visited ‘Widgets with Bells’ from an ad you placed on Google AdWords. You can safely assume this visitor is very interested in ‘Widgets with Bells’.

The great thing about Facebook Custom Audiences is that you can now target these visitors who have found specific pages.

Powerful… and simple.

Quite simply, if you want a bell with your widget, you aren’t interested in a widget without it… and vice versa.

The more narrow we can target, the better our chance at closing a sale.

Of course, your widget may be something like boots. If someone is searching for boots, it is better to serve them ads for boots and not sandals. Another example could be for golf… they come to your website looking for a driver – you should serve them ads for drivers and not for your monthly special.

Simple.

The power in this is you create a list of people looking to buy something very specific. They’ve also shown an interest in YOU and a SPECIFIC PRODUCT.

The next step is to remind them about YOU and YOUR PRODUCT they were interested in.

Setting Up Facebook Custom Audiences

There are a few different ways to create Custom Audiences.

Step 1 – List of URL’s segmented by product or content topics

  1. This allows us to create ad groups that target visitors to these pages.
  2. Create a list of categories and start placing your pages into these ‘category buckets’. The best way to do this is by using a spreadsheet.

Step 2 – Login to Facebook and go to:

  1. https://www.facebook.com/ads/manage/audiences.php
  2. Look for the ‘Create Audience’ button. Click it and select ‘Custom Audience’.

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Step 3 – You will be asked to create the type of audience you want. If you’ve compiled your page URL’s, you will select ‘Custom Audience from your Website’.

Of course, if you have an email list of subscribers, you can create a separate audience for those email addresses as well. I recommend doing both if you have a list of emails (note these must be legitimately collected emails and not a paid list).

Click ‘Website Traffic’.

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Then you will be asked to decide how you want to build your audience. This will be based on the ‘category bucket’ you created for your content pages.

You will now select ‘People who visit specific web pages’.

Facebook will now need those URL’s you gathered. You’ll need to enter those one by one. While this may seem tedious, it is worth setting the time aside to do this. You can also set keywords here from your URL.

Then you will need to decide how many days you want to pixel visitors for. I generally pick 180 days because some of my visitors go through cycles of interest and dis-interest. If your visitors are more immediate buyers, you can choose as little as 30 days. I think it best to keep them in as long as you can though. Once the pixel is 181 days old, remarketing is stopped to that visitor.

You will then decide what to call this audience. I would choose the ‘Category Bucket’ name you chose.

Click ‘Create Audience’.

Repeat the process for your URL’s.

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Once you have created an audience, Facebook will start gather data (if your pixel is installed). This can take a few days . Don’t be alarmed if you see the following:

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Under size and audience you will see that the first item is too small. This will change in a few days once visitors have landed on the specific page I detailed.

This can take a few days or weeks, depending on how much traffic you get.

In the next article, we’ll get down to business and start creating our advertising campaign and banners.